Darkness Reigns: The Resistance

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Darkness Reigns: The Resistance

Postby Cock-Robin » Thu May 01, 2008 6:41 pm

Isildur's Folly.

It was true that Gondor called the One Ring Isildur's Bane, but Folly was the better term. Due to his folly in keeping the Ring instead of casting it in the Cracks of Doom at Elrond's bidding, he paid for it with his life, which was a better fate for him than it would have been if he had lived. And now, all of Middle-Earth was paying for his folly.

Sauron had regained the Ring, and soon had overrun all of Middle Earth, covering all in a second Darkness. Alatar and Pallando were the last of the Istari remaining who could oppose the will of the Dark Lord. Saruman had fallen, and had arisen fancying himself as a Power to rival Sauron. He had captured Gandalf and with that, the Nazgul had found the ring, which had been held by the hobbits. Frodo and Sam did not escape.

When Sauron regained the Ring, he soon moved against Saruman, as he brooked no rival. Saruman would have been a treacherous ally, seeking a way to take the Ring for himself. Soon, Orthanc fell, and Gandalf was captured by the forces of Sauron, and was most likely imprisoned in Barad-Dur, where he would suffer what he had most feared at the hands of Sauron.

It was anyone's guess what had happened to Radagast. Sauron had triumphed, and there was little hope unless the Valar came in force, like they had done with Melkor. But that was highly unlikely that they would come to mend or to mar again until the end. So, it once again fell on the shoulders of the Blue Wizards to organize a resistance. There was only a slim chance.

In the Second Age, Numenor was strong, the Elves were even stronger, as were the Dwarves. And none of them were estranged from each other yet. But those three peoples had been sadly decimated, and was of little strength.

Alatar paced back and forth in the stronghold of the Lonely Mountain, fuming. "Elrond should have thrown that fool Isildur into the Cracks of Doom along with the Ring while he had the chance!" he said.

Pallando just watched him quietly, his dark eyes fixed on his friend. He was the silent one, yet when he spoke, all his words counted.

"He paid for it, to be sure." he finally said. "The line of Isildur is no more. It is futile speaking of 'what ifs.' That is in the past. What we do now is more important."

Alatar stopped and looked at his friend. Just the thing a Maia of Mandos would say, a pronouncement of doom. "You're right, Pallando." he said. "We are gathering the remnants of Men, Elves and Dwarves. We have found strong allies in the Eastern tribes. There are even rumors of a company of Elves in Mirkwood who are harrying the forces of the Enemy."

"I think we should try to find them, or at least I should." said Pallando. "None has been able to defeat them."

"A good idea." said Alatar. "You should find Meneldor and go to Mirkwood at once. Maybe they would join our effort."

At that moment, they were interrupted.
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Postby Kunio_kun » Fri May 02, 2008 7:29 pm

Without preamble, Dinin 'Daedraug' walked silently towards Alatar and Pallando and sat down by the fire crackling in the great stone hearth. The Easterling prince was bare from the waist up and water dripped from his long, midnight-dark hair. The dancing firelight highlighted numerous white scars criss-crossing the man's taut, muscular body. Intricate red-orange tattoos crawled over his skin, living words forming a story in a language unknown to the West.

"I have just returned from the Mirkwood," he told the Blue Wizards in fluent but heavily accented Westron. "My men did not see Nóm, but perhaps what I have to say will be of some small import."

He shook water out of his hair and looked for a moment like a wolf come from the rain. Dinin's proud face was wreathed in firelight and shadows and his expression took on a distant cast.

"Eight days ago, I deem, and we had been traveling downstream of Kherum, what you call Celduin or the River Running..."


***

"Atta!"

Dinin and his Khaareen patrol moved swiftly towards the cry, making their way through overgrown weeds, stumps, and the twisted, burned ruins of a former settlement of Men. The Easterlings were far from home, but all of them were blooded warriors who knew survival depended upon the ability to adapt, and adapt quickly. It had been half a year since they had arrived in the Lonely Mountain, called Erebor, to lend assistance to the Blue Wizards. Long had Alatar and Pallando labored in the East and the alliance with the Khaar of Rhun was one of the fruits borne. Dinin and his men had wasted no time in starting patrols, familiarizing themselves with the region.

Thus they did not hesitate at all even when confronted with the dark eaves of Mirkwood.Once they cleared the thick underbrush that lay at the fringes, Dinin and his men found their advance scout, alone and quite unharmed, but looking up in dismay at a certain tree that stood by itself in a clearing. Many of the Khaar warriors hissed and made the sign of warding against evil as they too looked up and saw what was amidst the branches.

More than thirty bodies hung swaying in the wind. Men, women, even children, only the tattered rags still on their bones distinguishing them, all had been lynched some time ago and left to the crows. Indeed, even now, fat crebain perched on the branches, looking down on the Easterlings with cold, beady eyes.

"Uyrk!" Dinin muttered, as he glanced over the thick trunk of the tree and found it covered with foul carvings, some depicting eyes, dyed red with drying blood. "By the tracks, they came from the south and razed the settlement. Then they... they had their sport here for some time before going into the Mirkwood. Less than a month ago, I deem."

One of the Khaar hissed suddenly in amazement. "It is moving, the black words are moving! I see them!" he cried out, pointing at the trunk.

Dinin rushed the man and slapped him hard, once. "Do not gaze at the Black Speech too long, Tomar!" he reprimanded. "They say it calls Old Red Eye and we do not need him looking this way just yet."

"I think he sees all, Dinin," said another man, shaking his head softly. "I think we have come to a doomed land."

"You think too much, Rhuuk," the Khaareen prince replied. "You may be right, but the Blue Wizards believe otherwise. We must keep our heads up and lend our strength to them. We must be their eyes, and if it comes to it, their sword arm."

Dinin shook his head as he gave a last look at the corpse tree. "If Old Red Eye has his way, we'll see those foul letters even in Khaarand. Think on that, Rhuuk. Remember those days of our father's fathers? Those terrible stone altars?" A strong murmur of agreement reached Dinin's ears and he smiled. "Those days must never return, my friends. We will make sure of it."

Nonetheless, that an Orc band had done this practically right under their noses was a disturbing thought. That they might still be nearby was even more alarming. Dinin only had eight other men with him. The main body of his Khaar warriors, over two hundred strong, were mostly within the stronghold of the Lonely Mountain. A small force, a token sent by his father, King Dinuk, but Dinin certainly would have liked them beside him right now. Nevertheless, he and his men followed the enemy's trail fearlessly.

Curiously, they had not gone far when the tracks suddenly vanished. Dinin signaled his men to stop. Mutterings of 'sorcery' arose from the Easterlings. They spread out as silently as they could, but found only a few rusted swords and some scattered pieces of clothing.

"They say Nom still dwell in these woods..." Dinin mused, scanning the ground for any trace of Orc or Elf. The wind was silent in this part of Mirkwood and the only sound was a faint, far-off chittering. All around them, the tall, dark trees loomed high, covering the sun and sky with their foliage. The powerful warrior shrugged and led his men out of the woods.

"We are leaving already, Dinin?" one of his men asked.

Dinin nodded, sweeping up his forest cloak about himself. "Night comes and whoever calls this forest home may not welcome company."

"Nom?"

"I think so."

One of the Khaareen warriors scoffed. "We are not afraid of Nom magic, Dinin."

"Yet, we would be hard put to it in their home," Dinin replied with a vague smile. "And we did not come to quarrel with them, keep in mind. The Wizards might find this interesting, however. Come, after we cut down that tree, we go back to the Lonely Mountain!"

***

"That is my tale," Dinin finished, now staring into the fire. "We were delayed by rain flooding the River Running, but otherwise have nothing else of interest to report." He got up and stretched contentedly. "A long day, yet the night is longer still."
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Postby Cock-Robin » Sat May 03, 2008 8:51 pm

"That is true, Daerdraug." said Pallando, quietly. "The Darkness is now all around us. We are the few glimmers of light left, and we must not let them be extinguished."

Alatar looked at his friend. He tended to be gloomy, but there was nobody better when things were desperate than Pallando. One who would not brook anybody giving up, no matter how dark it went.

"That was indeed of great import, my friend." said Alatar. "And it was what we expected. These in Mirkwood that are fighting the Darkness in their own ways are crafty and woodwise. It may have been they were watching you even as you went through their forest. I only wish they would show themselves. We are stronger together than apart."

"In that, I can help." said Pallando, arising and taking up his staff. "I was planning on taking Meneldor and searching for them myself. Are you hungry? We need to see to your men. Dain and the Dwarves are busy preparing something."

"Then we will need you after you have taken some food and rest." continued Alatar. "We need some way to press our advantage. I am not ready to give up, and never will be. And Pallando is even more adamant on that. There may be hope yet. It may be for us to hold our own in the event that the Valar may act like they did when Melkor was finally overthrown."

"If that happens, we must not be idle." said Pallando. "We must not wait for it, but act ourselves. Then, we shall see. This is why the Darkness is upon us, people were waiting for too long, then the Enemy secured his victory. We must not let him get too comfortable."
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Postby Claymore » Sun May 04, 2008 9:07 am

A month ago
A shrill birdlike whistle told Morwë that Annael's group was in place too. Now they had only to wait until the orcs would let their guard down. They didn't have to wait long. The orcs were still drunk with bloodlust and full with what they had done to the human villagers. Morwë gritted his teeth. How much he wished he could have killed the orcs earlier. But they had been in the open and Morwë's company had been too small. He would have lost fighters and he couldn't afford that. They were already with so few...
And with Lorien overrun, the last Homely House gone and no news from the Grey Havens, we're probably the last too...
A tap on his shoulder brought him back to the now. Indis gave him an asking look.
'When?' she mouthed. Morwë threw another quick glance at the scene below them. Most of the orcs were readying themselves for the night. Only a few were on guard.
The ba$tards think they are safe here at the edges. Time to prove them wrong.
He made the little gesture for 'soon'. Indis nodded. As soon as he heard the sound of snoring he folded his hands together into a crude ocarina and blew the hooting signal for action. As silent as ghosts the company dropped from the treebranches they had been hiding in. The guards never had time to fight back or even to yell. Only one managed to emit a muffled grunt before he was killed. The whole company froze in their tracks and Morwë sent a withering gaze to the young elf who had been responsible for that guard. Guilin, with his fifteen years, was the newest addition to the Green Ghosts and this was his first real attack. To Morwë it wasn't an excuse however. They couldn't afford even the slightest mistake. The guard's grunt hadn't alerted anyone however and the company relaxed. With a cutting hand motion Morwë indicated they could go on. Going from one sleeping form to another, they silently cut throats, never making more noise than a passing breeze. After fifteen bloody minutes the last bird-thrill told Morwë that the whole orc-band had at last been killed.
'Okay folks, the hard part is done,' he whispered. 'On for the next part. Let's deliver dinner to the spiders.'
Ever since the attack on the Woodland Realm the spiders of Mirkwood had prospered, making great patches of the forest dangerous. The Green Ghosts knew how to avoid them though and even made use of them. Nothing seemed to unnerve the orcs more than to discover that an entire band had disappeared without any trace. Morwë was happy to make full use of that and used the spiders to dispose of the corpses. He hoisted one of the stinking corpses on his shoulder and urged the others to do the same. Once everyone had taken one of the orcs he signalled to go on. Silent as ever they made their way back to the forest and followed Morwë's lead. They didn't have to go far, pretty soon they could hear the slight rustle of spider legs on leaves and see the first sticky cobwebs.
-This is far enough. Leave them here. The spiders will find them soon enough.... We go back. Annael you take your group back to the orc camp and take away any sign of them.
Annael nodded and disappeared.
-The rest comes home with me.

-----------------------------------------
-Morwë!
He looked up from the bow he had been making.
-hmm?
Indis made beckoning gesture.
-One of the sentinels is back and I think you should hear what he has seen.
-Coming
Said sentinel was Guilin and when he saw Morwë coming he shuffled with his feet, still uneasy about the thorough scolding Morwë had given him after his mistake. Morwë sighed. He knew he had been hard on the boy but it was necessary he realized how dangerous their missions were. He had to learn to be careful.
-Report
-I was on watch near the old human settlement, when I saw a war-band arrive. A human war-band.
-Humans? You're sure? Maybe they were half-orcs?
-No I'm pretty sure, They wore clothes I've never seen before and they had dark skins but they were definitely human.
'Sounds like a bunch of Easterlings to me,' Indis said.
Morwë thought for a time.
-Might be but what on Middle-Earth are they doing here?... Guilin what else did you see?
-They saw the corpse-tree but they didn't seem to be very at ease around it. One of them even freaked out when he saw the black-speech at the base.
-Strange... Guilin take us here.
He turned around.
-Artanis?
His sister looked up from the salve she was making.
-Yes?
-Could you come with us? Those guys probably speak Westron and you're the one who understands it best.
-Coming

A quarter of an hour later Morwë stopped the other three. Then he suddenly pointed upward, indicating that from now on they would travel up the treebranches. He had heard poeple talking. Barely two minutes later they came at the clearing where they had killed the orcs a month before. They weren't alone. As Guilin had said they were humans and clearly not local. They wore Easterling clothing and they beared themselves with the proud confidence of seasoned warriors. They were nothing like the few cowed humans who still lived here. They seemed thoroughly baffled right now though. Morwë didn't need to know what they were saying to know what baffled them so much. They had found the old orc-tracks and didn't understand why they suddenly disappeared.
Good job Annael
He strained to hear what the Easterlings were saying. His father had just started to teach him Westron when Sauron attacked and his understanding of that language was not as good as his sister's but it was enough to grasp most of what the humans were saying. He almost thought his knowledge of the language wasn't sufficient after all though when he heard them mention Wizards.
Wizards? We haven't heard from Aiwendil since the attack, Curunir's dead and Mithrandir was taken. Who can these Wizards be?
Beside him he heard his sister gasp. One of the Easterlings, the tallest of them, suddenly turned around and scanned the trees. Morwë quickly clasped his hand on his sister's mouth. The man frowned and watched the trees for a bit longer but when none of the four made another sound he shrugged and rejoined the rest of the humans.
Morwë let out his breath as soon as they were out of earshot.
-Don't...ever...do that again, right?
His sister nodded
-Now what was it all about?
-I think everyone has to hear it.
Morwë frowned and then nodded.
-Homewards then.

As soon as they settled round the fire later that evening Morwë pressed Artanis for an explanation.
-Why did you gasp? You nearly had us discovered!
-It's just that I recalled a story dad told us once.
Morwë frowned.
-I can't recall any story about Wizards except those about Mithandir and Aiwendil.
-You were three and too young to remember but I was eight and it was a rather unusual story.
-Tell it now then.
Artanis smiled. She was the oldest of their group and was often asked to tell stories of the past. She had come to enjoy storytelling.
-Well.... You know our dad was quite old, didn't you?
Morwë nodded and the others looked with interest.
-He was present on the day the Ithryn arrived from the West. Do you recall their names Elem?
' Curunir the Cursed, Aiwendil the Brown and Mithrandir the Grey,' little Elemmakil piped.
-Yes those were the names of the first three. But they weren't alone. Two other Wizards accompanied them.
A few of the younger ones gasped in anticipation.
-They were called the Ithryn Luin and their names were Alatar and Pallando. Like their name suggest they were clothed in blue and they were on the same mission as Curunir, Aiwendil and Mithrandir. Unlike the others though they did not stay in the West but traveled East. They departed with Curunir the Cursed to Rhun but they didn't return with him. Before they went East though they made friends with our dad. Our dad was still very young at that time, not much older than me and.....
Morwë only listened with a half ear. Could it be true? Could the wizards the humans had spoken of be the Ithryn Luin? He didn't dare to hope too much. How many times had his hopes not been crushed? But still..
Those wizards are probably some foul minions of Sauron. Numenoreans he has corrupted, like the Witch-King
He stared at the few stars that peeked through the foliage.
But would the humans have called them Wizards if that was the case? Most of time they call Sauron's minions Sorcerers not Wizards... And those Easterlings didn't seem to mean evil. They even brought down that execution tree, a thing even we couldn't afford to do.
Morwë sighed. This was so complicated. He wanted to hope that for once fate was smiling on them but during the five years since the fall of the Woodland Realm he had learned not to expect too much of fate. Best he relied only on what he could achieve himself. He raised himself on his feet.
-Artanis, I'm going to sleep. Don't make it too late for the kids.
His sister gave a slight nod before continuing her tale.
-Galion will you take care of the change of the watch?
The twenty-year old elf raised up his hand to indicate he had gotten the message. Morwë quickly climbed into the tree were he had hanged his hamac. He had intended to go to bed early, they had another raid planned on a small war-band one of Indis's scouts had discovered south of here. He spend quite some time staring at the stars though.
Last edited by Claymore on Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Sun May 04, 2008 1:08 pm

Alatar turned back after he was distracted for a moment, and Pallando was gone. He had his ways of coming and going unseen and unheard. So Alatar looked after Dinin and the Easterlings as Dain's dwarves looked after them all.

Some time later, Pallando was up on a crag of the Mountain, and Meneldor spied him and descended. "Old friend, I need you to bear me to Mirkwood. I need to find some things out about some elves I heard are still there."

Meneldor the Swift was now Lord of the Eagles. He had become far more grim than he was in his youth. His brothers Gwaihir the Windlord and Landroval had been killed in the first assault. His own wing had been wounded, but Pallando had been the one who had healed him. A bond developed between the two ever since.

"I would bear you even to Barad-Dur if you asked me." said the Eagle.

"Hush." said the Wizard. "Speak not that name openly, lest we draw the attention of the Eye. One day, we may go there and rescue Mithrandir, but I fear that day is far off."

Ciryandil. That name came to him. He had known the little elf just before he traveled with Curinir to Rhun together with his friend Alatar. Why he thought of that elf, who he hadn't seen since, he did not know. But, he couldnt' afford to ignore it. That would be the elf to contact, if he was still alive. "Meneldor, I need your eyes to watch for these elves. They are crafty and wary. They may find us before we find them."

"Let them try." was all Meneldor said. He let Pallando mount him, then with a rush of wings, they were off to the west. The Moon was out, and they would need it. It was perilous to be out in the open like this. One of the guards flew with his Lord. They gave no cry, but flew like shadows in the night, swifter than the steeds of the Nazgul.

Even with the sharp eyes of the Eagles, these elves would be hard to find, and Mirkwood was a large and dark forest. A needle in a haystack.But that needle would be found. Swift as the wind they flew, and Pallando kept his eyes open as well.

They knew it would be futile to search near the old halls of Tharanduil. And Meneldor's guard saw the spiders were hard at work with what looked like a party of orcs. Let them have them! He would not interfere in their grisly meal.

Suddnenly, Meneldor circled. He spotted something. A gleam in the dark. The other eagle followed. Silently, swiftly, they descended. When they were close, Pallando leaped off, more nimbly than the old man he appeared to be should. He landed with a rustle on a limb near where Morwe was. He saw the young elf. It was for him to speak. Crouched on the limb with his staff in hand, he took the chance. "Ciryandil? Is that you? It is I, Pallando!"
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Postby Claymore » Sun May 04, 2008 3:42 pm

Morwë was halfway between sleep and waking when he was jolted out of his dreamy state by the feeling they were being watched from above. He blinked a few times and immediately scrambled out of his hamac. The life they were leading had honed his instincts and he had learned to trust them. He looked upwards and bit back a curse. Two black forms were wheeling above the forest. He couldn't distinguish much for now but he didn't take any risks. He had heard rumors of the Eagles still being around but they weren't the only creatures who could fly. They had lost seven children when one of the Nazgul's flying steeds, a feared fell beast had attacked their small camp. Luckily the beast hadn't been bearing its usual rider or they would have truly been finished. The Green Ghosts had learned their lessons though. The outlook had seen them too and blew the signal for hiding. Two long hoots, two short ones and again two long ones. Below him he could hear the scramble of seventy elves running for cover. A small surprised cry from one of the younger ones when they were picked up and carried to one of the bushes, the hiss of the fire when it was put out, a nervous whisper, the sound of quick feet searching for a hold on the slippery tree-bark. Then utter silence fell on the little clearing. Morwë strained his ears to hear where the flying entity was. He caught nothing though except for a faint rustling.
The wind in the leaves?... Wait there isn't any wind!
Before he could cry out though a dark... something dropped on the treebranch next to him. With a hiss he drew his sword. He nearly dropped it though when the entity suddenly spoke in Sindarin.
-Ciryandil? Is that you? It is I, Pallando!
This threw him completely of balance. He had wanted to say something else but the only thing he managed to bring out was a strangled 'What?'
-Ciryandil?
The person on the branch moved out of the shadows and in the moonlight Morwë could see he wasn't a Nazgul as he had feared but an old man with deep lines of worry etched in his face. He studied Morwë a bit closer. He frowned when he noticed the green lines tattooed on Morwë's face, then his expression changed from one of hopefullness to one of mild confusion.
-You are not the one called Ciryandil, are you?
Morwë had finally managed to regain a bit of his composure.
'No' he answered with an angry snarl. 'But who are you and what do you want of him?'
'I... I am Pallando,' the old man said a bit taken aback by Morwë's agressive reaction. 'I am a very old friend of his. We once travelled together for a while, a very long time ago.'
Inside Morwë hope and suspicion were battling.
Could it be true after all? Have the Ithryn Luin returned?.... But it could also be a very cunning trap, it seems to good to be true. One of the long lost Wizards suddenly drops out of the sky and confuses me with my father. Come on! You can't believe this to be a mere lucky coincidence. All the stories tell about how much Sauron loved deceit. Be wary... But still...
-You didn't answer my question old man. What do you want of him? And how can I be sure what you say is true?
Pallando frowned. He had expected waryness but not so much outright coldness. He studied to elf before him even more closely. How could he have mistaken him for Ciryandil? He looked a lot like him, yes, but the elf seemed barely adult while Ciryandil was probably nearing the two thousand years of life. He sighed. It didn't matter, he needed to earn the young elf's trust anyway.
-I want his help to set up a resistance against the Dark Lord. I know him to be an elf with a great sense of justice and I'm sure he does anything to end the Dark Lord's rule. I would like to have him as an ally.
-Before I take you to him you must answer this question, old man. What does Ciryandil hide under his right vambrace?
Pallando frowned. He couldn't recall Ciryandil wearing vambraces except when he was fighting. Then he remembered. Ciryandil had severly burned his right arm, just before they had parted ways. Alatar had managed to heal the worst of it but he couldn't do anything about the ugly scar that remained.
-A burn scar.
Pallando saw the young elf tense up.
-Do you also know how he got it?
-A clumsy barwench spilled boiling water on his arm.
Morwë slumped against the treetrunk. The old man knew! Only a very few had known about the scar, and even less had known how his father had gotten it. The few people who knew about it never dared to ask, fearing to stir up something painful. Morwë and Artanis had spent many nights in their bedroom speculating about it, imagining he had gotten it during an heroic rescue of some kind. Morwë remembered how his father had laughed when seeing their disappointed faces after he told them.
-Young man?
Morwë took a deep breath.
-I have the sad duty to announce to you, that Ciryandil is dead. He died five years ago during the massacre at Thranduil's Halls.
The Wizard paled.
-How do you know?
-Ciryandil was my father.
-You are his son?
Morwë nodded.
-I'm sorry. I didn't wan't to stir up painful memories.
-It doesn't matter. I've had five years to get used to it. Now let's go down. There are seventy elves down there who are probably very interested in what you have to say.
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Postby Kunio_kun » Sun May 04, 2008 6:28 pm

"Not more cram, I hope," Dinin muttered. "I tell you, Alatar, western food is filling enough, but some days I long for siskabbābā. Eh? Fresh chunks of meat, rubbed down with chili pepper and kamoon, skewered and roasted over an open flame."
The Easterling Prince shook his head and laughed softly. "Ahhh... if ever we should prevail, friend wizard, and better days return to the west, I can assure you the first thing I will start up is a spice trade. I will show you westerners how to put some fire into your food!"

Dinin's expression suddenly turned hard and stern. "I see Master Pallando has wasted no time. And yet, I wonder..." The prince's tall, dark form paced the stone halls, his steps making no noise on the hard surface. "For now, the Dwarf Kingdom is a safe haven, true. A mountain fortress is not so easily breached and the north is well guarded from an approach on foot. The Mirkwood guards the west. Besides the Nom, many things live in that wood that hold no more love for Orcs than they do for Men. In the east, you wizards have gained the friendship of several tribes and formed a leaguer around the Sea of Rhun. South, we are vulnerable, but thus far it seems Old Red Eye does not see us. Or mayhaps he sees and thinks us beneath his notice. Who can say?"

Only the muttering of bustling dwarves filled the silence that grew between wizard and prince.

"What small advantage we have lies in the fact the Enemy has not moved against us." Dinin mused. "And that, I deem, is because he does not realize you and Pallando are returned from the East. He has dealt with the ones you call Mithrandir and Curunir and perhaps the Brown Wizard as well. He believes he has no more rivals. And yet, it is only a matter of time before his accursed Eye turns this way and finds otherwise. Then he will come at us from north, south, east, and west and nothing will be enough to stop his hordes. Perhaps we hold out for a few months, maybe even a year and then night will fall."

The Easterling Prince suddenly faced Alatar. "What hope is there, wizard? Our time runs perilously short. Can we do no more than sit under this mountain and pray these Powers of yours will intercede?"
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Postby Cock-Robin » Sun May 04, 2008 6:34 pm

With that, Pallando regained his composure. His dark eyes scanned Morwë once more. "So be it." he said at last. I have much to say. He descended the tree and waited for the elf to come down.

Pallando leaned on his staff and watched. "I have two eagles at watch above us. Meneldor, Lord of the Eagles and his guard Carmandil. They can come here if I call."

The other elves came out of hiding, Artanis leading them. She didn't in her wildest hopes think that one of the lost Wizards, the Ithryn Luin, would be there standing before her, but her brow wrinkled. "There were two of you. What happened to the other?"

"Alatar is in the fortress at Erebor where Dain sits as king of the Dwarves. I come representing them both." he said. All had assembled.

He looked at Morwë again. "I do not blame you for your welcome of me. I expected it, and also I had to make sure of you, son of Ciryandil. The Dark Lord has set traps for me before, and I was taking risks beyond your understanding in revealing myself."

"So say what you wanted to, old man." said Morwë.

"I come to seek an alliance with you, and gather together all who oppose the Dark Lord. Of us Wizards, Curunir is dead. Mithrandir is a prisoner at the Dark Tower, and there is little hope of retrieving him from the Enemy. Nobody knows where Aiwendil is, if he is still alive. Alatar and I are all that are left. It is dark, but not yet hopeless.

The Dwarves still live, and are at Erebor where Dain rules as King Under the Mountain, and a tribe of Easterlings which we have converted from Sauron's domination have joined us. More should do so later. We must band together or perish seperately. We are not as great a host as once faced Sauron when he was first overthrown, but we must do what we can.

It may be that the Valar may yet come for us like when they overthrew Morgoth in ages past, who was a greater enemy than the one who sits in Mordor, but we cannot sit and wait for that slim hope. We must do what we can. You are not alone, my good elves."

He turned back to Morwë. "I must ask you to come back with me to Erebor where we must take counsel. I will wait for you to discuss with your people what is best." He whistled, and there was a rustling as a large Eagle landed in the clearing.

"This is Meneldor the Swift, Lord of the Eagles who would bear us there. Please let us know what you decide."
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon May 05, 2008 5:34 pm

Alatar listened to Dinin, and the way he voiced his concerns, which echoed his own. Yet he woulnd't lie to his friend. It was unavailing, and wrong anyway. He would not have any allies unwilling or deceived. That was Sauron's way, not his.

"Ah, yes, I miss that Eastern food as well. The Khaars introduced me to it, and it's wonderful. I do hope you're able to set up that spice trade one day. Maybe some will hunt and then we can share some siskabbaba." he said.

He listened grimly as Dinin continued. He sighed. "Maybe a fool's hope, but I'm not ready to give up, not yet, my friend. And you're right. The West has failed, It is the East that is our main hope, and so far, the Eye has ignored us. We must take that advantage. But what would you have us do? Going out and attacking will only focus the accursed Eye on us much sooner, before we are ready.

But there are more tribes on their way, those Pallando and I have spoken to, who have not bowed the knee to Melkor. That is where our hope lies unless the Valar come."

He was silent, looking at his feet. He was in need of a new pair of boots. "There is a way, and a slim hope, but it is most perilous, and I hesitate to speak of it to you. Pallando and I have discussed it for ages if things got truly desperate.

You may remember some of the old tales, how at the end of the Elder Days, Melkor was almost victorious, he had conquered Doriath and destroyed Gondolin, and was overrunning Beleriand. It was even more desperate than our plight now.

One saw the need, and set off on a perilous mission to entreat the Valar's help. Earendil and his wife Elwing traveled across to Aman with the Silmaril affixed to his brow. They responded, but at a price. Earendil could no longer set foot on mortal lands, but voyages still through the skies offering hope the the beleaguered.

Something similar must happen. One must go on the perilous journey to the West if all gets desperate, and there is no other way, go and never return, like Earendil did. And though the Silmarils are no more, there is something here who must guide this one, the Heart of the Mountain."

"You mean the Arkenstone?" said Dain. "That is our most precious possession, far more precious than all our gold."

"Yet would you part with it, if it meant Sauron's defeat?" said Alatar.

"For that, I would give it up, and more." said Dain. "But only if all other hope fails."

"I would ask it in no other way. Meneldor knows, and would himself make the journey with whomever takes this quest upon himself, representing all the Free Peoples. He is the last of the scions of Thorodor of old, Eagles of Manwe. If any could find the Straight Road, it is he."

He turned to Dinin. "That is one thing I dared not mention to you until now, my friend. Let us hope it doesn't come to that, but one must make that journey if it does."
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Postby Claymore » Wed May 07, 2008 8:25 am

Morwë turned around to where the others were standing. Artanis nodded and made the gesture for 'go'. Indis was still rubbing sleep from her eyes but she too was nodding her approval. Galion seemed a bit unsure and Annael was too stunned to be of any use.
He turned back and studied Pallando once more.
'How many people can you carry,' he then asked the Eagle.
-Two or three
-We're coming now. No need to discuss what's best for us. We already know that. What we need is a quiet place to live and prosper. But that's only possible if the Dark Ba$tard is taken down. Indis, Artanis you two go with me. Annael and Galion, you two are the leaders till I'm back. Don't wait for us. I've got the feeling it's going to be late.
Galion nodded and when Anneal regained a bit of his composure he nodded too.
'Come on ,' Morwë said to no-one in particular. ' Let's go'

The flight on Meneldor's back could be compared to nothing Morwë had ever experienced before. He had often climbed to the tops of the trees to get a better view but never was he able to see so far as he could now. And he had probably never gone so fast too. The only thing he could see of the woods below him was a mass of blurred green. A whoop of excitement escaped his lips and though he could not see it, his eyes, usually so hard, were now sparkling with joy. Pallando smiled when he looked back at his companion. The merry child was still not completely lost in that one. When he had seen the Green Ghosts, young and a bit older, emerge from the bushes he had been shocked by their youthfullness and at the same time by the knowing and weary look even the smallest had in their eyes.When he had seen Morwë he had assumed he was the youngest member of the company of adults, a simple scout. He had been quickly helped out of the illusion though when he saw the young elf give orders with the easy manner of habit. With his seventeen years he was the leader. Where were the adults? What had happened? These children couldn't be the only ones who had survived. Pallando wanted to ask about it but stopped when he saw Morwë's excited expression. He would ask later, the young elf didn't seem to have many moments like this.

The excited lights were still gleaming in the eyes of the three young elves when they landed at Erebor an hour later. They quickly sobered up though when the Wizard led them inside the mountain. Used as they were to the open space of the forest they quickly felt closed in by the solid rock walls of the dwarven hold. Artanis the gentlest of the three asked :' How deep do we have to go yet?'
-We're nearly there.
She nodded and shivered. As Pallando had predicted they arrived to what looked like a common room and council chamber in one a few minutes later. They were men and dwarves sprawled everywhere, sleeping or talking quietly but two figures stood out. One was an old man, who Morwë assumed to be the other Wizard, Alatar, but he did not recognize the other man straight away. Then he realized that it was the tall Easterling who had nearly discovered them earlier that evening.
So he's the leader. Good thing he didn't discover us then or I would have shot him
The Wizard and the Easterling leader turned around as soon as they heard the footsteps arriving.
-Ah Pallando, so you're back. Any...
The Wizard's eyes slipped from his companion's face to the three smaller forms standing behind them.
'So you found them,' he whispered.
-Yes. May I introduce you to Morwë, Indis and Artanis, three of the leaders of the Mirkwood resistance. Morwë is Ciryandil's son. Do you remember him?
Alatar nodded.
-And I think Artanis may also be his child.
Morwë smiled slightly. The wizard had sharp eyes. Artanis nodded and shifted slightly under the questioning eyes who turned her way. Morwë stepped out of the Wizards shadow and bowed.
'Greetings,' he said in a somewhat broken Westron.' I be Morwë of...' he paused a bit searching for the Westron name for Mirkwood.Then frustrated he just used the Sindarin one.
-Taur-nu-Fuin, leader of Celin Faer.
Morwë felt the eyes of the Wizard and the Easterling rest on him. The Easterling muttered something.
-....so young...
He turned sharply in his direction.
-In Taur-nu-Fuin, adult at fifteen.... Lord Dinin.
The eyes of the Easterling widened a bit. So he had guessed right. It had been a bit of a gamble to call the Easterling Dinin. He had caught the name back in the forest but he hadn't been entirely sure if it was the man's name. But apparently he had found a mark.
-How do you know my name?
-I see you earlier in woods.
Lord Dinin frowned a bit then realized how close the elves had been to hear his name.
-Where were you?
-In trees above.
-I never saw you.
-Taur-nu-Fuin be ours. No-one see Celin Faer, unless we want.
'We do not doubt your ability to fight,' Alatar interjected softly. ' We just wonder, how it comes that such young people are the leaders of such an apparently effective force.'
-No-one older. Artanis be oldest of us. The rest dead at Thranduil's Halls.
Eyes widened when the listeners realized what these words implied.
'You mean the children I saw at the camp are all what's left of the Woodland Realm?' Pallando asked shocked.
Morwë nodded.
-How did it happen?
-Artanis will tell. She speak better Westron than me.
Morwë settled down at the fire and Indis and Artanis did the same. Then at first a bit hesitantly Artanis began to tell about what had befallen them ever since the fall of the Woodland Realm. When she was ready Lord Dinin exploded: ' Seventy! That's all what's left! Of a whole nation there is only seventy elves left and half of them are too young to fight! And if you consider it the rest of them would be too young too if these were normal times....'
-But these not be normal times and we fight and we win. Taur-nu-Fuin be ours. Orcs fear us and not dare enter forest. Forest our terrain.
The Easterling lord looked at the blazing eyes of the young elf. He sighed.
-I'm sorry. We were just hoping for more I guess.
'But we only have them,' Alatar said. 'And as far as I understand they are doing a good job at securing the forest.'
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Postby Kunio_kun » Fri May 09, 2008 2:29 pm

Dinin shook his head. "Securing the forest, you say..." He looked sternly at Morwe. "I doubt not your skill and tenacity, more than merely surviving the enemy but fighting them with so few. I too had scarcely seen fourteen summers when I slew my first man, but I had the benefit of fighting alongside full grown warriors, not seventy youths. Yet, even seven times seventy would not be enough to secure the Mirkwood. Nay, not so long as that remains..."

"Dol Guldur" Pallando intoned. The fire in the hearth flared and the torches guttered as if a swift wind had passed through the stone hall. Shadows lined the ancient, weathered face of the Blue Wizard as he continued in a deep and solemn voice. "Once the stronghold of the Enemy, the bane of Thranduil's folk, who ever turned north to escape the shadow." The old wizard closed his eyes. "In the end, it found them."

The uneasy silence that followed was interrupted suddenly as several Dwarves and even a few human refugees from Dale entered, bearing trays of food. While not a feast, for in these dark times rationing was a necessity, it was still generous fare. Roasted mutton was placed alongside stewed onions, celery, and carrots. The scent of freshly baked loaves of bread drifted lingeringly in the air. Two large pitchers of cold, frothy beer were also brought and an extra pitcher for the Elves held a spicy cinnamon tea.

Alatar looked at the company gathered, then gestured at the table. "Let us eat and talk. King Dain's folk are a fine and generous people... and a better larder you'll not find south of the mountains." He smiled at Morwe. "The King left shortly before you arrived, but perhaps you will have a chance to meet him before the night is over. He is quite busy these days, as can be expected."

Dinin took a deep swig of his beer and wiped the foam from his lips with a sigh. The Easterling Prince looked thoughtful. "...I have never seen the Hill of Sorcery," he said. "Yet I could feel its presence whenever we strayed too far south, like a foul beast lurking restlessly in the woods. Master Alatar and Pallando warned me at length, but south lies our closest threat."

"It were too dangerous," a Daleman spoke up. "Even fer' fierce men like yours, Lord Dinin, beggin' your pardon."

Dinin nodded and gestured for him to go on. This region was more familiar with Orc attacks and the like as opposed to Easterling raids, and so its inhabitants were less predisposed to hostility towards the Khaar. Dinin and his men had quickly gained the trust of the Men and Dwarves through their ceaseless patrols, despite some early difficulties due to language and cultural customs. There were some who still didn't much care for Easterlings on Western soil, but times like these had a way of smoothing things over. For now anyway.

"There were only two main roads in my day," the Daleman continued. "You step off either one of 'em and you're as good as done. No sun under those big trees to show you which way you're going. Too many shadows and trails that end up nowhere. But you'd be lucky if that's the worst of it."

Alatar nodded. "Alas for Radagast the Brown. Pallando and I have labored mostly in the East and we are thus less familiar with this region, but Radagast has always been mighty in wood lore. Had he been with us as guide, perhaps we could have risked patrolling deeper south."

"Quite a coincidence that we should suddenly find a potential guide," Dinin remarked, glancing at Morwe and the Elves. "Indeed, seventy of them!"

"Coincidence, you say, Lord," Pallando turned his unwavering gaze on the Easterling Prince. "Few things are coincidence in this world, fewer still in these days of doom. Say rather that we, and they, were guided together. There are more forces at work in this world than the one in Barad-dur, never forget."

Dinin bowed his head shortly. "It may be as you say." He turned to Alatar and Morwe. "Long have we had discussions of scouting the south, but lacked the resources. An alliance would benefit not just the Kingdom under the Mountain, but the Mirkwood as well."

"Indeed," A gruff, strong voice came from the doorway. "We Dwarves have had our fair share of quarrels with the Elvenking's folk, but we grieve their loss nonetheless. The forest will be too quiet without their merry voices. I would welcome an alliance." Dain Ironfoot, King Under the Mountain, entered the hall and all stood to greet him.

"Sit, friends," the old Dwarf said, taking a seat at the end of the table. "I would hear more of what you intend."

Alatar considered his words for a time. "Dol Guldur..." he murmured. "A dark place, yet not unassailable. To venture there would be no small feat. Yet, we may find a starting point in our campaign..." He looked at Morwe. "Your kin in Lorien also suffered grievous losses from the forces there. It is said many prisoners were taken, both theirs and yours."

"My own kin was once prisoner in that foul place..." Dain muttered, remembering Thrain. "I will never forget."

"It is also said that one of the Nine commands Dol Guldur," Pallando announced. "A Nazgul. Then there is the risk of attracting its Master, even were we to travel there in secrecy."

A few shuddered at the mention. Others suddenly leaned forward in their seats, eyes shining, eager to do anything to strike at the hated enemy. Voices rose and fell in argument and outside, the night deepened.
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Postby Claymore » Wed May 28, 2008 12:32 am

Morwë listened with only a half ear to what the others were saying. He couldn't understand everything anyway. Instead he studied the map closely. It had been a long time ago he had seen an such a detailed map of Mirkwood. It was also quite old. It still proudly read 'Thranduil's Hall' where now only rubble remained. It took him some time to localize the familiar places on the flat sheet but at last he knew where to look.
-We controll all this.
He tapped the region above the Old Forest Road.
-Orcs not dare to enter. They know they be dead if they do. We kill small companies. We help forest kill the large.
Then he pointed to the Road.
-The Forest Road be gone. Overgrown. We put traps.
-Why?
'To make orcs go round,'Morwë answered with a little satisfied smile.
He took a bit of charcoal and greyed a few area's.
-These be spider-patches.
Then he circled a large area around Dol Guldur.
-This Dark Towers controll.
He tapped the area in between the Old Forest Road and the Dol-Guldur region.
-This disputed. We do not claim, but we patroll sometimes. Orcs try to invade. We kill sometimes. Forest kill most.
-What do you mean with 'the Forest kills'?
-As he say.
Morwë nodded to the Dale-man
- Forest be dangerous. Spider-patches not be only danger. Prey difficult to catch, most plants be poisonous. No paths and no way to find good direction. Many predators. Orcs know nothing about forest. One mistake kill. And we help forest. We make orcs afraid. Steal or poison supplies and water. Put traps. Lay false paths to dangerous places. Sometimes orcs accuse each other and do our work. In end all orcs who enter die. Forest not want intruders. Forest kill them.
-You speak as if the Mirkwood was a living being.
-Maybe... Our parents give a lot of things to Forest. Maybe also life and memory. Orcs die, yet we live. Maybe Forest remember old days. I not know, I not question what Forest give us. I just use it.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:09 pm

"There are many things living in the world that have a life unknown." said Pallando at last. "Even Sauron knows them not, even with his accursed Ring. So, we do have allies. It is unknown if Fangorn and his Ents have weathered this storm. He would know as well as Radagast. But I agree. To stay here too long, hiding as we have done, would only attract the Eye sooner. I say we must make our move soon, and Dol Guldur is the place. Maybe we could catch the Enemy by surprise, who would think that we would come to Mordor first. And we may find others that would aid us, if the forest does rise up against them."

Alatar looked up at his friend suddenly. "It seems a foresight is upon you, brother. Good! I shall go with you. It may only be our last march, but it would be better if we did, than sit here to be overwhelmed when the Eye does turn this way. But the question is, how soon do we march?"

Alatar continued. "We were there at Dol Guldur once. We had been summoned by Mithrandir when it was time to drive Sauron from there. I remember Mithrandir was anxious to do so, for a reason he would not tell us yet. But it was near to where Isildur had been killed and the Ring disappeared from sight long ago. We drove him away, due to the arts of Curinir, and it appeared that we would have a respite, and so departed for the East once again.

But it was not so. He had known of the coming assault, and had prepared his departure, leaving for Mordor, where he declared himself openly. It was soon re-occupied, and is still so, as one of the Nazgul is housed there now. But we still know the way, even though it has become more perilous now.

So, when do we go forth?

He looked at the others.
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Postby Claymore » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:32 pm

Morwë looked up at the mention of an attack on Dol Guldur. Could they really....? It was an old dream, that dated from even before the days of the Celin Faer. But back then they had been too young, too inexperienced and still on the run. Nowadays they were with too few. But if they could manage to guide Lord Dinin's army through the Mirkwood... and with the Ithryn Luin at their side...
It would be a daring and bold plan but there was a chance they could actually succeed. The orcish host stationed at Dol Guldur was relatively small, he knew from the few scoutings they had dared. A rough five-hundred at the most for the Dark Lord was as yet still busy with submitting what remained of Gondor and obviously thought little of the Mirkwood Resistance. Now they actually had a chance to prove him wrong.
-We begin preparation now if you want.
The others stared at him. King Dain was the first to speak up.
-What to you mean young one?
-Tomorrow we can bring kids here with your permission. They be safer and we have more freedom of movement that way. As soon as small ones be safe we can scout in Dol Guldur's terrain and find way in. We take some of Lord Dinin's men to make them know forest. Host in Dol Guldur be not big. Five.... yes five-hundred orcs spread over Dol-Guldur's terrain. Orcs keep to main path and stay in big group. We can avoid and sneak in, crush Dol Guldur with help of Wizards, and then hunt down companies. With dwarfs, Dale and Lord Dinin's men we be many enough.
'It is quite a darin' plan, elf,'the Dale-man said. 'How do ye know all this?'
-We scout this area, one or two times.
A silence fell again.Then Lord Dinin let out a huff.
-It is dangerous, very dangerous. But... It could actually work. We'll have to be sure we will be able to crush Dol Guldur. If we fail on that point all hope wll be truly lost. How thorough can you make those scoutings?
-If you help maintain our terrain here, very. As I say orcs keep to main road, Celin Fear can easily enter, in small groups. Twenty-five of us be experienced enough to enter enemy terrain.
-So knowledge of the terrain and the patrols won't be a problem I assume.
-Not if we be careful.
-Alright. Now the question is if the power in Dol Guldur can be broken. Allatar? Pallando ?
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:57 pm

"It can." said Pallando. "But it will not be easy while the Enemy holds the Ring. I don't need to tell you that the Nazgul have incresed in power and terror since then."

"It is difficult, but not impossible." said Alatar. "And the remnant of the Eagles we have gathered do not fear them. And fear is their greatest weapon."

Dain pondered the words of this council. "You may bring the children here. They will be safer here than anywhere, and then you may move more easily."

"Meneldor and Carmandil are waiting outside, and some others will be available to take you there and retrieve them." said Pallando.

"Then I will take my leave, and return with them." said Morwë.

"The Valar watch over you." replied Alatar.

Pallando arose to go with him.
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Postby earendil81 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:16 pm

OOC: I think I should advise of the BAP

A month and half before

Caras Galadhon lay in ruins and the Golden Lady was gone; maybe further gone than she could imagine. Five years, five long years and still the city looked like the desert it must have been in the weeks after Sauron and his army had laid it to waste. Oh he had to come, just as he had to go to Rivendell for there were powers in these places that only he could have undone. She looked over the city from the Cerin Amroth and the disaster crushed her heart more than she had expected it would knowing what was awaiting them here.

It had taken some convincing to bring her companion here and even now she knew that they should not be here. It was was too dangerous but she had needed to come; if they were taken there, she would know that she had learned nothing but she could not try and reach Mirkwood without passing by the Golden Forest.

Five years, and only now it seemed did she realise how much they had lost. Lorien, the last place in Middle-Earth where one who had seen the trees reigned, was gone. She could not cry, she felt like the pain could kill her but she could not cry. Her eyes were dry as the sand, cold as the snow... She heard the slightest noise behind her.
"Eärendil, we should not linger here." The whisper was hardly audible but there was a kind of want in the voice, one that was not common in the man.
She knew he was right; she also knew they would not make it very far before it became too dangerous to walk. Soon the orcs would roam the place again and by night were they always more dangerous even if they still avoided the forest. They did not have much choice.
"Follow me." She, too, whispered.
Silently yet as swiftly as the exhaustion would allow she guided him to the place that had been the training ground of her childhood. The city trees had been burnt, some of them to the ground. She gasped slightly as she saw the main tree, the one that had held the castle of the Queen and her husband, down. Not only down in fact but entirely cut to pieces and the house it had born broken. She could recognise the work on some of what had been the main doors. This might have crushed her heart and she stopped unaware of doing so.

Only knowing her so well prevented the man from bumping into her; and as she felt him move around her, she continued walking. She did not want to talk about this, not just yet. Not ever, even after five years, the loss were still sinking in.
"Are the houses in the trees?"
"They were."
He groaned and she smiled slightly: Boromir of Gondor was a down-to-earth man in all possible ways and he probably guessed where she was bringing him. Truth was she was not even sure she would find the one tree she had marked for herself as a child. Still she dared to hope that this one may have been spared not being in the city itself. They had not managed to burn the all forest yet, so maybe. It might be too much to wish for but they had no other choice and if this one was not saved, they might be dead by the end of the night, which was a possibility anyway.

In those dreadful times, she still remembered the happiness of building that flet in secret, without anybody but Rine knowing about it. She had used it to escape chores as a child but also as a resting place as a young adult and now it would be a safe hide-out. It would not be comfortable, but safer, at least as safe as any place could be in these times.
"There it is," she whispered a slight tremor of joy in her voice. Maybe hope was not entirely forbidden then. She moved towards the tree: it had been hacked but it had apparently proved to thick for the orcs' axes and had stood. The axes marks were now farther up the trunk; maybe the first branch would be higher than it had been also.

Softly she breathed as her hand met the trunk; its scales were hard, rash and still there was the softness of the mellyrn in it. Here was home; this is where she should have been then even if it would have meant death. As Boromir stood by her, she looked up and showed him the first branch. He said nothing but she knew him now.
"It is high, aye. That is exactly why I chose it; only the sentries would have made it up there. They might not even have bothered and tried to get up."
"How did you get up there?"
He tried to hide the curiosity in his voice but she heard it and smiled. It was like being back at the age of 15 and playing hide-and-seek with Galadriel's attending ladies. She untied the rope from her bag and folded it so that it would surround the trunk and yet not be too long. Seizing each end, she started getting up. It was a hard exercise, and the branch was indeed higher than it had been back then. After what seemed like an hour, she reached it and tied the rope around the branch to get theirs bags and then to Boromir to reach up. He was much faster than her. As he was getting up the branch, she seized the ladder that had rested there and would bring them higher in the tree and up the flet.
"How high is this?"
She looked down.
"Here? I think it is 25 feet... and you need to be at the trunk to see the branch."
"How come the leaves are so far down they hide even part of the trunk?"
"I am not entirely sure. But we are not there yet, we have a couple of those ladders to get up to."
That was when he noticed the ladder tied to the trunk. He glanced at her as he rolled the rope back into her bag: could they really hope that goblins' eyes would not notice it in the dark? She shrugged: they would have to.
They groped their way up and through the branches for another little while before they reached what seemed to be the middle of the tree. They had been in the dark for a while although both knew that the sun had not set yet. Finally they reached the platform that would be their bed for the night and most of the day.
"Why so high? - she smiled - and how did you manage to build something here with only ladders to get up the tree?"
She felt a tinge of pride as she heard the interest - maybe a bit of awe - in his voice. It was hard to impress the heir of Gondor especially since he had been less than impressed with her for a while. She had pretended to be a man back in Gondor and then she had prevented him from going back to his country and fight alongside his people against Sauron. It was better and now he could become their beacon of hope in the darkness but still this slight resentment was sometimes standing between them.
"It's the perfect height to avoid eyes from above and below. As for the how, let us just say it was complicated and it took us the best of three years."

After that, they were silent and she took the guard. At least it was one thing he had relented over the years. West of the Ered Luin he had learned that being on a mission with an elf could allow some rest since they did not need to sleep as often and not in the same way as men. He had probably wished he had not had the opportunity of meeting so many elves, but then again, he was headed to Rivendell when hell broke loose on them all.
She would wake him a few hours later so that he could take the second watch. That was one thing he had not conceded, and it was right. They were at war and each soldier needed to be able to wake up alert and prepared at any point of the night and getting used to long night sleep was not good for alertness. But Boromir of Gondor had always been a warrior, he had been born one, and now heir to a throne that would see no king.

As they sat later that night he asked
"How long do you think?"
"I don't know, maybe another month if we are lucky."
She sighed.
"Earendil, we will reach them. We knew it would be hard but you volunteered as did I."
"Of course I did, of course you would. I know this part of Middle Earth better than any of the elves who lived in the Havens, and this is where your heart has been since the beginning of this war. But now we arrive where he is most powerful and where his eye will be drawn more often than not."
"His eyes will be on Angmar if all goes well, at least for a little while. And you and I both know that he has always been more powerful on this side of the Misty Mountains. I know, I lived under his shadow all my life. But people are fighting now, here too. We will keep fighting. It is Rohan, it is Gondor, we won't give up. Our people are warriors and they will fight to the death."
"I remember that." She breathed with a smile. Oh yes, she did remember.


~~~~~~~~


Now

They had been lucky, extremely luck considering all that could have gone wrong. They had barely escaped a battalion of goblins going towards Lothlorien by the Anduin saved only by Eari's sight and Boromir's uncanny ability to find a hideout where none would have.

Combining their strengths they had finally made it to their destination. But then luck seemed to run out. First they had crossed path with a group of orcs, probably scavenging the region for elves or some kind of food. There had only been a dozen of them but they had had to fight and it had been something they had tried to avoid at all cost since their departure from the Ered Luin. And then it came, like the last straw on the oliphaunt back. Exhausted as they were they did not hear them until they were surrounded and then it was too late. About twenty men, and obviously Easterlings.

She touched his arm, holding him still. She knew Boromir would want to fight; Easterlings and Haradrims had ruined beautiful Ithilien with their raids long before Sauron had regained the Ring and he would not easily forget that. Neither forgive, but then she would not either. She knew how things were and she knew what these men could do to a woman, without mentioning an elf. But he wore pride on his face for so was Boromir of Gondor; he was a Lord among men before the war, even more so now. The men closed in on them, faces menacing, vicious curved blades out.

They glanced at each other and she knew that both would die rather than being turned into slaves or worse. In the same movement they freed their swords from their sheaths and by doing so both claimed their allegiance. There would be no mistaking the markings on Boromir's sword, which were bearing the tree and the stars, neither could they miss the making of the elvish blade she was holding. They would be hacked to pieces but they would bring a few with them. Or not... One barked - or so it seemed to her - what probably was an order and all their swords moved back into their scabbards except for three. He walked towards them and spoke in a heavily accented Westron.
"We have been waiting for you."
She did not lower her blade, neither did Boromir. If anything he stood straighter, towering over the man who was already tall, facing him radiating with strength and with that air that she had sometimes seen in Aragorn: a man of Numenore facing a man of the darkness. It did not deter the Easterling though; at least he was brave. Good.
"The eagle told us of your coming."
She relaxed slightly. He did not. It was not really good news if they had been seen from the skies but she had not even imagined that there were eagles left. She knew for sure that Gwaihir had been killed in the first year of the war, if you could call the crushing of the world a war.
The man met her eyes and said another word "Ithryn Luin." His elvish was even more accented as his Westron but he may not even know what this meant in her language. But she knew. She laid her hand on Boromir's arm softly.
"It is fine. This is who we are supposed to meet. We will follow."
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Postby Claymore » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:26 pm

Morwë

They started evacuating the children the next night. It was long and nerve-wracking process, as the small ones had to be transported by threes or fours on eagle-back while avoiding notice. It went smoothly though and each time the Eagles came back they also brought a few of Lord Dinin's men. By the time the sun started peeking through it was a mixed bunch that filled the clearing. About twenty of Dinin's men had joined them bringing the Celin Faer to fifty. All the children under the age of fiteen had left, even though a few of the older ones had protested. But Morwë had been adamant, fifteen was the limit. He knew that if this had been normal times he too would have been send away. Hell even Artanis would have been send to safety, but these were not normal times and being fifteen now meant being an adult. Bad times did not spare children because they were young. He observed the rag-tag bunch before him. The easterlings were as yet slightly uneasy around the elves. That was something that would have to change Morwë knew. Soon they would venture out in some of the most dangerous terrain in Middle-Earth. They may have the forest on their side but the slightest mistake could still cost many lives, and elves and easterling would have to trust each other intimately. Twenty-five of the Celin Faer had been on the other side of the Forest Road and knew what could be expected. Each would take either one of the easterlings, or one of the inexperienced elves with him, to make the other familiar with the traps and dangers of the forest. He hoped that within a month they would have found enough ways in to sneak a whole army to Dol-Guldur.


Djazi and Baran

They had been on the way for one month now. They had been lucky they had been able to steal two horses or they would have needed a lot more time. Still alot could happen in one month, and the resistance they had set up these last years was still fragile. Baran hoped the rumors were true and that their journey would not prove in vain. Crossing what once was Rohan and Rhovanion was a risky venture and sometimes they escaped capture only by a thread. More than once had he been happy for Djazi's ability to curse a blue streak in haradric. It had convinced many an orc not to mess with "the Southern Lord"and his "prisoner". Afterwards they would always laugh at the stupidity of the creatures, but it was as much to release pent up nerves than out of true hilarity. It only took one orc smarter than the rest and they would be done for. Reason the more to try to avoid contact as much as possible but with the plains of Rohan crawling with orcs and dunledings it wasn't always possible.


Rohan had not weathered the War well. The dunledings had taken advantage of the Dark Lord's victory and had driven the "Forgoil" out, chasing them up the same hills they had left behind. The few Rohirrim surviving in the Mark were cowed, contact-shy creatures, who did not welcome any stranger, especially if one of them was black. For the last month they had been essentially on their own. They had given Dol Guldur and the Mirkwood a wide berth but they were now currently following the Celduin,coming ever closer to the looming forest and hoping that sooner or later they would meet an element of the rumored resistance. If there was a resistance. Oh how Baran hoped that the rumor was true! The journey back would be difficult if they were proven wrong. Autumn was well on its way and already they'd had trouble finding supplies. Baran glanced at his little brother. Djazi was still not used to the Northern climate and with hunger plaguing them, he felt the cold even more keenly. Nowadays he only pulled down the scarf from his nose to talk. Baran supposed he didn't look much better. Suddenly Djazi stiffened. Baran didn't need to see his face to know that Djazi's instincts had detected something. In the beginning the sharpness and accuracy of those instincts had amazed him but now he simply accepted them for what they were. Djazi's instinct had saved them far too many times to question them. Baran wheeled his horse around so that each was looking in the opposite direction and behind him he could hear Djazi take the spear from his back. He did the same with his axe.


Soon after their watchers revealed themselves, now that they knew they had been sensed. Easterlings, as far as Baran could see, with a thorough knowledge of the terrain, if the confident and easy way of moving was anything to go by. Behind him he heard Djazi adressing what seemed to be the leader in one of the eastern dialects he knew. Baran tightened his grip on his axe. He knew Djazi was merely stalling for time. These were not easily tricked orcs and there was no way Djazi could talk them out of this one. He tried to count how many of them there were. Six of them surrounding them and two archers, this didn't look good. Djazi kept talking though.
'Djazi, what's going on?'Baran asked in his brother's language.
Djazi hesitated
-They are not being clear about it, but.. I think they are the local resistance.
-Easterlings?
-Yes they keep hinting at something.
Djazi quickly asked something to the leader. The answer made Baran almost tumble out of the saddle.
...Ithryn Luin...
No wonder Djazi had not understood. The Ithryn Luin were an old almost forgotten legend even to him.
-Lilttle brother?
-Yes?
-I think we can trust them.


The easterlings accompagnied them back to the headquarters. They were led to the main hall were they were personally greeted by Dain, the King under the Mountain. Djazi and Baran were stunned. When the rumors of a resistance had reached them they had not thought they would stumble on such a strong stronghold. Most of the dwarven community had survived, and most of the population of Dale also seemed to have found a refuge here. There was also an entire easterling clan stationed here and what seemed to be about forty-odd elven children sleeping in a heap in a corner. This was beyond what they had imagined. Maybe there was still hope yet.


They were each given some stew with the grumbled remark:"You look like you need it". Though nothing fancy, it was rich and filling and again they couldn't fail to notice how well the resistance was doing here. Back in the Ered Nimrais, hunger was probably starting to gnaw and the stew would be getting more watery by the day untill it could barely be called soup by the end of the winter. Baran suddenly froze. He could hear people heading towards the hall and he recognized one of the voices. Surely it could not be? Djazi gave him an odd look. Baran noticed distractedly that his brother seemed warmer now as he had discarded his scarf, before being sweeped in the presence that was Boromir, son of Denethor, Warden of the Tower.
-Captain!
Boromir started and hesitated , before recognizing Baran with a startled laugh.
'Baran! You, son of a fox! We thought you dead!,' he exclaimed, enthusiastically embracing the other man, solidly thumping him on the back.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:03 pm

The greeting between the two friends did not last long. For two old men came out of the shadows. "We have waited long for you, Boromir of Gondor." said the nearer of them. "I am Alatar. This is my companion Pallando." The other Wizard looked at them silently.

"A great help this is." said Pallando at last. "We had thought all Gondor had been swept away, as they bore the chief hatred of the Dark Lord. Welcome, Boromir. Welcome, Djazi, Earendil, and Baran. The resistance is joined together. We are currently planning an assault upon Dol Guldur. Meneldor has been transferring troops to that purpose."

Meneldor had returned with his vassal Carmandil. They had to fly warily, as this was the time of night that the Nazgul were usually active, though they were active at most times now. It was how his brothers Gwaihir and Landroval had died in the first assault, struck down by the Ringwraiths. They had grown greatly in power since their Master had regained the Ring.

The Eagle entered, though he was not used to such dwellings, preferring to be above ground. But times were very different now. "All have been transferred, Pallando. We are ready."
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Postby earendil81 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:28 pm

Boromir had turned away from Baran at the Wizards' entrance. And then he heard he had been expected; in another time, he would have been proud that his name was known and respectfully pronounced by everyone. But it had been another age, another life altogether. While he still appreciated the respect he could only hope that the Enemy was still unaware of him.

In that other age, he would probably not have trusted these men. In fact, there was still an uneasiness in his mind. There were after all of the same essence as Sauron, Maiar, powerful beings prone from what both Sauron and Saruman proved, to temptation as they were. Only when a Maiar fell to that, the fall of mortals was even deeper. Yet, unlike Sauron they had taken human form as Mithrandir and apparently were of the same material as he. And as Eärendil had reminded him, they were the strongest allies they could find now in this war.

She was very subdued at that moment, and he knew that she was listening hard to everything that was being said, as she had done since they arrived. She had remained on her own but he had noticed how her eyes had moved from one place to the other following the movement of her mind concentrating on each conversation worthy of hearing. She had shown no emotion at what was being told of massacres in Mirkwood, or Rohan. She had known, she had seen the same things in Eriador. Yet, her eyes widened as the two men announced their intention to assault Dol Guldur. He knew her well enough but he could not quite tell whether it was in shock or in awe. He observed her quietly and more closely. It actually felt that she had expected something like this; how could she know?

It was one thing about her, she seemed to know more about everything than what she let on and he had been more than surprised when the handful of "Rangers" - as they had been called by the people in Eriador - that had reached them in the Ered Luin had turned to her as a leader without a second of hesitation. She was younger than him but they had seemed to think that she was more fit to lead them, and it had taken her refusal to be in the lead when he, the heir of Gondor and Numenor, was here. Cirdan had decided that day and said something about an unwilling leader not being good for the free people.

As the eagle entered the room he spoke.
"Alatar, Baran and I have lived under the shadow of Mordor all of our lives. Gondor lost the Eastern shore of Osgiliath to the Wraiths before he recovered the Ring. The odds are somewhat against us. What is your plan?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She had sat most of the night and the day in silence. The Wizards were busy and would not see them before. Boromir on the other hand had spoken and connected with a number of Dalers to gather information. From what she heard, it turned out that many had survived under the Mountain, much more than she could have expected, more than Cirdan had foreseen. In fact, she knew that the place held more people than there was in the caves of the Ered Luin.

There were at least three languages spoken in the room where they had been brought: Easterling by the men who had found them, Westron and Khuzdul. She found herself wishing there were people of the sylvan elves to speak in the beloved tongue, but she was to learn that there were no elves left in Mirkwood, all of them massacred at the beginning of the war, but for a group of children who were on their way to the hidden city. Never did she see them though; if they spoke no Westron at all and they were as young as they seemed, they probably had shied away from the crowd in a more acute way than she was.

Boromir would gather all the news they needed; he was after all the Heir of Gondor and might as well be the last seed of Numenor in Middle Earth now. Everyone would want to speak with him and to him for even before the war his name was famed. And he was believed dead, a corpse rotting at the foot of what had become the twin tower of Morgul, destroyed as his father's and probably his brother. It was, she imagined, like seeing a ghost, and by the end of the night, everyone knew that Boromir, Warden of the White Tower, and new Stewart of Gondor was in their midst, ready to fight.

She noticed though that he said nothing of their own resistance; only that West of the Misty Mountains people were also trying to survive and bring down the power that held them in its iron fist. He was cautious, as he had always been. But he could not be as cautious as she had to be, and knowing her he would probably wonder why she was so silent, so distant, and yet he would not ask, because he was who he was. Still she felt that again she was betraying him for not saying what she knew, what she had brought with her on that perilous path. She had kept that a secret for five years except from Cirdan and the Lady Arwen who had had the right to know. And now she knew, the time was coming to tell the tale. Could she, should she say that tale in front of all those people? No, it would be a story for the wizards only, and maybe a few others including Boromir...

Maybe he would resent her for keeping yet another secret from him but there had been no other way. If word had spread about this, there would be nothing left in the Ered Luin. Sauron would have come himself to crush it and destroy all that was left of Numenor. His wrath would already be terrible when he learned of Boromir's survival. His all goal has been to erase any hope so that his dominion would last forever. He had destroyed all the elves, almost; he had hammered Numenor to its knee and beheaded it when he overwhelmed Gondor and killed the last male of Isildur's line. What would his fury be if he knew, if he had an inkling of this? So few knew the truth, and it would be best if it remained so.

She startled as Boromir's voice came through the mist of her thoughts in which she had been lost.
"They say the wizards are expecting another group of Easterlings. Then they will see us."
"Aye, Captain."
"You seem..."
But he was interrupted by another "Captain", an acquaintance from Gondor, more than that, a brother in arms. And even if you did not know, you would have guessed by the brotherly embrace. She actually knew the man, by sight. He was Baran and he had been a young captain in the guard when she was in Gondor. She could not suppress the slight chill as their obvious camaraderie showed in their words. The feeling he had yet to share with her; or maybe he did but did not express it the same way because she was a woman and an elf. She sighed.

The wizards came and greeted them; there was a question in Pallando's eyes as he looked at her. He was not speaking a lot, not unlike her, but he saw. She nodded slightly. They would need a private conversation soon enough. And it was even more needed when their goal was clear. This was why Cirdan had sent them here. And the fateful question.
"What is your plan?"
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Postby Claymore » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:49 pm

Morwë

Two nights now since the children had been brought to safety and today they had made their first patrol on the other side of the Forest Road. They hadn't gone very far since they had to be careful. If there was suddenly more action in the disputed territory, the orcs might notice and then their whole plan would be blown. So instead they had to reclaim their territory slowly but steadily until it was secure enough to build a base from which they could venture out in the more dangerous terrain and attack Dol Guldur. Morwë was satisfied about this first patrol. Though the Easterlings were not born-and-bred hunters like the elves were, they were adapting surprisingly well, and they did not seem to have problems with taking orders from people who were often, many years younger than they were.
Now everybody was resting except from the sentinels. Morwë's head jerked up when one of the sentinels whistled. Two thrills, one or more Eagles coming this way. He frowned. They had agreed not to communicate too much to avoid raising suspicions. That Eagles were coming this way meant something important had happened.


When Morwë arrived at the Dwarven Keep he was greeted by a giddy Artanis. Not being much of a warrior she had decided to go with the children, to help take care of them.
-Another elf, muindor-nin, another elf!
-What?!
-Another elf! Here!We're not the only ones anymore. There are others!
-Truly?! How?!
"She just arrived this evening, together with Captain Boromir. Morwë, I'm so happy!'She exclaimed, embracing her younger brother in a hug. Morwë returned it, laughing. Even if this elf was the only one, it meant quite a lot for them. They were with so few, that even one addition, was a reason for celebration. The siblings almost ran to the Hall.


Djazi

The meeting was suddenly interrupted by a happy shout. Djazi looked around until he located the source. Two youngsters had just entered the Hall and the boy seemed to be the one to have shouted. Djazi frowned. Though both seemed human at first sight he was quick to see some fundamental differences. The pointed ears were a dead giveaway as was the odd grace he had only seen in very few humans.
Elves He realized. Just like the children, and Boromir's companion
Said companion was now being overwhelmed by a rapid stream of elvish. A gentle laugh from one of the wizards interrupted them.
-Morwë, welcome, we're glad you were able to come. I hope it wasn't inconvenient for you.
The boy, who seemed to be the afore-mentioned Morwë, shook his head.
'No, we just finish patrol,' He answered in broken westron.
-How did it go?
-Good, we can make base on other side of Forest Road in two weeks I think.
- Ah good, good.
The wizard turned to the rest of those present.
-My friends may I present to you Morwë the leader of the elven resistance in Mirkwood.
Across the room, Djazi could see disbelieving faces. He couldn't blame them. Morwë seemed so young. But Djazi knew that didn't have to mean anything. He had been like the young elf once, his homeland demanded that her children grow up quickly. He hadaccompanied the hunters at the age of twelve, had been on his first lone hunt at the age of fifteen, and had lost everything a few days later. He knew not to underestimate the elf. He may have looked young when he had greeted the other elf, but now he was every inch the leader again, the longasymmetric bow resting easily between shoulder-blades, hand on the the sword with the ease of habit. Djazi bowed in acknowledgement.
-A pleasure to meet you. I am Djazi of the Lion Tribe.
He clapped a hand on Baran's shoulder.
-This is Baran Ulfson, my brother in all but blood. We represent the resistance in Ered Nimrais.
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Postby earendil81 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:25 pm

The Wizard did not answer Boromir's question; instead they turned towards two people rushing through the doors, towards them, towards her actually. Suddenly she was surrounded by the beloved language, and the feeling of it almost crushed her resolution not to shed a tear for those of the Eldar who had departed to Mandos far too early. She did not answer to anything they said at first, unable to figure out her emotions and how not to let them transpire. She usually was good at that, but those two children... it was so unfair. Then she whispered
"Edhel cuinar ned Ered Luin. Maethar."*

It probably would mean a lot to them, just as much as their presence meant to her. But they had no chance to discuss further for Pallando's laugh interrupted and Alatar asked gently some sort of report from Morwë. She could see the change in the youngling's attitude when he was introduced as the leader of the resistance in Mirkwood. Had she not heard that all the adults had been killed she would have been shocked.
The shock had come earlier. For in the counting of the elves she still was a child and she would never have been sent to war had she not been part Numenorean and stubborn as a mule. How could there only be children younger than 20 even now, when elves of a few centuries had been sent away by Elrond to avoid the massacre that happened in former Eryn Lasgalen. She could not comprehend Thranduil's decision, but then she had not had to make the choice and for all she knew even the children of the Galadhrim had been killed. At least there were a handful of the sylvan elves saved, for now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So there was resistance in Mirkwood however improbable the leader and in the Ered Nimrais. That would have been a relief if he had not known his father was dead. What were the chances of many Gondorians to have survived when the hammer had fallen hardest on them?

He spoke then deliberately but not extremely loud, he did not want to have everybody listen.
"I am Boromir, son of Denethor. And this is Eärendil, she speaks for the elves of the Ered Luin. This is where we have come from. There are ships ready."

He did not need to tell more, Cirdan had said it would be enough. He knew that some information had been given to him only, and that some had been entrusted in Eari, so that any information scrapped or tortured out of one of them would make no sense.




*"There are elves alive in the Ered Luin. They are fighting."
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Postby PatriotBlade » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:43 am

“Tarryn, you’re bleeding through again.”

The voice behind her was strong, gravely from living the better part of his life out of doors, yet soft enough to not be heard by their sharp eared companions. She smiled despite the pain she was in. Garreth was thoughtful that way. She sighed and nodded.

“Let’s find shelter for the night!” He called out to the others. "I’d hate to get caught still walking about after dark.”

There was no need to repeat his veiled order. Every one of the five rangers, and even Wenlynn, the other female of the group, were nursing wounds from the last time they’d tried to make up ground in the dark.

They quickly found a thick patch of woods and began to set up camp among the roots of the trees.

Saulo and his wife Wenlynn started setting out some cold supper, knowing that they dare not risk a fire, while the two determined bachelors, Penn and Barton used the waning light to check each other's wounds. Garreth changed the dressing on Tarryn's shoulder before he checked his own minor cuts that had long started healing.

As usual, Garreth took first watch as the other five companions tried to sleep.

Tarryn was to take second watch, but she had a suspicion that he would skip her tonight. She’d be mad at him if only she wasn’t so tired. So tired.

Four hours later, she woke with the throbbing pain in her right shoulder. She knew the wound was beginning to fester. The placement of it was torture, rendering that the arm next to useless, probably for the rest of her life. It made her angry and even more determined to fulfill her mission. She lay still, gritting her teeth against the pain and waiting for Garreth to wake her.

As she thought he would, he walked over to Penn instead and nudged him awake with the toe of his boot.

“You skipping Tog-Wea tonight?” he asked in a groggy whisper as he got to his feet.

“Yup.” Garreth was already turning over in his bedroll. “She won’t admit it, but she’s in a lot of pain and the wound’s not healing. I think it’s getting infected and it’s still bleeding a lot.”

“Everyone else’s injuries are healing nicely.” The other said, surprised.

“Yeah, well hers isn’t. She’s trying to hide it, but I can tell its sapping all her strength. I’m wondering if there wasn’t some kind of poison on that orc’s blade.”

The other nodded. “She’ll be angry in the morning.”

“Not for long. She won’t have the energy.”

Tarryn squeezed her eyes shut. "I'm weak!" she thought to herself. "I'm slowing them down, putting them in danger, and as usual Garreth is too concerned about me and losing his focus. Curses on all *tog*!" She knew she needed help and soon. But where could they go? She drifted back into a restless sleep, hoping the answer would come to her.

The world lightened, but the sun stayed hidden behind a thick layer of gray clouds as the rangers broke camp.

Tarryn still didn't have any answers. No vision in the night and no inspiring spark of imagination with what was considered dawn.

She couldn't even muster any anger other than a glare at Garreth for skipping her watch.

The six of them ate a cold breakfast and set out again, wondering quietly among themselves where they should go next on their quest.

"Lake Town." Tarryn finally muttered to Garreth. "Old Bard."

He nodded. "I'll tell the others." He moved ahead to tell the others what had been decided. He soon returned to her side. They walked along in silence until mid-day. “Are you in pain?” he asked, softly.

She nodded, but kept trudging on.

“You want me to call a rest?”

“If they need it.” She gingerly touched her bandaged shoulder, grimaced, then pulled a hunk of jerky from her pack.

Her friend looked her in the eye. "You do realize that you'll probably never fight right handed again, right?"

"Yes!" she snapped. "I'm now left handed. Don't remind me again until I am well enough to make you regret it."

He smiled in spite of his concerns. ”Yes, Tog-Wea. I will never remind you again.”

They again fell into silence as Garreth considered how to reach their destination.

Old Bard was no longer the king of Dale, having relinquished the crown to his son, a good though distrustful man. Visitors were no longer welcome within Dale’s borders, so to get the help they needed, they had to stay hidden.

As night began to fall, Tarryn decided that they were close enough to the villages of Dale for them to dare another night hike. They arrived at the shores of Long Lake just after midnight.

While the others kept Tarryn hidden in the edge of the forest, Garreth and began to walk up and down the lake shore, whistling like a thrush. Soon there was the sound of fluttering wings as a bird landed on his shoulder. The young man muttered a few words to it before it again took wing. When the bird was gone, he sat down on the stony shore to wait.

An hour later, a wide raft, rowed by a middle-aged man appeared through the mist. “Be ye friend or foe?”

“Friend,” Garreth replied. “Of the sort who returned Black Arrow from the lake.”

“Ranger,” The man stated simply. “Our young king is not keen on receiving visitors to our lands.”

“We seek the aid of Old Bard, father of the king, not the king himself.”

“We?” he asked as the raft scraped onto the stones.

Garreth nodded. “I and my five companions. One is severely injured. We are all rangers.”

“Very well,” the man said. “Come. I will take you to the old king.”

The young man waved his companions forward. Only three came; Saulo leading Wenlynn by the hand, followed by Barton. The latter stopped and whispered in Garreth’s ear. “She’s fallen asleep and Pann can’t wake her.”

Garreth was to the hiding place in seconds. “Tarryn?”

Pann looked up from their leader’s prone form. “We thought she slept, but she hasn’t stirred beyond shallow breaths.”

“Take her pack and weapons.”

Pann scrambled to collect them as Garreth carefully lifted her limp body into his arms and carried her to the raft.

The oarsman took them across the lake and to the other side of Lake Town, where he finally pulled up to a dock, right outside the door of a large, fine house.

An old man leaning on a cane was waiting for them. His once black hair was gray, but his blue eyes had not been dimmed with time. Even had the thrush on his shoulder not told him that these were the ones, he would have known.

He looked over the first four Rangers to disembark; how one held the hand of his woman, while the other two helped his servant to secure the raft before splitting the remaining gear and steadying the last young man and his load.

Old Bard frowned when he saw who was being carried, unconscious into his house, and the bloody bandage on her shoulder. "Little Tarryn," he muttered as he led the travelers through his halls. "I remember her first Wandering. Strider brought her here." He waved Garreth into a room with a large bed. The sheets had been turned down in anticipation of an occupant. "Lay her there, lad. The rest of you pick a room down this hall. Warm baths and beds await you."

When he saw that his guests were getting settled, he returned to Tarryn's room. Garreth had laid her on the bed as he had been bidden, but he had yet to leave her side. He was kneeling by the bed, still holding her hand.

The former king smiled, then rested a hand on the young man's shoulder. "You too, lad. I'll tend to her myself."

Garreth shook his head, his expression sorrowful. "I should have made her seek help sooner." his voice cracked from fatigue and grief. "Instead, I let her wait, even when I saw her wound was getting worse, not better. I let her keep going until now."

"Lad,"

"Garreth, sir."

"Garreth, I've known Tarryn for a long time. Such a stubborn female I never did meet, but I tell you now that you could no more have compelled her to seek help before she was ready, than you could have willed the sun to shine at midnight. Do not blame yourself. Go. Wash the road dust from yourself, rest, and we'll see what comes with the dawn."

With great reluctance, the young man obeyed.

Old Bard sighed and began examining Tarryn's wound. "Thought I'd never get him to leave, Little One." he muttered as he carefully cleaned the cut. "He truly does care about you. And I don't think it would hurt you none to return the sentiment." He continued to mutter to both himself and the servant girls that came and went with clean basins of water, bandages, clothes, and helped the former king to tend the injured young woman. "You've really gotten yourself into a mess this time, didn't you, little one? What ever have you been doing?" Probably going to have to learn to fight left handed now."

The thrush began to flap and chirrup insistently.

"What's that?" the former king asked, looking at the bird. "Yes, good idea, old friend. Fly and fetch us a blue wizard."

*orc*
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Postby earendil81 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:04 pm

They had talked for some time; about tactics, strategies, how to best go about this attack on dark Dol Guldur. There would be death: a great many of them if they were not careful enough.

After gauging the people, Boromir had finally hinted that an attack was being brought to Angmar as well and that it would be soon. Not to far from now if she had kept her counting of days properly since their departure from the Lindon bay. Maybe they should coordinate - in as much as such a thing could be done - the attacks. Yet, she had said nothing; there were enough men around to make these deductions by themselves and without her talking. Everyone here, no matter their age, were seasoned warriors and had lived to see the day when finally Middle Earth was trying to shake the yoke of Sauron's dominion. The only rule here was not to get crushed by the hammer that would fall swiftly in answer to those acts of rebellion. But all present were painfully aware of this.

She was observing them as they exchanged words, got lost in their own thoughts or voiced the latter. For some reason she felt uneasy. She had never been shy in the face of battle; afraid yes, and it was good to maintain your sense of preservation. She reveled in a fight, although there had been nothing satisfying in the scavenging of food places or the ambush on orcs in Rhudaur. Maybe a part of her had revolted against the fact that innocent people would pay or be punished for a rebellion they were not part of. And neither orcs nor Nazgûl were famed for their forgiveness. But that was not it; not now. She felt an inexplicable sense of dread and foreboding that she did not understand. And that, as much as anything else, kept her quiet.

She knew that Boromir would wonder at her silence; although she was the listening one, she would always voice an advice of some sort that could make the difference between success or being killed. She had none to offer right now. She also knew that Pallando was surveying and maybe expecting her to speak before the other were done, but no, it was not time. How could she explain to all those people the secret she had carried with her since the beginning of this era of darkness? Why was this particular burden starting to weigh on her now? It had not before... no it was not true, but not as much. Was it the perspective of sharing it with someone finally? What a cruel irony, she thought slightly bitter. How could she put the burden she had tried to refuse, until an order had been given, on anyone but herself?

Suddenly she was aware of movement around her; she snapped out of her thoughts. There was no time left for pondering, she would have to decide what to do about this, and very soon. But maybe the wizards would be able to help there, or at least offer guidance for their action in this war would probably not be more than pulling the strings and advising for fear of being discovered and utterly destroyed. Pallando actually met her eyes in that moment, as if he had heard her thoughts, as impossible as it was. She nodded slightly, a movement probably caught by some of the others. Pallando whispered something in Alatar's ear, something not even elves would hear. Alatar looked at her, showing no surprise at all, even if he felt some. He came towards her and she followed the two Maiar out of the great room. They moved swiftly through a dark corridor and into a smaller space that was simply garnished. There were a couple of seats and a table. Alatar invited her to sit but she could not. As it turned out, now that they both were intent on what she had to share, she found herself mute and unable to utter the simplest word. Why was it so impressive.

Pallando spoke then, for the first time that night, and his voice was like that of the sea, calling to the calm in her, soothing in a way that only her aunt's had been.
"You obviously have a message of great importance child, tell us."
Child... she smiled. It was true, in the presence of those beings, she was only but a child in the world, a baby. And yet she was not young anymore, war had taken that away from her a while ago already. He was being encouraging though.

"I bring more than a message in fact, rather a symbol. One that was entrusted to me first by the heir of Isildur and then by Cirdan. I am not certain how it is to be used though." She removed the second belt that was hanging around her waist. Boromir had known what it was all along and then again he had not had any idea of what it was. She pulled at the hilt and set the sword that had rested against her since the beginning of the war on the small table. They would certainly have recognised it but she said it nonetheless.

"This is Narsil reforged. Cirdan ordered it remade after Sauron reclaimed the Ring as was prophesied by the Numenoreans long ago. When the Ring came back, so would Narsil. The smiths of the Lindon did this. My king wanted to rename it Anduril, but I fear he will never carry it to war now. I know how much of a beacon this can become, but I am not sure if any one can wield without danger for him or herself. Cirdan told me you might advise."

it was the wizards' turn to be silent, and to devise an answer, maybe a plan to what the coming of the sword that had cut the ring free of Sauron's hand on the slope of Orodruin could mean.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:30 pm

Pallando was silent for some time. Looking at the sword, the one which had cut the ring from Sauron's finger long ago, he was deep in thought. Finally, he spoke.

"What we thought was lost forever when the Enemy regained the Ring has come to us." he said. "And it is right that the last Numenorean should bear it. He deigns to go to Angmar, to Carn Dum, and it is fitting he should bear this. Even the Witch-King who reigns there should fear it."

Eari looked into the Wizard's eyes. "But is now the time for him to receive it?"

"Now and no other time." said Pallando. "For nothing lesser should this be bestowed. Though it is still said that not by the hand of man shall the dreadful King fall."

Just then, there was a twittering. A thrush came into the room and alit on Alatar's shoulder, trilling its song.

"Eh? Speak up. I can't understand you." said Alatar. "Oh, that Aiwendil was here. He could converse with beast and bird."

But the thrush was insistent. It flew to the door, and back again, as if summoning him.

"Pallando, I shall see what this thrush wants. I wish that men of Bard were here. They could understand thrush speech."

Pallando nodded as Alatar left.

"Now that we are alone, we should open counsel to each other." said Pallando to Earendil.

Meanwhile, Alatar followed the thrush to where Meneldor and Carmandil awaited. The thrush perched near the Eagles and trilled its song.

Carmandil looked up. "I can understand what is said. Bard is in need down in Dale. One is injured that is needed in this war."

"Then I shall go. Carmandil, will you bear me."

"My lord?" he looked to Meneldor.

"Go. It can only be for our good."

"I will bear you to Dale then."

They both went out, the thrush on the Blue Wizard's thoulder, and he mounted Carmandil, who took off southward towards Dale.
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Postby PatriotBlade » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:29 pm

The thrush directed them to land on Old Bard's roof.

When the blue wizard had dismounted he looked into the face of the eagle. "Fly away, Friend. You know how the young king is about 'breaches of his borders'."

Both the man and the large bird chuckled at this.

"Take word back as to where I am, then return for me after nightfall. I may need you to transport people from the house then, as well."

Carmandil bowed his feathered head, then took to the skies just as the first light of dawn began to streak the sky with vivid colors.

Alatar followed the thrush down a narrow flight of stairs, through hallways and rooms, until the little bird finally beat his wings thrice against a door before fluttering down to the carpet. The wizard entered the room.

Old bard was dosing in a cushoned armchair on the far side of a large bed, but he looked up as his old friend entered.

On the near side of the bed, a young man with damp, shoulder length, dark brown curls was kneeling and clasping the hand of the figure on the bed. he rose and turned to face the intruder, his posture showing him ready for a fight, despite his bleery, brown eyes.

Alatar determined that this lad was on the verge of exaustion.

"Who are you?" the young man asked.

"I am Alatar the Blue," he bowed as deeply as his old joints would allow. "And I am at your service."

" 'Bout time, you old trickster." Bard grinned as he stood to greet the wizard. "This little one is in need of healing beyond my power to give." He gestured to the figure in the bed. "she was set on a quest by Strider, himself, so woe betide any who hinder her."

The blue wizard turned his gaze to the girl on the bed.

Her skin was parchment pale, except for her fever flushed cheeks, her long black hair, though braided back into a single tail, was limp and flat. She had been ill for a while. She had been proped onto her left side and he could see the profile of a thick bandage on her raised right shoulder, under the thin nightgown she'd been dressed in.

"How long has she born this wound?"

"Two days short of a fortnight."

Alatar looked at the young man sternly.

He bowed his head before continuing, "Too long, I know, Sir. She would not let me get help any sooner. We were ambushed by Uruk-hai. All of us sustained injuries, and Tarryn is very good at hiding things from people when she wishes, so though our wounds are healed or healing nicely, hers began to fester, and we, her companions did not notice right away."

"I told you, Garreth Lad, that if I know Little Tarryn, and I do, there was nothing you could do until she was ready for you to."

The young man nodded. "I understand, and I agree, but I was supposed to be her guardian and I feel I've failed her."

The wizard waved his hand, as if airing the blame out of the room. "All this is water that should be allowed to flow under the bridge. This wound was caused by an orc blade, correct?"

"Uruk-hai." Garreth corrected.

"Poisoned blade."

"We believe so," replied Bard.

Alatar stepped to the young woman's bedside and losened the collar of her nightgown until he could slide it down from her shoulder, then carefully removed the bandage.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:19 pm

As Alatar unwrapped the bandage, he said "Heat some water. I may not have the healing skill of Elrond, but I will do what a wizard can do."

He washed the wound, singing in a strange tongue. Reaching into his pouch, he took out a mixture of herbs. "Something I found in the East, for poisoned wounds just like this." He cast the herbs into the water and prepared it. Binding it in new bandages, he had it saturated with the healing mixutre, all the time singing his strange song. It had a wholesome effect not unlike athelas, but it was not that herb.

The pallor slowly faded from the young girl's face, and she breathed more evenly. "It will be a while before she is fully recovered, but the worst is passed. Much longer, and she would have been beyond my aid."
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Postby PatriotBlade » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:58 pm

Garreth relaxed for the first time since learning of his friend's injury, once the wizard had pronounced his judgement and the young man had witnessed Tarryn's feaver break. He even allowed Old Bard to send him off to bed where he slept soundly for several hours.

When he awoke, he made his way back to her bed side.

Old Bard had long retired to his own chambers, and the blue wizard had fallen asleep in a comfy armchair when Garreth settled beside Tarry's bed.

She was still sleeping, but it was true, restful sleep, unlike any she'd had in a long time.

He held her hand in his and sat still, waiting patiently for her to awaken.

He eventually dosed off again, his head on his arms beside her on the bed.

The sound of low, murmering voices and the tinkle of dishes gently awoke him.

The former king and Alatar the wizard were talking earnestly together, in low tones as they ate their breakfast. another tray was still covered and set aside.

Garreth sat up and stretched, feeling more rested than he had in a while.

"Ah, good morning to you, Lad. This tray is for you, Garreth, come have a mite of breakfast."

"Thank you, Sir."

He dug in eagerly, as Bard informed him that his other friends were awake and asking about Tarryn.

"I'll update them as soon as I've finished."

"No need. I did and told them you were resting. They all agreed that you needed it and said that you and that girl are two of a kind."

"What kind is that?"

"Stubborn. And going to drive yourselves right into early graves."

Garreth laughed then. He couldn't help it. What Bard had said wasn't particularly funny, infact, he'd been quite serious, but for some reason it made the young man laugh all the harder. When he finally settled down, his abdominal muscles were aching and he felt releaved. "They're right." he finally admitted. "We are of a kind."

Bard chuckled himself a moment, but sobered up again. "What's the plan, once she can travel?"

"We're searching for two things, the growing resistance we've been hearing rumors of, and she has a personal mission, given to her by Strider himself, just before he died. She has hinted at the importance and a few possable clues, but she keeps that secret on her own. We, that is, she, myself, and the others, agreed that it would be best that way so that if one of us were captured, we could not devulge a secret we didn't even know."
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Postby Claymore » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:45 am

With Alatar gone to investigate the thrush's news, the rest was quick to seek out their beds. It had already been late when they started their improvised council and everybody was tired. Djazi however couldn 't sleep. Usually his brother's quiet snores where enough to lull him, but not tonight. To many hopes, to many possibilities where swirling through his mind and he was cold again. That however was nothing new. He had been cold ever since he had come North. He was of the far South and he was build to weather the extreme heat there. His body was not made to cope with the frigid winters of the North and the constant lack of food they were suffering did not help matters. He rose and settled next to the smoldering fire, occasionally feeding it some wood.

The plans they had discussed today were daring, dangerous and bordering on foolish. But then again most plans were these days. The resistance almost always outnumbered, badly supplied, and weary. They had to fight with everything they had which usually amounted to their courage, their hopes and their superior knowledge of the terrain. Back home Djazi had already noticed that orcs tended to believe that enough violence made you master of a place. His tribe had made good use of that many times, using their familiarity with the land to beat bigger forces with cunning traps and well laid plans. The Mirkwood elves had learned that lesson too it seemed and the plans to take back Dol Guldur made good use of that particular flaw.
Sneak behind the lines, take the main camp while everyone is away, then flush out the rest. It could go horribly wrong, but if it works we will have won so much... No not if, when. My Tribe has used this tactic too once or twice and unless someone does something stupid or is not careful enough, this will work.
He turned his mind to what Boromir had said.
We also have a resistance in Eriador and they readying themselves to attack Angmar. If they succeed that will mean that most of the strongholds in the north would be in the hands of the Resistance.
Even though he tried not to hope to much Djazi couldn't help to think what that could mean. Moria would be a nightmare to conquer but they did not need to go under. In spring they could block the entrances and go over and if the rumors were true about Fangorn waking , maybe they could even take Isengard. From there even though it would be hard work they actually had chance in succeeding.
Ifs, maybe's and could be's. You can't hang a whole plan on that. For now that is just a dream, boy, keep your mind on the present.

Soon Baran and he would dare the crossing of Rohan to return to the Ered Nimrais, laden with some essential supplies they had been lacking but more importantly with birds for communication. Now that they had a better idea where the various resistances where it would be stupid not to coordinate things better. Even though Isengard and the dunledings curtailed most of their movements now, if (when) Dol Guldur was taken they could work together with the resistance here to harry and raid the Dark Lord's forces in Rohan . Djazi smiled tiredly at that. It would feel good to be able to do more than just surviving. Oh they executed a few raids once in a while but it was more because they dearly needed the supplies they won than because they had plans of taking back Rohan or Gondor. They were a small force, about three-hundred men young and old, and maybe two-hundred women, of which half fought just as hard as the men. There were also a few children, about fifty of them, though Djazi expected that if the winter was anything like the previous one they might lose about half.Ered Nimrais was a harsh place to live in and they were stuck between Isengard and Minas Tirith. The only reason they had survived thus far was because they knew the terrain better and were more than willing to make desperate gambits. The Dark Lord had already won after all so what did they have to lose? Now though it seemed they had a chance to win, no matter how small it was. It felt good.

Suddenly Djazi started to cough. He tried to muffle the sound in his scarf but the echoes of the hall enhanced the dry hacking sound more than he cared for. Two years ago he had been very ill and though he had overcome the disease the cough had never gone away. It had been steadily worsening ever since fall and he didn't want Baran to know of it.
-Cough sound bad.
If he hadn't been trying to regain his breath, Djazi would probably have started. He wasn't used to have somebody sneak on him. Morwë sat down next to him. This deep into the night the young leader had decided to spend the night in Erebor rather than risk to be seen by the fell beasts. It seemed that like Djazi he couldn't sleep. The night was just as much the time for hunting as the day was.
-It has been like that for some time. I'll survive.
-Ithryn Luin can help maybe.
-I know this disease. As far as I know you can't heal it. Just hope you live long enough to do what you want to do.
-What you want to do?
-To see Middle-Earth free, a dream I thought impossible. Now I find myself hoping again however.
-Hope good.
-Yes
They sat for a while in silence until they both went back to their bedrolls.
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Postby earendil81 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:33 am

"Now and no other time." said Pallando. "For nothing lesser should this be bestowed. Though it is still said that not by the hand of man shall the dreadful King fall."

Their discussion had been interrupted then, and Alatar had left. She was alone with Pallando. And they sat in silence for a long while; surprisingly it caused her to smile. It seemed that they were made of the same mould, so far as someone like her could be compared to a being like Pallando. From what she had noticed since she arrived, both of them tended to be observant and silent.

"He will want to go to Gondor, you know that? Whether or not you give him the sword. He has volunteered to come for just this I feel. And with Baran and this Djazi here, he may very well follow them down to the Ered Nimrais. What then?"

The Maiar looked at her intently and as she held his gaze, it seemed so many questions she had never asked herself came to her mind. What would it change if he left? They could do with someone like him in the Nimrais. They probably needed their share of hope and Boromir of Gondor would be a hope like no other. She knew it meant that she would become the natural leader in Lindon, although she had done all she could to escape this before. But it was not only that.
How did she actually feel about him leaving? They had fought together and they had relied upon each other since the beginning of the war. She had found him in the wild and brought him to Elrond and then to Lindon despite his resolve to go and die in Gondor. She had shown him Lorien, although it was only a shadow of its former self, something she had shared with no one. Only the Lady Undomiel was left alive who had seen the realm of the Galadhrim and she was now in Valinor. He had become as much as part of her life as Halbarad and Aragorn had been. Could she lose him as well? She sighed.

"I guess we will see what comes to pass."
Pallando nodded and stood up. Together they walked the place as others were sleeping, even the elves. She did not need sleep, had never needed it much and just now she was not sleepy at all. Too many emotions running through... She was usually good at hiding them, but how much could you hide from one of the Ithryn Luin?
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:02 pm

Pallando walked with the elf in silence. He was deep in thought, and it looked like Mandos himself was walking beside her. It would figure, as Pallando in the West that was forgotten was a Maia of Mandos, and knew many of the dooms of his master.

"Yes, he will want to go to Gondor." said the Wizard. "But it would be foolish to go there right now. It would be like knocking on the very gates of Barad-Dur. Haven't Alatar and I talked about trying to rescue Mithrandir from there? Nay, it would crush what resistance we have. Our path will end there, but has to take a path that would look strange on a map.

First, we go to Dol Guldur, and if we succeed there, then to Angmar. And probably try to liberate those small ones in Eriador that Mithrandir thought of so highly. If what he had said at the last White Council was accurate, they are too strong to be put down for long, and the Dark Lord greatly underestimates them. By then, we should have the attention of the Eye, and he will assail us in force.

But for now, Sauron is secure in his victory, holding the Ring, and thinks that none can defeat him, unless the Valar come, which would break the world. We must seize that chance. For being secure, he could become complacent. A slim chance, but better than none."

Thus he spoke as he walked with her.

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

Alatar listened where he was. A plan, and from... the one they called Strider? Was this a false trail, or a hope that endured when all hope was lost?

"That was very wise." said the Blue Wizard. "For our enemy is everywhere now, and we must preserve what hope there is. Carmandil will be back here soon, and we can go north to Erebor."
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Meneldor, Alatar and Pallando, Darkness Reigns: The Resistance


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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2001 11:11 am
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