The Wedding of Turelie Lurea and Hobbituk A Bard's Festival-All Welcome

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

Postby EdaintheRanger » Fri Jan 31, 2003 8:57 am

<i>"Well the man seems to still have vigour enough..."</i><BR><BR>Edain muttered, half to himself, as he helped the Blonde woman lay out Moujhadin on a spare bed. While his hands moved in practical first aid, his mind was elsewhere as he struggled to place the language that she had spoken. A dusty, forgotten language: Ancient Andûnic? No it was Quenyan, it had to be, no other speech did tie Edain's tongue in such knots, lost memories of a dull old Elf, and a stinging ear sprang to mind. Edain digressed, and returning to the present, he was acutely aware that he was speaking to a complete stranger. Yet a familiar one at that, it was most curious.<BR><BR>His face creased in a frown as he thought, his blue eyes scanning as he marshalled his thoughts. Moujhadin was safe now, with a few days bed rest (if they could force him to do that!) he would be up about and walking at the least. Perhaps Edain could prescribe some of that black, strong, malt drink that did enrich the blood, plus beef broth. That always helped in these cases of great blood loss. He felt that he was being watched and turned to face the Blonde haired woman.<BR><BR><i>"He will be well enough soon"</i> She said, then was about to move to check the others, when Edain touched her arm unconsciously.<BR><BR><i>"Wait."</i> he said, <i>"That rote you spoke. It was definitely Quenyan."</i><BR><BR>She shook her head and laughed abruptly, answering before Edain could continue. <i>"I don't know Quenyan. What makes you think that I could know Quenyan? I'm an healer from Dale."</i><BR><BR><i>"It is a tongue only known to few."</i> Edain continued, then changing his tack replied.<BR><BR><i>"From Dale? So you are not from Rohan then?"</i><BR><BR>Rather indignantly she said she wasn't from Rohan, and after grimacing slightly, Edain introduced himself.<BR><BR><i>"I am Edain of the Dunádain, I hail from Arnor, but I serve Lord, King Elessar, to the best of my ability."</i><BR><BR>Edain adjusted the silver rayed star that pinned his best Scarlet cloak, that he wore only for special occasions.<BR><BR><i>"Ahh, so you are not just a traveller then?"</i> the blonde woman said with a chuckle.<BR><BR><i>"No, I am not, I serve as a Ranger. But then you are not just a healer from Dale are you?"</i> he finished shrewdly.
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Postby SilverScribe » Fri Jan 31, 2003 12:41 pm

<BR><BR><i> Bardhywn had no time to answer her question, but the look in the Archer’s eyes told the truth. She had been foolish, but Scribbles could not fault her, not with all that had happened this day. She prayed that Bardhwyn’s natural sturdy constitution would mean that the hangover would not nearly kill her on the morrow.</i><BR><BR>"You may be immortal lady, but your precious friends will die and leave you alone. Even that big lump of an Easterling that you let go off with the Dark Elf. How could the marvellous bards not recognise the trap that she wove, see the poisonous web?”<BR><BR><i> Again the drunken womans words intruded. Scribbles turned away and downed the untasted shot she had previously poured, then put her head down, letting her hair fall forward to mask her face. What was this?! Why did this human’s words enter like a knife under her heart? Long had she known the truth of her life, had she not seen countless comrades in arms die? Had she not tried to comfort an endless army of men and women of all races as they breathed their last on the battlefield? Had she not watched the light die in the eyes of a very special few, visions that still haunted her and drove sleep from her on many a night? How many times had she woke, even after four centuries, sweat-soaked and panting from the nightmare memory of helplessness as her own long dead elven husband bled out his life in her arms? No, she did not need the rantings of a besotted human to remind her of her lot.<BR><BR>The mention of friends too, tore her deeply. To know in advance, that she would have to stand by, once again helpless, as those who had risked much for her took their final journey to the Halls of Mandos, this too, burned. She shut her eyes and clamped her jaw tight at the mention of ‘that big lump of an Easterling’. Why did the thought of his eventual but entirely natural death pain her so? She, who had hardened her heart over centuries, especially where mortal males were concerned, to avoid exactly this pain!<BR><BR>She looked up in time to see the woman knock over the bottle of Harlindon, the strong liquor spraying the Archer, OrionHR and herself. She slowly looked down at the beads of liquour that ran down her cloak onto her boots. When the woman began to laugh hysterically, fury lit her eyes and her right hand automatically crossed her body, under her cloak, to close tightly on the hilt of her sword. Would the world be poorer for one less miserable human?<BR><BR>But before she could move, the Archer righted the bottle and turned to address the woman. She stiffened at the insults the woman hurled back at Bardhwyn and realized immediately, much to her own shame, that she was not the only one thinking of violence. When the bottle shattered, she moved, gripping the Archers arm hard. She spoke quickly, urgently, then forced the broken neck from Bardhwyn’s hand, tossing it aside.<BR><BR>She was grateful for the interruption of Aliana, who came forward with clean cloths for them all. Scribbles caught Aliana’s eye, and knew that she had acted quickly to forestall more trouble. Flushing slightly with shame at her own contribution, she nodded at Aliana and accepted the cloth gratefully.</i><BR><BR>“Thank you Lady Aliana, your thoughtfulness and kindness do you much credit.”<BR><BR><i>Orion, his face stiff with tightly controlled outrage, accepted the cloth from Aliana, but moved to address the woman himself. Scribbles nodded silently to herself, he spoke well and truly. But she was not prepared for the reaction of the woman. Her shriek, in a long forgotten tongue, stopped her in the act of brushing the worst of the drops off her heavy silk cloak. <BR><BR>But before she could act, she heard the door and glanced up briefly as Erinhue entered, looking for all the world like he would like to be anywhere but where he was. Her heart lurched, she had never seen such a look in the sea-grey eyes. Of course, she had not known the Guildmaster that long, either. His demeanor told her he was pursuing something with a singleminded determination, so she did not speak as he passed them, turning instead to the young barman. He was wiping up the last of the spilled liquor, and raised a knowing eyebrow. She caught the look and shook her head. No, enough of that, the recent events had shown her that she should look to steady her nerves only, not turn her brain to dung. And the thought of becoming as drunk as the human scribe made her shudder.</i><BR><BR>“Single malt, golden not peaty. Anything of decent quality will do,” <i> she said quietly, as Bardhwyn was pulled away by a stranger. She looked after the Archer for a few seconds wondering if she should follow, but realized she did not have to worry. If trouble arose, she was as close as the stairs.<BR><BR>Instead, she went to where the woman now cowered in fear, babbling frantically, on the floor. She went to one knee and placing one hand gently but firmly over the woman’s eyes, whispered softly in old Quenyan . . .</i> “Lórë tulin, ar hiruvalyë sere.” **<BR><BR><i> The woman resisted for a moment, but the amount of liquor she had consumed finally took its toll. Scribbles repeated the phrase twice more, then caught the now unconscious woman up in her arms and stood up. Patrons moved aside at one icy glare from the tall Peredhel, and Scribbles carried the woman to a quiet, shadowed spot near the great hearth. She settled the woman gently in a soft armchair, arranging her limbs carefully so she would rest comfortably. She brushed a stray lock from the woman’s forehead with surprising care.</i> “Do not choose the bitterness of solitude,” <i> she whispered softly.<BR><BR>Straightening, she returned to her place at the bar, where the barman had left a bottle of golden single malt and a few clean glasses. Wordlessly, she raised the bottle and one eyebrow at Orion, would he care for one?</i><BR><BR>((OOC: ** Sleep comes, and thou shalt find peace.))<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Aerin » Fri Jan 31, 2003 8:27 pm

<i>Aerin looked up at Erinhue, recognized that he was going into the berserker. She knew that they were all at risk, and so she did the only thing she could. She stood up and placed herself directly in front of her husband.</i><BR><BR>"Erinhue, don't! He's not worth it!"<BR><BR><i>The elf grasped his arm desperately, caressing his face and trying to get him to listen to her.</i><BR><BR>"Listen, my love, you need to search for Lurea! Hobbituk won't be able to for a while, so you must."<BR><BR><i>Aerin spoke soothingly, looking directly into his eyes.</i> "This is your chance to prove yourself worthy again, to make it up to him."
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Postby Mellaurelom » Fri Jan 31, 2003 9:54 pm

Anorast looked up at Mellaurelom, confusion in his eyes. “Who am I?” he asked. Mell was stunned. Unable to answer, she just shook her head. The confusion changed into comprehension, then worry and pain as he suddenly remembered why he was lying injured in the Inn. "Where is she? Where is Earelen? I must speak to her!" With an oath, he threw the coverlet off and charged towards the door, unknowingly shoving Mell into the wall as he swept past. She landed against the doorframe, almost falling as he stumbled into the hall. Despite his injuries, he kept crawling down the hallway, intent on finding Earelen. Mell leaned against the door, torn between going after Vana and aiding Anorast. Mell saw Alandriel and another step out of the room across the hall, reach down, and aid him in standing on his feet. Mell blinked, as they led him in, telling him they would aid him. She realized that they could finish the healing begun with her song. Mell however, would find Earelen for him, to complete his cure. Dizzy now from the combination of major spellcasting and emotional upset, Mell leaned heavily upon the railing as she made her way down the stairs, into the chaos of the commonroom.<BR><BR><BR>Mell felt the waves of conflicting emotions break over her like a storm swell. Scribbles, hurting, and drunk; Aerin, worry for someone, and terror; Alfirin, crying on the floor; and Erinhue, her beloved Guildmaster, a killing rage emanating from him so strong she could practically see it. Unable to focus any longer, unable to close out the dangerous emotions, she dropped to the floor and screamed. Incoherently, she cried out at the top of her bardicly trained lungs, then turned and ran. She had to get somewhere, anywhere else.
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Postby Jiyadan » Fri Jan 31, 2003 10:18 pm

"Let me help him then, Jiyadan."<BR><BR>That voice. He had heard it before, he knew he had. But where? When? He was tired of these riddles being played on his mind and he did not bother to question further. He looked at the woman with a mixture of greatfulness and despair.<BR><BR>But then the blond-haired woman spoke again, "Forgive me. I will see to him, please tend to the other and once done here I will go to you."<BR><BR>Jiyadan at last saw some sign that his words had gotten through to her, though at first he wasn't sure what to make of her change of heart. She now seemed genuinely willing to help .<BR><BR>"You must save him," he whispered. <BR>"He's lost much blood, clearly. The wound… there is no way it could be fatal." she replied softly.<BR><BR>Jiyadan nodded slightly and allowed her to remove his hand from Moujhadin's shoulder. He did not want to leave but at her insistance, he sat back, letting her have room. He sat watching for a moment, not even aware that the shield-maiden's hand was still upon his. <BR><BR>He suddenly felt a weariness overtake him. His eyes blurred slightly and he braced himself against falling. He made to stand and it was not until then that he realized her hand still held his. Helping the Gondorian to her feet he at last released her hand from his and watched silently as the healer began her trance-like state. Praying that she knew what she was doing, he slowly made his way to the far end of the room and sat down heavily on the floor, leaning against the wall. For a time he just sat watching Moujhadin and the woman tending him, then he placed his face in his hands. He thought of nothing. His mind was too weary to think and everything went blank.<BR><BR>He did even not notice when the shield-maiden came over and sat beside him, absent mindedly smoothing her skirt. Then she pulled her legs into her chest and wrapped her arms around them, resting her chin on her knees. <BR><BR>They both sat in silence.<BR><BR>After some time, Jiyadan gradually became aware of the shield-maiden sitting next to him. He looked up, seeing the strange peace she held in her eyes, as if her body was here but her mind was still far away, some place peaceful. His body shook as he took in a deep breath, holding a moment before releasing it. He noticed her neck, dried remains of paste still clinging to the raw skin. <BR><BR>He motioned for the half-elven ranger to come over. "Please, bring me a basin of hot water and a rag. I will clean her neck now." Then he turned and looked at the Gondorian, looked into her eyes again. She smiled softly at him as if to comfort or reassure him in some way. <BR><BR>So many questions; so many questions he had for this strange woman, yet where to begin? His mind retraced the strange events since he woke. Finally he spoke. <BR><BR>"Who are you?"<BR><BR>"I am Rho." She answered softly. "Well actually Rholarowyn. But please call me Rho."<BR><BR>Jiyadan let the strange name wander around his mind for a while. He thanked the ranger when he returned with the water and rag. Gently pressing her head to the side, he began to wipe Rho's neck, being sure not to apply too much pressure and hurt her. <BR>"Thank you," she said quietly.<BR>"It is nothing," he replied, greatful for something to do. It kept his mind occupied and off the healing of Moujhadin. He continued to work in silence for a while, focusing entirely on the task at hand. <BR>Soon the silence began to bother him slightly. "How did you know my name?"<BR><BR>Rho was about to answer when Moujhadin gasped for breath. Jiyadan's head snapped around just in time to see the blond-haired woman get thrown across the room by Moujhadin, but he did not seem to have become conscious, more of a spasm or reaction to whatever this woman had done. He sighed with relief when she said he would be fine. As they laid him on the bed, Jiyadan came to his side, kneeling and taking his hand. He looked down at his brother who lay seemingly peaceful now in the bed; the bed he himself had occupied not an hour ago. How strange it seemed to now be on the other end. <BR>Jiyadan looked over at the blond healer. "Thank you," he whispered, almost inaudibly.
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Postby PatriotBlade » Sat Feb 01, 2003 12:16 am

"Willum! Stop!" <i>After a moment of hesitation, the half elf dashed and caught him.</i> "Willum, I'm sorry." <BR><i>In the faint light, the young hobit could see that she was sincere, but weary and-winded.<BR>"Odd for an elf..." he thought.<BR>She sighed and crouched to his level.</i> "Listen to me. It's too dark already for you to go off on your own; you're freezing;" <i>with that, she removed her cloak and wrapped it around him then reached into a pocket.</i> "And you are hungry. Something else, Master Parm will be okay, and I didn't properly introduce myself to you. You may call me Heather."<BR><i>She clasped his hand after unwrapping the Lambas cake for him and cut into the forest, abandoning the trail.<BR>When he questioned her about it, she looked him in the eye and answered.</i><BR>"Something was wrong with the trail- I think something made the trail to lead us away from Parm. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't take the time to think it through. I'm afraid that this is my fault."<BR>"So what are we doing now?"<BR>We're going to meet with Parm and the people who found him in about five minutes if we keep walking this way."<BR><i>He mouthed a silent "Oh" then finished eating the Lambas.<BR>Sure enough, in about five minutes, they stumbled onto another trail and nearly ran into Ness, N-N and a horse carrying Parm.<BR>After a quick discussion, Heather set the hobbit lad on the horse's back in front of Parm.<BR>"When we get to the Inn, I'll see what I can do as far as healing, but I fear there is more dammage done, that no one can heal except he, himself."
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Postby Leoba » Sat Feb 01, 2003 6:53 am

The thought would not let her rest. It persisted in nagging away at the back of her mind like a child refusing to let go of the apron strings, her conscience was urging her not to desert those in need.<BR><BR>Leoba turned suddenly to Dirk. “I have to go back to the inn.”<BR><BR>He looked astonished at his beloved; her insistent words had flown out of the blue, bearing no relation to anything that they had been saying. “You weren’t listening to a word, were you?” he asked her, his broken voice threaded with a mixture of amusement and frustration.<BR><BR>“I know. I’m sorry, I’ll make it up to you; you can have all my time later on, I promise. But right now my mind won’t let me rest easy. I never saw Rho and she was supposed to be looking after Culanir. But in all the confusion with Lurea vanishing I clean forgot to ask him where she’d gone. I’m sure my brother’s fine but I need to go and make sure. Maybe take his mind of things for a bit; it’s not good for him to brood so deep or so long.”<BR><BR>“I’ll walk back with you. I wouldn’t mind finding out where the Scribe got to; no doubt she’s busy scrutinising Erinhue’s selection of single malts.” <BR><BR>Leoba smiled at him, “Thanks for understanding.”<BR><BR>He left her at the door and vanished into the somewhat thinning outside crowd, in search of Scribbles. Leoba ventured inside. And found Scribbles. She ducked back out again quickly, intending to call after Dirk and tell him to come to the bar but he’d been absorbed into the gloaming and Leoba determined that he’d no doubt find his own way back before too long. <BR><BR>The taproom was a-twinkling with candle-light now, glinting off spilled drinks and shattered glass and glowering faces. The guests were for the most part a host of shuttered windows, blanking out the cold of the night that had descended on the wedding with the warmth and comfort of a few drinks. Well, who could blame them.<BR><BR>Leoba slid onto the barstool next to Aliana and rested her own empty brandy glass on the counter, before catching the eye of the barman. He understood and her cup was replenished. She wondered for half a moment whether or not to bother the young Rohirric maid, after all they were barely acquainted. But her eyes looked sharp and less infused with whisky than many of the others.<BR><BR>“Aliana”, Leoba endeavoured to get the girl’s attention. “I’m trying to find someone but it’s a nightmare trying to locate him. It’s my brother; you might have seen him with Rho earlier? A red-headed man all in black.”<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby prmiller » Sat Feb 01, 2003 6:56 am

<b><i>Faces in the dream began to fade, and in their place,<BR>new faces emerged. Faces from Imladris, faces from Parm's<BR>day-to-day world. He knew their faces, but it was not their faces.<BR>It was faces mimicing and parodying the gentle patience he<BR>had come to appreciate in the elves. In their place were looks<BR>of syrupy sweetness, patronizing, condescending and even<BR>sarcastic and mocking.<BR>He was face up, with huge, heavy books that had fallen on<BR>top of him pressing him down. As he breathed, he felt the<BR>weight even more. Why they were they, why it had happened<BR>was the cruelty of the dream. No matter how hard he tried to<BR>push the books off, more toppled on top of him.<BR>Elves passed by, smiling bemusedly at his plight. No one<BR>offered to help, but instead, clucked their tongues, shook their<BR>heads and said,<BR><BR></b> "Parm, Parm, Parm. What have you done? How clumsy you<BR>are! How ever did you manage to get the work you do? It's<BR>a wonder your family survives from your meagre work. Whatever<BR>shall we do with you?<BR><BR><b>Parm heard variations on this theme of dismay. Yet not once<BR>did his beloved appear. Nor his son or daughters. Yet one<BR>face came and peered down at him in mocking similarity to<BR>the elves, but darker, and more evil.<BR>That creature!<BR>That being!</b><BR><BR>Do you like the amusements I have prepared for you weak<BR>wizard-friend? Have you forgotten how the Nazgul had the<BR>Black Breath? Did you think I was any less venomous?<BR>Remember how the Bilbo's book records that silly Hobbit's<BR>words: "I felt as if I have fallen into deep waters"?<BR>Oh, yes, you do remember. Your eyes betray it!<BR>So, foolish, weak, mortal, enjoy my...gift.<BR>It will take you to so many places and memories.<BR>You might even see more than you ever imagined!<BR>No, no, don't thank me.<BR>Seeing your agony is thanks enough for me.<BR>In fact, let me take you someplace else...someplace you had<BR>left so long ago.<BR><BR><b> Parm shook his head, and began to moan, "No, no, please<BR>no. Aravel! My love! Come to me. Come to me. No, no."<BR>He could not revive. He could not wake up. He would try and<BR>find himself rising, as if coming up from the bottom of a deep<BR>pool, seeing shifting shapes on the surface, but never break<BR>through, but sink again.</b> </i><BR><BR>*****<BR>Willum had stalked off for about one minute. The eerie<BR>blackness and forest sounds scared him enough to run<BR>back to Lady Heather's side, for she had waited patiently,<BR>holding a makeshift elven lamp, anticipating Willum to<BR>retreat to her side. He looked sheepishly up at Lady Heather,<BR>but all he saw was a gentle smile, almost amused. She<BR>sighed sharply and continued on, with Willum close behind.<BR>Safety first, he thought, food second! To his great delight,<BR>he found a wrapped up piece of chocolate in a forgotten<BR>pocket. He offered a piece to Lady Heather, who shook her<BR>head gently, but out of her pocket she took a well-wrapped<BR>packet...lembas! The legendary way-bread. She gave a small<BR>piece to Willum, who gobbled it down, with the chocolate.<BR>A delightfully pleasant feeling of fullness, grew in his stomach.<BR>It felt as if he had had a first and second breakfast...and even<BR>afters! Perhaps this fair lady was worth sticking around with<BR>after all!<BR>
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Postby Culanir » Sat Feb 01, 2003 9:06 am

"I think it would be best if you were to leave this room, Culanir. Do not leave the Inn - or the reception area, at least - for there are things still needing to be sorted out", Aerin told him. <BR><BR>Her tone was more involved than he expected to hear spilling from the lips of one of the Eldar; at least, in relation to those who were not of their kind. There was evidently a bond between her and the Hobbit; one he could not fathom. But then he had seen any number of strange ties evidenced here today; races and cultures and social status all muddled together in, what had turned out to be, most disharmonious array. <BR><BR>Culanir took to his feet and moved some distance from the injured groom and his protector. His neck still hurt and his eyes still burned bright with feverous malcontent. But how he resented being spoken to like that; told to come and go hither and thither at the will and whim of these people, it stung his misplaced pride. <BR><BR>Always his pride. It stuck its foot out to trip him up at the least opportune moment. It was borne of years of emotional solitude, this defensive barrier, as though by showing a cold shoulder to the world, that world might cease to trouble him. So few people knew where the breaches lay that invariably he stood alone. <BR><BR>A footstep on the wooden boards heralded the Bard’s arrival. And so thus it came, the final assault. So long now had it been building up. Seeds laid years ago were threatening to spawn their final fruits of fate in the wake of Erinhue’s words. <BR><BR>Wave after wave was unleashed against him. The Bard may well have been famed for his silver tongue but in this instance the silver was tarnished black as starless night. <BR><BR>“You call yourself Knight?….” <BR><BR>Culanir felt the dark cloak of anger wrap itself tighter about him, ensnaring him in its folds.<BR><BR><BR>“Stormcrow of ill omen, did you come here to spread evil among us?….”<BR><BR>Each vituperative word dragged them deeper into the vacuum.<BR><BR><BR>“Was this you plan from the beginning? Did you steal her away?….”<BR><BR>Accusations whirled wild about them in the bleak void of despair. <BR><BR><BR>“You should not have come here, Culanir.”<BR><BR>“Oh but I should”, Culanir replied. He did not hear Aerin call out to her husband, so intent was he on his sole remaining focus within the room. Still he felt as though it were not really him, here, now, talking and taking a foolish and fatalistic step forwards. “I’ve explained until I’m blue in the face, why I am here. I am not disposed to detail it again for <i>your</i> pleasure.”<BR><BR>He saw the storm brewing in Erinhue’s eyes. The sea grey had clouded over threateningly. Culanir knew better, should know better than to plough his onward course into the squall. But it was drawing him into its tempestuous heart. <BR><BR>It was a loose thread in life’s great tapestry, Culanir’s relationship with this man, and one that must by rights one day be brought to its conclusion. <BR><BR>‘Trouble’ Erinhue had said, so many hours earlier. ‘Any trouble on Culanir’s part would make him very angry, angry enough to start howling’. The knight had not forgotten that, had played his part, had endeavoured to keep his side of the bargain even where it stretched him to breaking point. But it seemed the Bard was incapable of holding true to his own pact. <BR><BR>“If you would challenge my integrity, challenge me like a man. Stop hiding behind enchanted steel and warbling harps and trust to your fists and own muscles”, Culanir spat. <BR><BR>Aerin threw herself between them. The sparks were hardly hidden and she knew and feared what they would ignite. "Erinhue, don't! He's not worth it!" she cried as she caressed his face, trying to bring his eyes to hers before it was too late. "Listen, my love, you need to search for Lurea! Hobbituk won't be able to for a while, so you must. This is your chance to prove yourself worthy again, to make it up to him."<BR><BR>Still Culanir stared into the gathering storm. He knew he was playing with fire. But Culanir felt numbed and careless; he had lost his anchor, his sole remaining beacon of reason had been extinguished. <BR> <BR><BR>
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Postby Teltasarewen » Sat Feb 01, 2003 9:43 am

<i>Telta found Beliran but he was talking to some of his men and she dared not interrupt him. She had already caused him enough problems this day. And if there was any scrap of news about Tuelie she knew they would find it. Besides she did not want to face him just yet after having said she wished to help in the search.<BR><BR>The elf mumbled to herself as she lingered for a moment watching Beliran now in his role as the Captain of the Swan Knights, before turning away</i> You're a coward Telta. You just don’t want to give him the chance to say no." <BR><BR><i>She move through the guest making inquiries as to the whereabouts of Hobbituk. Upon learning he was inside he inn she made her way there. He had been wounded and she wanted to know how he was. As she moved through the inn she happened to look down at herself and the two daggers she had so quickly gathered earlier were still clutched in her hand and the outfit she had on was not exactly travelling gear. She made a mental note to make sure she changed before leaving the inn.<BR><BR>"Erinhue, don't! He's not worth it!" Aerin cried out as Telta stopped just outside the door. She found Aerin standing infront of Erinhue and Hobbbituk lying on the floor and another she did not know was in the room.<BR><BR>"Listen, my love, you need to search for Lurea! Hobbituk won't be able to for a while, so you must." Aerin’s voice was to Telta’s ears a desperate plea as she held his face talking to him like he didn’t hear her. Telta stood back and watched there was more going on here than she had first thought. Something was changing in Erinhue and it felt dangerous, deadly even. But what was it?<BR><BR>"This is your chance to prove yourself worthy again, to make it up to him." Aerin’s words rang true and if Erinhue would only listen he would know this too. Telta could not just stand there doing nothing. Aerin had her hands full and the other one was standing off to one side and the wxpression on his face was little better than Erinhue's so she moved slowly over to Hobbituk and knelt down beside him carefully taking his head in her hands her look of concern showing on her face</i>..."Hobbituk?"<BR><BR>*******<BR>Telta-Master Bard<BR>Official Vana Honourary Adoptee<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR>E.O.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>
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Postby Maelgwn » Sat Feb 01, 2003 1:43 pm

His wound was aching as the edge of evening chill penetrated his bones. But more than anything Maelgwn was puzzling over how he had got himself into this mess. Admittedly by comparison with the Easterlings and the lady of Gondor he had got away lightly; the wound would make riding uncomfortable for a goodly while he didn’t doubt but the blood loss was not so great as to deplete his strength as much as he’d feared. And what were the Easterlings actually doing here so far west in the first place; that had never been made clear. Something had caused both him and his old friend Edain to be here, at the same time, looking for rest and respite. But not finding it. His curiosity burned and left him feeling unsettled. <BR><BR>He shook his head as though to rid himself of the thoughts and turned his mind and his hands to assist in what was rapidly becoming the impromptu infirmary of the venue. <BR><BR>The elf that Alandriel and he had brought in was still standing. But barely. Clinging onto Maelgwn as though his very life depended on it. Ever so gently, the peredhel guided him to the chair that Moujhadin had earlier occupied.<BR><BR>“What happened to you?” he asked.<BR><BR>But the only response was a shake of a silver head and a faraway look in his eyes, of places and people and deeds that were lost to memory. And there were dark marks across his cloak, smudged but strong. Maelgwn ran a finger across a fold in the fabric and held it up to the light of the nearest candle flame. He smeared it across the palm of his right hand; charcoal<BR><BR>Maelgwn didn’t want to drag Alandriel from what she evidently saw as her duty but it galled him somewhat to see so much energy expended on the prone Easterling who had been the cause of so much trouble already when there was an elf, one of his own kind, or so he seemed. Besides, the woman with that awful scar was dealing above and beyond the call of duty with Moujhadin. <BR><BR>He laid a hand on Alandriel’s shoulder. “The elf, he is weak but there is no outward sign of blood. If you can tell what may be wrong, perhaps there may be hope?”<BR><BR>
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Postby erinhue » Sat Feb 01, 2003 3:09 pm

Somewhere behind the thunderous sound of the blood pulsing in his ears, somewhere in the distance Aerin spoke his name. There were other words, their tone a plea for deterrence, but none other came clearly to him through the sound of his building rage.<BR><BR>He did not need to understand the words to know their meaning. the restraint she was urging him towards was a vital and immediate necessity. The runesword was howling in his mind and its name threatened to escape his lips. The day's events would pale compared to the deadly havoc that would then be unleased.<BR><BR>All but overwhelmed, Erinhue fought to hold onto Aerin’s voice, to feel the coolness of her hand stroking his face. His earlier desire to see her welled up again in him and he used it to pull back from Clarion’s bloodthirsty call. His wife's sweet voice was soothing music and almost he turned to look upon her face.<BR><BR><i>“If you would challenge my integrity, challenge me like a man. Stop hiding behind enchanted steel and warbling harps and trust to your fists and own muscles”</i> Culanir spat oil upon the dying embers of a flame. <BR><BR>Telta came suddenly into the room to kneel by Hobbituk’s side down on the floor. When she touched him, the unconscious hobbit moaned. The sound accused them both and what truth there was in that served to spike Erinhue’s anger once again.<BR><BR>“You dare speak to me about integrity after the misery you’ve caused?” Erinhue bellowed as he caught Aerin about her waist and lifted her bodily out of his way. Guilt and shame gave power to his rage and Culanir was its target. All the bad blood between them, that had lain dormant and unrecalled until they once again stood face to face, came boiling to the surface.<BR><BR>Clarion continued its maniacal howl at the edges of his mind, but Erinhue would not call its name. In his ignorance Culanir had invoked Agarak, but the harp took little interest in what it considered the bard’s personal concerns. There would be no magic or enchantment here, only a long standing agreement come to its full accounting.<BR><BR>Alone, and as a man, Erinhue lept forward and smashed his fist into the despised Gondorian’s face.<BR><BR>
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Postby Hobbituk » Sat Feb 01, 2003 4:29 pm

<BR><BR>When the healing hand of Aerin left Hobbi’s shoulder his body felt suddenly very cold. He had been aware of much shouting, in his agony voices of the two men…Culanir had still not left and was the other man erinhue?… sounded like thunder in his ears though what words they might be uttering and what oaths they might be using to threaten each other with were beyond the hobbit’s comprehension. Not that he wished to know, Culanir was evil and erinhue was an arrogant fool, they deserved each other…<BR><BR><i>…and what do you deseve little Hobbit…?<BR><BR>…Lurea, I deserve her love…<BR><BR>…you are too late little hobbit, her love was given away long ago…<BR><BR>…but I must have her…<BR><BR>Late! Too late!</i><BR><BR>Even the fierce argument taking places so close to him was not enough to drown out those murmurs, it seemed they would haunt him now till his dying day. <BR>Why was he so cold? <BR>Soon a soothing hand was placed against him, but he knew it was not Aerin. Someone else, but with a healing touch too. His eyes opened as she spoke his name and he saw that it was Telta, that was some comfort, but as his eyes were opened suddenly the noise in the room grew louder…his head thumped, his leg stung and his heart felt as though it were on fire. He moaned loudly. A brief silence followed the moan and his eyes were flickering shut when Hue bellowed something more and quickly following that came a sound like meat being hammered with a heavy cleaver. There was a cry of pain and Hobbituk’s eyes snapped open once more In time to see Culanir stagger across the room and thump against the wall. Hobbi looked up and saw erinhue’s face and quickly looked away. He had never seen the bard look so fierce and yet at the same time so weak and helpless. For a moment Hobbi felt sorry for his once great friend but the feeling of pity vanished when he remembered how confident Hue had looked as he had dealt out the poker cards, handed over the rings and sworn his vow of protection earlier in the day. Now he knew how Hobbi felt every moment of the day perhaps. <BR>The fight was going to be a terrible one, Hobbi could see that even through his increasingly blurred vision, he shut his eyes again, it was becoming painful for him to keep them open…but he did not want to stay there and witness...whatever might happen. He leant across to Telta and beckoning with a feeble finger, he whispered softly,<BR>“Help me Telta..”<BR>“Of course,” she whispered back, “What is it you need?”<BR>“Get me out of here.” He said simply.<BR>“But..” she began.<BR>“Get me out of here now. Please I ask you with all my heart, do not ask any questions.”<BR><BR>Telta nodded and slipping an arm around his back and under his shoulder she pulled him to his feet. The sudden weight on his injured leg was unbearable, but his heart was suddenly not as bad as it had been. The circulation seemed to be getting back to normal. He did not cry out now, it was important that they did not attract the attention of the others in the room. Culanir and Hue had eyes only for each other and Aerin looked distraught as the situation was out of control and she was concerned now only for her husband.<BR><BR>The two of them half walked, half staggerd from the room, through the open door. Hobbi turned and leant against the wall breathing heavily, it had been such an effort to get only so far.<BR>“What now?” asked Telta her voice urgent with dismay at the Hobbit’s stubbornness.<BR><BR>“Get me to the stables. As fast as you can.” He said. <BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Teltasarewen » Sat Feb 01, 2003 6:34 pm

<i>Telta thought that Aerin had gotten through to the Guild Master but when Hobbituk moaned it fed Erinhue’s anger.<BR><BR>"You dare speak to me about integrity after the misery you’ve caused?" he bellowed causing Telta to cringe. She looked up from the wounded hobbit in time to see the enraged man pick Aerin up and deposit her off to the side. Just what had this man done to deserve Erinhue’s anger? Was he responsible for Hobbituk’s condition?<BR><BR>Telta watched as the gentle, kind man who had taken her in and who had brought her and Beliran together when she thought it was not to be, slam his fist into the other man. The sound was not pleasant as Erinhue’s fist connected with the man’s face and Telta could feel his pain.<BR><BR>But her attention was caught by Hobbituk’s movement as he looked away from the fighting men. He whispered to her <BR>"Help me Telta."</i><BR><BR>"Of course, What is it you need?"<BR><BR><i>"Get me out of here."</i><BR><BR>"But.." <BR><BR><i>Get me out of here now. Please I ask you with all my heart, do not ask any questions." Torn between the fighting men and wanting to help Hobbituk she decided it was best to do as he asked.<BR><BR>Helping him up he leaned heavily on her as they made their way out of the room. He did not cry out but she knew he was in pain for when he put weight on his injured leg she could feel him tremble.<BR> <BR>Moving just from the room to the hall took a lot out of Hobbituk as he leaned against the wall his breathing ragged and it worried Telta.</i> "What now?"<BR><BR><i>"Get me to the stables. As fast as you can."</i> <BR><BR>"The stables? But you are hurt Hobbituk. You cannot go far on that leg. If something were to happen to you..." <BR><i>Telta did not finish her friend’s pleading look stopping her. She knew he could be stubborn she had seen it before. He would go with or without her help so help him she would but silently she was hoping Beliran would stop them before they reached the stables for she knew that the hobbit would try to take off in search of Turelie. But if need be she would go with him to at least help him all she could. Strapping her dagger to her arm and one to her waist her hands were free and she was now able to help Hobbituk rise up taking his weight on her shoulders once more..</i><BR><BR>"Alright Hobbituk I’ll get you there. But you must let me help." <i>Her determined look said what she did not voice, she would help no matter what. It was her turn to be stubborn.</i><BR><BR>*******<BR>telta-Master Bard<BR>Official vana Honourary Adoptee<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR>E.O.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>
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Postby Aerin » Sat Feb 01, 2003 7:48 pm

<i>Aerin was just beginning to think that she'd reached Erinhue, when Culanir spoke out again and Hobbi moaned. Immediately she felt her husband's muscles tense.</i><BR><BR>"You dare speak to me about integrity after the misery you’ve caused?" <i>he cried, outraged. Then he lifted her up, set her down to one side, not entirely gently, and charged his opponent.<BR><BR>Aerin cried out wordlessly, her body trembling. She wasn't afraid for Erinhue, but rather for what he could do in this state. The elf didn't dare try to physically stop him; she knew he would throw her off without thinking.<BR><BR>Movement caught her eye, and she turned just enough to see Telta helping Hobbi stand up and leave the room. Automatically she made way for them, all her attention fixed upon her beloved.</i>
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Postby Nessamelda » Sat Feb 01, 2003 8:19 pm

"I am not familiar with any kind of magic", Nienor niniel said after a while, "but it seems to me that Parm has been bewitched"<BR><BR>She and the horse had paused as she said this, and the crow cawed again - an odd call, that started loud and then gradually died away, as if it had meant to say something, but then had lost its train of thought.<BR><BR>"Nin - what do you think of that bird?" said Ness. "Parm thought it an omen of good, a friend and called it Silvertongue, although its tones sound none too smooth to me. It certainly seems smart enough, but I find it difficult to trust such a dark clad messenger."<BR><BR> It was good to speak again the tongue that she had grown up with, although her foster father had ensured that she spoke the common tongue well and even a little of the speech of Gondor, just in case she had ever been called back by her own folk to the place of her birth. Not, of course, that such a call had ever come, or was likely to. She continued to talk, just for the familiar sound of the words and to keep away the fears of the dark.<BR><BR>"Magic has not often come past my door, either. We used some healing charms for the beasts, bought from passing pedlars, and who knows whether they worked or not. But I have never seen anything like this. The names Parm calls out, the ones that I know or those that I have heard of like Lord Elrond, are people that should be his friends - yet he calls out in fear as if they are his enemies". <BR><BR>Suddenly Parm called out wildly, "Aravel" and thrashed in his precarious seat. If Ness had not grabbed him he would have fallen off the horse. Parm opened his eyes sightlessly at the feel of the firm grasp, and then briefly focussed. But instead of inspiring hope, the sight of his friends only made him cry out in despair. "Why do you treat me so?" he called out in desparation, and again his eyes closed and he slumped back down.<BR><BR>The crow called again more urgently this time, coming back towards them, and then flapping from branch to branch along the path, as if to encourage them to use more haste. But Parm's increasing struggles against his imaginary persecuters were making balancing him on the horse more difficult.. Their pace slowed still further.
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Postby Shadow_Walker » Sun Feb 02, 2003 4:18 am

Edheldur had felt Parm's mind slip beyond reality into nightmares of despair and self-pity. <BR><BR>This was now his second dreadful mistake.<BR><BR>For now, as his mind wandered in the shadows, Edheldur was able to capture him in ways that were even more horrendous and torturous than her physical assault upon him had been. <BR><BR>In the shadows of his dreams she came to him, out of the mocking voices she called to him, in the faces of his friends she appeared to him until her icy grip held him. He called for his beloved but she did not come. He cried out for help but none could reach him. All the familiar people of his dreams slowly faded, slowly twisted, replaced by the creature of shadow that he so feared. And there, in the depths of his mind, he was held in her dungeon. <BR><BR>Parm found himself standing in the midst of a stone room. He looked down and saw he was arrayed in all manner of royal robes, silks and brocades and fine linens all in blues and purples and reds. Regal robes with woven chords and embroidered collars. He ran his fingers over the expensive fabrics, wondering at how he came to be dressed in them, but even as he watched, they started to fade and tear and wear away. In the space of mere moments he was clothed in rags, hanging from his body, full of dirt and stains. And suddenly, laughter. Malicious, evil, hateful laughter filled his ears. <i>She</i> came walking up to him, her eyes burning red as fire, her lips spread into a sickening grin. <BR><BR>"Now, little wizard-friend, now you are where no one can save you!" <BR><BR>Parm lifted his head, opened his mouth as if to speak, but he found he could utter no sound, and the dark elf before him let out a sharp, piercing laugh.<BR><BR>"Your spells and sorcery will not work here!" she mocked him, "You are in <b>my</b> power now!" She grabbed him by the remnants of his tattered clothing, forced him up against the wall and shackled him there. "Now, you will see what <i>real</i> power is!"<BR><BR>She gripped his robes and in a quick motion, pulled them from his body, leaving him in the tatterd rags of a beggar, shredded linen tunic and old worn pants. The shame that filled his face only made her laugh harder. "Oh don't worry your pretty head about this," she said, holding up the remnants of his regal robes, "this is <i>nothing</i> compared to what you will face as your life lingers in this dream state! I'll rot you out from the inside! You'll be worn and shredded and faded on the inside just like on the outside!" The full force of her wrath was coming to bear on him. The full weight of her frustration at her earlier defeat, not being able to strike him dead, was now being released upon him in his mind. <BR><BR>With nowhere now to run, no ability to flee, he was utterly at the mercy of this foul being. She stood before him, her face and features the very images of loveliness yet her eyes were filled with evil, lust, hatred. He shut his eyes tightly, but he could not shut out the torture of his body. <BR><BR>She pressed herself to him, embracing him, her every curve both enticing and repulsing him. He resisted the urge to wretch as she gently stroked his chest, softly kissing his neck. Then, holding his head between her hands she forced a kiss upon his mouth, and he was too weak to resist. Long she lingered there, forcing him, violating him. Suddenly breaking off the kiss she raked her nails down the side of his face, biting, again biting his cheeks, reopening the wounds. <BR><BR>"Now, where shall we begin?" she asked, her voice smooth and almost inviting.<BR><BR>Parm made no answer. He could make no answer. His only response was the tears that ran down his face from his eyes, still tightly shut; burning, stinging. <BR><BR>Her voice was now soft, caring. "Hush now, hush. No need to fear." She gently caressed his cheek, brushing the tears from his face. Ever so gently she touched her lips to the gashes she had inflicted, whispering words of comfort in his ear. The pain lessened, the wounds closed. The tension in Parm's body finally released and he slumped into her, though his hands were still chained tightly to the wall. "There, there," she said, almost as a mother would to her son. "It's up to you, you know." She cooed. "This can be so easy, so easy for you. It's all up to you." She held him, embraced him, stroked his hair and soothed him with sickeningly sweet words. Parm could feel himself being lost in her comforting embrace, almost gave himself over to it, and Edheldur smiled. "You see, you can have so much pleasure here," she whispered. "You don't want to feel pain, do you little wizard-friend?" <BR><BR>He shook his head 'no'. "No, please, no more pain," he thought. <BR><BR>He will be so amusing to break, Edheldur thought to herself as she drew her dagger and plunged it into his arm. <BR><BR>Parm's head shot back, his mouth open in a silent scream. Pulling the dagger out, Edheldur grabbed his arm and placed her mouth over the gash. He pulled at his chains, desperately trying to reach this new wound, to hold his hand over it, stop the blood and ease the pain. Great spasms wracked his body and Edheldur stepped back and laughed, licking her lips stained by his blood, watching as agony encompassed him. <BR><BR><BR><BR><i>And back in the forest, his body shook uncontrollably. His breathing became labored and shallow, and tears flowed down his face. Nessa and Nin were unable to comfort him or rouse him. They could only look on in horror as he suffered in his dreams.</i><BR><BR><BR><BR>Then Edheldur moved to him, ran her hand over the wound, stopped the flow of blood, stopped the pain. Parm hung from his shackles, shaking, crying. She again stroked his face and hair, again held him in her embrace. "Now you understand. <i>I</i> will hurt you, and <i>I</i> will heal you." Her voice was again soft and comforting. She gently took his face in her hands and brought his gaze up to hers. "I don't want to hurt you," she whispered, her eyes full of compassion and pity, "and I won't hurt you, as long as you do what you're told." She gently kissed his face, ran her hand over his brow. Held him, pressed herself into him. And slowly, slowly, Parm's mind began to break. Edheldur smiled. No matter what he did, he would be repaid with pain. Pain to be repaid with pleasure. Pleasure to be followed by pain.<BR><BR>"We've only just begun."<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Though mere minutes had passed in his journey through the trees with Nienor-Niniel and Nessamelda, in Parm's mind, hours had gone by. Hours of torture and sweet caresses, hours of pain and gentle kisses, hours of sweet love and horrific evil. <BR><BR>He now lay on his back upon the floor, unable to make his body obey his will and move. The cold of the stone had pierced his meager coverings, numbing him, and his mouth was parched, his lips cracked. <BR><BR>Edheldur sat upon a high throne, her crimson robes draped over her. She sipped a glass of wine, casually partaking of small morsels of food. When she saw him stir, she stood, descended the many staired dais and knelt beside him. At her gentle touch upon his face, Parm's eyes flickered open and he looked up at her, the author of all he now knew. Everything came from her, pain, fulfillment, life. Everything he was was because of her. She dipped her fingers in the deep red liquid and touched them to his lips. Hungrily, he sucked the moisture from her fingers, his eyes pleading for more. The dark elf took another sip from her glass, leaned over and pressed her mouth to his, letting him drink the wine from her mouth. <BR><BR>As she rose again, he found some strength and reach out to her, to the plate of food she held. Nourishment, life, from her.<BR><BR>"Yes, my pet. Yes," she cooed. "Hungry are we, hmm?" She again knelt and gently fed him a bit of.. something.. what was it? He didn't know, he didn't care. He devoured it like a wild animal. She fed him bits from the plate, but never enough to fill him. She let him have sips of liquid, but never enough to quench the thirst. She now held him in suspended pain. Never quite gone, never quite quenched. But all his relief came from her. All his needs, she met. All his desires, she would fulfill. <BR><BR>Leaning in closely, she pressed her cheek to his, her mouth lingering by his ear. She gently stroked his other cheek as she whispered to him, "Soon now, my pet, my love, soon you will wake. But do not forget, you are mine! The others will come to you, oh yes, they will come. They will try to care for you, but only I can provide what you need. Only I can give you what you desire. I will call you and you will come to me." <BR><BR>"Remember."
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Postby prmiller » Sun Feb 02, 2003 5:07 am

<i>Cawing angrily, seemingly frustrated, the crow flew over to<BR>Parm and began to pull at his hair with its beak. It used neither<BR>talon nor its menacing beak to tear at Parm's face or draw<BR>blood, but used great effort to cause pain to waken the <BR>dream-tormented bard. At last, eyelids fluttered, and in Parm's<BR>mind the horrors vanished away as a mist. Gone. It was all a<BR>horrible, but empty dream. He found himself lying on a horse,<BR>and somehow managed to keep himself righted despite the<BR>shock of finding himself in this position. <BR><BR>Triumphant now, the crow flew up to a branch and cawed as<BR>if in cheering a great victory. It flew onward, cawing almost in<BR>a kind of crow-like laughter. If crows could rejoice, it was nearly<BR>doing so. <BR><BR>Parm was hungry, sore and bewildered by all that had<BR>happened to him, yet he found himself strangely rested.<BR>No trace of distress was on his face. No wrinkled face, no<BR>furrowed brows. He was placid, content and almost jocular.</i><BR><BR>Nessa! Nin! Thank you for taking care of me. I feel as if I could<BR>eat an entire...banquet. Yes, I know I have come through much,<BR>and despite my wretched appearance in dress, I feel so <BR>fresh. The air even seems sweet and wholesome now. The<BR>scents remind me of freshly-awakened dawn. OH! It is so<BR>good to be back among you again!<BR><BR><i>Parm had virtually little memory of the nightmares that had<BR>assailed him. Like a host, carrying a breeding, infecting<BR>parasite, he had yet to experience the full measure of the<BR>wrath of Edheldur...and the surprise that awaited them all<BR>when it would unleash its venomous fury in Parm's fragile<BR>mind.</i><BR>****<BR>Willum was at last content to follow, doubly content because<BR>his companion had good food and a seemingly endless amount<BR>of it. Oh joy! Oh great gladness!<BR><BR>...but how was Master Parm? {a little burp} Faring well...I hope.<BR><BR>
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Postby Culanir » Sun Feb 02, 2003 2:29 pm

Culanir slumped against the wall, his head reeling from the blow. Blood. Hot, thick and bitter it gushed from his nose, flooding his mouth as he gasped, then spluttered and spat. He dragged his sleeve across his face, soaking his already filthy shirt. <BR><BR>Still blood flowed and on its tide was borne shame and humiliation, dredged up from within and smeared in vivid reproach. An unstaunched course of bitterness and disgrace. A crimson banner flown high to proclaim his fall to the world. <BR><BR>He looked up. And still there was the Bard, advancing towards him, his face twisted into a contortion of hatred. Come to rub salt into the gaping wound. <BR><BR>Culanir dragged himself back up onto his unsteady feet and his eyes locked once more into the piercing splendour of Erinhue’s. He didn’t see the pain, knew nothing but the tempestuous animosity flaming forth, goading him. <BR><BR>He flung himself to meet the challenge head on, fuelled on nothing more than his own long pent up despair. And rage that was three-fold what it ought to have been. The combined suffering of years of hopeless longing only to see love lost, twisted about with intrinsic and long-harboured dislike of the warrior bard and dangerously destructive self-hatred. <BR><BR>Not about to have his humiliation thrust further upon him, Culanir charged forward at the taller man and slammed his head hard into the Bard’s stomach. It drove them both backwards, sprawling onto the hard floor, swept clean of the rushes that might have otherwise broken their fall. <BR><BR>He couldn’t feel his belt buckle cutting into his bruised flesh nor did he know the thumping within his head. He brought his right arm up and with a sickening crack he drove his fist into the side of the meddling Bard’s over-inflated head. <BR><BR>As water finds its own level, so they were finding theirs, dragged down low in the dirt, tearing away the fragile layers of respectability. <BR><BR>
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Postby Rholarowyn » Mon Feb 03, 2003 12:35 am

<BR><BR>Resting with her back against the wall, and arms wrapped around her drawn up legs, as Rho watched with a calm yet connected interest in all that was going on around her in the room. There were more people here now than there were before, and different people too, ones she had not seen before she had traveled to distant land where she had fought hard with the Easterling that now lay upon the bed. <BR><BR>And if there was one word that could describe how Rho felt in this moment, it was contentment. Others may have seen something else in her eyes, but for the first time in a very long time the shield maiden felt at peace. No pain, no inner conflict, no battles to be won or lost...just peace. <BR><BR>Rho watched as Jiyadan rose to his feet, went over and knelt beside his friend. Then without really thinking about it she lifted her hand and softly rubbed the slight welt on that was now clean. She remembered his touch as he had cleaned the paste off her neck. His warrior's hands, rough and calloused, had softened, becoming the gentle, caring hands of a healer. His touch had reminded her more of Culanir’s than that of the other Easterling. Moujhadin’s touch had been course and rough as he applied the poison antidote onto her neck and forced it into her mouth. She remembered that well.<BR><BR>When Jiyadan returned to her side and sat down, once again Rho found herself smiling as she looked into his eyes. Dark eyes that were preoccupied and full of concern. The woman complied when he gently took her hand off her neck and placed it back on her knee and then began applying a healing salve to the wound on her neck. All the while listening to his voice as he explained what he was doing. When he was finished he pressed a small container into her hand, and then sat back down beside her, resting his back against the wall. <BR><BR>Leaning her head against the wall, Rho continued to watch the man, who was still lost in a world of his own thoughts. Who was he? She thought to herself. This man whose name had been given to her by her guide. Whose name she knew before she’d ever met him. Finally a child like curiosity got the better of her, and she decided to find out.<BR><BR>“Jiyadan?” She asked softly. “Why were you waiting for me?”<BR><BR>
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Postby PatriotBlade » Mon Feb 03, 2003 1:08 am

<i>Heather checked Willum often, but she needn't have worried. Settled on the horse, before a now peaceful Parm, he slept.<BR>But now her concerns drifted to Parm. She had felt and occasionally seen his dreams and heard the dark voice, the same voice that had lead her on a falce trail with a little one.<BR>"Sweet, Eru, give me streangth to see this through; help me!" she silently cried.<BR>When they reached the inn, Willum followed the three women up the stairs as they got Parm to his room and laid him on his bed.<BR>The hobbit lad imediately curled up in a chair out of the way and slept again.<BR>Cloakless, Heather caught a chill, but resalutely readied herslf for the healing trance.<BR>She looked to the other two.</i> "I'll probably collaps or faint when I'm finished. My room is just down the hall two doors if you won't mind helping me there once that happens."<BR><i>She knelt by the bed and clasped Parm's hand. She closed her green eyes and s soft, pure white light surrounded first her, and then Parm's forms. She seamed to be no longer dressed in the torn party gress, but in a gown of oure white; made from the finest silk and she was bejeweled- they hung in her soft curls; from her slender neck and hands; from her ears and about her waist.<BR>Parm's wounds healed before the two womans' eyes, leaving only the tiniest traces of a scar. She also healed what she could of his troubled mind, though there was little she could do there.<BR>The light faided back into her and she was again as she had been dirty and rumpled.<BR>She turned her head and looked at Ness and N_N, smiling weakly.</i> "I am glad that he has friends like you. Eru knows that he may need you in the days to com. If I could so trouble you to help me to my own bed..."<BR><i>She didn't get to finish or thank them a head of time, for the weakness, egsaution and stress of the day finally caught her in it's mercilless grip and she passed out, falling the rest of the way to the floor...</i><BR>
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Postby Alandriel » Mon Feb 03, 2003 3:55 am

Just as she had placed a hand on Jiyadan’s shoulder, she felt a hand now on her own. It was the Dale woman:<BR>"Forgive me. I will see to him, please tend to the other and once done here I will go to you."<BR><BR>At first Alandriel looked up angrily into her face. But the she was struck by the genuine concern and willingness to help shining clearly forth from her eyes, despite any reservations the North-woman had felt earlier. There was a person of integrity after all – one that could and would rise over personal issues.<BR>Then another hand touched her. Maelgwn’s. ‘The elf, he is weak but there is no outward sign of blood. If you can tell what may be wrong, perhaps there may be hope?” His voice was rife with reprimand. <BR><BR>Yes! Let her deal with the Easterling – there would be a chance later to confirm her suspicions.<BR><BR>Giving a nod of respect and ascent to the woman, she moved over to the chair where the elf sat slumped. Maelgwn was at his side again, propping him up as best as he could. Quickly she removed the cloak that covered his mangled body and looked over the many bruises, slight cuts and swellings. When her hand brushed his left side, a low moan of pain escaped his lips. Probing as gently as she could, Alandriel quickly determined that there were several cracked ribs but thankfully nothing more serious. She gently placed her hand on his forehead and looked into his pained eyes, whispering:<BR><BR>Mathathon cheiru lín <BR>Ephertho i inn lín o dúath ym aur hen <BR>Ú-nivrathach naeg ad (*) <BR><BR>His face and body relaxed somewhat and with Maelgwn’s help, she proceeded to clean the cuts on his back and chest, then applied some of the same healing paste used earlier. She worked quickly, light-handedly, but kept as close an eye as possible on the Dale woman. Alandriel saw her dabbing a powder on Moujhadin’s lip and his reaction, although probably subconscious, was immediate and violent. The woman reeled from the impact of the Easterling’s blow but seemed unhurt, gaining her feet quickly again. Alandriel could not help but smile a little, thinking: ‘you’ve got guts, lady…. and it seems you indeed live up to the fame of the people of Dale. I hope I have a chance to talk to you later.’<BR><BR>She then saw Edain help the healer place Moujhadin on the bed, the very same where not much earlier Jiyadan had lain. Where was he now? She quickly glanced around and saw him tending and talking to the Gondorian woman.<BR>Turning once more to Maelgwn, Alandriel said quietly: ‘The elf will recover soon. Please bind his ribs gently but firmly. I need to find out about Moujhadin. Something about him has been nagging at the back of my mind and I need to confirm or disprove my suspicions.’ Maelgwn did not seem pleased at this but once he caught the determination in her grey-green eyes, he realized that it would be futile to stop her. Alandriel gave a nod of ‘thank you’ and made her way over to the bed.<BR><BR>Were the fireside tales just that - tales – or was there indeed truth in the stories she had heard from her mentor? During the long winter evenings, the old Hag had, on occasion, indulged her with exotic tales of far away lands and of the strange ways of other people. Stories of warrior-priests that underwent long, arduous years of training under the most difficult of circumstances, brushing and defeating death on many levels, gaining tremendous powers in the process, accessing levels of being she was just beginning to understand. She had always wondered...<BR>Now, today, having encountered Moujhadin and having observed his treatment of the Gondorian lady, all these stories had come back and her interest and curiosity was kindled. She thought she had caught a glimpse of….. something. But what? If indeed her suspicions were true, then she would find signs, marks on his body, ritual scars her mentor had once mentioned. <BR><BR>Alandriel sat down on the side of the bed. Moujhadin was sleeping, quite peacefully it seemed. She ran her finger gently over his chest where just minutes ago there had been a terrible wound. Now there was hardly any mark, except to an untrained eye. She looked the woman who was talking to Edain over searchingly but approvingly. A person of great skill indeed, she thought, tracing her finger lower over the bronze body, searching.<BR><BR>She carefully eased open the top hem of his loose blouson trousers to expose the dark skin around the tip of his hips and immediately suppressed a gasp.<BR>There it was! Not one, but four marks, about an inch and a half below and to the left of his navel. ‘Who are you? What are you?’ she thought.<BR><BR>Could she attempt to find out? Edain and the Dale woman were still engaged and so were the other two. Maelgwn eyed her with a puzzled look that also hinted increasing annoyance but he continued bandaging the injured elf. Quickly she signalled to him: Let me. I know what I am doing, and received a nod in return.<BR>But did she really? <BR>From touching the Easterling she had discerned that the previously opened doors to his spirit, opened by the skills of the Dale woman, had not completely shut yet. She would need to be quick. There would be no time to use the seeing herbs. <BR><BR>Taking a deep breath, she slightly traced the first strange symbol, closing her eyes and shutting out all thoughts and noises and then muttered under her breath:<BR>Davo nin cened man hennath lín tirianner. (**)<BR><BR>In a tremendous rush pictures filled her mind. Images of a blazing sun scorching dunes extending as far as the eye could see, images of violent sand storms, strange animals, tents…... There was fire, and the clashes of arms…. Blood, torture and mayhem…. a man in strange array, a blazing mark on his forehead.<BR><BR>‘Hurry!’ the thought intruded on her concentration and so, reluctantly, she moved to trace the second symbol on Moujhadin’s body.<BR><BR>…… people clad in dark robes….. the flash of exotically shaped weapons….rhythmic chanting…..pain…. surges of power….and then….<BR><BR>Suddenly the pictures ceased, stopped by a violent stab of pain flashing through her mind. Then she felt her hand being ceased by a hard grip, so hard that it made her flesh tremble. Alandriel gave a gasp of shock and hurt and her eyes locked with Moujhadin’s fiery, piercing stare.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR> <BR>(*) I will tend to your wounds. Turn your mind away from the evil shadows of today. You will not face more pain.<BR>(**)let me see what your eyes beheld<BR><i>Sindarin translation courtesy (again) of Eression <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> </i>
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Postby prmiller » Mon Feb 03, 2003 4:11 am

<i>No sooner had Parm awoken, than there, before them all, were Willum and Lady Heather.<BR>Characteristically, she said little, but looked both calm and glad at the same time. Parm was delighted to see Willum and Willum was no less pleased to see his<BR>special friend. Warm greetings were passed around by all and then Willum was hiked<BR>up on the horse that was bearing Parm and off the group went, steering a steady,<BR>but gentle course to the Lucky Fortune Inn. Sleep again overtook Parm and in an<BR>almost poignant pose, his head lay on top of Willum's, who had also fallen fast<BR>asleep. There were no dreams, but there was dread. Parm felt himself taken from<BR>the horse, carried up some stairs and laid on something soft and welcoming. <BR>For a single glorious instant, Parm felt the flutters of peace wrap itself, like gentle<BR>wings around his mind, felt the final work of healing take place to augment his<BR>own inner gift and settled, into a dangerous unguarded slumber. Who it was that<BR>had imparted this gift he did not know, but oh! It was glorious! <BR><BR>Edheldur was not so easily bested, even by elven powers. Her dark crafts came from<BR>sources far more powerful, far more deadly, far more potent than the mere flutterings<BR>of what elf-words could bring.<BR><BR>However, unknown to Lady Heather, Edheldur, Nessa, Nin and even Scribbles<BR>and Vanaladiel herself, Parm had been bequeathed powers he had not even begun<BR>to tap, had received an inheritance few had even imagined.<BR><BR>How could Lady Heather know? She had come from worlds apart from Parm's. Yet<BR>her tender ministrations placed Parm, as it were, in a gentle eddy, and for a tender<BR>moment set him apart from the raging torrents he was about to enter.<BR><BR>Torrents? If red-hot lava could sweep out of a gutted volcano in torrents, then that<BR>was what Parm was about to face. Edheldur had seen to that. Parm's mind was a craft <BR>adrift, and she was the current.<BR><BR>
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Postby nienor-niniel » Mon Feb 03, 2003 6:35 am

<i>The lady elf and the hobbit had come out of nowhere, it seemed. Nessamelda and Nienor-Niniel had been so focused on Parm that they had not even listened to the cracking in the surrounding woods.<BR><BR>Parm had set up all of a sudden, as if somebody had taken a great weight from him – actually as if the crow had taken a great weight from him. When first the bird had approached her fellow bardic friend, NN just held herself back from fighting it off, remembering what Nessa had said. Parm calls it Silvertongue. Silvertongue – almost like SilverScribe. They were approaching the inn now, and eventually after having taken care of Parm, she could see if some of her friends were still there and if any of them knew what had happened exactly to Lurea. <BR><BR>Parm seemed not to need any help to walk up to the room himself, but he must still feel weary. N-N was worried, not only about his physical wounds. There had been something unnatural about his swift healing, like emerging from a sinking ship – rather as if somebody had let him go. While the wounds scarced quickly under the hands of the elvish healer, N-N’s fears only grew more vivid. Parm was smiling and speaking, his voice seemed as usual. But when she was looking in his eyes, those eyes she remembered so well, it was not quite his look she was catching in there. Parm was maybe the friendliest person she knew – except from Erinhue himself, and never had she seen any expression but warmth or understanding in his glance. Even in wrath, he showed anger, but not the light sign of reflect she seemed to see now: a very slight expression of mockery, of cruelty. This is not like Parm, she thought. <BR><BR>Then, turning to Nessamelda, she switched again to Rohirrim language – not only for the pleasure, but also for the safety of not being understood by all.</i> Ewes sin falsh. Furht ihan u Parm. Ewes sin i sain gais. Blieme here, od wenick neit gan wait.* <BR><BR><i>Nessamelda acknowledged with a nod, maybe the length of the day was also starting to get hold of her, and she felt tired. N-N felt the weariness in her bones, and even if she thought that Parm should be guarded, it would be possible to leave him for a moment, alone with Heather, just the time to catch a coffee down in the Common Room. There was a lot of noise, and N-N also wondered if some of the guests were still there. They should be informed that Parm was back sound and safe – or at least seemed to be. But for the moment she decided to wait a little more at the side of the servant of Eru. </i><BR><BR>*Something is wrong. I am afraid for Parm. Something is in his spirit. Let us stay here, or at least not go far.
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Postby Jiyadan » Mon Feb 03, 2003 1:21 pm

Jiyadan stayed by Moujhadin for a while, watching him as he rested peacefully. The strange healer whose voice he seemed to know, but whose appearance gave no spark of recognition, came and also looked him over, agreeing he was now healing. <BR><BR>When Jiyadan finally accepted that Moujhadin was safe from harm he finally, again, allowed himself to feel his exhaustion. He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes for a little while, then opened them and scanned the room. His eyes fell on Rho still sitting against the far wall, his task of tending to her only half-completed. Taking in a deep breath, he decided weariness must wait a while longer.<BR><BR>He lingered a moment more by the bed, placed his hand on Moujhadin's forehead. "Brother," he whispered. <BR><BR>Retrieving his pack from where it lay, almost forgotten until now, Jiyadan removed several items and returned to where the sheild-maiden sat. In a way he felt he was obligated to care for the Gondorian woman since he felt so helpless to tend to Moujhadin. <BR><BR>He knelt by Rho and again turned his attentions to her wounded neck. Gently wiping the last bits of the paste away, he pulled out a bottle filled with a cool, jell-like substance. Scooping up a fair amount on his fingers, he liberally applied it to her neck, all the while muttering, explainging what he was doing, seemingly talking to himself more than anything. <BR><BR>"This will aid the healing and help to take the sting away. It may start to itch but you must not scratch it. The skin will be tender and a little raw for a few days, but do not worry. I will leave enough of this jell for you to reapply for the next few days." He paused to wipe his hands and unrolled some bandage. "I will wrap this loosely, just to keep the jell from rubbing off. You must change the wrapping every day, at least, for the next 3 days. It will keep infection from growing." He carefully placed the bandage to her neck and wrapped it several times before tying it off. <BR><BR>When he had finished, he remained next to her, looking at her intently, probing, piercing. "Who is this woman before me?" he thought. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head back against the wall. <BR><BR>So tired, so very tired. "I just want to sleep," he thought.<BR><BR>But even as the thought went through his mind, he heard the soft words of the woman. <BR><BR>“Jiyadan?” She asked softly. “Why were you waiting for me?”
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Postby Rholarowyn » Mon Feb 03, 2003 2:25 pm

Rho’s soft words roused Jiyadan and he looked at her, a puzzled expression on his face. "Waiting for you?" he repeated, "I don't understand."<BR><BR>“By the fire, you and the others. He said you were all waiting for me...why?” <BR><BR>"Why do you continue to taunt me with these riddles?" he asked, now becoming frustrated. "You know my name, you speak to me in my own language... I have never met you. Why do you ask why I am waiting? Your eyes give me comfort yet your words serve to torment me. Torment me no longer and speak to me plainly!" He kept his voice controlled, low, but it betrayed his growing unease.<BR><BR>Rho took a deep breath as she held his gaze. “I’m sorry, no more questions then. I can wait.”<BR><BR>Jiyadan's brow furrowed in frustration. He rubbed a hand over his face, calming himself before he spoke again. "Lets start at the beginning. Who are you? And I do not mean your name. Who, or <i>what</i> are you?"<BR><BR>The question confused her. What was it that he wanted to know if not her name? Who was she? She was Rho, born in Rohan and later raised in the Steward’s house yet she didn’t believe that was what he really wanted to know so she finally answered. “I’ve been a shield maiden of Gondor and am now a Mithril Knight.”<BR><BR>Jiyadan let this sink in for a minute, nodding slightly. He looked over at Moujhadin, understanding now, perhaps, how he came to be in a position to harm this woman. He watched the red-headed healer examine him but for some reason he could not understand, he trusted her, though he had never seen her. Even when Moujhadin roughly gripped her he did not seem to be troubled. Somehow, he knew his brother was safe.<BR><BR>He turned back at Rho, looked into her eyes again. She did not seem to be purposely trying to taunt him, and he allowed himself a few cleansing breaths before asking the next question. <BR><BR>"How do you know Eastron?"<BR><BR>“I don’t know Eastron.” She replied honestly.<BR><BR>"But you spoke it! I heard you! You spoke it plain as if you had been raised on it!"<BR><BR>Rho reflected on his words but did not understand. Finally she asked. “When did I speak it? What did I say?”<BR><BR>Jiyadan was about to reply when he suddenly noticed that she truly did not seem to remember. He looked at her for a moment, searching her eyes, but no sign of deceit could he see. "Is it possible she didn't know?" he wondered to himself. He carefully thought out his next words. If she truly did not know, then he must be very careful how he went about learning the answer to this particular riddle.<BR><BR>"As I lay in the bed, I began to chant, in Eastron. You came and knelt beside me, echoed my words. But then you continued with words I had not said. <i>Rodhiahir s'taba nal dakah, horihir s'iwa binal dakah, Ui'waji senin ba han oe uamiv senin johia uineld.</i> Do you have no memory of speaking these words?"<BR><BR>At the sound of the words Rho lifted her head, unclasped her hands and sat up. He was speaking to her, speaking to her heart. “Yes” she quietly answered as she closed her eyes. “I do know these words. They were a gift to me. Though I do not know what they mean.” <BR><BR>"A gift?" he whispered. "From whom? When? How do you know these words yet not know their meaning?" <BR><BR>“A gift from him.” She began, keeping her eyes closed. “The one who led me back from the sand, then through the mist. The one who led me to the green meadow then back to you and the others. He gave them to me as I walked away from him and towards the fire.” Slowly she felt herself being drawn back into the memory...then through the mist...<BR><BR>
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Postby Hidden_Ring » Mon Feb 03, 2003 9:45 pm

<i>Orion watched, bewildered by the drunken woman's shriek of utter, gibbering terror. Anger, indignation, insults, hostility were what he expected, not terror and madness. Stunned to immobility, Orion silently thanks that Scribbles lifted the woman up and away from his rapidly subsiding wrath to be set beside the fire, crackling merrily, recking nothing of kidnap or near-killings. Despite the noise of the general babble of the room, Orion's elf ears pick out the Scribe's words:</i><BR><BR>“Lórë tulin, ar hiruvalyë sere.” <i>Every word's inflection to bestow a dreamless, restful sleep is heard. Sinking wearily onto the barstool, Orion nods to the offer of the golden malt whiskey. One round of slow sipping stretched to a second, completely in silence. At the start of second round, Orion finally breaks the companionable quiet</i><BR>Any clue who she might be? She seemed familiar somehow, but I can't quite place where I saw her. She did say she was <i>hired</i>, which makes me think I've seen her today. But, <i>that</i> figure stirs no memory. <i>Suddenly, raised voices upstairs drift down the stairs followed rapidly by a noise which sounded rapidly to be forming into a reenactment of the Battle of the Morannon is taking place</i> Vala preserve us, what is happening up there?<BR>
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Postby Nessamelda » Mon Feb 03, 2003 11:44 pm

<i>Something is wrong. I am afraid for Parm. Something is in his spirit. Let us stay here, or at least not go far. </i><BR><BR>Nessamelda nodded at Nienor-Niniel's softly spoken words. <BR><BR>"You are right, although I do not know what I can do. I have no weapons, and I have no skill with healing or familiarity with magic. But if you think our presence will help ward off evil, then I will only too happily stay. What do you think mistress?" she asked, turning to Heather.<BR><BR>At his point Heather made her own little speech "I am glad that he has friends like you. Eru knows that he may need you in the days to come. If I could so trouble you to help me to my own bed..."<BR>She didn't get to finish or thank them ahead of time, for the weakness, exhaustion and stress of the day finally caught her in it's merciless grip and she passed out, falling the rest of the way to the floor...<BR><BR>Nessamelda was not quite quick enough to catch her, but managed to break her fall, stopping her head from crashing against the floor.<BR><BR>"Nin - if you don't mind, wait here, while I return the healer to her well-deserved bed. I'll be back soon to help you watch Parm against whatever it is that waits for him in the shadows of the night."<BR><BR>She picked Heather up - a heavy load, but no worse than hefting about a calf or injured sheep, and carried her to her room. She laid her gently on the bed, pulled off her boots, and pulled the cover over her. Pulling the door gently closed so as to avoid waking any sleepers, she paused in the corridors. She could hear sounds of fighting and argument. The powerful voice of Master Erinhue could be heard, raised not in song or pride or praise, but distorted in anger and rage. <BR><BR>What now? Should she investigate or return to Parm's room? She ran quickly back to Nin, who was standing by the half-open door, her face tense. <BR><BR>"You hear it too?", Ness asked. "Now what?. I do not like to leave Master Parm, alone but I fear that other of our frineds are in trouble too. There is a curse on this day, that such distress and tensions and darkness have come to something that should be pure joy. I have not the knowledge to deal with this. I wish I had not come. But I am here, and I do not know what to do!"<BR><BR>********************************<BR><BR>Meanwhile back in the bar, Alfirin slept in her corner. But her sleep was no gentle one; there were no peaceful dreams. The alcohol and Scribbles' charm had led her conscious mind to oblivion as she had desired, but it had set free her inner demons, and they raged through her soul. She needed no dark elf's help to give her nightmares. Her past provided all the material necessary - the hidden memory of a sin she had committed years ago, a bargain with darkness. In the end she had not fully kept her side of the bargain, and it came as no surprise, in the end, that neither had he. But she had been tainted than by the taste of evil, had been drawn to it, and corrupted by it. And although she had not fully fallen to its charms she still was both repelled and attracted by it. And that guilt gave her nightmares.<BR>
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Postby PatriotBlade » Tue Feb 04, 2003 12:01 am

<i>Black, thick, smothering dark- that's all Heather heard or saw after she exerted herself to heal Parm. The healing currents flowing from her body, finished healing the injury from earlier, tking the last of the pain and numbness out of her arms and shoulders, but now, she could touch nothing; feel nothing. She knew not if someone put her into a bed or left her on the floor.<BR>Slowly the black mists cleared and she saw a vision. She was in it but she did not see through her own eyes; she was an observer of herself.<BR>Erinhue took the stage and announced the ranks for the bards-The caerimony! She was seeing the cerimony as if she had been there. She saw herself move forward as her name was called; she watched herself curtsy, then heard her own voice, though she said nothing, repeat the pledge of the bard.<BR><BR> “As a member of the Grand High Mystic Society for the Preservation of the Bardic Traditions I do affirm that I shall endeavor to present a cheerful and courteous attitude to all I encounter both on and off the TORC boards, To assist all newbies to become acclimated with the conventions of conduct here at TORC and assist them to become upstanding members of the TORC community and to support fellow guild members in both posting and creative efforts.<BR>My instrament is what I carry; my voice. I am a soprano, but have a wide range; first to nearly alto. I also occasionally play a set of Elvish Panpipes."<BR><BR>The black mist returned, blocking out the rest of the vision and nearly smothering her.(spirit)</i>
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Postby Aliana » Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:41 am

Glad that she had been able to relinquish the towels, Aliana watched as the confrontation between Alfirin, Scribbles and Bardhwyn played out, albeit in a way that was not so violent as the girl had previously anticipated. Pride had been bruised rather than bones broken, though among these fierce-willed people she honestly couldn't say which one might be worse. She quietly reclaimed her barstool and signaled for another drink as Scribbles calmed down the disgruntled human lady and Bardhwyn was hurriedly called away- nothing too serious, Aliana hoped.<BR><BR>She tossed back the drink faster than she was usually inclined to. After the latest upset, the crowd seemed to be calming down once again, resmoothing frayed nerves. She was so lost in herself- or maybe it was just her own fatigue- that it took her a few moments to notice Leoba seated beside her.<BR><BR>“Aliana”, the Gondorian Bard said, “I’m trying to find someone but it’s a nightmare trying to locate him." Aliana nodded sympathetically. It would be very hard trying to find <i>anyone</i> in this surreal jumble which the wedding had become. "It’s my brother; you might have seen him with Rho earlier?" Leoba continued. "A red-headed man all in black.”<BR><BR>"I saw him, but not with Rho," the Rohirric girl replied. Leoba lifted her eyebrows. "I was upstairs, with Eyriel and Aerin and Hobbi, after Hobbi-" Aliana scanned Leoba's face. Rumors and speculation concerning today's disaster had been circulating about the Inn. How much had she heard? How much did she know? "Well, Hobbi's been hurt, you see? And he called for your brother- wanted to talk to him. Eyriel went and brought him up, and then the two of us went downstairs."<BR><BR>Aliana watched Leoba's expression change. "So you didn't hear anything that passed between them?" she asked, in a tone more pointed, more urgent than that with which she had made her original inquiry.<BR><BR>"No, we- is this bad?" Aliana liked the other young woman, admired her music. In her mind, she tried to reconcile the personality of this friendly, sweet-voiced Bard with the look she had caught in the eyes of her brother as he had come up the stairs. It had been grief, Eyriel had said, though Aliana thought that she had caught something darker, something fiercer, in his glance, as well. Before she had stared daggers at him, herself, that is. "I get the feeling I've missed out on something," she said with a half-smile.<BR><BR>Before Leoba could respond, the sound of shouting, muffled though unmistakably male, could be heard from the floor above. Then the sound of thuds, of things being dropped and thrown to rough landings. The two maidens exchanged one glance, set down their glasses and vacated their barstools for the direction of the stairs.<BR>
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