A Soldier's Tale

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

Postby Wasara » Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:32 am

Thorgrond walked on the muddy road on the heels of wobbling,tired men.Road got deep trails telling there have been heavy traffic toward Rammas.Men have seen better days,some have dirty bandages round their heads,some limped while others tried back up wounded ones as best their could.Herenyar lead the way while sometimes rushing soldiers with marchsongs or urging them with jokes and funny stories.He was born leader,made for events like these.The sky was hanging above their heads like solid dark purple ceiling,there was no shadows and echoes were damped.

Thorgrond were tired and depressed.When Herenyar and him had rushed from the headquarters they caught the fight with Uruk-hais which had circled the captain and few of his men.Their have chopped their way to the captain while orcs were focused to hacking him and his men down.Thorgrond thrusted his sword through enormous orc who was aiming the lying captain with his blood red axe.On his stand Herenyars sword was splitted in two but he got his dagger and hurled it through hole of armor under one orcs shoulder joint.

When situation eased and orcs were eliminated,they saw that the captain was seriously wounded.Obviously Uruk-hais intend was to sweep headquarter down and also cut support lines on west side of Anduin.Thorgrond and Herenyar decided that latter would go to western strongholds with gathered men and strike on orcs there.Then Herenyar would take a command,affirm and support the positions and with any cost hold the bridge.Then all wounded including Denegal and the captain would be gathered and embarked to the wagons being hands and dashed through western bridge. Thorgrond decided desperatly stop and collect every man on foot and strike eastern walls.He lead hardly a platoon of bold men toward east through burning buildings and sometimes tumbling fasade nearly cut their advance.Panick-stricken men fled toward west but there was no time to stop them.They made it to eastern walls where they at one spot amazingly found a rampart manned a couple of men.They were using two ballistas with burning arrows facing to river.On the floor of the rampart there were dead orcs and men some of them from Harad without head or limb and floor was slippery from the blood.In twilight the east side of Anduin was crawling by hoards of Mordor,waiting for the boats and on the waves were swinging vessels some of them upside down some burning but many of them reaching the stronghold.Sometimes an volley from the ballista harpooned couple of enemy at the same time.The young fearless chief of battle station without helmet,sword in his hand shouted and hurried his men locking and loading:

"Just shoot,my lads,just shoot.No time to aim.They are so many that you got them by every shot."

When Thorgrond caught his attention,he shouted:"Good to see friendly faces,indeed it is.Well,we got no accomommodations here but I recommend that you order and place your men as best you can..."Both men bowed a bit when stone from trebuchet smashed few yards from them.He continued and pointed aside:"Take that as welcoming...I`m sorry to break friendly conversation but as you see,me and my men are busy...". Thorgrond grinned back and got his men positioned and after that everything was just same hacking,thrusting and slicing.Men were shouting ,some were fighting like furious,some hacked with tears in their eyes,few even laughed like weirdos odd gleam in their eyes and many knew that there was no return.One young reckless shouted:"Sons of Gondor!It is good day to die!"Arrows were hurled towards them and men got shots,some lethal...through eye,limb,throat,chest.Halberds sliced helmets and attack-ladders were pulled with poles.Currence of Time was like purple haze and one got used to the smell of blood. Their act of resistance was desperate one,just weak hindrance against massive wave.Young sergeant was struck down by enemy arrows and his men took that as order to retreat.Thorgrond gathered his few men alive and rushed them to West-Osgiliath.

The western bridge was held by Herenyar and his men.He was surprised to see Thorgrond but he silenced his words.He saw his friend coming towards him with pale face,mouth twisted by bitterness.They turned their face to the West and continued their retreat.
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Postby Arenial » Tue Oct 26, 2004 2:41 pm

"Hush, little one," Violet soothed. She held a small boy on her lap, tears streaming down his face, as well as a small trickle of blood; his very distraught mother had brought him here screaming. She, very brokenly, related the story of how he had tripped and smashed his head on a rock. The boy was not even the age of seven and she was very worried. Violet was now tending to his wounded head. She set him on a bed across from her and, very carefully, cleaned the wound with water. Then, she applied a salve, which would help the gash to close and numb the skin around so he would not be in as much pain, and wrapped a bandage around his head. The cut wasn’t so deep that it would acquire stitches, which Violet was very thankful for.

"There, now, does that feel better?" she asked in soft, soothing tones. The boy sniffed and nodded, looking up at her with large, round eyes. She turned to his mother.

"I would like for him to stay here for a few days, so I can continue to clean his wound and make sure no infection sets in." She paused for a moment, and then continued "You may, of course, visit him whenever you like."

The boy’s mother smiled, "Thank you, kind healer, but, may I stay until he falls asleep? I would not want him to see me go."

"Of course," the healer nodded and left mother and child together in the small room.

Violet wandered the many halls of the great Houses of Healing, checking on the patients when she passed their rooms. Thankfully there weren’t many. The Healer then went to her own small quarters; she had set up a small apartment in which she lived in case she was needed at some un-godly hour of the night. The only time she ever stepped outside was to shop for food, or cloths, or to visit her siblings, the youngest of which still lived with her parents. Not that she minded; she rather liked her apartment. It was basically four rooms: the first consisting of a bed, wardrobe, and an old oak desk that had belonged to her mother. This room had plain, stone walls, tapestries and paintings hanging from them, and a large window, which was almost always open to let in the breeze. Red curtains hung on both sides. A large woollen rug, beautifully woven with a simple, but lovely pattern, covered the floor. This was her bedroom. The second room was her sitting room. It consisted of a couch, a few chairs, a bookshelf full of books on medicine, as well as a few history books, and some that were just stories she liked to read. This room also had a large window, but with yellow, almost golden curtains hanging on either side. The floor also had a large rug, this one also woven with a simple pattern. Two chairs stood in front of a fireplace, which was off to one side. The third room was smaller, as it was only a bathing room, and the fourth room was a small kitchen. This was what she called home.

"Not good," her mother would often scold, "A woman musn’t live on her own at your age. She should marry and have children." Violet didn’t see the harm in it. She was, after all, only twenty-six years old. And besides, she was too busy to even think about marriage. Why, if she were to marry, she wouldn’t have time for her patients, and she couldn’t leave them.

She wandered over to the window in her sitting room and peered out. Stars were popping out one-by-one in the night sky, and she involuntarily shuddered. Then night was eerily silent, like a storm was brewing on the horizon, or even worse, war. Violet suddenly stifled a yawn; she hadn’t realized how exhausted she was. Sleepily, she pulled the pale green dress she wore over her head and slipped her nightdress around her shoulders. One of the other healers would wake her if something were to go awry.
Last edited by Arenial on Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Frelga » Fri Oct 29, 2004 10:08 pm

Sharvili was barely aware of striding away, sword still in hand. The lowlander's insult ate at him. A cripple he called him, a man broken, a burden, fit for nothing at all. Next time he saw that pale-eyes... no, make that pale-eye, for the youngster's second eye was far less use than Sharvili's leg. Sharvili tried to hold on to his anger, but it was cooling already, as quickly as it had boiled over.

The hillman stopped and set the unstained blade back into its sheath. He must have taken a turn somewhere, for this street was narrow and empty. Sharvili limped over to a stone bench by an empty doorway and lowered himself onto the cold seat.

It would be wiser to go back to the stables now. He had done enough walking for one night, had seen enough of stone houses and too much of quarrelsome men. But Sharvili thought back to the long columns, pouring into the heavy gates from every corner of the realm. What tales they could tell, of seas and rivers, plains and woodlands. He wasn't going to let one young fool keep him away from that.

On his feet again, Sharvili made his slow way to the main road that switched back and forth through the succession of gates. It wasn't long before the merry noise from one of the side-alleys announced an inn.

That night, the citizens opened their arms and their pantries to those who have come to their aid. The inn was crowded with many villages worth of men. Sharvili hesitated at the door, but someone pulled him inside by the sleeve. A room was found for him at a table, a plate of sliced bread with little pats of butter was pushed toward him, and a mug of ale passed through several hands into his own.

Soon, Sharvili was trading drinking songs with a fisherman of the Ethir and a foot soldier from Ringló Vale. The last night before the storm this might be, but there was still a little time to sing, and joke, and find friends. There was still time to be alive.

Edited because I didn't notice that my spell checker added Ringly Vale to the Gondor Map. :roll:
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Postby Arwen902 » Sun Oct 31, 2004 8:29 am

As the night grew colder, and the noise from the barracks where the soldiers where stationed for the moment became louder, one foot soldier walked the streets of Minas-Tirith decisively, as though he was looking for someone or something. Ataran, as he was known, still carried most of the belongings he had brought with him and was still dressed in the same clothes he had worn when finally reaching Gondor after a long journey as he was one of those soldiers not stationed in the barracks for the morning, but was to find a place to stay close by and so had not been given the chance to rest yet.

Though Ataran had travelled with the men of Ringló Vale and their Lord Dervorin, Ataran did not appear much like any of the other soldiers, although he had in fact been born there. Shorter than many of his fellow soldiers, Ataran was only about 5’9” and was very slight of build. Over the clothes of a soldier of Ringló Vale he always wore a thick black cloak with a deep hood, perhaps to hide his features or to give the impression of a larger built man. Though this hood was almost always pulled far forward to cover his face which made him look younger still, eyes like grey marble were his most noticeable feature, always watching other people, always listening to what they had to say.

Pausing for a second, Ataran glanced around himself, possibly to get a better idea of where he was then continued walking again at that almost hurried pace, adjusting the position of the sword at his side to stop it swinging against his leg as he moved on. Though it was getting very late now the noise from the inns around these streets had not abated and, smiling faintly, Ataran wondered how much noise there would be had he come to Gondor a month or two ago.

Finally approaching the inn he had been searching for, Ataran raised a gloved hand to push the old, worn door open, and was hit by a wave of warmth and sound as he entered the bar. Drinking songs and other tales were accompanied by roaring laughter as jokes were told by some, as well as stories from home, to take men’s minds off the terror that threatened to take them if they thought of the battle ahead. A thick, cloying smell of pipe smoke hung heavy over the room, s well as the stench of ale and food, and above his head the thick wooden beams that crossed the room were dim shadows, blurred slightly by the mingled smoke which had risen and the walls seemed a dusty grey.

It was however, a well kept inn, although it was very busy and very difficult to move through because of the amount of bodies packed into it, and was very popular with everyone, Ataran could see many small groups of local men sitting with soldiers, probably swapping stories or songs. His grey eyes swept across the room, taking in the sight in front of him, before stopping on a small group of soldiers, half-unnoticed, in the far corner.

One of these, the tall, broad-shouldered man who wore the livery of a man of Ringló Vale, was the man that Ataran had been searching the streets for. This was his closest friend out of all the men who had travelled with Dervorin, and at the minute, he appeared fairly drunk. Rolling his eyes and letting out a sigh, Ataran crossed the room, more relaxed now he had found the person he was looking for, and stopped beside the small table. Determined to deal with the most pressing matter first, Ataran smiled quickly and nodded to the other two at the table who appeared to be a fisherman and a man he recognised as one of the hillmen from Lamedon, before turning to the man he had been sent to find, Rosquen. Ataran finally spoke, in a voice that was lighter and more melodious, purer than would be expected of a man from Ringló Vale.

“Rosquen, Dervorin is looking everywhere for you. He didn’t tell me why, but he sent Maldir and Lindur as well as myself to find you.”

Finally noticing that Ataran had appeared beside him, Rosquen shook his head as though to clear it before replying, a slight slurring of his words and hesitant speech the only signs he had been drinking.

“De…Ataran my lad! Where have you been all this time? If I’d been able to find you in the first place you’d be here with us and you wouldn’t have had to look for me.”

None of the men present noticed that the young man suddenly tensed at the first mention of his name that passed Rosquen’s lips. Relaxing quickly, Ataran smiled at Rosquen and waited for him to stand as the older soldier continued,

“Alright, if Dervorin wants to speak to me I’ll go. But you can’t expect me to rudely abandon my companions can you? Stay here, will you? And I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Ataran nodded and slipped into Rosquen’s seat at the small table facing the corner, as the other man strode confidently out of the inn. Finally and apologetically turning his attention to the two men at the table, the young man spoke directly to them,

“I’m sorry about that. I’ve been looking for Ros for hours, he’s a hard person to track down when he wants to be. Anyway, my name is Ataran…”

Suddenly Ataran stopped speaking as a passing soldier’s sword hilt had caught on the corner of his hood and unexpectedly dragged it back to reveal his head and to expose that this young man was not actually a young man at all. As the hood had fallen back, it had uncovered thick waves of long dark hair, and the pensive features of a woman who looked no older than twenty-five. She tried to catch the material as it slipped back, but she knew it was too late. She had seen both men’s eyes widen in barely masked shock and sighed, dropping her eyes to the table. As though to correct what she had said in her last sentence, she finished,

“My name is Derica Tovin. Ataran is my father’s name.”

Keeping her gaze fixed to the table she bit her bottom lip anxiously and pulled the cloak closer to her body to hide the clothes of a soldier, bfore waiting for one of the other men to speak.
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Postby Frelga » Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:06 pm

The fisherman was the first to find his tongue. "Are you a healer, lass?" he asked. "We have some women healers with us."

"A soldier," came a firm reply from the young woman. Her eyes were still lowered to the table.

"Oh. Well, I… umm… I better be going." As the wiry man scooted away from the table, the remaining inhabitants heard him mutter. "Wouldn't want a word to get back to my missus that I've been drinking ale with lassies in the big city."

Givi, whose limp prevented him from retreating as nimbly as his companion, stayed put. He moved the bread plate towards the woman, as Rosquen had done for him some hour earlier.

"I'll keep you company," volunteered another man, sidling up to the empty seat. He wore plain, homespun clothes of a Langstrand herdsman. "I've no wife at home," he explained with a hopeful wink at Derica.

"You should learn to speak in courtesy, if you mean to have a wife someday." Givi's tone was so amiable that the Langstrander grinned back before deciphering the threat. The newcomer tried, and failed, to stare the hillman down, and resigned himself to biding his time in silence.

By then, Givi's curiosity overcame his surprise at meeting a swordswoman. He pushed his fleece hat to the back of his head, wondering how best to ask his question. Givi had no wife at home either, but he did have a sister and he knew the futility of asking a woman why she does one thing and not another. He opted for indirection.

"I am Givi Sharvili," he said, in that soft voice that one uses at the start of a tale. "They call me Givi the Lame at home. Some said that I should not come, that I would only put myself in harm's way and do no good. But I went anyway, so I can bring home a song of the great battle. What about you?" A sweep of his hand included the Langstrander into the question, but the hillman's dark eyes were on the woman, Derica. "Why did you come?"
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Postby Arwen902 » Tue Nov 09, 2004 11:34 am

Unsure about whether she should offer an answer to Givi’s question or wait for the Langstander’s answer, Derica ran a gloved hand almost nervously through the tousled waves of her dark hair, trying to tidy it slightly, and ordered another ale for her two companions as well as one for herself. She reasoned that it could be her the last chance she got to be relaxed and drink without worrying about anything else and besides, she felt she needed something to steady her nerves as, although she was sure that neither of these men would betray her as a female soldier, she was still worried about any others exposing her secret.

True, Derica had not expected to remain in Minas-Tirith for that long without being found out, but she had hoped that it would be longer than this before any of the other soldiers realised that there was a woman in their ranks. Most of the men from Ringló Vale knew Derica’s father and because of this, had known Derica since she was a very small child. This was mostly a good thing because they all knew how stubborn and headstrong the swordswoman could be and they knew that she would take part in this war, whether they willed it or no.

Luckily, since Dervorin had owed her father a favour, Derica had been allowed to travel with them but it was obvious that several of the other men were worried about her, not wanting her to take part. Derica was however, a competent swordswoman and was pragmatic enough to know if she had a chance in this fight.

After glancing towards the other man who had joined them, the Langstrander, and guessing from his shrug that he was still wary of Givi and would rather stay quiet until someone else volunteered an answer, Derica turned her gaze to the Hillman and, finding his dark eyes on hers, finally found her voice.

“I never liked the idea that in my home the women were expected to wait patiently at home with the children while the men went off to war. I lived in Edoras for a time so I grew used to the idea that women had as much need to be able to defend themselves as men did and my father taught me to use a sword before he taught me much else. So, with no children and no husband I had nothing to stay at home and wait for.”

She paused for a second, trying to guess the men’s reactions to this. When she found only interest and curiosity evident in their eyes, she continued.

“So I came here. Very few people know I’m not actually Ataran but Dervorin owed my father a favour so I was allowed to travel here with them.”

As much as she tried to read the men's reactions to meeting a female soldier in their eyes and expressions, Derica found that they hid their thoughts and opinions incredibly well. The small group talked long into the night until they realised that the population of the bar had depleted considerably and the streets had grown quiet outside. Eventually, the langstander turned to Givi and Derica,

"Well, it is late and we all should probably get some sleep. I shall take my leave of you and hope to see you both alive and well this time tommorow."

Rising from his seat, the man bade farewell to his companions and they both watched him leave, both quieter as they thought of the day to come. Eventually, Derica spoke,

"Well perhaps we should each get some sleep. I'll probably just stay here tonight if there is a room free, are you staying with the other soldiers tonight?"
Last edited by Arwen902 on Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby samsmyhero » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:21 pm

Denegal turned away from the window and limped slowly back to the pallet upon which he had lain. His sword, cloak and small food bag lay on the floor next to it. These he retrieved, his short eating knife still tucked snugly into his belt. The healer he had spoken with was across the room, his back turned as he tended another soldier. Denegal slipped quietly from the room, although each step jarred his injured leg, sending rivers of pain shooting up into his hip and down to his foot. He realized that if he was to be able to walk at more than a snail's pace, he would need some kind of crutch or support. But how then to wield a sword? For that was his intent - to find the nearest company comander to report to and make his way back to Osgiliath, or the Rammas - wherever his fellow soldiers were holding the line. Wounded or no, he meant to fight with sword in hand to whatever end lay in store for him.

Passing out into a torchlit passageway, he slowly made his way to a steep stair. Gritting his teeth, he began the descent, but had only made to the third step when he had to pause and rest, his leg throbbing. Cold beads of sweat ran down the back of his neck. Trying to muster the strength to keep going, he was startled to feel a small but firm hand descend upon his shoulder.

"I see you've chosen not to heed our advice to take the benefit of what rest you can, before there is no more time for any of us to rest. I fear the effort I've expended on you will be all for naught."

Turning to view the owner of the soft but decisive voice, Denegal saw silhouetted against the torchlight behind him, a petite woman with a young, pleasant face and large friendly, but honest, eyes.

"I'm sorry my lady, you appear to have the better of me. For you seemingly know who I am, but I've not had the pleasure of your acquaintance." Denegal grimaced as yet another spasm of pain racked his leg.

"Yes, soldier. I know not your name, but I am well acquainted with you. For it was I who spent many hours these past days drawing the orc poison from your body. You are lucky to be alive. Would you throw away the life that has been spared you by rushing forth before the healing is complete? A courageous act, yes, but a foolish one as well."

Denegal hung his head sheepishly. "I beg your forgiveness, my lady. But all soldiers are needed now in this desperate hour, whole or no, wounded or no. In any other circumstance, I would never think to disregard your wise advice or seem to callous to the second chance bestowed me. I thank you with all my heart for your efforts, and will try my utmost to sell the life you have restored to me as dearly as possible."

The young woman smiled, a sweet, sad smile. "Soldier, what is your name?"

"Denegal, my lady, lately of the garrison at Cair Andros. And . . . if I may be so bold, may I ask the name of the one who has brought me back to the living?"
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Postby zimraphel » Sun Jan 09, 2005 1:09 am

His mind was swallowed by the fog of war, the clangor of weapons as they met , the mingled scents of sweat, blood, and the smoke from the ballista's flaming arrows, and the jar of sword blows which shivered down the length of his arm. Long years of fighting had instilled even the position of comand with an automatic quality, in which he some how managed to bark orders into the oppressive night. Even as his sword was hewn as the bloody clash escalated, he had been far removed from himself.

It was not until he saw Thorgrond's grim face staring into his that he became wholly himself. Straining to see into the grim mellee which broiled in the east, he assessed the situation. He realized, ashamed, that he felt a fear within him, but he swallowed this dissenting coward within him, and gave his orders.

The greater bulk of his strength was to fall back, the archers and himself remaining to cover their and the eastern retreat. His heart beat with painful intensity as he felt his men slip back, but a sense of automatism returned as he fired blindly.

It was too soon, he thought, that the dark creatures finished their butchery on the eastern shore and rushed to meet his remaining archers. A few moments more was all that could be spared, and a glance over his shoulders told him that the men were only some fifty feet from himself and the archers who stood alongside. Yet, they were lessened already by two men, at the hands of foe archers, and their meager weight would not damn the flood.

A split second later, he gave the command to pull back.

* * *

Maiwe had arrived at the Houses of Healing, as they were named, the night before this present dull morning. Welcomed coldly and distrustfully into the bone white halls by a woman of some advanced age, she was surveyed under the unfamiliar light of clean burning beeswax.
"Are you ailed, girl?"

"No. I am a bonesetter. From the Ethir." This had been met with a snort from the woman's flared nostrils.

"Well, to me you look more to be some Southron brat than a healer of any sort, but, ah." The woman shook her head and let the last syllable trail mournfully. "We shall be needing any and all aid soon enough, so in with you. My name is Ioreth, and I will have no cheek nor fooling from you."

Maiwe, though, could have mustered no fooling had she tried. Until the day the band of Ethir-folk had come upon the Rammas, she had seen nothing more impressive than a three masted ship. Her awe at the city had completely quelled her capacity for such things, which had always been small in the first place.

After the initial introductions to the facility's rooms and several hours of work making ointments and readying salves for the suspected influx of wounded men who would soon come their way, a spare palet had been laid for her in the halls, and she was advised to rest.

"Most like you will have no chance for it, soon enough." Ioreth had swept away then, leaving Maiwe to lie sleepless for many hours.

At first awakening, it seemed she was too early up, so faint the light was. It was not the hour though, but a heavy vale which was the origin of the darkness. She rose and stretched stiffly, bracing herself for whatever madness was to come.
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Postby Arenial » Sun Jan 09, 2005 2:56 pm

"Denegal, my lady, lately of the garrison at Cair Andros. And . . . if I may be so bold, may I ask the name of the one who has brought me back to the living?"

The smile of one who did not expect to be remembered tugged at the healer’s lips. How thoughtful of him to ask. "My lord, I am Violet- Violet Calhoun." She said in a soft, quiet voice. She did not think herself to be anyone of great importance; she simply did her job, though with great care and joy. "My elder brother, Aiden Calhoun, is a soldier; you might have seen him, though I do not think he was at Cair Andros."

Denegal gave only a slight bow, as it pained him to do so –Violet caught the grimace that crossed his face- and brought her small hand to his lips, brushing it with a feather-light kiss. "It is a pleasure to meet you." Violet dipped her head.

"Now, lord, if you would accept my aid, I will escort you back to your room, where you must then rest. I will give you a draught of medicinal tea to ease your pain as soon as we get there." She said firmly, with a subtle hint of sarcasm. When he tried to reassure her that he was fine, and that he needed no rest, she shook her head. "No, I am the healer and I know what is best." she said in a mock-motherly fashion.

"You are not healed enough, good soldier. I know you wish to join your fellow soldiers in battle, but you are simply not healed enough. How would you fight with only one good leg to stand on? Forgive my openness, but your time will come when you will stand in battle once more. However, now is not that time. Now, I see that you are restless. Well, if a crutch is what you desire, then a crutch is what you shall receive, if-," she smirked slightly, "if you rest and prove to show signs of improvement tomorrow. A deal then, have we?"
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Postby samsmyhero » Sun Jan 09, 2005 5:38 pm

Somewhat abashed, Denegal accepted Violet's silent offer of her hand under his elbow and the two slowly managed the steps and the passageway back to the room. The other healer turned at the sound of their approach and smiled. "Well Violet, I think you must possess great powers of persuasion. For you have apparently talked this young man into staying and resting a bit longer, while I had no luck in convincing him that to go would almost certainly be the death of him. What is your secret?"

"Tis no secret, Master Darrow." Violet smiled back. "I think he just realized that he wasn't going to get far on just one leg."

"There, there, my girl. I think you underestimate yourself. Here, young man, let me help you down."

Between the two of them, Denegal was settled comfortably back on his pallet. The master impatiently brushed away his thanks with a wave of his hand, saying, "I must away to others in need, but I think I leave you in the most capable of hands." With that, he was gone, leaving the room with a spry step for one appearing to be so old.

"My lady, I'm sorry to have troubled you. I know you must also have other work to attend to. And if what Master Darrow said a few minutes before we met is true, in no long time these rooms and halls will be full to overflowing with many in dire need. Please, I'm fine now. I will rest until that time comes when every living man must play his part, whatever that might be." Denegal lay back on the pallet with a sigh of resignation.
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Postby Arenial » Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:10 pm

"My lady, I'm sorry to have troubled you. I know you must also have other work to attend to. And if what Master Darrow said a few minutes before we met is true, in no long time these rooms and halls will be full to overflowing with many in dire need. Please, I'm fine now. I will rest until that time comes when every living man must play his part, whatever that might be."

Violet smiled with satisfaction. "That is well," she said simply. She then strode over to the fireplace, where a kettle was hung. She carefully removed the kettle from its hook, and poured a small amount of hot water into a cup, crushing a few herbs and stirring them in.

"Drink this," The healer said, handing the cup to Denegal, "and the pain in your leg will subside for a while. If there is anything you need, send one of the assistants for me." She looked him over once more, to make sure everything was in order, and then turned to leave.

"One thing more," she said, turning around to face him again, "I’ll have none of this "my lady" business. I am no one of great importance, and Violet suits me just fine." A look of quiet reserve crossed her face before she turned to leave. "I will be in the next room; you had better be here when I come back," the healer said as she left the room. She was grinning slightly; that soldier reminded her of her brother, Aiden. He was so determined.

She was no more than a few feet outside the room when she ran into a very lost looking girl.

"May I help you?" Violet asked. The girl looked up.

"I… I am just wondering what I should be doing," the girl said, and then hastily added, "I am a bonesetter from Ethir."

Violet looked the girl over, crossing her arms across her chest. "I see," she said rather curtly, "That is well, then, for we shall surely need your help." The healer’s face broke into a broad grin; the girl looked almost frightened. "Do not worry, I shan’t bite, not all of us healers are cranky." She said, referring to Ioreth. "My name is Violet Calhoun. I am a healer here. What name will I be calling you by?"

"M-Maiwe." The girl stuttered.

"Oh, there’s no reason to be nervous. Come, you'll stick with me; you'll not get a hard time from anyone around here then. Now tell me, what can you do besides bone setting? What is your training?"
Last edited by Arenial on Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby samsmyhero » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:21 am

Denegal propped himself up on one elbow and sipped at the hot tea. The fragrance was pungent, but pleasing. It smelled of the wild grasses and herbs that his grandmother used to hang from the rafters of her thatched roof. As a small boy, he would climb into the loft to play in the gloom amongst the barrels and baskets of stored food. The scent of the drying plants mingled with the earthy smell of potatoes and turnips, and the spicey tang of sausages. Artgal would hide somewhere in the darkest corners, and Denegal, with some trepidation, would call out, " What ho, there, dragon! Show thyself, miserable worm, for I am a mighty knight come to put an end to your evil plunderings!" He would inch forward, a wooden sword clenched in his small fist, mentally bracing himself for the assault. But try as he might, he was always startled when Artgal would leap out of the shadows, letting out with his most fearsome dragon roar. Then would ensue a long and noisy struggle between man and beast, good and evil, which generally ended in either grandmother's pleas for peace and quiet, or grandfather's threats of a true thrashing should any of his potatoes be tipped and spilled, as was frequently the case. They did in fact make most excellent throwing weapons, the boys pretending they were magic stones which could call down the most extraordinary handicaps on the enemy.

Artgal! The stab of pain which shot through Denegal's heart was as fierce and real as any he had yet experienced from his wounded leg. He had always held to the hope that, in time, the pain would lessen, the hurt would go away. But, at the most unexpected moments, the slightest thing could trigger the memories, just as the scent of the tea had done. And then the floodgates would open, and once again the torment would begin. The fear . . . the guilt . . . the overwhelming sorrow. And in the end . . . the emptiness. The desolate waste that was his heart, his life, now.

Denegal sat up, knowing that the abrupt movement would send yet more pain through his aching leg and side. It took his breath away for a moment, and, as he had hoped, it helped drive the thoughts of his past from his mind, as his body demanded his attention. He knew that in order to do what he had set out to do these three years past, he must push aside all memories and focus only on the here and now.

He finished the cup of tea, but remained sitting on the pallet. He couldn't risk lying back and resting, allowing his mind to wander. Instead, he thought of how he could find out what exactly was going on outside this place of invalids. He looked around, seeking one who might give him such information.
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Postby zimraphel » Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:53 pm

Maiwe's brow creased, but her relief was visible. She knew little enough of this city or the ways of the people who dwelt within, but herb lore and healing were a second nature to her. "Well, Miss," she began quietly, "I hope you won't think it rusticated, but many of the Ethir women learn of plants and healing from the cradle on. There is a goodly number of women who practice the art of midwifery, but for myself, I cared more for learning of illnesses, and also of bone setting." Here, she realized that she was on the border of rambling, and she hastened to the point of her answer.

"I can mend most breaks, and re-lodge a bone out of place back into its proper location. I know properly which liquids to use in making tinctures with which plants, and how to make salves and ointments. I know, too, how one treats fever and infection, and how to combat the melancholy which some suffer along with their wounds." Maiwe's mouth hinted at a smile as she finished quietly. "I should be glad to avail myself to the needs of the House in whatever manner you think fitting."

Violet smiled even more broadly and her gaze was mirthful at the other woman's overt formality. "If that is so than you may yet prove useful. Come, though, Old Ioreth shall be frightfully cross if I do not put you to work." Violet guided the girl into the room she had stood in moments before. Seated discontentedly upon a small pallet was a young man, a soldier, perhaps, with a heavily bandaged leg. An empty cup rested in his hands and his eyes were affixed to a distant place, seen to none but himself.

Upon their entrance he glanced up sharply and smiled at Violet. "Back so soon?"

The slight smile, which Maiwe had begun to think of as a constant on the woman's face, twisted itself into a slight smirk. " I had not meant to be back in so short a span, and your bandages are not due for changing for a while yet, but I seem to have acquired an apprentice of sorts, and I need a gauge of her skills. You do not mind?"

The man winced and sighed, replying disgruntledly. "I suppose I shall have to bear the discomfort of it sooner rather than later, more's the pity. Ah, lest my manners be forgotten, I am called Denegal."

"And this quiet thing is Maiwe. It seems she is more apt to forget her manners than you are," Violet teased companionably.

Violet and Maiwe were quick to gather the needed materials; a bowl of water, a cleanser for wounds made in part of the astringent herbs mint and garlic, a jar of fine ointment, and a clean length of linen which would rebind the wound. As they settled around Denegal's leg and began to unwind his wrappings, he began to speak in a voice thick with poorly masked intensity.

"Has there… have you had news let of the soldiers still garrisoned in Osgiliath?"
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Postby Frelga » Mon Jan 17, 2005 3:45 pm

"Well perhaps we should each get some sleep. I'll probably just stay here tonight if there is a room free, are you staying with the other soldiers tonight?"

"With horses, more likely," Sharvili replied. "I want to save myself a run when the call comes. Come and see me tomorrow. We still have some good wine left, but that won't last." The hillman stood up. The merry mood of the night was slipping; the weight of their doom pressed down on his spirit. Sharvili took a deep breath and lifted his mug. "May we all meet again in peace," he said and tipped the remains of ale into his mouth. The Langstrander raised his own mug in silent salute.

The climb back to the stables was tiresome, but Sharvili drank enough ale at the inn to dull the worst of pain in his leg. The building given to horsemen was as crowded as the horse stalls. Most of his friends were asleep on the floor in one of the halls. He stumbled over the man nearest the doors and almost stepped on another one. With sleepy curses, they moved over to make room for him. Sharvili gave up on getting to the corner where he had left his bags. With his thick cloak for bed and blanket, and his fleece hat for pillow, he curled up in the cleared space. The morning was not far off, and the city would look magnificent in the early light.

But when morning came, it brought no light. The day got darker, the air thicker, until the hillmen expected a storm to break out any moment. The time dragged on, and no relief came, no burst of lightning. Sharvili's heart felt heavier by the minute, yet it was to him that his friends looked, expecting their storyteller and singer to lift their spirits.

All that long, dreary day, Sharvili sat by the embrasure in the wall, waging his stubborn battle against despair. Other hillmen went about the city, to gather news or find supplies, but they always came back to seek him out. After a while, others joined them - some horsemen of Gondor, a few soldiers off duty - so that by mid-day Sharvili was the center of a small crowd. He kept a steady stream of songs, or told tales of heroes and ancient quests that few lowlanders ever heard, taking a few sips of wine when his voice gave out.

At sunset hour a shuddering screech sliced at the darkened city. The Nazgul have come, and their voices filled even the bravest with cold despair. To the singer each cry was like a death blow, tearing soul from the body. Afterwards, long minutes passed before Sharvili could think of any song that was not a pitiful lament.

But next morning he was back at his post by the wall.
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Postby Arwen902 » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:29 pm

The thick black clouds still hung low over the city of Minas-Tirith even as the sun should have been rising, shrouding the streets and plains in uncomfortable darkness. It was the wind tearing through the open window of the small room at the inn that finally cause Derica Tovin to stir restlessly in her sleep before finally waking and immediately reaching for her sword as she mistook the creaking of the open windows old and rusty hinges for someone moving across the wooden floor of the bedroom.

The dark shadowed figures were still present, still hovering like treacherous ghosts at the back of her mind. Derica could still hear the echoing sounds of their footsteps growing ever closer as she approached the door of her father’s shop and her childhood home. The door that was splintered and burned and through which she could already see the wreckage and ruin that lay within. She knew her father had already been dead as the flames began to lick the walls of the cottage, but she also knew that with every reverberating footfall, her own doom grew ever closer…

She had been plagued with these nightmares all night, always shaking with fear and grief when she woke until she could remind herself that it was not true, her father had been alive and well when she left him and they had no enemies she could think of. He would be safe. It was several minutes however, before the memory of these dreams finally left her and she was finally able to swing her legs out of bed, her feet immediately freezing in the icy air, and throw back the covers to cross the short distance between bed and window, and pull the pane shut with all the strength she could muster this early in the morning. Seeing that it was still quite dark outside despite the late hour, Derica turned her back to the window and surveyed the room, absently trying to rub the chill out of her arms and hands as she did so.

Derica had spent most of the day before practising with the other soldiers and men off duty from their work, and ad found that Dervorin was perhaps regretting his decision of allowing Derica to travel with them as the reality of battle drew ever closer but in that discussion with the commander, Derica’s stubbornness had finally won out and he had not ordered her to instead volunteer in the houses of healing. So on this day, Derica, with several of the other men were to join the soldiers stationed at the wall.

She dressed quickly, trying to throw her discarded travelling clothes into at least the semblance of a neat pile, and pulled on her dark leather boots last, after she had located the second one from somewhere underneath the low table in the corner of the room. She gathered all the weapons she had brought with her and armed herself, leaving her bow and quiver on the bed for a second while she sheathed her sword. Almost nervously, though her hands were completely steady and no nerves showed in her steely eyes or resolute expression, she ran a hand through her tousled dark hair in an attempt to tidy it slightly before deciding it was useless and tying her hair back loosely with a strip of black cloth.

Picking up her heavy cloak from the end of the bed, Derica pulled it over her shoulders, grateful of the warmth, and slung her quiver and bow over one shoulder. She left the inn without stopping for a drink or any food and made her way down to the wall. Once she got there she saw many of the men she had travelled with but she also spotted one of the men she had been talking to in the inn, Givi Sharvili, with a group of other men who seemed to be swapping tales and songs. It was this group that Derica approached, deciding to keep her hood up for now and delay the minute that the other men would find out that she was a swordswoman, and as she did, she heard a song that she had not heard for an incredibly long time, a song that her father used to sing to her when she was very little. She smiled at Givi as he looked up and noticed her but was unwilling to interrupt, and was trying to fight off the terrifying memories of the night before as the song reminded her even more of her father and home.
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Postby samsmyhero » Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:18 pm

Violet motioned with her hand for Maiwe to begin the unbandaging as she considered her reply to Denegal's question. Maiwe gently lifted the leg in order to unwrap the strips of cloth, and she herself wondered what news there was of the outer defenses. If the rumors were true . . .

"Well, all manner of truths, half-truths and outright lies are flying thick as a cloud of midges in a bog at the moment. But the one I've heard most often this morn is that the Steward will send his son to the relief of Osgiliath. I don't know whether to pray that it is true or false. The return of Captain Faramir has put much heart back into the men. If he leaves anon, I fear they will lose what courage they have newly found again. And after the coming of the dark and those cries . . . " Violet shuddered in spite of herself. Denegal felt Maiwe's hands tremble on his leg.

"What cries are these you speak of, Lady . . . I mean, Violet?" Denegal peered closely into her face and saw great anxiety, despite her calm demeanor.

"I . . . I know not from whence they come. But yesterday, around the time of evening, although the sun was not to be seen setting, there came from above such a screeching, such a . . . " Violet's voice broke and she faltered to a stop.

"A fell beast." Maiwe murmmered. "That's what the men at arms said. A fell beast high, high above us, circling the city, crying out so that men trembled and some fell to the ground in fear. I heard it too. Twas the same that pursued your brave captian across the Pellenor, they said. That which the white wizard drove off."

Denegal's brow creased in frustration that such strange and awful happenings should pass without his knowledge. Curse his leg, and curse the foul orc whose arrow had found its way to him.

The three were quiet, the two women trying hard not to remember and the young man puzzling in wonderment at such a phenomenon.

"What hope have we, if the dark lord can send such weapons against us?" Violet whispered, almost to herself.

"Courage, Lady! There is always hope." Denegal said quietly, but with great firmness. "Our hope lies in that which has always protected this realm - the courage of every man who calls himself a man of Gondor! As long as one lives who can yet draw a bow or wield a sword, this land shall not fall! You see, even one such as me, half a man maybe with only one leg to his credit, can still answer the call of his captain and stand beside his brothers."

Maiwe had by this time finished removing the bandage, and as the last cloth came away, Denegal got his first good look at the woulnd since his comrades had pulled the arrow from it and bound it up two days ago. The wound went completely through his thigh muscles, narrowly missing the bone. The flesh around it was black and necrotic; the smell emanating from it was far from pleasant. The leg was hot to the touch.

Slowly, but with obvious knowledge of what she was about, Maiwe cleaned the wound as Violet looked on. Nodding her approval, Violet sat in silence for several minutes. She then looked at Denegal and asked, "Does the pain come and go, or is it still constant and fierce?"

"There are moments when the pain does seem much less." he replied.

"Good, good. Then the medicine is working. Maiwe, apply this ungent and then rebandage the leg. Then, soldier, you must rest! "

Denegal, feeling somewhat like a chastised child, sighed and then smiled. "Well, it would be most discourteous to you both to put your good work to naught. But please, is there any way that you might find out what really is afoot? I would be forever in your debt."
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Postby Frelga » Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:51 pm

The second day of darkness was wearing Sharvili down. His ribs ached from the effort of shaping the thick air into songs. His friends crowded around him, as men crowd around the last embers of a dying fire on a winter night. And still the fell beasts circled far overhead. Out of bowshot they were, but the men in the White City were ever within reach of their dreadful cries.

Neither Sharvili nor the other men had any heart for merriment, so he chose an old song that flowed with clear sorrow, sad but not fearful. As he began, another soldier joined his little group. It took Sharvili a moment to recognize him… her. Derica, the swordswoman of Ringló Vale. Sharvili nodded to her and tried to recall the man's name that she first gave him.

"How is it with you, Ataran?" Sharvili called out when the song was done.

The swordswoman seemed relieved that he did not address her by her real name. "Well enough. But the waiting is hard."

"It is. I promised you a taste of fine wine when we last parted, but it is all gone now. And it didn't go well for some who drank it." A few of the men chuckled at that barb.

"We should have stayed home," a tall, broad hillman broke in, not noticing that he interrupted his friend. "We cannot hope to prevail against… that. We should have stayed to hold the passes when the Enemy reaches them."

"Aye, we should have all stayed home," Sharvili shot back. "Let the Enemy range where he will. And how do you hold a pass against an enemy that flies through the air?" He looked at Derica again. Back at the inn it seemed a fine jest to find a woman among the soldiers. Now, he wished that she at least had stayed home, safe from this pressing terror. Bad enough that so many men would die. "But I guess every man thinks that the City would fall unless he rushes over to prop up its walls. Is that not so, Ataran?"
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Postby Arwen902 » Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:11 am

“Is that not so, Ataran?”

Derica, who had only been half listening to the muttered conversations of the men around her, choosing rather to gaze over the wall and into the thick black clouds that seemed an omen of doom as best she could through the crowd of soldiers, finally glanced up as she heard her name, or rather the name she had given herself. She was not surprised to see that it had been Sharvili who had spoken to her, he was after all the only one apart from the few men from her home town who knew her name, and he was certainly the only one present who knew that she was not in fact Ataran.

She felt a faint blush colour her cheeks, grateful of the hood which concealed her features, as she found the attention of most of the men in the crowd suddenly focused on her. Ignoring this sudden slight falter in her confidence, Derica turned her gaze to Givi, finding his gaze already fixed on her, and shrugged nonchalantly, adjusting the strap of the quiver slung across her shoulder with long gloved fingers before answering his question.

“Perhaps some see this situation like that. Is it not true that Minas-Tirith has need of every soldier available?”

Several of the soldiers nodded. Derica was still not completely sure why Sharvili had directed that comment at her but obviously none of the other men had noted this so, after a brief pause during which the swordswoman tried to measure the reactions of Givi Sharvili and his possible thoughts or opinions to her being present, Derica continued.

“Besides, as you said, if every man convinced the city would fall without him propping up its walls had ignored that thought and stayed at home, how long would it be before the enemy reached his home and forced him to fight anyway.?”
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Postby Arenial » Tue Feb 22, 2005 4:57 pm

"But please, is there any way that you might find out what really is afoot? I would be forever in your debt."

Violet looked down at this soldier in her care. How desperate he seemed, to hear at least some truth of his comrades' whereabouts. Perhaps there was something she could do."I may be able to find out for you," she said quietly.

Denegal looked up at her, hope growing in his eyes. "Would you? My dear lady, I thank you with all of my being."

Violet dipped her head, "Of course, I would not be able to leave until dusk, as that is when I am off duty. But yes, for you soldier, I will go. Until then, Maiwe," the girl looked up, "Come with me. You have cleaned and bandaged that wound nicely. Now, how does one make a tonic for sore throats out of Lesser Celandine…?"

~~~~

Hours past. Violet had spent the time testing Maiwe on her knowledge on an assortment of herbs, tonics, salves, ointments and any other possible thing she could think of related to medicine. She found Maiwe to be quite knowledgeable, and decided she would prove to be an excellent addition to the other healers in the House. It was dusk now, as she slipped silently from the Houses of Healing, her dark cloak wrapped tightly about her body. She would be visiting her brother, Aiden, a Guard at the Citadel. He and his wife lived on the fifth level of the White City. She had not taken more than two steps from the Houses, when she heard singing, of sorts, coming from above her; a sad song, melancholic, and curiosity got the better of her. And so, instead of walking toward her intended destination, went the opposite way, towards the singing.
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Postby Frelga » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:27 pm

“Besides, as you said, if every man convinced the city would fall without him propping up its walls had ignored that thought and stayed at home, how long would it be before the enemy reached his home and forced him to fight anyway.?”

"Well said." Givi gave the young soldier a small bow and turned to his friend, the one who wished to have stayed home. "Are you answered?"

"It's not the fighting I mind," the abashed hillman replied, "it's… oh, it's the waiting mostly. This city feels like a death trap."

A few of the soldiers around them frowned at those words, but some nodded. Givi shut his eyes and leaned his head back against the cold stones of the wall. He had no heart left for this - for teasing, and joking, and propping up everyone's spirits.

"Already?" he asked, sitting up again with a sigh. "We haven't even tried to fight yet. Look at this woman here, she..." Givi froze in mid-word, thankful that his eyes were still on his friend and not turned to Ataran-Derica.

The taller hillman frowned at the singer, stung by Givi's words. "What woman?" he demanded.

Givi's luck was running high that day, for just then a small, gentle-looking woman joined the little group. The singer took in the purposed walk and the knowing eyes that looked older than her fair face.

"A healer, unless I miss my guess," Givi replied smoothly, inclining his head to the newcomer. He didn't dare to face Ataran just yet. "And joining us for the song's sake, are you not?"

The singer picked up his instrument again, the double-bellied, twelve-stringed dar, and began a quick dancing tune. And then a shrill cry pierced the air, a fell voice that shattered will and courage. Givi pressed a hand against his temple expecting to feel blood, so sharp was the blow he felt. When silence returned, he struggled to his feet, not heeding the whimpering strings as the dar clattered to the stones. Still blind with pain, the hillman stumbled and fell against the wall, and didn't know whose hand it was that caught his elbow to steady him.
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Postby Arenial » Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:37 pm

"A healer, unless I miss my guess, and joining us for the song's sake, are you not?"

Violet dipped her head in a small nod, "Indeed, I am a healer," she came to the front of the crowd, "I have heard your songs from the Houses; they are beautiful though, I have never heard them before."

She watched the Hillman pick up his instrument, admiring its smooth edges and make. She awaited the next song with much anticipation, wondering what tales and melodies this next one would bring. Indeed, she had heard his songs and they were some of the loveliest she’d heard. The singer was about to strum the first chord when a shrill scream was heard overhead. Violet’s hands instinctively flew to her ears to block out the sound, but the cry pierced through her hands, ringing in her ears and causing excruciating pain. She grit her teeth against it, praying that the screams would leave soon. A dull thump caused her eyes to open and she saw the Hillman stumble. In spite of her own pain, Violet rushed forward and caught his arm, steadying him. They clung to each other for stability until the cries overhead diminished.

Violet breathed a sigh of relief, "I had heard them in the Houses, but they are far worse out of doors. My name is Violet. I came seeking tidings of the battles on Osgiliath; a patient of mine is most desperate to learn of his comrades. Have you heard anything?"
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Postby Arwen902 » Tue Jul 05, 2005 4:46 am

“Look at this woman, she…”

Derica froze the second she heard these words escape the Hillman’s lips and didn’t dare to move for several seconds, so certain that her secret had just been exposed. Once she realised that none of the men thought that she had been the woman Givi referred to, mostly because of his quick thinking and the arrival of the healer, Derica turned smouldering grey eyes on the man who had almost exposed her as who she really was rather than the softly spoken young man that most of the men present believed her to be.

Her anger at his mistake was subdued by the fear she felt about possibly losing the security of this façade she had adopted and the anxiety about what would happen to her if these men did find out that she wasn’t Ataran, and slowly began to fade as she realised that maybe on some level she wanted them to find out. If she could cast aside the character of Ataran with relative security, Derica knew that she would be free to worry solely about the battles ahead. As Givi had stated earlier, they had not even tried to fight yet, and her world was already centred around the worry that someone else would find out who she was. It was pointless to worry about something she knew would happen sooner or later anyway, and this dependence on the character she had invented to protect herself was quickly becoming a distraction and a dependence that she knew she couldn’t afford.

The fire in her eyes quickly died as she realised this, but she still wanted to say something to the Hillman and indeed was just about to subtly interrupt when a piercing scream cut the air like a knife. Derica sank to her knees beside the stone wall, whimpering softly at the sudden agonizing pain in her head, and she raised both hands to cover her ears even through the thick hood she still wore.

The second that silence was restored, Derica glanced around at the other men even as a strong hand gripped her elbow and pulled her gently back to her feet. Glancing up at the man who helped her, Derica realised it had been Rosquen and flashed him a quick smile even as she moved to stand on her own. Several of the soldiers still looked shaken but Derica wasn’t surprised, that scream had shaken even her resolve. Noticing that Givi was still refusing to look at her, Derica walked over to where he was talking to the healer. As she approached she heard,

“My name is Violet. I came seeking tidings of the battles on Osgiliath; a patient of mine is most desperate to learn of his comrades. Have you heard anything?”

“Greetings Violet, my name is Ataran. Forgive me for intruding, I would simply like to commend Givi for his quick-thinking earlier." She shot a sharp glare at the Hillman which was softened only by the hint of a wry smile, as she spoke again to the woman, "I’m afraid I have no news of the battles as I was not on the walls yesterday, but I’m sure these men have heard something."
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Postby Frelga » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:32 pm

It was all in vain. They walked into a trap and shut the gates behind them. Shadow covered them, and the light of the White City went out forever. They could only wait for death to come and claim them at will.

Givi shook his head against the despair. The echoes of the dreadful cry still rang in his ears, but his thoughts were his own again. He would not let the Enemy take his heart.

Slowly, the darkness lifted from his sight. Givi was aware of a small hand that gripped his elbow and a pair of large, blue-green eyes looking at him with concern. The woman healer, who had just joined their little group. She asked him something. Something about Osgiliath.

Before the hillman could muster his thoughts, another soldier joined them.

“Greetings Violet, my name is Ataran. Forgive me for intruding, I would simply like to commend Givi for his quick-thinking earlier."

That brought Givi back into present in a hurry. That was Derica-Ataran, the swordswoman, whose identity he very nearly gave away only a few minutes ago. Givi open his mouth to apologize and snapped it shut again. What could he say without drawing more attention to the young soldier? The hillman winced in embarrassment as he met Derica's sharp gaze, and his face flushed dark red.

"I’m afraid I have no news of the battles as I was not on the walls yesterday," the swordswoman continued, "but I’m sure these men have heard something."

Givi found his voice at last, hoarse though it sounded. "I did," he nodded. "Givi Sharvili is my name, as Ataran knows. I was here the wall when the Captain of Gondor returned and White Rider rode out to his rescue, driving back the winged shadows. Then the City cheered and the hope returned to us. For a while. But they said Faramir is to ride out again, and his men went to the stables to saddle their horses."
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Postby LadyElessar » Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:54 pm

All he had heard since entering the great city was that there were not enough men. That the city lacked enough archers to cover the walls and had too few battalions within its gates. Aethelbart remembered looking up at the great walls his first day here and thinking such a structure seemed to defend itself, that there was little need for so many men.

Everywhere he glanced he saw men of arms, some running this way or that, but most, like him, looking somewhat useless. There were too many men it seemed, too many men with nothing to do, who looked like they didn’t belong.

The hillmen of Lamedon covered the span of both those too young and those too old and their disunity was embarrassing to Aethelbart. Not only did they lack a captain, but they lacked the uniforms that so many others seemed to possess. The soldiers of Pinnath Gelin were all clothed in green and those of Dal Amroth were so well armored they looked like guards of the Citadel. Even the band of mercenaries he had seen down on the second level looked like something of a company, they all wore black and even tried to march in formation. But the men of Lamedon, they all wore whatever family heirlooms they possessed as armor. Lacking a captain, they discussed amongst themselves who would be on sentry duty, who would sharpen swords and who would fetch water.

Aethelbart snuck away before anyone could select him to do anything. He had a whole city to explore, one eye or not, and he cared not to fraternize with anymore hillmen. So he left the soldiers and moved to the higher levels of the city, finding he quite liked the sixth level, for it was one of the only ones where any women could be found. They paid him little heed and seemed always in a hurry, running this way or that with baskets of herbs and jugs of water. Most were wrinkled matrons, older than his own mother, but if he waited patiently he sometimes caught a glimpse of a pretty girl. He’d smile at them then, but they would hurry on their way and give no more than a nod of the head in return.

He had traveled back down at midday, only to see that Alwin had been elected the honorable duty of cleaning saddles and Elek and Dacus that of fashioning arrows and filling the quivers of those who had them.

“Ho there, now, where’ve you been?” Alwin looked up to his slender friend, whose hands, unlike everyone else’s, were clean.

“Here and there,” Aethelbart replied shortly. “Thought it best that I make myself familiar with the city. It is a wonderful place.”

“Aye, well,” Alwin wiped his brow with the back of his sleeve and motioned to the long row of saddles still to be cleaned. “Help me out, will you?” he implored, but Aethelbart had just laughed.

“Get your brat to help you,” he looked around for the boy that had accompanied Alwin.

“He is busy making sure our swords are sharp,” Alwin growled, “now come and have a seat. Many of these saddles are no more than antiques and the leather is old.” Aethelbart looked to the saddle in front of his friend. Quite different from his own well oiled riding saddle, the leather in this was caked with dust and grime and seemed to be cracking in places where it was inlayed with copper.

“These are not even our saddles!” he grew indignant with the realization that his friend was cleaning the saddle of a hillman.

“When the fight comes, I would rather the man beside me not have his saddle break beneath him,” Alwin replied and looked to his impetuous friend. “Or have you forgotten the reason we are here?”

“You should see some of the women in this city,” Aethelbart ignored him, “at first I thought there were none. But, aye, you should see them. Healers, I was told,” he continued, grinning broadly at the recollection of the few girls he had seen. “I should like to be wounded if they are to be my healers!”

“You should not say such things, ‘Bart,” Alwin stated solemnly, but Aethelbart just chuckled some more. The laughter seemed a foreign sound amidst all the solemn preparations for war.

“Well you have not seen them,” he shook his head, describing to his friend the dark haired beauty he’d spied wandering lost between the buildings. “She looked no more than eighteen,” he grinned and knelt down in front of his own saddle.

“You will join us, then?” Alwin smiled, but instead of settling onto the ground Aethelbart gathered the tack up beneath him and began walking back up the street.

“I shall be in the stables!” he called carelessly.

“ ‘Bart, I think it best you stay down with us!” Alwin got to his feet, knowing full well the futility of trying to argue with him. He had no more authority over Aethelbart than the next man. They had no formal rank structure, no one to report to. They were there because the steward had summoned all men that could be spared.

"Someone should be with the horses," Aethelbart shouted back to Alwin and for the first time there was a touch of sincerity in his voice. He had been up in the stables with Bali when the fell beasts first came. There had been no one there with the horses, whose screams and ear-piercing whinnies seemed to be trying to overpower the shrieks of the horrid creatures in the air. They showed no signs of settling down and the stables were hardly the peaceful place they once had been.

He rushed first to Bali, who paced nervously in his stall in the back. To his left a massive draft, whose splendid red roan coat Aethelbart had admired last night, thrashed uncontrollably in his stall. Across the aisle the shaggy chestnut, he’d paid little attention to, reared up and splintered the wooden divider with his flailing hooves.

“Easy, easy,” he tried to calm first the chestnut, then the roan. Then the dapple grey in the corner and the two sleek blood bays stabled together. “Don’t despair, it will pass,” Aethelbart soothed, running his hand along withers and necks, trying to calm the poor horses. Always he returned to Bali though. “ ‘Twill pass,” he assured the colt, burying his face into the coarse black mane, hardly knowing what he was saying, only knowing that for all he understood, he knew poor Bali understood even less of the horrid sound and the darkness that had overtaken the city. “It has to pass.”
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Postby Leofwine » Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:22 pm

A soldier of the city stood close by the player. All day the lad had plucked at his instrument, singing and trying to jest with his fellow hillmen and the others who had gathered here near the wall. But the strain was starting to show on his face. With the last pass of the fell beasts who circled overhead, all those within sight had fallen to their knees, hands pressed feverishly to ears in a vain effort to drown out the horrible screams. The soldier, though a seasoned warrior, was no better able to withstand the rending impact of the sound than the others. It seemed as if a veil was pulled over his heart and he could scarce breath, the terror and dismay he felt gripping at his gut was so intense. When at last the reverberations bouncing around inside his skull quieted, he opened his eyes to see a young woman holding the crippled singer by his elbow, helping to steady him. God help us if we have to rely on such as he to help defend the White City, the guard thought to himself.

Renth pushed himself back to his feet, taking up his sword once more where he had dropped it in his effort to block out the screeches from above. He glanced about awkwardly, ashamed of his own cowardice, but knowing in his heart that all others around him had felt the same. From what he could see, everyone was looking grey and grim, worn down by their long vigil. As people began to shuffle about and the quiet hum of subdued talk began again, the words of the young woman, who stood close by, reached his ears. She was asking for tidings of how things fared in Osgiliath. Another soldier, small and slight, with a face no more than a half-grown boy's, answered readily that he, in fact, had not heard but some of the others about might have news. The crippled singer then told the girl that Faramir was on the point of setting forth once more, to hold Osgiliath. Once again, Renth groaned inwardly. Cripples and lads. Was this the best their allies had to send them?

He cleared his throat, and said hesitantly, “If it's news your patient seeks, young lass, best tell him Captain Faramir has been sent to hold Osgiliath, at his lord father's behest. But whether we'll ever see that brave countenance again, there's many of us who have grave doubts.”

Violet and those around her turned their attention to the soldier. Of middling height, with the typical Gondorian dark hair and grey blue eyes, he was no more nor less imposing than any of the other thousands of soldiers to be seen manning the walls and walking the streets of the city, preparing for what was to come. In her time as a healer, Violet had already seen far too many of such men come and go through the houses of healing. Most walked out of their own accord, but still too many were carried forth never to bear arms again. She feared that in the days to come, many such more would follow their brothers.

“And will the ruined city hold, do you think good sir? I ask on behalf of one who lies now in the houses, awaiting word of his comrades. He came from the river island, first Cair Andros and then Osgiliath.”

Renth's face was somber indeed as he replied gruffly. “He's luckier than most then, miss. To have escaped not once, but twice.” He shook his head. “Whether or no our Captain rides to his death, there's little doubt that his efforts will stem the tide that approaches all of us. Best tell your friend that – and make ready. All of you.” He shot a stern glance at the singer, the lad and all the others who were gathered there in the deeper shadow of the wall.
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Postby Arwen902 » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:18 am

“But whether we'll ever see that brave countenance again, there's many of us who have grave doubts.”

As this newest soldier joined their conversation to speak to Violet of Osgiliath, Derica watched him from her position in the deepest area of shadow cast by the walls. She had no real intention of concealing herself from this man, but with her slight figure and dark cloak it would not have been difficult to overlook her, and at first she thought that this man had simply missed her, either that or was choosing to ignore her. He had so far spoken directly to Violet without so much as a glance at Givi or Derica, or even any of the others who had gathered in the shadows to listen to their conversation. As he continued to speak Derica found herself thinking that it was quite likely he was addressing himself solely to Violet for a reason.

While he was choosing to speak to Violet alone, Derica took the opportunity to watch this new individual, to measure him, and the first thing she noticed was that he was probably only a year, two at most, older than her, but he had obviously seen a lot more of battle than she had. The soldier had the same appearance that was typical to the majority of the population of Gondor. He had the same dark hair as Derica herself, the same dark hair as in fact every soldier she had travelled to Gondor with had, though while Derica’s eyes were a dark, steely grey, this soldiers were slightly more blue and he had the air of a seasoned soldier rather than the nervous or falsely brave attitude of those soldiers who had not yet seen battle up close.

“Whether or no our Captain rides to his death, there's little doubt that his efforts will stem the tide that approaches all of us. Best tell your friend that – and make ready. All of you.”

This time as he spoke, the soldier, who had not yet revealed his name, met the gaze of each member of the small gathered group and as his eyes caught Derica’s even with her face shadowed as it was she saw a hint of grim resignation in his eyes, as though he had been expecting more seasoned soldiers to come from the allies of Gondor, rather than the first time soldiers and young boys who had never fought, or men who were now too old to fight, that had been sent to guard the walls. Derica frowned, and shot a sharp, questioning glance at Givi as the soldier fell silent. Perhaps this man was too quick to underestimate the soldiers that Gondor had been sent, as much as she could understand his fears.

The man had finished speaking now, and stood pensively staring out to something that none of the assembled group could see. Givi spoke out first, to confirm the news of Faramir and then Derica took the chance to speak, stepping unhurriedly out of the shadows to face the man. She was completely sincere, and had nothing but respect for this experienced soldier, however she was all too aware that the natural lilt of her voice, only when she was masquerading as Ataran though, could sound joking or even insolent sometimes.

“We will be sure to prepare ourselves, good sir. I assure you your warning will not go ignored. But, sir, you have not yet told us your name.”

After she spoke she almost cringed, realising how her tone had probably sounded but there was nothing else she could say until he answered, frowning slightly, and turning to face her.

“You tell me your name, boy. And I shall tell you mine.”

At the word “boy” Derica had to smile, most likely because of how uncomfortable she felt now under the strength of this man’s stare. She stared resolutely back at him even though she knew it was not a good idea, her disguise would not hold up for long under scrutiny such as this, especially since she could already see a hint of confusion or realisation in his eyes. She worried about her hair for a second as she could feel several loose strands blowing across her cheek in the wind, then remembered her thoughts of earlier and her indifference to her identity being found out. Breaking the gaze, and shrugging as she nimbly stepped aside, closer to Givi, to stare out over the wall, Derica replied.

“My name? Ataran, sir. Ataran Tovin. And yours?”
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Postby Leofwine » Sun Dec 18, 2005 1:42 pm

Renth regarded the “lad” who spoke so readily, yet had stepped aside to stand beside the cripple. At first glance, Renth had indeed seen what appeared to be no more than a half-grown boy. But upon closer scrutiny . . . No. Surely his eyes were tired, his mind befuddled by the after effects of those horrible flying beasts and their terrible screams. He shook his head, as if to clear it, and replied, “Renth. My name is Renth, young master Tovin . . . if 'master' you be.” He stared pointedly at Ataran, who still gazed out over the wall.

Ataran turned and looked fixedly at Renth. The Gondorian shifted uncomfortably with the realization that came with that look. His own gaze swiveled about and came back to rest on Violet, whose brow was creased with worry. In a more kindly voice than before, Renth said, “Take courage, miss. We aren't beat yet. Those monsters of the east will find us veterans a tough bite to chew, and we're not so smooth going down, neither. A might prickly, what with a sword here and a spear there. And I'm sure these here reinforcements sent to us by our kinsmen will prove as unsavory a sauce as any they've had yet, not likely to make the meal we're set to serve them go down any smoother.” He smiled grimly, nodding at the strangers to the city gathered about. He received a few grins and nods in return, but more than a few ashen faces looked away, their courage drained by the tedium of their nerve wracking vigil and the soul shattering effect of the flying wraiths.

The singer, for one, looked thoughtfully at him. Renth winked at him and broke into a genuine smile. “Make sure you're one of those who make the devils choke, man. We'll be counting on the likes of you to write our names in history, you and your songs.”
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Postby Frelga » Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:26 pm

As the Gondorian joined their little group, Givi caught the dismissive glance the soldier threw his way. But the singer was so worn out by the last two days, he couldn't even muster an angry retort. He only felt annoyed and tired, so tired in his heart and mind, if not in his limbs.

He was soon distracted by the exchange between Derica and Renth as the Gondorian introduced himself. Did the soldier see through the swordwoman's disguise? Now that Givi knew who she was, it seemed impossible to him that anyone else could be misled. But if one expected to see a lad, that was what they would see, wouldn't they?

Derica took a step closer to him, and instinctively Givi moved to stand a little to the front of her. He felt as protective of this soldier-lass as he did about his own sister at home.

The soldier's next words to Violet were more to the singer's taste. "Take courage, miss. We aren't beat yet. Those monsters of the east will find us veterans a tough bite to chew, and we're not so smooth going down, neither. A might prickly, what with a sword here and a spear there. And I'm sure these here reinforcements sent to us by our kinsmen will prove as unsavory a sauce as any they've had yet, not likely to make the meal we're set to serve them go down any smoother."

Givi looked more closely at Renth. In the past days, the singer heard more than one young soldier boast of the mighty deeds he would do. Youths with unbloodied swords, they made plans for disposing Southrons by a dozen, and orcs by a score. But this man spoke with assurance that came from doing, not talking.

As Renth met Givi's eyes, he smiled and his next words were directed at the singer. “Make sure you're one of those who make the devils choke, man. We'll be counting on the likes of you to write our names in history, you and your songs.”

Givi smiled back. No singer could stay cross when his craft was praised. "I will be sure to remember your name in, Renth of Gondor, and the names of your comrades," he replied. "You have long been the dam that held back the flood from our vineyards and pastures in the Hills. But I plan on writing a line or two with my own sword." Givi's grin grew wider. Now he sounded just like all the other young braggarts, he thought. "I am Givi Sharvili of Fahn that is called Lamedon in Gondor. They call me Givi the Lame, but my horse doesn't stumble easily."

He grew solemn again as he looked around the small group. The white skin of lowlanders had always seemed pale to the hillman, but now their faces looked ashen with strain in the murky glum that passed for daylight. Givi sighed. "We will prevail, my friends," he said gravely. We have no choice but to prevail."
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Postby Wasara » Fri Dec 30, 2005 8:39 am

Thorgrond walked in his toughts along the road.The breeze in dawn was chilling and there was mist coming from the river.His old scar was aching as always,when weather was changing.He has never seen such a destruction and loss of lives-human lives and in so short period.In distant north dunedain fight their unnoticed and forgotten war and usually their tactics was succesful and he had lost only few friends.He has never fought against or killed a human.His enemies had been roving and savage bands of orcs or trolls and a dead orc is always a good orc.He was surprised that he had feelings for those fiercy,war painted southrons and at the same time he recalled Serad and almost blew his mind while thinking,to how huge this war was escalated ...but there was the same pattern-you or them.

He almost bashed his head against the shield,which was carried on the back of a man front of him.The convoy has stopped to move.Thorgrond was one of the last men in the convoy while Herenyar was leading it.Tumult was coming from ahead and Thorgrond decided to take a look.At the middle of the convoy,there were mutilated,partially decayed,corpses in the dike of the road.At same spot the angry mob of the gondorian men had gathered and surrounded those few southron prisoners which were part of the convoy.It was odd scene.There was lot of screaming and southing and swords were dragged out.Thorgrond penetrared through a mob and for his awe he saw Herenyar defending with his sword those poor southrons.Serad was also among them.They hands were bound behind their back.They had been already in bad shape when taken to prisoner and Thorgrond wondered how much beat one can take.Herenyar has lost his helmet and he had also a wound on his forehead.His voice arouse above all commotion when he stated:

“My brother in arms,don’t do it!That day will come when you curse your act and the faces of these men will haunt you forever.And I also say this,we will got our chance to pay back,but as in proper fight,in the fair act of soldiers...”

But he was instantly replied:”You fool,there is nothing fair in this war.Don’t you see our cause is almost lost...and before it we want to see these swines eating the soil...”

Then the clear sound of horn was heard.It penetrated the mist and all dull air.It was familiar for all fighting men.Men were stunned when clear voice shouted and cheered:

“It is the horn of Faramir.Lord Faramir is coming!”
Last edited by Wasara on Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Leofwine » Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:59 pm

Faramir approached the angry crowd of soldiers thirsty for blood . . . and revenge. His horn had quieted them, somewhat, but now his calm voice rang out to be heard by all those around.

“Friends, stay your weapons. It is not meet that the gallant warriors of mighty Gondor should sully their blades with the blood of those already taken prisoner. Let us instead march this rabble through the streets of the city and show our comrades who stand waiting, ready to defend our homes, that the forces of Mordor and its allies are not so mighty as we may fear. They can be taken . . . and they can be defeated.” He raised his arm, swinging his sword aloft over his head, a smile on his bloodied and filth smeared face. The men cheered aloud, their hearts lifted by their valiant captain's words. Faramir let them cheer. They needed to feel good about something in this black hour, for they had all witnessed the might of the army being thrown against them, and in their hearts, they knew the reality of the road down which they now must travel.

“My brothers in arms,” he continued when the yelling had subsided, “let us ever remember who we are and what we are, noble men of Gondor, not murderous criminals nor merciless demons. These prisoners will be taken to the city, as safe as any one of us may be at this hour. Our own conduct will be remembered for the ages of men. What we do in this dark time will be the song of the centuries. So now, let us proceed, and make ready the city for what we know follows close on our heels.”

The soldiers cheered once more, but reassembled themselves hurriedly into formation in order to move on to the Pellenor. Faramir guided his horse to walk next to Herenyar, and said in a low voice. “Well done, captain. I'll entrust these prisoners to your care once more. I believe you won't have any more trouble from my soldiers, but . . . should it come to it, if you find yourself hard pressed, do not risk your own life or those of your men to get these creatures to the city. Leave them to their own should it come down to their lives or yours.”

Herenyar merely looked up at his lord and nodded grimly. He had seen the destruction wreaked on Osgiliath and he knew all too well how slim the chances were that they would all reach the gates of the city alive.
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