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 erinhue » Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:03 pm

Erinhue listened to Vanna’s words and felt a sense of pride in her for speaking her mind. She was very different from the shy girl that he first met across the bar in the Lucky Fortune Inn so many seasons ago. She stood there tall and fair ready to pledge her life to a valiant cause.

Erinhue had much respect for Anorast but the elf was wrong or at least the bard felt strongly that he was. The Cold Drakes might have originated from the North, indeed up in the far reaches only Eru knew for certain what might be found, still but some instinct told him that this Fornost’s Cold Drake threat sprang from some other source. His thoughts again wandered away from the council chamber to the faint traces of shadow that had haunted his dreams.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:53 pm

While the others spoke, one of the guards quietly sent for a servant to fetch clean water and linen for Dirk to dress his hand. As he cleaned the wound, he found that the insignia, the mockery of the Mithril Knights' Battle Captain oak leaf, had become imprinted in his palm. The red lines of coagulating blood would serve nicely as a reminder of his mission.

After Lady Vanaladiel and Aglanor's exchange, Dirk's whisper broke the uneasy silence.

From the shadowed recesses of his seat, the young Knight's quiet words seethed, like a slowly simmering pot that threatened to boil over at any moment. Dirk's words carried barely-contained heat with them out into the room

"With due respect to Lord Anorast and Lady Vana, we are already a small contingent, in my opinion, there is no wisdom in further diminishing our strength in number, especially for a mission likely to be in vain. The wastelands into which the drakes fled after they were driven out by the dwarves is vast. In fact, its boundaries have not ever been mapped. You could search the lands north of the Grey mountains for a hundred lifetimes of the Edain and never find any trace."

Dirk leaned forward, illuminating his strangely wise-looking countenance.

"Smaug was not the last dragon. Smaug was the last dragon to come south into the lands of the free peoples of Middle-earth." Again, Dirk felt the indelible black lines on his back writhing beneath his tunic, "It is likely that many of Morgoth's creatures escaped his destruction and lie dormant in the frozen wastes, waiting to reawaken. If they are there, sleeping, we should not disturb their slumber."

Dirk spoke as if he speculated, but he knew within himself that north of the Grey mountains hibernated many secrets best not revealed. He knew not what or how many still lived, there were none alive who did. But he knew this as surely as he knew that the sun sets in the west.

"The threat lies west. A threat that lives and flies and breaths. A threat that can bleed. I say we go to Fornost and root out the underlying cause of the Cold-drakes' attacks. I echo Lady Tempest's words regarding our duty to protect anyone under the threat of evil." He scratched his beardless chin, "We should travel along the river from here to the northwest marches of Greenwood, then on to the northern passes where orcs are apparently still lurking." Despite my direct orders and threats, he added in his mind. He leaned back into the shadows again and resumed the former pattern of calm, purposeful speech.

"Do not allow another thought to trouble any of your minds about the Warg Riders." Dirk spoke slowly, deliberately over-pronouncing every word; his broken voice rumbling like the low growl of a wolf, "I will see to them myself. They are mine."

The dark young warrior's last word carried an unexpected power that was felt in the chests and skulls of the listeners, rather than heard. The more astute in the crowd may have thought they caught a flash of argent flame behind the grey eyes of the Dúnadan.

He paused for a deep breath, "Once that threat is eliminated, then we go on overland to Fornost. The going will be easy in the barren former realm or Angmar. There are copses of trees for shelter, but mostly it is open, firm earth. My presence within the group will ensure unmolested passage across that land to our destination."

Without further explanation, Dirk spoke no more at the council.
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Postby Guruthostirn » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:53 am

Anorast could see plainly that the will of the council was to journey west. Other than Lady Vanaladiel the knights unanimously wished to travel west, to Fornost in Arnor. Here was another mystery that bothered Anorast. Fornost had not been the capital of Elendil, for the High King had dwelled instead at Annuminas, further to the west. That a dragon's egg, so dangerous, so valuable, had been set beneath Fornost instead of Annuminas raised many questions, among them, again, why Haldad had traveled so far, despite the Greenwood Guildhouse being the former seat of the Mithril Knights. In the back of his mind Anorast was beginning to see a tangled web of possibilities. Had Elendil known what was sleeping beneath one of his cities, and if not, who had brought it there?

Watching as Sir Dirk declared that the company go west, first to deal with the warg riders that had attacked Haldad, then moving on to Fornost, Anorast came to a decision. After Dirk finished, with a strange and ominous declaration, the old elf leaned forwards.

"I've changed my mind, for now," Anorast said, a warning in his voice. "Arnor holds enough questions that need to be answered, it would not do us much evil to go that route.

"But I warn you all, unless the drakes there are truly the Knights of the Silmaril, as some of us fear," Anorast nodded to Erinhue before continuing, "not all our answers will be found at Fornost. We will have to travel north, and east, past Angmar, to finish this battle with the Cold-drakes."

The old elf paused, looking about the room. "And if these are false worms, Knights of the Silmaril, I fear we will have much more trouble than otherwise."

"Either way, I will go west, if that is the will of the council." Anorast paused again, his face darkening. "But I warn the council, we must not let ourselves be sidetracked by unwise and unnecessary adventures, nor held down in fruitless battles that others can fight. In Arnor, only at Fornost will we find answers, and the trail of our enemies, whoever they may be."
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Postby Vanaladiel » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:26 am

As the council came to its decision Vana nodded in acknowledgment to this. Yes, they would go to the Fornost. All had agreed but not all were going willingly. For it was plain on Lord Anorast's face that he felt there was more to this then what it first appears. Many hoped that he was wrong but others felt the same.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:26 pm

Dirk had said enough and held his tongue at Anorast's words. It didn't matter to him how the decision was made. All that mattered was that it was made. It didn't matter that Anorast didn't think that west was the best way. All that mattered was that the elf went west.

Dirk began to breathe deeply in his shadow-shroud, releasing the fiery anger that had begun to flush his face. Not the slow-burning inferno over his earlier mistakes at Carn Dûm, those flames he would hold onto tightly, until the time came to unleash their fury. But rather he easily let go the tiny, bright spark caused by Anorast's accusatory tone.

Let the wise old elf think what he wants. It makes no difference if he believes now that I wish to go west for personal reasons. I will remove the orc threat alone, quietly, thought Dirk, He'll probably doubt that there were ever Warg Riders, and that we shouldn't have traveled the Gundabad pass. We'll bypass the rest of Angmar completely, to his eyes, without a single diversion. And when we come swiftly to Arnor, I'll show him my true intentions. It is not necessary for him to like me; but it is of vital importance that he learn to trust me.

As Dirk found himself once again the master of his own emotions, Sir Aglanor stood, and raised his hands to speak.
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Postby Mithril Knights » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:26 pm

Sir Aglanor stood, bent slightly and placed both hand out before him upon the surface of the table.

"With noted," he nodded his head towards the scribe, "and not entirely meritless objections, it appears that we have a consensus."

He stood to full height and spoke clearly and deliberately, once again to ensure that his words would be recorded accurately, "At sunrise, two days hence, Lord Erinhue of Belfalas, Lady Tempest of Rohan (Tempest gritted her teeth audibly at the use of her birth land and not her chosen home, Mordor) with her Knight-in-Training Djazi of Far Harad, Lady Elenath of the house of Gilgalad, Lord Anorast of Imladris, Lady Vanaladiel of Eryn Lasgalen, and Sir Dirk of Esgaroth (Dirk also squirmed a bit at the use of inaccurate homeland information, though he had not yet told anyone of his recent choice to embrace his Dúnedain heritage) will depart on horseback to fulfill the Mithril Knights' role as Guardians of Middle-earth by traveling first to newly reclaimed northern lands of the Rohirrim and the Pass of Mount Gundabad to eliminate an orcish threat to the people of the light there. After that, they will travel to the site of the former capital of Arnor, Fornost where reconstruction efforts have been halted due to an unknown and deadly threat, here in this council thought to be at least one Cold-drake. Haldad, Chieftain of the Dúnedain of the North will also return with them; and the Mithril Knights are charged with his protection, as escort to the King's appointed leader in that region. To this agreed-upon plan of action all those previously named are bound by their oaths; until it be fulfilled or new events or information require a revision to be decided upon by the group members together. Good luck and Eru speed you all to victory and a safe return."

Aglanor's voice lost somewhat of his affected, official tone; "In the meantime," he stood erect and looked as if he were scanning the ceiling with his hand on his chin, "I will stay with the small contingent of guards here at the Guildhouse, for it cannot be left wholly abandoned. I will send word to the Erebor and Laketown Guildhouses of this council and your mission and all those available at all three Guildhouses will plan jointly, should word return from this group that danger is heading this direction."

He paced a little towards Lady Vana, "My lady, will you take a message to your uncle, King Thranduil tomorrow?"

She nodded, "What message, Sir Aglanor, would you have me say to him?"

"Ask him if he could spare a messenger on a fast mount to take a copy of the minutes of this council to Edoras and Lord Elbren. The scribe will prepare the copy and have it brought to your chamber by breakfast time tomorrow, so that you will have time to return and prepare for the journey."

He began to walk away, but turned, "and my Lady, tell your uncle all that he wishes to know about our discussions today, that he may prepare his own people. He may also wish to send someone to the outposts you spoke of. But ensure that he understands that our conclusions at this point are conjecture and that we have no reason to believe that there is any immediate threat to this forest or its inhabitants. We do not wish to start a panic."

Vana nodded her understanding as Aglanor moved on to stand between Elenath and Djazi.

"My Lady Master at Arms, please arrange with our new apprentice and his mentor," Tempest clenched her jaw even tighter, still upset with Aglanor and others over the inclusion of the Southron in their midst, "to make time to visit the armory," he turned to Djazi, "As I said, I am embarrassed by the depleted state of our arms and supplies. I hope you will find something useful. The Master-at-Arms," he tilted his head back towards Elenath, "will advise you if anything you find is forbidden for Knights-in-Training. A horse will also be made ready for you from our stables."

He smiled and reached down to clench the seated man's shoulder, "Welcome, and good luck. I look forward to celebrating your initiation."

Djazi nodded and returned the gesture with a clasp of Aglanor's forearm, the traditional Western greeting and salute.

"Please also avail yourself of our other supplies here," he waved his hand in a circular motion indicating the entire room, "all of you. Whatever is left after the recent battles is yours. Remember, though the calendar might say spring, the further north you travel, the colder it will get. I am sure we have extra blankets and other cold-weather supplies to spare for all of you. You'll need them."

He lowered his voice and continued pacing the room, "Especially if Sir Anorast's suspicions prove false, and they are real drakes. Then his earlier wishes to follow them to their nests in the icy wasteland north of the mountains may be inevitable. It would be wise to prepare for all scenarios."

He had nearly reached his own seat again, but stopped beside the Bard's chair, "Lord Erinhue, despite your hardy appearance and cheery demeanor, I am still concerned for you. You were, after all, on your back unconscious for nearly two months. I will not allow you to travel," Erinhue opened his mouth to protest, "Ah my dear bard, allow me to finish, I will not allow you to travel until you have seen the physician once more, and he is convinced that you are fit to do so." Erinhue's defiance lit his eyes for another half second, then the fire therein returned to its usual twinkle.

Finally, Sir Dirk, "Please inform Haldad when you see him tomorrow of the council's decision and the plan to depart at sunrise."

Dirk had almost forgotten his agreement with the Ranger to luncheon with him. The brooding youth nodded his acquiescence.

"So," Aglanor raised his hands as rounded on the table's head to face them all once again, "unless anyone has anything else to add," he paused, searching each face for indication of unexpressed words.

"Then I declare this council adjourned," he lowered his hands, "Let us get ourselves to the dining hall, for our supper is being prepared for us."
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Postby Guruthostirn » Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:42 am

As Sir Aglanor pronounced the will of the council Anorast sighed inside. The outcome had been inevitable, but he had still held out hope that the Guildhouse Steward would see the threat to the north. However Anorast was encouraged as Sir Aglanor finished, stating that the party should bring plenty of warm gear, and sending the Lady Vanaladiel to King Thranduil, warning the elvish ruler to look to his borders, and investigate northward towards with Withered Heath. Looking over towards Vanaladiel Anorast made a note to talk to her later, for she had been brave to speak up against the prevailing wills, and agree with the old elf. Such bravery could not be allowed to be crushed by a decision that disagreed with the speaker.

When Sir Aglanor finished, releasing the council, Anorast was filled with a strange sensation. Cold fire flew through his blood, and upon his chest Anorast felt a bright burning sensation. Instantly a thought came to Anorast, thrust into the old elf's mind, and he had no doubt where it came from. Though he had not willed it Anorast found himself standing, and with a loud thump, his right hand dropped onto the council table the worn leather bag that had just been hanging from his right hip. Around the room the knights, many of whom had not even begun to rise from their seats, focused their attention on Anorast.

"I have one item that needs to be brought to the attention of those who are going on this journey," Anorast began, his voice strong and sure, confident in the knowledge that filled him. "I assume you are all familiar with the Sickle of the Valar."

Quickly Anorast untied the bag, and drew out the weapon. Sleek and deadly, the Sickle, shaped as a crescent moon, emerged, and Anorast placed it on the bag. The bright, silvery metal danced with the reflections of the torches set about the room, unmarked, flawless.

"There is one other here who was present when the Sickle was found," Anorast nodded to Erinhue, "and at that time, there were words upon the blade. They spoke of the Arkenstone, and we all believed this weapon was created to destroy it. But now, there is no sign of writing. The deed has been done, and now the Sickle has a new destiny, a new mission."

Silently Anorast reached up to his throat, and pulled down his mail shirt a short bit. Beneath it dark indigo leather was revealed, and a single eight pointed star. Around the chamber Anorast heard gasps and movement as the sight unsettled several knights who had seen the Valacirca vests before, for the star was not the bright, white metal it had been when the vests were first brought to Mirkwood, but now it was a dark grey, almost black.

"Several of us already wear the Livery of the Valar, the vests found with the Sickle. Now that the Sickle has changed, we cannot know what to expect. However, these vests are connected to the Sickle, and mark the wearer as a Ally of the Valacirca.

"The will of the grand council, formed following the battles with the Red Hammer, is that I bear the Sickle. Since I now journey to Fornost, all who journey with me need to be marked, be known to the Sickle. Any of the Mithril Knights who are traveling west shall find a vest awaiting them in the armory if they do not already carry one." Anorast turned to Djazi. "The Sickle follows it's own rules, and chooses who wears it's mark regardless of earthly concerns. I am sure, as one of my companions, there will be a vest waiting for you, Djazi."

Turning back to the council Anorast continued. "I do not know the will of the Sickle, but I know this is of the utmost importance."

Immediately the strange feeling vanished from Anorast's body. Finished, the old elf placed the Sickle back into it's bag, where it would return to it's sleep of vigilance.
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Postby erinhue » Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:42 pm

When Aglanor stopped by his chair, it was just what Erinhue expected. He was ready with an eloquent aruguemnt but Aglanor did not order him to remain in the GuildHouse. The bard silently agreed to Aglanor’s suggestion.

He would go to the halls of the Healer. His sword and harp were there and if the Healer wanted to look him over when he went to retrieve them, that was fine as well, but no one was going to keep him there for one moment more than it took to pack his gear for the road. The bard lived his life on the road and never stayed in any one place for too very long, He had already been in Mirkwood Guildhouse for longer than he would have chosen.

Anorast was talking now. Erinhue’s mind wandered in his own thoughs and he was paying very little attention to what the elf said. He was listening to the sound of Anorast’s voice and trying to figure out what it was that struck him so oddly about it.

Clarion’s sudden screech in his mind jerked the bard’s attention to the present moment. Anorast had just laid the Sickle of the Valar on the council table. The Sickle was gleaming like a star against the dark wood of the council table. Anorast was showing the council a vest beneath his outer garment with a star that blazed with the same light glowing from The Sickle.

Clarion, his rune etched sword, screamed in Erinhue’s head, but the sound of it was different. The demanding thirst for blood was absent in its shrieking, that quality replaced by a sense of pleading supplication and a wave of deep contrition.

The light vanished and the sword stopped its clamoring when Anorast covered The Sickle and put it away. He was saying something about vests and having to be acknowledged by The Sickle if they were going to tavel with it. This was far too close to the condition for those traveling with his sword Clarion, too similar for it to be some random happenstance.

Movement around him again brought Erinhue out of his thoughts. The council was adjourned and the Knights were leaving the chamber. Tempest was looking at him strangely. He turned his charm her way and smiled, but she did not smile back. Instead she stared him in the eyes a moment more and her head tipped towards him before she left the room.

His smile was false and Erinhue knew that Tempest was aware of the fact. He would have to face her directly sooner or later. If she would put it off for now, then so would he, but the bard knew it could not be put aside for very long.

Erinhue pushed his chair back from the table and got to his feet. There was someone he did want to talk to, and recalling Aglanor’s instructions there was not much time for him to do it. He hurried out of the council chamber, moving in the direction of the stables.
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Postby Vanaladiel » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:48 pm

As the council meeting ended many rose to their feet and headed out the door. Vana figured most would soon be busy with the task of packing and readying for the mission to the Pass of Gundabad and then on to Fornost.

Vana was lost in her own thoughts as she too headed for the door. She wandered about the guild house for a while and found herself back at the houses of healing. She didn't know why she was there but after a few moments of enjoying the garden there she headed off to her room. Once there she grabbed her saddle bags and set them upon the bed. She dropped herself there beside them and started to mumble to herself.

"Okay it will be warming soon and then if we go north after Fornost it will be or could be very cold. So what do I need?" She started looking about the room, taking in her surroundings and feeling a twinge of pain at the thought of leaving again. She had spent so many years trying to get away and now that she felt more comfortable in her own, she felt sad at rushing off again. This time she knew she could be gone a very long time or possibly never coming back again. She took a jagged breath as if she we on the verge if tears but sighed instead.

She stood up and headed to her dressing table and grabbed her combs and brush and a few things she liked to keep close to her. There was also a very small bundle that she picked up from the corner, she held it to her breast then slowly she opened the soft cloth to reveal a necklace that glowed and sparkled in the candle light. A delicate yet intricate thing as many would say, but it was very precious to Vana. A gift from a very special man in her life. The one man whom she had hoped to build a life with, but it never would. He was gone and that was all ancient history now. A single tear slowly ran down her cheek as she carefully wrapped the necklace back in the kerchief and tucked it in her bodice. She thought to herself that she would put it in a pouch and carry it next to her heart so as not to lose it on the journey.

Then she turned and started dropping things on the bed that she wanted to take. There wasn't much here in this room but in her room in the Palace was where she would do her major packing. Stuffing the few things into her saddle bag she headed out into the hallway.

She made her way to the stables and started saddling up her mount.

"M'Lady I can do that for you!" a stable hand quickly came to her side from the chores he had been doing when she came in. "Please M'Lady, I don't wish to get into trouble or cause any trouble."

"Don't worry, I can do it! I am a big girl and have taken care of myself for a quite a while now. I would have to do it on the road cause I cant take you with me." She added, but when he looked like he was going to add something she stopped him.

"No, you can't come with me!" She smiled and dropped the blanket onto her horses back. Grabbing her saddle she seated it down on the horse and cinched it up snug. She patted her horse on the neck and nuzzled his head for a moment before leading him out of the stable by his bridle.

The air was clean and smelled of spring. The earthy smell of fresh hay mixed with the other forest scents was so invigorating after being indoors in the council chamber for so long.

Vana made a mental note to herself to visit the armory when she returned from the Palace to get any weaponry she would need and the vest that she was told to get by Lord Anorast.
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Postby erinhue » Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:36 pm

When he reached the stables Erinhue found he was too late, The Lady Vanaladial had already gone to carry Aglanor’s messages to her uncle. The stable hand that gave him this imformation asked if he should saddle Treble the bard’s horse. Rrinhue looked down the road the lead out and off into the wood and for a moment he considered riding after Vanna to talk with her along the way.

In a moment the bard reconsidered. It would keep and there might be a more direct way to get an answer to a question. He left the stable and made his way to Healer’s Hall.
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Postby Elenath » Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:05 am

When Anorast had shown the darkened star at the top of his vest, Elenath's hand had gone automatically to her own chest. She knew that the stars she wore were unchanged, but the sight of his altered vest was unsettling. What did it mean? And why, of all the Knights, had Anorast been placed in charge of the Sickle?

She sighed. The Sickle had its own purposes, no doubt. And now, it seemed, something was afoot. If it felt that all who traveled with its bearer should be marked, what was it seeing on their path?

A chill struck her, standing her hair on end. She had thought some of the speculations at the council to be a trifle far-fetched, but now she was wondering if they hadn't gone far enough.

As the room began to empty, Elenath made her way toward the armory. She wanted to check over the vests again, and she would be needed by the Knights wishing to re-arm themselves as well.
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Postby Tempest » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:34 pm

Tempest did not need to travel to the Armory to get a Valacirca vest, for she already possessed one, having been present within the chamber when they were first found. She had not liked wearing it to begin with, for she feared objects of "magic," distrusting their powers.

But still, Djazi would need one, and moreover, he would need to arm himself from what little remained in the Armory. She was curious to see what he would choose, and in her mind, she decided that it would be the first real test she would judge him upon. The discussion of Fornost and the Drakes had distracted her from him for a moment, but now her attention was turned upon the young man fully.

"We will go to the Armory first, before the others," she said to him, pulling him aside as they departed the council room. "You will need to choose weapons suitable for our journey. Then, we must go to the stables and find you a horse."

She did not even wait for him to reply, but strode determindly from the room, clearly indicating that he was to follow. On the way out, however, her eyes met those of Erinhue and she stopped abruptly. What was hidden behind his eyes, she did not fully understand, but she knew that there was something wrong with him. She had seen his face change when the Sickle was revealed---the same expression she had seen before, once, upon the plain when the Berserker had fixed its eyes on it and strode to....

To do what? Possess it? Destroy it? Protect it? She could not answer those questions, and she doubted if the bard could either. Why had he slumbered for so long, only to awake now? She wondered how in control of the Berserker her friend was, or if it was lurking now, just below the surface.

She rubbed her shoulder thoughtfully, and then turned again to Djazi. "Let's go. Lady Elenath awaits us."
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Postby Vanaladiel » Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:38 pm

Upon arriving at the Palace, Vana went to her room. Once there she started to pack away the things she knew she wouldn't be needing on this trip. She packed her gowns back into the trunks from which they had been stored before along with the elegant slippers. She spent time looking about her room and going over the memories from her years at the Palace growing up. She stood at the window and looked out into the garden there.

After a time of being lost in her thoughts, she returns to her closet to start locating all that she knows she wants with her. First a woolen cloak that will double as a blanket at night. Then she lays out her woolen breeches and linen pants that she can layer for travel. Her simple tunic and several linen shirts that can be layered for warmth. With these simple things she feels that she will meet all the needs she has for the trip. The personal items she chooses to take along include a wooden comb and brush with ribbons for binding her hair back and keeping it in control.

Suddenly she remembers the small bundle that she has tucked away in her bodice and removes it to locate a pouch that she can hang about her neck. Once done she breaths a sigh of relief knowing that she had taken care of the most precious of her things to go with her. Quickly she changes from her gown and packs it also in the trunk. After putting on a pair of leather breeches and a comfortable shirt she pulls on a pair of simple leather boots. Then she starts stuffing things into her bags to return to the guild house.

Taking up her bag she heads to the door and turns back to survey the room one more time. There on the table next to her bed she sees one more thing she really wants to remember, it is her journal. So she quickly crosses the room and takes it up then heads on out the door.

As she was reaching the end of the hallway from her bed chamber, she finds her handmaiden.

"PLease let my Uncle know that I request an audience tomorrow about mid day to discuss some important matters from Lord Aglanor of the Mithril Knights."

"Yes m'lady I will notify him of your request. Shall I send word to the guild house of the time he will be expecting you?"

"Yes please do so!" Vana smiled then hugged the handmaid good bye and headed back to the stables for her horse and the ride back to the guild house.

When Vana arrived back at the guild house, dinner was well underway. So after dropping her bags off in her room, she quickly washed her hands so that she could join the others in the dining hall.
Image Spring come quickly!!
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Inyë melmëlyë my love, for you are the melody to which I now dance!!

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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!

A tribute to Cynthia 11/14/2005 :rose:

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 Claymore » Sat Oct 27, 2007 4:00 am

Djazi had been surprised at first when Lady Tempest had accepted to be his Mentor. It was an euphemism to say that she didn't like southerners and distrusted them. His blood was still simmering from her insults. Had she accused him of working for the Dark Lord under different conditions he would have challenged her no matter the costs. But he was trying to become a Knight. So he had kept quiet. Now that he was thinking a bit more clearly again, he understood the logic of her actions. She wanted to keep an eye on him. No-one was paying attention to him right now and he allowed himself a little wry smile.
Let her watch then. I've nothing to hide.
He shifted uneasily on his chair. They hadn't known chairs in his tribe, they had just sat on the ground. He was sitting cross-legged and he was beginning to understand why the others put at least one foot on the ground. Sitting cross-legged on a chair wasn't really comfortable. He tried to sit like the others did but as he focused his attention back to what happening he folded his legs under him again, without noticing it. Old habits died hard. He listened carefully to what was said but did not understand everything. It was obvious that some things they were talking about were considered common knowledge among the Knights. He would have to ask afterwards. Some things that were brought to light however seemed to be new even for the Knights and it was clear that even they did not understand everything. There were those Knights of the Silmarils, and whether or not they were involved with the Cold-Drakes. There was the question whether there could be more of those animals hiding in the Grey Mountains. Though from what he heard and the expressions of the Knights he guessed that the Cold-drakes were more than just animals. A grim expression crept on Djazi's face. When he had said that his tribe had been one of hunters he hadn't only meant they hunted for their food. They had also hunted the dark creatures still infecting their lands. That was one of the reasons why adolescents had to hunt down a lion before being accepted as adults. If they couldn't kill a lion, they surely couldn't kill a creature even more dangerous than those huge felines.


But in addition to the lack of knowledge about what was awaiting them there also seemed to be some underlying tension between the Knights themselves. He first credited that to his rather disputed admission, but when the council went on he began to suspect that he was giving himself too much credit. There were some distrust and untold secrets that muddied the waters.
Looks like I landed in a neat termite-hill.He thought wryly.


Finally a decision was taken. He was a bit surprised he was also included. He had thought they would sent him on a less important mission, one where he could have done less damage had he truly been a spy. It seemed that Aglanor at least trusted him. He confirmed that again when he expressed his eagerness to attend his initiation. Djazi gratefully clasped the Steward's fore-arm. It meant much for him to be trusted by someone at last. For more than four months he had been constantly glared at and distrusted. He had endured it and in the case of the Northerners he had also understood it but he hadn't liked it. Aglanor made another few announcements and then adjourned the council. Djazi turned around and opened his mouth to ask lady Elenath if he could pass to the Armoury tomorrow. He had mostly what he needed but he still missed a few things. Before he could say something however,the elf lord Anorast, slammed a heavy leather bag on the council table. Djazi's head snapped back to the sound. Anorast began to speak and drew a strange weapon from the bag. Djazi shivered when he saw it. This was no ordinary weapon. The mention of the Valar send another shiver down his spine. Baran had told him about those beings and if he was right the Hunter, the god of his tribe, might be the Vala Baran had called Oromë. To bear such a name the Sickle must indeed be very powerful. He listened intently. The elf didn't seem to be himself. Though Djazi didn't show it he was rather surprised when Anorast suddenly addressed him.
-The Sickle follows it's own rules, and chooses who wears it's mark regardless of earthly concerns. I am sure, as one of my companions, there will be a vest waiting for you, Djazi.
One more who seems to trust me. And one more reason to go to the Armoury

The council dispersed and lady Tempest pulled him aside.
-We will go to the Armoury first, before the others. You will need to choose weapons suitable for our journey. Then, we must go to the stables and find you a horse.
She strode away clearly expecting that he would follow her. He shrugged and did so. Change of plan. He caught his Mentor up near the door. Lady Tempest looked thoughtful and was absently rubbing her shoulder. When she noticed he had caught up, her expression hardened again.
-Let's go. Lady Elenath awaits us.



The Armoury was a rather cavernous room and it was even more emphasized by it's relative emptiness. Lady Elenath had barely arrived before them and was checking something in a corner.She greeted lady Tempest and aknowledged Djazi with a nod..
-I guess, you're coming for one of the vests.
-It seems I need one.
Lady Elanath pulled one of the pile and handed it over to Djazi. Amazed he let his fingers run over the smooth leather. It was probably one of the most beautiful things he had ever had to wear.
-Well, try it on.
He pulled off his own leather jerkin, a rather ragged dun-colored thing, and put on the vest. It fit him well. In fact he would almost have said it fit him perfectly. He rolled with his shoulders to settle to weight a bit but there wasn't really need to. He nodded.
-Need of anything else?
-I have the weapons I need, but if you had some solid steel vambraces that would be nice.
-I will look.
Lady Elanath disappeared and came back a few minutes later with a pair of vambraces. They were of gondorian make and were decorated with seabirds. A segmented section also protected the back of the hand. They were exactly what he sought. Though his favourite weapon would always remain the spear he had also learned to fight with sword and dagger. In the Arena they had usually fought without any kind of protection but because Djazi did not fight with a shield, he had received vambraces and when he could not catch a blow with his dagger he had caught them up on the vambraces. He did not want to lose a hand because of a too deeply ingrained instinct.
-Thank you.
-Don't you need anything else? The vest will protect you but it might not be enough. I'm sure we have some mail that might fit you.
-No thank you. I've never worn mail, it will only slow me down. I prefer to rely on my feet, they've always proven to be quick enough to get me out of a sword's way.
His yellow eyes twinkled mischievously when he saw Tempest's frown
-Be assured Lady Tempest I won't run away from battle.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:45 am

Dirk had not been the slowest to get up when they were dismissed by Aglanor, but not the quickest either. Therefore, he was already standing not far from his seat when Anorast produced the Sickle of the Valar for all to see.

The moment the Sickle's brilliant blade tasted the air of the meeting chamber, the voice of Neleg Amlug, the ethereal embodiment of his own malice and the last remnant of the man, and the wraith, that had been his father, screamed a silent deluge of curses in his mind. Similarly, Eöl’s spirit, that part of himself that he had imparted into his galvorn armor, usually the counter to the Witch-king's hatred, the needed balance that kept Dirk's anger, fear, and madness in check, also erupted in seething ire. It took all of Dirk's will to subdue the dark forces he carried with him, and in so doing, he had to let down his guard so that, as he regained his seat to listen to the Elf-lord, his face was screwed up in angst and agony, openly for all to see. He was, however, finally able to master himself and the black emotions that lived in his soul, a feat he was not sure he could have accomplished in his fatigued state had he been wearing the objects that now hung on a stand in his room(the ups and downs of the council had strained him to mental exhaustion). Luckily for Dirk, he had thought it best to go to council unarmed, save the non-descript knife that never left its place in his right boot.

Why the usually-counter-balanced forces had reacted as they did was a mystery that would have to wait. It was enough that he kept them in check, a dull roar within his skull as long as the Sickle's blade was bared so close to him.

Dirk listened to Anorast's words. At the mention of the Arkenstone, memories flooded into Dirk of his own involvement with the various ancient artifacts that the Red Hammer had caused to come into play. His first mission as a Mithril Knight was to journey to the southern sea coast, alone, to seek out a deserted Guildhouse of the Mithril Knights and bring back The Spear of Oromë. He had been abushed upon trying to reenter Rohan with the sacred spear. At Tol Brandir, they had recovered the Arkenstone, which had been stolen by the insidious dwarves. He succumbed for the first time, he realized, to the combined wills of the creators of his arms that night. During that battle, both the Spear and the Stone were shattered in the Seat of Hearing upon Amon Lhaw. The final disposition of both broken objects had also been his responsibility. He had nearly forgotten the events prior to his meeting with the Shade of Eöl ( here, here, and here) in Eryn Lasgalen, and for some reason every detail of every event, from the meeting with the wildmen of Drúadan Forest, to fighting at Helm's Deep, to the shame he still carried for sending away his apprentice Hiril Arwen Sol, just before that fateful ambush ( here, too) under the eastern eaves of the Greenwood.

Though the reverie contained uncounted emotions and every image of those events, it was all compressed into a single thought; one moment of clarity that focused Dirk once again on his unwavering loyalty to the Mithril Knights and his iron-clad conviction to see through their objectives set forth within the oath. With his new-found strength, he was able to force back the whispering ghosts and give Anorast his undivided attention. Since the span of his memory recall was so tiny, he missed nothing the old elf had to say; he missed none of the strange demeanor that had come over him whilst the Sickle was on display.

Dirk felt a pang of uncertainty regarding the vests that Anorast had all but ordered them all to retrieve, and wear upon their mission. The voices of his armor and sword protested at the sight of the Sickle. How would they react to the wearing of an article imbued with power from the same source as the Sickle?


After Anorast finished speaking, the room emptied and the Knights all went in separate directions. Dirk, in a short-lived return to the impetuous, happier self that had occupied his body before meeting his heritage full-on, was hungry despite the nagging questions in his mind and went to supper, seemingly alone.
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Postby Elenath » Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:50 am

The vest, of course, fitted Djazi perfectly, and the vambraces were a good match as well. "Are you certain that you need no other weapons?" Elenath asked.

"I am certain," the man replied.

"Very well. Those are well-made vambraces, and they should serve you well." She bowed her head toward him, wondering as she did so what thoughts might be going through his mind. It would not have been an easy thing to sit at the council and hear himself discussed in such a way. Assuming, of course, that he was indeed innocent.

Elenath turned to Tempest. "And you, my Lady? Do you require any weapons, or other supplies?"
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Postby Tempest » Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:27 am

"I have no need of any weapons, though I am short on a few supplies," Tempest answered Elenath, listing off a few of the items, but keeping her gaze fixed on Djazi, even as the elven woman went to retrieve the items. The young man had chosen well, moreover, he had chosen weapons which one who was used to fighting with spear and fist would have preferred. So far, he had done nothing to disprove his story. He returned her gaze, and she found his yellow eyes unnerving. It was trait she was not familiar with---none of the Haradrim she had known had ever possessed eyes of such a shade.

"You will excuse me if I ask a question?" Djazi asked.

Tempest nodded.

"How is it that you know the tongue of the people of Harad? You seem yourself to be of Rohan."

"I was taken from my village by Mordorian raiders when I was a child. I was raised in Mordor to be a spy and traitor among the peoples of the West. However, there were times when I was also sent to settle disputes or make treaties with leaders of Harad. I had a certain knack for languages that many of Sauron's lieutenants did not have." She stated her life story very straightforwardly, no inflection or rise in tone, as if it were a time and place far removed from the present.

"Then, it would seem we have some things in common," the young man pointed out.

Tempest smiled faintly. "Yes, that is why I do not trust you."

Elenath returned with the supplies and glanced curiously from Tempest to Djazi. "Is there anything else?" she asked.

"No, but thank you for your trouble, Lady Elenath," Tempest replied. Turning back to Djazi, she said, "It is late now, and supper is served. We should join the other Knights who are eating and worry about finding a horse for you in the morning. "

She paused for a moment. "Do you know how to ride a horse?"

"Not well," he answered.

"We will have to work on that. I will try to find a horse suitable for you. But let us go to supper now. I am sure there are other Knights who would like to introduce themselves and speak with you."
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Postby SmaugsBane » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:29 pm

At breakfast the morning after the council, Dirk continued to feel the sense of exhilaration that had started the night before, when he supped alone. He enjoyed his breakfast immensely, despite the table of Guildhouse staff, all young men some of whom he recognized from Laketown, who leaned in close to whisper to one another and cast furtive glances his way. He wondered what details about him had leaked from the council or from eavesdropped conversations, but he wasn’t troubled; for he felt the same adventurous apprehension, a sort of nervous excitement, that he had felt the night before he left Esgaroth for good a year and a half earlier. Within days of that departure, however, he had met with Glorfindel, who was visiting Thranduil, and heard the prophecy regarding his life, and received Neleg Amlug. In that meeting, he had first learned the taste of fear.

Thoughts of holding the cursed black blade for the first time, and the anguish it caused him at the time caused Dirk to think about his meeting that day with his uncle, Haldad. The thought was sobering, and Dirk, no longer hungry, decided to return to his room to meditate and focus for the hours until lunch. He had wanted to visit the armory to receive the Valacirca Vest before then, but he had changed his mind. He needed to be in complete control of himself when he met with Haldad.

So it was that he sat upon the bed in his room, with the windows thrown open so that the sounds and smells of the forest outside wafted in, his eyes closed and his legs folded beneath him. He concentrated first on the external stimuli of his surroundings: the temperature of the room, the sounds on people passing in the passageway opposite his closed door, the wind in the trees, the scent of tulips and daffodils and early herbs from the kitchen-garden, the sounds of birds and small skittering beasts, and far-off voices.

He then tested his concentration by turning his thoughts to the events of the council. He recalled the discussions. He put together his own memory and teaching with the words of the others. He decided his approach to the dilemmas, and opening his eyes, formed his conclusions, which would guide his actions on the coming journey.

He had also recognized the footfalls in the hallway and before the young page knocked, he said, “Enter.”

The page opened the door, but did not enter the room. Dirk noticed the boy’s heart was racing.

“Sir, Lord Haldad sent me to inform you that he has been cleared by the physician and will meet you in the tap room in one hour’s time.”

“Thank you.”

Dirk stared at the door a moment and listened to the page hasten from his room at twice the pace with which he had approached. He then rose from the bed, donned his boots and cloak and strode from the room.

The meditation had been a success in that he was able to distract himself with important thoughts that required concentration to comprehend yet did not lose perception of his surroundings. He had decided that he did not need to utilize the hour he had until his luncheon with Haldad to continue mental preparation; and therefore would continue other preparations.

He made his way to the armory, which he found deserted save the guard at the door, who saluted and allowed Dirk entry into the cavernous, nearly-empty room. The vests were arrayed upon a table near the entrance. There were several left as Dirk was not the last to retrieve one. Without looking at any others, he simply stepped up to the table and took one from the center of the array.

As he held it in his hands, he noticed that the voices of his other arms did not change. He had expected an uproar from both the sword and the armor. Their whispering remained calm, yet full of malice, as neither the dark elf, nor the necromancer of Minas Morgul bore love for the Valar. In fact, both hated them. Dirk concluded that perhaps they remained unchanged because did not attempt to don the jerkin, and perhaps because his hauberk and blade were not with him, but were hanging on a rack in his room.

He found that supplies, as would likely be needed on their journey, had been placed on the empty shelves around the table. Dirk imagined that the supplies were placed there for the Knights to equip themselves with whatever they might be lacking. Dirk took a replacement flint for his tinderbox, a whetstone for his boot and throwing knives, which he had never needed before, as they saw very little use and teh Black Blade needed no sharpening. He also took a blanket, which strictly speaking, he had no need of. He wrapped the blanket around the vest and tucked the other items inside as well. With a nodded salute to the guard on his way out, Dirk headed for the tap room once again.

It was early for lunch, and the room was deserted. So he took a table near a window and set his bundle in a seat beside him. The maid brought him a flagon of Drake’s stout ale and a plate of thinly-sliced bread, butter and several mild cheeses to hold him until the stew that was the day’s noontime meal was ready and his guest arrived.
Last edited by SmaugsBane on Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Claymore » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:29 pm

The dining hall was almost empty with so few Knights present. Djazi took place on one of the benches and put something on his plate without really paying attention. Lady Tempest's words had puzzled him. The matter-of-fact way she had related her past told him that it was something she had left behind and wanted to forget. It intrigued him however. How had she ever become a Knight? Her past was obviously known to the other Knights, or else she wouldn't have told it in a place where everyone could overhear it. He suddenly recalled something Anorast had said during the council:' We all know that a person's past is not always the person, otherwise there would be far fewer of us here.'
It hadn't made much sense to him back then but now he understood. It seemed that he was not the first one to be given a chance despite dubious origins. The corners of his mouth curled up slightly in a little amused smile. He finished his meal. Some knights observed him, openly or from the corners of their eyes. Others cam to present themselves. He did not remember all the names immediately, but he guessed he would remember more over time. The Knight he had wanted to speak to wasn't there however. He had wanted to tell Erinhue how a lasting impression he had left at Fahlan's Arena. He hadn't been captured yet when that meeting took place but the story had been whispered among the older slaves.The simple mention of the Bard's name had been enough to make Fahlan's knees go weak. One could always expect a whipping afterwards, but the expression of utter fear that appeared on the slaver's face was worth every lash.
He would have to tell that another time, he guessed. It was not that that he wouldn't have any other chances. He finished eating and went outside. After having spent eight years penned up like an animal he wanted to spent as much time in the free air as possible. Night had fallen and through the trees he could see the first stars. They were placed at different places than he was used to but finally he found the familiar constellations.To see the Hunter still running across the sky somehow brought home a bit closer.

Djazi went to his room. He had only been here for a few days so he hadn't really unpacked his scarce belongings. He checked if he would need something. The clothes he had received from Fíriel had helped him through several blizzards, he guessed they would be good enough to survive a late spring-storm in the high north. He was not sure however so maybe he should see if he could find a second blanket. He had survived the blizzards but it hadn't been pleasant and he had barely kept all his toes. His supply of thread and guts was still sufficient and his needles, the straight as well as the crooked ones, were in good state. He was nowhere near a healer but over the years he had sewed quite a few persons up not in the least himself. Baran hadn't had steady hands so he had usually preferred to do it himself. The only wounds Baran had even came near with a needle where the lashes he had received on his back. He noticed that his tinderbox was nearly empty, he would have to take care of that soon. His pocketknife was still sharp and he had good whetstone. He still had several little odds and bits of string scattered among his clothes so that wasn't much of a problem either and his water-bottle didn't leak.
Twenty-three years of life and I can stuff it all in one bag... A dry chuckle escaped from his throat. At least it doesn't take much time to pack.
He surveyed his room to see if he hadn't forgotten anything and suddenly noticed that someone had brought back his weapons together with a note. It was the Oath. He read it attentively but there wasn't really need to. Baran had recited it for him once and he knew every word by heart already. It brought memories back.
-The Knights have accepted me Baran. It wasn't easy but I'll prove them that I'm worthy of your place.
A lone tear rolled down his cheek.
-Wherever you are friend, rest in peace. I'll be watching.

The following morning he met lady Tempest and the stable-master. They had already chosen a horse for him, a bay mare.
'This lady isn't very young but she's very experienced.' the stable-master said. ' She will point out your mistakes and I guess she will be a better teacher than me or lady Tempest. Just be gentle to her and she will be gentle to you.'
Djazi nodded and held out his hand to the mare. She smelled it curiously searching for an eventual treat and he began to stroke her soft nose.
-Hey gabar.
He laughed when her whiskers tickled his hand.
-I'm afraid I've nothing to give you, gabar, only sweet words.
He let his hand follow the line of her proud neck. The mare neighed softly.
-Shhh, easy, I won't do anything, gabar.
Emboldened he began to stroke her side but he had been too quick and she suddenly tossed her head.
Djazi immediately drew back his hands. The mare made a half turn and faced him again. Cautiously he approached her again and began to sing in his language. It was quiet song, almost a lullaby. Every couplet began with a haunting call: 'Dabayl, Dabayl.'
It seemed to calm the mare and this time she allowed him to stroke her back. When he had finished his song he asked:'Does she have a name?'
'Not that I know of,'his Mentor responded.
-We'll have find one then. What would you like, gabar?
As soon as he had stopped singing however the mare had began nudging him. First softly now a bit more insistently.
-Hey! What are you doing?
The stable-master said laughing: 'I think she rather liked your song.'
Djazi smiled and started singing again. WHen he stopped, she nudged him again.
He laughed.
-You know what ,gabar? I will call you Dabayl since you seem to like that song to much.
Dabayl snorted.

'What were you singing?' lady Tempest asked half an hour later, when they left the stables.
-It's the song my mother used to sing when I couldn't sleep.
-What does it say?
- It's difficult to translate. It will lose it's rythm.
-Just try.
At first hesitantly and then with a bit more confidence he recited the song in westron.



Wild wind, wild wind where are you going?
I am going to the Lion to tickle his nose
I am going to the Antelope to twitch her ears
And I am going to the Baboon to ruffle his fur.

Wild wind, wild wind how can I be like you?
Run then little child, run if you want to be like me.
Run like the Gazelle, light-footed and swift.
Run past exhaustion, run like you've never run before.

Wild wind, wild wind isn't it fun?
Yes little child it is fun to go as one pleases,
It is fun to tease the Lords of the Plains unseen
It is fun to be young, unrestrained and full of life.

Wild wind, wild wind can we stop?
You can stop little child, but I can't.
I'm the wild wind and I must move to be.
You're a human child and you can choose.
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Postby erinhue » Wed Oct 31, 2007 4:19 pm

As he walked away from the stables, Erinhue considered returning and having the stable boy saddle Treble, the long term borrowed Rohan pony that served as the bard's mount, not to follow Vanna but to ride to Belfalas. Being here in the Mirkwood Guild House about to go out on this mission was the very last thing Erinhue wanted to be doing at this moment.

Anorast had a good point in wanting to go North immediately but the Knights were needed more at Fornost, and the gnawing sense in the pit of his stomach told him that the North could wait, this was the more pressing need. He knew this to be true and yet he did not want to leave the Guildhouse, not to head for Fornost.

That bothered him, the fact that he did not want to go where he knew he would be needed. It was a strange sensation, one he did not want to become acustomed to feeling. Added to this was the sense of apprehension coming from the harp. Clarion's constant moaning in his head was not doing anything to help matters

Erinhue walked past the dinning hall, he wasn't very hungry but more than that he did not want to meet any of his fellow Knights. They were preparing to go off on a mission and he knew what would be expected of him but 'hale fellow well met' was not a role the bard felt like playing at the moment. It was very unlike him and that too concerned him. Then there was the matter of Tempest and Eru only knew how many others to whom he owed apology, even if he had no recollection of the reasons. He did not really wish to face anyof them, not until he got a better handle on the odd feeling of forboding that he could not shake.

When he arrived at his destination, the bard realized that he had unconsciously been following Aglanor's instructions. He was standing at the entrance to Healer's Hall
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Postby erinhue » Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:50 pm

Erinhue stood outside the entrance to the healer's wing of the Guildhouse for several long minutes. He drew a deep breath then drew on his professionalism, put up a reasonably believable version of his second best smile and strode into the hall.

"Hail Halfidel. It seems that Aglanor feels you haven't seen enough of me. He want you to see if you can find a reason to keep me here a while longer" Erinhue walked up to the chief healer holding his arms as if preparing to be bound at the wrist and taken prisoner.

Halfidel laughed "By all the knowledge that I possess you should not be standing here at all." The healer stopped laughing, his demeanor becoming more serious. "It is said that you are somethng of a wonder and they could all prove it by me. How do you feel?"

"I feel all right and that's just fine considering that I'm left handed." Erinhue replied, making certain the humor in his tone was reflected in his eyes. Halfidel made brief acknowledgement and set about his work. He looked into the bard's eyes and listened to him breathe. The healer hesitated before checking the bard's pulse.

In the weeks that he had lain unconscious Halfidel had constantly checked the pulse and heartbeat of his patient because it was the only sign that Erinhue was indeed still alive. When he first checked the startling result made him second guess himself and ask several other experienced healers to check. There was no mistake, The bard's heart kept a very unusual rhythm, Over time they had become convinced that the oddly trippled beat no matter how unusual, was what was normal for the bard and it was in evidence now.

"Thank Illuvatar, I can find nothing wrong with you" Halfidel said when he was done with his examination "Aglanor can send you where ever he likes, I've seen enough of you around here to last me for a season or two."

"And sorry I am that I wasn't better company, but I would hope that you would keep my stay here as quiet as you can. The Bards' Guild would fine me heavily for being silent for so long a time when I had an audience devoting all their attention to me."

Halfidel laughed and added "You say you are not hungry but I do perscribe that you get something to eat." His voice turned stern " I will order you to remain if you do not eat sufficently before you leave the GuildHouse." With that instruction, Halfidel went out of the room to seek his own supper.
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Postby Tempest » Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:55 pm

After supper with Djazi, Tempest had escaped to her own chambers and prepare against the following day’s journey. She usually traveled light, but she was concerned about the colder temperatures the group might experience if they were forced to travel further North into the mountains eventually, and she wanted to be ready for whatever lay ahead.

In terms of weapons, she carried a multitude of daggers and short swords (one could never have enough, in her opinion) and her long sword, Fury, which was polished and gleamed in the pale light of her room. She glanced around at the various items spread out on the floor and nodded. Then she gathered them up into a sturdy pack, along with various items of clothing, and seemed satisfied.

With a tired sigh, Tempest splashed some water on her face from a small basin by the door and then lay down, face up, upon her bed. She dozed fitfully for a few hours, drifting in and out of strange dreams, never able to remember what they were when she awoke. The final dream, however, burned distinctly in her memory...

Nienor-Niniel walking calmly onto the field. Blood everywhere. Cries, shouting, a loud buzzing sound in her ears. The world seemed to be spinning, spinning, spinning. She couldn’t focus on anything for more than a minute. Her head was in her hands. And then, she looked up and….

The Sickle.

Nienor-Niniel standing with the Sickle.

And Erinhue. The look of the Berserker in his eyes. That look. The way the Berserker turned its full attention to the woman holding the Sickle.

Light surrounded all of them, a light that felt heavy, old.

And that buzzing sound in her ears, piercing, screaming, she felt like she would go insane if it didn’t stop…..STOP…..STOP!!!!



Tempest’s eyes flew upon and she felt the labored breathing of her chest as her heart pounded through her clothes. Moonlight filtered in gently from the window across her bed, and she raised her hand to her forehead.

It was soaked with sweat.

She sat up, all hope of sleep now gone. It had been many months since she had been able to sleep through the night, and she had given up.

The library of the Mirkwood Guildhouse was not extensive, but it would provide some interesting reading, she was certain. Maybe she would even find some more references to these Cold Drakes that they were up against.

Tempest yawned.
_________________________________________________________________________________

The next morning, she met Djazi at the stables to find him a horse. She was finding the young man from Harad an interesting study. His life had been hard, yet he did not carry the bitterness of spirit she had witnessed in so many others. The sufferings had not hardened him, at least, not in the way it had hardened her. Indeed, as she listened to the words of the song she translated for her, she felt almost a certain amount of kinship for him.

Almost.

Always in the back of her mind, however, was that little voice that reminded her of all those who had also smiled in her face, and then promptly planted a knife in her back. Such was the nature of men, and she had learned to trust few of them.

”You are certain that you are ready for this journey? All your supplies are in order?” she asked the young man.

”Yes.”

”Fornost is far from your home. The terrain and customs of the land will be quite different from anything you know.”

He nodded.

”We are assembling soon. If there is anything else you need, now is the time to retrieve it. We leave within the hour.”
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Postby erinhue » Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:34 pm

Had Halfidel found that he had forgotten something of importance and returned, he would have found Erinhue's demeanor to be something incongruous with the cheery attitude he had just witnessed.

When the healer was gone, Erinhue dropped the pretense. A labored sigh excaped him when a table suddenly appeared, set for one with a roasted hen and carrots and potatoes and a small barrel of the Lucky Fortune's very best ale.

"There is no way that I am going to eat all that."

The hen taters and carrots vanished from the table to be replaced by a big bowl of clear broth and a loaf of black bread.

"That's not what I meant, but thank you all the same." Erinhue looked up at the harp sitting on the chest at the foot of his bed. "I suppose I should be, but I really am not hungry."

There was a scolding note or two but the table vanished.

"The council has decided and the Knights are going to Fornost." Erinhue paused before adding. "I find that I do not want to go."

And why is it a good thing for me to go?" the bard asked in response to a trill of notes from the untouched harp striings. A flurry of notes sounded and the bard listened intently.


"My destiny? You've said that to me before." Erinhue said as he considered the many times that had happened. As he recalled the various incidents a new thought came to him, one that held the faintest hints of an unhoped for hope. Erinhue leaned in towards the harp as he posed the question he hardly dared utter.

Is it my destiny to gain control over The Berserker? The quality of the harp's silence was as good as an affirmation and Erinhue's heart nearly stopped. if it were possible for him to gain control over the strength and rage of the Berserker then something that he had considered a curse could be turned into a power in the service of the Light.

Putting a check on his elation, Erinhue realized that to accomplish this long thought to be impossible goal he would have to treat it as he would any other mission or assignment. Knowldege was key in the success of any campagine and knowledge would help him with this one as well. The bard shifted his postion on the bed and made himself comfortable.

"All right then you old worm, tell me about The Berserker."
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Postby Vanaladiel » Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:44 pm

A rider came to the front gate of the Guild house just after dark.

"Who goes there?" Called the gate guards.

"I have a message from King Thranduil for the Lady Vanaladiel!" The reply came.

The guard stepped up to the gate and requested to see the letter. Seeing the seal of the King he nodded and the guards opened the gate.

"I would look to the dining hall at this hour for the Lady." The guard told the messenger. He nodded and was off down the corridor.

The messenger asked of those he found in the corridors where the dining hall might be. They lead him to the door and then left him there. As he opened the door he looked and saw many meandering about the hall eating and drinking. Several young men were sitting just inside the door and started asking him what he was looking for.

"I seek the Lady Vanaladiel! I have a letter for her from the King!"

One of the men stood up and looked around then pointed to the corner.

"I believe she is over there." He pointed her out to the messenger.

"Lady Vanaladiel?" He asked as he walked up.

"Yes!" She responded. "How can I help you!"

"I have a letter here from King Thranduil." He handed her the letter which held the seal of the King upon it.

"Thank you!" she exclaimed.

"He awaits your response m'lady!"

Vana opened the letter and read over it. She smiled. "Tell him I will be there!"
Then the young man left as he had come in. She tucked the letter into her shirt and finished her dinner.

Vana retired that night to her room. Packing and repacking to be sure that she was only taking what she needed the most. She also reminded herself that she still had to get her weapons from the armory where she stored them and the vest that Lord Anorast wanted them all to have.

She tossed and turned all night. Not resting well with the excitement of the trip. She couldn't really say she was afraid cause she had never see a dragon or anything like it. She had heard the stories of Smaug and the dwarves but she didn't remember it happening so it was more of a bedtime story to her. The horrors of the Red Hammer were already dimming in her mind. Though she knew they were not totally defeated nor gone and other horrors just as bad could be what they faced in the near future.

As the morning dawned a knock came at Vana's door.

"Who is it?" She called out.

"I have a letter here from Lord Aglanor for King Thranduil." Came the reply.

"Yes just a moment please!" Vana grabbed her robe and wrapped it about her as she opened her door.

"Lord Aglanor said that you would be expecting this letter. That you were going to deliver it yourself."

"Yes I will be going shortly. Thank you!" She added as she took the letter sealed with the seal of Lord Aglanor and the Mithril Knights.

Closing her door she looked at the letter and then as she walked passed her dressing table she laid it there and proceeded to get herself ready for the day. She poured water from the pitcher at the basin and washed her face and hands. She felt refreshed with the cool water. She then went to her closet and got out a linen shirt and a pair of woolen breeches. She slipped on her boots once she had her breeches on and grabbed her Mithril Knights Cloak and pulled it about herself. She picked up the letter then headed out of her room and down the hallway to the stables.

There was no one about yet at the stables so she just saddled her horse up herself and lead him out to the grounds. Once through the gate she was off to the Palace for a morning tea with the King.

It was a pleasant ride. The sun coming up over the hills and the warmth of the spring day smiling down on the valley. The birds were busy singing in the trees as the bees were busy about their business. Everything smelt so alive.

It wasn't long before she arrived at the Palace and the guards greeted her there.

"Shall we stable your horse M'Lady?"

"Yes thank you!!" She replied as she headed into the Palace.

She found her Uncle in his drawing room as she had expected. She knocked on the door and at his reponse, entered.

"Come in!" He called

"Hello Uncle! Thank you for agreeing to see me." She smiled to him as she bent down to kiss his cheek while he was still seated there.

"Nonesense! When would I refuse to meet with you my dear?" He tried to sound hurt by her acting more like a citizen then his niece.

"Come now what did you need to speak with me about. I have heard that Lord Aglanor was wanting to send me some message." He remarked

"Yes I have his dispatch right here." She pulled the letter out of her pouch that she wore on her hip and handed it to him. He tore it open and read the letter. It had several pages so Vana got herself a cup of tea and then settled in on the couch opposite the King.

"Hm!" He grunted. "I see that there is something going on that will necessitate your leaving soon."

"Yes, we leave on the morrow!" She nodded as she sipped her tea

"So tell me what do you think of this business?" He looked into her eyes. "Tell me what you can."

"Well, it appears that a man has come from Fornost and seeks the aid of the Mithril Knights to help fight against a Cold Drake. The Knights as you know have vowed to protect the lands so we are being sent there to see what we can do."

"A man? What man and what evidence did he bring of such a thing? I have heard nothing from our Northern outposts of such activity!" He looked sternly at her.

"He had a magnificent scale, something I have never seen before. But there were other Knights who have had dealings with or known of Cold Drakes and they advise that we help if we can." Vana explained

"I guess then you shall go!" the King added. "I know this is what you have wanted for your life. But are you happy child?"

"Yes sir! I am very happy to be doing something that I feel helps. I belong to something other then what my name or lineage allows." Vana blushed a bit, "I know you don't understand but I am so thankful that you have allowed me to seek my place among the Knights."

'Well, can you stay and have lunch before you rush off to slay the dragons?" He chided with a smile.

"Of course I can. I would love to spend the afternoon with you but then I must be off to get my armor and be ready for the morning." she added.

The afternoon flew by too quickly for the pair. Soon it was time for Vana to head back to the guild house so that she could still get her vest and be sure to get it fitted to her.

Upon returning to the guild house Vana went to the Armory to visit with Lady Elenath and get her vest.

At the Armory Vana stepped up to the door and was granted entrance. There she found the Lady Elenath and the vests that Lord Anorast had mentioned. They were magnificent to look upon and feel the fabric between ones fingers. The texture and the regalness of them shown out for the special use they had been designed. It was as if her hand was drawn to the perfect vest. It fit as if she were the intended to wear it all along.

"Very good!" Lady Elenath said and then she turned and grabbed a bundle from the table behind her.

"This was left for you by Lord Elbren!" She handed the bundle to Vana who had a look of shock and puzzlement upon her face.

"Why would he leave this for me?" She quarried

"I don't know, why don't you open it and see!" Lady Elenath responded with a smile upon her face.

"There is a note." Vana remarked as she started to open the bundle. "It says that it is for the New Mithril Knight to be ready for the battle ahead."

There within the velvet wrap was the most beautiful sword and scabbard, a small shield and a dagger. Carefully she picked the sword up and pulled it from the Scabbard to reveal a slender blade with elven markings. The hilt had fine inlays of gold and mithril. It was the names of the Valar! The scabbard was of fine tooled leather with gold and brass on the tip and the top where the hilt would rest into the pattern engraved there. It was an elven blade, the likes of which Vana had never seen before. Gingerly she replaced the sword and picked up the dagger. It was a simple but very well made dagger. Again it was probably elven made but it was made for a smaller hand and fit in Vana's as if it had been made just for her. The shield was a small oval shape but would work to protect her from blows to the body. It was very light and easy to hold and move to use. Vana enjoyed trying to act as if she were blocking at that moment. Remembering suddenly that Lady Elenath was watching, she blushed and put the weapons back in the wrap and thanked her sincerely.

"I don't know what to say but I thank you and Lord Elbren for such wonderful gifts." Vana added.

"Wield them well Knight!" Lady Elenath added then Vana left the armory and headed once more back to her room. She walked a little lighter and felt so fortunate to have such wonderful weapons bestowed upon her like this.
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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

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Postby Elenath » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:25 pm

Elenath spent much of her time the next day in and out of the armory, dealing with her own preparations and those of the others. Normally the only weapons she carried were her bow and her two knives, but that would not be enough this time. She chose a pair of elven-made spears, light and strong, as well as a long sword. There was little else she could do to prepare in such short time, besides ensuring that she had a good stock of arrows.

Her gear had never been fully unpacked, so she had little to do. One most pressing matter, however, was that of a horse. She had arrived on foot, so she would need to find one in the stables.

The stablemaster knew her, and nodded as she entered. "Lady Elenath, welcome. I hear you are to travel again. You will be needing a horse?"

"Yes. Are there any you would advise me to choose?"

He pointed down the row of stalls. "That grey one had a fine temper. He could use a calm hand like yours."

They both smiled. When she approached him, the stallion arched his neck, eyeing her sideways. She whispered to him, stroking his face, and snorted against her shoulder. She turned back. "Will you have him saddled for me in the morning?"

"Of course. And may you fare well, Lady, and all of you return to us safely."
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Postby SmaugsBane » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:38 pm

Though his wait was short, it was long enough for the rest of the tap room to fill up with Guildhouse staff and a few other Knights.

Many of them eyed him and the blanket-wrapped bundle on the chair beside him suspiciously.

"They fear you."

Dirk, who had been watching a group of young men at a table across the room, turned to see Haldad pulling a chair back from the table to sit.

"Why would they fear me?"

"Your voice," said Haldad, "during the meeting last night, after I left, you apparently lost your temper and allowed some power to project your voice, and fear along with it, into the weaker minds of the Guildhouse. I heard several of them speaking about it this morning."

"It is my ring, Mithcarach it is called," Dirk raised his right hand. Unfurling his thin, white fingers, he showed his uncle a silver ring, actually several joined rings with delicate filigree-work. "After the, uh, injury that cost me my voice, I sought the help of a mage in the east. This ring was intended to give my back what I had lost."

Dirk lowered his hand, and turned his head to gaze at the young men again.

"But I was a fool. Nothing could repair the damage that was wrought in those days. When I placed the ring on my finger and spoke, my voice was unchanged. It was still the broken, harsh thing you hear now." He turned back and locked his eyes upon the table. "But I kept it nonetheless. As I continued to travel, I found that I was able to project my voice, in its original, pure, state into the minds of the weak or the willing. I am even able to compel the basest of creatures that understand Common Speech, orcs and that ilk, to act against their own wills."

"A 'pure' voice was not what they described," began Haldad, and Dirk raised his eyes to his uncle, "an indiscernible whisper, borne on the wind, like the rolling thunder of a far-off storm. It apparently carried with it a paralyzing fear," Haldad lowered his voice and bent in toward Dirk, "and the image of your face, only twisted and cruel."

"These people said this?"

"Yes, the said that they could not see your face, but knew it was you, or a likeness of you, full of malice and hatred."

After a moment of silence, Haldad straightened and tucked a linen napkin into his tunic-front. Servers were carrying plates of stew and piping hot rolls to their table behind Dirk. Dirk smelled the stew, heard the footsteps, and sat up straight as well. But as the young women, one elven and one a girl from Esgaroth whose features Dirk found familiar. He recognized to which family she belonged, if not the girl herself. As she set down the plates and waited to see if Dirk would ask for anything else, the girl's trepidation was evident to Dirk; her heart pounded such a tattoo against her ribcage.

"Thank you," Dirk said with a smile. The girl faked a smile and a small bow and retreated with her elvish companion.

"You carry with you a deadly combination my nephew," Haldad said through a mouthful of bread. He swallowed, "your heritage, that ring, the armor, the sword. Alone, each is a powerful thing. In concert, they are unpredictable, as you have just described. This is why your control is vital. Eöl's spirit," Dirk's eyes narrowed, "Yes, Dirk I know about your training with the shade of the dark elf. I inquired of you when I was abed recovering. It was then that I found out that you were here. I was told somewhat of your actions in the battles with the Red Hammer. I asked for archives, and spent my recuperation reading of your exploits with the Mithril Kinghts in Rohan, and the north. I also read the transcript of your testimony a few weeks ago to the council of the Wise. Your own words to that council told me of your training. You must either control these things or cast them off. A lapse like that which allowed your image and malice to enter their minds could be used by such as has attacked Fornost to detect your presence."

He held Dirk's gaze a moment to gauge the gravity of his words with the young Knight; and then sat back, curled the corners of his mouth into a smile, and tore off another hunk of bread.

"But that is not the only reason I wished to talk to you," be chewed the bread, "I wished to meet my nephew." He looked Dirk up and down, "my very thin nephew. Eat, boy, or you'll blow away with the next breeze."

Dirk was agog. In his wildest imaginings, he wouldn't have thought anyone, especially his mother's brother, and a man who knew fully who and what he was, would be happy to make his acquaintance. But Haldad's mirth was genuine, and every sign Dirk could read confirmed it. He had apparently given the lecture he wanted to give, and now wanted to spend a pleasant Spring day's luncheon visiting with his long-lost nephew. Now, Dirk's mood was lifted as well; and he dove into his own stew. He had assimilated Haldad's wisdom and had already resolved to close the gaps in his concentration, perception, and control.

"You have her eyes, you know. Grey, with that fire. Even when you are angry, it's not his fire in your eyes. The best of our kin: Ellesar, your cousin, so removed, who knows how we all fit together, but cousin nonetheless, my brother Halbarad, and Minya, your mother, all had the same eyes.'

"I know, I saw."

"Who did you see?"

"The King, but I wasn't close to him. It was a..." Dirk fumbled for a way to put it, "a trial. And Min... my mother's as well, but only in a sort of dream." Dirk had seen his mother during his initiation, and a dream was the only way he could think of to describe it, without discussing the ritual.

"I see. Have you met any other of your kinsmen from the north?" Haldad continued eating.

"I met two briefly, Ellendar and Cerrimir, but we did not talk. If they knew me, they did not let on."

"Rebels, those two. Good hearts, but ambitious and a bit greedy. What happened with them?"

"Last I heard they were dispatched to Tharbad, to look in on rumors of trouble there. I heard nothing since."

Haldad had finished eating. His elevated mood raised Dirk's spirits as well. After draining his wine, Haldad pushed away from the table.

"It will be good to have some time with you, Dirk, even though the road isn't the best place to reminisce. I have thought often of you, usually when I think of your mother, or Halbarad. I don't know what you expected. A less than warm welcome, I suppose. But the Rangers of the north hold no grudge against you for your father's sins, so long as you don't repeat them. Your family, small as it is, will be proud to have you among them." he stood, "and now, I must find a suitable replacement for the borrowed horse that died in my charge."

With that, he left Dirk to his thoughts. The odd, too-brief meeting did not meet any of Dirk's expectations. He expected it to start awkwardly and quietly, yet he received a lecture worthy of Derek his eldest foster-brother. He expected things to turn dark, for Haldad to be surly and distrustful, yet once he finished his lecture about losing control of his emotions, his uncle became jovial. He expected to leave the lunch hungry, but his appetite was enormous and, ignoring the staring young staff members, ordered a second helping of the stew.
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Postby SmaugsBane » Thu Nov 01, 2007 11:19 pm

The following morning, just prior to sunrise, Dirk stood in his room, naked from the waist up. Upon the bed, laid out neatly, were his shirt, black linen, close-fitting, newly repaired and freshly laundered, beside the shirt was the jerkin that Anorast had said was required of those who traveled with the Sickle, below that were the hauberk and vambraces of Eöl. His tunic and baldric, with Neleg Amlug and the brace of blackened-steel throwing knives attached hung alongside his Mithril Cloak on a rack in the corner. His black leather gauntlets, his bow, with slackened string wound about it and quiver lay upon a small writing desk.

He donned the shirt; and while tying the lash and fastening the neck toggle, he regarded the leather and galvorn armour pieces. There had been no indication that the two seemingly opposing powerful articles had clashed since he came to own the Valacirca vest. He lifted his black mail hauberk, the lightness of which surprised him every time he donned it. He lifted it over his head and pulled it down around him. As always, the malleable galvorn rings seemed to conform to his body. Besides being lightweight, it was silent when he moved and offered no restriction whatsoever to movement. Next came the galvorn vambraces. They, too were extremely lightweight, and despite being harder than steel, they moved and fit like leather. Dirk noted once more the mastery in their making: interlocking tabs at the opening that hid any space as well as the three buckles that held them in place, and metal hinges that ran their entire length, for added protection.

Still no disparaging note in their voices. Without another thought, Dirk lifted the jerkin and pulled it on. A burst of energy pulsed through his body as he fastened the seventh and final star-shaped buckle.

Dirk started at the feeling, and then smiled as he understood that the power of the Valar within the vest was not contrary. It sought balance with the other powers in Dirk's arms. Without knowing how or why, Dirk knew his control had just gained a powerful ally.

He also felt another sensation. Something told him it was time to cast off unnecessary things. He had felt it before, when he gave away a Mithril Shirt that had been gifted to him. The difference though, was that he shirt had made him too confident. He relied upon it too heavily and failed to guard his vulnerability. Therefore, he gave it to a budding warrior-woman and remained without armour until he visited the Lórien Guildhouse armory and found the dark elf's handiwork.

This feeling was different. He turned to the remaining items. He removed the mechanism that held the throwing knives and donned his baldric, placing the black sword of his father at his left hip. Next, he wrapped his Mithril Cloak about his shoulders. He lifted the now plain-black tunic, bereft of its Dale insignia, from the rack and laid it out upon the bed. He placed the throwing knives on the tunic and wrapped them up in it.

The jerkin was now to be his outer layer, save only his cloak. The midnight blue and silvery mithril of the cloak and the Valacirca vest matched perfectly, and the vest fit very much like a tunic, only supple leather instead of woolen.

He pulled on his gauntlets, picked up the tunic-wrapped knives and the bow and quiver and strode from the room. On the way to the stables, he swept through the kitchen and took with him several apples and a loaf of bread.

He stepped outside, just as the sun crested the horizon, hidden behind the tremendous trees of Mirkwood. It was a still morning, and particularly quiet as the mist that hung heavily in the air muffled any sound.

As he entered the yard that formed the main paddock in front of the stables, Dirk broke the silence, "Hello."

A young man who was busy cinching a saddle onto a nearby grey stallion jumped at the greeting.

"My apologies, young master, I didn't mean to startle you."

The young man turned and upon seeing Dirk's face, sucked a shortened breath between clenched teeth. Dirk recognized him as being from the same family as the serving girl from his lunch the day before, though without the dull, disconnected look her face contained. The boy stood dumbfounded. He wore a leather bracer on his left wrist and a short, stout sword at his hip. Dirk had had enough.

"Are you not the son of the man who runs the livery just landside of the main bridge to Laketown?"

"Yes sir," said the boy.

"Do you not recognize me from all the times I went to those stables as a boy, not much younger than you are now, to stow away on the wine carts that departed from here?"

"Yes sir."

"Then why do you fear me?"

"My sister told me about whispers on the wind, and the chill it carried with it."

"Ah, but you did not hear or feel any such thing?"

"No sir, but the other stable boys did. They described it just as Jena did."

"I see. And what is your name?"

"I'm Jorg."

"Well Jorg, first, only the enemies of the light have anything to fear of me. The power that your friends and your sister felt is what the weak-minded feel when I am angry, though I admit I did not mean for anyone to feel it two nights ago. I lost control of my emotions. Please apologize to them for me. But your will is stronger than theirs. You did not hear the whispers, nor felt the chill?"

"No sir," said Jorg, now more confident.

"I have two questions, young Jorg," started Dirk. The boy stood alert, ready for the queries, "First, why does a stableboy wear a bracer and gird himself with a blade?"

"I'm training to be a Knight someday," he said proudly, "when I have time between my duties."

"Ah, then perhaps you'll make better use of these than I have," and Dirk handed Jorg the tunic, with its hidden throwing knives, his bow and his quiver.

Jorg looked upon the carved surfaces of the yew bow, and the ten black-fletched arrows with amazement.

"May you have better luck with them than I have. The bow and the arrows are carved from living trees of this wood. At times they seemed to carry some enchantment or other, though they didn't always seem to collude with my intentions." Dirk had been lucky many times when the bow and its bolts were compliant. But more often than not, with that bow or any other he was an average archer at best. Now he traveled with some of the best archers in Middle-earth. If something needed to get shot then it would, and by someone with a truer aim than his. He smiled, "I pegged myself as not being a true Laketowner before I was even your age, by being a horrible archer. Certainly not worthy of the legacy of Bard. I have a feeling though, that with this, you'll do great things. Within the tunic is another surprise."

Jorg unwrapped the knives and their mechanism.

"You'll have to fashion a baldric to carry them in this mechanism," Dirk continued, "but what is important now is that you practice throwing them."

"Yes sir," said Jorg.

Dirk noticed that the mist was lifting somewhat; and in the growing light, he caught sight of a shock of riotous color in a corner of the yard. A patch of wild flowers had crept under the fence and had not yet been devoured by the horses. They reminded him of a meadow in Hollin...

"Sir?"

"Yes Jorg, sorry about that."

"You said you had two questions," he said cautiously, keeping his eyes on his new bow, "You've only asked one."

"So I have, so I have," he raised an eyebrow, then lowered it again. He liked this bold young man. "My tack..."

"Is already on your horse," interrupted Jorg. Dirk's next question was answered immediately, before he even asked it, "He came trotting in here last night. Took a stall on his own without anyone needing to lead him. I knew he was yours. I remember when Drake gave him to you. I was there when he brought you to the livery. Midnight was there and I remember being afraid of him because he was so big. When Drake gave him to you, I remember you jumping onto his bare back. From that point on, I decided that I wanted to be as brave as you. I'm only sorry that I couldn't see you in action up at the seige of Erebor. I'm sure your blade was the finest on the field."

"Well, Jorg, then I think I shal give you a little lesson. Do not be so eager to witness slaughter. If you truly wish to be a Knight, then you'll see more than your share. But remember, everytime we are part of such things, we lose a little more of our innocence, a little joy departs our souls, for ever." Dirk noticed that the young boy was abashed, "Do not fret. lf your reasons for fighting are true to the Light and the Code, honor will replace the lost innocence, and great joy can be had from great honor, as well."

He changed the subject quickly for Dirk was not entirely comfortable in the role of teacher, especially when it came to lessons of wisdom. He still had much to learn in that arena.

"Is Endlómë, Midnight as you know him, ready?"

"Yes, he has been stamping the ground and rearing to go since the sun began to rise. He's been fed, and I brushed and saddled him for you, 'cause I knew you were leaving with the others this morning."

"Thank you, Jorg, well done."

"Thank you, Sir Dirk. Never in my life did I think I would have such a fine bow. I love archery and I've always been just a little better at it than the other boys my age." He smiled and gazed at his new weapons, "And the knives... Well, I haven't had much time to practice with the sword, yet, so I haven't gotten good at all. Still, I always wondered if I might be better at fighting from a distance, like with the bow? Maybe the knives, if I can learn to throw them, will fit with my style?"

"Perhaps. I've never used them, so if you can master them, then they were always destined for you, and not me." Dirk reached down and clasped the boy's shoulder, "Don't abandon the sword, though. It is a Knight's tool. You may prefer to fight from a distance, but seldom do we set the terms to our liking when it comes to bloodletting."

He released his grasp, "Practice with your weapons, but learn the Code by heart and practice living by it. Therein lies the difference between a Knight and a hooligan. And you're welcome. Already I feel that the bow likes you better than it ever did me."

"Now, is there any reason to fear me?" Dirk asked, backing away a pace.

"Yes," the answer startled Dirk, then Jorg smiled crookedly, "But I don't fear you. Only the weak and the wicked should."

Dirk saluted the young upstart, then turned and left the boy in the yard.

When the Knight disappeared from view, Jorg patted the oiled grey wood of the bow and added under his breath, "They will fear me, too. Someday." Then he returned to his work.

The young Knight entered the stable. Sure enough, Endlómë was there with saddle, saddlebags, and bridle all in place. Since he had packed the bags the night before, Dirk was ready for the journey. The sable stallion wsa ready, too. He scratched at the staw-covered floor with his fore-hooves as Dirk approached. Endlómë nuzzled Dirk's neck and he proferred some of the previously pilfered apples to the great black warhorse. He then mounted and trotted out for a warm-up whilst he awaited the others to gather and get ready for departure in just over an hour's time.
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Postby erinhue » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:36 pm

In the time before that which we think of as the beginning there was nothing in existence, nothing to distinguish the depths and vastness of the void, nothing but the Light and in the center of the Light, at its very heart was Eru Illuvatar, Creator of all that would be.

In preparation for The Great Intent, the conscious will of Illuvatar that would in turn give power to the Song of Creation, the thought of Eru Illuvatar brought forth the Anuir, the Holy Ones, those primordial spirits, great and small that were the offspring of the thought of Illuvatar.

Immense power was granted to these Anuir. Power to each according to the nature of its being and along with this immense power they were granted the great gift of self determination. Their own free will would add contrast and distinction to the light spectrum needed to accomplish the full measure of the creator’s empowered thought.

These beings came together in the Light, each with their own direction of intent, their shaded light thread for the weaving of the fabric of existence. Each bore full range of shading and variation on their fragment of the Great Song that would flow forth from their being to commingle in harmony with the others of their kind, both great and small, to coalesce and manifest the though of Eru Illuvatar into a physical and more than physical reality.

The Great Song of Creation was begun.
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Postby erinhue » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:37 pm

The power of The Song flowed through from the Great Chorus with every note and half note and shading of notes arranged to reflect the directed thought of the creator who found it pleasing Eru Illuvatar, guided the depth and breadth of its direction. Through use of subtle weavings, shadings with the slightest of variation to the phrases it had been given, one of the Great Spirits posed as faithful servant but sowed dark discord into the chorus of the Light.

This was fully witnessed by Eru Illuvatar and to all appearance, he did nothing. This too was in compliance with the fullness of his thought. For Creation to manifest according to his contemplations all things must be in balanced harmony and though he sought to do otherwise, the discord of Melkor had its place and greater purpose in the service of Eru’s will. Provision for this was added to the intent of the Song by Eru Illuvatar himself. This went unseen and unknown to the one called Melkor who continued to weave his web of discordant notes into the fabric of existence.

These false notes in the Song spoke to others in the Chorus, lesser powers, spirits that were weaker and subject to deep influence. These spirits harkened to the thought of Melkor and even that small deed was enough to fix their power to the thought of but another of their kind.

As the Song of Creation brought forth the existence of that which we know as reality, some among the lesser of the Ainur were deeply ingrained with dark seeds like the threads of discord woven into Creation’s Song, seeds that would lie dormant until their time.

And when all the shadings and variations had been seen to their conclusion, the Great Song of Creation was completed. Eru Illuvatar’s precise intent turned away, the spirit chorus followed, yet some of that number chose to remain within the new created reality they had helped to bring about, chose to live inside the world to further fashion it according to the portion of the Great Intent that had been sung into reality through them.
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Postby erinhue » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:38 pm

Those of the Holy Ones, the most powerful of the Aunir who chose to stay, to remain within the world created by The Song from then on called themselves the Valar. Other spirits lesser in power and allied to one of the great ones were from then on referred to as the Maiar. These Valar and Maiar, and other spirit powers still, made for themselves a place within this new creation, an island in the middle of the Great Lake, an island called Almaren.

Here the Valar took on the names and forms that would define them within this world They created a dwelling place for themselves. The island Almaren was set at the center region of the world. Here the one of them, Aule, called The Smith created the Lamps of the Valar and brought Light into the world. The island Almaen was set where the light of the Two Lanterns intermingled.

The island, Almaren, was emerald fields and rolling hills and verdant forestry set on the silver waters of the Great Lake.
On Almaren they would continue to carry out the purpose of Eru Illuvatar in shaping and refining the definitions of the new world. While the rest of the Valar worked to fulfill the intent of Illuvatar, one out of that number worked to bring forth malicious intent of his own.

One of these Valar feigned to serve while plotting to seize power over the new creation for his own ends. With him were many lesser spirits and even some Maiar in whom the seeds that had been planted, sprouted and took root. They leant their power and the intent of their will to discord and harkened once again to Melkor. They were influenced to add their will and lesser power to that of their Dark Lord. It was his will and intent that they now followed.

From within the secret lairs of dark Ultumno’s depths, Melkor raised his forces and launched a war on the Valar and Almaren. Surprised by his deceit, the Valar fought against them but were overwhelmed and nearly over run by the Dark Lord’s forces. The Maiar of the one called Aule were given the assignment to protect the Lamps of the Valar that were the illumination for the world.

Aule had a stronger self will that manifested almost to the point of flaw and in his own time this would lead to gross indiscretion. Many of the Maiar and lesser spirits of his alignment were among those implanted with the dark seed of discord and Melkor used his influence upon it.

In one of those protecting the sources of the Light, this fell influence took root and brought about a momentary hesitation, a small thing but the right thing at the most opportune of times. One called Clarion turned away for a moment, all that was needed for the well planned deed to be accomplished. The Light of the Valar, the Two Lanterns of Aule were seized upon by Melkor and in his deep seated malice for all that had been created, he destroyed them and put the island, Almaren, to utter and complete destruction.
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