The Dark Journey East:

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

The Dark Journey East:

Postby BrninThedwarf » Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:53 pm

Brnin sat in the darkening pub looking at the different faces. The city of Dale was a crossroads of sorts for all the races of the north. Men, who lived there and down river in Esgaroth, elves who dwelt in the forest of Mirkwood, and dwarves of Erebor.

Within this crowd, Brnin saw that the majority were men. There were a few dwarves, though for the most part dwarves drank in the great halls of Erebor. Elves were almost nonexistent in this crowd. Were it not for years of training, Brnin wouldn't have noticed their pressence at all. They blended in with the crowd extremely well. Brnin assumed that they were either very well trained, not entirely elven, or both.

Brnin looked at the faces and saw that, be they dwarf, elf, or man, these people were just trying to live their daily lives. Something he hadn't done since that day on the rocks......

Brnin shook the memory away and drained the rest of his mug of ale, as he did every time that memory crawled up from the depths of his mind. It was there that he tired everyday to bury it, to eliminate it from his memory, to banish it to the abyss. Banish it and the feelings it conjured up. For six months he had tried in vain to elimintate his memories of the worst day of his life, the day his life, as he had known it, ended.

Tonight the memory was different, the feelings stronger. For a moment Brnin thought he had reached the end of his sanity, and that even drunkedness couldn't dull the pain. Then he saw the truth.

It had been six months since he had returned from the east, from the lands of Rhun and beyond. For that entire time he had been filled with grief and pain. For six months he had spent every night in a pub getting drunk, or alone in his father's forge pounding out his grief into iron and steel. For six months he had wallowed in his defeat. Tonight was different, tonight he was finally ready, tonight he was angry.

Standing up from his seat, Brnin tried to address the crowd. It was a busy night and no one heard. Getting angrier, Brnin stood on the table and slammed his foot into it hard, three times, shouting, "HEAR ME!!!!!!!" The crowd grew quiet and stared at the dwarf that they thought had had too many. All eyes were on him, exactly what Brnin had wanted.

Brnin summoned up all of his grief and rage and addressed the crowd, "Many of you have heard of me. You have heard of my jouryey to the east in search of the lost dwarven civilizations. You have heard of the manner of my return, beaten and nearly dead. Many of you have wondered what happened to me and my sister, which went with me. I have told no one, not even the king. Tonight that will change."

Brnin went on to tell of his adventures with his sister in the lands of Rhun, and points east. Of the cities of men darkened by the shadow of Sauron, and the innocent people they saw killed simply for their refusal to worship The Eye, as he was called by the cult there. He told of the ruins they had found in the hills that looked so similar to Dale, with undoubted dwarven influence. He told of his joy at finding them, and the journey towards the Orocarni mountain range, where he suspected to find more signs of dwarven civilization, or in the best case, a true and living civilization. He spoke of battles with wolves and other creatures. He told of men who, by their sheer cruelty attempted to rape and enslave two women. He also told of battles with the remnants of Sauron's forces, orcs and even a small group of trolls.

The crowd gazed at him as he grew suddenly quiet. He bowed his head and though no one heard, muffled a sob. He looked up and said, "Now I tell you the most important part of my tale, the crux of the story, the reason I even spoke of my adventures in the first place. Now I tell you of the dragon....."

The crowd gasped as one as the word dragon escaped Brnin's lips. Here in Dale, and in Erebor, it was frowned upon to speak of the fell beasts known as dragons. For the simple reason that the city and mountain were almost utterly destroyed by a dragon by the name of Smaug. To speak of a dragon was to invite the scorn of others, Brnin didn't care. He wanted the people to know. "It was in the mountains that we found more signs of my people, signs that there was a great city there at one time. We searched for it for weeks, but though the mountains aren't as vast as the Misty Mountains, they are trecheous and very hard to mountaineer."

"We searched and searched, until one day we thought we were on track to find them, the lost dwarves. It was that day that the dragon attacked. It started as a faint sound in the distance, a low thump that repeated every few seconds. The sound grew louder and louder until we looked for the source. Me sister joked that, 'Must be a dragon, we've fought everything else on this journey.' As she said it, he came into view. For a moment we thought it a bird of prey or some other creature natural to the skies. Then with three beats of it's wings was near enough to know the truth. Within moments, it landed not fifteen feet from us....."

Brnin stopped, causing the crowd to moan in disgust. They wanted to hear the end, but Brnin had said all he would say of his story for the moment, "Here is where I stop. If any wish to hear the rest, journey with me to the East and fight this menace. I won't speak of the end to any but those who will fight with me."

As he said these words he jumped off the table and walked to the back of the room. Hoping that some would be intrigued enought to follow him over.
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Postby Maranwe-Ar-Feiniel » Sat Jan 20, 2007 8:04 pm

Narchohen, clad in an odd assortment of haradric and northern clothes, was spending the evening like any other. Drinking ale with the news of men, dwarves, and elves in her ears. It was good to hear of the happenings in the world, even if she didn't have any part in them. She was but a simple guide and tracker for hunting parties... the job was inconspicuous enough to be allowed anonymity, and allowed for her to get into the outdoors, and away from gossipy tongues. Perfect, as far as she was concerned.

As the shades of night drew closer to the pub, the fires were piled higher, and several groups of men started to grow merry. Raucous drinking songs competed with each other, and soon there was actually a contest between two tables as to which could sing the loudest. Narchohen chuckled quietly at them, then her attention was drawn by a bass voice bellowing, "Hear Me!!"

On a table was a dwarf, whom she had seen about the town, especially in smithy alley, the area in town where smiths worked, sold wares, and traded with each other. There she had heard him spoken of as Brnin, and she smiled a little to see the serious dwarf smith standing on a table with a mug of ale in hand.

A hush fell over the crowd at the sight, and when Brnin started to speak, Narchohen was soon drawn in by the dwarf's story. It was incredible to hear him speak of the eastern lands; so much which she had chosen to forget was brought up with a rush. She remembered the cult of 'The Eye'. Her mother had told her of it's origins, and she shuddered to think of that ancient evilness, Sauron. It was very wide spread in her tribe, but thankfully, her father had been of the self-worshiping sort, and didn't make it law to be a follower of The Eye.

However, she remembered with a start, Khalim had been a follower. Brnin's description of the atrocities committed by Followers of The Eye caused goose bumps to run down her spine and arms, despite the large fire at her back. To think that she could have been married to such a creature...!

When his tale turned to battles with wolves, orcs, and trolls, she started to relax, even though she hadn't realized how tense she was.

However, when he mentioned the dragon, she leaned forward again to catch every word. Although she knew well enough the story of Smaug, the talk of dragons fascinated her. Tales abounded in Harad of dragons, great wise lords who guided people and gathered treasure for the humans that they cared for. However, the elven tales of dragons such as Glaurung and Ancalagon stated them to be cunning, their hearts as hard as their scales, and any treasure they had plundered from free peoples that they slew.. She had always assumed her mother to be right, but sometimes she wondered...

Suddenly, she realized that he was getting to the actual dragon encounter..

"...it landed not fifteen feet from us....."

She leaned forward, eager to know if it actually spoke, if it was the dragon that had slain Willow, or if some one had slain the both. Then she realized he had stopped the story, and was calling for people to help him slay the menace. She knew then that he must mean the dragon, but still curiosity lingered. There was the main gist of the story, almost forgotten by her in the exciting details. The Dwarven city...what if the dwarves-or dwarrow, as she knew they were properly called-were still around? What thing could they have found in the mountains to cause them to stay even with a dragon threat?

Seeing Brnin withdraw to a corner niche, she tossed a few pence on the table to pay for supper, and went to have a word with him.
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Postby lark » Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:03 pm

Dulin scowled at the cup of ale that sat before her. She hated it, but the water in town was completely undrinkable in her opinion, and she couldn’t afford wine. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine the taste of her favorite drink, which was an infusion of herbs and hot water, sometimes sweetened with fruit juice or honey, but it had been too long to imagine it properly and her mouth was filled instead with nothing but the bitter taste of ale.

A drunken man stumbled into her table, clumsily making a pass at her and offering to buy her another ale. Already the ale she had drank was doing unpleasant things to her empty stomach and she leered at the man before turning away from him. If he had offered to buy her a meal instead, she may have accepted, even graced him with a smile and some friendly conversation, but he would expect more. She had learned that much of humans.

“Why am I doing this?” She asked herself. Like all elves, Dulin was capable of surviving in the woods indefinitely, but the city was different. She sighed, already knowing the answer to her question. To leave now and go home would be like accepting defeat. Admitting to herself that she couldn’t survive in the human world. She placed her elbows on the table and put her head in her hands. She was so deep in thought over the matter that Dulin didn’t notice the dwarf on the other side of room calling out for attention until he actually got up on his table and started stamping his foot, gaining the attention of the entire room.

Like everyone else in the bar, Dulin turned to listen and soon found herself hanging on every word the dwarf had to say. It all seemed so terrible and exiting. Distant lands she had never heard of, lost peoples and fearsome dangers, and on top of all that, a dragon! Dulin caught her breath. The dwarf’s story ended abruptly, and he went to the back of the room. Quickly Dulin collected her thoughts and followed.

Tentatively she approached him where he sat at a table by himself. A single candle cast deep shadows over the wall behind his back and across his bearded face. She paused before him cocking her head slightly to see better his deep set eyes. “Do you know who I am?” She said quietly.

“Aye, you’re an elf.” He responded flatly. There was no malice in his voice she noted with relief, but she could tell he had been drinking quite a bit too. As much as she desired to join up with him, she was worried that the long standing rift between their two peoples could make such a trip unpleasant if not dangerous.

She slipped silently into a chair opposite him. “I’d like to go with you. I have a horse and weapons, but not the money for supplies. If you could pay my way, I could be an asset to your quest.”

“And how do I know I’d be getting my money’s worth?” He said, his stare never wavering.

“You must know of the skill of my people. I’m an accomplished fighter. I can hunt, track…I know a little about healing, and…” She paused a moment, “I’m an excellent thief.” She finished, hoping he wouldn’t see through her lie.

The dwarf stared hard at her. She tried her hold his gaze, but found herself looking away. “If you’re such an excellent thief, why don’t you have the money to buy your own supplies?” He said.

Dulin cringed within herself. She was as bad at lying as she was at thieving. “I’ve never actually stolen anything.” she said quietly, looking down at the rough boards of the table top. “I did travel with a thief for a time, and he told me many of his tricks…but I have not found within myself the ability to take from another.” She looked back up again into his earthy green eyes, “I would still be a great asset to you. You can test my skill however you wish.”

“That won’t be necessary. You can come with me, and I will supply you.” He said, finally breaking his gaze long enough to take a long drink from his cup.

“Thank you, Master Dwarf.”

“My name is Brnin.” He said, putting his cup back down.

Dulin smiled slightly, “And mine is Dulin.” She said then paused a moment, biting her lower lip in thought. “Master Brnin, would it be possible for you to pay for some of my supplies in advance?”

Brnin furrowed his bushy brows at her. She swallowed then continued quietly, “Just enough for a meal. I haven’t eaten today.” Brnin’s expression softened, and he started to wave for a serving wench, but noticed a dark complected woman approaching, and stopped short to see what this newcomer had to say.
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Postby Kethasbro » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:33 pm

Halith was sitting at the table wandering whether he should have an another ale or not when a dwarf stood up on a table and started talking; he got Halith's attention when he mentioned the word dragon. He talked about the lands to the east; he talked about Sauron. It was six years ago that Halith first of heard the Eye; hearing of it again made him think of Gondor.

Now Brnin was telling of battles with trolls. Halith knew something about trolls. Once when traveling with a thief and a murderer they had encountered a troll. Fortunately, it was almost morning, so he didn't chase them to far. Battles with wolves and orcs were also told of. Halith had heard of those; of orcs that ride wolves.

Now Brnin was getting to the dragon. Halith listened intently.

"...it landed not fifteen feet from us....."

The dwarf ended the story abruptly, and he went to the back of the room.

Halith decided to see if he needed anyone to help get supplies...but then, Brnin probably wouldn't want a thief tagging along. And yet...he's going to fight a dragon and an extra sword never hurt anyone; except those on the dragon's side.

That was it; He was going to ask. Already there were two people talking with Brnin. He took the last few steps timidly, despite having traveled with murderers and thieves. He had battled spiders in Mirkwood and here he was worried about getting an actual job....!

“Excuse me master dwarf, but I thought you could use little help. I'm a fair swordsman, and I could help with horses if you take any."
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Postby BrninThedwarf » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:04 pm

Brnin was intrigued that one of the fair folk was contemplating going on his journey with him. This Dulin was an interesting one. From all of Brnin's training, he could tell she was an elf, but she seemed to be trying to hide her heritage.

Brnin was also intrigued that this elf seemed to be without means. It was known that the fair folk didn't lack for much. They had the wisdom and power to make almost anything that they needed. Brnin meant to bring it up with her at some point, but for now was content to supply her. He was wealthy, even for the measure of his rich people. The cost of supplying one elf for a trip was nothing.

“I would still be a great asset to you. You can test my skill however you wish.” She said bringing Brnin out of his musings. “That won’t be necessary. You can come with me, and I will supply you.” He said, and drained his cup.

She said thank you and Brnin introduced himself more personally. "Now tell me, what would your reasons be for going with me on a quest that I can guarentee could kill any who go?"

She didn't get a chance to answer, for at that moment another young woman, whom also had an elvish appearance walked up to the table. Fast behind her was a young man who had the appearance and gait of a man of Gondor. "Now what's a man from that far south doing in Dale?" Brnin asked himself. He planned to get the answer.

The introduced themselves and Brnin sat quietly until they were finished. As they both finished talking to Brnin and Dulin it grew quiet. Brnin waited for several minutes before speaking. He was sizing them up looking for strengths and weaknesses. He was also waiting for any others, none came.

Finally Brnin asked the two to sit and have a drink. He ordered a round for the table and as the drinks were set down, he began from where he had left off. "Well, like I said earlier, it landed not fifteen feet from us, this great white and grey dragon. It was monsterous in size. Now granted I ain't the tallest of the people in Middle Earth, but even so this beast was enormous. It had eyes of the darkest blue with flecks of black interspersed within. In it's eyes was a fell and dark intellegence not found in other beasts. It knew what we were and desired to do nothing but harm to us."

"It streched out his mighty wings and let out an unearthly roar. It's fell breath chilled the air to below freezing in a second. I was always told that all dragons breathed fire, not so. This creature was wholly of ice and cold. It snarled and set it's eyes upon us. We set ourselves ready and I looked to my sister. The ring upon her second finger of her right hand was dimly glowing. She was preparing to strike it first. She didn't get the chance."

Brnin saw that his audience was intently listening, he knew not if they were captivated by his story, or waiting for him to finish so that they could walk away from the crazy dwarf. Either way he had a captive audience. "It roared out the word 'Tresspassers!!!' and blew the power of his breath at us. My sister dived behind a rock outcrop and I had little option but to raise my shield. As the cold hit my arm, I felt my ring activate. You see, I weild The Fire Ring of Aule the Smith, a token of my fealty to the AHUR, far away in the Blue Mountains. It was all that saved me that day."

Brnin shuddered as he told the next part of the account. "My ring surrounded me in a fiery shield. Even so, I still felt colder than I ever had in my life. My sister saw all of this and activated her ring, The Earth Ring of the Shire. She summoned a great warrior of stone to appear out of the bare rock face. It collided with the dragon and, for a moment, gave me a respite." Brnin drained his glass again and the group knew that he was comming to the meat of things.

"My sister didn't fair so good. The beast overpowered the construct of her ring. It blew at her again, and she rolled out of the way. I was still recovering from his dark breath when it happened. Willow stumbled....." Brnin's voice broke for a moment, but he continued. "She stumbled, and fell. The dragon took advantage and blew again. I summoned all the power that my ring had to bear, as well as all of my strength. I placed a shielding fire around her but I couldn't keep the cold from her. He shattered through my shield and froze her solid."

A tear fell down his dwarven face and became lost in his beard. "I fell to my knees completely spent and could only watch as with a mighty swing of his tail he shattered her frozen body. I screamed, and wailed and tried to attack again. But weak as I was, he simply threw me off the cliff. I bounced down the side of the rock for what seemed like minutes before finally landing two hundred feet down."

"But how did you survive?" Dulin asked shocked the he was sitting before her.

Brnin frowned and opened a pouch on his belt. There was a beautiful ring with a green stone. "My sister's ring has the power of earth within it. It was this power that saved me from death on the rocks."

He looked at the party and stood. "We leave day after tomorrow at dawn. If anyone has questions, meet me in the forgeworks of the mountain tomorrow." At that he stood and left the room.
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Postby lark » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:22 pm

Brnin stood and walked stoically out of the room leaving Dulin, Halith and Narchohen looking after him. There was a moment of awkward silence. At last Dulin turned to the woman. “You said your name was Narchohen. That’s an elvish name. Are you peredhel?” She asked, taking note of her features. She immediately regretted having asked the question as she noticed Narchohen’s demeanor change and her mouth tighten slightly. Knowing what her name meant, she chastised herself for not being more considerate.

Before she could answer, Halith chimed in, “Peredhel? What is that?”

“It means half-elf.” Narchohen answered. “And yes…my mother was an elf.”

Dulin could hear the sadness in her voice, and once again felt bad for having brought it up. There was obviously great pain attached to the memory. Dulin shifted uneasily, trying to think of a way to change the subject, but failed. “Well, I suppose there will be plenty of time for us all to get to know one another…” She said, offering up what she hoped was a friendly smile at the two of them. “But the hour is late, and I should be going. I’ll look forward to seeing you both the day after tomorrow.”

The two of them nodded to her politely as they bade each other goodnight. Pulling her cloak tight around her and raising the hood, Dulin stepped out into the dark streets of Dale and made her way to the inn where she was staying. Once in her room, she counted the few coins she had left and found she had only enough to pay for that night and no more. She sat cross-legged on the small cot that served as a bed and stared blankly at the wall, deep in thought. A night without a room would be no hardship to her as she didn’t really require sleep as much as just a chance to rest. Her horse was the source of her concern, for if she had no money left, she would have no means to pay for the stable where she had been keeping him. Surely the stable owner would not take him from her if she were unable to pay…would he? She frowned to herself. She had learned enough about the mortal world to suspect that he would. She could ask the dwarf to pay for it, but he had already agreed to supply her, and she wasn’t sure how he would react if she asked for more. Searching through all her possessions, she managed to find an additional gold coin, but it would still not be enough to pay for Celebglin’s board. She sat thinking as she rested, long into the night formulating a plan.

The next day, after settling her account with the innkeeper, she gathered up her things and went in search of the forge in which Brnin said he could be found. It did not take long to locate it, and Brnin nodded to her in acknowledgement of her arrival as he worked the bellows. His sleeves were rolled up exposing his short, muscular forearms and leather gauntlets covered is hands. He also wore a leather apron that bore the many char marks that went along with his trade. The shop itself was orderly for the most part and very well furnished with a variety of excellent tools. Dulin looked it over approvingly. “You have a lovely forge. Quite different from an elvish forge, but in a very functional way.”

Brnin cocked his head slightly. He had never heard the word lovely spoken by an elf when describing a forge. “Really? And have you spent much time in forges where you come from?” He said, checking the fire then going back to the bellows.

“Yes actually. My cousin makes very fine weapons back in Imladris, and in truth, I am quite an accomplished smith myself, though that is not exactly the word my people use to describe a she-elf who can work metal. I do not know the Westron word for it.”

At this Brnin stopped what he was doing and turned to look at her. “You’re a smith are you?” He said with something like bemusement in his rough voice. Dulin nodded. “Tell me, are your skills as a smith as good as your skills as a thief?”

Dulin frowned. “I wasn’t exactly lying about that. I do know how to be a thief, I’ve just never done it. Being a smith is different. You can’t just be told how. It takes a great deal of training and practice as I’m sure you know.” Seeing the incredulous look on his face, she continued. “I don’t mean I’m a smith like you. Among my people, women do not make weapons or armor. That would be frowned upon. But I can make jewelry and other fine things.”

Brnin smiled and nodded in understanding. “You’re a goldsmith.”

“Yes!” Dulin beamed, “An excellent goldsmith.” This was something of an exaggeration but among the mortals who made up the majority of the cities population, she supposed it could be true. It was common practice for she-elves to be taught many different crafts at a young age. Over time they were given opportunity to hone the skills of whatever they enjoyed or showed talent at. Dulin was not an excellent goldsmith among her own people, but she was better at working precious metal then sewing or weaving.

Brnin went back to working the bellows and tried to rekindle the flame to it’s previous heat. “Then I’ll ask ye what I did last night; if your such an excellent goldsmith, why have ye no money?”

Dulin frowned again as sat on the edge of a wooden table. “Things are quite different among the humans then they are among the elves. I thought it would be easy to go out among mortals and learn their ways, but it’s been more difficult then I thought…”

“What made you think it would be easy?” Brnin said, cutting her off a little.

Dulin looked ashamed. “Because they’re mortal I guess. I’ve learned better, if that makes you happy!” She said, growing annoyed with his knowing expression. She then heaved a sigh, recovering her temper. “Elves do not charge each other for food or housing. Those things are taken for granite. Tools and weapons are passed down or shared or made…but you cannot make your own tools if you do not have the raw materials to do so.” she said, the irritation in her voice coming out once more. “Materials here cost money, as would a shop to work in, and gold to work with. Everything is so fast paced here…by the time you know what you should be doing, all your money is spent merely on survival.” She looked down feeling somewhat foolish for pointing out things that must be perfectly obvious to him. “What money I had, I did not spend wisely. Getting along in the human world has been more difficult then I had judged it would be.”

“Do ye think traveling with me is going to be easier?” He said seriously.

“No!…and yes…” She paused trying to pull her thoughts together. “I can’t stay here.” she said at last.

Brnin pulled a long piece of metal from the fire and started pounding it with heavy, even strokes. Dulin took note of the preciseness of each blow. She waited for him to finish before asking the question she had come to ask in the first place. She picked up a bodkin that lay on the table next to her. It was quite plain looking by elvish standards, and heavier then she was used to, but the balance was perfect. There were a few dwarvish runes written across the base of the blade, but as the dwarves were very protective of their language, Dulin could not understand what it said. At last Brnin ceased banging on the flattened piece of metal, and dipped it into a large barrel of water with much hissing and steaming. “You’re making a sword, aren’t you?”

“Aye.” He responded, looking it over critically.

“Would you mind if I used some of your tools?”

He turned to look at her again. Dulin tried not to look sheepish. “I need to make something…I won’t get in your way.”

“Very well.” He said, turning back to the blade he was working on.

Dulin pulled the gold coin from her pocket. It was her intention to make some sort of jewelry with it that she could use as payment for the stable owner to get her horse back. It wasn’t enough for a broach, but she thought she could possibly make a ring from it if she were sparing with the material. Usually wax and clay were needed to craft a ring, but Dulin was hesitant to ask for more. Already Brnin had been far more generous then he needed to be. She decided to use an alternative method instead, and spent much of the afternoon carefully heating the gold, then stretching it into wire. When it was thin enough, she would fold it over, then heat it and stretch it again, adding strength to it each time. When she felt it was the right consistency, she started wrapping the gold wire in an intricate design around a wooden dowel. When she was done, the band itself was four wires thick, weaved together, with a delicate little knot at the top that could have a stone placed in it if desired, but also looked beautiful as it was. She heated it one last time to ensure it would not come apart, then polished it to a high shine.

She could tell Brnin had been watching her from time to time, but she did not mind. The truth was, she had been watching him as well when he wasn’t looking. This was partly because she found the methods he used to make weapons quite interesting, and partly due to general curiosity about the dwarf himself. What would it be like to face a dragon and lose a loved one? Dulin could not imagine. She was also curious about the sister who had not returned, though she felt she shouldn’t ask too much. Why would a she-dwarf be carrying a ring of the Shire? Could she have been a Periannath? Perhaps he would talk more of it as they traveled. For now Dulin contented herself with the knowledge that the ring she had made would likely be enough for her to pay for Celebglin’s stable and the thought of it made her smile. It was the first time since she had gotten to Dale that she had solved a problem for herself…thought not entirely by herself. “Thank you Brnin, for the use of your tools and forge.” She smiled. Brnin nodded in reply and Dulin gathered up her things to leave.
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Postby BrninThedwarf » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:55 pm

Brnin couldn't help but admire the way that the elf worked the gold that she had brought into his forge. The subtle and delicate, yet strong way she held the material as she carefully folded the delicate metal. At one point he became so distracted by it, he touched his forearm to the hot metal of the sword he was working on. Not wanting the elf to know that he was distracted, he didn't cry out, just grunted and put his arm in the water.

It was comforting to know that at least one of the people that had volunteered to go with him had some skill in common with Brnin. He hoped that she wasn't the only one. The others he had barely spoken to, other than to tell his tale to them. Still, he worried that anyone fool enough to go dragon hunting with him was maybe too foolish for their own good.

Brnin had just turned his full attention back to his work when the elf gathered her material up, and replaced his tools upon their exact place on the table. “Thank you Brnin, for the use of your tools and forge.” She smiled. Brnin nodded in reply and Dulin gathered up her things to leave.

"Wait a moment," Brnin said, as he put down his tools and removed his apron. "Perhaps you would be kind enough to let me see your work. I have very seldom seen the craft of elven hands. I would very much like to see if it is all they claim." Dulin looked doubtful of the ring consealed in her hand but slowly opened it, revealing the gold ring.

Brnin moved a step closer and brought her hand up toward his face. His features remained passive, but he thought that the ring a marvelous work, especially so because of the lack of materials that had hindered her in it's making. "Hmm....Very good. It would appear that your claim of being a goldsmith was not just the idle bragging of many of the so called mastercraftsmen here in Dale. You indeed have skill in the art."

Dulin pulled her hand back and turned to walk out of the forge. "Thank you for your kind words. It is but a trinket, but it might serve me tonight."

She started to walk away, and began speaking to herself, thinking that Brnin couldn't hear. "This should be enough to ensure that he is returned to me." The last word was almost inaudible, "hopefully."

Brnin smiled, he had checked out the lodgings and any details he could gather of the party that was to travel with him. He knew that Dulin was staying at one of the more drab and cheap inns in town. He also knew that her horse had been taken by the propritier of the stable. She had not the gold to pay for his lodging. He had paid for her horse to stay for at least two weeks, and also had him moved to the best stable in town. He had also booked her a room in the finest inn that Dale had to offer. He also left word at her current inn of all of this, as well as the instruction that she was not to be told the name of her benefactor.

"She would perhaps think I was pitying her," Brnin thought as the elf walked out the door. "Hopefully she will accept my help for at least tonight. For tomorrow we go."

At that thought, Brnin went out of the back door of the forge and moved to pack his things. Most were already ready, but there were still a few odds and ends to pack tight. He also had to get his mount ready.

He smiled at the thougth of Nagra, his friend through thick and thin. He knew that no one from the west had ever seen a rider mounted on anything like Nagra. He couldn't wait to see the looks on their faces.
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Postby Kethasbro » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:06 pm

When Brnin had left Halith went to the stable where he had been sleeping for the past few nights. Here was the tricky part of going to bed in the stables you had to get in late and get out early not much sleep out of that but Halith was used to that. Here it was the stable master had just pulled out a bottle in a few minutes he'd be drunk. Yes soon he'll start singing rowdy drinking songs.

ohhh my father made a livin sellin
spiked punch to the elves.
My mother made her livin selin that
punch to the dwarf's.

Noww my father would have been slaughtered
when they found out it wernt punch.
Yes he would have been slaughtered if
it hadn't been time for lunch.

Wellll my mothers got just the same story
only it was time to brake fast.
Them dwarf’s got some'a that punch in the
fire and then there was a blast.


between each verse the stable master took a swig of his liquor at the end of the song he apparently ran out. Now as the singing was going on Halith had made his way to the back of the stable. He found himself in a stall with a very lovely horse who seemed to be very tame and he made himself a bed and went to sleep.

The next morning Halith got up early and sneaked out of the stable. He walked around town for a while then about nine-thirty he decided to get one of his two meals for that day. He finished his meal of mutton a potato and some ale and went to find Brinin. He found Brinins forge but he wasn't there so Halith went to search of him. Halith found him putting Dulins horse in a stable. it was the same horse that he'd slept in its stall the night before. He followed Brinin until he went back to his forge he decided to ask Brinin if he could buy a few things. He took out his pouch it hardly had enything in it meybe Brinin would give him a discount. He knocked on the door.

“Come in.”

Halith entered.

“Excuse me sir but I was wandering if you had hatchet and a throwing axe or two I could buy.”
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Postby Maranwe-Ar-Feiniel » Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:37 pm

Narchohen nodded goode'en to the elf, and threaded her way through the streets. A chill wind blew off the hills, and she pulled her coak about her closely, appriciating the protection that the finely woven wool afforded against the breeze. Whilst the elf and the young man had stayed in the section of town with inns and houses for overnight lodging, she made her way towards the more established area, where families lived, and the sight and sound of children were common. Even at the late hour, the music of childish laughter foated from houses, as slippery, wet chldren eluded the grasp of weary mothers, who were as eager to get their offspring to bed as they were eager to not go.

It was in this area of town that she lodged. Even while she had hated the life in Harad, the communal aspect was one thing she couldn't get used to not having. At any given moment she had three or four half siblings tumbling about the women's tent, and even if the older children made fun of her status as peredhel- though, of course, they didn't use nearly as nice terms for it!

Narchohen picked her way across the little plot of land that served the familiy for a garden, and opened the door. Squeals of laughter pierced the night like the light from the door, which revealed a merry chase inside. A chorus of voices from the tub urged a naked little boy on and on, away from the persuing parental unit. Laughing, he darted towards the door, and only just in the nick of time did Narchohen lean down to catch the the little mischief-maker. Swinging him up into her arms, she gave him to the persuing father, who deposited him in the tub, which his sisters had just vacated.

Soon the boy had been duley suds up, rinsed, toweled dry, and put to bed with his sisters by his mother, who came to seat herself by the fire with her husband, stocking her rounded belly.

"That child...I swear, he'll never stop running.....Where did you go this evening, Narcho?"

Narchohen turned from the fire, which she had been prodding a bit pensively.
"Oh, just about scouting out hunting parties...And an interesting offer presented itself at the Black Boar..."

She glanced from the woman to the man. Bertramth had been in the first group of men that she had offered her services as tracker to, and the only man in the group that had given her more than mere strained civility, and when the two weeks of hunting was over and he found that she had no home, he offered her a home with him, Rosalind-his wife, and their three small children. With them it was that Narcho stayed between hunting parties. Of late, however, the demand for guides and trackers was not quite so high, and it had been a couple of months since any oppourtunities for work had presented itself for a job. Bert and Rosa never said anything, but she knew that times were getting a little bit thinner, and with another child on the way....They didn't need to hav an extra mouth to feed, and as it was, she felt the need to be off...somewhere...anywhere. Narcho made up her mind for certain then. She would indeed go with Brnin.

Seating herself down on the bearskin rug, she told in terse sentences the tale Brnin had told, ending with...

"I think I'll go...Times are hard.. I never do anything to help around here,..I think I'm really just a burden on you...No, no" she raised a hand at Rosa, who had started to protest "No, I know what I'm doing. I've been around this town too long. Haradric traders have passed through-"

"But that was months ago, Narcho." Bert said. "If there would be any danger from them that would be over long ago."

"No, because now my Father, or, worse yet, Khalim would have time to get the news, and actually be on his way here. No, I think it's time I moved on." She smiled a bit. "I'm sure I'll be back...With the whole treasure of a thousand dragons perched on my horses!"

Bert and Rosa laughed softly, but Rosa still looked sad. " The children will miss you. Especially Bertrith. That little devil dotes on you, you know."

"Aye...I know. Then I'll definately be back."

The trio sat in silence a bit, then Bert asked, "When do you leave?"

"Morning after next. Early...I believe... I will be going to smithstreet tommorrow to see what Brnin has planned."



The next morn, Narcho spent more time than usual at the house, playing with the young ones, especially Bertrith. At first he wailed when she told him she was leaving, but after some stratigically donated sweets, and carefull stories of dragon, high adventure, and heaps of treasure, with crowns, jewels, and pretty dresses- "For mummy?" " Aye, for mummy"- the little devil was satified with her leaving, secure in the knowedge that it was a sure thing that as soon as she left he would have to single handedly defend the whole town gainst invading dragons, and bloodthirsty pirates. (just where he got the pirates from, Narcho had no idea...)

Then she went to town, and found, not from Brnin, who was away, but from a neighboring smith, that he was leaving the next dawn from the eastern gate.
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Postby BrninThedwarf » Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:53 pm

It was a little less than two hours before dawn and Brnin hadn't slept all night. All he could think about was the fact that tomorrow would be the day. Tomorrow would be the day that he set out to avenge his sister. Tomorrow would be the day he set out and found the lost realms of his people. Perhaps he would even find the lost clans that hadn't been seen since the War of Dwarves and Orcs.

"Tomorrow," Brnin thought. "Tomorrow I start."

These were the thoughts going through the dwarf's head as he made his way to the special stable where Nagra was being held. The was was not hard, but the path was winding, narrow, and the stones were a bit unevenly set. Brnin lit no candle or torch, for he didn't want his movements known to everyone. This caused him to stubb his toe more than a few times, each illiciting a curse for the foolish engineer who made this horrible street.

It wasn't long before Brnin was striding through the main door to the stable. A simple building of brick, the stable was set in the northeast side of the city very near to where the city meets the mountain. The path that reached it branched off from the main path to the gate of Erebor and wound around a high ridge of rock. The ridge blocked off the stable from the view of the city proper to the south and west, as well as the mountain to the north and east.

It was this privacy which Brnin cherished everytime he went to see Nagra. Few in the west had ever seen a creature like him, and fewer still had tamed and befriended one as Brnin had. It was something he learned in the east. In his travels he had seen one of Nagra's race running through a wood. At first Brnin thought it nothing more than his mind playing tricks on his tired eyes. It wasn't until he spoke to a group of men in a city not far down the road that he learned the truth. These creatures were real, and were bred by the dwarves.

For what reason or purpose was unknown, and frankly, Brnin didn't care. He formed a relationship with Nagra that he doubted that any had ever thought of. He had saved Nagra's life, and Nagra had saved his.

Brnin smiled as he walked in and Nagra gave a snort at his comming. "Hello to you too my friend. I hope you've been keeping yourself busy these past few days." Brnin walked up and stroked his strong muscular neck. He grabbed a brush off the wall and a bucket from the floor and began to give the beast a bath. Nagra threw his head back and snorted loudly in what Brnin interpreted as a mixture of contempt at the cleaning and pleasure at having the pests removed from his hide.

Brnin laughed as the loyal friend tipped the bucket over and soaked the floor of the stable. "Ha ha, my friend. Surely you feel better now that you're all clean eh?" Nagra chomped his teeth at Brnin. "No? Well too bad. In an hour I am introducing you to the world and I won't have you looking like you just came from a mud wallow. Besides, today is the day that we begin our journey. Today we begin to avenge Willow."

A faint green light entered the stable at the mention of the name of Brnin's sister. It eminated from the pouch on Brnin's belt that held his sister's ring, The Earth Ring of the Shire.

The name also had an effect on Nagra, and Brnin knew that he understood. He grew calm and steady. He allowed Brnin to place the saddle that had been specially made by Brnin's grandfather on his back. He allowed the harness and reins made by Brnin to be placed on his head. He then allowed Brnin to mount a heavy pack upon his rear without a sign of complaint.

Brnin smiled once more and patted him on the neck. "Come on my friend, the sun is rising and soon we must meet the others."

With those words Brnin mounted up and rode for the center of Dale astride one of the largest Boars that anyone in town had ever, or would ever, see.
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Postby lark » Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:39 pm

With a sense of self worth that she had not felt in many weeks, Dulin hurried along the streets of Dale to the stable where Celebglin was being kept. A stable boy met her at the gate, and she instructed him to summon his master and inform him she had come to retrieve her horse and settle her bill. Anxiously she waited for him, fingering the ring in her pocket and biting her lip.

At last the rather burly man appeared and addressed Dulin. “Your horse is no longer here.” He said bluntly.

Dulin’s heart sank. “B-but…I’ve come to settle the bill.” She pleaded.

The stable owner held up a thick hand to stop her, “The bill’s already been paid, and your horse moved to another stable. You can find him at the big barn next to the Gilded Dragon Inn at the south side of town.”

Dulin stood blinking at him trying to absorb what he was telling her, “But…who?”

The stable owner shrugged, shaking his head and turned and walked away, leaving Dulin to ponder who could have done such a thing and why. With this on her mind, she quickly made her way to the south side of town and asked directions to the Gilded Dragon. Once there, she entered the large ornate stable and asked to speak with the stable master. It wasn’t long before a kind looking man, smiling amiably approached. “Ah yes, the she-elf. Dulin isn’t it? I was told to expect you. You can find your horse in the last stall on the right. He’s a fine animal, did he come from Rohan?”

Again Dulin found herself blinking and stammering for words. “Err…no. He was bred in Rivendell….who-”

“Ah, elvish stock! I should have guessed.” He said thoughtfully rubbing his chin. “Oh, before I forget, I was told to give you this too.” He continued, handing her a key. “Your room is on the second floor of the inn. Third door on the left.” Catching Dulin’s expression he added, “Don’t worry. It’s all been paid for.”

“By whom!?” She finally managed to get out.

The stable master shrugged. “I wasn’t told. I guess you have a fried in the city somewhere.” He said with a friendly smile.

Distractedly, Dulin took the key and, after checking on Celebglin, entered the main hall of the inn where she was shown upstairs to her room. It was far bigger and nicer then her previous room with ample furnishings and a large bed. It even had a fireplace of it’s own which was rarely seen on the second story of buildings in Dale. Only the nicest structures could manage such a luxury. A small curtained alcove at one end of the room contained a bathtub. Dulin sat on the edge of the soft bed nearly dumbfounded as she tired to figure out how she could have suddenly found herself in such a favorable situation.

Who would do something like this for her? Her first thoughts were of her twin brother Thalion, but he was no where near Dale. She had left him in Rivendell months ago, knowing for a fact that he was intending to go to Lorein. In fact, she really didn’t know anyone in Dale other then the dwarf…The DWARF! “Brnin!” She said to herself. He was the only one (other then her previous landlord) who knew of her situation, but why would he choose to be so generous? She had always heard that dwarves were quite stingy with their treasures. Of course he had agreed to supply her for the trip willingly enough…and allowed her to use his tools and forge…but this! It was much more then expected, and almost more then she could believe, but she could think of no other explanation.

At last she decided to stop trying to make sense of it, and instead take advantage of her situation, however it had come about. She first indulged in a long bath, then spent a great deal of time carefully braiding her hair. She had allowed it to grow out some recently, and found that she could once again pull back at the sides in a way that was typical of her race and quite becoming as well. She then put away the human clothing she had adopted and dressed herself fully in her elvish clothing, with an elaborately embroidered shirt of sage green that laced up the front and a pair of riding breaches made out of leather that had been worked until it was as soft as velvet. This was finished off with tall riding boots and a long green cloak. Looking at her own reflection in the mirror, she was not displeased.

She spent the rest of the evening inspecting her weapons and going over her travel gear. As excited as she was, she could not ignore the fact that they were going in search of a dragon. One of the few creatures in Middle Earth that was just as dangerous to elves as they were to mortals, or dwarves for that matter. They were large, strong, fast, and notoriously smart, with built in armor and weapons that could not be matched by anything she had in her own small arsenal. This concerned her greatly, but for now she tried to focus on the safer aspects of the trip. She loved traveling to new places and this promised to be a trip to remember.

In the morning, she rose early and packed her gear on Celebglin’s back and, leading him only with a word, made her way to the east gate of the city. There she beheld a sight most unexpected. Several townsfolk had gathered to gawk at what was unmistakably a giant boar wearing a saddle and harness. Dulin herself stood gaping as she realized Brnin was the rider. Slowly she approached, “I must say, Master Brnin, you are a dwarf who is full of surprises. This should prove to be a most interesting trip!”
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Postby Kethasbro » Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:03 am

Halith walked out of Brinins forge. The dwarf had been generes and had given him a small discount. He'd got every thing he had hoped to get a hatchet and two throwing axes and now to an inn. Not a very good inn but Halith didn't mind he was spending the last of his money tonight. He put his bags down and went to see whats cooking.

“Hey whats it take to get some food around here.”
“Here you are sir” said the cook.”You're a bit late for dinner arent you ”
“Aye but if I get dinner sooner there just might be crowd.”
“A crowd in here for dinner. HA! No the people come here for ale if they come at all.”
At the cook went away mumbling under her breath.”A crowd here ha who does he think we are the Gilded Dragon.”
Halith finished his meal in silence and then went out the back door of the inn and to the little shed in the back where the hogs were kept and in the back he had hidden his horse behind some conveniently placed crates.
“Hello Saryel.”he patted the lovely dark brown mare her lovely black mane, tail and legs one of which had a stripe on her left foreleg.”tomorrow we leave but when we get back you'll get to be in the stable for a week.” he went back into the inn and to his room. He took out his sword, dagger, arrows and axes and hatchet. The sword hardly ever really needed cleaning but he cleaned it any way. Then he cleaned the axes and hatchet he really liked the hatchet it was a double headed curved hatchet it didn't need cleaning nor did the axes Brinin kept his stuff cleaned. Last came the arrows he indaviduily cleaned and sharpened the heads. Then he went to bed.

The next morning at dawn Halith snuck out of the inn and got Saryel and left her out front and went back into the inn and put nearly the rest of his money on the bar which paid for half what he owed . He went back out and mounted Saryel and rode to the eastern gate he saw Brinin riding on what must be the biggest boar ever Halith rode up to him the elf was already there
“well master dwarf I see you've fitted yourself out most formidable gea
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Postby Maranwe-Ar-Feiniel » Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:27 am

Dawn of the morning for departure came, and and Narchohen was awake to greet it. All her things were packed-she took little more than she needed, and that was little- and she was ready to go. Jahira and Alhtal were pawing at the ground, ready to go. Narcho paused a moment admiring her horses. Even if the Haradrim were savage in their sophisticated brutality, they could certainly breed fine horses! Unlike many chieftains, her father had leaned towards a heavier type horse; rohirric stock mixed with the firey desert breed brought out a horse that could do just about anything.

THe half elf slung her pack across Jahira's back, and mounted Alhtal. Her farewells had been sadi the night before, and now she turned her face in the direction of the town gate. The mists of early morning swirled about the horses hooves, and shafts of light started to appear in the midst of the shadows.

Finally, reaching the gate, she spied the obscure shapes of the elf, man, and dwarf just outside the gate. She urged Jahira onward at a brick trot, but drew rein at the gate in shock. The shapes of two horses was were apparent, with the man and elf on them, but what in Eru's name was that-thing the dwarf was on?! It appeared to be a giant boar, but who rode on a boar?!

Brnin swung his mount around to face her, and she saw it was indeed a huge, ugly, hair boar.
"Master dwarf..." Narcho groped for words.."I am honored to be in your party."

THe dwarf smiled a bt at her, to put her at ease, she suspected, and patted the ridge of bristles running along it's neck.
"This is Nargra, my friend and mount."

Nagra snorted, and Jahira shied away, sidestepping nervously.

"Quite a surprising mount...I have indeed never seen the likes."

"No, I wouldn't think any one has..." The dwarf relplied softly. "Oh, but have you met the other members of our party?"

Narcho glanced over the two, bowing slightly in her saddle to the elf. "Aye, we've met...briefly."

"But we really haven't, miss." stated the young man. He was mounted on a dark brown horse, and carried quite an array of weapons. He appeared to Narcho to be a gondorian.

"Halith. At your service." He bowed gallently in his saddle, and Narcho bowed back.

"Narchohen. At yours and you family's."
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Postby BrninThedwarf » Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:59 pm

Brnin smiled at the reactions people were giving him at the sight of Nagra. The dwarves reacted much the way that he thought they would, with wonder and respect. The great boar was an animal that seemed right to take into battle. The tough skin, the fiery attitude, not to mention the tusks that could disembowel a man, elf, or dwarf who was unwary enough to get in the way.

Brnin soon became grim faced again as he moved into the midst of the three who had agreed to join him. "Are we ready?" He asked looking from face to face. All agreed that they were ready, and Brnin spurred Nagra towards the road that led to the Iron Hills. The group soon moved after him.

They all knew that dwarves weren't much for speeches, but the small crowd that had gathered had hoped for one. Brnin's impassioned speech in the bar was fresh in their minds still and they had hoped to hear more. A speech though, was far from Brnin's mind. Foremost in his mind was the thought of reaching the Hills and finding at least one more ally. "If he is there.."

The foursome moved at a rather brisque pace out of Dale and onto the eastern road that led to the Iron Hills. This was were Brnin had grown up, and the place that he still called home. Here they could gather news of the east and hopefully news of the few friends that Brnin had gained in the east.

The Iron Hills was the perfect place to gather news, for many people from the east do trade with the dwarves. Also, scouts from the kingdom of Dale, as well as dwarven scouts constantly watch the east ever since the War of the Ring. Here was the best place in all of the western lands to find information of doings in the east and Brnin knew it.

Brnin only hoped that news of the Guradians had reached the hills. They were the only force east of the Sea of Rhun that he could hope would assist them in their quest. He hadn't told the group about them, and was planning to wait until they reached the Hills. Hopefully there would be no objections to the aid of easterlings.

They had been going for several hours and had left the mountain behind them, snow-capped in the bright afternoon, when they met a group of men in the livery of the Archers of Dale. They were hurring from the east back towards the mountain. They had the travel-worn look of men that had been on the move for days and days. They stopped though when they saw the small group and the dwarf's strange mount.

"Hail men of Dale," called Brnin as he checked Nagra and motioned for the others to stop. "What business takes you in such a hurry back to the city, if this dwarf may ask?"

The men looked at him and saw the royal crest of King Thorin lll Stonehelm on his helm. They knew that this signified that this dwarf was a member of the Royal Guard, and in the trust of the King. They could tell him of their mission.

"Well master dwarf, we go to speak to King Bard ll about Easterlings moving in great numbers in the east." said the man who appeared to be the leader of the group. "Captain Barrak of the Guard of Dale at your service," he said bowing to Brnin.

"Brnin son of Borin of the Royal Guard of Thorin at the service of you and your family," Brnin said in the customary way in those parts. "You said that the Easterlings were on the move in great numbers, have you seen them close to the boarders?"

The man frowned a bit. "No, no man has seen them, but as you know some of the Men of Dale can communicate with the Thrushes of these lands and it was they that gave us news of a great number to the east and south of the Iron Hills. We don't know what, if anything, could be amiss but we are under orders to report any large troop movement immediately to the King."

It wasn't until this moment that Captain Barrak noticed that it wasn't just humans that traveled with the dwarf but at least one elf also. His eyes opened wide with wonder at the sight of her and he bowed low. "Forgive me, I have rudely ignored the remanider of your group. And a fair company you are indeed," he said as his gaze went to Dulin. "Captain Barrak of the Guard of Dale at your service." He said to the others of the group.

"Dulin, at your service and your family," said Dulin remembering how Brnin had greeted him.

"Halith of Gondor at your service good captain," said the man of the west.

"Narchohen at your service," said the half-elf after a pause.

Captain Barrak moved a bit closer and told his men to stand at ease for a bit. "What is it that brings a company out from the mountain on so fine a day," asked Barrak.

"We are making for the Hills. I have business in lands far from here and these fine folk have agreed to assist me. Surely you've heard the tale?" Barrak had a blank look on his face. "Of course.." exclaimed Brnin. "You've been at your post on the frontier for a long time haven't you. I'm sorry, but I haven't time to tell you the story in full. I am sure that once you reach the city you will hear all you need to understand our mission. For now, I am afraid that we must be going. Farewell and safe journey."

"Farewell to you Brnin, and safe journey," said Captain Barrak as he motioned for his men to regroup and make for the city again.

Brnin waited until the men were out of earshot and said to the group. "I don't like the sound of all that troop movement. When I left last year there were no armies in any lands until you got very close to the cities of the East. Once we get past the Hills we must be very careful. He looked at the group and his gaze stopped on Halith. "Halith, I would caution you to avoid the silver and sable of Gondor once we reach those lands. If some knew that you were from that land, they would kill you and any that rides with you."

With that Brnin moved into position next to Dulin and had a strange expression on his face. "I think he liked you," he said as the elf met his gaze. Brnin smiled as the elf had a rather confused look on her face. "Perhaps I should bring him along?" She didn't answer with words, she just spurred her horse on ahead of Brnin.
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Postby lark » Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:00 pm

“I think he liked you,” Brnin said with a smile. Dulin had noticed Barrak looking at her, but in her naiveté, it had not occurred to her that there was any meaning behind it other then curiosity. “Perhaps I should bring him along?” He added. Dulin wanted to scowl at him, but there was a merriness in his eyes that she had not seen before, and she had to spur her horse ahead of him so he would not see her smiling.

Presently the western sky grew darker and it became obvious that a storm was coming. “How much longer will it take to reach the Iron Hills?” Dulin asked with concern.

“We won’t make it there ahead of that storm, if that’s what your thinking.” Brnin replied.

The wind picked up and the horses began to show signs of their unease. Only the great boar kept on steadily as if she were unaffected by the threat of bad weather, or perhaps she just trusted her master to have sense enough to lead them to a safe place before the storm caught them. “Is there a village nearby where we can wait it out?” Asked Halith.

“No, but if my memory serves me, there is a cave around the next bend, and halfway down the ravine.” Brnin stated calmly.

“He’s right.” Narchohen added. “I’ve been this way before. Trackers use that cave commonly.”

Dulin cocked her head with interest and tried to look closer at Narchohen’s expression, but she turned away. There was a tenseness in her voice and stiffness in her small frame that suggested she was worried about something, though Dulin wasn’t sure what it could be. She dismissed it for the time being, supposing she was perhaps disturbed by the approaching squall.

The ravine was somewhat difficult to navigate on horseback but the path, though narrow, was well worn and the four of them made there way gingerly to the entrance of the cave just as the rain began to fall. Once inside they found firewood left by some previous visitor. They moved the horses and Naugra to the back of the cave, then started a small fire as close to the entrance as the wind would allow and prepared to wait out the storm.

Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled causing the horses to flare their nostrils and paw the ground nervously. Nagra however, calmly found a rock protruding from the cave wall and commenced to scratching her rough hide on it, grunting contentedly as she did so. Dulin had to smile at her. “When I was in Mirkwwod we ate wild boar nearly everyday. I had no idea they could be so charming.” She laughed as Brnin smiled admiringly at his mount.

“Is that where your from? Mirkwood?” Halith enquired conversationally.

“No, I’m from Imladris…Rivendell.” She corrected herself, “but my brother and I were often sent as messengers to the other elvish strongholds. And you’re from Gondor, correct?”

Halith nodded and Dulin continued, “I was there once before the war, but I have not been back since. Was there much damage to the White City?”

“I’m afraid so, but much has been rebuilt. Actually, the dwarves have helped greatly in that endeavor.” He said with a polite nod to Brnin. Brnin nodded back to him.

Dulin looked back at the horses again. “It looks like one of your horses has taken an interest in Master Brnin’s mount, Narchohen.” Dulin said, observing how her horse had moved in quite close and was carefully sniffing the animal with it’s ears pricked forward.

Narchohen however, stood at the entrance of the cave staring out into the storm. She glanced back at Dulin’s comment but seemed distracted. It seemed obvious to Dulin now that it was something much more serious then the storm that had the young woman worried, but she still wasn’t sure what. She went back in her mind to when she first noticed a change in her, and narrowed it down to around the time they met up with the men from Dale. They had seemed nice enough…what had they said? Easterlings were moving in great numbers. Yes, that was it. A thrush had told them. It was the fact that a thrush had told them that stuck with Dulin, but somehow she didn’t think it was that aspect of the news that bothered Narchohen. Dulin bit her lip, deep in thought. She very much wanted to know what was bothering her, but wasn’t sure how to approach it. For now she would just have to watch and wait.
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Postby BrninThedwarf » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:26 pm

Brnin was grumbling more than even a dwarf was used to after his talk with his grandfather. "In all my long years I've never heard anything that was worse news than that." He said to himself as he led the party away from the Iron Hills stronghold of his people.

It had been two days since the camp in the cave and it had continued to rain sporadically ever since. It had just started again not a moment before and Brnin had his deep crimson hood pulled far over his head. The water dripped off the end of it, and fell down to meet what seemed like gallons that fell from everywhere else. Brnin's spirits were as low as they had been in months, but his reslove was set in stone. He would go on no matter what.

He worried about the others though. He scanned each face as he passed back and forth across the group, now traveling in line behind Narchohen. Brnin knew that she had a reputation for being a better than average scout, especially in these parts, and Brnin wanted to think more than he wanted to guide the group through lands that he knew like the back of his hand.

And thinking was what he did, all he did. He had spoken little in two days since they had left the Hills. He had led them there so he could gain knowledge of the few allies he had in the east. His grandfather had been keeping his ear to the ground, so to speak, for news of them and Brnin had found out that the news wasn't good.

His friends were a group of freedom fighters, so to speak, that lived in the lands of Rhun. Defectors from the Wainrider troops of the Easterlings. They went by the name The Defenders of Life. They were only a few hundred in number, not more than 600, but they were elite fighters, some of the best to be found in the east. They made it their mission to free their lands from the curse of Sauron. Because of this they were hunted tirelessly by the Cult of the Eye.

Now Brnin had news that their leader, a man by the name of Uriel, and his forces had been forced back into their strongholds in the hills of Rhun. It was a place simply called Sancturary. No one who went there were there against the wishes of Uriel. If they did, they never lived to tell anyone about where it lies. Not even Brnin, a friend, knew where it was. The only time he had been there he had been blindfolded. The group had been shocked when he had told them of Uriel and his men, but they were also disquieted when they had heard that he had been forced back to his stronghold by the armies of Rhun. None of them wanted to get involved in a war.

The fact that Uriel had been forced into hiding, and that it hadn't stopped raining for more than an hour in two days had widdled down Brnin's patience to next to nothing. It was for this reason that when Narchohen stopped the group he questioned her rather angrily.

"What is it?!!" He shouted over the still falling rain.

The scout looked back at him and Brnin caught a flash of anger in her eyes. "Wolves master dwarf. Not far from here. Did you not hear their howls?"

Brnin was rather taken aback. He hadn't heard the calls of the beasts. All his attention had been on the terrible news out of the east. He chided himself for his inattention to the events at hand, and his overworry for what he had no control over.

"Well, we had better find some cover and set up camp. I don't know about the rest of you, but I tire of traveling in this downpour anyway. If memory serves there is a small hill not far from here with a small cluster of trees. That should give us a small reprive from the rain, and allow us a better defensive position from the wolves if they attack in the night." Brnin looked up and saw that it was only a few hours from sunset.

Narchohen looked towards the east and frowned. "We should make it there before nightfall..If we hurry."

Dulin walked up and positioned herself along side the dwarf and the scout. "We must watch our speed in this rain though. We don't want a horse to break a leg or throw someone in a fall."

"Indeed not, though they might be hurt worse if the wolves meet us out here in the open in larger numbers than we are ready for." Halith said as he moved up to join the group.

"Then we had better move off now. Please, master Narchohen, if you would. We could use some of your masterful skill in finding the best path. Would you lead on?" Brnin said. It was the closest he could come to an apology at the moment. She nodded and spurred her horse off into the direction of the hill that many in these lands knew of.

Brnin followed behind hoping that the wolves would attack tonight. Perhaps he would feel better once he had thrown his anger into a few axe strokes.
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Postby Sirion » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:39 pm

The rain had not ceased in days; it was a needed thing here, in the deserts. Those forests that stood needed all the water they could get, and when it rained like this, it usually did so for, as it was, days on end. Of course, that usually did not make for very good hunting, and so most simply let that be as it may when the rains came. There were those select few who did not sway from their regular business of hunting, even when it rained. They would go out diligently, riding or walking on their own trained feet, and they would return—always—with what they had gone out for.

Mehtar was one of those who did not sway. Having lived in the wastes of the deserts all of his life, only on occasion moving into the forested areas—for brief periods at most—he was used to the rain. When it had rained in the desert, there was no real place that gave adequate cover from the downpour; that being so, nomads were forced to simply take the water for what it was: a rebirth; rejuvenation. Mehtar saw the rains as the gift of Life, sending down strength to the earth. The Sun was the brightness, the light to which all men held firm; the Moon was the sister of the Sun, and the Star’s Moon’s fingers. And the Rains were their combined gift, sent to cleanse, to heal.

Even when such things as hunting were in process, Mehtar thought of these old faiths, now his own as well. It would not look as if such wandering thoughts were mussed up within his head; not when he was at work. One of the few times he would venture into forested areas was in occurrence, though he had not yet totally reached his destination. He was taking his time, working his way along slowly. He was following them.

The wolves had long been Mehtar’s favorite hunt. They were not normal things, here in the deserts. They were larger, far wilder, a much more drastic example of nature. Mehtar was one of very few who actively hunted them for both food and trade. He viewed it as the ongoing challenge of his life; where there was a challenge, there was Mehtar. He would never let himself stand to the side and watch another climb to new heights; if he did, it would then be only so that he could learn how to climb higher.

The rains had soaked into the earth, but the desert was a dry place; much of the ground would only be called moist in other places. The footprints of the pack of desert wolves had faded in the rains, and through it Mehtar could not see them. It was only for the best; he was staying out of their range anyhow. Should they catch the scent of either Het or himself, he knew they would all be coming back for him. That was not a good thing. Hunt them he might, but he didn’t go for an entire pack. No one was that suicidal.

With limber ease the man of Harad dropped from Het’s back, slipping to the ground. The sound of his movements was drowned out by the plop and patter of drops all along the ground, and the occasional boom of thunder. He moved to a scuffed patch of dirt, a crowd of sparse vegetation trying to reach up past the battering rain to suck it all in. He bent over in a long crouch, eyes searching expertly. There were several tracks, the first of which he easily noticed having crushed part of one shrub. Through the thin cloth of his turban—already drenched—he could smell little, and he reached up a hand to pull it down slightly from his nose. He drew in a deep breath; there was the familiar stench of all their grime washed down into the earth, mixed with the smell of blood.

He didn’t take a second smell. They were close by. The rains had made it more difficult to keep the track perfect, and he might have come too close, within their range. They were certainly close, if he could smell them in wet ground. He pushed himself to his feet, whistled, and Het was already at a trot when he pulled himself dexterously into the saddle. By the time he was sitting low, closet to the stallion’s neck, Het was at a full gallop.

They weren’t going straight for the pack. They were circling. Their scent was strongest just by where Mehtar had stopped; if the pack was smelling them out, they’d go that way. If not, Mehtar would circle around and he’d be able to start picking them off. One way or another, things would work out the way they always did. And Mehtar would have another wolf for the fire.
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Postby Astalder » Sat Mar 17, 2007 9:33 am

Khalif felt uneasy. Not that anyone would ever accuse Khalif of having much in the way of feelings nor would anyone ever accuse him of paranoia. Yet this sense of uneasiness had persisted throughout the hot seven-day ride from the city of Hakeen to near the southernmost edge of Gondor’s border. On occasion even the base of his neck tingled with that normal sensation that crept up when danger was near.

Before he had left Khalif had consulted a well-known priestess in hope that she would be able to foretell any events on his journey. After casting the bones the young and somewhat stunning priestess had cryptically replied in her softest, most alluring voice, “This will be a journey of great importance, much will be lost, and more gained. That is all I see.” she finished, beckoning him away. Khalif feeling predictably unsatisfied with the content turned to leave. Once again he felt that priestesses were a waste of time. The message was vague and could encompass complete disaster or success in guarding the emissary and the gold to Minas Tirith. As he reached the door to exit the priestesses dark, incense reeking chamber she called to him, “Khalif.” He turned around to face her. She winked at him saying, “… one more thing. Follow the Dwarf and his hog to whatever end he leads you too. There you will find what you seek.” At that point all the hope Khalif had ever in all things prophecy was shattered. Clearly, Khalif had mused to himself, the priestess had dipped a little further into her own potions than was good for her. He then vowed to himself never to buy anything from a religious institution ever again. Upon further reflection he became aware of what he thought could be a minute pang of guilt for every one of the common aphrodisiac potions he had ever given his respective women.

“Yes,” Khalif thought to himself. Hot and uneasy, Khalif decided, in his sweat soaked clothing and turban. He cursed through his dusty, cloth-covered mouth. He cursed at nothing in particular; perhaps he just was getting old, burnt out. Though no one in their right mind, and few in their wrong state of mind would ever accuse him of weakness or lacking stamina for that matter either. Khalif could feel every single of his long 32 summers, and, he by his estimation, a few unfair additional years that had been added.

Khalif was startled from his unstartling and particularly unsatisfying reverie by a horseman riding down a sandy dune towards him. As he neared he raised a hand in greeting, which Khalif returned.

“General, a storm is blowing in from the west.” The scout informed him.

It was perhaps a squall that had blown in out of the sea and not died somewhere in the desert. Desert storms were a particularly unpleasant sort of storm in this area often kicking up the gravel dirt of this desert and hurling it at blinding speeds upon hapless travellers.

“Tell the men to set up camp and to begin setting things up, I shall go and tell the emissary of what is happening.” Khalif replied.

Immediately the Scout lifted his horn and blew the appropriate signal. Khalif lazily steered his horse down the dispersing column towards the carriages of his not-so-humble convoy. Dismounting he knocked on the emissaries carriage. The emissary, a fat and irritating man named Dizmul poked his head through the door. “Yes?” he answered sharply or as sharply as his soft voice could. It seemed as if Khalif was interrupting something important… perhaps something involving his concubine, Khalif thought, not entirely un-bemused.

“Storm’s coming up,” Khalif growled, turning back to his mount, ignoring any comment that Dizmul might make.

Throughout the next few minutes Khalif’s 50 horsemen men sought places to put their low tents. The tents were of an ancient yet ingenious design; small enough to be carried by a horse, though they often weren’t, and able to protect both a rider and his horse in bad weather. The horse would lie on its and a flap would come down to cover the horse. They were also versatile enough to be attached together so that an endless column of them could be joined together, though usually there was a maximum of four put together.

He watched one of his scouts take his horse to the top of a nearby dune to act as a lookout. Khalif, still holding his horse, saw the scout almost imperceptibly stiffen and suddenly raise a horn to his mouth. The blast was cut short as the scout and his mount was turned into a human pincushion. Suddenly that uncomfortable, tingling feeling that had inhabited his neck for the last few days was back. For a few precious, vital moments everyone froze at the unbeckoned call.

Khalif freed his mouth from the cloth covering his mouth and bellowed, “Ambush!” Immediately life returned as men scrambled to their horses, some merely clasped their weapons, their horses already unsaddled.

Khalif drew his scimitar, waving it in the air, calling his men to him. Before any sort of defence could be mustered they came. Scores of tan clad horsemen began to crest and stream between the nearby dunes to the west as archers began to rain down arrows from the eastern dune.

Then man and horse alike began to scream and die.

Khalif, without any other options, spurred his mount towards the oncoming horde of horseflesh. He felt an arrow glance off of his armour, then Khalif and half his force crashed into the tan-coloured horsemen, and then there was that chaos of steel and blood and pain known as battle.

Khalif swung his scimitar hard into the neck of the first horse he met, its blood exploding from the wound, covering all nearby. He had not the time to dispatch the rider before he was swinging the scimitar in another powerful arc into the torso of another horseman. Khalif was then nearly knocked off of his horse as a spear glanced off of the armour at his shoulder. With his reign hand he grabbed the spear, jerking it from the man’s grasp. He then lunged it forward connecting with the man’s chin knocking him from his mount. Dropping the spear Khalif quickly raised his scimitar to meet another scimitar in the process of bearing down on Khalif’s turban-clad head. As the swords met Khalif looked into the face of the man attempting to strike him down and time stopped. It was Prince Hadar whose eye he had taken. Prince Hadar grinned, striking viciously again and again at Khalif. Khalif brought his reign to his neck and tapped with his left foot causing the horse to sidestep quickly into Prince Hadar’s horse. Prince Hadar attempted another slash but they were knee-to-knee and too close for a cavalry sword to be used in such a way and the blade, lacking the force to cut through Khalif, merely cut a bit into torso. Khalif winced but caught Prince Hadar’s sword, striking out with his fist and catching Prince Hadar square in the face. A crunch informed Khalif that Prince Hadar’s nose had just been crushed. Instead of bringing his fist back Khalif grabbed Prince Hadar’s tan cloak and spurred his horse forward, dragging him from his mount. Letting go of Hadar he kept going and, urging his horse to a gallop, he was free of any immediate threat. Just then the storm began to hit, picking up the desert sand and within moments Khalif and his mount had disappeared within the fury of the swirling sands.

That had been nearly a year ago and still Prince Hadar’s men relentlessly pursued Khalif from one land to the next. He had interrogated one of his pursuers and had discovered that Prince Hadar was using sorcerers to lead his groups of soldiers and bounty hunters. Khalif had grown thin and gaunt from constantly being on the run and his hair was now streaked by grey. Now he was travelling a road on the way to the Iron Hills, travelling east into those barbaric lands in hope that Prince Hadar’s men would turn back or be killed.

Khalif was soaked to the bone as he pondered his next move. His tattered and faded scarlet cloak offered little salvation from the rain. His horse looked much the same, beleaguered. Upon further reflection the horse, perhaps, deserved a name. It had after all been with him through countless encounters through many lands. Khalif gave up, deciding he was not in a creative mood and did not really care to name his mount anyway.

He stopped at a small hill that had a scraggly cluster of trees hoping that he could rig up some shelter and hopefully start a fire. Unsaddling his horse he wrapped himself in the saddle blanket, hoping it would offer a little bit more warmth. Then he heard it through the heavy rainfall, a howl that was soon joined by other howls. A hungry sound that called for flesh to fill aching bellies. Khalif went to the saddle and grabbed his bow from its scabbard, one of his few remaining possessions. Nocking an arrow he waited for what might present itself.
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Postby lark » Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:05 pm

As they made their way to the top of the small hill, it seemed to Dulin that the mood of the company was a perfect reflection of the somber weather that had followed them for the last few days. Though usually quite perceptive about such things, the reasons eluded her, and she was left guessing at what could be bothering everyone.

It was nearly dark by the time they made their way to the top of the little wooded hill, and though the sky was still quite overcast, the rain ceased for a time, and they began to set up their camp. Somewhere in the distance, and wolf howled, long and low. Dulin cocked her head, listening carefully. Now that the rain had ended, she could hear much more clearly, and something struck her as odd. “That wolf sounds strange…not like any wolf I’ve heard before.” She commented.

“We should keep the horses close to us tonight, and build a large fire. Wolves almost never come near a fire.” Added Halith as he unsaddled his mount.

“A single fire will not be enough to dissuade those wolves.” Came a strange voice causing everyone to turn abruptly. Hands instinctively went to the hilts of their weapons as the group spotted the stranger who had spoken. Black eyes and dark skin showed beneath the weathered turban of the man who, along with a tired looking horse, had managed to approach on the soft wet earth without being detected even by Dulin’s sharp ears. There was a bow in his hand, which he lowered as his gaze passed over the group, quickly assessing strengths and weakness and sizing them up. When he came to Brnin, he paused and his eyes widened slightly. “A dwarf…” He said quietly.

“Aye!” Said Brnin sternly, his hand still on the handle of his ax, “And who might you be?”

“Forgive me. My name is Khalif, and I was merely seeking shelter from the weather and wolves.” He said, quickly regaining his composure and politely inclining his head. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

The four group members exchanged glances, not exactly sure how to deal with the newcomer. At last Halith spoke, “You said one fire would not dissuade the wolves…how do you know this?”

Khalif’s posture relaxed some as he answered, but Dulin noticed that his gaze kept going back to Brnin as if there was something especially intriguing about the dwarf to him. “I believe those are desert wolves we’re hearing. They’re larger then other wolves, and tend to be braver. The smell of the horses will attract them, but they’ll eat whatever they can catch. I suggest we build several fires in a circle and keep the horses and ourselves in the middle.”

“WE?” Asked Narchohen, not bothering to hide her distrust of the newcomer.

Dulin thought she saw anger pass over Khalif’s eyes momentarily, but in an instant it was gone and replaced by a placid calm expression that would not betray what he was thinking. “Excuse me, I did not mean to come off as rude. There is safety in numbers. If you do not object, I would ask to join you for the night.”

There was a pause as the others waited to see how Brnin would answer. The dwarf stared at him for a moment, considering carefully what he should do. “Very well.” He said at last. “You may join us. Put your horse with the others and we’ll get to work on those fires.”

As Khalif lead his mount to where the others were picketed, Dulin saw him stop to stare at Brnin’s boar with great interest. “Yours?” He said at last, turning to look at Brnin again. Brnin nodded, and the man of Harad grew silent as if in thought.

Dulin, thinking about what he had said about the wolves, and considering his strange and foreign clothes, so worn with age and travel, ventured to ask him, “Are we that close to the desert then?”

“Not really.” Answered Brnin for him.

“Which makes it all the more dangerous. If the wolves have ventured this far from their usual territory, they must be desperate for food.” Finished Khalif.

“Then lets get started on those fires.” said Brnin.

Halith looked doubtfully at the pile of wet firewood he had collected. “It’s not going to be easy. Everything is soaked.”

“You should never doubt the ability of a dwarf to make a fire!” Called Brnin loudly as he pulled the bark back from a nearby tree. From the underside of the bark He pulled woody fibers that were perfectly dry, and used them as tender to get a blaze going. Before long they had five fires going in an irregular circle. The horses and boar were picketed in the center, and the company divided into two groups to keep watch on either side. Halith and Narchohen were on one side, while Dulin and Brnin were on the other with Khalif nearby. It was completely dark now and distant thunder threatened more rain soon.

The howling had ceased, but they still kept watch as best they could in the dark. Dulin leaned against a tree and considered Khalif’s thin profile in the firelight. She wanted to ask Brnin what he really thought of him, but was afraid he would hear her. She glanced casually out into the darkness just as a flash of lightning illuminated the world around them. For a brief moment she could see a large shaggy wolf standing silently on a rock some thirty yards from the camp, then all was dark again. Dulin jumped from her resting place against the tree and grabbed up her bow. “What is it?” asked Brnin next to her.

“Wolf!” She said as she quickly fired off two arrows into the darkness where the wolf had been. Her aim was true, but the silence that followed told her that the wolf had already moved. She silently cursed herself for wasting arrows and took a quick mental count of how many she had left in her quiver.

Hearing her, everyone came to attention, and those with bows nocked arrows and waited tensely for the next flash of lightning. It came within seconds. This time Dulin could see two wolves just to the left of where she had seen the first. With the quick reflexes common to her people, she fired her arrow before the flash of lightning had ended and was sure this time that she had hit her target, but as they were plunged into darkness once more, instead of being rewarded with a yelp and the heavy sound of a wolf falling to the ground as she expected, she heard snarling and the movement of many soft padded feet. Somewhere behind her a wolf howled very close to the camp. This was followed by a chorus of howls all around them.

Dulin heard the others draw their swords and she was suddenly regretful that she had chosen to no longer carry one, but that decision had been made long ago, and it was too late to question it now. Her staff lay against the tree she had been leaning on a moment before, and she could feel the weight of her daggers on her belt. The howling ended as abruptly as it had begun and was followed by a moment of tense silence. The air seemed charged with anticipation. “Now they will attack.” Said Kalif quietly. Dulin braced herself.
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Postby BrninThedwarf » Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:02 pm

Brnin kept staring at the newcomer. He couldn't shake the feeling that they'd met before, or that he knew him somehow. The dwarf knew it was impossible, he had never been through the desert, and he hadn't seen any man like this in his travels to the east. Still...he seemed familiar, or maybe connected.

Brnin's dwarven pragmatism took over and he put all these thoughts aside. This man was a stranger from lands known for their fell deeds and evil ways. No matter how couterous he seemed Brnin had seen the flash of anger in his eyes at their questioning of him. He could stay tonight....but other than that...Brnin didn't know.

He stood now in the light of the fires, orange and deep yellow in the darkness. He had done nothing to hide his smile as the doubting stranger was proved wrong and the first sparks of the fires started up. Every now and again every shape in the land lept out from the shadows for an instant as lightning split the sky. The rain was begninning to start again and all around the sheltered knoll the howls of wolves could be heard.

Dulin was standing next to Brnin and the dwarf could see the tenseness of her body even in the darkness. She still had the calm confident demenor of her people, but there was, to those who could see, an undercurrent of...something. Brnin didn't want to say fear, or apprehension, but perhaps anticipation.

Brnin wanted very much to speak with her, and ask what he opinion was of the newcomer, but he was within earshot, and at least for tonight, they needed all the help they could get.

Suddenly, Dulin jumped up and grabbed her bow. "What is it?!!" Brnin asked as he pulled his hatchet and hammer from his belt. "Wolf!!!" She cried and fired two arrows off into the darkness.

Very quickly every bow in their small camp was knocked with arrows and Brnin heard swords being quickly pulled from sheaths. Dulin fired another arrow and quickly went to her staff lying against a tree nearby.

All around the howls increased to an almost deafning level. Then, as quickly as they had began, the howls stopped. It became quiet. The only noise was the sound of wind, rain, and the crackling of the fires.

"Now they will attack." Said Kalif quietly. And almost as soon as he had said this the first wolf braved the fire.

It jumped the flames at their lowest point and went straight at Brnin, the smallest member of the group....The easy kill....it thought.

As it came for him, Brnin jumped foward and charged roaring at the creature. He dodged the snapping maw of the beast by lowering his head below his shield and sidestepping to the left. In that same moment, he threw up his left hand with his hatchet into the beast's neck.

The great beast jerked back away from the blade and nearly ripped the weapon from his hand. Brnin repositioned himself over his feet and slammed his hammer, bell side into the wolf's head. The grey mass of fur and bone fell instantly limp. Brnin spun the hammer to the blade side, and along with the hatchet buried it into the skull.

With a crunching sound Brnin ripped his weapons free and turned to the others. Already they were in combat.

"It's going to be a long night." Brnin said with resignation.
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Postby Ilyda » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:11 pm

Seven Hours Earlier:

She shook her short hair out of her eyes, but the water still streamed down her face. Blinking the dirty droplets away, she pushed the hair back, and it plastered to her head. She trudged through the mud, leading Zora down the sodden path. Dale lay ahead, still obscured by the falling rain.

The gate to the town approached quickly. Though tall and sturdy, it was open for the daytime, and a guard with a rough-hewn face stood nearby. She absently noted that he was shorter than she was. She led Zora through a pile of wet leaves, and he turned in their direction.

“Aye. Who’s there?” The voice was gruff and wary.

“A traveler.”

“What’s your purpose?”

“A hot meal and a drink.”

He gave her a hard look. “You’re one a’ them dark-types, ain’t you? The ones we hear about from Bree. A Ranger or summat. Why you comin’ round here?”

She pushed her wet hair off her face again. “I confess. It is my intention to steal the money of these good people, find my friends in the wilderness, raid, pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer my weasely black guts out.” The man’s eyes went wide. “Come on, man. Let me pass.”

The guard did not move for a moment. All of a sudden, he stepped aside. He was still hovering in front of most of the gate opening. She nodded at him as she passed.

“Sir!” he called. She turned back. “I need your name.”

She paused for a moment. “Salil Tulesin.”

Not hearing a response, she headed off into the town.

The rain was still coming down. Few people were out on the streets, and the heavy curtain of water made the buildings look the same. The first inn she could identify sat near the middle of the town.

She left Zora with the inn’s stable boy, with the admonishment, “Don’t scratch her ears.”

The inn was almost empty, the weather having kept most at home. She quickly crossed to the bar. A sharp whistle pulled the attention of the barman.

“Aye, what can I do you for?”

“An ale and a bowl of stew.”

He nodded. “Here?”

“Table in the corner.”

“Someone will have that over for you in just a minute.”

She wandered over to a table near the fire. Shaking out her cloak, she settled it over the opposite chair. Then she pulled her bag off her shoulder and pulled out her pipe. The little remaining leaf was sopping. She set a bit on the table to dry.

A serving lady approached. She placed the mug and bowl on the table and asked, “Will that be all for ye?”

She nodded, and the lady disappeared.

The ale and stew quickly disappeared. A check of the leaf showed that it was still wet. Nonetheless, she stuffed a little into the opening of the pipe and lit the end. It smoldered slowly.

The first puff of smoke disappeared into the rafters, marking the beginning of the end for her refuge in Dale.
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Postby eliana-returns » Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:47 am

Off in the distance, another howl was heard. The company looked at each around, praying there weren't more than those they were already engaged with.

The distant howl repeated, more triumphantly, it seemed. Slowly, one and then another of the wolves attacking the travelers lifted their heads to face the distant howl. It sounded again. Then, as if their lives depended on the flight, the pack tore off in the direction of their calling kinsman.

Before they were out of sight, a stranger approached through the darkness. If you wish to survive this night, he said, follow me, and quickly!
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Postby lark » Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:46 pm

As Brnin was engaged with his wolf, two more came at Dulin. No sooner would she swing her staff at one, then the other would leap at her forcing her to swing in the other direction. Her staff whistled in her hands as she spun and parried with all the speed and expertise she had, but with the two of them coming at once, she could never get in a satisfactory strike. At least nothing hard enough to stop them.

In the periphery she could see Brnin striking his foe on the head with great force and the sound of breaking bone came to her ears as pleasing as any elvish song of old. Within seconds, having finished with his wolf, Brnin slammed into one of her attackers with his hammer, breaking it’s back then finishing it off with the bladed side of his weapon. This allowed Dulin to concentrate solely on the remaining wolf.

Shifting her hands to one end of the quarter staff, she swung with all her might catching the great wolf under the chin and throwing it backward. Then she trust the staff, spear like, into it’s chest, pinning it to the ground long enough for her to grab one if her daggers from her belt with her free hand, and fling it into it’s chest, burying it to the hilt.

Looking around quickly to asses the situation, Dulin saw that Khalif had also slain a wolf and was turning to join Halith and Narchohen who were defending the horses. Just then a lone wolf could be heard howling in the distance. The howl came a second time, louder and more vibrant, and in response, the remaining wolves in the camp turned to listen, then, as if all of one mind, gave up their fight and left in the same direction as the howl.

As they departed, a stranger unexpectedly entered the camp. “If you wish to survive this night,” he said, “follow me, and quickly!”

Brnin removed his ax from the scull of a wolf with a jerk before addressing the newcomer. “And just who might you be to tell us what to do?” He said firmly and without alarm.

The stranger peered into the dark woods nervously as if expecting the wolves to return at any moment. “There’s no time to explain!” He said, but Brnin’s expression as well as the others told him he would have to at least give some explanation. “I killed a wild boar in the woods to lead the wolves away from your camp, but it won’t occupy them for long! I know a safe place, but we must go now!”

“You really expect us to follow you…a complete stranger, to who knows where, in the middle of the night?” Narchohen asked incredulously.

“How do we know this isn’t a trick?” Asked Halith warily.

The stranger looked exasperated. “Whether or not you believe me is up to you, but you can believe this! Those wolves will be back any minute, and you won’t be able to hold them off all night here. There’s far too many of them!”

“Great!” Exclaimed Brnin, “This is the second time tonight we’ve had a total stranger walk into our midst and tell us how best to keep ourselves alive.”

“As someone in the same position as he…” Ventured Khalif as he wiped the blood from his sword, “I’m inclined to suggest we believe him. This pack is far larger and more determined then I had expected.”

There was a moment of silence broken by a rumble of thunder. Dulin cocked her head and listened, “The wolves are returning. We must go now, or make our stand here.” She said to Brnin and waited for his decision.

Brnin glanced at her in the firelight. “Don’t you carry a sword?” He asked suddenly. Dulin shook her head, surprised by his question. Brnin sighed heavily as he made up his mind. “Get the horses and all the gear you can grab.” He said to the group then turned abruptly to the newcomer, “If this is a trap, it’ll be the biggest mistake you ever make!”

The stranger nodded his understanding and the company gathered their belongings as quickly as they could. Dulin had just slung her pack over Celebglin’s back when a flash of lighting showed that the wolves were returning. The wild boar seemed to have done little more then wet their appetites and they attacked with twice the ferocity as before.
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Postby Kethasbro » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:18 pm

As Halith and Narchohen gathered the horses and boar into the middle of the ring. Halith looked over at the stranger a harad he didn't like harad but if they were to last the night they'd need all the help they can get. As they worked Halith turned to Narchohen and said.

“you distrust that one as well.”

“Aye. Whats it to you?

“Just wandering.”

When they finished Halith gathered some wood and looked at the dwarf and said.

“It’s not going to be easy. Everything is soaked.”

“You should never doubt the ability of a dwarf to make a fire!” Called Brnin loudly as he pulled the bark of a tree and From the underside of the bark He pulled woody fibers that were perfectly dry. Within minutes a circle of fires were burning.

As it got dark there was a thunder clap in the distance shortly after there was a flash of lightening a small pause and Dulin fired two arrows into the darkness everybody with bows nocked arrows and swords drawn in moments another flash of lightening lit the area and and both Halith and Narchohen fired an arrow at the same wolf.

"Now they will attack." Said Khalif quietly. Just after he said this a wolf jumped over the fire and at Brinin but Halith had no time to watch because two wolves jumped at him and Narchohen. Halith raised his sword so the wolf would impel itself but at the last second he leaped sideways slashing its chest. Narchohen took out her foe just as quickly. A lone wolf howled in the distance followed by another louder and more vibrant the wolves in the camp stopped and listend and they gave up their fight and left in the same direction as the howl.

As they departed, a stranger unexpectedly entered the camp. “If you wish to survive this night,” he said, “follow me, and quickly!”

Brnin removed his ax from the scull of a wolf with a jerk before addressing the newcomer. “And just who might you be to tell us what to do?” He said firmly.

The stranger peered into nervously the dark.“There’s no time to explain!” He said,they all looked at him. “I killed a wild boar in the woods to lead the wolves away from your camp, but it won’t occupy them for long! I know a safe place, but we must go now!”

“You really expect us to follow you…a complete stranger, to who knows where, in the middle of the night?” Narchohen asked incredulously.

“How do we know this isn’t a trick?” Asked Halith warily. Another harad.

The stranger looked impatient. “Whether or not you believe me is up to you, but you can believe this! Those wolves will be back any minute, and you won’t be able to hold them off all night here. There’s far too many of them!”

“Great!” Exclaimed Brnin, “This is the second time tonight we’ve had a total stranger walk into our midst and tell us how best to keep ourselves alive.”

“As someone in the same position as he…” Ventured Khalif. “I’m inclined to suggest we believe him. This pack is far larger and more determined then I had expected.”

There was a moment of silence broken by a rumble of thunder.Dulin and listened, “The wolves are returning. We must go now, or make our stand here.” She said to Brnin and waited for his decision.

Brnin glanced at her in the firelight. “Don’t you carry a sword?” He asked Dulin shook her head. Brnin sighed as he made up his mind. “Get the horses and all the gear you can grab.” Then turning to the newcomer, “If this is a trap, it’ll be the biggest mistake you ever make!”

When the company gathered their belongings there was a flash of lightening and Halith could see the wolves returning with twice the ferocity as before.As the company folowed the newcomer Halith turned to Dulin.

“You carry no sword.” He said as he pulled his long dagger its sheath.”Here take this, but be carefull it was my fathers.”

“Thank you, I will......"
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Postby BrninThedwarf » Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:59 pm

Brnin followed a safe distance behind the newcomer, to the dwarf this night safe distance was just out of sword swinging distance, as he led them towards the cave that he promised would be a safe haven from their horrid night. Brnin doubted any stranger, dwarves were slow to trust, and especially one that seemed to offer a deal that couldn't be believed, or who appears at strangely convinent times, this stranger was both.

Still he didn't seem as bad as all that, and Brnin thought that at the very least he wouldn't try to kill them in their sleep, not that Brnin believed that he could anyway.

The dwarf could hear the wolves in the distance growing closer almost with each passing minute, their howls tore through the rainy night air and filled the dwarf with forebodeing. The sheer volume of them told Brnin that the stranger had been right about one thing, they wouldn't have beaten them in the camp. They may have even lost.

Suddenly Brnin almost ran into the back of their new guide as he stopped. "We are here master dwarf. If you would perfer me to go in with a torch and ensure you that I am not leading you into a trap I would be glad to do so." He said as he pulled a tinderbox from his pocket.

"That would indeed put me at a bit more ease, but I think that I'll accompany you so that if I don't return then the others won't walk into anything unawares."

The stranger struggled in vain to light a torch in the drenching rain, it was beyond even the best dwarf's talent at this point and Brnin didn't even try. All he did was grin and raise his hand. "Don't worry, in a minute we'll have more fire then you might want."

*******Begin Ring Action*******
Brnin raised his hand higher and a faint glow began to eminate from a ring on his finger. It waxed stronger and stronger until the entire area around the group was lit with a soft orange-yellow glow. After a few moments a small, but very bright flame shot out from the golden ring.

*******End Ring Action*******

The small flame would have been mistaken for a large torch by anyone who just saw the light it produced. Such was the power of the Fire Ring of Aule the Smith.

The stranger didn't seem outwardly impressed at the show, but there were a few raised eyebrows from others in the group. Dulin was the only one to voice a thought. "You possess a ring of power, very interesting."

Brnin smiled, "I possess nothing, I am partners with a being that just happens to live in this beautiful ring. I bear it with his permission, I would never persume so much as to say I own it. Now, he said as he turned towards the newcomer, "shall we proceed?"

"Yes, we must hurry," was the reply.

Moving into the cave with the dwarf in the lead the pair proceeded to move to the back of the rather spacious cave. It was clear of enemies and Brnin could discern no secret doors or traps of any kind. After a few minutes he decided that it might just be safe enough to stay for the night. He ordered the man to find dry wood and start a fire while he moved to tell the others that they could get out of the rain.

A half hour later they were all drying out by a cozy fire and eating their nightly meal again for the benefit of the newcomers. Brnin was moving his discerning gaze over one and then the other until Halith started the conversation.

"Now that we are dry and in a position to better defend ourselves I would ask the question that the dwarf clearly wants answered, as do we all. Who are you both and why are you out here in the wilds?"

Neither was quick to answer which prompted Brnin to put a hand on the handle of his hammer and casually, but sternly put the question to them again.

"Well.....We are waiting. What business brings you out to the wilds and from what lands do you hale? We have only seen men from your lands in these parts in times of war, which we aren't in anymore. Tell us your stories quickly or we might forget our hospitality."
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Postby eliana-returns » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:57 am

"Your hospitality?" Khaile raised an eyebrow, but continued with no further comment. He had gathered the fire wood when ordered without question, but his low tolerance for people was beginning to reach its small limits. "My name is Khaile, and that is about all I know. I awoke seven years ago high in the Misty Mountains with no memory save the name. I spend my time in the wilds, venturing only rarely into settled lands. I would avoid them altogether if I did not hope to one day hear something that would return my memory to me."

He stoked the fire while pausing in his introduction.

"Neither do I stay in one place for long. I have been in these hills long enough to see the moon grow full and wane again and in that time I have come to know this small area of them well. I was aware of your approach for some time before I made myself known and indeed I would not have done so had you not come into such danger. While company is not my preference, I could not leave you to that pack of starving wolves, the poor beasts."

He stood and made his way to the mouth of the cave. "As for your hospitality, forget it as you will and I will take my leave gladly."
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Postby Maranwe-Ar-Feiniel » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:27 pm

Narcho rose from her seat, and ran up to Khaile. "Sir, don't mind the dwarf, he's a little testy sometimes. A characteristic of dwarves that is, I believe, rather common."

His expression, which had been rather grim, softened slightly. "Maybe so. But I know when one is unwelcome. I'll take my leave of you." He bowed slightly, almost unconciously, and moved again towards the mouth of the cave.

"At least stay for the night. It's a harsh night out there, and those wolves would make hard bed-mates no matter the weather."

Narcho turned slightly in surprise to stare at Dulin, who had risen somewhat self conciously form her seat by the fire as well.

Khaile's glance flickered between the two woman, and his expression relaxed even more.
"For the night." He said shortly. "and, if you don't mind, I'll go for some sleep right now." He picked up a roll of blankets form a corner, and swathed himself in them, and soon was asleep.

The dawrf glowered slightly at Nacho. "Testy?"
"I think I'll go check on the horses"

She darted through the rain to a small grove of tree wherethe horses were tethered. They seemed all fine, altough none of the horses really seemed to be quite comfortable enough with the boar to stand by it for warmth like they did with each other.

"I thought he was going to leave." Narcho turned in surprise at the sound of Dulin's voice.

"Did you want him to?"

"I don't know....But...I couldn't let him go off...I don't know..."

The elder elf nodded... "Yes...The problem I think I have is elves ae noted by humans for our hosptality...I don't really see what is unusual aout that." She chuckled softly "I guess you human's don't understand how long an elf can hold a grudge...So it does well to never incur one."

Narcho laughed quietly, and started back for the cave.

Inside, the fire had dimmed a bit, and Brnin was leant back against a wall, puffing on his pipe, and sharpening his axe. The other stranger was staring persively at the glowing embers.

Narcho settled herself by the fire, and broke the silence. "Well, stranger, he told us what he was about. What is your buisness here?"
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Postby Maranwe-Ar-Feiniel » Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:40 pm

The stranger said nothing till they reached the cave and suddenly Brinin hand seemed to be on fire,him and the stranger walked and Brinin into the shadows of the cave, they came out and led the way while the others followed behind. When they got the fire going Halith settled down to sleep, there seemed to be some sort of disagreement between the stranger and Brinin but Halith didn't pay attention, till Narcho left the cave followed by Dulin. Halith got up finely socoming to the fact the he wasn't going to get any sleep till the others bedded down. He decided to sharpen his sword although sometimes Halith thought the it didn't need sharpening like the elvish blades.

“What about you master Halith, what coarse do you think we should take?” Asked Brinin who was smoking his pipe and sharpening his ax.

“Well I really don't know this country.”

“No the dragon.”

Halith was saved from answering this question the two girls returning Narcho sat herself by the fire, and broke the silence. "Well, stranger, he told us what he was about. What is your business here?"

The stranger looked at her but said nothing. Halith broke silence.

“Well I'd like some sleep and if any wolves come I have a throwing ax and my sword isn't far from my hand.” Halith looked at the two strangers.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

blast I forgot to log out of Maras acount.
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