Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:34 pm

The world was thick, heated smoke. It filled his vision and his lungs and for a few sharp moments that was all there was. Instinctively Erinhue coughed to try and clear his throat. The action brought him back. He was on a field of battle. Where? What? Mauglar. Mauglar the Mighty had been destroyed and the world had turned to smoke and fire.

A hand came out of the smoke and touched his shoulder. A familiar voice called his name. Was that his name? Yes? It didn’t matter. The voice was saying that they had to move and move now. Yes, the voice was correct, he had to move.

The voice belonged to a young man. The accent in his voice was of an Eastern dialect. The young man was insistently tugging at him and he got to his feet. When the young man put an arm around him to help him walk it came to him. D’jazi. This was D’jazi one of the Mithril Knights. More and more flooded back but there was little time to pay attention. The crash of the dragon’s burned out carcass knocked them both to the ground.

Erinhue struggled back to his feet and in his turn, helped D’Jazi to get up and hurry on. A group of Rangers ran out to meet them and help them back to their line at the foot of the hill that had so recently given them shelter. Elenath rushed over to D’Jazi who was obviously more effected by the smoke and heated air.

Erinhue waved off those who were attempting to assist him. They asked him a dozen questions, all at the same time, but he did not answer. He moved slowly to a large box like rock a few yards from where the others were gathered. He climbed atop it, sat down and dropped his head into his hands.
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:55 pm

Erinhue remained seated on the rock staring into the sky. He saw Meneldor arrive and reveal what he had carried up from the depths of the mountain. Without knowing how he knew, Erinhue recognized it as the Eagle’s Eye. He listened to the Great Eagle relay what had transpired in is communication with the King. He heard and did not hear. He waited for Anorast and Tempest to return.

Very soothing tones were humming in his head and Erinhue gave himself over to listening as Agarak sang. The dragonharp had stopped singing him lullabies long ago but as a child he slept every night to the harp’s songs. He listened now as he had done then and let the music calm the turmoil inside him.

“So what am I now?”

The silent question was directed at the source of the melody.

“You are what you have always been.”

“That’s no answer.”

It is The Answer”

Old worm I am far too tired for riddles and games. What you have known about all along I have just discovered so surely you do not have to keep anymore secrets from me.”
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:21 pm

I explained all this when you were young. You did not understand but the knowledge has always been in you. You are Illuvatar’s Bright Spirit, sent to walk through the darkness of this world and bring in the Light. You are who you are and who you have always been, you are the one I call Bard the same yesterday as today.

You are my bard, that is your path in this world, just as mine is as your instrument, a dragonharp. As you have seen my likeness from another plane so you have come to yours in that same plane. Here I am Agarak, your harp. There I am Agarak the Gold. Here you are the Bard, there you are The Champion, Champion of the Light. You were sent here for this purpose, so that the Champion could face and defeat the last great embodiment of evil in this world. Should need arise, the Champion will be called to return. Otherwise, you are the Bard as you have always been.”


Erinhue nodded silently. Somehow he had known all along. He could now recall some of the words that went with those sweet lullabies of his childhood and yes the stories all pointed to this one outcome. He also now realized those songs were sung in a language he did not and still should not understand and yet he understood. Through all this, he had gained a measure of control over the Berserker and its great wild power. This might all be a good thing, it mightgo to serve the greater good.

Erinhue sat atop the box shaped rock and thought. He did not regret this destiny, but his heart railed against the price. He sat silently and waited for the return. He could not think about it, he could not contemplate what would be brought back. He could only sit and wait.
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Vanaladiel » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:55 pm

Vana stood by with sweat running down her back sticking her shirt to her skin. Smudges of dirt and smoke caked upon the faces of those who stood nearby. She looked from face to face and in silence counted the many friends who had survived the terrible battle. Her green eyes filled with tears from the realization that so many had given their lives for the cause and would never be seen again. Her heart tugged by the knowledge of the silence from Dirk's soul to hers. She still did not want to believe that he could be gone. That he would not come back up from the deep caves with Anorast and Tempest. Perhaps a part of her still hoped against all odds.

Finally her eyes settled up Erinhue sitting atop the rock with his head in his hands. She did not know what drew her, but she found herself moving, walking slowly to sit beside her friend and fellow knight. Her blade back in its scabbard, she sat herself silently and placed her hand upon his back and just sat quiet with him. He did not seem to notice her there but she did not mind. After a bit she just sat with her hands in her lap and looked out across the land, seeing other places they had been over the years and to happier time.

Softly after a few minutes she started to hum to herself a song of sorrow and peace. She did not know if it would help anyone else but it soothed her soul as they all waited.

The rangers were moving about and the other Mithril Knights wandered looking at the carnage of the battle. Recognizing the emblems of the many enemies of the land.

Vana was caught a bit by surprise when a hand gently took hers and held it. It was Erinhue and he still had his eyes closed. A single tear ran down her cheek but she quickly wiped it off with her other hand and just sat in silence for a bit.
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Tempest » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:00 pm

Tempest and Anorast had spoken little as they trudged down the mountain towards their fellow Knights. The strong, acrid smell of burning flesh swept upwards from the battlefield, and the elf relayed to Tempest what her human eyes could not see clearly: the ruined and smoking carcass of the dragon. A weight seemed to lift from their shoulders at the knowledge, but at the same time, their feet seemed to slow and the burden of carrying Dirk's body seemed to depress their steps.

So, it was finished.

All the work and frantic scrambling of the last few weeks culminated in this moment, and they had been victorious. Radagast's wisdom had not failed them, nor the courage and strength that bound them all together.

Now, all that was left was the weary journey home.

Now, all that was left was to bury their dead.

"It is strange," Tempest spoke softly to the old elf, "Of all the nightmares that have haunted my dreams this last year, not one has come to pass. At least, not in the way I imagined them. In our last great battle with the Red Hammer, when Erinhue fell and could not be wakened, I thought...."

"Yes, we all did," Anorast finished for her.

"I have seen too many friends fall," she said suddenly, turning around and facing him. "And how many more will I witness before my own time comes? I cannot even imagine how much death YOU have seen in your many years, for they pale in comparison to mine. Tell me: does it get any easier with the passage of time?"

Anorast was silent.

"That's what I thought," Tempest sighed. "I fear I will never sleep again."
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As they approached, the other Knights and Rangers gathered quietly around them, and grief lay heavy on the group as Anorast slowly put down his burden. Erinhue and Vana sat further off, but they came quickly upon seeing their return, and Tempest felt her throat begin to grow tight with submerged tears. She was afraid lest someone, anyone, suddenly begin to lament aloud, for she knew that her emotions were barely suppressed this time and Eru knew how many tears had built behind that dam over the years. Once she began, she may never be able to stop, so she motioned to a few of the Rangers and drew them aside to inform them of the situation at Carn Dum, out of earshot of the other Knights.

"I'd say we still have a mess to clean up, though the mountain is partially emptied and it appears that a great number have either fled or gone deep within the bowels of the mountain in fear. It will take time to ferret them all out, but it would be well worth while to cleanse the place so that it does not become a breeding ground for other evils," she said in a low voice.

"What are we talking about? Orcs? Trolls?" the head Ranger asked.

"Mainly orcs, from what I guess, though it wouldn't surprise me if there were some cold drake nests in there, which will be more tricky to eradicate. We will need reinforcements."

"Those are on the way, for the Eagle has sent a message to Elessar. The Knights are being recalled; you have done your duty here and it is for others to finish the task now."

"That sounds like your King, always sweeping in and claiming the glory after the battle's been won," Tempest grimaced as the Ranger looked slightly horrified at her words. "Don't worry," she added hastily. "I often speak out of turn. Elessar and I have a...complicated history. But in this case, I'm more than glad to turn over the job to him. I've neglected other duties for long enough. And besides," she said softly, gesturing towards her fellow Knights, "We have a fallen Knight to honor."
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:10 am

Brondgast sat, exhausted. He had done things beyond belief as a bear, and now it was taking its toll. He looked around at the carnage surrounding them. "Alas, I did not know Dirk the Daring too well, we had just met, but he made quite the impression on me." He stood up. "Thank you for giving us that chance, Dirk."

Meneldor only gazed at the shrouded body with tears in his eyes. "Namarië, Dirk, brother, friend, mentor. I will never forget you. And on the last day, I will bear you, on the day of the Dagor Dagorath."

The Eagle looked at the others. "Do not regret not going, Tempest, it is the way he wanted it. He even sent me away so he could accomplish what he planned. And, I knew of his wound and his struggles, none better, as we shared a bond together. He told me not to tell of it, lest the burden destroy you. I am glad he overcame it at the last."
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:53 am

The dread moment had arrived. Tempest walked into the impromptu encampment, followed closely by Anorast bearing Dirk’s broken body wrapped in a Mithril Knight’s cloak. Anorast laid his burden down on the stony ground as the Knights and Rangers gathered around in silence. Vana squeezed Erinhue’s hand, then stood up and climbed down from the rock. When he saw that Vana stood waiting for him, Erinhue climbed down and walked with her to where the others were standing.

For a few moments the group stood in reverent silence, each holding their own thought. Erinhue stared at the motionless, cloak wrapped body. Something tightened in his throat, the heat of his emotions burned in his chest. He drew his sword and held it point upwards in salute. The runes carved into the blade were once again glowing with starlight silver and blazed even brighter as the bard began to speak.

“I salute you, Dirk the Daring and beg for your forgiveness. I knew that you were going to do something dangerous. I have known it for some time and yet I did nothing to prevent this. I watched you and swore to myself that when you slipped away to make your sacrifice, I would find a way to join you. I failed you in this as I failed you once before. I should never have allowed you to leavethe Lucky Fortune that long ago night. It might have saved you from this doom and for that I am everlastingly remorseful.” His voice broke with the last words “I am so very sorry Dirk to have failed you when you were most in need.”

Erinhue then looked up at the faces of his comrades.. “I am so very sorry and I hope that you all can find a way to forgive me.” The bard slowly replaced his sword into its scabbard. He nodded sadly at them all…and then suddenly vanished. A few soft notes sounded momentarily, then faded into silence.
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Claymore » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:31 pm

Djazi only vaguely registered the Rangers pulling him and Erinhue back to the shield-wall. His lungs continued spasming and each breath he did manage to take felt like a battle. Distantly he heard Elenath trying to coach him back to normal breathing while his vision was starting to blacken dangerously around the edges.

It took Djazi a while before he managed to breathe without feeling like someone had plastered a thick, wet cloth on his face. By that time Meneldor had come down with the Eye of the Eagle, Tempest and Anorast had come back with Dirk's corpse and Erinhue seemed to have popped away to the Hunter knew where.

Djazi tried shakily to get back on his feet.
“Are you going to be alright?”Elenath asked. Djazi nodded. His head hurt and his lungs felt like somebody had gone over them with a piece of shark skin but at least he didn't think he was going to faint at any moment anymore.
'I'll probably cough black for a while,”he answered. “But I think I'll be alright for now.”
Elenath nodded and helped him up. Together they made their way to where the rest of the Knights were mourning Dirk.

Djazi had known that Dirk was dead but somehow it hadn't felt quite real until now when he saw the shrouded body of his comrade. He had known even back then when he had seen Dirk off on that early morning in Annuminas that the chances of Dirk making it out alive had been slim. He had suspected the presence of the infected wound he could smell even now with a smoke-damaged nose and he had had a fair impression of the dangers Dirk had faced. However he had kept hoping that the young Knight would manage to pull of the impossible and come out of this ordeal alive. If anyone had had a chance of doing so it would have been Dirk. And yet the shrouded body before him now proved him wrong.

From the corner of his eye he saw Tempest leave the Rangers she had been talking with and rejoin the rest of the Knights. At first glance his mentor seemed to be bearing Dirk's loss rather stoically but her clenched fists betrayed the fact that the facade was a rather fragile one. Djazi's own face was wet with tears he belatedly noticed, partly because of the smoke but also because of the grief, previously suppressed by the battle-mind but now making itself known again.

He sidled to where Tempest was now standing.
“I'll take risk of sounding nosy,”he whispered. “and say that it is okay to grieve sometimes.”
Tempest looked at him, eyes suspiciously bright.
“I fear that if I start now, I might never stop,”she whispered back.
Djazi gave her a wry and sad smile.
“Then what better time than now?”he asked. “I tried to repress my grief for my tribe, and it ended up hitting me eight years later when I crossed the border between Gondor and Harad. I nearly got caught by a gondorian border-patrol.”
Tempest nodded but said nothing. Djazi sighed but let it go.

Djazi's people did not have very elaborate death-rituals. As they often lived at the edge of survival they usually could not spend either time or effort to sending the dead off. The living came first. But they did have some prayers and songs. Most of them were short and to the point, easily and quickly recited before lighting a pyre or filling a grave, depending on the availability of wood. Djazi could barely remember most of them but one he could recall more clearly than most. Quietly, as to not disturb the others and to give his still hurting throat a rest he began to sing.

Ei shamal a tou en migi
Ah Brother, once bright,
Kyu tan su mecho an laigi
The darkness tried to lay you low
Men sia belai redori
Alas your body has failed
Sia mansen elo shanmai
your beloved presence lost

Ei keni sia Len sugai
Ah but your soul is free
Yi mecho eri an laigi
No darkness could bring you low
Es fida telin an tani
May the stars guide you
Tyi Ore mest an talai
And the Hunter embrace you
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Cock-Robin » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:07 pm

As Brondgast called his horse Thunder to him, ready for the long journey to the Guildhouse, Elenath and Anorast approached Meneldor, even as Erinhue vanished to places unknown.

Meneldor was still mourning over his friend, his mentor, his brother, Dirk the Daring. "If only I had gone with you, my friend, but you would not. It was the decree of Mandos that you go in the den alone."

"Meneldor."

The Eagle slowly turned to the two elves.

"I must remind you that the King has commanded you to bear the Stone to Amon Sul where it shall be set once again, safe from the Knights of the Silmaril."

"I shall do it." said Meneldor, too struck in grief for words, except for his fallen friend. "We take one last journey together before we meet at the Last Battle, my friend." he said, looking down to Dirk's shrouded body.

"Go now." said Elenath. "We shall all catch up with you. There is no time for long goodbyes. And, if you are willing, we shall initiate you into the Mithril Knights. You have proven yourself worthy." A wry smile came upon Anorast. "Though you are too large for one of our cloaks, a collar shall be fashioned for you."

Meneldor thought back to his brethren, who were adorned, their Lord with a golden crown, and his fifteen cheiftains with golden collars. Long ago, before the War. He was one of them.

The Great Eagle looked once more on the field, and his companions, then picked up the Eagle's Eye in his great talons.

"Farewell wherever you fare, until the eyrie receives you at the journey's end" he said, then ascended from the field and its accursed mountain.

Tempest still held the helmet of the Zaugoth, retrieved from the mountain. The one which had once adorned the Witch-King. It would now be laid at the feet of Dirk when he was at his final resting place.

Meneldor circled once around the field and Carn Dum, then sped off southwards. Another had left the place of the terrible battle.
Last edited by Cock-Robin on Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Vanaladiel » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:08 am

As Erinhue vanished, Vana looked around upon the faces of her fellow knights. Everything was coming to an end. The drakes were gone and the dragon dead. A dear friend lost to them all.

She felt her heart shatter but no tears came. She went numb and could not even speak to put words to her grief. Slowly she followed as Tempest, Anorast and Elenath were working on the details of getting Dirk's body ready for transporting home to Laketown.

She knew this was what was to be but her heart was no longer in this war or the venture to want to travel home again. But she followed as if the winds were just carrying her along. In deepest silence she would remain till the time for her grieving should be fulfilled.
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Tempest » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:43 pm

Tempest watched the great eagle rise into the air with the Stone of Amon Sul and wondered yet again at the plans of the Knights of the Silmaril. Her time in Carn Dum had revealed nothing of their presence, and she could not shake the feeling that they would come to trouble Middle Earth again. Little was still known of their true design, and she could not help but feel the slow burn of a settled rage at the thought that they had partially led to Dirk's death. Had they foreseen his victory, or had they hoped the heir of Angmar could be controlled by themselves, and the dragon with him? Whatever their plans, all trace of them was gone, if indeed they had ever been here at all.

The Dunedain were busily taking over the battlefield, and Tempest approved of their efficiency and skill, though she was loathe in some respects to hand over the job to them. In fact, if she had not been so exhausted, she would have cast Elessar's command to the wind and joined in the final purge of Carn Dum. But, there were the rest of the Knights to think about, and a cloud already hung over the journey home as they would be escorting their fallen comrade to his final resting place.

That is, all except Erinhue, who had disappeared like mist at the first rays of the morning sun.

Though she understood his grief well, she found it hard to forgive his going. She wished to go too, to be anywhere beyond the sight of the cloaked body that lay still and silent upon the scorched earth before her. Every glance at him sent a knife's blade into her soul again, and she had need of the bard's irritating laugh or even Agarak's infuriating jangle of notes to remind her that not everything had been lost. But Erinhue had left, and she felt again as she had at Esgaraoth, the pain of abandonment from which there is no remedy, adding to the lonely grief already gnawing at her heart.

Djazi had found her in the midst of it all and stayed close at her side now. Normally, she would find such proximity distasteful, but the man of Harad's presence was strangely comforting to her, and she could not help but turn wryly to him, "You have fought a deadly battle with us, and seen us at our worst and best. Do you still wish to join our ranks?"

"You think such trials would change my mind?" he asked slowly.

"No, I think I know your character better than that. But still, as you have seen, not every battle ends in total victory. To be a Mithril Knight is to be well acquainted with loss."

"A more noble path, I cannot hope to find," he stated simply, looking down at his battle scarred hands.

"And you will be most welcome among our numbers," she said with sudden warmth, "Though, I hope I will not live to sing your funeral dirge, as we do for Dirk." She clasped his arm and went quickly to pack her horse before the onset of emotion became unmanageable.

Along the way, she found the head of the Dunedain once more, and this time she filled him in as well as she could as to the passages he could expect to find in Carn Dum. He made her come into the tent and sketch as much of a map as she could, though it took a few minutes of closing her eyes and envisioning her journey again, an effort that made even the battle weary captain smile. When she finally opened her eyes again, she hastily and expertly sketched the rest of the map. Then, with a glance toward the mountain, she gave him her parting advice. "Bring as many torches as you can. You're going to need a lot of light."
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Guruthostirn » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:10 pm

Silently Anorast stood, watching his fellow knights as they stared at the shrouded body of Sir Dirk. Before the elf and Tempest had entered Carn Dum and recovered their fallen comrade the Mithril Knights had felt his fall, known of his death, but seeing the truth, the unchangeable reality of Dirk's fate, was entirely different. They would never see his young face looking out at the world, or his quiet voice dispensing wisdom beyond his years. This was not how their quest was to have ended. Instead of relieved grins and congratulations, they faced a new journey, with no victory possible, only another end, a final farewell to a friend and brother in arms.

"Is that your cloak?" Elenath whispered beside Anorast.

"Yes," Anorast nodded. He grimaced as he recalled the horrible injuries the midnight fabric covered. "Dirk needed to be covered."

"A fine gesture." Anorast looked over at his fellow elf. Among the knights she showed the least grief. Anorast knew she held much sorrow herself, and over the years had learned to deal with it. He was not surprised by her lack of emotional reaction. She looked back at him silently before speaking again. "His cloak and vest are in my saddlebags."

Nodding, Anorast went to where her horse was grazing. He left the vest untouched, but took out Dirk's cloak. It was slightly shorter than the garment which now covered the fallen knight, but it would be adequate. Without a word he clasped the cloak around him, taking the mantle of his brother knight for his own, as he'd given his to be Dirk's final blanket. Looking up he saw Tempest staring at him, but after looking into his eyes briefly she turned back to the body. Anorast didn't care what the rest of the knights might think of him taking Dirk's cloak. The old elf would wear the cloak in remembrance, a mark of respect for Dirk.

Finally the other knights began to move again. Tempest started speaking to the leader of the ranger contingent as Meneldor flew away towards the south with the newly recovered palantir. The adventure was over, and now they needed to take Dirk back to his home.
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby nienor-niniel » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:20 pm

The adventure was over, indeed and in the moments of grief, silence filled with the minds and mouths oft he Mithril Knights – together and yet alone, each facing his grief like a sudden wound.

Since Anorast had carried the body over ground from the cave, the terrible pain they had felt inmidst of the danger and the fight was real and undeniable. And as the fear of the fight, the dread of the dragon’s deadly beating wings and the scream of the berserker was already fading from their minds, the voice and the words of their companion became sharper and clearer. Dirk had been one of them, not just one, but a great knight, a fighter and hero, a mentor – he had been all and more, and even Nin, who could remember ever so little of their time together felt the shadow on her heart. A danger had gone – the dragon was no more. A treasure had been secured – but was there not more danger in Middle Earth than before if men like Dirk had to sacrified to let the others live safe? But wasn’t that the very aim of the Knights, after all and Dirk had died in his ultimate mission, giving himself as a sacrifice for their safety, for the safety of those who did not even know?

His remains among them were like a constant reminder of their pain, unlike the moment in which Erinhue had left – she felt as if Erinhue’s voice was still around them, not like the threatening silence which filled all space where thoughts of Dirk had been.

Nin longed to be alone with her thoughts and her shame, yet, it was not really possible as all the knights were called to gather to bring their companion home to his last rest. But she felt ashamed. Before the battle, Anorast had handed her a weapon, she did not know and looked at her as if she would have to know what use to make of it. She had not fought a single stroke against the dragon, feeling no urge, no danger – only some quiet fog in her head, like all the time since she had come back. It seemed to her that a strange force was paralysing her from the inside, controlling her thoughts, binding her hands and blocking her mind. Something cut her off from the world around her and she could not say who was holding the strings of her life. Only, more and more often, whenever she felt so restless as if in the next second she would scream, she knew that would take some of that white salt she thought to have received in the houses of healing. It would not last forever, yet she could not imagine any more how to bear a single day without it.

In silence, they prepared for the road, or maybe it seemed it seemed like silence only to Nin. Vana seemed to have wrapped herself in a cloak of grief, while Tempest – in fury over Erinhue’s, D’jazi, Elenath and Brondgast prepared their departure. Nin felt no urge to join their preparations. Dirk’s departure had left a shadow over her mind, even deeper than the loss of her memory had done before. Maybe the road would help to find a way back into the group, she thought, maybe.
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Bardhwyn » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:56 am

~ The Journey Home ~

Once shrouded, and positioned westward, Dirk’s body was allowed to rest while the upper ranks of the Rangers and those of the Mithril Knights conferred.

There was no question, the Mithril Knights asserted; Dirk would be memorialized in Esgaroth and buried in sight of the Guildhouse and of the Lonely Mountain.

Perhaps, it was suggested, the Knight-Postulant Meneldor would carry him with honor back to Laketown but the young Great Eagle shook his head.

“No, my grief is too great to carry such a burden alone,” the young eagle said. “And I would not wish to deprive my fellow Knights of the honor of Dirk’s company on his final trip home. No, Dirk came with us to Carn Dum, and he shall leave with us and together we take the long road home.”

“But his remains, they will not keep for the duration of such a journey,” the Chief Ranger cautioned.

“Not unless we preserve them, as of old,” Anorast offered. And the Elf then recounted how, in ages past, the remains of valiant warriors were preserved for burial by submerging the body in distilled spirits, and kept safe from the air and sun, until delivered home to kith and kin so the proper rites could be observed.

“A coffin, made of young wood, sealed with pine pitch, that would serve,” a Ranger then added. “My father is a boatwright, and I know how to make the pitch…”

“And I am a carpenter, when not fighting orcs,” another Ranger said. “We can do this.”

“Our healers will not be pleased, but I’ll arrange that a barrel of spirits used for the cleansing of wounds be delivered to you,” the Chief Ranger added. “We will honor Dirk’s sacrifice by ensuring all can pay tribute to him in your Guild’s city. The free peoples of Middle Earth will be able to see his face as they bid him farewell, as is fitting a Mithril Knight and a son of Middle Earth.”

A coffin was made, the pitch boiled and applied. Dirk’s body was carefully, and respectfully, laid within and then seeped in the medicinal spirits. When the coffin lid was placed, the Knight Vana took a sharp intake of breath; they would not see their beloved friend until they reached Esgaroth. It was the beginning of the long trek home.

The coffin was placed onto a flat-bedded cart draped with the colors of the Knighthood. At the foot of the coffin was placed the Palantir of Amon Sul. Four torches were driven into the ground to mark the four directions and set ablaze as the dusk drew in and Meneldor agreed he’d keep the first vigil over Dirk’s body that night.

The Mithril Knights, battle weary and heavy hearted with grief, assembled at dawn the next day. They, along with several carts laden with tents, supplies and food and, most importantly, Dirk’s funerary cart, now pulled by two, splendid white horses, all turned southeastwards, towards The Great East Road.

Their journey would be long; once on the Great East Road they’d make for Rivendell, where they’d rest and revive themselves before making for the High Pass over the Misty Mountains and down onto the Old Forest Road. There, the journey would be straight, but long, through the Greenwood until they meet the River Running. Northwards, then, they would follow the western bank of the river until The Falls herald the southward tip of the Long Lake and then, following the western banks of the Long Lake they would arrive at their destination: Esgaroth. A journey of close to a thousand miles that would take nearly two months to finish.

Their progress was steady; their hearts and tongues were silent at first, however, all weighed heavy with grief. With the setting of each sun, a camp was made; the torches were set and lit around Dirk’s bier and a Mithril Knight would volunteer to keep the vigil, foregoing sleep. The morning would come and the camp struck; the procession would make its way for yet another day.

In time the grief eased and the Knights accompanying Dirk found their hearts somewhat lightened; some would find themselves smiling with a memory of their fallen friend, others would laugh at one of Dirk’s jokes, long told. Quiet conversations occurred where recollections were shared, as well as grief.

When the procession arrived at a village or hamlet, the inhabitants would mill about their encampment and ask about the coffin and the person therein. And, at the sight of the gleaming white horses and the brilliantly flaming torches, they’d exclaim: “He must have been a great warrior!”

“He was,” the Mithril Knights would explain. “A very noble and very brave man who gave his life so his fellow Knights would be victorious.”

The villagers would listen, wide eyed and sobered; suddenly aware of whom they were speaking with. “You’re the King’s Mithril Knights!” they’d exclaim. “You slew the dragon! Please tell us! Tell us the tale of Dirk the Daring and the slaying of the vile worm of Carn Dum!”

And so the Mithril Knights told the story, again and again with every village or hamlet they met and the people would listen, enthralled; they gasped at the amazing feats of the golden harp, cringed at the description of the horrid, flying cold drakes, cheered when hearing the tale of the dragon’s bright and spectacular demise, and they wept when told of the finding of Dirk’s remains.

The feats of the Mithril Knights became the stuff of tale and song during that long, procession home to Esgaroth. Troops of minstrels and troubadours would seek them out along the way, careful to learn and memorise every Knight’s name, every deed and thus the songs were written: ‘The Doleful Demise of Dirk, the Daring’, ‘The Cry of the Golden Dragon Harp’, ‘The Death of Mauglar, The Mighty’, ‘Tempest’s Lament’, ‘Vana’s Sigh’, ‘The Elven Knight, Son of the First Born’, ‘Speed On, Oh Eagle’s Wing’, and the touching and haunting ‘Niniel’s Tears’.

Their respite in Rivendell was brief; the sons of Elrond gave due respects to the fallen Knight, and took, on behalf of their brother-in-law, the Palantir of Amon Sul with promises of it’s safe installment in it’s home of old. The procession moved on, lumbering through the Misty Mountains without incident for no errant goblin or orc would dare attack such a mighty company. They reached the Old Forest Road and breathed deep the air of Rhovannion.

More villages and more hamlets were met and again, the people needed to hear their stories. And so the stories were told. At the end of the tales, as the night grew old and it was time to depart, many a village man or woman would quietly approach a Knight before returning home to their ricks or cots, and, along with a light touch upon the Knight’s arm, say ‘thank you.’

Once in the Greenwood, the procession was met with woeful song; the Elves raised their voices in lament for their adopted, fallen son. Quietly, without a word, the Mithril Knights were joined by ceremonially armored knights – Thranduil’s honor guard, wearing high helms and carrying gleaming spears. Their backs were straight, their eyes hard and their horses proud and Dirk’s memory was thus honored as he travelled through the King of the Greenwood’s dominion.

As the Mithril Knights arrived at the banks of the River Running, the songs of many thrushes could be heard ringing in the trees. Were there a true-hearted Daler present they would have heard and understood the thrush’s songs; all were praising the heroic feats of the Knights and all were pleased to see them return home. Anorast, with his keen hearing, thought he heard the voice of an old crow, calling out a hoarse and rasping ‘Welcome!’.

The news of their immanent arrival had reached the wooden halls of Esgaroth and the resplendent palaces and villas of Dale long before the Mithril Knights emerged from the Greenwood; Thranduil’s messengers heralded their coming. Throngs of people met them along the road, carrying flowers and banners but all were silent. The people came to welcome their heroes home with respect and honor, all filing in silently behind the procession as it wound its way northward towards Esgaroth.
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:18 am

A day or so after the battle....in Bree

Twilight was gradually deepening to early night when the lantern lit windows of the Prancing Pony came into view. Treble’s pace clipped double time in the stallion’s eagerness to reach the comfort of the inn’s stable. The bright tinkle of silver bells sounded with an impatient swish of the horse’s tail. Since the bard remained silent, Treble snorted and stamped his feet on the cobbled ground to announce their presence.

“Aye, I thought I heard bells.” The exclamation came as the stable doors opened. The stable hand stepped out to greet them. “Master ‘Hue, a long time it has been, sir, if ye don’t mind my saying it.”

Feeling ignored, Treble snorted again and nudged the stable hand roughly at the shoulder.

“Aye, right ye be, Treble, old boy.” The man reached into the side pocket of his woolen jacket and pulled out a few golden brown sugar cubes. Treble accepted the sweet tribute.

The silent rider pushed back the hood of his cloak and ran his left hand across his eyes.
“It’s good to see you, Nesbit.”

“Aye, it’s good to see you as well, Master ‘Hue.”

Nesbit raised an eyebrow at the sparse exchange. By this time he would have been laughing already as Erinhue greeted him. The somber mood did not seem to fit the man he remembered. Word had reached them, even in Bree, that the bard had been pursuing his other profession and was involved with the Mithril Knights in some battle way away to the east.

Erinhue dismounted. He stood for a long moment gazing towards the light and cheery noises coming from the main taproom. Nesbit looked that way too then answered what he thought the bard was wondering.

“Your old room under the eaves is just as you left it last. Mr Butterburr never lets anyone stay there. He always says “One never can tell just when the boy will decide to pop in’. He has the girls change the linen once a month even though them sheets never was slept on.” Nesbit moved closer to where Erinhue stood and spoke in a quieter voice.

“If it’s a quick way to a good rest you’re after, take the backstairs up. You know the way and where the latchkey’s hid.”

“Yes, Nesbit,” Erinhue responded without taking his eyes away from the inn, “I know the way.”

Nesbit raised a hand to stop him when he saw Erinhue reaching for a coin. “ No need, sir. You go rest. I’ll take right good care of old Treble here. He and I are good friends.”

“Thank you, Nesbit” Erinhue began to walk towards the narrow stairway in the back of the main building.

“No need to thank me” Nesbit called back. “ Least I can do for a hero.”

Erinhue froze mid step when he heard the remark. He shook his head as he continued towards the stair. His voice was so soft that Nesbit barely heard him reply, “I’m no hero.”
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Cock-Robin » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:37 pm

Meneldor stayed at Amon Sul for the installation ceremony as long as he could, but had to excuse himself. He had promised to be back in time for the Knights to begin the procession to Esgaroth and do the first nightly vigil for his friend, his brother, his mentor, Dirk the Daring.

He was excused, and took off northward. He almost turned around, for he saw Erinhue upon his horse Treble on the road below. He did circle back and fly over, screeching a greeting. "My friend, you are going the wrong way. Eastward is the way the rest are going from Carn Dum." He hoped Agarak would talk sense into him.

He didn't wait to hear his answer, but sped off in a north/northeastward direction, in the direction of Carn Dum as fast as he could, a blur in the sky above for any who looked upwards at the time. As it was said before, he was not called Meneldor the Swift for nothing. He sped on, high aloft, the North Downs to his left, the Ettenmoors to his right. He would go swifter than the swiftest arrow, not stopping for anything over the plains of Eriador.

And all the time, he was thinking of Dirk. How could he not think of him? He remembered every detail of their last parting, how he had held the suffering Knight in his feathered embrace, leaving him finally to his destiny. How he had almost gone on to the West, abandoning the quest altogether, and it was a wrench to his heart to deny himself that journey.

The day would one day come when he would not be so torn in two, but it was not to be at the moment. Only Anorast knew the torment he felt, feeling the call of the West, and yet time and time again turning his back to his long home.

Carn Dum approached, a long distant hillock which grew in proportion as he approached. The sun was already going west, almost matching his speed now, would it set before he arrived back at the scene of the battle, or would he race the sun and be there when he promised?

The Eagle flapped his wings and increased his speed, not caring that he was driving himself to exhaustion. The Knights needed him. There was some discussion before he left for Amon Sul whether he would be the one to bear his friend eastward, but he turned them down.

As the sun was even on the western horizon, Meneldor glided down to the plain, where he saw that the coffin with the cart, and its four torches at each point of the compass were placed around the cart. The Palantir was already at its home on Amon Sul, but at the feet of the coffin was the accursed helmet instead, the helmet of the Zaugoth, which had adorned the phantom head of the Witch-King in a time that now seemed like a remote age ago.

He ignored the caws of the crows feasting on the dragon's carcass, he had other things to concentrate on. Let them feast! That was what he had called the carrion birds to do anyway.

Landing, he stood at the cart, in silent vigil over the cart and its coffin, which would remain until morning. He looked up as the stars appeared, Menelvagor with his shining belt, a sign of the downfall of Melkor long ago. And he knew Earendil in his ship would also traverse the sky.

A constant warbling in the Elven Tongue would come from his beak, softly, graeefully, in memory of his friend, which would not be translated until the day they arrived for the memorial.
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:18 pm

The sound of boisterous merrymaking rose through the floor boards to fill the small triangular room tucked under the sloping roof of The Prancing Pony. For two hours the noise had gone unnoticed. Erinhue sat on a high backed stool that still bore the knife scratched letters left by his 16 year old self. His sea gray eyes gazed at the night sky through the room’s open window. His mind was days and leagues away.

The swaddling effect of the small room and the friendly sounds from below had the same calming influence as it had when it had been his own room. The Pony had been where he stopped running when he fled for his life from the court in Minas Tirith. Once again it proved to be a good place to stop running.

The night deepened, beer mugs emptied and the patrons in the taproom were ready to entertain themselves with song. By time they reached the chorus, Erinhue realized that they were singing “Morgan’s Joy”. By the fifth verse, he was standing in the window, shouting into the night with tears dampening his face. By the start of the seventh verse, all sound from below was blocked from the room.

A three legged footstool appeared beside the hard wood stool. On it’s polished surface sat a large silver beer stein with an ornate letter “E” woven into the raised designs that covered it. Erinhue picked it up and drank as if it were not charmed never to empty. After a long space of time a few notes chimed inquiry.

“No I don’t feel better. How am I supposed to feel better. They are never going to understand. I don’t understand. They are never going to forgive me. Tempest most likely wants to kill me and probably will the moment she next lays eyes on me. How can I ever make them understand that I was afraid to travel back with them…with Dirk.”

The meaning behind the sympathetic melody was cut short.

“That’s just it. How am I supposed to explain that this is worse than The Berserker. How do I tell them that just the thought of what happened to Dirk was enough to trigger all that fire and brimstone that killed the dragon an that I had absolutely no idea what was gonna happen if I was riding mile after mile and sitting watch and all.”

There was no sound from the harp. Agarak simply made certain that the charm held and the stein remained full. For a time, Erinhue stopped talking and simply stared out the window and drank.

“That’s not true.” He finally said. “That’s not completely true. I know I couldn’t do it and have any control over how I was feeling. I was concerned about that but really I could not face seeing what had come of my letting him get away with going alone.

I knew it, Agarak. I knew it from the time of that horrible slaughter, I knew that he was going to do something exactly like what he did. I should never have let him go alone. I should never have let him go that night at the Lucky Fortune. I didn’t know what he had discovered, not then, but I knew that it was dark and that he had a hard choice to make. If I had stopped him he might not ever have……………”

A soothing lullaby began to play softly out into the small room.

“You could not walk his road. You could not have changed one step of his path. You are at a crossroads of your own. You must decide how you will walk.”
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:33 pm

The small light in the upper window was a tell-tale sign that was eventually detected. Erinhue sighed heavily when he heard the beginnings of commotion in the space below. It wasn’t long before chants of “Erinhue! Erinhue!” were coming from the taproom. It was a sound that usually gave him a rush. Now he sincerely wished that it would stop. Moments later there was an insistent knock at the door.

Feeling trapped, Erinhue looked quickly about the room for a non-existent escape. There was no escape, nor would there be any peace until he answered the call. He tried one more time to empty the silver stein. When he gave up on that, he squared his shoulders drew a long deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“Agarak, to me.”

The tarnished gold dragonharp appeared, hovering within easy reach of its bard. Erinhue tucked the harp under his arm and went to the door. He was pushed back a few steps by the crush of people at the door. There were many faces from the old days and a few that would have been more familiar in another place. Everyone was talking at once and no one seemed to notice that Erinhue remained silent as he let himself be guided down to the tap room.

Some one shouted “Buy the bard a beer.” and a tall ceramic mug of the Pony’s best was pressed into his hand. Erinhue took refuge of sorts in the mug and its frothy contents. He let them ask their questions and let others supply their own answers. He still said nothing. They called for a song, which was expected but Erinhue took his time with the beer.

The serving girl smiled and winked at him when she took the empty mug away. Her smile turned to a curious squint when he silently nodded his thanks. They were chanting his name again and he almost did not hear it. He stepped up onto the small raised platform that served for a stage and looked out over the eager faces in the room. For the first time since he became a bard, he had no idea what to say.

Agarak, still pressed against his side, began to hum gently. Mythweaver, Air Ring of the Wordsmith, grew warm around Erinhue’s finger as the bard swung his instrument into playing position. When his fingers strummed along the dragonharp’s strings the room was filled with melodious sound so rich one might nearly touch it. Erinhue laid his hand flat against the harp stings and an exquisite chord floated out to captivate each ear. Mythweaver’s granite stone started to glow faintly when Erinhue began to sing.

A star once blazed bright in the night
Has given the last of its light
And fallen against Darkness’s blight
I sing of Sir Dirk the Bold

A warrior like those of old
Whose sacrifice will long be told
His name will join the heros’ roll
I sing of Sir Dirk the Daring”

Erinhue sang about Dirk going into the caverns beneath the mountain fortress and of his willing sacrifice and victory when he wounded the dragon and took away its fire so his companions might have a chance to live. He sang of the young man laid out on the cold stone ground and of the loss felt by those who he had saved.

The bard’s naturally warm baritone simmered with emotion as he sang. The ring, Mythweaver was glowing brightly, its magic carrying the bard’s emotion in the sound of the song. Agarak’s tenor tones were singing wreaths around its bard’s voice and the effects of the ring used the music to paint heroic pictures in the minds of all who heard. Long before the song came to its tragic end, every person in the taproom was sobbing and shedding tears. When their chorused cries drowned him out, Erinhue stopped singing.

People were moaning and holding on to each other, completely awash in mourning grief. The perverse thought that perhaps this might be half enough tears for the fallen Dirk snuck into Erinhue's mind. In his next thought, he knew it was not. He also came to understand that whatever he was searching for, it was not here in The Pony.

“Agarak, I want to go home.”

The statement was hardly more than a breath. In the next, Erinhue vanished from the Prancing Pony’s taproom.
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:34 pm

The shades of evening wafted in on the sounds of the rolling tide. The trumpets of evening tribute were sounded, the night watch set and Dol Amroth settled down to a quiet night. At House Elitan, the light was glowing in the window’s of the office of its Lord. Beliran, Captain of the Swan Knights, did not look up when he felt another presence in the room.

“Hello, ‘Hue.

“ Hello, ‘Ran.”

The two treated the sudden and surprise reunion as the common place occurrence that it was between them. Beliran stood up and came from behind dark oak desk to embrace his brother. Erinhue held tight to the one thing in his life that was still solid and real.

Beliran waited patiently for his brother to break the hold. If Erinhue was here in Dol Amroth, something was very wrong.

In time Erinhue released his grip. Beliran smacked him on the back hard enough to force him to take a step. They both laughed at the child hood memory the gesture called up. Beliran shouted for one of his personal aids then turned to his brother to ask “Do you remember what you used to say about drinking?”

“What?” Erinhue replied, “ Oh yes, I remember “Wine’s for talking, Beer’s for singing and Rum’s for fighting.”

Beliran nodded, but he was no longer smiling. “I’ll send someone for wine.”
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby erinhue » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:59 am

Wine from the cellars of House Elitan was called for three more time as the night wore on. Beliran mostly drank and listened as Erinhue spoke and drank. As silence fell between them, the brothers sat together to watch the braking dawn and then to bed and needed rest.
In the morning a sumptuous meal was prepared and presented and both Beliran and Erinhue ate as if many a meal had been missed.
Beliran regarded his little brother thoughtfully over the rim of his goblet.

“You know that you are welcome here at any time, but you must also know that you cannot stay here now.”

“I know, ‘Ran, I know. I have been thinking about it all night, what would I say? I will have to fight before I get the chance to say anything. I am fairly certain that Tempest is going to try to kill me on sight. Assuming that I am still breathing after that, I just don’t know what I will say to them.”

“Tell them what you told me, although you might want to come up with a shorter version. That was a bit long winded, even for you.”

They laughed again together. When the meal was finished, Beliran pushed his chair back from the table. “Given your preferred mode of travel, you’ll have pleanty of time to come down with me when I review the troop. There would be outright mutiny should the boys find out that you were here and never came to see them.”

Erinhue let out an honest chuckle. “I think that it would do me good to see them too. Might pick up a new trick or two to keep Tempest from running me completely through.”
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Mithril Knights » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:00 pm

...
Last edited by Mithril Knights on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Guruthostirn » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:17 pm

It had to be raining. The procession wound its way southward through the wilds under heavy clouds, and now, as they approached Imladris, hooves splashed mud and cloaks dripped steadily. Perhaps the weather itself was mourning the passing of Sir Dirk; almost everyone else was. Each night the torches were lit, and the vigils continued, one or more Mithril Knights keeping the body company until dawn arrived to signal the start of another march.

The decision to travel to Imladris first had been unanimous. At the Last Homely House the party of knights and their escort could rest as messengers traveled throughout the lands, taking letters to the various associates Dirk had accumulated throughout his life. Silently watching the procession from a rise in the road Anorast grinned without mirth. His brother in arms had lived a truly epic life, with an equally remarkable end. The bards would tell his tale, compare it to Turin Turambar, though without the tragic romantic aspect. Anorast suspected Dirk had held some relationship close but the old elf had never known the details. But the handkerchief Tempest had found next to Dirk’s body indicated that something had comforted Dirk in his final moment. No one else knew that Anorast had seen something else in the darkness. Hidden under his cloak, now wrapped around Dirk’s body, a lock of hair lay against his breast. Anorast had picked it up and placed it there before carrying Dirk out of the darkness. Perhaps his life was more tragic than any of his fellow knights knew.

Irritably Anorast shook water off his hood. He’d put away his armor and now travelled, wrapped in his old robe and Mithril Knight cloak. The old elf had taken to riding away from the column, ostensibly to watch for any dangers. The other knights left Anorast alone, though they knew there could be no enemy who could cause the large group much problem. Anorast was aware that his companions thought he was riding apart to deal with his grief privately, but instead the elf was separating himself from the mourning of the others. He hadn’t lied to Tempest, he did feel the loss of Dirk, but he’d set the young man in his memory, never to be forgotten. Now Anorast waited patiently as his fellow knights went through their own ways of dealing with grief. If only Erinhue hadn’t left them, they could have dealt with it together.

With the thought of his vanished friend Anorast sighed, saddened. The other knights, Tempest in particular, did not understand Erinhue’s disappearance. Anorast had recognized that the Master Bard had been looking for a way to deal with his grief in his own way, away from his friends, from those he might hurt in his quest for closure. If only he could find his way back.

“It’s quite the honor for Dirk,” a voice suddenly spoke next to the old elf. Anorast nodded, not turning. He’d heard the faint tinkle of harp strings a moment before. It was oddly appropriate that Erinhue would make his reappearance just as Anorast had been thinking about him. Perhaps it was not a coincidence.

“He deserves it.”

“Yes, he does.” Erinhue sighed, looking down at the other knights, leading the column. “What do I say to them?”

“Don’t say anything, ‘Hue,” Anorast replied quietly. “You’re back, that will be enough.”

“Not for Tempest,” Erinhue growled. “She’ll try to kill me, you know that.”

“If she tries, it’s because she cares.” Anorast stared hard at Erinhue. “I know you had to leave. Your reasons are your own, I can only make guesses. It hasn’t helped, having you gone. This loss has brought us closer together, but we’ve been missing a piece, you.”

“How can I explain to them why I left?”

“Don’t even try, my friend.” Anorast frowned. “You may explain yourself eventually, but it won’t be necessary. That’s the funny thing about life. It keeps moving forward. What happens finds a place in the past, but you can’t keep looking back. You’ll just run into something if you don’t look where you’re going. Down there, they’re mourning a loss. Up here, away, I’m remembering a friend. I can’t regret what I did, think about what I could have done to change things. That’s in the past.”

“You knew Dirk would die, didn’t you?” Erinhue asked quietly. “Just like I did. I didn’t do anything.”

“You couldn’t, Erinhue.” Anorast reached out and grabbed his friend’s shoulder. “He was walking his own path. Interfering with fate has always been disastrous. Neither of us could save him. Instead, we did what we could to make sure his choices were not wasted. We honored Dirk by finishing the work he’d started, by destroying that dragon. What you did there, the power you unleashed, you did that for your friend. There was no better way for you to honor him.”
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Guruthostirn
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Re: Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

Postby Mithril Knights » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:18 pm

Mithril Knights wrote:Here ends this chapter of the Mithril Knights' ongoing tale. Please continue to post in one of the spin-off threads, or if you wish, in the Funeral Thread for Dirk. Thanks for reading.

:lock:



Okay, NOW it's really over.
Mithril Knights
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