Elbren's Challenge---The Pillar of Heaven

Pull out your pack and head on down to the Prancing Pony for some great Role Playing (try to stay in character)!

Postby Aerin » Mon Sep 09, 2002 7:32 pm

<i>Aerin drew her sword as the beasts swooped to the attack. Many were killed by arrows and flame, though enough still survived to warrant her keeping her sword unsheathed. But when Miriel slumped to the ground she ran to the woman, dodging fallen bodies.<BR><BR>A faint crackling in the air warned her before she slammed into the other woman's shield, and she stopped. Aerin didn't dare approach her with her shield up, but neither did she know how long it would last. She turned to face the Mouth, sword up. His mouth curled up in a sneer as he saw this.</i><BR><BR>"Foolish elf, to think you can defeat <b>me</b>!" <i>He raised his sword and advanced toward her.</i>
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Postby erinhue » Tue Sep 10, 2002 5:32 am

Erinhue watched the Mouth advance on Aerin and felt his anger leap to fury. Unthinking he charged forward to intercept the foul being's intended blow. His left hand reached back for Clarion as he crossed the Mouth's path and stood between him and Aerin and the fallen Carnimriel.<BR><BR>Red anger misted his vision and the berserkers howl rang in his ears when Erinhue stopped himself. To draw Clarion in anger now and in this place would only be to the Mouth's advantage. The berserker had no sense but rage and no thought but to kill. The necromancer would find it easy to turn him against the bard's companions.<BR><BR>The Mouth was still advancing, his sword poised to slice through blood and bone. In instinctive reaction rather than planned thought, Erinhue reached instead for Agarak and held the harp between himself and the descending blade.<BR><BR>The sword struck the dragonharp and skittered off its green-gold scales. Alarmed the little dragon spat a ball of fire at the source of its irritation. The flame did little more than deter The Mouth for a few moments.<BR><BR>Knowing that the reprieve would last only for seconds, Erinhue also realized that unless he drew the untrustworthy runesword, he was basically unarmed. <BR><BR>Being very careful to use his right hand, Erinhue pulled Clarion from its scabbard and tossed it on the ground behind him and towards the spot where Carnimiriel lay. At the same time he shouted, "Aerin, give my your sword."
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Postby Aerin » Tue Sep 10, 2002 7:25 am

<i>Aerin watched in horror as Erinhue charged towards them, his face suffused with the bloodlust that came when he went berserk. She started for him, mouth open to cry out, then stopped as he did.<BR><BR>He cast his sword behind him and called out,</i> "Aerin, give my your sword!"<BR><BR><i>Unquestioningly, she darted up and pressed the hilt of her sword into his hand. On her way back she scooped up his runesword. The last thing Erinhue would need would be to fall on his own blade while battling the Mouth.</i>
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Postby Tempest » Tue Sep 10, 2002 8:01 am

Tempest and Freagrim shielded Ronin as best as they could, but it became increasingly clear to them that the Mouth was more interested in obtaining the stone than in trying to take Ronin. He knew that he need not worry about losing the child as long as he held the stone in his clutches. Tempest knew this too, and her savage nature was stirred to life within her.<BR><BR>She watched Miriel fall, and she knew the peril that was laid before them. They all fought valiantly against the fell beasts, but it was too no avail. They were only being toyed with.<BR><BR>But, perhaps not all was lost. She could take the stone. She could end this. She knew the spell he would use, she had heard it whispered in the pits of Mordor and read of it in the tall, dark books that lined his walls. She knew the words, though she dared not utter them. If she could take the stone, and perform the ritual herself, perhaps...perhaps....<BR><BR>But she did not have the blood of Numenor within her, nor did she want to unleash the evil that was bound up within the spell. She felt helpless and alone admist her friends, and she could not bring herself to accomplish the evil task that the Mouth had commissioned her to do.<BR><BR>Before she could act, though, she saw Erinhue clash swords with the Mouth. There was hope as well. If he was killed...all her problems would cease. She told Freagrim to watch Ronin as she armed herself and followed Erinhue's lead toward the demon she had once called husband.
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Postby Elbren » Tue Sep 10, 2002 9:28 am

Elbren sliced upward at the fell beast and was satisfied to feel the blade plunge into the soft belly tissues; the beast screeched in pain and tried to pull away and upwards. It did manage to gain some height, but its abdominal muscles had an iron grip on Elbren's sword and took the blade with it, wresting it out of Elbren's hands.<BR><BR>No matter, Elbren thought, I can still use my bow. He turned back towards Carnimiriel and saw her lying upon the ground, though her shield still held. For now. Erinhue was engaging the Mouth in sword combat and Aerin stood close by.<BR><BR>Elbren took position and began firing arrows at the Mouth; he cursed when he saw the arrows fly harmlessly past the Black Numenorean. <BR><BR>Then, an idea came to Elbren. He sprinted over to Freahelm, "Do you have anymore of the Mithril tipped arrows?!"<BR><BR>Freahelm looked at his Elven friend in confusion, "No! Why? We decided not to use them!"<BR><BR>"They might just work against the Mouth, though! His own spell is upon them! Remember the Battle of the Pelennor Fields? It was a spell that broke the sinews of the WitchKing...perhaps--"<BR><BR>Freahelm nodded, "Understood and good plan. Where are the Mithril weapons that we gave up?"<BR><BR>Elbren thought for a moment, "We buried some of them, I think, and Carnimiriel tried to reverse the spell on the others. But the arrow..."<BR><BR>Elbren looked over at Ronin. "I never saw the arrow after you had surrendered it at our camp...RONIN!!"<BR><BR>The boy snapped his head around at Elbren's call, but so did Freagrim and Tempest. Elbren moved quickly to where the three of them stood, only to have Freagrim draw his blade and put it at Elbren's throat.<BR><BR>"We don't have time for that now," Elbren hissed, knocking the blade away with his bow only to have Freagrim push the blade back against him, this time with more force.<BR><BR>"You won't harm the boy, no matter what it might gain for your people," Freagrim vowed.<BR><BR>"I would not harm Ronin if it meant saving my own life, Freagrim, now move your blade away from me!" Elbren's anger was growing.<BR><BR>"Do as he says," Tempest instructed, though she still watched Elbren warily.<BR><BR>"Ronin, let me see your quiver," Elbren knelt before Tempest's son.<BR><BR>Ronin hesitated, but then obeyed. Elbren could see the fear upon the boy's face.<BR><BR>"NO!"<BR><BR>The shout caused the trio to look back at the fray. Elessar had joined the fight against the Mouth, but even with Erinhue and Elessar's blades against him, the Mouth's shields held them at bay. <BR><BR>"Ronin," Elbren said as he looked at the boy's arrows, "there was an arrow, back at the camp near the river, that was tipped with Mithril. It was tainted with the spell of Sauron and your father."<BR><BR>Ronin recoiled at the word 'father', but he said nothing as Elbren continued, "YOU...you, Ronin, must fire this arrow at your father. Your aim must be true and your heart pure. Can you do this?"<BR><BR>Tempest roughly grabbed Elbren's shoulder and jerked him to his feet. "I won't have him living with the pain and guilt of slaying his own father! Get someone else to do your deed!"<BR><BR>Elbren pulled out of her grasp, "It can ONLY be him, don't you see? There's enough of the Mouth's essence in the Mithril to destroy whatever it is that he has wound about himself to protect him. He is immune to our blades and our spells...it has to be Ronin."<BR><BR>Ronin did speak then, "And then we can destroy the stone with no harm to me or the King."<BR><BR>"Yes," Elbren nodded, "I believe so, Ronin."<BR><BR>Looking again into the quiver, Elbren espied the one Mithril arrow that Ronin had, at some point, acquired. The Elven Lord drew it forth and handed it to Tempest's son.<BR><BR>"May your aim be true, Ronin of Rohan," he said.
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Postby Tempest » Thu Sep 12, 2002 12:48 pm

Tempest was about to protest yet again, but Ronin's face was set and determined, and she knew he intended to carry out Elbren's plan. She knelt beside him and took his shoulders in her hands, peering into his sweet face. <i>"Ronin. Ronin, aim for his heart. Aim true. Do not waver once you find the spot, but remain steady."</i><BR><BR><i>"I know,"</i> he said quietly.<BR><BR><i>"He is no longer a man, Ronin, but a fiend. You do but free the world from a great evil,"</i> she said, her heart quickening in response to the cries behind them. <BR><BR><i>"He is not my father, not really. I never considered him so,"</i> Ronin said simply, turning instead to look at Freagrim who stood nearby. <i>"It is not as though I have killed my own father, for he never cared for me, and I never cared for him. You are more a father to me than any other."</i> Freagrim nodded at him, his face grim. <BR><BR>Tempest released him and drew her sword. <i>"When the arrow hits,"</i> she said to the others, <i>"we must prepare to attack. This is our only hope, and we must not fail."</i> <BR><BR>Ronin drew the bow that Elbren had given him and set the mithril arrow in the notch. Tempest held her breath, as did Freagrim, for they both feared the child's hand would not hold. <BR><BR>But Ronin's hand was steady and his gaze fixed on the Mouth of Sauron as he battled Aragorn. The child did not even flinch as he released the arrow. It sang through the air like a swift bird of pure silver. And it found its mark.<BR><BR>A terrible shriek went up from the foul beasts who took to the air, but higher than even their voices was a scream unlike that from any human tongue. <BR><BR><i>"It is done,"</i> Ronin whispered. <i>"He knows his doom."</i>
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Postby Aerin » Sat Sep 14, 2002 7:09 pm

<i>An unearthly and inhuman scream echoed through the air, but Aerin barely heard it. A strange buzzing filled her mind; the sword was vibrating slightly in her hands. She tried to drop it, but was unable to make her hands open.<BR><BR>Her whole body was shaking now, with the energy of the sword Clarion. She opened her mouth to cry out for Erinhue to help her, but her tongue clove to the roof of her mouth and she couldn't make a sound. Strange images flashed through Aerin's mind, too fast for her to make sense of them or even recognize what they were.<BR><BR>All of a sudden her vision was suffused with red. She gave voice to a strangled cry, then her vision went black. Erinhue whirled around just in time to see her shudder violently, then crumple to the ground.</i>
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Postby erinhue » Sun Sep 15, 2002 7:27 am

Weilding the elven sword in his left hand, Erinhue met the Mouth of Sauron’s blade with elven crafted steel. Aerin’s sword was far lighter in weight than Clarion and the bard’s sword strokes came at lightening speed. When King Elessar joined the frey, the enemy was momentarily hard pressed for all his spells and magic.<BR><BR>What began as a mocking cackle of expected easy victory quickly transformed into a terrible shriek of shock, disbelief and pain. The very foundations of Meneltarma seem to tremble from the onslaught of that cry. Lost within it was another cry, a scream of desperation that reached only one ear.<BR><BR>“Aerin” Erinhue shouted her name into the whirlwind sound around them. Diving away from the Mouths shock frozen form, he dropped to the ground at Aerin’s side and wrenched the runesword from her clenched fingers.<BR><BR>The moment his hand closed around the great sword’s hilt, Erihue was enfused and overcome by the berserker’s rage. His own mood at the present, kneeling beside what he thought was the body of his dead love, only served to intensify the transformation. <BR><BR>Rage boiled in his veins and his eyesight clouded over until only a faint image of Aerin’s stricken face remained. The bard’s heart broke and his mind snapped, giving way to the spirit of the berserker.<BR><BR>Howling like a thing gone mad,eyes blazing and full of blood, Erinhue rose to his feet and turned on the Mouth of Sauron.<BR>
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Postby Elbren » Wed Sep 18, 2002 11:08 am

Elbren watched breathlessly as Ronin drew the Galadrim bow and took aim. The bow, that had so dwarfed the boy when first Elbren had given it to him just weeks ago, now seemed to shrink and fit perfectly into Ronin's small hands. Seeing the boy's spirit begin to glow, Elbren smiled and knew that Ronin was drawing upon the Source of light for this overwhelming task.<BR><BR>Whispering a prayer as the arrow flew through the air, Elbren followed it with his keen Elven eyes until it struck to its mark. The aura of the Mouth's spirit diminished to no more than a feeble glow and Elbren knew that now was the time to strike.<BR><BR>"NOW!!" He yelled as he started to run forward, but then he stopped dead in his tracks. Where was his sword? Glancing around, he saw it stuck to the hilt in the belly of one of the Fell Beasts. He started to retrieve it when he heard a moan from close by.<BR><BR>Carnimiriel.<BR><BR>He was quickly at her side as her protective shields had finally fallen. He cradled her in his lap as she spoke hoarsely, "The stone, Elbren...get it...out of my bag."<BR><BR>He obeyed and pulled the stone out, but quickly dropped it as it was very hot to the touch. The runes upon it were glowing red, as if with fire or lava.<BR><BR>"Do not let him get this...even now," Miriel said, sitting up, but still looking pale.<BR><BR>"What can he do with it now? Ronin has destroyed his woven spells---" Elbren started to say.<BR><BR>"He is still dangerous," Carnimiriel replied sternly.<BR><BR>Elbren nodded but was not sure what to do with it; he tried to pick it up again but it had grown even hotter. Quickly removing his cloak, he laid the thick cloth across his arms and then lifted the stone again. It was not only hot now, but incredibly heavy. <BR><BR>The battle was still raging even though the Mouth was weakened to the point of fleeing the oncoming blows moreso than parrying them. Elessar was relentless in his strikes and finally he found his mark. Yet, even as he did so, not only did the Mouth cry out in pain, but Ronin and Elessar both screamed as well. Elessar fell to his knees, clutching the very spot upon his own body where he had run his sword into the Mouth. Elbren looked to Ronin and saw the same scenario.<BR><BR>"What---"<BR><BR>"They are bound by blood," Carnimiriel said and finally stood, "Ronin broke the spell, but neither Ronin nor Elessar can destroy the Mouth, no one can, before the Stone is unmade."<BR><BR>"WHAT?!" Elbren shouted in fear for he had now seen Erinhue grasp Clarion and begin to advance upon the Mouth. "ERINHUE!"<BR><BR>The Bard paused only momentarily at Elbren's cry and then continued to march down upon their enemy. <BR><BR>"NO!" Elbren shouted again and this time, his tone of alarm drew Tempest's attention as well.
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Postby Tempest » Thu Sep 19, 2002 8:42 am

Tempest had rushed full-tilt toward the Mouth when the arrow had pierced him, but the urgency in Elbren's voice stayed her steps and made her turn her face to him in alarm. <i>"What is it?"</i> she cried.<BR><BR><i>"Every blow they deal to him, they deal to Elessar and Ronin!"</i> he said breathlessly.<BR><BR>Tempest's eyes found Ronin where he lay doubled up on the ground, and she saw the truth of Elbren's statement. She turned and saw Erinhue advancing quickly toward the Mouth, the blind rage of the beserker on his face. <i>"But Erinhue....he had already transformed...he cannot be stopped..."</i> her voice trailed off. All this Tempest took in within a matter of seconds, and she did not pause to see the outcome. She knew what it would be if Erinhue reached the Mouth in his beserker state.<BR><BR>Before Elbren could even say another word, she had bolted toward Erinhue with a calm resolve. She could not bowl him over from behind, for she did not want him to turn his rage on her. But, if she could not halt his steps, she would be forced to....she did not know. As she reached his side, she called out sharply, <i>"Erinhue! If you attack the Mouth, you will KILL Elessar and Ronin! Remember the stone! Remember! ERINHUE!!!"</i><BR><BR>She did not know if he heard her, but her own eyes flashed fire. She had but a moment to consider the irony of her situation. She must protect the demon to save her son. <BR><BR>But she would not strike her friend, she could not. <i>"Erinhue, please..."</i> she pleaded, noting that they were nearly at the Mouth's feet.
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Postby erinhue » Fri Sep 20, 2002 5:12 pm

“Nooooo!”<BR><BR>Erinhue’s mind cried out in futile protest the moment his left hand closed on the runesword’s hilt. The spirit of the berserker surged forth to overcome and submerge that of the bard. A red fog closed in over the sight of Aerin, his Aerin, lying on the ground, her beloved features strained and contorted with untold agony. The vision served to fuel the rage that now empowered and controlled his body.<BR><BR>The bard’s emotions focused the berserker’s homicidal fury on the stricken Mouth of Sauron. The cry of resistance became a sustained, increasingly demented howl as Erinhue raised Clarion above his head and charged forward with lethal intent. Elessar had been felled by the same blow he delivered to the Mouth. The unconscious king lay on the ground, unmoving, and thus escaped the beserker’s notice.<BR><BR>Erinhue’s bellow was deafening as Elbren shouted the bard’s name to no effect. Another voice with a different kind of desperation in it cried out soon afterward and pierced the fog of rage clouding the berserk bard’s mind. Erinhue heard Tempest call to him as if through wood and stone and far away.<BR><BR>The submerged consciousness of the bard had little influence over his limbs and body but there was some connection still with the rage clouded mind. As his own spirit reacted to the elemental emotion in Tempest’s entreaty, Erinhue felt another dim and yet familiar presence with him in the bloody darkness.<BR><BR>Aerin. Suddenly the elf maiden was beside him. It seemed she offered him her hand and with it her strength and constitution of all her kind. Erinhue clasped her hand in his and almost felt her slender fingers pressed against his palm. Her strength flowed into him and aided in his anxious struggle for increased control. At times it was possible to hold to a simple thought and have the berserker follow through. Erinhue focused all his strength and what strength he got from Aerin into a single word command. “Stay.”<BR><BR>Time slowed to standing still as dark clouds roiled and choked the sky above the isolated peak of Meneltarma. Against all hope, Elbren watched as the berserker slowed in his advance and stopped as if unsure of how to proceed. The Stone beside him was glowing ever brighter and to his alarm Carnimiriel seemed to fail the more its glow increased. The Stone must be destroyed, he knew, or else all that they had strived for would come to naught, but the stone appeared to be somehow connected to his wife and to destroy it might kill Carnimiriel as well.<BR><BR>As she lay on the stone ground Carnimiriel could feel her life force ebb and flow. She was locked in conflict with some power that threatened to overtake her. Thinking it the power of the Mouth , she struggled valiantly against it.<BR><BR>A voice came to herfrom a distant flame,, an ancient voice deeply resonant as though echoed from the foundations of the earth. “Daughter of the Firstborn cease your struggles. Your resistance is giving aid to him you wish destroyed. The Stone must be destroyed, but that alone will still not rid you of the enemy. There is only one that can accomplish the task but as I told you once before, the bard in not yet ready. Do not resist the Stone. You must use its power so that the Champion may come forth. “<BR><BR>The voice belonged to Agarak, no one could mistake that wellspring voice once ever having heard it. Carnimiriel had heard the voice before, she had even seen the dragon spirit in its true form. She knew there was no time for questioning, only time to act. Summoning her strength she reached out for her husband. Through the deep link between them she asked him for his strength, which was freely given an she used it to steel herself and ceased to resist.<BR><BR>The Stone burst forth with light so bright that all those conscious were forced to look away. Carnimiriel began to sweat and Elbren could feel the heat of her body rising dramatically.<BR><BR>The small fractions of time that all this had taken were like eternities to Tempest. Ronin lay on the ground his face a mask of reflected pain. She could not bear to see him suffer and knew she could not stand and watch him die. Her son was now connected to that monster and much as she would have him dead she was now put in position to defend him if she would save Ronin’s life.<BR><BR>When her cry of desperation seemed to have no effect. Tempest did what she had to do, just as she had always done. She took the one choice left to her to save her son. Resolved to her own death, Tempest drew her sword and charged the bard.<BR><BR>Howling the berserker whirled to meet the challenge and Clarion swung screaming through the air. Using every bit of skill Tempest met the blade but let the power behind it slide harmlessly off of hers. Rage could be used against the berserker and there was little mind behind his eager urge to kill. She could use her tricks of deflection to delay what would surely come. When she tired and slowed down just a little the compensation of agility and speed would be lost to her and she would fall before the power of the savage onslaught.<BR><BR>The combat only served to heighten Erinhue’s madness. The rage within him blazed to an uncontrolled white hot. Clarion was glowing like a bolt of lightning, when Tempest struck the blade with a two handed swing and all her might. <BR><BR>Sparks flew from the clashing blades and ignighted something in the air. The space was filled with strands of fire that swirled about and encased the bard in a pillar of living flame. Within the fiery column the bard had once again transformed. In place of the berserker stood a champion clothed in armor made of flame.<BR><BR>The face was Erinhue’s but the humor in his eyes was gone, replaced by a sterner visage full of righteous wisdom. He swung his flaming sword towards Carnimiriel. Elbren instinctively moved to place himself between her and the blade but the Champion made no move towards them. Instead a ray of pure white light spread out and touched The Stone. Engulfed in the illumination the thing burst into a thousand shards. As Elessar and Ronin relaxed from the contorted positions the intense pain had twisted their bodies into the Champion stepped forth towards the Mouth of Sauron.<BR><BR>“Fowl creature of great darkness, your time is at an end. No more shall you trouble these lands for the blight of your evil has become an offense that must be ended, and so it shall be, Now.”<BR><BR>Clarion screamed in victory as it arched swiftly throught the air. The Mouth raised what was left of his power and his blade in defense but the blazing sword came crashing through the very core of his dark being and the light of the blade did sear him and sever his essence from its grounding in the earth. The shell that clothed him disentergrated and he was laid bare to the fire of the light and burned completely away. A great cry went up upon the wind and was carried out to sea and spread out on the wind until there was nothing left.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Carnimiriel » Fri Sep 20, 2002 9:49 pm

Once the evil specter that had been once called the Mouth of Sauron had departed and his final cry had faded from the air, the small company looked at each other in stunned silence. The strange presence that had enveloped Erinhue faded just as quickly as it had appeared, and the Bard knelt beside Aerin's unconscious form. Tempest gripped Ronin in a fierce, protective embrace. Then Benoit drew a deep breath as if to shout in triumph, but his voice made no sound, not even a whisper. Sudden silence enveloped each of them like a cloak, and Carnimiriel felt the strangeness of this like an electric prickle at the back of her mind, though once she was done being startled, she decided that somehow the silence felt comforting. It was a benevolent presence, after the evil aura that the Mouth had projected with his dark arts. She expected to be injured, or at least weary from the blinding light that had destroyed the stone she held, but she found that with Elbren's help, she could stand and a quick check of her body indicated that she was unhurt. But why couldn't she speak? Noticing Elbren's mildly bewildered expression, Miriel attempted to speak directly into his mind to explain that she was fine, but even this inner voice was stilled.<BR><BR>For only one, now, could speak upon this holy place now that the evil spell upon it had been broken. King Elessar Telcontar knew this, and he strode forcefully to the very peak of the Meneltarma, where the altar had once stood before the crashing waves destroyed it. He spoke only one word, "Eru," but his voice was joined by echoes of the voices of all the Faithful Kings and Queens of Numenor, one by one adding their voices to his until it was a veritable chorus. Silver wisps of smoke arose from the long dormant volcano, each one taking the shape of a ghostly King or Queen to name the Name, before dissipating on the breeze. It may have only been an instant, or several hours as they stood there transfixed, until finally, Tar-Miriel's sad shade whispered the Name, and then seemed to bend to kiss Elessar's brow in benediction before her shadowy form, too, was borne away over the sea.<BR><BR>This was truly a sacred mount, then, Miriel thought with a shiver as she drew her cloak more tightly around her, trying to ignore the sudden breeze that stirred the air at the sound of the voice of the Kings and Queens. No wonder the Mouth hoped to work his necromancy here; perhaps he would have even tried to use the dead Kings against them...<BR><BR>Though she had not spoken even in her thoughts, Elbren's eyes met hers and he nodded as if to say that he also understood what transpired before them. This belonged to the world of Men, it had nothing to do with them, yet here they were. Miriel felt a thrill run through her to be part of this, knowing that long ages later when she dwelled on the shores of Aman, she would always remember this moment. It was for occasions such as this that she and Elbren had delayed their inevitable journey, for wonder and enchantment had not utterly faded from Middle-earth. Not yet.<BR><BR>The King bowed his head and dropped to one knee as they all watched. Only Ronin ascended to stand before Elessar, putting his hand on the King's shoulder. Was it simply the stone that had drawn them together, or was it something else? Ronin's face was radiant, though streaked with tears. However much he loathed and feared him, it was not an easy thing to see his father die.<BR><BR>At last Elessar stood and turned to them, his face serene. "Come, let us depart this holy place," he said, breaking the spell of silence, "for it will return to the depths of the sea before much longer."<BR><BR>"But you...are hurt! And Ronin..." Tempest stammered, her voice sounding strange in her own ears after the silence that had overtaken them.<BR><BR>"I am fine, mother." Ronin said softly. "<i>We</i> are fine now, since he is gone," he added with a nod towards the King.<BR><BR>Freahelm helped Erinhue carry Aerin as they all descended the mountain on the same crooked path by which they ascended, noticing that the once stormy sky was now clear blue, the waters as still and smooth as glass.<BR><BR>"Can I do something to help Aerin?" Miriel whispered to Erinhue as they descended, feeling guilty that she had not already been doing something to aid the fallen healer. But the dead Kings and Queens had seemed to command her attention, and she had been wholly under the spell of the experience.<BR><BR>"She will be fine." Erinhue said, his voice almost dreamy, still echoing with some of the power that had enveloped him, or perhaps worked through him - Miriel still wasn't sure which. Things had happened so fast.<BR><BR>They had barely gotten on board the ship when there was a faint tremor from the mountainside, and a few small rocks began to descend towards them.<BR><BR>"Make haste, the mountain will not stay much longer," Elessar commanded, his hair whipping in the breeze as he stood, majestic and even more kingly than ever, in the prow of the ship.<BR>
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Postby Elbren » Mon Sep 23, 2002 10:11 am

Elbren stood upon the deck of the ship and watched the waves begin to rise higher and explode upon the Pillar of Heaven as they exhaled. A sadness mingled with jubilation filled his being; it was over.<BR><BR>A tremor caused the ship to lurch slightly and the crew hustled to their duties; the sandbar upon which they had been lodged was sinking as well. The captain shouted that they would be free on the next tremor or two and advised that they all go below deck in case the ship's reaction was more severe.<BR><BR>Elbren gladly followed the others down the steps as the ocean's dance of destruction was beginning to make him queasy and nauseated. Carnimiriel noticed and leaned closer to him once they had entered the common room below.<BR><BR>"Still have those herbs for seasickness?" she asked.<BR><BR>"Yes, somewhere," Elbren replied, his face becoming pale, "but I'm not sure where I put them."<BR><BR>Carnimiriel reached into her pouch and pulled out a stick of peppermint sweets, "Chew on this while I go and look in our room, or do you want to go and lie down?"<BR><BR>The ship lurched again and groaned loudly, causing the bile in Elbren's stomach to boil. It was then that he remembered leaving his sword in the belly of the dead Winged Steed.<BR><BR>Elbren cursed a rather strong word in Elvish, which brought a frown to his wife's face, but then he quickly added, "In all the excitement, I failed to retrieve my sword." He made a sound that was similar to a growl, "I suppose it is fitting that it fall with the Pillar of Heaven."<BR><BR>"You forgot," came the voice of Ronin, "but, I did not." The boy's face was radiant as he walked confidently to Elbren with the sword in his hands. "I recognised your blade, Lord Elbren, and knew that you would not want it left behind."<BR><BR>Elbren smiled, "I am in your debt, Master Ronin, thank you, mellon."<BR><BR>Ronin bowed in return and then walked back to his mother and Freagrim.<BR><BR>"Well," Elbren slid the blade into its scabbard, "I think that I will go and find those herbs and sleep this off. In fact, I feel like I could sleep all of the way back to Dol Amroth!"<BR><BR>"Wait," Miriel said, and then turned to them all, "the Mouth is gone...but the tainted Mithril is not. Who knows how much has been sold and distributed among the lands?"<BR><BR>Elessar, who had just come below, nodded, "Indeed. We must send word to the lands that the Mithril must be brought to Minas Tirith where it will be destroyed or, if Lady Carnimiriel is willing, we can attempt to cleanse it and return it to the owner, if a rightful owner can be determined."<BR><BR>"That could mean a lengthy stay in Minas Tirith while the summons is sent and the Mithril is brought to her," Elbren frowned, for the aching in him to see Lothlorien again was strong.<BR><BR>"I have ordered the captain of this ship to take us to Dol Amroth for those who will disembark there, but then it will make its way up the Anduin and take me to Minas Tirith. Being that your children are there, I thought that, at least, you and Miriel would accompany me."<BR><BR>Elbren's face sunk, "I would almost prefer to ride," he said.<BR><BR>"Tis your choice," Elessar laughed, "but the offer is there...for all of you."<BR><BR>Elbren nodded and then excused himself; he was in desperate need for the herbs and sleep...<BR><BR>
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Postby Tempest » Mon Sep 23, 2002 10:18 am

It all happened so quickly that Tempest was not aware of anything except that she had somehow found Ronin and was holding him close to her. The sound was gone as soon as it had come, and she realized that something terribly dark had been lifted from her soul. She glanced up and blinked as a ray from the sun caught her eye. The silence was deafening.<BR><BR>The mountain trembled beneath their feet, and Tempest heard Elessar's warning, though she did not understand it. It was as if a shadow had lifted from her mind, and she was unused to the clarity. She heard Ronin's voice, but he seemed so far away. <BR><BR>It was Freagrim who stirred finally, clasping her by the elbow and propelling her down the mountain towards the waiting ship. His eyes were dark, but she percieved that they were changed somewhat, as if less haunted than before.<BR><BR><i>"You felt it too, when he departed,"</i> she whispered.<BR><BR><i>"Aye,"</i> was all he said.<BR><BR>They were silent all the way back, each examining the places that had dwelt in darkness in their own hearts, until the Mouth had withdrawn his power from the earth. When they finally reached the ship, Tempest sighed deeply, looking back one last time at the swiftly disappearing mountain.<BR><BR><i>"Perhaps you can now find peace,"</i> Freagrim said softly.<BR><BR>She looked back at him, a faint smile on her lips. <i>"I think we both can,"</i> she answered.
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Postby erinhue » Mon Sep 23, 2002 1:51 pm

The ship tossed about on the churning waves created as the peak of Meneltarma sank once again beneath the surface of the sea. Elessar and Ronin were healed and whole and all of the companions had made it safely away. The Mouth of Sauron, a great and lingering evil, had been erased from the world and they were all heading for home shores.<BR><BR>It all meant nothing to Erinhue as he sat below decks, hovering over the still and quiet form of his beloved. Aerin had not recovered from her encounter with the runesword and Erinhue blamed himself for her present state.
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Postby Elbren » Mon Sep 23, 2002 2:12 pm

Elessar entered the dark chamber where Erinhue sat so quietly by the still form of Aerin.<BR><BR>"Noble Erinhue," the King spoke, "allow me to try and call to her." He placed his hands upon Aerin's and closed his eyes for a long while, but he said nothing. When he opened them, he spoke in a whisper to the Bard.<BR><BR>"Go and get Carnimiriel, I will need her for this. In my chamber you will find a wooden box engraved with gold; inside is the athelas herb. Boil some water and bring the water and athelas to me." Elessar paused, as if listening, "and don't forget Lady Carnimiriel."<BR><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Aerin » Mon Sep 23, 2002 8:09 pm

<i>Aerin writhed in pain, although her body didn't move. She wasn't holding Clarion any more, but its effects still ravaged her soul.<BR><BR>All of a sudden she felt a soft, gentle thread 'touch' her. It wasn't Erinhue, but it was someone she knew... Elessar. But before she could grasp hold of it, try to come back, he withdrew. She cried out in panic, but to no avail.<BR><BR>Though the thread was no longer there, the pain lessened somewhat, for which Aerin was thankful.</i>
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Postby Carnimiriel » Tue Sep 24, 2002 7:22 am

Carnimiriel came into Aerin's cabin with Elessar, nervously wondering if she could do something to help. While she did have some healing skills she had learned from her mother, the more she used destructive energy, such as fighting the winged steeds with the fires of Runya, the less able she was to tap into her creative energy, which was needed for healing. Galadriel had warned her about this, and if she had followed the path of her mentor, she would have saved all of her energy for such an occasion as this. But the first significant work she had done with Runya was to use it to battle the Nazgul, and this had always been her strength.<BR><BR>The sweet smell of athelas filled the room, as she and Elessar knelt beside the bed of the unconscious elf-woman. Elessar was a healer, but he needed Carnimiriel's skill of sight to see what ailed Aerin. Miriel began to relax as she realized what he intended, letting herself go into a light trance as she sent her mind into Aerin's.<BR><BR>What she found there surprised her. Aerin's spirit form was bright, though her body lay still. So bright that it seemed she had been doing some sort of work outside her body. Was this why she could not now return? As Miriel probed deeper, she saw that Aerin, even while she lay still on the mountainside, had done something to aid Erinhue.<BR><BR>Opening her eyes and turning towards the Bard, where he hovered nervously, she said simply, "She needs you. I think only you can help her. But we must make sure Clarion is as far away from her as possible."<BR>
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Postby erinhue » Tue Sep 24, 2002 8:17 am

Erinhue's dispair deepened when he heard Carnimiriel's words. His talented voice was soft and heavy with regret and sadness when he spoke.<BR><BR>"Lady, I could cast the runesword into the sea this very moment and still Clarion would not be far from me. Like Agarak, the sword and I are bound together and if there is a way to truly part us, I do know how it might be done."<BR><BR>The bard looked from Elessar to Carnimiriel with a pale, stricken expression. "Is there nothing more you can do for my beloved?"
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Postby Elbren » Thu Oct 03, 2002 11:15 am

Elessar took the athelas and warm water, crushing the plant as a sweet aroma filled the small ship bedchamber. Holding the bowl near Aerin's face, the King began to chant in a very low voice that seemed to make the bowl begin to glow wiht a subtle white light.<BR><BR>The chant went on and Carnimiriel and Erinhue could hear Aerin's name spoken clearly from time to time. Elessar dipped his index finger into the liquid and first touched her forehead, then her heart, and then the crown of her head while still calling her name...
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Postby erinhue » Thu Oct 03, 2002 2:06 pm

Erinhue stood anxiously by watching, but Elessar’s curative was having no effect upon Aerin’s condition. Completely distraught to think that he would be the cause of her demise, Erinhue raced up onto the deck. His own last words rang in his ears and seemed the sole solution to terrible dilemma.<BR><BR>Shoving by curious seaman, the bard hurried to the ship’s stern and looked out over the water churning in the vessel’s passing wake. Deep breaths of the salt air calmed his inflamed emotions until he felt it safe to draw Clarion from its sheath. He held the great rune sword point up by its hilt. <BR><BR>The spidery engraving covering the blade began to grow until the fine lettering was blazing like the banked embers of a fire. Erinhue stared at the blade and heard its bloodthirsty song ring in his mind. The fire in the blade seeme to draw him, pull him nearer and the screaming thirst for blood reached a near unbearable pitch.<BR><BR>He drew back his left arm and threw the blade end over end and as far out from the ship has his was able. The blade gleamed red as it spun through the air. The water sizzled and a trail of white hot steam boiled up at the very spot where the blade sliced, point first into the surface. In split seconds the sword disappeared beneath the waves.<BR><BR>Erinhue immediately dropped to his knees all breath suddenly forced from his lungs, Gasping on the deck he could feel the water all around him. He could tast the briny salt of the ocean in his mouth and in his throat, he could feel it entering and filling his lungs. Drowning in the dry sunlight beaming onto the deck, Erinhue collapsed and everything around him faded to a murky black.<BR><BR>In an eternity of moments the bard seemed to awake in darkness with a single shining light off in the distance. The darkness was thick as heavy mud and it took great effort to pushe his way through. His effort was rewarded for soon he could make out a figure in that bit of shining light. In the heart of the light stood Aerin.<BR><BR>She was standing in a great pit with many channels leading outward all around her weaving in and out of each other’s paths to make a convoluted maze piercing through the void. Aerin turned occasionally as if again contemplating which of the shining pathways would lead her back to the world of light.<BR><BR>She made a choice and stepped out onto one of the twisting roadways. A sour note played in Erinhue’s head and he instinctively cried out, “No, not that one.”<BR><BR>Aerin stopped as if she had heard the soundless cry. She stepped back into the center and turned around again. Another choice was made but the sound of breaking glass sounded in Erinhue’s mind the moment she step onto the path. “No” he cried again. Aerin looked about in confusion but she retreated to her original position.<BR><BR>Just as he thought this might be the way to save his beloved, the bard realized that there would not be time for trial and effort on every one of the dozens of possible choices. He could see the light surrounding Aerin was begining to shink and gradually fade. His own chest felt as if it would exploded at any moment and Erinhue remembered that he could not breath. He was drowning on a dry deck out in the world but here, even though he could not breath the bard found that he could sing.<BR><BR>Aerin my love come take my hand<BR>For we must leave this darkness<BR>Death awaits us if we stay<BR>And then we would be parted<BR><BR>The road you choose will lead us home<BR>So hearken to my voice<BR>Somehow I know you hear my song<BR>So let it guide your choice.<BR><BR>In the dimming light at the center of the maze Aerin stood with her head cocked and one hand brushing the hair away from her ear. Encouraged by this sure sign that she did indeed hear him, Erinhue sang louder and let all his pleading hope flow into the song.<BR><BR>Aerin’s light was fading but so was the light of the many pathways of the maze. Desperation added strength to Erinhue’s faltering voice and he continued to sing despite the growing difficulty and nagging urge to cough.<BR><BR>One pathway remained shining as the others faded into the darkness. A dimming aura surrounded her as Aerin stepped cautiously on to it. The almost imagined sound of the music grew in substance with each step and soon she was running, flying along its twisting length a dim light growing ever dimmer in the encroaching darkness.<BR><BR>Below decks, Aerin began to stir where she had shown no reaction to any remedy. Suddenly she sat bolt upright, gasping as if she had run a long, exhausting race. Her wild eyed look said that she did not recognize her surroundings as yet but the urgency in her voice but such concerns aside.<BR><BR>“Erinhue! He’s drowning. If you don’t reach him quickly, he’ll die.”<BR><BR>Elbren and Tempest were nearest the door and Tempest had watched the distraught bard rush for the upper deck. They both hurried to the deck and asked the seamen if the bard had passed. When they found him he was choking and blue in the face from lack of air.<BR><BR>Tempest reached him first. Grimmly grasping him by the shoulders she shook him violently to no avail. There was no time for anything but the quickest action. Thinking that she might have enjoyed this when he was annoying her with his singing, Tempest drew back her fist and punched him in the chest with all her might. <BR><BR> For a second time stopped. When it next moved forward the bard reacted by doubling over and retching. Water shot out of his mouth and nose and he began to sputter and cough and gasp air into his deprived lungs.<BR><BR>When he had choked in enough air to force his voice to work Erinhue coughed out a strangled “Clarion to me.”<BR><BR>The runesword appeared in his left hand as dry as if it had never plunged into the sea. Wary of touching the blade itself, Elbren leaned in, closed his hand over Erinhue’s on the hilt and guided the sword into the scabbard strapped to the bard’s back.<BR><BR>When he awoke a full day later, Erinhue was both surprised and delighted to see Aerin standing over him with a cup.<BR><BR>“I thought if I told you this was ale that you would open your eyes.”<BR><BR>“Aerin, m’darlin, long as you’re what I see when I do, I’ll drink whatever vile concoction ya got in that there mug.”<BR><BR>Aerin tried on a stern expression but it dissoleved in laughter. She held the cup of herbal tea to her patient’s lips and fed him the tincture. She was more than pleased to see him well and wake. There was a long journey ahead of them and there would be pleanty of time to talk about what had happened, or not too. She smiled gently at the sour face Erinhue made when the cup was emptied and thought how all had ended well and how all really was well, for now. <BR>
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Postby Tempest » Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:05 pm

I’m in a nostalgic mood and today and wanted to bring back an old favorite. Also, I’m hoping to coax Elbren out of hiding, wherever she may be. :)

Freahelm and Carnimiriel, where are you guys too? :shock:
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Postby Aerin » Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:29 pm

Wheee, SO much fun (and a big surprise) to see this at the top!

Ahhh, memories..... sometime when I have a free weekend (which won't be until Christmas break) I'll read through the whole thing.
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Postby erinhue » Tue Nov 09, 2004 10:01 pm

Yep I agree with that, this was one of the very best. Thanks a lot Tempest :lol:

Hail Elbren where ever ya are :wink:
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Postby Tempest » Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:05 pm

I was lurking, trying to find Mithril Knight threads and I stumbled on this oldie-but-goodie. Can't resist posting to this to raise it to the top again.
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Postby erinhue » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:41 pm

I'm glad ya did, darlin' I always had a soft spot for this one Thanks again.


Hail Elbren, fare ye well wherever ye fare.
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Postby Aerin » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:25 am

Thanks for bringing this up again. I'm slowly working my way through reading it... I say slowly because I can only snatch time to read a page or two every so often, as a break from research and writing.

*Lights a candle for all of our fellow posters in this thread who no longer visit*
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