Mithril Knights: Guardians of Middle-earth

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

Postby Claymore » Mon May 24, 2010 9:13 am

Though the Stone remained silent at first it was not before long that Djazi swore he heard it whispering again. It was so faint in the beginning that he dismissed it as the wind. It was blowing steadily on the plains they were now crossing and even the smallest outcropping produced eerie whistles. Though when the whispers persisted after the wind subsided he had to admit they came from the stone. It was barely audible and he doubted the others heard but it as there, a persistent sound at the edge of his hearing. He did not understand all of it, the Stone seemed to be talking to himself, but he caught snatches of Kin, Kin approaching and Kin near but hidden.
What does this mean?
The answer came the next morning.

It was with some apprehension that he removed his spear's head. He had seen berserkers before in the Arena, men who worked themselves into such a rage they were impervious to fear and pain. Those were easy to beat if you kept your cool, for in their anger they lost much of their reason. The way the Mithril Knights acted though he could guess this Berserker was something wholly different, something more akin to Brondgast's formidable but calculated wrath in the cave.
-Bring out the Stone.
Anorast's words dragged him from his thoughts. He had wrapped the stone in an old shirt and placed it in one of his saddle-bags much to Dabayl's discomfort. The mare hadn't stopped snapping at the bag since then. She seemed almost relieved when he took the bundle out and unwrapped the stone. He held it up gingerly not quite sure what to expect.
Anorast's next actions surprised him but not for long for as soon as the aged elf unsheathed his sword the Stone's murmurings rose to a cry. Djazi could hear the sword to a lower and slightly more subdued counterpoint though what the sword said he could not hear. Right now all he wanted to do was cover his ears. He did not dare to drop the Stone though so he settled for covering just one. Meanwhile the Stone began t give of a distinct feeling of unrest.
Something is going to happen, though not yet. Not everything needed is there yet, I think
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Postby Tempest » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:34 am

There was a ripple of recognition, and words exchanged between the two objects which even the wielders could not understand. Holding forth his sword, Anorast seemed puzzled by the interchange, and Djazi had closed his eyes as though in pain.

But then, suddenly, all was silent again. There were no whispers on the wind and not even the slightest rumble from the sword or the stone.

”Did you understand any…” Vana began.

”No,” Anorast replied.

”Djazi?” the dark lady turned to her mentee.

The man of Harad stared down curiously at the stone in his hands. ”I could understand very little. Something about the time not being right yet. Something more is needed…”

”What? What else is needed?” Elenath asked quickly.

He shook his head. ”I don’t know. It didn’t say, and now, it is as silent as before.”

”Well, there is yet ONE thing not here, the last item on our list. The last object of power to be retrieved, though it could have been done at any moment in our journey,” Anorast began, looking steadily at Erinhue. ”Are you ready, my friend?”

”Before we cast our lives away so completely,” Tempest interrupted sharply. ”Remind me again how it is that we are going to call forth the Berserker? Calling Clarion is one thing, and easily done. But using it to transform the bard is something else entirely. There are no enemies here, no threat to him. No reason for the overwhelming rage that calls it forth. How do you propose we proceed?”

Erinhue regarded her grimly, the unhappiness on her face cut him to the heart. ”First things first, my love,” he answered, holding out his hand.

”Clarion, to me!”
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Postby erinhue » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:01 pm

“Love is the most powerful magic known in Middle-Earth, but too many don't see the connection between love and strength. But look at the way a mother bear strikes out at everything that threatens her cub, and at the same time is no danger to the cub, but its best ally, and you begin to see the point. It is the simplest, yet the most difficult thing to learn. Alas, too many think of love as a weakness, but little know its power.”


The tinkle of the silver bells braided into Treble’s mane and tail seemed to add fated emphasis to his thoughts as he considered Brondgast's words. Of course he would use that analogy a mother bear with her cub. The bard was about to dismiss it all when he heard the softly syncopated melody that generally meant the harp wanted him to put more thought to something.

If this was the Beorning’s method, the results were unquestionable results Erinhue had witnessed for himself. For the rest of that day and the next there was no singing and no stories, no one sided conversations with the dragonharp. The bard was uncharacteristically quiet as he tried to reconcile the love of Brondgast’s recommendation with the Berserker’s unthinking rage. Anger, his own anger was the way to call the berserker spirit forth. That was the key and without it Clarion was a great and ancient blade but a sword and little more.

Following the meal on the evening of the next day Erinhue sat on a large rock idly plucking at the strings of his harp when he saw Anorast and Elenath coming towards him. I bet they don’t want to ask me to play a springle ring, he muttered to himself as he continued to gently run his fingers over the harp’s strings.
Last edited by erinhue on Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby erinhue » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:01 pm

Well it had finally come down to it. Anorast was not prone to jokes yet Erinhue had dared hope the elf did not really intend to ever actually try what he proposed. Pretending not to see them, the bard watched as Anorast and Elenath approached. They did not say anything when they reached him. Erinhue broke the awkward silence.

“You really mean to do it?”
“Yes, Lord Erinhue,” Elenath replied
Erinhue’s eyes flitted from her to briefly rest on Anorast’s face before he turned back to plucking at the stings of his harp. His voice was hardly more than a whisper.

“You do know that it is very likely I will kill you all if you do go through with this. ?

“I am aware there is that possibility,” Anorast responded. “a possibility that I do not believe will come to pass. I intend to have the Beorning standing by and I am fully prepared to have him smash in your skull should you prove a dire threat to life and limb.”

“And you have my full permission.” Erinhue tried to laugh but there was no humor in the sound of it and the bard found he could not look his comrades in the eye, he could not look at them at all. His mouth went completely dry at the thought of his next question.

“Do you want me to tell Tempest about this?”

“No,” said Elenath. Her demeanor softened. She recognized what it was they were asking and she felt for the bard’s situation. She smiled where he could not and put a gentle hand upon his shoulder. “We will take care of Tempest. I have a feeling that we are about to put you through an ordeal so I would strongly suggest that you get as much rest as you can.” She smiled fondly at him and then turned and walked away.

Anorast looked after her for a moment before returning his attention to the bard.

“I would do as she suggests. Don’t worry. I will find a way to square it, as you would say, with Tempest.” Anorast followed Elenath across the camp.

Erinhue did not look up but he knew they were gone away. He picked at the strings of his harp and the sound was thin. For days now, since the rescue from the cave, Agarak had been little more than any other harp fashioned of plain wood. The dragonharp did not respond to comments, questions or requests. The rich full sound of its voice was silenced, the textured resonance of its notes had gone flat.

As he mulled Brondgast ’s advice over and over in his head Erinhue recognized a vast difference in the two transformations. The Beorning was well aware of what he was doing once he became the bear. He was present just in a different physical form.

The Bard was not present when the Berserker took possession. Erinhue never remembered what happened when the Berserker was in control. That was the real key, the control. He had to find a way to remain present, to be in control. Brondgast's advice could only be applied if he remained in control of the Berserker’s power and rage. How was the real question and he did not have an answer.
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Postby erinhue » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:37 pm

The question followed him into uneasy sleep. Agarak kept up a barely audible hum that agitated more than it soothed. Erinhue dreamed himself back in the Lucky Fortune as he often did. In the dream he was playing to a full house when he realized that when the Berserker spirit possessed his physical form, this is where he was most likely to find himself, back at the Lucky Fortune.

In the dream the bard stopped playing and set the harp down on a table. He walked to the door and pushed it open as he went outside of the inn. It was pitch black outside a darkness so deep it almost seemed a thing unto itself. There was threat lurking out there just out of sight. As time passed the sense of approaching danger mounted.

When he found he could not run from the sense of ominous foreboding the bard decided to stand his ground and fight. Turning to face whatever drew near, the bard raised his left hand and called out “Clarion, to me.”

In the dream the sword appeared in answer to the bard’s call. The moment it materialized a great roar of fury sounded in the distant dark. The raging howl got closer and closer until suddenly it was upon him. The Bard found himself facing the Berserker’s enraged charge.

For more time than he could afford, the Bard stood frozen, staring, his heart racing with terror. The creature charging at him did not look like him at all. It had his face but it was twisted and enflamed with rage. The eyes were glaring and reddened with no hint of reason or thought other than mayhem and carnage.

When it reached him, the Bard raised his sword and fought for his life. The Berserker howled and hacked at him without much statagy but great power and force. The Bard held his own for a time through agility and his ability to think and his own strong will to survive.

Being denied its intended victim, the Berserker’s frustration served to increase his strength. It came at the Bard with all the power of hate. In that moment The Bard realized that there was only one way to defeat the Berserker, the Beorning had given him the secret. The Bard dropped his sword and allowed the Berserker to stab his sword deep into his chest. The pain was as real as anything outside the world of dream but the Bard pushed forward along its length until he was near enough to grab the Berserker and wrap his arms around him.

There was a great burst of pain,as the Bard forced the last few inches of the blade into and through his body to embrace the Berserker. There was a great roar of fury and rage and then Erinhue woke up.
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Postby erinhue » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:49 pm

The morning was chilly with a cold wind blowing across the land. Erinhue ate little and said less. He kept quiet and to himself while the other knights got busy with the work of the day. He listened to the hardly heard buzz between the stone and Anorast’s sword. While it remained silent, Erinhue could tell that whatever the conversation was, Agarak was listening intently. The sense of conversation ended as abruptly as it bagan.

There were no more whispers on the wind and not even the slightest rumble from the sword or the stone.

”Did you understand any…” Vana began.

”No,” Anorast replied.

”Djazi?” the dark lady turned to her mentee.

The man of Harad stared down curiously at the stone in his hands. ”I could understand very little. Something about the time not being right yet. Something more is needed…”

”What? What else is needed?” Elenath asked quickly.

He shook his head. ”I don’t know. It didn’t say, and now, it is as silent as before.”

”Well, there is yet ONE thing not here, the last item on our list. The last object of power to be retrieved, though it could have been done at any moment in our journey,” Anorast began, looking steadily at Erinhue. ”Are you ready, my friend?”

”Before we cast our lives away so completely,” Tempest interrupted sharply. ”Remind me again how it is that we are going to call forth the Berserker? Calling Clarion is one thing, and easily done. But using it to transform the bard is something else entirely. There are no enemies here, no threat to him. No reason for the overwhelming rage that calls it forth. How do you propose we proceed?”

Erinhue regarded her grimly, the unhappiness on her face cut him to the heart. ”First things first, my love,” he answered, holding out his hand.

”Clarion, to me!”
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Postby erinhue » Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:38 am

Tempest held her breath. Brondagast stared with curious interest. D'jazi plotted quickly what he would do with the stone should he need to defend himself. Anorast and the others watched with various degrees of trepedation. Vana gasped when the great blade appeared in answer to its master's call.

Nothing happened. The blade gleamed with reflected daylight as it pointed towards the sky but there was no sudden transformation.

Erinhue looked around at their faces, lowered his arm and laughed.

"Now take a look at the lot of ya, did you think I was gonna sprout horns and a tail the second the sword appeared. Remember, it don't work that way. I called its name so why are you all so shocked that it came, Clarion is an obedient blade."
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:15 am

Oops, wrong thread. Ignore it, I'm going to the OOC thread.
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Postby Guruthostirn » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:06 am

"Now take a look at the lot of ya, did you think I was gonna sprout horns and a tail the second the sword appeared. Remember, it don't work that way. I called its name so why are you all so shocked that it came, Clarion is an obedient blade."

Anorast let out the breath he'd been holding, and relaxed the hand gripping his sword. He didn't recall ever seeing Erinhue's sword being summoned, and was unsure whether or not the Berserker automatically came with the blade. He had been ready if necessary, but his idea for communicating with the raging spirit required preparation, not split second reaction.

"And now for the summoning," declared Lady Elenath, staring at the Bard.

"Again, how are we going to do this?" demanded Tempest. "Do we attack our fellow knight till he becomes enraged and the Berserker emerges?"

"I don't think that would be the best idea," replied Brondgast with a frown. "Even among my people, where we know our strength and our fate, the first couple transformations are moments of caution. We are guarded carefully till we learn to know ourselves, and from what Master Erinhue has told me, the Berserker has no restraints whatsoever."

The conversation was suddenly interrupted by a musical glittering of sound. From behind Erinhue Agarak's jewelled eyes flashed as a few more notes sounded.

"Restraints!" Everyone turned to see Vana's face light up with surprise and happiness. "Thank you Agarak, it's perfect!"

Erinhue looked at the elf woman curiously. "What's perfect, Vana?"

"The chain from the stone!"
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Postby erinhue » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:18 pm

“If the old worm thinks it’s a good idea, then I’d say it’s worth a try.”

Erinhue remembered the odd feeling that came over him in the presence of that piece of chain found in the cave with the Stone. If nothing else it appeared a good sturdy chain with thick links. It might not be such a bad idea. It was comforting to him to think that something aside from his own uncertain ability might keep his alter ego from doing any serious harm.

“So we bind me up good and proper so no one gets hurt. Fine, but how do you intend to call up the Berserker. I’d really like to oblige but I’m not the least bit angry about anything at the moment.”

“Maybe you’d get upset if I were to tell you what a terrible bard you are.” Tempest said with a bit too much pleasure. “Your stories are a cure for the love of life and your singing sounds like the mating call of a lovesick stone troll.”

“Hmm,” Erinhue blinked as he considered the insult. “That might be enough to get me a little upset except for one small detail.”

“What detail?”

“Ah Tempest, m’love, I wouldn’t be angered by that because I know it isn’t true.”
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Postby Vanaladiel » Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:03 pm

At Agaraks persistent chiming, Vana walked over to Djazi and took the stone and the chain and walked back to Erinhue.

"I am not sure what or how to do this so that it will hold the Berserker so let's just see what happens, shall we?" Vana commented to Erinhue.

Agarak's strings stirred once more and another sounding came to Vana's ears.

"What do you mean just wrap them around him?" Vana looked over with the question on her face to Agarak.

Again the strings chimed in and Vana shrugged and continued with winding the chain about Erinhue. First the wrists and then about his arms but as she came past the stone this time the chain seemed to lock against the stone. Not visibly, but so that Vana could not move the chain or change the way it would cross.

Erinhue pulled against the chains as well but could not budge them.

Anorast then stepped up and checking the chains for himself commented, "I think it is time to try to see what we can do to awaken the Berserker now!"
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Postby Cock-Robin » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:08 pm

"I am ready as well." said Brondgast, noting that the chains were now wrapped around Erinhue and he couldn't get out of them. There was something about those chains.

And this reminded him of his first transformation. His father and brothers were gathered around him in bear form and ready for him to learn. After trying to break out in his wrath, only to be blocked each time. Each wrapped him in a bear hug and released him. He remembered when his eyes cleared and he understood. The love between them turned him, and made him what he was today.

He changed into a bear and raised up on his hind legs, watching Erinhue. But how to make him summon the Berserker? He roared at Erinhue loudly. That would be a beginning.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, in the place outside of Carn Dum, where Dirk and Meneldor were, the Eagle stood before him. He was called in a mysterious way to this place, knowing he was needed more here than where his other friends were.

"I do have something to ask you, Sir Dirk." said Meneldor. "What does it mean to be a Mithril Knight, as it seems that I have been called to apprentice with you?"
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Postby Guruthostirn » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:42 pm

Anorast stood back for a moment, watching the Bard. The chain bound his arms and hands together, but by the way he held Clarion the old elf could see the Berserker would still be a dangerous opponent and not easily approached. The puzzle of how to bring forth the spirit still frustrated them. Brondgast attempted to provoke the spirit but Erinhue merely smiled, a strangely affectionate expression considering the large teeth only feet from his face.

As the old elf pondered the problem a possible solution came to him. The Berserker seemed to respond to strong emotions associated with conflict. Anorast doubted it would be summoned by great joy or love, and from what hints Erinhue had dropped about the spirit, it seemed to be a rather angry and violent past. Perhaps another emotion would bring it forth. Within seconds Anorast recalled an experience from several centuries before, a First Age tool of torture. Perhaps fear would bring forth the spirit.

"Erinhue, do you trust me?" the elf asked quietly.

"Of course, my friend." Erinhue answered. "I wouldn't have let myself be chained if I didn't trust all of you."

"You know I would never actually hurt you," Anorast continued, his serious expression catching the attention of his fellow travellers.

"I do, Anorast. At least, without good reason."

"Good." The elf paused. "Are you ready?"

As the Bard nodded Anorast stepped forward. He rested his sword against his shoulder, his right arm tense and ready to strike. With his left hand Anorast gripped Erinhue's hands, wrapped around Clarion's hilt. Stepping close, the elf stared into his friend's eyes.

"You will not be able to close your eyes for anything. You shall see what I show you, you shall witness what lies within my soul. You will not be able to look away."

For a moment nothing happened. Suddenly sweat broke out upon Erinhue's face. Only seconds later his arms started shaking as he tried to pull away from the old elf but Anorast's grip was unbreakable. The Bard's breath sped up and his face turned white. But despite his agony Erinhue could not pull his eyes from Anorast's gaze, and the elf was merciless, staring relentlessly. Finally Anorast lifted his sword and brought the blade next to his eyes. Erinhue's gaze suddenly shifted to the blade, and a massive shudder went throughout his body, and his arms shook the chains. Clarion's blade waved as the elf fought to keep his grip steady. Where eyes had been filled with fright now they flamed with anger, tinged with fear. The gaze slowly shifted from Anorast's blade back to the elf's face, then back to the blade again.

"You bear a sword born from the stars. Why do you face me, why have you brought me forth?"

Around the Berserker the knights all took a step back, shuddering from the unearthly voice coming from their friend's mouth.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:09 pm

Brondgast took a step back, still on his hind legs as a bear. He watched the transformation, which was inner while his transformation was outward.

As years ago, his brethren Beornings had helped him in his first transformation, so it was his turn to help another. He smelled the fear and anger emanating from the Berserker, and heard the unnatural voice coming from him. Brondgast could not speak man's tongue in this ursine form, but he knew, as few others, the drive to strike out.

He answered with a low growl, stepping forward and laying a paw on his shoulder, drawing him in to a furry embrace. He let the Berserker feel his strength, his furry warmth, the vibration of his half-growl.

Then, he broke away, almost in a dance step, or was it a dance step before the Berserker could react. The Beorning's eyes were locked on the Berserker.

The dance step and his look communicated the fact. **I feel your fear, I smell your wrath. Now learn your real power, the most powerful in Middle-Earth!** It was bred into Brondgast, and he knew how to do it.
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Postby Idril » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:05 pm

Idril took a step backwards, losing her balance, almost tripping on something, shaking her head to clear it and wondered at this lingering feeling that she had. She was NOT herself. She hadn't been quite right since the cave. Her reactions were, well off, slow. More than off. Especially for her kind ... a sure footed, warrior Elf maid, tried and true in many a battle. What was wrong with her?

She watched in a fog-like trance while Anorast and Erinhue were locked in a gaze that was unable to be broken by human or elf kind. For that matter it was unsure if it could be broken by anyone other than Anorast. His gaze went deeper than any she had witnessed in ages, that alone sent a shiver down her spine. She knew of such a gaze. It was on the edges of her memory still. She shook her head violently to clear it of the fog. As time passed, she witnessed the Beorning Brondgast in his bear form, doing the best that he could to help Erinhue as he changed into the Berserker. They were all at the ready ... all that is except her. Why was she standing here, unprotected and unprepared, to face what she KNEW was coming with the release of the Berserker?

She looked around at the ground, finding what might have tripped her, she reached down to grab it, a good sized branch without limbs or leaves. She lifted it and as she did so she felt stranger still. What was this feeling? She leaned heavily on the branch, waiting, watching and praying that she would not fail to assist the others when the need arrived. It could mean the life or death of a friend. Or her own.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:30 pm

Dirk had taken to spending the daylight hours meditating as the shade of Eöl had taught him to, attuning his senses to his surroundings. Invigorated by the seeming return of the powers of his ancient artifacts, the young warrior practiced honing his sensory perception as he had done when he first discovered the talent; and it had once again become second nature, as automatic as breathing.

So it was that Dirk knew of the great Eagle's approach long before his human eyes would normally have seen him. But knowing Meneldor was coming was not enough to prepare Dirk for what he felt when the great bird lighted in the bare circle amid the scrub that concealed the campsite.

Reason would say that Dirk should have felt fear and annoyance with the Eagle's appearance, due to the danger of foiling Dirk's plan to assume the mantle of Zaugoth and play the part of evil lord. If another Knight had shown up, then perhaps Dirk could play it off that he had turned the human's weak mind to his own will. If it were an elf Dirk was spotted with, he might even be able to convince the most witless orc that the elf was in league with him. But if he were seen by even the dullest of trolls in the presence of an Eagle which was NOT trying to rend him limb from limb his ruse would be instantly shattered. Of all of the creatures in all the ages of Middle-earth, the great Eagles were ever closest to the Valar. And nothing could more convincingly show Dirk to be false in the eyes of the denizens of the dark.

But Dirk's thoughts did not follow reason. Despite the complete muddling of logic that had Dirk's mind screaming, Dirk felt only joy in his heart for the arrival of Meneldor.

"Dirk, forgive me, but something told me I was needed here. The Knights are coming as soon as they can," said the great bird.

"There is nothing to forgive." Dirk bowed his head in greeting, then approached Meneldor and placed a hand lightly upon the feathers of his folded wing. "On the contrary, your arrival explains a great deal. Even though you've only flown a few hours to reach me, I've felt your approach for days now. But I knew not who or what was coming until this moment."

Dirk's thoughts strayed to the instructions he gave to the Uruks. The orders for them to stay completely hidden during the daylight hours had sprung thoughtlessly from his lips at the time. Perhaps unconsciously he had bidden them to do so in order that he may have this meeting unheeded.

"I'm afraid I can't solve the mystery as to why you are here, however," Dirk added after a pause. "I can't think of any way in which you can be of help without jeopardizing my plans."

They stood side-by-side facing west as the sun began to approach the horizon. Then, as though the thought had just occurred to him, the Eagle spoke.
"I do have something to ask you, Sir Dirk." said Meneldor. "What does it mean to be a Mithril Knight, as it seems that I have been called to apprentice with you?"

Dirk's brow knitted as the question soaked in. He thought about the events upon the east slope of Mount Gundabad. He may once have fancied that he knew what it meant to be a Mithril Knight, but now he could not answer the Eagle's question, because he was not certain that he truly was a Mithril Knight any more. But despite this bleak thought, another feeling washed over him - hope. Perhaps redemption was at hand for Dirk and with that would come the right to bear the title of Mithril Knight once more.

"My friend, the answer to that question eludes me as well." The young black-clad Knight scratched his head. "As an initiated Mithril Knight, I am allowed to mentor a Knight-in-Training. I will accept you as apprentice if you'll have me, O Great Eagle."

The giant bird blinked its far-seeing eyes and bowed its head.

"But between us I will not call you 'apprentice,' but rather 'brother,' for I know now in my heart that you will teach me far more than I can ever teach you. We will tread the dark path that lies before me together and upon that path, or perhaps at its end, we'll find the answer to your question.” Dirk drew a deep, cleansing breath.

"Now, the sun is going down and my filthy minions will soon arrive to give me report,” he changed the subject. “You must depart before it grows any darker. But will you return tomorrow in the light of day?"

Again the great bird inclined its head.

"Very good. I can't explain it, but in spite of every logical bone in my body saying that you must stay away whilst I play my black part, I can't deny that I know you must remain with me. Keep safe, and as long as your sharp eagle-eyes see no danger in it, return to me here as you will - until the Knights arrive and I must play the final scene beneath yonder mountains."

For the third and final time Meneldor bowed his head slightly. Then he spread his great wings and leaped into the sky. In just a few mighty beats, those wings carried the Eagle out of Dirk's view-though his spirit told him that the Eagle would not go too far.

The moment that the sun disappeared below the western horizon, Dirk heard the approach of the Uruk captain with his nightly report on the movements of the Rangers and the mustering of the orcs in the mountains. He did not turn when the black soldier entered the clearing, but only beckoned it to speak with a gesture. With his back turned and tuning out the report of the Uruk, Dirk raised his face to the heavens, where Elbereth shone with unearthly brilliance.

“A Star enters the darkness
And consumes him from within…”

Once again Meneldor's verse recalled itself to his mind.

The Uruk fell silent as it finished its report and Dirk shooed it away.

As the Uruk’s footsteps faded into the distance, Dirk suddenly fell to his knees in agony. The old wound in his side reignited, the pain greater and closer to his heart than ever.

Dirk's time was growing short.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:45 pm

Brother.

Meneldor had not heard that word since that time long ago, it seemed like an eternity, that his fellow Eagles had left for the West, leaving him as sole sentry until the time when he was no longer needed in Middle-Earth.

And for a while in his long journey, he thought himself that the time had come that he was no longer needed, that the Age of Man had come at last, and the ancient days would be forgotten, dwindling down to a dim memory.

This and many thoughts were in his mind as he flew away to a hidden eyrie in a mountain still within sight of Carn Dum. He knew his fate and that of Dirk were entwined, and even he had no clue to what it entailed.

He had taken apprenticeship with him, but it didn't mean he was abandoning dear, sweet Idril. How could he? The Elf and the Eagle also had a bond which couldn't be broken, not even when they took the path to the West. But now, he was needed here, and would find his heart's quest with Dirk, though the path should be dark as any path he could be on.

His far-seeing eyes looked at Elbereth as well, and further west, straining to see all the way to Taniquetil, where Thorondor and his kin awaited and watched. His weary head drooped and then, he saw the holy mountain, with his kin, his brethren circling.

Then, gracefully as any Eagle there, even more graceful in his movement, Thorondor swooped down in greeting.

Your thoughts touched me, young Meneldor.

Yes, my lord. responded the Last Eagle. I have much to ask.

And yet, they are not questions even I can answer, Sorontel, Last-Eagle. It is the Adan with you who must teach you those answers.

Does this mean I cannot depend on your guidance anymore?

Not at all, my son. It means you must grow. The fledgeling finds his wings in the strangest places. And you must find them in a place where even I cannot go. Remember that. Like all of us, darkness has never touched your heart, even in the days you do not now remember in the Great Song. It is why Manwë chose us to be his watchmen and messengers, and why Morgoth and his brood hate us so much. And now you must call upon that. Those whose hearts have not been touched by the darkness can often see deeeper into it than any who have.

And how do I do that, my lord?

That is what you must find out together with the dark Knight, my son.


With that, his sight was back on the star as the vision faded. "I shall find it out with him, my lord." said Meneldor, as he folden his head beneath his wing.
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Postby Tempest » Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:38 pm

Tempest had never heard of the kind of torture that Anorast displayed from the First Age, but then again, there were many things that she did not know of the elves, for her training and study had delved much more into the darkness of the enemy than ever into those of the light.

But even she was impressed by the mercilessness of the old elf's gaze that transfixed the bard's and held him captive in more ways than the chains that bound his arms. She recognized the look that passed over Erinhue's face; she had seen it many times before, though on his face it smote her to the heart.

She looked away.

Instead, she examined the faces of her fellow knights, all in rapt attention, their hands lingering over their weapons, though she knew that should the Berserker be unleashed, such weapons would be useless. In her own mind, she already had formulated seven different escape routes and plans in case things should go awry.

And then it happened.

The monster spoke.

"You bear a sword born from the stars. Why do you face me, why have you brought me forth?"

Around the Berserker the knights all took a step back, shuddering from the unearthly voice coming from their friend's mouth.

"We have reason to call you forth. Great need is upon us, and the brown wizard..." Anorast answered.

"I answer to no brown wizard," the steely voice replied.

"Then who DO you answer to? And what use can you be in a battle that combines the might of several objects of power? Can Clarion aid in the killing of a dragon, the last of its kind? What is your purpose? Do you fight for Darkness or Light? Or perhaps you fight only for yourself?"

Tempest was not the only one to tear her gaze away from the Berserker and stare in stunned amazement at Anorast as the challenge came spilling out of his mouth. "He's beginning to sound a lot like me," she thought to herself with a certain amount of approval for the old elf, who she had disagreed with on more than one occasion. "Of course, it's rather suicidal to provoke such a demon, but then again, at least it's attention will be completely on Anorast instead of the rest of us when it finally decides to unleash its holy terror. Maybe the rest of us will have a fighting chance to flee." She gave the old elf an appraising nod before turning her attention back to the face that made her take another step backwards.



**Edited to add more. Couldn't help myself**
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Postby Idril » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:32 am

Idril figured that the plaque had something to do with her odd feelings but she wasn't sure how it was causing this affect on her. She stood there, with the tree limb in hand thinking thoughts that wouldn't be helpful if the Berserker made a quick appearance and lost all control. Then she remembered that it would be best to have her sword in hand rather than the feeble limb IF the Berserker showed up. She quickly dropped the limb, making sure that it wasn't underfoot, drawing her sword as quietly as she can in preparation of the Berserker lashing out. At that very moment, Tempest looked away from Erinhue quickly. Idril's eyes met Tempest's for just a split second. What was in that look? Pain? Fear? Knowing?

She watched Tempest and Erinhue, as she knew there was a closeness there that could shed light on what could take place. She hoped that she would be able to pick up on it if something went wrong by Tempests or Erinhues actions before it actually was seen by others. Anorast was another thing as it seemed he was engulfed in Erinhue's gaze. Or was that the Berserker's gaze that he was engulfed in? She couldn't tell, then a voice was heard.

"You bear a sword born from the stars. Why do you face me, why have you brought me forth?"

As the voice spoke, she stepped back and shuddered. She heard an echo to the voice that seemed more than the unnatural voice heard by others. It continued to ring like a clanging in her head. As Anorast answered, she readied herself for another onslaught of that unearthly voice.

"I answer to no brown wizard," the steely voice replied.

There was that ringing again, the echoing of a huge bell tolling when one is too close to it. She slightly shook her head to clear it, unsuccessfully. She glanced again at Tempest to see if maybe she was affected in the same way. Tempest stood ready to strike, focused. If she was affected, she was not showing it. Idril copied Tempests' stance and determined stare, focusing only on the Berserker and the immediate surroundings of Erinhue.

Idril could not believe that Anorast was as bold as he was with his response to the voice coming out of Erinhue.

"Then who DO you answer to? And what use can you be in a battle that combines the might of several objects of power? Can Clarion aid in the killing of a dragon, the last of its kind? What is your purpose? Do you fight for Darkness or Light? Or perhaps you fight only for yourself?"

Idril turned her intent gaze to Anorast from the Berserker. Why had he made such a challenge was beyond her. Was it to anger the Berserker into some kind of action? Or had he lost his mind, for this would surely be the death of him if not the whole group, from what she had heard of previous Berserker actions.

She had to give Anorast credit for having the foresight to distract the attention away from the rest of them. She wasn't sure what good that would be for any of them but she was sure that in some small way it would help someone. She wasn't sure if any of them would survive the assault that was coming but if one of them could get away to warn others or to finish the quest that they were on, then it would be worth it. Then her head rang again. It was as if in slow motion she noticed the shield and Tempest stepping backwards at the same instant. Not sure what was happening she made herself ready, for what she did not know nor was she sure from what source the danger would come from, but she was ready for what would happen.

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Postby erinhue » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:32 pm

Erinhue sat in the chair and allowed himself to be bound with the mysterious chain. Anorast and Djazi wound the chain with deference to his comfort but Erinhue laughed and said “My ribs thank you but you need to make that chain a lot more secure if you expect it to hold me fast. Don’t misunderstand, I don’t want a rib broken but even that would be far better than……” He let the end of the sentence trail off. There was no need to complete it.

When the binding chain was tight enough to be uncomfortable the bard declared himself ready for whatever Anorast had in mind. At first Erinhue had to stifle the urge to laugh while staring at the old elf who stood staring back at him. One corner of the elf’s mouth flicked back his understanding and then his gaze intensified beyond a normal stare.

All urge towards embarrassed mirth evaporated as Erinhue recognized the scene around him. He stood on the field of his first battle. He stood on the field immediately after the first appearance of the Berserker had subsided. He stood with the mangled body of his friend lying at his feet.

Before the horror of that moment had a chance to register Erinhue found that he was unable to breathe. He was reliving the moment that he nearly drowned on the dry deck of a ship after having tossed his sword, Clarion into the sea. The near death experience pulled back to one of overwhelming grief and loss. He stood on the shore at the Grey Havens, watching one of the last Swan Ships sail into the West. His more than beloved wife, Aerin ClearStream stood on the deck with the sea mist closing in. While her elf eyes could no doubt make out his solitary form on the shore, he could no longer see her.

Some fragile barely mended part of his soul broke apart again and Erinhue found himself falling,falling into the depths of Anorast’s empowered stare. He fell into dream and wandered there for a time
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Postby erinhue » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:04 pm

In dream he stood on a golden shore watching out over the vastness of the Endless Sea. A strange sound pulled at his attention. He thought to investigate and the thought became immediate action. It was less than a heartbeat of time but that miniscule fraction of eternity was more than time enough. Suddenly there was chaos and terror all around. The sound came once again.

“’Hue. Wake up, man.” The voice belonged to Hobbituk. It came with a background of tavern noises. “I have never known you to sleep on a request for a performance. The house is as full as it can get.”

Erinhue shook his head, hard and took another close look around. There was no mistaking what he saw. He was in the main tap room of the Lucky Fortune Inn. He was leaning on the mahogany bar, chin propped in one hand supported by an elbow. Hobbituk was tugging at that elbow and the patrons had begun to chant his name. It seemed that he had dozed off for a moment.

The recent episode in the dark cave in the Land of the Lossoth put his honed survival instincts on alert and partially broke the spell that held him. He was still in the Lucky Fortune. His one time partner, Hobbituk stood at his side with growing concern in his expression.

“Not ta worry, Hobbie m’lad, I’m right as I can be seeings as I’m left handed” The words and confident tone rolled from his lips but it did not fool the hobbit that had known him for many many years.

“’Hue, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing I cannot take care of, my friend.” Erinhue replied and for a moment he studied the hobbit’s face. He took Hobbituk’s hand in both of his and shook it with heartfelt vigor. “You do know that you were the best friend I ever had, don’t ya?”

Confusion replaced concern as Hobbituk’s brows knit close together.
“Erinhue, I do know and you will always be my best friend.”

“That’s a good thing ta hear.” Erinhue saidin solomn tones as he released his friend’s hand. He turned his back on the best friend that he had not seen in many years and walked out the inn’s front door.
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Postby Idril » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:45 pm

Idril's thoughts were as wild as the Berserker. She had a hard time controlling herself, her mind that is but her body was alert and ready for what would come her way or her fellow Knights. She was somehow able to let her mind wander yet be mindful of where she was. She admitted to herself that she was missing Meneldor and was wondering how he was faring.

I wish you were here my friend, she thought. I wonder if you know what is happening with us, with me? Maybe you could shed some light on what I do not understand. I feel so odd, so out of sorts, not myself at all. I wonder if the shield stone or that cave or now even Clarion have had something to do with why I am feeling this way.

Idril focused on what was happening with Erinhue for a few moments, she dropped the limb, drew her sword and saw Tempest look away all while thinking yet again about the cave and the shield, the chaining of Erinhue and appearance of Clarion. Then she watched and listened as the unearthly words were spoken and resounded through her being.

Is this what human kind called being in a daze or under a spell? she wondered. But while she thought that she watched Erinhue as the Berserker, listening to the evil voice, feeling the creep of cold up her spine at it as it spoke, witnessing the tenseness of all around her as they also heard it. The steel in Anorast's voice when he replied.

Why is he baiting the Berserker in this way? What is he thinking? Is there an ulterior plan behind his madness? Could he be doing this on purpose?

Suddenly she felt something that she wasn't expecting coming from somewhere beyond the immediate area they were in. It was in her mind's eye.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:43 pm

Meneldor was asleep, his head under his wing on the eyrie that was within sight of Carn Dum. He had come here, driven by an inexplicable call to be with Dirk, to fly the dark path with him. A Great Eagle, who had not been touched by darkness since the days which were forgotten, would bear the burden with Dirk.

And yet, for a Great Eagle, sleep was not what it was for mortals, even for elves. He flew strange paths, hidden to all others. He was in communion with his brethren, though they were parted from him by uncounted leagues.

And yet, he was also in touch with the Lady Idril, the elf and Knight with which he bore a special bond. He felt her distress, feeling things she had not felt before. Was she also going the dark path with him?

He felt her reach out to him, across the leagues.

I hear you, milady. he said as he soared in ancient skies. I know your struggle. One who was Sorontel, Last-Eagle in the far West which is forgotten, Taniquetil which awaits me and even now calls. You have many questions, questions I cannot answer, for I am asking the same questions.

I, too am searching for that which was lost. And you know the answer to the question. You will tell yourself the answer when you are ready. But are we asking the right questions?


He was surprised he was talking this way. His lord Thorondor only spoke like this when he asked the Eagle-Lord the questions which were burning inside his spirit.

You are not alone, beloved Idril. I fly with you, though we are seperated by many leagues.

It was strange. They were here, and yet they were also in the Elder Days when the world was young. Had they met before? He wondered.

And he wondered even as Elbereth shone above them both.
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Postby erinhue » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:29 am

"We have reason to call you forth. Great need is upon us, and the brown wizard..." Anorast spoke firmly to the being that now inhabited the form of Erinhue, Bard of Belfalas

"I answer to no brown wizard," the steely voice replied. There was no trace of the bard’s humor or humanity in the sound.

"Then who DO you answer to? And what use can you be in a battle that combines the might of several objects of power? Can Clarion aid in the killing of a dragon, the last of its kind? What is your purpose? Do you fight for Darkness or Light? Or perhaps you fight only for yourself?" Anorast demanded a response.


For a moment that stretched for several heartbeats there was silence. Anorast and the being called the Berserker locked eyes and held the stare.

“I fight for myself.” The Berserker responded in a defiant tone. There was another moment’s silence. In that space the Knights could see a shift, a change in the creature that sat now in the chair in their friend’s stead. Where it had seemed only menacing to them it now took on a certain noble majesty with connotations of great power.

I am Clarion, one time Sentinel of Valinor’s West Gate. A dragon poses no great task for one who could have slain Ungoliant with a thought.” The being paused again, realizing that its immodest bragging was not an appropriate response. Its tone was more humble with its next words.

“There once was a time when I did hold such power but that time has passed and long ago. I held great pride in that power and that was my downfall. I was tricked by the Master of Darkness and that treachery lead to my present fate. I will always fight the Darkness for only in its defeat can I find any hope of salvation.


“Salvation? How can you speak of salvation when you try to kill those that are your allies?”

Tempest had been pacing at the edge of the knights gathered around their seated and chained brother Knight. She had been listening with only half her attention. The other half was consumed with her own dark thoughts, thoughts that suddenly bust forth into the light. Anorast and the other Knights turned to stare at her but Tempest ignored them all. When the creature chained to the chair continued to look at her with Erinhue’s eyes but without responding Tempest rushed forward shouting

“Why did you do it? Why did you try to kill me on the battle field?”


Reacting to the intensity and anger of Tempest’s accusation, the being in the chair snarled in her direction and began to howl. The passive set of the facial expression vanished to be replaced by the ravening fury of the Berserker.

Tempest drew her sword and leapt back as the shrieking creature lunged at her. The chains held and the creature screamed in frustrated fury. It began to thrash about and throw the strength of its body against the chains in vain attempt to snap them and break free. Brondgast, in bear form, stood poised to grab what looked like Erinhue in his tightest grasp to prevent it from harming any one of those standing by.
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Postby Tempest » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:51 pm

When she was certain that the chained fury before them could not release itself from its bondage, Tempest pointed her sword at it and turned coldly to the others. "Do you understand now? Do you see? This thing cannot be reasoned with or pandered to or trusted in any way. It can talk all it wants about fighting against the Darkness, but in its very next breath, it will be slicing the armies of Light in two."

"You provoked it," Anorast replied. "It responded to your anger with anger of its own."

"So what if it did? A battlefield is full of anger. How could you ever trust yourself to fight along side such a creature and not be in more peril from it than the enemy at every moment? Look at it. It cannot even regain control of itself even now." Tempest gestured at the Berserker, who continued to howl and pull savagely at its chains.

"There is a reason that Clarion was on the list that Radagast sent us," Elenath reminded her. "There is a connection here that can help us defeat this greater evil."

"Not to steal the Berserker's line, but since when do WE answer to the brown wizard? If he wanted us to follow what he said, he should have made it a little clearer." She put her hand up imploringly. "I can't believe we're still having this conversation. LOOK AT ERINHUE. Do you really want this THING fighting with US? It said itself that it was once deceived by the Master of Darkness. We're better off without it."

"In its present state, I'd have to agree with Tempest," Idril sighed.

"It's a matter of control," Anorast replied thoughtfully, watching the raging fiend before him, as Brondgast stood ready to enclose it in a furry embrace. "This kind of power, in its present state, is unruly and ineffective. But, if Erinhue could gain control, if he could channel Clarion's power into something useful, then he...."

"Yes, of course. Wonderful. Great. BUT HE CAN'T," Tempest snapped. "And I bet he never will."
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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:27 pm

Brondgast looked to Tempest for a moment. Never will? How did she know. He had heard her story as they camped near Annuminas, how she was once a servant of Sauron, who did many things unspeakable. And yet, she found redemption, and even now was a Mithril Knight, which he aspired to be.

If redemption came to her, it can come to this one. Even as he lunged again, the great Bear wrapped him close in his furry embrace once again. That soothing half-growl, the warmth of love, surrounded him again.

He could not speak in human tongue while in bear's form, but the Beorning brought back memories of his own first transformation, when his forbears brought him back, and back again, from the grasp of savagery. He looked deeply into the Berserker's eyes, and while he did, called to Erinhue in his own way. **Find the power.** he said in his bearish way.

Then he broke the grip once again, and danced away, hoping to pull him out.
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Postby erinhue » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:53 pm

Rapidly darkening skies and whip driven winds outside the Lucky Fortune Inn’s double hung front door proclaimed a coming storm. The thunder sounded more like the howling of some wild animal that growled loudly in the distance. Erinhue tentatively called out the dragonharp’s name. He knew instinctively that there would be no response.

Through much mental struggle Erinhue managed to recall where he actually was in space and time. He remembered that he was tied up with that strange chain while Anorast attempted to hold a conversation with the berserker spirit contained by his sword.

As he wondered how that attempt might be going, the storm hit. The sky turned black and the wind fairly screamed as it ripped by. The distant thunder had become a deafening roar. Something was happening, something had gone wrong Erinhue thought and feared the worst.
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Postby erinhue » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:12 am

The darkness of the void crept into the blackening sky. Electric strikes of silver lightening ripped the firmament. The Lucky Fortune Inn had vanished into the thickening dark. There was a presence in the distance, a presence more felt than seen or heard at this point. It carried the center of the storm and it was headed straight for him.

Erinhue fought down his first instinct, which was to run as fast as his long legs could take him. For a moment, a faint note broke through his initial panic and the barely understood gist of many conversations began to become clear. The imminent encounter should not, could not be avoided. It would confirm or refute a certain destiny. It was the very reason he had been born into the world.

For an even briefer moment there was another fainter presence. A gentle breeze blew across both his mind and his heart. For a briefer than brief moment, his light, his love, his more than beloved Aerin was beside him.

The touch of her small hand in his was a balm to his resolve. Her sigh upon the wind was medicine for his soul. Her love for him became both his strength and courage. With the passing of the wind the gentle presence of his Elven wife was gone. The memory would serve as both shield and light, strong proof against any and all darkness.
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Postby erinhue » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:29 pm

“Clarion, to me.”

Erinhue called out in a voice as unruffled as if he had called for a second ale. The ever obedient blade appeared in the bard’s outstretched left hand. The ancient rune carved sword was a powerful weapon but the inner power, the sense of life, the spirit that so often screamed for blood was noticeably absent.

Repeated crashes of lightening stabbed intermittent light into the darkness. Unfelt winds howled and set the sky churning from zenith to horizon. A darkness in the distance approached, a resolute figure was marching towards him. The figure held a sword that was a match for his. Erinhue stood fast and waited as his own figure and form drew near.
*****************************************************

The Stone held by D’jazi suddenly returned to life, It’s whining hum was audible to everyone now. The sound was insistent. In moments Anorast’s sword responded with a high pitched whine of its own. The competing noises escalated rising up and down as if in conversation. The pitch of the Berserker’s howling changed, reacting to the exchange between the Stone and the Sword, both made of star material.

The Knights did not know what to make of this outburst. They looked at each other, momentarily baffled by what was going on. To add to the noisy confusion, Agarak set up a clatter of notes that rode above the growing din.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:44 pm

As only an animal could, Brondgast felt the conflict raging within Erinhue, the Berserker. There were two of him, and the feeling drowned out the din of the sword, the stone, even of Agarak.

He knew things now were balanced on the edge of a knife, and the weight of but a feather could tip the scales towards success...or disaster. It was even more intense than the conflict that had raged in his own first transformation. There was only one thing to do.

Risking everything, he approaced the berserk Erinhue, and once again wrapped himself in a bear's embrace around him. But this time, he wouldnt' back away. He held on for dear life.

This was to the death. Something would now have to break, and he hoped it wouldnt' be him.
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The Doomed Bird



Meneldor, Warrior Bard, and Brondgast, Mithril Knights

Gwaeryn and Robin, The Expected Party

Meneldor, Alatar and Pallando, Darkness Reigns: The Resistance


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Cock-Robin
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