The Lost Palantir

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The Lost Palantir

Postby Isildur's Bane » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:12 pm

Prologue

The Year 1409 in the Third Age of the Sun

Mist settled over the once great lands of Arnor. The patrol cautiously trudged over rocky land, caring not to make a sound. Thorondir’s foot stepped down into a bog, they were getting close. The patrol from Arthedain had begun their mission four days ago, and they were nearing their goal. Suddenly, Thorondir heard movement to the right. He put his hand up and the rest of the patrol stopped. Thorondir then signaled them to draw their bows. Soon a dark shape became distinguishable in the thick mist, and tension was high among the men.
They were about to loose their arrows when they saw that the supposed threat was just a traveler dragging along a pony. The patrol relaxed their arrows, and the man appeared scared for a second, he had no idea they were there that whole time! Thorondir greeted him, and said, “I am sorry traveler, we almost had our arrows inside you. But these lands are no longer safe, the kings of old have abandoned us, and once fair lands are now teeming with orc and wolf, and worse things.” At this some of the other men in the patrol looked around them into the mist with fear, for they knew as well that there were much worse things than orcs. The traveler returned a greeting, and began to tell his purpose for setting out alone in such dangerous times. “I am a trader, and I am heading west because I indeed know as well that these lands are no longer safe. I was traveling in the land of Rhudaur, and I found nothing there but burnt and crumbling villages, and men who are no longer strong enough to fight against the Witch King.” At this name many of the patrol shuddered, they knew the power of the Witch King and how he had used it for evil and twisted purpose. “I have decided to head for the safe haven of Bree, but who shall now how long it is safe. I have managed to elude the enemy, even though his servants in these lands are now everywhere, and sometimes unrecognizable. Even the trees can no longer be trusted.”
The trader shared some of his supplies with the company, and both bade each other good luck and set off. Thorondir and the rest of the patrol treaded onward through the bog, eventually coming out of it and the mist and settling for the night by a very old oak tree. Thorondir settled down on the ground, with his back to the trunk of the great tree, and enjoyed a pipe with weed that the trader gave them. His good friend and lieutenant Hallas sat down and shared the pipe with him. Hallas looked up at the great tree and its many branches, and spoke, “Thorondir, do you think the traveler spoke true?” “About what, my good friend?” “When he declared that not even trees could be trusted anymore in these dark days.” Thorondir paused and contemplated, while looking up at the majestic oak’s branches. “I think the tradesman exaggerated, my friend, but his words do hold wisdom,” Thorondir paused and examined the land around him, “Think about it Hallas, the field surrounding us probably used to be filled with children playing, there could have been a village over there on that hill, peace was secured and all things could be trusted. For all that is known, even songbirds could be under the dark sorcery of the Witch King. He has poisoned the very soil with his iron grip, and the cold steel of his servants’ weapons silences those who wish to defend their soil. The shadow has descended over these lands, and it is near impossible to escape its grip.” There was a long moment of silence between the two rangers, and finally Thorondir spoke again. “But there is still some hope, the kingdom could still be reunited, and the soil freed, and all things could return as to when they were during the time of unity. A king still sits in Fornost, and although the Witch King has taken control of the eastern lands, Arthedain is still safe.”

The next morning the patrol knew that the were within less than a day’s march from their target, and anticipation was high. They had marched for four long, hard, days from Fornost, where the once great power of the kings of Arnor had long ago started fading. Thorindir spoke with Hallas about which way they would go to reach their sought objective. “The roads through this country are not safe,” Hallas informed Thorondir, “Last night Beregond and Forlong scouted ahead and from afar saw a group of Orcs and Hillmen marching west along the road. I recommend we stay off the beaten path as we have done and to attempt to sneak through forest.” Thorondir placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder, “My old friend Hallas, you are mistaken. We shall not sneak, only the lowly servants of the enemy sneak. No, for we are rangers of the north. We shall not be seen, we shall not make a sound, but sneak, we shall not.” Their kinship was very deep and old, and they both exchanged smiles. The company, measuring in 12 men, then set out.
Just as Hallas sought them to do, they moved undetected through the trees, and around midday they stopped on a hill with a clearing. On top of the hill was a large stone, and Thorondir stepped onto it and faced the east. In far distance were the gray shapes of the misty mountains. He could see Amon Sul in the distance, and saw many movements of orcs in the distance. This worried him, and he knew they would have to reach Amon Sul before the orcs did. Once a great fortress, the tower could put up a defense before they got there, but the Witch King’s armies would overrun it soon. They departed from the hill, and entered hilly plains outside of the forest. They approached an old stone road, and saw a troop of orcs approaching in the distance. Thorondir signaled for the men to hide in brush on either side of the road, and they sat and waited, hidden by cloaks colored in the fashion of the forest. The orcs were none but a hundred yards away, and Thorondir signaled for the rangers to draw their bows.
The orcs were now close enough were their crude language could be heard being spoken, and the rangers observed that there was a captain of the orcs leading them in front. He was glad in rusted gold chain mail, no doubt stolen, and a great helmet with a spike on top. For a sword he bore a large scimitar, stained with the red blood of men. The other orcs gathered in a rabble behind him, and they bore crude spikes and rusted scimitars as weapons. When the orcs passed between the rangers on either side of the road, Thorondir gave the signal to release their arrows. Hallas’ first shot thrust into the throat of the orc captain, in the small space between the helmet and the armor. Most of the orcs fell on the first round of shots, before the rest of the orcs could attack the rangers drew again and all but one of the orcs was dead. Hallas drew an elven knife, one he had been given from elves he had met on the road long ago, and slew the orc before he could escape.
At nightfall the troop reached Amon Sul, which had temporarily defeated the orcs laying siege to it. They climbed up the long winding stairs up into the very top of the gigantic tower. They were shown by the defendants to the objective of their mission, a palantir, that had been gifted by the elves to the Dunedain long ago. It was wrapped in a dark green cloth, and the captain in charge of the defense of the tower gave it to Thorondir personally. He said to Thorondir, “Take this, fair ranger. We must not let it fall into the hands of the enemy, preserve that which the elves gave us long ago.” After resting and enjoying hot food and good drink for the first time in days, Thorondir and Hallas quietly talked about their next course of action. After many minutes of conversation, they agreed to stay the night at Amon Sul, and help the defenders until they left for Fornost the next day. The orcs tried frequent small attacks throughout the night, but all were repelled.
In the morning, the twelve rangers left Amon Sul during the cover of a dense fog, and they bade farewell and good luck to its defenders. This time, they sought speed, and thus did not care about taking the road. In three days time they reached Fornost, and the palantir of Amon Sul was put under great protection. Thorondir’s life would be cut short when he and a party of rangers were ambushed on an expedition into Rhudaur. Hallas would live a long life and rise in prominence among the rangers of the north. The palantir was delivered from Fornost where it was lost in a shipwreck in the ice bay of Forochel.
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Isildur's Bane
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