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 Cock-Robin » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Dawn was breaking upon the hidden eyrie where Meneldor slept, within sight of Carn Dum. And it was upon Carn Dum that doom would fall.

The wind blew from the East, ruffling his feathers even as the warmth and light of the sun fell upon the Eagle. His head emerged from beneath his wing, and he surveyed the lands around him.

First, he cast his eyes upon the East, where the sun was rising, to the eyries of the Misty Mountains that he had called home for ages. The eyries which no longer welcomed him, no longer was his home. He looked beyond, pondering the words which Pallando, the blue wizard of the East had spoken to him before he went on his quest to find his destiny, the fate he had now met among the Mithril Knights.

To the South next went his gaze. There, some of his greatest deeds of the recent past had been done. In the land of Mordor, where he dived upon the Nazgul with his brothers, then saw the fall of the Dark Tower and participated in the rescue of the Ringbearers. And he was chosen to bear the message to Minas Anor of the triumph of the King.

But those deeds were now only a memory. It was spoken that greater deeds would await him.

He looked to the North, to Carn Dum and beyond, to the wastes which once were the realm ruled by Melkor, now long gone. Turning, he now fixed his gaze on the West. To his home, the lofty eyrie on Taniquetil, where he knew Thorondor and his kin awaited him and would welcome him.

But that glorious day was far off. The way to the West lay through the darkness here, and a dark path was what he would have to fly. Many trials and battles awaited him, and deeds that his brothers would gaze at in awe.

But now, the Mithril Knights were his brothers. Thornodor had given him over to the care of Dirk, the Dark Knight, and to his counsel as he apprenticed to be one of them.

Meneldor stirred. The time for doubt, of second thoughts was behind him. The future was far beyond him. The now beckoned him. A grim determination was fixed in his far-seeing eyes. He would have to fly the dark path with his companion, and only then would he find his way.

With that single thought, he lifted from his temporary eyrie and dived down to the camp where Dirk awaited him. As he approached, he saw the agony of his new mentor, the darkness that threatened to consume him. And he would bear it with him.

The gust of his wings as he landed beside his new friend stirred the ground, and the cloak that Dirk wore. The Eagle was silent before Dirk. It was now for his new brother to speak.
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Postby Tempest » Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:57 am

The noise was becoming unbearable, and the Knights, one by one, attempted to cover their ears without dropping their weapons. The overlapping whines and hums from the stone, Anorast's sword, the Berserker's howl, and even the Dragonharp itself rose higher and higher, unmistakingly unearthly in their shrillness.

The bear, Brondgast, swung his heavy arms around the raging figure yet again, and those closest perceived it to be a final attempt to calm the Berserker.

"This, perhaps, is the climax," Vana shouted above the din.

"Which could end well, or very badly, for all of us." Tempest replied, with one hand over her left ear. "Hope for the best, but plan for the worst."

She could see that the bear had Erinhue is a vice-like grip, and she saw her opportunity to send a crashing blow down on the bard's head, effectively ending the chaos. But Anorast saw this too, and he reached out and caught her by the arm before she could carry it through.

He shook his head. "No, this is our only chance. We must let it pass on its own. It cannot be much longer now."

"That won't be much consolation when our ears are bleeding and we're so deaf we can't hear our enemies desending on us from afar," she shouted back at him.

"I think we'll go mad before that happens," Djazi replied, both hands now covering his ears tightly.

But no one could hear him, for the noise had reached such a level that it was impossible to hear anything at all but the competing screams between the objects of power and the Berserker. So sudden and so high did the sound rise that all the Knights found themselves forced to the ground in pain, all weapons forgotten and dropped from their hands. It seemed that the screams were tangible things, crawling inside their skulls, ripping through their bodies like an impossibly fast-growing vine. The pain was overwhelming, and red-hot, it burned through their bodies unlike anything they had before experienced. How long it lasted, they did not know, for each was lost in his or her own pain, unaware of each other, though they might even be lying next to them. It felt like this vine was blossming into a flower of fire, right inside their heads, blooming and blooming, the burning flower bursting their skulls wide open....

In such a state, they longed for nothing more than silence.

They longed for nothing more than death.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:06 pm

As the other Knights held their ears. Brondgast, who in his bear form, had hearing sharper than that of humans or Elves, it was unbearable torment. Yet he couldn't let go of Erinhue to cover his ears. And he was one of those who wished for death in the midst of this infernal din.

So, he lowered his head within the embrace, and growled softly, tears flowing down his furry face.

If he was to die, then let him do it with honor, with his arms locked around the Berserker. It would be worth a song, if there were any left to sing.

The vibration of his growling went through both himself and Erinhue. Something had to break. Something had to break, or they would all break.

He pleaded with Oromë, who had tranformed the first Beorning, for endurance.
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Postby Vanaladiel » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:01 pm

The noise was so loud that if it had gotten louder she did not know if anyone would have heard a difference. She started to worry if she would ever hear anything else again. The screams ripped through her soul to her very being and pierced her heart.

Blood dripped from her nose and her ears ached as they had never ached before. Tears rose in her eyes and blurred her vision. She no longer cared if she were to be hurt by anything the berserker could do to her but she wished for the pain to end. Closing her eyes she was wishing herself to think of something, anything that would take her away from this place and this time. But she was unable to move to even crawl from this place was not within her control.

She noticed not when the pain started to ease but slowly the sounds started to lower. Not noticeably at first, nor fast did it fade but diminish it did.

Vana thought perhaps she had finally crossed out of time and space to get away from the pain and the noise when she opened her eyes and spied Anorast getting up off the floor and offering her a hand to help her up as well. The others were starting to shake off the pain and suffering they had endured at the screams of the stone and berserker together.

Brondgast still stood with tears streaming down his furry face and Erinhue stood with his face buried within the Beornings chest wrapped in a bear hug.

Vana swiped the back of her hand across her face to wipe the blood away and grasped her sword firmly once more and took her place beside the other knights and waited.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:19 pm

In all this infernal din, Brondgast would not release his grip on Erinhue, the Berserker. Torment of the combined whine of Agarak and of Clarion, of the Berserker, nonetheless. If it was his lot to die, he would die with arms locked. Doing what he knew best.

The sound must grow less or he would die. There were several agonizing moments. It got less. And still, the bear clasped Erinhue/Berserker to him in a bear's embrace.

**Let a bear's power enter him,** he pleaded to Oromë. **The power of a Beorning. The power of love.**

Something was rising up within Brondgast, a vibration which started as a low growl, a soft growl, which increased in intensity. It began to increase in volume, a power that was rising up within him. He could barely hold it in, and then he realized he shouldn't. It was for Erinhue's sake, for the sake of the Berserker, that he did this. For Agarak who was beside him, for the Mithril Knights who surrounded them.

He raised up his head, triumph shining in his dark eyes, opened his mouth and gave a roar which increased in intensity, roaring up at the sky, as if to shatter it with its very volume. His fangs gleamed with the roar. A roar which went through his own being from his toes, ripping upward, and erupted from his open mouth with the violence of a volcano.

The Roar of Love.
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Postby erinhue » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:45 am

A lightening storm brewed in the dark cast skies of the dreamscape surrounding the Lucky Fortune Inn. The warm glow from the tavern windows was a welcoming oasis in the churning fog that obscured everything else. The howling winds became a thunderous roar, the sound steadily increasing in earsplitting intensity. Erinhue stood waiting, watching as a distant figure drew ever nearer.

The urge to flee stirred within him but the bard would not give in to it. The feeling was momentarily replaced with relief as the bard realized the figure was not headed towards him. The next instant’s realization brought a feeling of panic. The dark image of himself was headed towards the Lucky Fortune.

“Clarion!” Erinhue shouted “Clarion, to me!”

The dark figure halted its advance and turned towards the shouted command. A nightmare image of his own starbright grin gave Erinhue a chill as he looked into his own sea grey eyes. The figure raised its sword and charged towards him adding its own beastly howls to the growing crescendo of surrounding sound.

Bracing for the blow, Erinhue lowered his sword, submitting to the stroke of his advesary. Instead of feeling pain as he had in his dream, Erinhue felt nothing at all. The opponent’s blade passed through him with no effect. The other, the Berserker reacted as if his opponent had been slain and resumed his advance upon the unsuspecting inn and its inhabitants.

This was not what he had expected and for a moment Erinhue stood watching in confusion as the Berserker moved towards the Lucky Fortune’s swinging doors. Again Erinhue called out “Clarion, to me.” and again his advesary came charging towards him.
This time the clang of blade against blade was added to the roar of the growing storm.

For moments, days or years they fought, matching each other move for move in both cleverness and skill. Erinhue soon found that all his battle tricks were useless against himself. A test of enduring strength had him at a disadvantage and he knew it. Agility and speed served him no better against a foe that possessed those attributes in equal measure. There had to be another way and he would have to find it soon.

Faint music came to him beneath the din of the howling storm. There were no words or magic in the music, the simple tune was an announcement of presence. Agarak would not interfere but the tune was reassurance that it was near by and watching.

That heartening knowledge brought deeper understandings. Erinhue remembered his true surroundings and knew that should he loose this battle, his fellow Mithril Knights would be at the unbridled fury of a fully unleashed Berserker. If they hesitated to kill him instantly, he would slaughter them all. If he were to loose this battle, one way or another The Bard would cease to exist. The world would be left to the gentle mercy of The Berserker who had no concept of the meaning of the word.
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Postby erinhue » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:45 am

As the battle continued Erinhue discovered that if his opponent could match his every move, he was able to do the same. The battle could conceivably go on for eternity but the bard did not think he could continue for anything close to that long a time. This had to be brought to a favorable end and it had to be done soon.

This was a battle for control, Erinhue had come to understand. Here he would over come the Berserker once and for all or be himself over come and submerged in the violent personality. Should he loose this battle the Berserker would advance upon the Lucky Fortune, which meant the death of all his fellow Knights.


If you have to defeat an opponent that knows your every move and tactic how do you win out? Erinhue asked himself. The answer brought a genuine smile. You change the game. That was the key to winning. If The Berserker fought like Erinhue, Erinhue would have to fight like somebody else. At the next opportunity, Erinhue switched to a right handed grip and took on the fighting stance and style of his adopted brother, Beliran, Captain of Dol Amroth’s Swan Knights.

For all its strength and ferocity this change in styles caught The Berserker off guard. Frustration added to the rage that fueled its power, its movements became erratic in an attempt to compensate for this new approach. Anger gave it strength and the outcome of the battle was once again in question.

Anger. Erinhue recognized it in himself. He was fighting out of anger, for all the pain and unwitting destruction that he had caused while possessed by the spirit of the sword. He was angry at the friends that he had injured and killed while in the grip of the Berserker’s rage. As his own anger mounted the bard realized that his opponent seemed to add that to its strength.

A new sound mingled with the raging of the storm, the raging roar of some great animal. Erinhue could hear the voice of a man within that sound The words of Brondgast came back to him.

“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.”


Just as the Beorning had said, this truly was the key. The Berserker spirit fought out of rage and anger. It could not be defeated on those terms. To win out Erinhue realized, he would have to fight out of love, That was the power that was stronger than the Berserker’s rage.

With a few well placed moves, the bard positioned himself between the Berserker and the Lucky Fortune Inn. In his mind Erinhue forgot about his anger and thought of the love he had for the Lucky Fortune and the love he had for his fellow Mithril Knights. He would fight to protect the lives he cared about.

The moment his mind made that declaration, the Berserker faltered. Erinhue pressed the advantage and came to another realization. Changing tactics had improved his chances, but it was not going to be enough to win this battle for him. The bard realized that there was only one way for him to win.

As the battle continued the Berserker began to adapt and then to anticipate moves in this new fighting style. Erinhue took note of the sign he had been watching for and made his endgame move. He appeared to drop his guard at an inopportune moment but when the Berserker lunged in for the kill, he switched back to his left hand and delivered a stroke similar to the thrust he took deep in the chest.

This time there was pain. Erinhue could feel the sharp metal of the sword tear into his body even as he watched the blade of his sword disappear in his opponent’s chest. As he had done in that dream, the Bard reached out to embrace the Berserker. Despite the searing tearing pain, he pulled his opponent closer and closer until they were hugged tight together on the dual skewering blades.


In the hall, the gathered Mithril Knights were more than relieved that the terrible clatter made by the Sword, the Stone, Agarak and The Berserker was finally and thankfully dying down. Still in animal form Brondgast was clutching the bard in a bone crushing bear hug even though he had ceased to struggle.

“Thank ya much for your kind assistance” Erinhue gasped, “but could ya see your way to being little less diligent about it? I do like ta catch m’breath every once in awhile.”
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:03 pm

The roar of Brondgast, the roar of love, had the power within it. His love for the Mithril Knights, for Erinhue was within it. And the power was there, for good to control the Berserker, his own berserker as well.

And Erinhue came to, asking Brondgast if he would let go so he could breathe.

All that was within Brondgast went into the roar of love. And it left him weary.

He released his crushing grip on Erinhue and collapsed in a heap on the ground. And transformed once again to his human form. He sat on the ground gasping great breaths, so exhausted was he.

He looked to the rest and smiled weakly. The conflict was over.
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Postby Vanaladiel » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:35 am

Vana quickly went to Brondgast to offer any aid that her healing hands might as Erinhue stood on his own wobbly legs but reassured everyone that he was fine.

"Hue sit for a minute and I will tend to you as well when I finish with Brondgast!" Vana said as she grabbed a flask of water mixed with a refreshing herb from her pouch. Quickly mixing the two she offered it to Brondgast who gladly took it and tipped it back and took a good draw.

"Thank you!" He commented to Vana handing back the flask.

"Here Hue, please take a good draw for yourself." She stated handing the flask to Hue who finally sat down beside Brondgast.

The other knights stood dumb founded for the moment, silent, waiting to see if Erinhue really was alright or if he would strike out at Vana as the berserker. Vana gave no thought for herself at this moment but tending to the needs of her two fellow knights.
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We mourn the loss of another wonderful man from TORC! oldtoby we will always remember you and your wit and smile! Love you my friend! RIP 1/20/18

Always in our memories, vison :rose:, Alex :rose:, Rowanberry :rose: and Watcher :rose:! Our world is a little dimmer without your smiles!

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For my dad who now resides with the Lord! :rose: 05/11/16 I love you daddy and will see you again someday in Glory!

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Postby Tempest » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:03 pm

A wind swept in off the plains and stirred the cloaks of the knights as they all remained on the ground where they had collapsed when the awful sound had first begun. There was silence now, except for the interchange of ragged breaths, and they all remained in their prone positions staring motionless at the bard, Brondgast, and Vana, who were the only ones in motion.

Finally, Tempest rose gingerly from the cold ground, her hand straying knowingly to her sword's hilt, but her eyes darting around from Erinhue, to Anorast, and back again.

"Are you well, my lord?" she managed in a low voice.

"I am myself again, it would seem," replied the bard. "Perhaps even more so."

"And the spirit within you?" Anorast interjected.

Erinhue seemed thoughtful for a moment. "I would say it is 'vanquished', but that is not exactly right. Let's just say, that it is under my control now, and not the other way around."

"Then, we have what we sought," Tempest sighed, though she did not seem happy about it. "We have all the objects of power that the brown wizard sent us to find. They have all been gathered. And now, Erinhue and the Berserker are one. We have accomplished our task," she said, her hand rubbing the shoulder unconsciously where Clarion had bit her long ago.

Vana looked with concern on Brondgast, who had collapsed in exhaustion nearby. Idril, too, had come to his aid and together the two elves had assessed the situation and gathered their healing herbs. "We can not possibly go without at least a full day's rest," Vana pleaded.

"Of course," Elenath nodded. "We need to be at our full strength as we begin to head towards Carn Dum. We do not yet know what dangers we will encounter before we reach that dungeon."

"The longer we delay, the worse our chances are. And our chances were never very good." Tempest replied angrily. "We have already left Dirk alone for far too long."

"Not alone, for the Eagle watches over him." Elenath pointed out. "But I share your unease, and our time is short. We can spare only one day. We must prepare ourselves to ride swiftly, but surely, for we have completed Radagast's commands. We do not encounter our enemy unprepared: we have weapons now that will aid us to face this new evil."

Tempest's eyes gazed darkly at the bard, who was being helped out of his chains by Anorast. What battle he had fought, she could not know. But she feared many things in the war that lay before them, and it wasn't only new evils that worried her. She could only hope that the Erinhue was indeed in control of Clarion's spirit, or an old evil could be the one that decided their fate at Carn Dum.
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Postby erinhue » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:38 am

“All’s well that ends better.” Erinhue declared. A grin brighter than the stars dawned over his face to beam at his fellow Knights. The smile turned onto Anorast and somehow grew even brighter. “I got no idea how you knew that was the thing to do, and I admit to all kinds of misgivings, but now it’s done, I want to thank you for making me do it. It never would have happened otherwise and I…” the bard bowed his head and tapped his fist to his chest in salute “…will be eternally grateful.”

The genuinely serious expression of gratitude evaporated as his starbright grin reached its highest wattage.

“You’re all staring at me like I got three heads again.” His own deep laughter triggered a similar response as Erinhue continued. “It really is all right. I won’t do anything more violent than maybe burst out with a song, I promise.”

The bard looked up to a spot just above the heads of the gathered Knights and he spoke a little louder.

“You’ve known this all along, haven’t you, you old worm, and if you knew what was going to happen then, you know what’s happening now. I am starving. I mean I am hungier than I have ever been in my entire life. I am so hungry, I could eat a …” Here the bard turned a merry gaze on Brondgast and laughed, “…well I am powerfully hungry. I mean I am so hungry that…..”

“I can hear his stomach growling from here,” Tempest called out speaking up to that same spot in the air. “sounds better than his singing.”

The gathered Knights all laughed, finally releasing the pent up tensions of the past episode. A celebratory tinkle of notes sounded proudly and seemed to fill the air with colorful glittering flakes. A banquet table appeared laden with steaming dishes and aromatic platters, a feast fit for the tables of the king. There was a formal place setting with crystal, china and delicate silverware for each one of them.

At the head of the long table was a tall silver stein with an ornate letter E fashioned into its leafy vine design. Beside it, on a bone china plate, was a loaf of fresh baked black bread and a tureen of the Lucky Fortune Inn’s Wayfarer’s Stew, exactly the way Hobbituk used to make it when the destroyed Inn still stood by the Last Bridge on the Great East Road
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Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:38 am

That was what Brondgast needed. Food and rest in abundance before the next trial. "Say it, Bard. You're hungry enough to eat a bear, though you might not get far in that regard." He laughed and came to the table. "More rich than the table at my hall. I wish I had the time to make the honey cakes of my people."

But he sat down and dug in. He was hungry as ten hobbits after his exertion with the Berserker.

"By the Valar, you can take it in." said Vana.

Brondgast just grinned.
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Postby Claymore » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:22 pm

Somewhat dazed and awed by what had just transpired, Djazi retrieved the Stone. Around him the other Knights were talking, but he couldn't hear them very well through the ringing in his ears. It was like that one time he had been too close to some Easterling firework during one of the more showy duels Fahlan made them fight. He hoped it would stop eventually like last time. Right now he could only catch one word out of two, though he did understand they were talking about of food somehow.

He was about to wrap the Stone back in the old tunic he had used to protect it when he took a closer look at it. He frowned. If the Stone had been one smooth whole before it was now covered with fine cracks and fissures, probably caused by the high-pitched keens. Still frowning he took his dagger out of his sash and gave the Stone and experimental tap with the pommel. A small sharp flake sprang off which he immediately picked up. He tested it against his vambrace. The flake did not crack again, but bended a bit and then sprang back to its original form like the best of steel. The edge however had the hair-fine sharpness of a good flint knife. Djazo grinned. He was no smith but steel weapons had been a rare commodity on the savanna and had to be scavenged from the Haradrim and so like any member of his Tribe he had learned to knap flint. Maybe he could make a worthy weapon out of the Stone before they had to face the dragon.

A hand landed on his shoulder and he started. With his hearing impaired for the moment he hadn't heard anyone coming. He turned around to see Tempest frowning at him. She knew him well enough by know that he was rarely surprised from behind.
'Are you alright?' he faintly heard her ask.
He gestured to his ears.
'My ears didn't appreciate the noise,'he said wryly. He tried to keep his voice down, knowing from experience that while he might not hear himself very well, the others probably heard him just fine. From Tempest's wince he suspected he had still talked a bit too loudly.
'It can't be helped now,'she said.'It will fade in time. Now come. Erinhue has coaxed the old worm into preparing us a banquet.
Djazi briefly looked at her in confusion until he caught sight of the afore-mentioned and couldn't help but stare.
Faintly he heard Tempest chuckle.
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Postby erinhue » Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:52 pm

The provided banquet was a much welcomed reprieve from the tension of the previous episode. As each one raised the lid on the tray set at their place at the table they were pleasantly surprised to find their favorite meal. Whatever tray or platter they reached for contained delicious treats perfectly suited to their personal appetites. Erinhue and Brondgast tore into their food as if it had been weeks since their last meal. The bard did his best to empty his tankard, even though he knew it was charmed against that happening.

The loaf of black bread was down to the heel and the tureen of stew was more than half gone before Erinhue’s hunger abated enough for him to take note of his surroundings. A glance around the table showed them in good spirits but to a more experienced eye that was a polite cover for the many unspoken questions and concerns. He chewed thoughtfully at the last of the black bread and considered how best to put his companions at ease.
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Postby erinhue » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:08 am

"I been sitting here thinking that I ought to do something to put you all at ease. Don’t protest.” The bard met eyes with each of his companions. Only Tempest turned away and Erinhue nodded. “See, you’re all trying hard ta be polite, but you’re still looking at me like I’ve grown horns and a tail." Anorast , Idril and Elengil blinked back at him in unison when he again glanced around the table. Again, Erinhue nodded at the confirmation.

“I thought perhaps I’d sing the newest verses of Morgan’s Joy…” he began.
“Preserve us.” Tempest groaned. Vana failed to totally contain her amused reaction. Erinhue feigned an exaggerated expression of insulted pride and D’jazi laughed. Erinhue finally smiled. The tension building in the silence was broken.

“What is needed is the truth although I don’t know if I have the words to tell it to you correctly.” The voice of the trained storyteller showed none of its expertise. Erinhue held the talent out of his voice, letting his own confusion and trepidation add power to his words.

“Until now The Bard and The Berserker have shared a body but have always been two separate entities. Now they are one. I am still and ever will be Erinhue but as for The Bard and The Berserker I am now both, and somehow neither. I believe that I have now truly become what Elbren called me once, long ago, the secret weapon of the West.”

There was none of his usual braggadocio, no self aggrandizement in the declaration. It was a simple statement of fact spoken the same uncaring tone as if declaring the sky to be blue.

“I am not the only one to be given the means to battle what waits ahead.” Here Erinhue fixed his gaze upon D’jazi. “The Stone you carry has given you a gift. You have the necessary skill to fashion it into an appropriate weapon.” The bard winked at the wonder in D’jazi’s eyes.

Each of us has undergone his or her own transformation on this lengthy treasure hunt. Radagast is wiser than we knew. We were none of us prepared to do battle with the remnants of great evil that still linger in the world. This journey has changed each of us as surely as it has changed me”

Erinhue looked at Tempest and this time she did not look away. He smiled at her and spoke gently. “ First know that you are my friend and ever shall be. If that were not so you would not sit here bearing just the mark of my blade. Even then, without knowledge, power or control that friendship would not let the Spirit kill you. It is little compensation for the injury but I hope that can in some way restore your trust.

You need not doubt your place here. You need not fear mine. I have learned that it take both the Darkness and the Light to fight the one and protect the other. You and I are not so very different. I have only just gained control over the darkness inside me. You were always in control of your power. You chose the Light. The inner battle you fight has already been won. Just as mine has finally been won.

We need you just as you are. We need even the great darkness that Dirk carries within. We need Light of the Eldar and the Star Metal. We need the spirit of the skies of Middle Earth and of its forests and of its deserts. We need all these things because WE are the weapon that can defeat what waits for us in Carn Dum. No single one of us can win this battle we must be together if we are to claim a final triumph.

Mythweaver, Air Ring of the Wordsmith glowed around Erinhue’s finger. His own belief in what he was saying, his own optimism and confidence flowed into his voice to buoy the spirits of his companions. Where they had been picking at the food, they all ate with renewed relish. There was little talk after that as each one sought the solitude of their thoughts and then rest for their weary bodies. They slept soundly with restful insightful dreams flavored with the sound of harpstings

In the morning as if on signal the Mithril Knights were quick to make ready and fast on the road to Carn Dum and whatever fate or doom awaited.
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:44 pm

It was morning, and they were starting out for Carn Dum. Brongast was stiff and sore, but otherwise, he felt good. He had won a major victory, helping Erinhue control the Berserker, giving him a bear's power as he had embraced him with the roar of love.

He rode along in silence. His apprenticeship in the Mithril Knights going one more step. Test after test, and another major test loomed ahead. He wondered if the Eagle was pondering the same thing, where he was with Dirk. Probably, as well as other things.

He looked at his companions, saw their determined looks. This was the last thrust, the pitch which meant all. All the previous struggles were a prelude to this, the big battle. And he wondered. Was their strength enough, as well as the tokens they had received? It had to be. The alternative was unthinkable.
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Postby Claymore » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:34 am

Djazi had smiled a bit sadly when he'd lifted the lid of his tray. He'd not expected to eat his favorite dish ever again as the cook had been killed along with the rest of his people. But as strange as it was he was indeed seeing and smelling what his father had called his extra spicy special stew.

It had always been the cause of hilarity with the rest of the Tribe but Djazi's mother had been so atrociously bad at cooking that there where bets going she would one day manage to burn water. As a result it was usually his father who did the cooking or else they'd eat with his aunt and uncle. It was an arrangement that did not always please his mother or his brothers though because Diyel had a great love for spices which the rest did not share. The only exception was his youngest son. Whenever Djazi's brothers and his mother where away, his father would make the spiciest stew he could manage and they would eat it, just the two of them, snickering all the while as they tried to imagine how fast the rest of the family would run for water if they ever were to taste it. It was a bittersweet memory now. He'd not even seen his father die.

While he didn't hear the other Knights very well, Erinhue's words cut right through the ringing, pulling Djazi from his memories. The words the Bard spoke to him surprised him, proving again that Erinhue was a sly man under the genial attitude and saw a lot more than he let on. The Bards next words cemented the fact even further. Because Djazi realised he was right. They had changed. How much the others had he didn't know, for he'd only known the Knights for a few months, but in those few months he had changed more than he'd had in the years before that. When he'd started his journey north, last autumn, even the smallest memory of his Tribe would send sharp agony through his heart, still as fresh as eight years before. Now those memories were still bittersweet but they were just that, memories, and he could let them go with only the smallest amount of grief. For he'd found himself a new Tribe, in this motley crew of warriors. That night he went to sleep with a smile and though he dreamt of his Tribe they weren't nightmares.

The next morning the ringing in his ears had lessened somewhat and Tempest did not surprise him again. They set a stiff pace, for despite all that had happened the day before no-one had forgotten what still lay ahead. Faces were grim but determined.

Djazi's mind however was not wholly on the mountains rising higher and higher ahead. A part of his mind lingered on the Stone still wrapped in one of Baran's old tunics and still whispering to him. The whispering was less urgent now but still present, singing of reunited brothers and nearing completion. It should have disquieted him, but it didn't for now he knew what to do.

That evening as they sat down for a meal much less copious than the one of the evening before, Djazi took out the Stone and using the pommel of his dagger and a round river-stone he'd found in Annuminas he began to gently tap the Stone.

Shaping the Stone was unlike any kind of knapping he'd done before. The Stone seemed to have will of its own and it felt more like he was simply tapping away excess flakes than that he was truly shaping it. As the night grew near he became more and more absorbed by his task until he didn’t notice his dinner sitting cold and untouched near his crossed legs and didn’t stir when one by one the Knights went to their bedrolls. No-one disturbed him. Though a great deal less spectacular than what had happened the day before they all knew this was important too.

It was nearing midnight when Djazi was finished and only Brondgast was still awake, standing the second watch. Djazi frowned as he looked at the shape he’d freed from the Stone. It was a spearhead but one very unlike the one that was currently sitting atop his spear. It was black like the Stone had been, the edges subtly jagged, a diamond-like pattern all over the surface. All in all it looked almost savage and a subtle menace hung around the blade. Djazi knew then this was a weapon that would have to be handled with much care, only to be used when death was inevitable. Deliberately he drew the blade over his left palm and though he barely put any pressure blood immediately welled up. It gleamed briefly on the edge and then to Djazi’s surprise it sank into the blade. Before he could react though a cold savage voice spoke to his mind.
-I’ve accepted you offer, and deemed you worthy. You can give me a name.
Djazi hadn’t really thought about a name yet but he didn’t have to think for long.
‘ Heaven’s Fang,’he said. ‘Tenga in the tongue of my people.’
The spearhead remained silent for a moment. Then it answered.
-Tenga. That’s a good name. Thank you.
Tenga fell silent and a tension Djazi hadn’t noticed before fell away from him. He wrapped the spearhead in a piece of leather and stood up noting for the first time how stiff he’d become. Brondgast looked up.
‘Finished?’ he asked.
Djazi nodded and went to the nearby stream to clean his hand. The cut was not very deep and the blood had almost stopped flowing but he was pretty sure it would scar.
‘Wat happened?’Brondgast asked when he saw the cut.
‘Some blades need to taste blood before they let themselves be sheated,’Djazi answered as he nodded towards Tenga now safely wrapped in the piece of leather. He was sure that if he hadn’t cut himself on the blade it would have cut right through the improvised sheath.
-Those are dangerous blades.
Djazi nodded.
-I know. But most of the Hunter’s gifts are dangerous as you probably know. He doesn’t give them unless he knows we can handle it though. Tenga won’t be drawn unless there is no other outcome than death.
- A wise choice
Djazi nodded again. He finished washing his hand and then stretched out trying to chase the stiffness away. Suddenly he realised how tired he was. It was almost midnight and the day had been a hard one. He was utterly finished. With a last wave to Brondgast he made his way to his bedroll and fell asleep as soon as his head touched it.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:42 pm

The huge avian form momentarily blotted out the rising sun as Meneldor alighted upon the ground before Dirk. For a time, the two stood opposite one another not moving, not speaking. The dark warrior regarded the Great Eagle’s giant golden eyes, wondering whether Meneldor still saw the young Mithril Knight, true to his vows and brave of heart. Or did he see what Dirk was becoming as the things that lived in the darkest recesses of his soul have begun to come to the fore once again?

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


The great gold orbs proved unreadable, and therefore useless in helping Dirk to decide whether or not to proceed as he had planned, and so he did.

“My friend,” he swallowed hard, “my brother. I’m afraid it may have been utter folly that you choose me to mentor you.”

The Great Eagle’s head twitched quizzically to the side.

Dirk continued, “For what could a man of one-and-twenty years offer to one so ancient and wise as you?” He turned, strode to the dying campfire and sat upon a flattened stone. “But to that end, I would tell you my story and give you my best guess at what wisdom I may have derived from it.”

Dirk bore the heavy gaze of the ages-old eyes as he told Meneldor the truths of his life, including his birth, how he came to bear an evil facsimile of a Ring of Power, his days with the black shade of Eöl, the slaughter upon Gundabad, and the Doom of Mandos. Lastly, he stood and lifted his jerkin, exposing the rotting, blackened wound that now stretched nearly to his heart.

“So you see my brother, what I do in Carn-Dûm may be my last act as a Knight and as a living man, barring some miracle. I told all of this, even though you may have already known or guessed some of it, as my confession-so that one who is not man and therefore purely a creature of the Light could hear and understand and perhaps someday derive a lesson to teach others from my short, ruined life.”

Meneldor stood silently for several minutes as Dirk absently stirred the embers with a stick.

Finally the bird spoke, “My brother I have heard and will remember all you have told and more of you, including those days which are yet to come, however many there may yet be. Tell me of the wound brother, does it pain you? Surely it cannot be so grievous as it looks. The Healers in Imladris or the elf Vanaladiel would have known.”

“The pain is…bearable my brother,” he lied, “thank you for your concern. But I’m afraid that it is even more grievous than it looks for it is no alchemical poison of this world that festers over my heart. If that were so, then yes, it would be as you say and my elf-sister Vana would have seen and rooted it out of me. No, the poison of the Warg-rider’s blade gave way long ago to a poison of the soul, though that is a poor word for it. It is more like a warning from Mandos, an hourglass. I am its vessel and its sand runs black into my heart.”

Again there was a long pause as both man and Eagle calculated in their minds the hour at which the upper bulb of the hourglass my run empty. Then the Eagle asked, as if he suddenly remembered, “and the wisdom?”

“What’s that my brother?”

“You promised me your best guess at wisdom.”

“Oh that.” Dirk actually chuckled. “That’s where the folly comes in. You see, what little I have that might pass for wisdom would be no revelation at all to one such as you.”

“I shall hear you and judge for myself.”

“What it all comes down to is giving,” Dirk said. He stood, threw the stick into the ashes, and began to pace. “The worth of a man’s life is measured not what he gains, but in what he gives. To Illuvatar’s greater children, like the elves or yourself, I suspect that this is intrinsic to your nature. But for men, it is the opposite. We readily accept the gifts that are given to us, but instead of using them to benefit others who are not as blessed as we, we spend them like coins in order to garner worldly things for ourselves: riches, power, glory, fame.”

The bird’s impassive face gave no clue as to how Dirk’s words were being received. Despite a suspicion that he was coming off the fool, the young Knight continued.

“Meneldor, I’ve spent my life seeking to purchase redemption with my blessings, first to redeem my low station as the seventh son of a mere innkeeper, then as the ill-gotten son of Angmar born of necromancy. It is why I joined the Mithril Knights.” He moved close to the great bird and stopped his pacing. “I thought I was righteous, noble. Turns out, I did the right thing in joining the Knights, but for the wrong reason. It is not about my stature as a prestigious Mithril Knight redeeming me of my birth or my sins. It is not about me at all, or any other individual. You once asked me what it meant to be a Mithril Knight. The best I can give you is this: Taking the oath of the Knights is a pledge to give everything of yourself, even your very life if need be, to the people of Middle-earth. It is about leaving your own self behind and sacrificing personal glory, wealth, prestige, everything for the greater good…”

Meneldor waited for Dirk to continue, but when he didn’t, he started, “My brother, this is not folly…”

“No brother,” Dirk cut across him, “I fear I’ve already spoken too long. The time is grown short and we both have much to do today.”

It was then that Meneldor realized that Dirk’s horse was saddled and he was packed to move.

“What would you have of me, brother?” asked Meneldor.

“My night patrols tell me that our company of Mithril Knights has returned from the northwest. They are about three days’ ride from here. You must go to them and deliver a message. Tell them that I shall arrive at Carn-Dûm at sundown three days hence and that if they are not there at Midnight of the fourth, then we shall fail and the men of the north, and probably the Shire as well, are doomed.

“They also need to know that some two-hundred Rangers patrol the area and that they must make contact and have them gather their strength, for there will be a veritable swarm of orcs to deal with, as well as my Uruk night patrol, which is forty strong, and at least two trolls from the Trollshaws. Also, they should know that I fear the dragon will call the drakes to Carn-Dûm once I make my presence known.

“My brother,” Dirk lowered his voice, “I beseech you, speak to no-one of my wound. I do not want to cause undue worry. Any help I may be able to gain for it will have to wait until after we deal with this dragon and I would not have anyone troubled over me before we have.” He placed a hand on the great bird’s wing.

“Go with all speed back to our fellow Knights and return to me if you can tomorrow. I hope to be at the half-way point between here and yonder fortress by nightfall tomorrow. We can talk a little my poor excuse for wisdom, if you wish.”

“Yes, I can see that haste is necessary. And, as always, your confidences are safe with me my brother. I will return to you at the halfway point on the morrow. Until then, farewell.”

Then the Great Eagle spread his wings and lifted from the ground with a hurricane rush of wind.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:44 am

Meneldor flew to the northwest, his great heart troubled. Dirk called him wise, called him ancient. He doubted it.

He was the last, and the least of the Great Eagles. His kin who had left for the West would have been better for this task. Gwaihir, Landroval, many others, the brood of Thorondor. Why had this mantle fallen upon him?

The Eagle who had never known fear now was afraid. He who had never known darkness, now that very darkness clawed at his heart. In a way, he now shared Dirk's deadly wound. All depended on him delivering his message to the Knights and urging them to make haste.

The West now called to him more keenly, more urgently. He could just keep on flying, on to the mount of Taniquetil where his kin would welcome him. They would not blame him for refusing this terrible destiny, where there was little hope. The fate of these mortals would be distant, forgotten. They must shape their own destiny.

That was the choice of ways before him. He could choose to leave, to the bright West, untouched by this evil, except in memory, or he could choose this hopeless task. Cast his lot with the Mithril Knights, heading into the gloom of darkness from which they may never emerge alive. All for a fool's hope that they may conquer against a foe much greater than they were.

His mind strayed to his kin, but no answer was forthcoming. Thorondor was silent. He knew not that all the Eagles of Taniquetil were hushed, silent to see what choice the least of their kin would now make. Even the Valar were silent, watching.

"Why me?" he cried aloud to the skies. The burden upon him was crushing.

He had flown long, and now the party of Knights were in his gaze. Brondgast looked up and pointed at the approaching messenger from the skies. The choice was now upon him. He could descend into the darkness that awaited to swallow him in its thirsty maw, or he could fly on, forsaking Middle-Earth.

He had to call on his own wisdom, folly that it was. He cursed the day he came to this land from the West with his kin. The Oath of the Eagles which drove him to this madness. The choice to remain behind at Gwaihir's bidding, to a hidden destiny that awaited him. The words of Pallando that drove him like the dooms of Mandos. A great tear splashed from his great eyes, falling far down below. Sorrow racked him.

No. If this was to be his doom, so be it. If he was to fly into darkness, he would do it with open eyes. He had made his choice, turning his back on the West as he wheeled around, circling ever downwards to his doomed companions, the Mithril Knights. A wrench to his great heart, but the choice was firm. Even as he turned back to descend, a cry that touched the hearts of all who heard burst from him.

They paused and waited for Meneldor to descend. They looked up at the fierce, stern look in his eyes, one who had left hope behind, and now looked for vengeance.

The gust of his wings stirred them, a cold wind from Mandos, as he landed.

The Knights gathered around.

"Mithril Knights, I bring dire news from your companion Dirk, and you must make haste before all is lost...." he began. What came next would chill even the heart of Tempest. He kept silent on Dirk's wound, as he had asked.
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Postby nienor-niniel » Sun Apr 17, 2011 2:31 pm

The boy had been told to wait for a group of strange people – Mithril Knights they called themselves – he had been told. But what did he, a simple stable boy, know of knights and wars and mighty people? He knew that the man wanted no questions, no delays and for that Ferdas was the right boy. Slow, obedient, not the wittiest and yet, always in need of money. The dice held him. He loved to play dice. But somehow, when he had played against that stranger, Ferdas had lost a few times too often. And that after having won such a great amount of coins in the start! He did not understand.

But then the stranger had made him a proposal. “Let’s forget about the debt, I’ll even pay you something. I have this woman here, a prisoner, but harmless. We have to hand her over to some other people, Mithril Knights. A bard travels with them, Erinhue is his name., he is their leader, kind of, at least.” He told the boy, that he would just have to wait, maybe a day. The group would surely pass here – how the stranger knew, Ferdas did not ask, nor did the question even cross his mind. “They want that woman – like a kind of prisoner. You just wait and then hand her over. That’s all. It’s important for her to join that group again. It’s important for me. That bard…” the stranger seemed to hesitate. “He is a kind of friend of mine and I promised him, I’d bring him that woman. She has to be sentenced… Just make sure, they take her. I’m late… for my sister’s wedding…. I can’t wait any more.” It did not seem very difficult, and, thinking of the amount he had lost and the little reward – Ferdas was not to be asked twice.

The woman was small, very tiny, her hands and feet attached, her mouth balloted, her eyes bound with a scarf. She could just walk a bit and those Knights were supposed to arrive the same day or the next. It was, at miles in the round, the only place to find supply for men and horses, and travellers always passed that point. He’d just wait, let the woman drink some water from time to time and hand her over.

She seemed strangely passive. The stranger made her sit down in a corner of the stables and there she remained, folded in two, humming or sometimes sleeping. She did not speak, did not ask for her eyes to be unbound, if the wait had been any longer than the announced day, Ferdas might simply have forgotten her and let her die of hunger or thirst. Because she did not ask for food or drink either.

But at the end of the day, the group of Knights arrived. Later, Ferdas would try to remember them in details, but he was not such a good observer. It was a strange group somehow, mixed of elves and men and men and women, all fair to look upon and with mighty voices, speaking in words which sounded like books – not that Fedar could read anyway.

He asked, who Erinhue was, and intimidated took the bard to the stables, where the woman was still attached and waiting. “A man came yesterday with the woman prisoner he’s promised you. I don’t recall his name…. but he told me, you’d know it all.” Erinhue frowned. The eagle had brought them news and sent them on urgent errand and there was no to be taken. And he surely was not expecting any prisoner, lest be it a woman and would not know who was the mysterious “friend” who would leave an important errand in the hand of a young guy like this, who was barely bright enough to lace his shoes. Yet, he came with the young man, a Mithril Knight on mission would never refuse a request, especially if a crime or a mystery seemed to be involved.

Once his eyes had gotten used to the darkness in the stables, Erinhue recognised the woman at once. She had been his Knight in training, after all. And then, after the battle of Esgaroth had disappeared, leaving a notice for Anorast only. But she was still a fully trained knight and although there had been some talk between her and Elbren about ancient guilt, Erinhue did not know of any recent offense that would explain her capture as a prisoner. She seemed calm, her head lying on her knees, her eyes bound.

With a gasp of surprise, he bent down towards the woman. “Nin.” He called her. “Nienor-Niniel. Where have you been?” Tearing the scarf from her eyes, he could see her now, as small and tiny as every. She blinked a few times in the sudden light, staring at the bard with an empty glance. Only, when he called her name again, her gaze seemed to awake and her eyes to know what they saw.

“Erinhue! Where are we? Where is Lord Elbren? What am I doing here? How did the initiation go?”

“Nin – your initiation was months ago! We fought a mighty battle since and then you left us…”

“I would never the Mithril Knights! My oath to them would hold me…”

“And yet, you did. Don’t you remember?” But as hard as he asked, she did not. In her mind, her initiation had just been the day before and how and whence she had come here, she could not say.

At last, the bard asked to detach here. Whatever the mystery was, she was a knight and her place was in the order. And they needed to be on their way, for one of theirs was in danger. There would be time to solve the mystery… on the road. No Mithril Knight would leave another by the side. So, he took her to the group – having no choice to do otherwise.

And that, the man, who had brought her here, had known very well in fact.

Nin first did not want to follow. She was disturbed, frightened by the fact that her the last months of her life seemed gone, wondering how she had come here and who was the man who had attached her and confined her live to a stable boy. Only, she too had nowhere to go and needed to know. Who could help her?

And thus, to the surprise of the other Knights, Erinhue did not come back towards them alone.
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Postby Guruthostirn » Tue May 10, 2011 10:30 am

The rising sun found the old elf sitting quietly on watch, pondering the past and future. Though he had not been long with the Mithril Knights, they had made this era of his life both exciting and fulfilling. He'd seldom fought beside others, yet now he had made close friends and companions, lights within the long shadows of his memories. Perhaps he'd made a mistake exiling himself to the wilds, the edges of civilization. Those times he'd immersed himself in the world stood out, always brighter, always more memorable, and sometimes much darker. Anorast wondered if his friend Erinhue knew that the visions he'd been shown, which brought forth the Berserker, had merely been memories. From a beautiful soul those visions could bring both smiles and tears of joy, but they could be windows into the chaotic madness that lay within a truly dark being. The old elf held enough shadows from his past to drive any human into insanity, but only a few beautiful visions to summon.

Again, Anorast's thoughts turned west. In the Gray Havens there still remained ships, waiting to be boarded, waiting to leave this world. After this adventure, would he turn his face to the descending sun, let his path travel beyond the edges of the map. Would he take the offer he'd been given many years before, the other option, always open, and leave, admitting defeat. There, he could forget his darkness, let memories drip away from his fingers, falling to the ground like rain. Endless days awaited him, restful, bathed in the light of the Valar, care free, surrounded with beauty and grace. Or would he stay here, in the realm of sorrow and shadows, making new memories, both bitter and sweet, seeing places of breathtaking beauty, never to be seen by an elf of the western lands. Would he stay and watch, see humanity take dominance, wait for the dark evils that still hid throughout the land to emerge and seek vengeance for past defeats. Who else would stand between the past and future.

A bleak cry echoed down through his thoughts. Meneldor started his descent into the morning light from the heights where the old elf had watched him since dawn. Within the fierce call Anorast heard a great sorrow, yet strong determination. Here was another faced with the choice between the promise of the west and the cold future of Middle Earth. The eagle had been tempted, nearly passing the knights towards the west, but the elf lord knew Meneldor had made the same choice as he himself had done, choosing to face darkness.

As the eagle told of what had befallen Dirk, Anorast began to smile. Here was a truly enriching adventure. One feeling that could never be found in the west was the thrill, excitement of embracing a task deemed nearly impossible. To go into battle against evil brought life to the old elf's soul, giving him purpose and direction. Though the details of Meneldor's tale were truly disturbing they only stoked the fires within the elf's heart. He was sure none of his companions felt the same surge of energy in the face of such overwhelming adversity, but to Anorast, the fear and danger brought forth a burning fire of life. Perhaps his destiny awaited him in the dark mountain to the east, and he would soon find himself within the Halls of Mandos. Yet even the prospect of losing this life could not lessen Anorast's desire to feel alive in the danger ahead.

Quietly the Mithril Knights made their preparations for the final leg of their journey. Some grimly checked their weapons, while others merely stared eastward towards their destination. Despite the amazing events only a few nights before the dark tale of Meneldor had dampened the knight's spirits, showing them a glimpse of what they traveled towards. Even the addition of the strange blending of the Bard and the Berserker did not seem enough to overcome the forces arrayed against them.

As the day came to a close the knights saw before them one of the few outposts in the wild. A small community of rough houses and other buildings, it offered little, but to the knights it was one last stop before journeying into the rough hills and mountains around their destination. As the group rode up to the inn at the center of the village a young boy came out of the stables.

"Are one of you named Erinhue?" the young man asked nervously. The knights looked at each other in surprise for none should have known they were passing through the area.

"Yes, I am," the bard responded as he dismounted.

"Please, come with me," the boy replied. As he led Erinhue back into the stables the other knights dismounted, looking at each other in confusion, but unpacked their stuff to go into the inn.

Within Anorast's mind the strange voice of the Sickle spoke unexpectedly.

"My time with you is almost done."

Frowning, the elf looked down at the plain leather bag that held the unearthly weapon. Then as he heard gasps from the other knights and two sets of footsteps emerge from the stables, the old elf straightened with shock. He recognized both walkers, and he'd thought he'd never hear the newcomer again. Slowly he turned around, completely at a loss as to what was going on.
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Postby Tempest » Tue May 10, 2011 4:01 pm

Tempest and Djazi had ridden a little ahead of the other Mithril Knights to make contact with some of the Rangers, of whom Dirk had spoken. They had heard of a meeting point an hour south of the outpost where the rest of the Knights were headed, and they promised to meet them back there when they had delivered their message. When they had separated from the others, Tempest picked up the pace swiftly, and Djazi quickly found out why she had insisted on bringing him.

"Take off your cloak. Don't cover your head. You stand out like a sore thumb in these parts, and if we're lucky, we won't even make it to the meeting point before the Rangers stop us," she said with an ironic smile.

Djazi felt rather disconcerted by her remark, and even more so by her smile. He reluctantly did as she asked.

But in the end, she was proved right. They were still a few miles from the meeting point when they heard a single horn in the distance, and saw three horses galloping confidently towards them. Just to be safe, the two Knights drew their own weapons, standing their ground in case it was not friends who approached, though they could see clearly as they neared that it was those they sought.

The Rangers proved hesitant at first to believe the seemingly wild story that was shared, and Djazi could not help but feel their withering gaze upon his person. Tempest, on the other hand, they knew by sight as well as by reputation, and the fact that she bore a letter with King Aragorn's royal seal finally assured them of the truth of the words spoken. Besides, they knew that the Mithril Knights had been sent to investigate the source of the Cold Drakes, and though it seemed impossible that such an army as the one that Tempest described to them could have evaded detection by them for so long, they knew they had no choice but to obey.

As quickly as they had come, they were gone, promising to summon all their brothers to join the Mithril Knights at their last stand before Carn-Dûm.

"No turning back now," Tempest looked at Djazi. "Tell me honestly, aren't you a little sorry that you signed up with the Mithril Knights? Plenty of adventure, that's for certain. But also plenty of standing around staring death in the face."

"May I put my cloak back on now?" was all Djazi responded.

She grinned at him. "You've earned it. Besides, we don't want to be arrested again." And with that, she reined her horse towards the North and set him at a full gallop.

So it was that Tempest and Djazi arrived at the outpost but half and hour after the rest of the Knights, tired, but also secretly proud that their mission had been accomplished with such speed and success.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Wed May 11, 2011 8:54 pm

Silence reigned at the holy mountain of Taniquetil. A silence that none dared break. Thorondor and all the Great Eagles of renown dared not even breathe, as they awaited the choice the least of their kin would make.

Would he fly on, refusing the task, the destiny that had little to no hope, or would he descend into the darkness that awaited him? If he went on to the West to join them, he would be received and comforted. None would blame him for refusing this terrible destiny.

Even Manwë was silent on his seat in the Ring of Doom.

Then came the cry that echoed through the mountain and troubled the Valar who were seated, the cry that even echoed through the halls of Mandos. Meneldor had taken on the mantle that had been destined for him, turning his back on the West that called him.

Thorondor and his kin echoed the cry in sympathy and support of the Last Eagle, and then their cry changed to that of triumph. The deeds of the least of their kin would come to overshadow theirs because of this choice. There was now hope for Middle-Earth when Meneldor laid down his own hope.

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

Meneldor was unaware of the response of his distant kin, though his bleak heart was strangely stirred. Having delivered his message, he departed for where Dirk awaited him. He had the return message from the Knights to him, and would deliver it.

The look in his eyes were stern, fierce. He would now do the deeds he was called to or die trying.

Brondgast had felt what was going on in his eagle friend when he had come, and had left in such a hurry. And this would be a test for him as well, against impossible odds.

But the Mithril Knights and their apprentices were supposed to do the impossible. So he went on with them and met up with new companions.

The lot of the Beorning was with the Knights as well.
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Postby Tempest » Sat May 21, 2011 12:51 pm

It was the heavy silence that caused Tempest’s heart to begin to pound. Djazi and she had ridden into the small trading post and immediately spotted the other Knights. At first, nothing had seemed amiss, and they rode with confidence, and a little relief, up behind the circle of Mithril Knights, glad to be reunited now that their mission was done. However, on nearing them, the complete absence of any sound spoke more loudly than if someone had screamed out a warning. Also, there was stiffening that was observable in many of their postures, even from a distance, that made Tempest draw her sword as she slid from her horse.

But in her wildest imaginations, she would not have expected to see what she saw at the center of the circle. In fact, Tempest had never expected to see the woman again ever.

Standing beside Erinhue, her face drawn and nervous, stood Nienor-Niniel.

She sucked in her breath sharply, causing the other Knights to turn and stare at her, all except Anorast, who continued to gaze fixedly at Nin.

The last clear memory of her was burned into Tempest’s mind, and she was transported momentarily back to the terrible battle at Esgaraoth.

Chaos, blood, screams, fear everywhere, and everywhere the smell of death. The Berserker on the field, advancing steadily, hacking his way through friend and foe alike. The dwarves of the Red Hammer surged on, the Knights were nearly overwhelmed…..and then. And then….

Nienor-Niniel.

Tempest hadn’t even seen her, but was told afterwards how Nin had advanced calmly through the battle, walking as though she were in a pleasant meadow surrounded by flowers and sunshine. But the next Tempest remembered, she could see Nin standing in the center of it all, the Sickle lifted above her head. The starlight streaming down upon her and surrounding her in a halo of power. Wielding such light, the battle surged towards her, the dwarves eager to possess the Sickle, and the Berserker eager to protect it. The ethereal beauty and danger of the moment flooded upon her again, though she had to tear her eyes away from the sight in order to fight on.

The battle had been won in the end, though the price had been heavy. And Nin, she had….


But strangely enough, the image that shone out most clearly in Tempest’s mind was not the battle itself, that terrible image of the woman like a goddess, the Sickle shining in her hands. No, it was the moment around the campfire after their victory, after it all was finished, when Anorast had come back from his tent, Nin having left them, holding the Sickle in his hand……What had he said to them then? She closed her eyes. Ah yes, he had said, “ I shall be fine. She would not wish me to mourn her, and she is not dead. I have many more years to deal with the loss of her, the loss of love. I shall not deal with it now." The look on his face as he said it-----Tempest did not understand much about love, but she understood enough.

Tempest’s eyes found the old elf, where he stood in shocked silence, and she remembered that he still bore the Sickle even now.

Even now. When it was needed again.

”Why are you here?” Tempest broke the silence, addressing Nin in a voice that trembled slightly. ”Why have you returned to us?”
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Postby nienor-niniel » Sun May 22, 2011 7:47 am

Erinhue had looked surprised to see her – more than surprised actually, rather like she had risen from the dead. But he had taken her along and Nin followed his steps, driven by a will she did not know, full of questions she did not ask.

It was a group of Knights which accompanied Erinhue, and stood there, waiting for him. Most of them, she did not know and her mind was troubled, like blurred after a night of too much drinking – but she had not done that in ages, her thoughts should be crystal-clear. Yet, they were not. She could not handle the faces, the names, Erinhue told her, the titles. But Anorast, she remembered. They had been in training together and her training had just ended a few days before, of course she did remember that and the initiation – it must have been just a few nights before, yet ERinhue had said otherwise. He must be wrong.

Why did he stare at her? Why did the others stare?

After the initiation, she had been sick for a few days. In the house, where she was treated, the healer had told her it was a common side effect of the drugs they used for the initiation visions. Especially on someone as light and small as her. Nin remembered how she had thought that right. She was small and tiny, different from the other knights, there was nothing noble about her. The healer had given her something else to drink which made her sleepy but feeling good and she also remembered the smell of encens. Then, they had brought her here, she did not remember the ride, still dizzy form the different drugs. She only woke fully up when she heard Erinhue’s voice, like the waking from a dream, an overlong night of sleep.

What was so special about it?

They stared and the group seemed like frozen to her, there was something frozen in Anorast’s face, something slow and hesitating when Erinhue had led her to the group. Something eerie. Nin was freezing. She could tell that something was wrong, something was amiss, but she did not know what. Soomething seemed to be wrong about her memory, but she did not know and the few sentences, the bard had said were not enough.

When the woman arrived with a young knight – he seemed yet to be in training, how had they taken new knights in training so shortly after their initiation – for a moment, the attention wavered away. Nin was glad about it, relieved, it gave her a moment to think, to see how her hands were shaking, to wonder.

”Why are you here?” Tempest broke the silence, addressing Nin in a voice that trembled slightly. ”Why have you returned to us?”

The question hit her like a whip. What was so special about her being here? Was not a knight supposed to be with the group? This was, what she had been trained for, after all, this was her place, among the knights. But her voice almost failed her when she answered, looking for words to fill the blanks in her mind. “As far as I remember, I was just gone for a few days after the initiation. I needed some rest and the healer told me it happened regularly. I do feel well now, strong enough to ride into campaign, even though I have no horse…” Her voice sounded feeble, even to herself.

The woman – Nin felt that she must have known her, but could not remember the name – stood there now, facing her, her eyes cold and demanding, reproachful, inquiring, Nin could not name it.

“So, you think your initiation was days ago? And you expect us to believe this?”

Nin nodded, at loss for words. “This is all I know. What troubles you about my tale? What have I done to offend the knights and to be questioned? I know I was surprised, Elbren accepted me, but he did and once a knight…” She left the end of the sentence in the vague.

Erinhue spoke, then, calm and clear. “Nin, as I told you, you were initiated more than a year ago. You fought a battle with us, a terrible battle, wielding a power, which seemed to outpass you. And then you were gone, of your own, free choice, gone for months.”

“This is not possible. I would remember all that.” The look on her face was panicked, troubled. She did not understand. Yet, they all seemed to agree on Erinhue’s words, so it must be true. “How can it be?”

“Nienor-Niniel” said Anorast, using her full name. She could hear how strangled his voice sounded, like he contained a strong urge to yell or to cry, so formal. “Why do you think it is that you don’t have your horse? Because it died. Months ago, in a snow storm. Do you remember the storm?” His eyes were fixing her now and his voice had almost become a whisper. Nin shook her head in disbelief. Gedeon dead? Snow? No winter could have had passed in those few days she knew about.

The elf kept on: “Why is it that we have your cloak here and your signs as a knight and that you do not wear them? Because you left them when you left. You left so much when you left.” His glance was enigmatic and deep and the broken tone in his voice seemed to increase.

It was much to think over in little time and Nin felt all dizzy again. “But then…” she stuttered “how does it come I am here? Who healed me? Why do I not remember and where have I been in the months inbetween?”

Again, Erinhue’s voice seemed calmer than the others. “We all need and want to know this. There are many questions to be answered. But news from Dirk have reached which urge to go to him. We have lingered too long and need to take the road. Questions will be answered on the road.”
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Postby Vanaladiel » Sun May 22, 2011 10:24 am

Vana stood with the Knights looking at the trembling woman. Her response suddenly was one that might have been taken wrong by some but seemed more then natural for her.

"What is wrong with you all?" Vana almost shouted at the others. "She is weak and confused and needs some thing to eat and something to warm her before we can go on!"

Vana moved quickly to Nin's side and taking her by the arm lead her to a rock where she could rest herself. Motioning to Brondgast, Vana called for a blanket to place about Nin's shoulders.

"I am sorry for our manners, we were just taken a back at your sudden appearance. We have not seen you in a year and many of us, though Anorast told us you were not dead, did not believe him." Vana wrapped the blanket presented to her around Nin and then said "She can ride with me if none of you object!"

Nin smiled at Vana but by the look in her eye, Vana was aware that Nin did not remember her at all.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Sun May 22, 2011 7:26 pm

"Yes, please forgive us." said Brondgast. "Of course, you wouldn't remember me, I wasn't there back then. I just joined them as an apprentice. You are welcome to come together with Vana and me." He had given the blanket to Vana, his mentor, and she had wrapped it around Nin. "I am called Brondgast. I am a Beorning."
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Postby Guruthostirn » Tue May 24, 2011 3:41 pm

Finally, as Vana and Brondgast clustered around Nin, getting her ready to journey, Anorast looked away. For a moment his eyes met Erinhue's, but the old elf wasn't ready to speak, and he turned away from the Bard's penetrating gaze. Instead Anorast stared out at the horizon, his thoughts flitting wildly between the past, memories both pleasant and painful, to the future, and what it would hold. He'd been convinced his steps were walking one path, of sorrow and pain, and now they wandered in a trackless field, with no certain way. By the expression on her face Anorast knew Nin recognized him, but that recognition held nothing more than the joy of seeing a familiar face. She could not remember the time before her leaving, of that the elf was sure. Anorast could have dealt with her loss for the rest of his years, but that certainty was now gone. Would he have to rewrite his own memories to fit in with her new existence?

The old elf was sure of one thing, that he would not inflict upon Nin any of the emotions they had shared. If she remembered, and changed her mind to stay with him and the knights, he would embrace that path and walk it gratefully, but should she stay without her memories Anorast silently vowed that he would never force her forgotten past onto her. Unless she remembered the events that brought the two of them together any love she might feel for him would be artificial, an expectation born out of being told of her past, not coming from the bonds of shared experiences.

"Why do you not go to her?" asked Tempest harshly from behind Anorast. "You are her protector, her knight."

"To all of us, I am, yes," replied the old elf. "But to her, all I am is a fellow initiate. To her we met less then a month ago."

"That's no reason to stay away from her!"

Anorast swiftly turned to pierce Tempest with his dark gaze. "Then how is this for a reason. I don't want to be tempted."

"Tempted? To be with someone who you had lost?"

"Tempted to fix her." Anorast turned away. "Tempted to try to undo what has been done to her, without knowing what has gone on within her mind. Tempted to change something that perhaps should not be meddled with."

After a moment of silence the old elf continued. "When we understand what has happened, then perhaps I might be able to help. But I am no healer, and she is being cared for by one who is. Lady Vana is our best hope for her now."
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Postby erinhue » Sat May 28, 2011 12:56 pm

For a very rare moment, Erinhue was speechless. He stared at the revealed Nienor-Niniel, his quick mind stunned to awed silence. He had no idea who these people were that held her. He had no idea where she had been for these many months. He did know that he did not trust the situation and knew himself outnumbered.

Skill and training took over and the bard found himself mouthing some generalities that might fit whatever lay beneath and concentrated on getting Nin up and away as quickly and simply as possible. The people who called him there claimed that they knew nothing other than they were to find the bard and turn the woman over to him. Erinhue accepted the surface truth and then got his one time apprentice back to the camp of the Mithril Knights.

The others were on him with question after question. Time and again the bard swore he did not know anymore than that he was called away and Nin was handed over to him no questions asked, or answered.

“I’m not that hard to spot in a crowd, not unless I don’t want to be spotted. It makes sense for them to be told to look for me. What I want to know is who was it told them to fetch me .” Erinhue turned to look at Nin, as did the rest of the company.

Apparently Nin did not have the answers to the many questions swirling around her. He understood how she must feel. He remembered his own disbeliefe when told how long he had been “asleep” following the Red Hammer battle.

This made the warrior/bard think back to that very battle. He had some shadow memory of the Berserker’s actions on the field. It was not the Bard that turned away at Anorast’s command. It was not merely the old elf’s command that halted the attack. It was the Sicle…. And Nin herself that had turned the Berserker’s actions from aggression to defense. Here was another piece of a puzzle that had been forming in his mind since the merging the Berserker and the Bard.

Nin had rejoined them, through whatever fate or fortune, she had rejoined them at this very point in time because she was a part of what was to come.. All of them were needed for what lay ahead of them. That was the key to the puzzle but there was no more time to ponder it. The news from Dirk was dire. There was only time for haste.
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Postby erinhue » Sun May 29, 2011 10:35 am

As they took once again to the trail, Nin road with Vanna and their double burdened steed soon fell to the back of the line. Erinhue flicked at Treble’s reigns and dropped back to ride along side them.

“Vana darlin’” Erinhue began in his best showman’s pitch “I never did thank you proper for helping me back in Healer’s Hall. When I first woke up I was completely lost. I didn’t remember anything except for the fact that I knew who you were.”

The veil of listlessness that enveloped Nin lifted, quiet interest sparked in her expression and her body took on an attentive pose. Erinhue nodded to himself at her response. She was listening; exactly what he had hoped would happen. As he went on talking Vana caught on to the pretense and fed him questions that would allow him to address some of Nin’s apparent concerns regarding this state of her memory.

As they continued the charade, Vana’s expression changed as the focus of her concern shifted from Nin to Erinhue. The bard’s face was flushed and seemed to be getting redder by the moment. By the time he finished with his expressions of gratitude and nudged Treble forward in the line, Vana saw something she had never seen in all the long years she had known him. Erinhue was beginning to sweat.

“What ails you, Bard?” Tempest teased as Erinhue pulled up beside her in the line of march. “Has all bravado failed you now we come towards the final test?”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.”

Tempest blinked slowly at a quality in the bard’s response.

“Irritable? You? Now I know something is wrong. Out with it, Bard. I still outrank you and I’ll make it an order if needs be.”

Erinhue turned to look into Tempest’s eyes. When he spoke his words were calm and quiet.

“It’s a very hot day.”

Tempest gazed up at the bright ball of a midday sun and started to laugh at what seemed an obvious statement. The amused chuckle faded out of her eyes as she realized who was making it. She took a closer look at Erinhue’s face.

“You’re sweating?” This was spoken with a tinge of amazement. “ I always thought…”

“So did I.” Erinhue finished her sentence. “The closer we get to where we’re going, the worse it’s getting. I am more than certain that it means something important, I’m just not sure what.”
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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