The Lost Son of Ghân-buri-Ghân

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The Lost Son of Ghân-buri-Ghân

Postby Dindraug » Thu Nov 01, 2007 3:58 pm

Pelargir, the pearl of the summer sea, the gemstone in Gondor’s southern crown. Tall white towers rising into an azure sky sending gentle shadows across the crowd of creamy sails. Small boats like cockleshells scudded across the waves, narrowly missing the lumbering Harad galleys and the shallow fishing boats who sortied from the harbour like lumbering knights ready to continue their eternal war on the fish stocks.

The streets were filled with a bewildering mass of people, all with one purpose in mind, but each purpose radically different from every other one. Into this melee, the son of Ghân-buri-Ghân had proudly walked, but now he just stood and stared. A tall man from Far Harad, great plumes of ostrich feathers wafted in the light breeze of an oliphant’s ears as he argued with a trader from Rhovanian about the price of ivory. Loud, and drunken, Halflings on a bewildering pilgrimage of their own rode past him on short ponies, bedecked in finest silk and singing songs of far off mountains, watched by eagle eyed Gondorian guards in fine mail hauberks hefting stout wooden cudgels, while local children ran around them pointing and laughing.

“I do not understand” he said in a halting tongue. “Why do they tolerate that?”
“Ah, in this city my boy, everything is tolerated. For a time anyway.” Pontious Anglorian smiled benignly at the woodsman and pushed his cherry-wood stave of office into the chest of a beggar who was a little to close too his charge. He was a portly man, his silk robes damp with sweat that his fine Khandian fan could not keep away. Why he had been lumbered with guiding this savage from the dank northern forests was realpolitik, unnecessary manoeuvring in the petty courts of the city.

“In my forest, if a man did that, I would wrestle him. If a child did that I would take his father’s hut.”
“Then it is a good job we are not in your forest.” Pontious was tired of the odd little man, who was constantly glaring at everything. He needed to get him back to the Palace, and find a cool drink.

“ARRR, see Gorgûn, you have Gorgûn in your stone city!” The excitable Wose was shouting, pointing at a pack bearer, who had indeed had orc blood. The half-orc yelped, and dropped his pack and ran, the Wildman in pursuit. There were shouts, and panic, as they ran through the mob, scattering men and beast alike. The half-orc, snarled, turned and punched at his tormentor, throwing a basket of oranges at him.
With a snarl, the half-orc pulled back the cover on a sewer, and leapt into the dark. With a wild war cry, the son of Ghân-buri-Ghân, leapt after him.

“Oh dear lord” panted Pontious. “Guards, guards! Will somebody get that boy out of the sewers.”

“We can’t sire, he has vanished” shouted a guardsman as he and his companions peered into the darkness…….
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Postby Culanir » Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:10 pm

No more than ten minutes later, a frantic hammering rattled the door of Culanir’s lodgings. “Awake Sir! There’s been a terrible accident!” bellowed his frantic lieutenant, pounding blows fit to burst the bolt.

Tangled deep in his blanket, the red-pated Gondorian captain grunted and cautiously peeled open one eyelid. He twitched and tentatively opened the other as another blow ricocheted around his chamber. “Alright Malvoisin, I’m on my way” Culanir groaned irritably. He dragged himself up to sitting and immediately felt deep pangs of regret for that final carafe of wine that he vaguely remembered calling out for in the small hours of the preceding night. “I swear I am never going to touch another drop of drink again” he muttered thickly, noticing all of sudden how foul his palate had turned.

Clutching a sheet about his midriff for modesty’s sake, Culanir staggered to his feet and swayed across to the door, where he shot the bolt open and paused, resting his sweat-dampened and dizzy forehead against the cool plaster of the wall. “By Mandos’ Breath, you look like one of the dead this morning,” Malvoisin cursed. “Nor do you smell much better!” he added. “Ugh, I feel worse than that”, Culanir stuttered, turning paler still. “You’d better come in and grab a perch, Mal, just bear with me a moment whilst I try and drag this body of mine back to the land of the living”.

The lodging room was a sparsely furnished attic residence, barely eight by eight feet in size, containing only a bed, a chair, a small chest of personal effects and a dresser, as well as Culanir’s clothes of the night before which had been strewn across the floor in careless disarray. Culanir waved his arm vaguely between the doorway and the chair, indicating that Malvoisin should sit there, whilst he turned to the dresser upon which were a pitcher and basin; a little chipped in places but nonetheless serviceable. The soldier slugged a mouthful of water back, before bending his head and sloshing the remainder over the back of it and into the basin. He straightened up, shook his head spraying droplets everywhere, and sunk down on the bed opposite his colleague and friend. “This had better be good”.

“Oh no, Culanir, this is really really bad”, Malvoisin replied glumly. “It’s the Drúedan that you.. we were supposed to be looking after. He was spooked by one of the orcish peddlers and, well, the upshot is that he’s vanished.”

“What do you mean: vanished?!” exclaimed Culanir, picturing woses disappearing in puffs of coloured smoke.

“He ran down a man-hole cover at the top end of Cornhill about twenty minutes ago now and vanished. He is now, we can only presume, somewhere under the city”, replied Malvoisin.

Culanir swore. In fact a number of unrepeatable oaths departed his lips as he dropped his thundering head into his hands. “Mal, you do realise what a huge heap of organic matter this drops me in don’t you. I shouldn’t have let him out of my sight even for an instant, I knew it!” Culanir had been sent south from Minas Tirith to captain the escort for this particular diplomatic mission and the last thing he needed with his career in its current precarious state was to screw things up. Getting drunk the previous night and delegating his morning duties to Malvoisin probably wasn’t going to help matters. Neither was the blanket of guilt that was rapidly settling about his shoulders helping the queasy hungover feeling one little bit. “Well we’re going to have to go and find him aren’t we.” he took a deep breath of stale air. “Who else knows?”

“Only Pontious Anglorian and the guards who were with me and the people shopping on Cornhill this morning” replied Mal.

“So that’ll be everyone by now, from the fishwives right up to the City Governor.” Culanir swore again. “All right”, he paused to think for a moment. “We can’t afford to mess this up anymore than it already is. Just give me ten minutes or so to get myself together and I’ll meet you down there at Cornhill. If you can gather together the men who were with you when he took off I think that might help.”

Malvoisin looked at him expectantly. Despite the past months of debauchery and drinking, Culanir was still in reasonably good shape and, though in a world of pain at the present time, yet able to start to formulate a shadowy plan of action. Admittedly his usually clear green eyes had a bloodshot tinge that morning and perhaps as he reached his early thirties, his belly was tending a little more towards corpulence than he might like, but the knight was still a physical force to be reckoned with.

“Now what else do we need?” Culanir mused, as he started to forage across the room for the shirt he’d discarded on the way to bed. “Go past the guard room on the corner of Exchange Street and pick up a couple of lanterns and candles. And some rope if you can find any. And chalk. And make sure all the lads have filled their costrels from the conduit.” Malvoisin nodded and headed off at a suitably brisk pace.

As the door swung to, Culanir finally found a shirt; not the one he’d been wearing the night before but, after a quick sniff to check, he deemed it not yet able to walk off of its own accord and swiftly donned it. His hauberk and helm were in the armoury, half a mile hence, and so he clad himself simply in his rust-coloured woollen tunic and girded a belt and purse about his waist. Over the top he wore the black surcote of the White City, with its familiar device of the white tree surrounded by its seven glittering stars and at his hip he buckled his sword, ‘Narmacil’.

His leather costrel was hanging on the back of the door. He tugged on the wooden bung and took a sniff at the contents: brandy. He slung the strap across his shoulder and stepped out into the hallway.

Culanir strode across town, hot on Malvoisin’s footsteps. It was the fourth hour of the day and the sun had yet to leach the freshness from the morning air, though its heat was palpable to the knight even at this hour and made him long for the shady respite of one of the cool riverside terraces. As he rounded the corner towards Cornhill, he espied the portly figure of Pontious Anglorian, bent almost double and peering concernedly down a gaping hole in the ground.

“Your Honour!” the knight hollered to attract the attention of this gentleman of the city. “What have you done with him?”
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Postby Dindraug » Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:28 pm

The smell from the sewer alone was enough to make a man feel faint, foul odours that should never broach the daylight. Pontious wafted his little jar of smelling salts under his nose once more, before spreading a beautiful and perfumed silk kerchief liberally across his face, before turning on this upstart who dared to address him.

“Me sir, what have I done with him. I believe, Master Culanir, that it was your duty to escort us today. It appears however that your escort was to be found at the bottom of a bottle. Where have you been?” Pontious glowered, and pulled his bulky frame into the semblance of what he purported to be, a man of some substance in this city.

“I, Master Pontious, have been organising our guests’ security. I assumed, wrongly it appears, that you could supervise him. What were you doing in Cornhill of all the cursed holes in this city?”

“Waiting for you!” The two men glowered at each other, the snarling tiger and the steadfast Oliphant, neither giving an inch in the hot morning sun.

“Captain-“

“WHAT!” Culanir looked at the terrified mess of the bawled out guardsman. The man did not deserve that, his Sergeant did but there was no immediate sign of Turaglar. “What is it, err, Meilo.”

“It’s Lorinon sir” Culanir blanched, ignoring the smirking Pontious who he could just see in the corner of his eye. “I have to make a report, sir. Sergeant Turaglar and the rest of the squad have descended into the sewer. They think the Wose set off north east towards the citadel, and have gone in that direction.” The man would not make eye contact with the Knight of Minas Tirith, his arms rigid at the sides of the crimson surcoat of Pelargir, the seven stars picked out above a white ship.

“Did Turaglar say why he thought the Wose went that way?”

“I believe, Captain, that they went that way, because it is the only accessible way from here.” Pontious smirked, fanning his face with his kerchief. “Local boy you see, knows the lay of the land”. The portly man even winked, as Lorinon made every effort to look elsewhere.

“Yes, local knowledge will be useful down there. Which is why you are coming with me now, down there Master Pontious. Lorinon, Malvoisin will be here shortly with rope, and supplies. Tell him what has happened, and that we will be heading towards the citadel.”

“I cannot possibly travel down there, Captain.” The fat man smiled once more, and looked down the hole once more. The sunlight shone down to reveal the rough stone passage, descending a dozen feet or more to a dark recess where a stagnant pool of water sat.

“I cannot possibly go down without you, my dear Pontious. Imagine, if I were to be lost, and our young friend were to be lost, along with a squad of the city’s finest. Imagine what would be said of the official who allowed such an event to happen?” Culanir smiled at the man’s fine silk cote. There were times when getting the worst jobs in the city could bring a smile to even the most coddled face.
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Postby TibodomTook » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:31 am

Tibodom was half awake – or half asleep, you know this is an old debate, like the glass half full or half empty, but anyway, you have all understood what I mean.

But let’s start with the beginning, for that’s where stories usually start: what would a hobbit anyway do in Pelargir? Tibodom Took, hobbit of the Shire, had no intention to come to Pelargir when he had left his beloved smials. No, in fact, his intent was to accompany his cousin Peregrin on one of this visits to the White City. Daisy Cotton had looked very impressed when he had talked about his travelling intent and that was a goal per se. Of course, there was no means to be as illustrious as Samewise Gamgee, the husband of Daisy’s elder sister. But there was a light in the eyes of the young lady, encouragement enough to take the road. Especially if he was to travel with his cousin Pippin, who knew the roads. And the inns. He took a few barills of weed along. So his father would agree with the voyage. You could sell weed at prices to those foreign folks which you would never reach in the Shire. And as everybody wanted to act like King Elessar, smoking was in fashion. And Shire weed was on top of the list of the things to have for all the fashionable people (Now, if your are not interested in Middle Earth commercial exchanges, we’ll come back to the matter in a minute)

The welcome in Minas Tirith had been beyond expectations. Tibo had even met the king and shaken his hand. It was true that halflings were honoured, not all as much as his cousin Pippin, but as for the big folks here they all looked alike, he had been quite often mistaken for his cousin. Not to his disadvantage, especially when it came to paying bills.
They were to return home soon, when Tibo told that he wanted a gift for Daisy. A special gift. So, Pippin adviced to have a look at Pelargir, where more merchants arrived and also because he was a bit tired of having his young cousin glued to his hairy feet. And Tibodom had been only too eager to discover yet another city and he was even willing to try sea-food. It was food, after all.

They lodged him with the guards, special honour for the cousin of the famous halfling who had saved the Steward of Gondor.

So, all this only to explain how it came that on this fateful morning a young, innocent and charming hobbit was half-asleep (or half-awake) among the Gondorians at the exchange corner. The night before, he had been up late. He had sold his last weed, and bought a necklace for his Daisy. And there at the counter, appeared a captain of the guards . or at least an official. Tibo was not yet familiar with the grades of Gondor –and to be honest, he would never be, hobbits are not really into organised authority, but if you want a chapter on the Shire organisation of public security, well another day.

Anyway, there was this captain. He bought some ropes, lamps and such and Tibo did, was curious hobbits do. He asked, what it was for. “We are going into the sewers, someone has been lost there.” was the answer. Did I say that our hobbit was half asleep? And maybe should I add that he was not familiar with the Gondorian accent. Or also that he had the wonderful ability of taking his desires for realities, especially when he knew it was hais last day in a city which he would likely never see again and in which he had taken far too much time for business – at least for his own taste. So, all in all, our hobbit heard “brewers”. Don’t ask me, how, I’m not in his head! And he thought, that it sounded great for a person to be lost in the brewers. And that he had not known that Pelargir had a whole part of the city devoted to brewers and that it was so huge you could get lost. And that it was a mission he could maybe accomplish, finding someone there. And that if not, he could certainly have some fun. Why did he not think about why ropes and lamps were necessary? He is a hobbit, after all. Once he thinks about ale and food and weed, he does not think about a lot of other things any more.

And so came that he asked Malvoisin (for that was the Gondorian) if he could come along. And if the captain wondered why someone would come along such an adventure, he did not show it. After all, this was a stranger. And you better be polite with them. One messed up diplomatic mission per day is enough.

And now?

And now they are walking through the streets of Pelargir towards Culanir and Pontious who do not yet know that their expedition will soon be joined by a companion of unexpected size….
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Postby Lithtaur16 » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:53 pm

“You gave me twice this much last time.” The boy frowned at the fist of coppers he held in his tarry, calloused hand. It had been hard, working with the two older boys moving the heavy crates of salt and cloth from the small galley to the trading platform while the bigger folk rolled barrels of water and dried fruit into their place. He was hungry and drenched in sweat and had come nigh to being run over twice; but getting an on-deck job would pay better and he had to work for that job—so he didn’t complain about all that.
“That’s all I can give you, boy. Curse Loherin for leaving port late, if you like, but every one of my men has a family to feed. Send half of that to your mother and I’ll see if I can do better for you next time.”
“You SAID you would hire me— ”
“I SAY off with you!” They had been through different versions of this conversation multiple times over the past six months. The first mate liked the boy’s persistence but there was nothing that could be done now. The captain wasn’t taking extra hands, especially not lads with so little muscle. He didn’t exactly have time for this either—the captain wanted all ready to sail with the next tide. With a thin, smoking cigarette clenched between the teeth of his right jaw, the mate spun the boy round with one hand and shoved him up the dock. When the Gondorian boy turned back around the sailor threw the frayed, knotted rope, which he’d been carrying, into his arms. And still the boy tried.
“I can—”
“Learn that twist and fix the ends. That’s what you can do before we get back into port. Merrin docks tomorrow. He’ll have work for you and I’ll see you in four weeks.” The first mate’s face, already tanned with sun, was darkening with annoyance so Anre said nothing. The sailor turned and moved away to answer calls from his fellow crewmen and the boy started to walk up the pier towards the city. The discussion was over—for now.

Presently, Anre shouldered the rope to free his other hand and slip the coin into a pouch that hung just below the frayed neckline of his shirt; a loose, red thing with wide arms that the traders had cast off. It was worn nearly threadbare and fit him better as a tunic that he gathered about his waist with fishing twine. The shirt covered a pair of trousers—it mattered little to him whether their original color had been brown or dark green and there was no real way of distinguishing all the shades present. He had no boots or foot gear of any sort for the simple reason that they were not worth the cuts and bruises he took fighting to keep them.

“Anre? Anre, lad!” The boy stopped short and tried to locate whoever was calling. He knew his friends on sight and there weren’t a lot of dockhands around that went by his name or knew it.
“Here I am!” He finally shouted in answer above the crowd. He had repeated himself twice more when he heard the calls before he jumped at the feel of a hand on his shoulder.
“Easy lad, it’s just me.” It was the old candle-making woman who lived just a little ways down. She’d been buying some of the cloth he’d helped to unload and had waited patiently until the first mate dismissed him. She’d never been unkind to him, though so many elders were often…overly kind (which was worse), so Anre did his best not to—well—act like there were other places he wanted to be.
“Yes ma’am.”
“I’ve a task for you, if no one else has work for you today. You’ll get your due at the finish of it.” Now she had his full attention; he’d had a relatively decent breakfast and could put off food for a little longer.
“What do you wish me to do?”
“Take this wool cloth and these packets of herbs to my sister in Cornhill. Her shop door is green and is the only one with flower boxes to either side. I’d ask my son to do it but he’s on the other side of the city; you know him as Kalendril here on the docks, he speaks well of you. She needs these herbs especially quick—she’s not well so knock at the door, tell her I sent you and place the things on the stoop. She’ll give you something to bring back to me. Understand?” He could hear the worry in her voice at this last as she passed the small sack to him. He bound the rope to his side with the twine so that he could shoulder the sack.
“ Yes ma’am. Don’t worry, I’ll get them to her.” The old woman smiled and waved him off. As he trotted along he was just happy she hadn’t done the matronly thing and patted his head. What's more, the old man he bought food from and left his things with lived in Cornhill. He could stop and pick them up, after delivering the sack, and be able to go straight "home" after remeeting the the old woman.
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Postby Culanir » Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:06 am

Pontious was still huffing and puffing, seeking a winning excuse, when Malvoisin came striding up to the concerned group, bearing a large wicker basket on his back.

“I have the bits and pieces you asked for, Sir”, Mal reported, brandishing a haul of half a dozen horn-covered lanterns in each hand. “Rope and chalk and things are in the basket and I picked up some provisions as well.”

“Oh good!” came a voice from Culanir’s waist height, upon hearing the word ‘provisions’.

“What the… what in Ossë’s name are you doing here?” Culanir looked down on the Hobbit’s upturned face, framed with curls.

“I’m sorry, Culanir. Tibodom would insist on coming with us” Malvoisin interjected. Pontious just continued to look peeved.

“Right ho, so that makes… one… two.. three… four…” Culanir counted each one of them off on his fingers, “five… of us, including you, Lorinon. How many men have we already lost down there, aside from the Wose?” This last question was addressed to the remaining guardsman. “There were five, including Turaglar” Lorinion replied.

Culanir looked down into the gaping maw of the sewer opening. Rusted metal bars were set into the walls, making a ladder of a sort, leading deep into the pit below. In the glare of the sunshine above, the opening was pitch black and seemingly bottomless. But there had to be a bottom, and not too far down either, because the stench was enough to make Culanir’s delicate stomach reel. The knight immediately regretted thinking about his stomach, which he rapidly concluded was an organ best ignored for the time being.

“I suppose we’d better get this show on the road then”, the Gondorian captain looked meaningfully at his little troop. “After you, Pontious, if you please”.

“I actually don’t please!” said Pontious, shuffling from one calf-skin clad foot to another.

Culanir felt his hackles rise; if he had been a dog he would have growled. This little man seemed to have been made to irritate him and the current situation wasn’t improving the relationship. The Knight gave Pontious the sort of look that no-one could argue with. Still tutting and huffing, Pontious tucked his silk cote up into his belt, levered his portly self onto the ground beside the hole, and swung his legs down onto the ladder.
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Postby Dindraug » Sun Nov 18, 2007 1:31 pm

The tide is a funny thing; it slips through the gaps in the storm drains that run beneath the great cities Numenoré left; washing over the ancient stones and new detritus alike, not caring about either. It just sluiced back and forth, carrying away the thin layer that forms on the stones, a thin layer of mud and life. Little strains of algae, tiny beetles, minute life clinging on in desperation amidst the citiy's waste; all dragged out into the river and lost into the bay, all lost to the power of mighty Ossë.

Standing in the gentle outflow of a storm drain, Gwindor turned to face the river with glee. Water soaked his dark cape, and the end of his braies dipped into the sullen water sending a chill into his calves. He took a deep breath and started his prayer, long prepared for this moment. He pulled the long curved knife, and licked the blade letting a thin pattern of saliva settle on the ancient metal.

“Utra Ossë, master of the seas,
Hear my mighty call,
Take of this bounty that I give to you,
Hear my pr-“

He stopped mid sentence. There are noises in the sewers that make a man do that; the noise of approaching feet. Running, fast- and being followed. Gwindor stepped back into the shadows clutching an oddly curved knife to his chest. And he waited, watching the passageway behind him.

Splash-splash-splash- a dark shape turned the corner, its brutal face a map of fear, searching for a way out. The half orc snarled at the priest, and leapt at the grating covering the storm drain, scattering Gwindor’s small altar and freeing a small bound monkey who had been promised to the wave God. The orc wrenched at the grate, and finding it unmoving he snarled at Gwindor once again and ran off down the passageway.

The young Gondorian lent back against the wall, his heart pounding like a forge hammer against the walls of his chest, his breath sounding harsh against the gentle noise of the incoming tide. But he was not alone, again. Gwindor turned his head to look at the passageway, where another stood, and the Gondorian tried to slink back against the cold stone. He closed his eyes and waited, those eyes had been the eyes of a hunter. He waited for a minute, then two, then he opened his eyes and looked down the passageway. Whoever, whatever, that had been was gone.

Gwindor stepped forward, looking right and left along the traverse-way. The water still swirled where the strange hunter had stood, and run. Gwindor bent down to the water and pulled out the remains of a silk shirt, ripped and stained with the filth of the sewer. A man, or whatever was masquerading as a man, no longer needed the fripperies necessary to hide amongst civilized men. Gwindor sneered, and slid his knife into the thin sharkskin scabbard. He picked up a stave of wood; formerly the legs of his small altar and hefted its weight.

Ignoring the pitiful shrieks of the monkey, who screamed as it clawed its way out of the grating, Gwindor set off down the passageway, after the strange man and his orcish prey.
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Postby Kaya » Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:28 am

"What did you say again this was called?" the young woman asked, holding a pod under her nose.

Her eyes looked up at the tall man in front of her. Like a lot of the people strolling these docks he looked like he didn't belong in these parts, with his long robes and his turban wrapped around his head. Neither did she, in fact, which gave her the feeling of fitting right in.

She was born up north and her home still lay amidst the Downs, where the greens and browns of her attire made her blend in with the environment nicely. Here, in Pelargir, she felt like she stuck out, even though there was no reason to believe anyone was paying attention to her, or that it was obvious she came from afar.

Her presence here was for family reasons: her cousin would be getting married with a son of Pelargir in just a few days. It would be a feast of great splendour, according to her aunt who echoed the boy's family. According to her own standard the best description actually was ‘excessive’. Most of her family had accompanied the future bride on her journey towards her new home, to take part in the festivities. Yesterday they had arrived, and since most of her family already had taken the task upon them to panic and be frantic, she had decided to keep in the background as much as possible. Therefore she had gotten up early, to wander through the city as it woke up, but most importantly to beat the awaking in the house where she was lodged.

She had ended up at the docks at some point - everyone visiting Pelargir seemed to end up at its docks one way or the other. It hadn't taken much to make her fall in love with the melting pot that was the colourful crowd, and the different fragrances that wafted from tea pots, herb bowls, rolls with exquisite fabrics and ebony sculptures and plates. That, combined with the variety on accents that surrounded her almost brought her to believe she had ended up somewhere further down south than Gondor. It was a psychedelic experience and she wished for it to never end. She smiled and inhaled the spicy fragrance from the cut-open pod somewhat deeper.

Of all the merchandise presented it had been the herbs that had gotten most of her attention, of course. She had bought little packages of this and that, and was eager already to try them out once she would be back home.

"Cardamom. It's delicious in coffee, for example."

"She doesn't drink coffee."

Both the salesman's dark eyes and her gaze turned towards a man huddled in a black cloak suddenly standing behind her. But in fact she didn't need to look to know who he was. His voice, she'd recognize it anywhere. 'Arunakhôr...'

She cringed for it was one of those days she wasn't up to any kind of confrontation with him. Sadly, when they met there always seemed to be enough tension in the air to blow their already fragile contact to pieces for almost any reason thinkable.

"At least, last time she still didn't. Hello, K-"

His crooked boyish smile but irritated her. "Then again, that was a long time ago," she snapped at him, and quickly delved into her pouch to pay for the pods. After a polite nod at the dazed salesman she turned heel and rushed away.

"Kaya..."

Manoeuvring around people with greater speed and agility than the broad framed sailor on her tail she managed to keep ahead of him at least for a while. Once they had left the stir of the docks behind them and had entered a quieter street he caught up with her at last, grabbing her by the shoulder.

She spun around immediately, all 163 centimetres of her. Her eyes could have been daggers and her cheeks already had gotten red from working herself up while walking. The man quickly pulled his hand back to listen silently to her tirade. "What are you doing here? Why can't I just go someplace without bumping into you of all people?! And thank you for asking how I'm doing!" She didn't notice how people stopped to stare, frown, mumble, and then walk on.

"Uhm, darlin'... I've not actually had a chance to ask about anything... Anyway, this seems to be more my environment than y'rs, so I think the more logical question here is: what brings you here?"

"That would be none of your business," she replied fiercely, folding her arms in front of her chest.

He shook his head sadly. "Why do we always do this?"

"Do what?!"

"Disagree... fight... whatever ye wanne name it." He sighed and rubbed his frowned forehead. If ever there had been a situation he'd handle differently should he be able to start over again, this whole affair with this woman would be it.

"Because that's all that is left for us to do," she stated. Her eyes seemed to look right through him as she stared straight ahead.

"You don't believe that, Kaya. I certainly don't believe it." He bent a little forward in an effort of trying to catch her gaze with his. "And I know neither do you." Her focus immediately was on him. Well, it had been what he wanted... Yet in her grey eyes there was so much hurt to be seen that he almost couldn't bear to stand her gaze.

"You, my good sir, know nothing about me. Anyway, I don't have the time to keep dawdling here. My family will be wondering-" She cursed inwardly for the words she had spoken the moment they had rolled over her lips. But there was no way they could be undone, and the rugged sailor in front of her was all but deaf.

"You're here with your family?" The question came cautiously. He knew he now was closing in on a subject where she wanted him least of all.

"Yes, well, my purpose for being here isn't to come look for you, if that is what you were wondering. This being your 'environment' and all."

"Is Barahir here too?"

"No, of course not! You think I'd bring an infant along on such a long and dangerous journey?"

"I know for sure you'd rather bring him along than leave him behind for such a long time... I'd like to see him."

"Well it's a little late for that, isn't it? We're doing fine without you. I don't want you to walk into that boy's life to turn it all upside down and then leave again. Because then it'll be me who can pick up the pieces, and I'm done doing that." She felt immensely tired, all of a sudden. He still seemed to have the ability to drain her.

"Kaya, I-"

"No! End of story. Do us all a favour, go back where you came from and let it be... You managed to do that just fine before." Kaya started walking away from him, her jaws clenched. Even from the jumble of different footsteps behind her she could tell he was following her. She fastened her pace and looked back once in a while as she started taking random streets. Still he managed to follow her from a distance.

There was neither mocking nor provocation in his facial expression. And if she didn't know any better, there seemed to be something that could be described as sadness in his dark eyes. Not that she'd fall for it, even though after all this time he still seemed to have some kind of effect on her - which she hated. This corsair knew many tricks, this she knew from experience. He wouldn't play her again. And she'd rather die than allow him to play their child.

Suddenly leaving one of the narrow streets she arrived at a square, and came to realize she was lost. Quickly she turned around her axis to discover that not one of the streets giving out on this picturesque space were familiar. She looked up at the sky to orientate - or to pray – and tried to figure out which way her accommodation lay. Then she lowered her gaze again into the direction she had come from, where the tall sailor casually leaned against one of the white washed walls, his dark rat tales framing his weathered face.

She then ran, as fast as she could, into the opposite direction, and pretended not to hear the steps behind her. She mumbled excuses while bumping into a few Rohirrim as she pushed her way through the crowd.

Suddenly she came to a stop, for not far ahead she noticed a handful of people climbing down a ladder that brought them below the surface. Since they didn’t seem to be dressed for sewer cleaning at all, their purpose had to be different… The locals did anything to keep the visitors busy, really!

Quickly she figured she couldn't get more lost than she already was, and wondered how it was possible that someone who could walk the wilds blindly couldn't manage a few bricks and cobblestones. For now, she just wished to throw him off.

Her hands already grabbed the rungs tightly, and even the approaching stench couldn't make her change her mind...
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Also writing Arunakhôr, Elenya Elemmirë, Bréhon, Berhelf, Heldred, Kos el-Qadah and Elengurth.

The Dúnedain of the North: The Drake Hunt

A Tale or Two

On a writing adventure with Jaeniver in Scriptorium: Crossroads

Proud member of the Class of '02

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.


Art by Lane Brown
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Postby Lithtaur16 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:02 pm

The boy trotted along each of the roads through Cornhill, looking at the houses carefully. He came upon the old man’s house first, a simple one-room hut, and knocked, thinking to be quick about picking up bread and his bag. An old tanner and friend of his father’s, the man called Tallon was half deaf, but nowhere near dead, so Anre wasn’t worried about having to knock once again and louder before the lashed planks swung inward.
His hair was black shot with silver and his creased face was as roughed and tough as what he had traded in before his lungs and hearing began to fail him. Close on five and a half feet, he still had enough muscle and presence in his frame to command the respect that Anre would have shown a captain. He had finished his career doing more smithing than tanning.

“First mate didn’t give me much for the work today.”

The old man said nothing, but shrugged, and motioned the boy inside to the spot where a light sack sat. It contained only a flask of water, two small torch bundles, a short knife, a stone and a flint. Anre undid the frayed rope from the twine and the old man received it, putting it in a different sack—essentially Anre’s schooling sack when he had time for it. Papers with drawings of knots and rope twists and that sort of thing.

And that was nearly it. Anre gave the man half of the coppers from the pouch, some of which would be sent in due time to his family without Anre knowing, and the man gave Anre a dried apple and half a small loaf of bread and turned him out before the boy could protest about being given too much. Anre’s calls to the closed door went unanswered; the man was already sitting in the only chair at the other side of the dark hut and he would not move again until he was ready to. So, munching the apple and tucking the bread into the right sack, the boy strode the quicker down the way looking for the right house. He could pay the man back one way or another later.

A lot of people were gathered in the road when he finally found it several blocks down and around a corner. Some were closer to his side and all sorts of talk floated in his direction, in many languages. Someone’s boy had fallen into the sewers. Poor mate. Anre hoped he wasn’t hurt as the lad passed by a gathering of uniformed men standing around the entrance, trying not to get in the way. Another three doors down and there was the door, a drab forest green with dark lintel and posts—and flowers which needed water days ago. He did as he was told and the sack of cloth and medicine was exchanged for a small oak fox; it fit in his hand. He turned to go but a pale hand stayed him. The gray face and sad eyes he could see through the cracked door disappeared, but soon returned with a citrus-like fruit and two copper coins. She smiled weakly and closed the door. This second occurrence of—kindness—left Anre feeling torn and he wondered if he should mention it to the candle-making woman who had charged him with the task. They were all in their own rough roads and Anre only wanted to earn what he kept.

As he started to walk back, he saw the men around the sewer entrance begin to descend into it.
‘Why should they need to do that?’ He wondered, and remembered why he would be going home by a different entrance later. A woman, of all people and in a sort of panic, had just slipped down, when he came closer and spoke to those still above ground.

“Is he in deep then? I hope you don’t have to go far seeing as the tide’ll be coming in soon. We’re still about level to the waterfront—I mean.”
There was a well-buit one with a shock of red hair that smelled of old drink, very faint against the reek of this part of the sewer, but he at least looked like he had some idea of what he was doing. The others Anre wasn't so sure about. One of them even looked his age or one or two years less.
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Postby Dindraug » Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:19 pm

Pontious Anglorian drew himself up to his full height, and immediately smacked his head into the brick lined ceiling.

“Are you alright down there old man?” called Culanir from above as the stream of expletives flooded out of the hole. “I am lowering down a lantern.”

“What-OWWW!- what the frickdanhasssedup stupid idea! What are you trying to do, kill me?” The fat man stepped backward, slipped on something and sat heavily in the shallow pool that had collected at the foot of the ladder, whilst the lantern still swung in an infinite loop scattering light and shadow around the sewer like startled birds.

“Sorry, madam,” said Culanir, almost coyly above the confused administrator “I’d really rather you wouldn’t…do that.” There was almost a smile in the knight’s voice, before something blocked off the hole.

“What is going on, darn it Culanir, can’t you keep this circus under some sort of control?” Pontious was by this time having a very bad day, not helped by the movement he could see in the shadows around him.

Sounds of footsteps on the ladder made Pontious look upwards into the confused light. A pair of tough leather boots clung to the ladder, blocking off his view and confusing the argument he could hear. He picked himself up, wiping ineffectually at the glutinous mass that clung to his cote. He reached a hand up, more gently this time, to steady the lantern, before taking it down to look around him.

And his heart sank in his chest. Never one for the close passageways of the palace, much preferring the open spaces of the city, he could see the dark tunnel that headed off before him. And the movement he had seen before, it was everywhere, just beyond the pool of light. Tiny little red eyes, or tails like dirty worms that vanished into the deep shadows; or strange white shelled arthropods that sunk back into tiny gaps between the bricks to escape the light.

And he could feel water seeping into his shoes, collecting cold and clammy between his toes.

And from the passageway, his old ears could hear something; it may even have been a shout or a scream. It was difficult to say over the sound of the incoming tide that periodically cleared out the tunnels, and the dull thump as somebody jumped into the sewer behind him; splattering him with even more muck.
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Postby Dindraug » Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:26 am

Gubutz, former Captain of the thirty first phalanx of Isenguard dashed round a corner and stopped briefly to catch his breath. He could hear the deamon who followed him; some heathen woods child who would dare to threaten him! This was the reason that the vengeance was due.

Ever since the great war, when he and his fellow Uruks had been smashed against the walls of the horse riders and the devil trees, he had sought revenge. Those few who lived, less than a handful of companies from Sharkû’s army of ten thousand, were gathered now in the cities of the new Man-King ready to burn them to the ground. Disguised as porters, and servants, the Uruk were already seen as indispensable to the future of Gondor. Uruk cooks kept working deep into the night to feed Gondorian merchants and scribes, and Uruk cleaners took the detritus of the new Gondor and disposed of it.

Gubutz himself, one of only sixteen Uruks who had escaped from Helms Deep by hiding in the ruins, had worked as a porter then cleaned the toilets of Prince Imrahil and had carried meat into the Palace of Pelargir to feed the King and Queen on one of their senseless visits. The Uruk had constructed a sense of trust, of willing to work for the new world order and the puny menfolk were more than happy to forgive. Look at how they treated the Haradrim who had burned this very city in the war. They had traded and thanked them, and turned and looked away when confronted by the dark side of Harad culture saying it was something they would grow out of in time.

But now Gubutz and his followers were ready to strike a blow for freedom. The meat was ready to be poisoned and fed to the Gondorians and their Rohan lackeys who would die in agony by the score. Dozens of Uruk’s waited in valets uniforms ready to administer coup de grace on retching warriors, and beyond the city walls in the swamps and marshes waited dozens of Orcs from Mordor; dirty, hungry and angry ready to fall on this place and slaughter any who stood in their way.

And beneath the city, well here waited a new ruler for this place, who would end the oppression. It was not Sharkû, he who waited in the North where he had a slave race of Halflings for the Uruk to feed on. He would call for them soon, and they would carve out an empire. But for now, she would do.

If the plan worked.

It had relied on Gubutz, he had the key to it all in his pouch hidden beneath his ragged loincloth. And it was going to fail because that stupid primitive from some hellbound forsaken wood had took offence to him earning a wage. Gubutz knew the wild men, he had spoken to Uruks and Orcs who had faced them. Barbaric fighters, and tough with knife and fist and poison dart. But this would be fought on his terms, in his sewers. The Wose would be the first to fall, the first against the wall.

He ran his hands over the wall, and slid them up to a small shelf hidden in the darkness. Listening intently for his nemesis he lifted down the heavy parcel, a long sinister shape wrapped in oilcloth. He smiled, a sight best left to the utter darkness, and slowly unwrapped the long blade. Sharkû had given him that blade, promised him the flesh of man to feast on.

Tonight, he would do that, if that savage counted as man.
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Postby Dindraug » Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:39 am

The Uruk pressed onwards, his feet sounding a constant refrain of splashing through the refuse of mighty Pelargir, the tiny drops of murky water glistening like tossed slugs as they showered the tunnel walls. The sewer was low to the surface here as it ran alongside the docks, and light blazed in through the great outlet grills that lined the harbour where several tunnels fed into a briny nexus. Twice daily, the brackish waters of the river washed the sewers, drawing the mucky waters out into the bay to wash the shores of fair Tolfalas, and disturb the clouds of flies that lived, loved, fought and died amongst the waste of man. Great lines of squirming maggots and blown chrysalis hid in the cracks just above the high tide mark; a new generation of sallow irritants ready to plague the city above.

Gubutz drew to a halt at one such intersection, turning to listen for the sound of pursuit. All he could make out was the constant buzzing and droning of flies. Behind him the tunnel was lost in a haze of bluebottles, the dark recesses only partially broken by the intermittent light. He could see movement which could only be his own personal irritant.

“Grr, dargkinit!” he cursed under his breath, slapping at a bite on his neck.

He could not stop and murder this wild man; he had a task to do. He had also briefly seen the look of hatred in the priest’s eyes, and he knew something of this deviant cleric. The dwellers below called him the shark-feeder; an angry young man with an attitude and some important followers in the city.

“Arrk!” Gubutz swotted flies away with his free hand, and clenched his blade tighter. They were particularly fierce here, like the Red-eyed vermin of Mordor he had seen on a fact finding tour following the Great setback’ that was the fall of Sauron. He slapped at another one which had slid its nasty little proboscis into his nasty thick hide; his arms would be livid with red welts tomorrow. “This is my moment, my martyrdom. It will not be ruined by filthy flies and that….that Snarjuk”

With a snarl, he swatted at the flies again with his blade and looked around the junction as the dirty water lapped at his knees in dirty wavelets. Three further passages led away from here; a great dark round culvert that led towards the heart of the mercantile district, a second that ran further along the river and could be seen curving away as it rounded the point and a third smaller tunnel that headed its claustrophobic way towards the citadel.

Gubutz looked at all three, and after a moment pondering made a decision to hide in the last exit. It was to be his last decision; ever.

Few remembered Old Cromkit; few got a chance too. He had grown in the swamps of the bay of Belfalas from his hatching where he and sixty of his siblings has clawed their way out of the great earth nest and into the primordial soup of the swamp where he breakfasted on tadpoles and frogs. He had grown quickly, his early foes like the mighty cranes and pike became the food of the elevenses of his life. As he grew towards a bountiful lunchtime his skin thickened into thick leather, his teeth growing into ivory daggers, then sabres, then claymores. And in the local villages, his reputation grew as first dogs, then goats and eventually children vanished.

In the dark years when Umbar’s Corsairs plagued the coast the bounty on his hide grew to rival that of the captain of the ‘Black Claw’. Gondor sent Knights and soldiers with bright torches and long spears to hound him and drive him forth from his home. They killed only his kith and kin, scarring his back on many occasions and leaving him with a fine afternoon teatime of crunchy snacks with a soft interior. But eventually, he would loose, and naturally Old Cromkit sought a place of security and safety.

One night in the early spring of 3015 TA, he pulled his thirty foot length of scaled muscles through a broken sewer and into the deep tunnels under Pelargir, and fed on Toft-men, escaped slaves, council officials and the occasional lost mystic. For many years, nobody really cared about these losses; you could be run over by a cart tomorrow, why worry about vagrants missing in the sewers.

So Old Cromkit wallowed through a series of afternoon snacks and a light supper of fleeing Corsairs and slaves. And now as he set his rheumy eyes on a nice after dinner snack of Uruk.

The crocodile surged forward, pushing a wall of water into Gubutz and sending him sprawling, his blade spinning off into the speckled light. The Uruk made to cry out, but long jaws snapped across his body, crushing his windpipe; and dragging him into the water. The Orc was dead before he realised there was a threat, but the crocodile held him tight as the air from his lungs escaped from a dozen rents.

Then Old Cromkit slipped back into the gloom with his prize, as another human slipped into the junction. For a moment the crocodile was tempted to leave the dead Orc here and take the human, for a late night snack, but at that moment the Uruk gave an involuntary spasm of its death throws and the giant reptile slid back to wait.

There would be other people down here soon enough.

The Wose stepped into the nexus, the water lapping gently round his feet as if something or someone had passed this way shortly. He could not tell which way they had gone, the air was still except for the buzz of flies and the distant sounds of the harbour.

He paused for a moment as his toe stubbed against something in the water, he reached gently down to find a long blade, an orc-blade. Cursing he dropped the foul thing into the murk and stepped forward, almost loosing his footing on narrow steps that lay hidden beneath the swell. He paused for a moment before stepping further, the room stank of death and in dim corners he could see the broken bones and rotting flesh of many a missing person, the thin matt of hair floating like Sargasso weed on the fetid surface. Ahead lay three passageways out, one of which was the route his prey should have gone.

The noises of people could be heard from the larger portal, but the air smelled sweeter in the smallest.

After a moment’s indecision the Wose waded towards the narrow passage, through the deep channel of the sewer and lifted himself up into the narrow passage that sat above the surface of the water. It was smaller than the others, maybe five foot high, but in the scum and slime that lined the bottom of it he could see signs of recent passage.

Behind him, the waters were still again save for the incessant wavelets from the river grate.

On the surface floated a small leather pouch which clung grimly to the surface like a Lilly pad, except without a frog to draw the eye but it did have a finely embossed white flower.
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Postby Menon » Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:27 pm

The tide was gradually flowing, forcing salt water up the estuary and as it pushed inland, it aided the efforts of a skiff being rowed up river, toward the city of Pelagir. At the oars sat a tall, fair haired man, broad armed and sunburned and in the bow of the boat sat two more men and each looked to either shore, scouring the scenery as they passed. One peered through an eyeglass of Haradrim make, its shining brass sweeping from left to right as the boat glided smoothly upriver.

"I don't see anything," the man leaning port side grumbled, pulling the glass away from his eye. "I'm tellin' ya, he didn't come up this basin."

"Where else would be go, eh, Zaras?" the sailor leaning on the starboard side asked. "He's rowing a six foot boat, just about big enough to piss in. Of course he's heading for Pelargir, you dolt. Besides, he's got a nice little cache with him - he most likely wants to fence it."

The man at the oars, sitting with his back to his fellow sailors, merely rolled his eyes and kept his mouth shut. As he rowed, he kept an eye on the landscape and the surrounding scene, looking also for sign of the small boat, now likely discarded on the banks. Once found all three could then track down the deserter who stole it, and with him, hopefully, the captain's possessions, also stolen.

As they rowed further up river, the shape of the shoreline changed; smooth muddy flats gave way to mounded grassland and, as the town loomed in the distance, the shoreline leaped up into a jumbled heap of stone and soil, sheer walls of rock lining the shore that would oft give way to a sudden cut offering a gentle inviting slope up from the river. Then came the waste tunnels; cavernous holes that dribbles the city's refuse and effluent into the pristine water. The rower pulled evenly, uncomplainingly and the searchers searched, their grumbling becoming more and more a constant drone.

"Oi, up ahead," the port side sailor exclaimed, "I see something through the glass here. About a league upriver on the port side...ah, m'hearties it be our piss boat!"

The sailor starboard flung himself onto the port side, rocking the skiff slightly, and pulled the glass free to see for himself. "Ah, yes, he's tried to hide it in some reeds but the wind, it worked against him!" The sailor spun round and whacked the rower on the back. "Come on, you! You dirt butt! Horseboy! Pull! We've got a trail now!"

"Aye, Menon, pull on those oars!" Zaras echoed, "We bring this blaggard and the captain's booty back and we'll all have rum for a week! Not to mention a few other rewards!" Zaras and the other sailor, Schole, erupted into fits of laughter but Menon said nothing. He kept pulling though his arms burned and his back was nearly in spasm. He pulled because he wanted his reward and he kept his mind on that, and only that, though his hands were raw with blisters.

As the slight flat of shore drew closer, the upturned hull of the small row boat could be clearly seen in a clump of tall reeds. Beyond all this was the gaping and dim entrance of a waste tunnel, fringed with hanging moss and seeping an odor most unpleasant.

"You don't be thinkin' he went up in there, now d'ye?" Schole asked, sounding a bit worried.

"I can't see where else he'd go." Zaras replied, scanning the rough and sheer rock that jutted up from the bank. The man was then pitched forward slightly as the boat slid onto the mud of the bank.

"He's carrying too much to scale those rocks." Menon said, pulling the oars in. "I'll wager he went in there and that it leads right to the city."

"Well, then let's row onto the city!" Schole said, waving his arms so that the boat rocked.

"Right, then - you row!" Menon barked. "I need a rest." He eyed the tunnel and drew a blistered hand over his chin. "And I will have a quick look in there while I am at."

"Ah, you can't be serious, man - it doesn't half stink!" Zaras cried.

Menon threw him an irritated glance. "No worse than our ship or hadn't you noticed?" The rider stretched out one long leg and hoisted himself off the rower's seat, pulling both legs into the cool water with a splash. After a quick stretch of his aching back, he dragged his hands in the water, wincing only slightly as the salt water seeped into his blister sores. He looked down at his hands then, amazed that even after six months on board the Corsair ship, it was the oars of a row boat that would finally put callouses on his hands.

"Well, are you coming?" Menon asked, "or are you happy to let me find any important clues in there all by myself?" Without waiting for an answer, the tall Rohirrim turned towards the tunnel, pushing through the muddy, knee high water, and thought it no surprise to hear Zaras and Schole splashing after him.
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Postby TibodomTook » Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:28 pm

It was too late. In fact it had been too late from the moment on when he had misunderstood the word “sewers”. And now, especially, there standing beside some hole in the ground like an entry to a maze. It was too late. Of course, Tibodom could tell that he had been wrong, that he had misunderstood and that by no way he would climb down that ladder. In fact, it crossed his mind to do so. He was a hobbit, after all and in the Shire it would have been considered as wisdom to avoid an adventure if there were several big folks who could do it and if there was neither a meal nor an ale at the end of it.

So, Tibodom prepared to step forward to look at the captain, Malvoisin, if he recalled the name right. He was about to say that he had been wrong and that he had misunderstood and then go back to the guard’s house, have a second breakfast and head back for Minas Tirith. In his mind, it was all made up. He felt no urge to be a hero, no shame of being ridiculous, no pride of taking part in an adventure which could save a young man who had by nothing deserved to be lost under the city. But then, Tibodom did not really know who was lost and why and where. He only realised that this was not to be a walk in the brewers. And that was enough of a reason for him to step back.

And that’s what he did, stupid hobbit. Please, don’t get offended. I am not insulting the little hairy sweetheart, I am just judging him for what he is and honestly, he was stupid. I hope, dear reader, that there will be moments in this story, I sincerely hope so, when I can rejoice in pride of this hobbit, of this jewel among the creatures of Middle-Earth for his generosity and and his courage, his cooking or just his innocence. But for the moment, nothing helps. Tibo is stupid. He has come to the expedition because of stupidity – don’t tell me that I am too severe with that tiny idiot. And we will al l see now, right now, that he will stay out of stupidity. Shere and simple sillyness.

However, let’s come back to Pelargir.

Beside a hole in the ground stood a hobbit. He was about to talk. And then. But you already know what happened in fact. Someone far more capable than this silly little hobbit has told it. There was someone running in the street, leading to the said hole. Of course, neither the hobbit nor any other of the companions knew what she was running from. Or rather whom. And it was not really in Tibodom’s habit to pay attention to other people’s sorrows except if they concerned cooking recepies. But this too should change.

The hobbit opened his mouth, The lady ran. Towards the hole, towards the ladder leading down, towards the hobbit who stood there stupidly with an open mouth. And in fact, she ran right into the hobbit. Who fell – he was neither tall nor heavy. But he was stupid. He had been standing right beside the hole. So, once he fell, he fell deep, Not too deep, but rather deep. At least for a hobbit, who usually does not use holes in the ground to fall. At least until he stretched out his hand to grab for the ladder and hold himself onto something. At least, he did not fall on Culanir or Pontious or whomever was already in the sewers.

The lady who had overthrown him – not on purpose of course, and if she was fully aware of it was another question, was already climbing down the ladder, quickly with elegance unlike the stupid (I will admit repeating myself here) hobbit. When she reached him, she stretched out her hand, her helping hand in fact, smiled, maybe, it could not be seen in the dark and asked in a gentle voice: “Can I help you?”. Tibo nodded, happy for the help, relieved to have someone around who would bring him down safely. And that’s what happened.

So, a little while later, an astonished hobbit stood at the ground of this entry to the Sewers, even if still not exactly knowing why. His mouth was open again, but this time to catch his breath and not to utter any stupidity. He looked at the lady in astonishement, It was not really conceivable for his hobbit mind why a lady would come here and explore the sewers. But then, the Big Folk was weird.

There were soldiers after all, Culanir and a fat man whom he did not know as far he could recall (there had been moments during his stay which Tibo might not or not want to remember, but after all he is a grown up hobbit, well almost.)

And Tibo was quite confused. Since the morning when had woken up in Pelargir, the walk through the city, the discover of what the brewers really were, the fall and the surprise of the company – it was a lot for a small hobbit.

And now, down here in the sewers, it was dark and rather cold. Nothing to do with the nice and airy smials of the Shire. It was not a good place for a hobbit – or for anyone preferring fresh to foul hair, warm to cold food and cracking meet to glueing insects. There was a ladder. Tibo could open his mouth and ask to climb up again. He would be allowed to do so. Even without any dishonor. But although he opened (and closed) his mouth several times, he did not ask for being brought back. He had been sure to do so a few minutes before. But no more.

Why the change may you, dear reader, legitimitatly ask. Well, he had come down with a lady. Tall, slender, much more real and earthy than the elves. It would have been easy to tell the captain that he was afraid and wanted to go home. It was much harder to tell so in front of a lady.

Yet, he was afraid. And had he seen a honorable way to get out of this schlammassel, he would have taken it. But in his limited hobbit mind, all he could think of was to ask. “Culanir, I think, this is you, my friend. I am confused as to who is here with us and where and why we are going.” Somewhere he still had hope that he would just be congratulated for his courage and sent up. But already, he could hear the voice of the Fat Man.”Or his size can be so useful for us in some of those sewers.” Bravely, Tibo tried to smile, waiting for more explanations – and persons if possible. But down in his heart (and of course down in the sewers) he knew that he was trapped.
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Postby Culanir » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:59 pm

Culanir looked down in the direction of the small voice. The halfling was clutching his leg with one hairy hand. With the other hand, he held on to the damp skirt of a slender young woman.

“I don't know where you think you are going, young sir” Culanir replied, looking first at Tibodom and then at Kaya. “If you need help, then there are soldiers of the city only two roads away in the guard house on the corner of Exchange Street. My men and I are in a hurry and, I'm sorry, but I really can't stop to assist.” He sounded brusque, as his mind went racing on ahead up the dank tunnels.

Pontious looked as though he was about to open his mouth to speak as well. Culanir caught his eye and shot him such an icy stare that the corpulent city official was left opening and shutting his mouth like a fish; not for the first and almost certainly not for the last time.

Culanir's head still throbbed and his ruddy hair stood up on end as he ran a hand through it. He was masterfully suppressing a desire to delegate the whole sorry business to Malvoisin. But he was a man of honour and of duty and, much as he might dislike the rotten stench permeating his nostrils, he knew what he must do.

“Right lads”, said the knight, addressing Malvoisin and Lorinon, the two soldiers who had accompanied him down the hole. “We need to find the Drúedan boy and we need to find him quickly. If anything untoward has happened to him, it's not just my neck on the line, but yours too and that of every other official trusted with keeping this fragile peace.” Culanir looked markedly at Pontious at this point. “Let's go”.

Holding a horn lantern aloft, Culanir began to sloosh through the murky sewer waters, swiftly followed by Malvoisin and Lorinon, in hot pursuit of Sergeant Turaglir and his men who had gone before them and in turn in pursuit of the missing Drúedan child. Pontious slooshed too, huffing and wheezing all the way.

“Do you think”, said Malvoisin to Pontious as the water lapped up above his knees,” that this is going to get much deeper? Only, I can't swim.”




Not so very far up ahead, the small vanguard of soldiers, lead by Turaglir had come to a junction of the ways. There were three passageways before them and the soldiers hesitated a moment, as had the Uruk before them. There was barely a sound to be heard, bar a steady drip, drip drip which echoed deep down the channel straight ahead. After a little deliberation, they took the largest culvert towards the mercantile district, for no better reason than a hunch that it was the right way.

One of the soldiers; a tall man with sparse hair and a mean face that looked as though it could curdle milk, hung back behind his fellows. Thanks to a previous career in petty crime he was not unused to operating in such gloomy conditions as these and his keen eyes had spotted something bobbing in the water only a step or two away. Looking hurriedly round to make sure he went unnoticed, the soldier grabbed the leather pouch with its white-embossed flower and tucked it hurriedly into his tunic. It weighed very little, which perplexed him as he had hoped to find coin or something else of value. Quite what value it would hold, he would have to wait for some light to find out.
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Postby Dindraug » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:29 pm

In the blazing heat of the Lebennin summer the meanest bit of shade was worth more than gold. Zakri squatted in the shadow of a low wall, pressed too close to the broad backs of his companions in this heat, but he was used to it. His home on the far distant plains in the shadows of the Mountains of the Moon, a land these Northman called Far Harad, now that was hot. In the high summer it would pull the sweat from the rocks and burn the skin from your feet if you left them out, and would cook the meat of the wildebeest as they walk along, so it would be so sweet when you hunted them you could eat even as the beast lay dying.

But that had been a lifetime ago, when the Mahud had summoned the unmarried men of his tribe to fight for the Great Eye. The lies that had brought them through the deserts of the Utlik, with a trail of dead men and Mumakil like a line straight through to his village. They had dragged them into that cold dark land, and the flies and the flesh of lesser men, then sent them across the river to die under the hooves of the wild riders of the north. Zakri lived, because Zakri was wise and played dead. He lay under a horse for a night, and in the morning light he wore the cloak of a dead man and headed south. He got as far as the river, and knew the desert was uncrossable. So he headed to the North man’s city and tried to save enough wealth to sail south to his home. He now realised he would have to be saving for a very long time. So, he looked for alternatives.

"Hey, Uruk!" he hissed, kicking out at the gray hide before him "Where is your leader? He is late, na!".

"Perhaps he stay to eat your woman". Snarled the half orc, but he did not strike Zakri; it was not wise to antagonise the little Haradrim, not when you had your back to him.

"Pffsst" hissed the little man as he stood and walked towards the well in the centre of the square.

Locals eyed him with some suspicion, as they did the other foreign bearers who queued for a ladle of water. It cost them a penny for as much as they wanted from a copper cup battered with age and chained to the well head, watched by a steely eyed Gondorian with scars crossing his face.

"Ho Guntran, is the water good today?" said Zakri to the man as he passed him a worn coin.

"The water is spoiled today, something got in it. Some filthy Uruk went running chased by a wild man." snarled the water seller with a grimace.

"Ah, maybe I had better get my water from someother place today"

"You say my water is bad? You should try the Sandman then, but do not go near to the hooded crone 'cause she is sitting by the hole that swallowed him". The man spat on the ground, "and they say the guard are like fleas on a dog round that hole".

"I see", said Zakri. "But I have no choice. If you see the half troll or any of the others tell them I will go and find the Uruk, but I may need help".

"I will be your messenger boy, but if you are caught I knew nothing and your plan can go rot in the pits of Nurn".

"If my plans work, you will be able to buy the pits of Nurn and fill it with pretty things all of your own".

Zakri turned from the water seller and stooped to pick up a bundle of crayfish in a basket. Setting it on his head, he walked through the city like he owned the streets. He walked past the hole where a gaggle of Gondorian guards and worried looking officials mingled. An old woman, her skin tone clearly showed she was fromUmbar or further south, but a carefully hung shawl covered much of her face. She tried to beg from those gathered, and the people ignored her, pushing her away. Her hands flicked quickly, in the thieves' cant of the city it warned Zakri to stay away. He hurried on, to a corner by the dock where he set down his basket and slipped over the side of the dock.

The grate into the sewers was broken here, and a small thin man could easily slip inside. Zakri cursed under his breath, and tossed aside his ragged tunic. He pulled a thin curved blade from out of his loin cloth, and headed into the darkness...
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Re: The Lost Son of Ghân-buri-Ghân

Postby ceshiwuhao » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:19 am

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Re: The Lost Son of Ghân-buri-Ghân

Postby Bardhwyn » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:21 am

...
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