Angmar Rising!

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

Postby Gilfein » Tue Jul 29, 2003 12:13 pm

Early in the 4th age, Gilfein The Green, Chronicler of the West, Istari, aged and tired sits upon his great roan stallion in the stables of the Lucky Fortune Inn, brooding on the events of the past 4 days:<BR><BR><i> *Two attacks on himself, and his traveling companions, by more than 40 orcs, some, the Black Uruks of Mordor. The attacks were well organized and controlled by a dark power that appeared to be none other than the Mouth of Sauron, the Lieutenant of Barad-dûr, and he wanted the Istari! And Radagast was missing, presumably captured by these orcs! Where was he? Why could the ancient mage not see, or sense, his brother in the order?* </i><BR><BR>The wizard knew that it was indeed for some dark purpose that his foe wanted the wizards, and he was coming to the realization, with a sickening feeling, what that purpose was.<BR><BR><i> *The fortress of Barad-dûr was utterly destroyed, and no power could invade the Tower of the Moon, Minas Ithil, for the watch on that accursed valley by the men of Prince Faramir. Also, the dungeon and tower of Dol Guldur, in the southern reaches of Mirkwood have been razed by Galadriel and the elves of Lothlorien so that stronghold was gone. But there was one place, overlooked by all that still existed, still could be re-built and inhabited, it’s old evil fires re-lit, and if that happened, woe be to the world! Angmar! The ancient evil realm of the Witch-King, Chief of the Ring Wraiths that all felt was thrown down forever with the defeat of his forces in the year 1974 of the Third Age. But, Gilfein knew that there was no record of the fortress <u> itself </u> being destroyed. No one knows for sure where it was, save that his realm was north of the Ettenmoors on both sides of the Misty Mountains. That meant the fortress could be anywhere!* </i><BR><BR>Gilfein stared northward as if with his eyes he could pierce shadow and time to see where the ancient realm was but to no avail.<BR><BR><i> *We <u> must </u> get to Imladris! We must! There I may find a scroll which might aid me in this task, but I don’t know. There are not many records from that time still left. Perhaps the Library of Elrond will give me the answers. Maps! I need maps!* </i><BR><BR>He knew this was almost a vain hope, but he had to hope. In any event, he swore he would at least help one of his party get to the hidden valley and he was going to make sure they made it, even if she did not follow him further. Turning in his saddle, he looked at the rest of his traveling companions readying themselves for the journey. An orc with three wargs, a dwarf, a maiden of Rohan and a ranger with a wolfhound.<BR><BR><i> *Well, it should be an interesting adventure!* </i> he thought with a wry smile, <i> *Hopefully, this ranger will lead us to Rivendell by paths that were not well known, hidden from all and so buy us precious time before another attack occurs. Praise be to the Valar I am glad she is with us!* </i><BR><BR>Turning to the ranger, the mage spoke: “Time is running on, let us leave, now. You are in command!” Spurring his horse out of the stable, he followed the ranger as she led them into the wild.<BR><BR><b> OOC </b> The initial posts for this story line were created in the Lucky Fortune Inn thread in the Welcome Forum. Please check out the link below from the 2nd post on page 57 on, to familiarize yourself with the story and characters. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?start=1120&catid=30&threadid=54678">http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?start=1120&catid=30&threadid=54678</a><BR>Any questions regarding the story line or personal information about your characters can be conveyed through the word-aside thread link below. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=25&threadid=69309">http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=25&threadid=69309</a>
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Postby Lithtaur16 » Tue Jul 29, 2003 6:12 pm

Lith, we now place ourselves in your capable hands. Time is running on, let us leave, now. You are in command!<BR><BR><i>The Ranger nodded and smiled a short greeting towards the newest member of the haphazard band as she turned to mount her buckskin mustang.</i><BR><BR>Master Dwarf--<BR><BR>Rodrin.<BR><BR><i>He interrupted evenly.</i><BR><BR>Very well then, Rodrin. Come along and hold fast to my belt. We’ve not time for that pony.<BR><BR><i>Lith spake as she freed the left stirrup and gave him a hand up behind her just in front of a pack. The other light ones were arranged at the stallion’s flanks and the buckskin gave only a momentary shake of his head and stomp of his hoof as he got used to the new weight.<BR>As Gilfein gently spurred his great red foreward towards the door, a breathtakingly handsome Mearas Lith quickly realized, the Ranger motioned for Leane to mount with the elven woman who had joined them. She had observed the woman had no mount to speak of</i><BR><BR>An easy pace through to the nearer end of town, then we’ll cut to an old trail... however, I think You should take your friends out that side door and around back of the stables, good Orc. There is an easily picked out path beneath the shadows of the trees which leads to the town’s edge... after what happened the other night, I believe it would be in both our interests that the towns people not see you traveling with us. Then follow us along the treeline by the road until we can meet you...<BR><BR><i>She called, and she was answered with a stiff look and a shrug as the Lith turned and trotted her mount ahead and out the stables: down the least populated streets and alleys with Anaiu slightly right and close on the stallion’s heels until the three horses had reached the edge of the town.<BR>Lith felt her nape prickle slightly as she glanced with trained casualness at the tree line, quickly picking out the orc and wargs waiting for them, before edging her mount off the road when they’d ridden out of sight of the town.<BR>With a glance towards the mage on her left, her features spoke as much.<BR><BR>“So Master Gilfein... the hunt begins now.”<BR><BR>And she picked a web of a way, leading them windingly until they reached a small stream flowing back towards the town. The bottom was gravely sand, not good for a hunter only following tracks for traces. Nor was it deep enough to drench the horses legs and leave wet marks in the dirt they might exit onto.<BR>Turning her stallion upstream she gestured for the others to stay towards the center of the water way and take it carefully.<BR><BR>A half a mile they continued until the roars of a waterfall met their ears and the shores were more gravel than mud. Here Lith led them from stream with care and begun another weaving route through the trees and shrubbery. Slowly the vegetation became different, the trees Lith had spoken of pervaded the landscape. One in particular caught the Ranger’s eye though she made no signal as to which it was. A carved mark upon it invisible to the attention of most others cemented her direction.<BR>The start of the Eastward trail began soon... yes there was the old tree, a strange birch for this time of year as it’s shimmering white bark was entirely unbroken while wide strips fell from it’s neighbor’s trunks with each gust of wind.<BR><BR>Coming to the foot of the tall beauty Lith circled it once, eyeing the surrounding greenery and carefully dismounted, helping Rodrin settle in the saddle instead of behind it and gave him the reins momentarily. The Ranger accepted when the Elven woman offered aid and the two circled into the grove in opposite directions: Anaiu trotting out ahead to check for fresh scent trails. On their return a short time later, the two nodded towards each other and, remounting, Lith murmured to Gilfein.</i><BR><BR>To most signs we’re not followed as of this moment. We will continue on with a break after the sun’s zenith before camping the night.<BR><BR><i>With his nod of agreement she turned her mount onto the new trail, keeping to the smoother, packed ground to make things more comfortable for her partner and leave no trail. The others followed a short distance behind...</i>
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Postby Ulugz » Tue Jul 29, 2003 8:41 pm

Ûlugz slipped into the tree line perched high on the shaggy grey shoulders of the mighty elder warg. At a gentle nip from his sister, the young black male wolf ceased his excited capering, and followed his sibling and their father, disappearing into the forest like wisps of smoke. Moving through the concealing trees silent as shadows. The orc and wargs found themselves admiring the ranger’s skill in spite of themselves.<BR>It was pleasant to watch a ranger at work, and know that for once, you were not their quarry.<BR>As they moved upstream, the sign and scent of the orc party from the night before faded, then disappeared entirely in the clean smell of fresh water. <BR>Leaving the stream the little orc dismounted to be sure the horses had left no discernable hoof prints in the hard gravel bank, quickly raking pebbles back into the few divots that had been scuffed in the edge of the stream bed. The soft pads of the wolves left little trace, as they swiftly caught up to the group, ranging back and forth across the trail to confuse any potential scent tracker.<BR>There was something unsettling about the birch tree the ranger had chosen to stop by. It seemed somehow elfin, and despite recent events Ûlugz could still not tolerate the touch of elfin craft without pain. The little orc shuddred, and averted it's muddy yellow eyes as they passed the erie tree, and moved onto the hard packed trail. How would it face the dread elf vale that lay ahead it did not know.
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Postby wind_walker » Tue Jul 29, 2003 9:24 pm

Rodrin grumbled at the thought of having to riade at the ranger's back all the way to Rivendale... That would be a long way. However, he disliked the thought of riding a warg even more, the beasts just didn't beem as trustworthy as a steed. But he would have to travel with them and the orc. As long as they answered to the orc commands, and the orc remained true...them maybe they would behave. Well, he would have to trust them, thats all he could do, and the wizard seemed comefortable as one could expect, travling with the orc.<BR>The ranger, Lith, was another story. While being a true and respectful person, she had her reservations about her travling companions. He wasn't entirely sure she trusted him, well, maybe at the campfire, they would learn more of each other, if time allowed for such luxeries. He did trust her...well, mostly. She was a Ranger after all.<BR>He got a god grip of her belt where it crossed her hips, he was careful no to offend her. Once they were out of town and had exited the creek, if one could call it that, they cam to a peculiar tree. The dwarf sis not have extensive knowledge of such things, but he did know there was something special about it. His knowledge was confirmed when the party stopped and Lith dismounted and gave him the reins. Upon continuing, he resumed his hold on her belt, bit the path seemed smooth and the way was not terrably rough. <i>Just the place where we might be attacked,</i> he thought uneasily. Looking behind him, he saw the others comming along quitely...
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Postby Key_Blade » Wed Jul 30, 2003 6:45 am

Tal sat alone in the small tavern. His blue eyes were almost closed, weighed down with much needed sleep. But he forced himself to look to the window. It was late, and he should be carrying on. He pushed the chair back,grabbing his pack and letting a few coins fall to the table from his gloved hands. <BR><BR>"I'll be taking my leave now," he said starting toward the door. He felt a hand on his shoulder and he turned. Bartender looked around wareily, nervous at talking directly to a ranger.<BR><BR>"Forgive me for asking, but where are you going exacgtly?" Tal smiled and patted the short keeper on the head.<BR><BR>"To Imladris. Where else?" the bartende leaned forward.<BR><BR>"I'm just glad you're not heading toward Mordor. Rumor's got it that Angmar has risen again." Tal's already distant look became more spellbound than before. He knew about Angmar. He had been there. Long ago. Tal nodded a thanks for the information. <BR><BR>He ran to the stables, leading out his grey horse, Adras. He lept upon his bare back, holding onto it's long silvery hair. <BR><BR>"Come Adras, we ride to Imladris," he leaned into the body of the horse and he took off with the wind, "but it's for a different reason now."<BR><BR>Tal followed the main path which led in a wide loop around the falls. He would have taken a short cut if he knew of one, but he was unfamiliar with these parts so he stuck to the road.
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Wed Jul 30, 2003 10:10 pm

The road was long my friends,<BR>But now here we sit and the days end.<BR>A campfire to warm our limbs,<BR>The stars above to, watch over us,<BR>As we sleep<BR>Beneath the sky of a hundred weary travelers,<BR>Like you and I.<BR><BR>Now shut your eyes my friends<BR>Let the night sweep, by us.<BR>Tomorrow returns the quest,<BR>Wither we go and whether we win.<BR>We’ll ride side by side<BR>Comrades all in the darkened world.<BR><BR>The morning will come, oh too soon<BR>Let us put aside, our worries for now.<BR>And when the sun crests the hill<BR>Off we’ll go, unto the end.<BR>I’ll see you then, my friends.<BR><BR>Luke sat with his arm around one knee staring into his fire. It was almost dusk and already he had stopped. It was not like him but he doubted he would happen upon such a good camp spot again before it became imperative for him to stop for the night. Besides there had been Orcs about recently, somehow. That was strange in itself. Orcs never managed to get this far in without attacking something and then getting hunted down, but he had clearly seen them walking along through the woods earlier that day.<BR><BR>He shuddered and cast a glance over his shoulder again. Orcs, the things he hated the most in the world. He would have dearly loved to kill them but even he was not that stupid and he refused to let such emotions rule him, though they came close.<BR><BR>He sang the song through once more, letting it sooth him. He found himself drifting into himself, remembering faces, people he had known, some still alive, others dead, comrades and friends. The snap of a twig, off to his right further into the woods, jolted him awake, he remained motionless, sniffing the air for any tell tale foul smell stench of Orc.<BR><BR>There it was, not nearly as strong as it should have been but there none the less. He could smell it getting stronger and getting closer. Should he run into the forest and wait? Or stay here and face them? Wait in ambush or force them out into the open to get at him?<BR><BR>His fist retightened its grip on the bow at his feet and the other hand found the string and shaft. There was a rustle of branches directly at the edge of the clearing off to his right again. Acting on pure instinct Luke shot up and drew back the string to his ear, circling around the fire away from the noise and bringing the arrow point to mark on the shape that stepped from the bushes…<BR>
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Postby Lithtaur16 » Thu Jul 31, 2003 10:46 am

<i>A shadowy form lay still as stone balanced between the thick branches of the tree on the edge of the clearing nearest to the tense man below. It was a bit of a long shot but...<BR><BR>WHUMP! THAUNG!<BR><BR>Were heard as he pounced down, hitting his target a little low for his tastes, and the arrow shot away somewhat off it’s target. Surprised that his breath had been knocked so suddenly from his body, the man whom had been shooting endeavored to turn over and fight this unseen combatant. He succeeded and gave his opponent a solid kick in the face, then a second which finally knocked the Ranger to the side as the rustling in the bushes became the nervous stomps and wickers of horses quickly silenced.<BR>A flash of white and gray fur erupted before the archer could react however and he soon found himself staring at a wolfhound’s warning jaws.<BR><BR>A cloaked figure, naked blade in hand followed the hound out into the clearing as the other Ranger rose with a black eye, now swelling quite painfully and unsheathed his own sword.</i><BR><BR>Is this your arrow, sir? Ye must be more careful about choosing targets, for these are precious things not to be wasted on the ones that get away.<BR><BR><i>The cloaked woman spoke, lightly teasing, and drove the arrow's head into the ground.</i><BR><BR>Anaiu, heel. He’s not going anywhere. Come, sir lay down that bow. We won’t hurt you, eh old friend?<BR><BR><i>The other Ranger made a ghost of a smile as He sheathed his sword and helped the man up.</i><BR><BR>I couldn’t allow you to shoot my old “apprentice”, young master. Just tell us this was an honest mistake. <BR><BR><i>The man nodded quickly and backed off a little still shocked and glancing around... the hound had disappeared into the underbrush beyond the clearing. To Lith’s mind he looked utterly confused that his mark had not been what he’d thought it had been... he must have gotten that orc’s and the wargs scent and done the instinctive. <BR>They would have to find a way to cover that scent soon... and the orc probably wouldn't like it.<BR>The others were hidden a ways back in the bushes she’d come out from, out of sight and secret for the moment. Just then the other ranger touched her on the shoulder and asked in coded words at her ear.</i><BR><BR>We have something to speak about?<BR><BR>Aye.<BR><BR><i>She nodded and the two backed into the shadows and away before the other could say anything. <BR>As they moved, the man only shook his head when her face turned concerned over the dark swelling of his left eye and bruises on his jaw and cheek.<BR>Walking carefully to leave no prints, they circled back towards the party who were anxious to know what had happened. Looking for a camp site after a long day of riding and weaving, they’d been surprised to hear the heavy thump and then a thanging of a bow in the night’s silence... and to faintly see the arrow fall almost at Spirit’s hooves.</i><BR><BR>It’s alright, but I afraid we’ll have to get you a bath when we find a site far from here, Orc.<BR><BR><i>She frowned and nudged her mentor as she sensed him tense beside her at the sight of the “beasts”.</i><BR><BR>They are with us at his and their own request.<BR><BR><i>She murmured for his ears and gestured towards Gilfein, still astride the red Mearas. The Ranger frowned and shook his blond-tasseled head beneath his concealing hood in puzzlement, he knew the man for a mage... but his reason seemed madness, and apparently Lith felt so as well... her eyes sparked with it. He knew she would be cautious and it gladdened his heart though such did not reach his face. <BR>The two quickly and silently led the company a bit of a distance from the shocked man before the other Ranger turned again to Lith.</i><BR><BR>Very well then, what is it you sought my post for?<BR><BR>You have heard the “rumors” as well as many may have. They were dismissed by most... do not dismiss them now. The town’s guard must be heightened and the people prepared for anytime. Raiding parties only. Other information and ideas cannot slip even among our own ranks right now. You understand what I say?<BR><BR>Aye, friend. I understand.<BR><BR><i>He clasped her smaller, strong hand in his own muscled, if long-fingered, one, squeezing her shoulder gently with his other.</i><BR><BR>The ridge above Snowden Creek is secure.<BR><BR>I’d thought we’d head there, too. <BR><BR><i>The older Ranger smiled again, showing some warmth this time, his browned, rugged face slipping somewhat free of the cowl before he disappeared into shadowy trees, leaving Lith on her own once more.<BR>She mounted up carefully again.</i><BR><BR>A little farther and we’ll camp, watch posted.<BR><BR><i>She spoke softly to Rodrin and Gilfein riding beside her, and with one look more towards where her mentor had left them, she started another winding trail, heading for the ridge with the hound at the stallion's heels again.</i>
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Postby Gilfein » Thu Jul 31, 2003 6:43 pm

Gilfein was lost in his own thoughts. *Angmar, Angmar, there had to be a map in Imladris…somewhere…* but he had been there since it’s inception and had not found nor noticed anything of that sort. *Maybe he just hadn’t looked hard enough. Hah! That’s a laugh! Gilfein the Green, Chronicler of the West, not looking hard enough for <u> any </u> document related to Middle Earth, regardless of where it might lie?* Gilfein allowed himself a wry smile for a moment, but went back to brooding. *But where, where is it?…* The thought was consuming him like a wildfire, unquenchable, destroying all till it was the only thought left.<BR><BR>He barely noticed them crossing a small stream, and didn’t even acknowledge when an arrow imbedded itself near the hoof of the ranger’s horse. He saw the ranger, after a few moments, return and nod to him in reference while she conversed to another, but became preoccupied with his own thoughts again as he felt no threat, only a kindred spirit to the ranger. It did not matter when they resumed their journey because he knew his horse would follow this ranger, this Rohirrim, wherever she led. She had spoken briefly to them before they set out to let them know it was a few hours more before they made camp. This was fine, it would allow the mage to think.<BR><BR>Several hours after the encounter they made camp. Gilfein was at a loss as to where they were. No doubt the ranger would let him know tonight, but for now, he must be sure there was no threat, nothing that would disturb their night. The Mage dismounted and began to walk about the area. Occasionally he would tap the ground or stones with his staff. When he would do this, a gold/white light would softly blaze where his staff touched, then vanish. When he had completed a circle, he returned to the center and set about helping the Dwarf make a fire in a ring of stones. They soon had a cheery blaze going. At first, Lith nearly jumped on the flames trying to put them out but Gilfein spoke up saying:<BR><BR>“Do not worry my good ranger. I have set wards about this camp that even the High Elves would not be able to penetrate! And I Mean That!” Gilfein stuck his eyebrows out from beneath the brim of his hat. “To the casual observer, or for that matter, even a raiding party of orcs, we would look like a pile of stones, bare and barren, of no interest to anyone or anything.” He knew that she was not certain she believed him, but what was she to do? She could go outside the ring, but how would she find her way back in? Gilfein saw her concern and continued:<BR><BR>“Please, Lith, I know you do not completely trust me. Allow me to explain the history of the events you are now caught up in, and why there is such urgency in this mission! But be warned, you will likely hear more that you would want to hear!” The aged wizard then sat down by the fire, accepting some fresh cooked meat from the dwarf and waited for the ranger’s reply.<BR>
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Postby Key_Blade » Fri Aug 01, 2003 6:51 am

Tal gazed up at the sinking sun. The temperature was dropping rapidly but he didn't mind. That's when he smelled it, water. The river was near, but he ws too tired to continue. He set up a small camp by the roadside, needing only a very small fire since he was that fond of heat. <BR><BR>He fed Adras some oats, and prepared a meal for himself. His companion seemed nervous about something, as if there was another company nearby. Tal sensed nothing. He ate his supper and crawled under a light blanket and fell asleep.<BR><BR><i>The light seems so far away......</i><BR><BR><i>......it feels so faint.....</i><BR><BR><i>yet......I can just see it.</i><BR><BR>Tal awoke, or at least that's what he thought he did, in a dark dungeon. He was not but a little boy again, frightened, alone, in one of the most darkest places in Middle Earth. Angmar. Someone was coming, he had to get out!<BR><BR><i>Get out!</i><BR><BR>Tal opened his eyes and saw himself face to face with a creature. He shot up, began to walk backward but tripped on something and fell back down. It was only a dream. he glared annoyingly at Adras. Who stood right over his bedside.<BR><BR>"Stupid horse. Don't ever do that again!" Tal packed his things and buried the remaining embers. He remounted Adras and set off, sure to get to the waterfront by midday.
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Fri Aug 01, 2003 11:55 am

Luke finally managed to bring his breathing under control. The last thing he had expected was an attack by Rangers. He was simply glad they were not out for the kill or he was certain he would not be alive.<BR><BR>Stalking over to his arrow he pulled it from the loam and notched it again, this would not be a very restful night. Sighing deeply he inhaled once more and caught again the tell tale smell of Orc. He had completely forgot the Orc smell in light of the two Rangers, and now the two Rangers were walking off into the night seemingly very unaware.<BR><BR>They were rangers though; they could take care of themselves. An image flashed through his mind. A tall young man in a grey cloak lay on the ground, his sword inches from his hand, his eyes wide in surprise. A deep gash ran from his right shoulder across his chest down to his left ribcage, it still oozed blood that drenched the white fabric of his shirt.<BR><BR>Around the yard, drawn with white circles and posts and straw dummies lay other like him, all dead. Among them lay perhaps three times their number of large black shapes. Across the yard, smoke still billowed out of the blackened frame of the large training hall. Theses had been his students, he had trained them in the sword himself and now they were dead. All of them, none had run, he was sure of that, he had trained them himself.<BR><BR>Shrugging off the memory Luke jogged back his fire and started kicking dirt over it. He gave a sharp whistle and heard a snort further into the woods. Geb trotted out of the forest and stood waiting obediently while his master obliterated the rest of the fire. Luke quickly retied his bedroll and fastened it the back of Geb’s saddle before swinging up himself.<BR><BR>Smelling the air again he trotted in the direction of it, the same direction he thought the rangers had gone. He prayed he caught up with them first before they ran into the Orcs. Luke held his bow across his lap with the arrow still notched scanning the trees around him in the darkness, listening carefully. On a night like this, he would have to depend more on his ears and nose than his eyes.<BR><BR>He ran his hand down to his right scabbard and checked to make sure the sword was clear in its sheath, then the left, he would not be surprised again, not if he could help it.<BR><BR>He had gone nearly an hour before he realized he had seen nothing of the rangers yet. They must have had horse further out, and proceeded on them, it was the only explanation. The smell of Orc had gotten stronger by the minute earlier but now it stayed just ahead of him at all times. It was close but it was moving. He nudged Geb a little faster and rode on another fifteen minutes. Suddenly the smell grew much stronger.<BR><BR>They must have stopped for the night, either that or found the rangers. He was certain they had not found them before because he had not heard sounds of battle. He hoped the rangers were far and clear of the Orcs but Luke couldn’t just walk away without being sure. The smell grew steadily clearer as he went on, he was close. Dismounting he told Geb to stay and went on, on foot. A flicker of flame up ahead caught his eye and he crept forward, ears straining for the slightest sound, bow half drawn at his side. He came to the edge of a clearing and looked in. The two rangers he had seen earlier, and older man, a Dwarf, and a woman that looked as if she was from his home country. The older man was eating near the fire near the dwarf and the Rohan woman was rummaging through one of the packs. One of the Ranger, he saw now was a woman, was talking earnestly with the other while the hound lay as near the fire while being as close to his master as he could manage.<BR><BR>The smell was strong here, not far off at all and getting closer. Luke was about to step into the clearing and hale them when a sudden movement caught his eye off to his right about a quarter of the way around the clearing. A dark shape stepped into the clearing and Luke stiffened as he recognized the shape of an Orc thrown askew by the fire light. He brought his bow up in an instant training his arrow on the Orc’s skull as it ambled towards the fire raising its hand in… greeting?<BR><BR>What? And the other’s around the fire acknowledged it with waves of their own and nods of heads. The woman ranger stood and spoke to the Orc as it got closer then turned back to the other ranger. Only the hound seemed the least bit nervous.<BR><BR>Luke realize he had let the string on his bow go slack as he stared incredulously at the scene before him. An Orc traveling with people? Suddenly the answer came to him, wild men from the south, it must be! But then those two had been rangers and the other woman had to be from Rohan, a Dwarf and a old man?<BR><BR>Feeling extremely confused he backed his way back to Geb keeping his ears open for sounds of pursuit. He remounted and sat thinking. A sniff of the air told him that the only smell of Orc at the moment was coming from the camp he had just left. Finally he nudged Geb with his heals and started towards the camp, his curiosity had gotten the better of him, a dangerous thing to let happen he had to admit to himself but he was ready.<BR><BR>Geb stepped into the clearing and immediately everybody visibly tensed, several hands went to blades and the old man’s sharp eyes looked up with intensity. The Rangers were the first to recover seeing first that he was a man and second that he was the same man they had seen earlier.<BR><BR>“Why do you follow us, friend,” The male ranger asked walking forward a bit, “we left you in peace”<BR><BR>Luke stared at him a moment, trying to organize his words, “My apologies, but I discovered there were Orc prowling these woods and sought to warn you, but you seem to know already” Luke looked at Ulugz still looking confused…<BR>
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Postby Lithtaur16 » Fri Aug 01, 2003 12:51 pm

Why do you follow us, friend? My mentor and I left you in peace. I have no grudge for your shot and I apologize if my friend harmed when he stopped you.<BR><BR><i>Lith spoke with a frown as she came slightly foreward from her seat towards the stranger whom she'd seen only an hour or so ago, laying her meal aside and giving the mage a slightly mocking glance, arching her right eyebrow, for the failure of his “wards”.<BR> <BR>She'd been somewhatstartled by the man's approach, rustling bushes and leaves about on his steed: it had kept her from replying to the mage's earlier words.<BR><BR>Now she turned full towards the man...he’d seen all of them, if he went free without swearing silence, then she would have failed her purpose entirely. She listened, considering their options as he replied, his face as awed and dumbfounded as it had been when Baital had made his dramatic entrance. </i><BR><BR>My apologies, but I discovered there were Orc prowling these woods and sought to warn you, but you seem to know already.<BR><BR>Aye, we do... <BR><BR><i>The Ranger cursed to herself though her features remained steady. There was no way with the orc and the wargs running freely that she could truly bluff it out. A look from the corner of her eye told Lith that Gilfein didn’t seem to have any bright ideas at the moment either. </i><BR><BR>There was a raid upon a town a day’s ride West of here last night. This orc turned from it’s company for reasons of it’s own and now, unbelievable as it may seem, it is a charge of the mage’s there and helps us track the remaining pockets of it’s companions that fled after the raid was thwarted. You can camp here if you like... on the edge there... but it would be better for you that you went on your own way in the morning.<BR><BR><i>She explained calmly, and watched the youth’s face as he considered her words. She noted that he was still outside the ring of “wards”... whether they would work better at blocking entrance than concealing them from view was yet to be seen.<BR><BR>Anaiu rose quietly from her place beside the fire, not snarling but all eyes on the man, and stood quietly beside her mistress as Gilfein too approached, and Lith wondered whether he was about to back her bluff and send the lad on his way so that the grueling details of his situation could be told and gotten over with without further disturbance. It would most likely be better...</i>
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Fri Aug 01, 2003 4:27 pm

(OOC: I know its bloody long but I had alot of ground to cover, enjoy. This should get me set up to join the group now, hopefully. If not I'll figure something else out)<BR><BR>Luke was on the verge of accepting the proposal to stay. Admittedly the fact that they did not invite him to share their own fire was a bit curious, he would have gladly shared his with any traveler he was sure meant no harm. But he was not all people, what he thought was courtesy might be considered an oddity by others, and then he noted there were the women, he did not blame them for having their doubts about man traveling alone at night, and he could understand their reservation if they had women to protect as well.<BR><BR>With a gracious nod of his head, Luke made to dismount. But the Orc, with three wargs? And they looked as though they trusted it. The Orcs had been burning a bloody village, and this one had shifted allegiance? He had never thought Orcs that clever. When the chips were down he had only seen Orcs run, or fight suicidaly, never clever enough to change alliances. It didn’t add up, and three wargs… not just one.<BR><BR>Settling back in his saddle, trying to disguise his near dismount as simply shifting his position for comfort sake Luke smiled again warmly, “I thank you very much for the offer, I would feel much safer myself in such company, but I fear I must decline. I have much ground to cover, and since I have roused myself un-necessarily from my earlier camp I may as well continue on”<BR><BR>With another nod to those gathered Luke nudged Geb around the edge of the clearing and back into the woods. He would not camp near her tonight, there were strange things about here and he did not need to mix himself in them, perhaps he would head to Rivendel and inform Elrond of his encounter. He smiled inwardly as he thought of Elrond; he had not seen him for several months.<BR><BR>The crossing was not too far, perhaps half a day’s journey. He would camp again another league up and begin early. Another hour found him a cozy roost in the roots of a large oak and he settled in without a fire, rapping his cloak tight around him and dropped off to sleep.<BR><BR><BR>The next morning he did indeed rise early thanks to the root that became evident pressing into his back when he had turned during the night.<BR><BR>He rose and dusted himself on then mounted Geb and set off for the river once more. He reached behind him and unhooked the feed bag from where it hung on the saddle and strapped it under Geb’s nose, letting the horse walk and eat. When Geb had finished Luke replaced the bag and healed Geb into a gallop.<BR><BR>At this rate he would make it shortly before midday.<BR><BR>Shortly before midday as he had predicted Geb stepped out onto the road. Luke saw that he had misjudged their direction slightly and they had come out not directly across from the river as he had intended but up the road a ways. The sent of water and leaves and flowers was thick in the air as he got closer to the valley, but there was something else under it all he could not quite pick out. Every time he thought he could isolate it, it wove into the earthy smell, and he couldn’t quite make it out. The smell bothered him all the way until he was in the canopy of trees leading right to the waters edge. As he started down the final path a light breeze blew through the trees bring the scents of Rivendell all the stronger to his nose. And something else.<BR><BR>Inhaling deeply Luke finally placed the stench that now filled his nostrils. There was a faint snap at that instant and Luke flung himself from Geb’s back as an black feathered arrow zipped through the air were he had been a moment before. It embedded itself into a tree where it stuck quivering. It was then that the hoots and war cries broke out in the woods around him. Luke scrambled into the woods to his left putting his back to a tree and scanning the woods around him.<BR><BR>“Geb! Get in here!”<BR><BR>Geb trotted into the woods and stood grazing unconcerned. He had been with his master enough times in situations like these to be overly concerned.<BR><BR>Luke swung his cloak around him and moved off quietly through the trees. The cries had quieted a bit but it had become obvious that they had missed their target and were now hunting. He moved silently, trying not to disturb the ground. He knew the Orcs could smell him as he could smell them but he hoped that the other smells would mask his sent as it had theirs.<BR><BR>Through the trees he could see a number of dark shapes scurrying this way and that. They had seen him fall but not where he had gone after. Two headed his way. Luke’s hand shot to his quiver and pulled out and arrow. Flipping his bow off his shoulder and bring the arrow to the string. With one quick motion the arrow was drawn and released. One of the Orcs fell silently transfixed with the arrow in its throat. Luke’s hand flashed back to his quiver to retrieve another arrow. His hand closed on nothing. He realized to his horror that the jolt as he fell from Geb had been sufficient to dislodged the arrows from the beeswax pad at the bottom of the quiver which usually prevented such a thing from happening.<BR><BR>“Damn!” The other Orc charged towards him sword raised.<BR><BR>Luke tossed his bow back towards Geb, not really carrying were it landed, and unsheathed is curved swords. As the Orc came, Luke charge to. The Orc swung bringing his iron sword down like a hammer. Luke spun around the Orc slicing across its back as he went, cutting its backbone and spinal cord.<BR><BR>The Orc let out a howl as it died and Luke listened to the others answer and heard there steps as they came running. He had to make it across the river. Turning he ran back towards Geb only to be faced by three more Orcs blocking his path and coming at him at a sprint.<BR><BR>“No! I won’t die right now,” He spun to dodge the other way and narrowly avoided another arrow. Four more Orcs came towards him, it appeared they all knew where he was now.<BR><BR>He would take them on the road. Holding a sword out to either side in case any drew close enough to strike Luke sprinted for the road. Another arrow whistled over he head. Throwing himself through the last trees, he tucked and rolled to a standing position, swords ready.<BR><BR>The Orcs broke through the trees and ran at him, faces contorted in rage and psychotic pleasure. Before they even reached him, one fell with a black shaft in his back. Another most likely meant for him missing its mark. The first Orc swung and Luke danced back avoiding the swing then stepped forward splitting the Orc’s skull. The remaining five started slashing.<BR><BR>His swords worked individually blocking blows independent of the other. The Orcs attempted to circle him and get at his back as they parted he lunged forward leaping and planting his foot directly in the face of one and swinging his other foot around to the side of the head of another. There was a sickening crunch and Orc fell, his neck holding his head at an unnatural angle.<BR><BR>Luke let his momentum carry him over the Orc he had used as a platform stabbing one sword into the Orc’s back as he came down behind. Three left…<BR><BR>One swung low the other high, while the other sought an opening anywhere. Luke spun right blocking both blows with either sword. His foot came up again knocking one off balance as the other swung again right down at his head. Luke blocked the blow with one sword and impaled him with the other through the belly. Yanking his sword free from the Orc he brought the other around to protect his back. There was a clang and grunt from the Orc meaning to cleave him from behind. Luke brought his other sword around in a upward swipe laying the Orcs chest open. The last Orc was running away from him as fast as he could, away from the river back along the road.<BR><BR>Luke stood panting for a moment. Trying to regain his bearings and clear his mind. Heaving a huge breath he bent to clean his blades on the cloth of one of the fallen Orcs. Straitening he walked back towards the trees to get Geb. An instant too late he remembered the archer. Just as he heard the *thump* of the bowstring he turned.<BR><BR>He found himself suddenly on the ground looking up at the sky through the trees. A black shaft rose like a tower from his left shoulder and attempts to move that arm brought excruciating pain. A sound brought his head snapping to the left of the road and he saw an Orc with a bow and arrow notched step out onto the path. He couldn’t be sure but he could have swore it was grinning.<BR><BR>“Damn!” Luke growled. His hand snaked around his belt and found his hunting knife. With a great effort he rolled towards the Orc flinging his arm with the blade around, hurling it with all his strength. The arrow released from the bow an instant later imbedded itself in the ground where he had been laying while the knife seemed to grow out of the Orcs face. Luke sighed, a sigh that turned directly into a grown. The role had wrenched the arrow sideways, tearing meat and widening the gash.<BR><BR>“Another scar to match the other,” Luke muttered thinking of the gash on his side from another Orc arrow nearly ten years earlier. He stood and took a few steps towards the forest. If he could just get to Elrond he would be fine. A stab of pain in his arm took his breath away and he fell again to his knees feeling light headed. At least to the river, surely Elrond’s scouts would find him there.<BR><BR>His vision swam but he held onto consciousness and forced his way up again. He staggered to the side of the road and propped himself up against a tree observing the distance to the river, trying to decide the best way to make it, there may still be Orcs out there.<BR><BR>It was then he heard the horse hooves coming up the road fast…
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Postby Gilfein » Fri Aug 01, 2003 7:04 pm

Gilfein stood and walked towards the new commer, noting that he was human, not orc, and from his manner of speaking, sounded somewhat like a Rohirrim. The aged wizard was shaking his head and muttering as he walked wondering aloud how this "human" was able to penetrate the wards about the camp. *Only the Valar could have done that!* thought the mage, *and he is no Valar, that is for sure!* <BR><BR><i>"He was standing inside your ring there for about 5 minutes!"</i> came the voice of the orc! <i>"I saw him even if no one else did! Afterall, I could not look where you were wandering off in the forest over there, flashing your stick off and on now could I?"</i> The dislike for the newcommer and the orc's distrust for the mage was audible in it's voice. <i>"Nasty flashy bits of light...."</i> as the orc disolved into a snarling, muttering unintelligble language and turned to tend to it's wargs.<BR><BR>Gilfein muttered a hurried appology to the orc as he approached the man, but the newcommer turned and left before the mage could question him. Still, Gilfein stepped outside the warded circle just for a moment, feeling the prickling sensation on his skin as he moved thru the illusion, and looked back. The illusion was there, a pile of rocks, nothing more tho the aged mage knew different. Stepping back into the ring, he walked back up to the fire and sat back down next to the dwarf.<BR><BR>"Well, well, that was a close thing!" he said to Rodrin in Khuzdul, "I was afraid my...skills...were failing. At least I know that is not true. Now, if I can only convince the ranger to believe in what I say." Gilfein closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The events of the past week were weighing heavily on him now, especially out here in the wild. *How can we make Rivendell with the hunt up? How can we make it? But we must, we must!* thought the mage.<BR><BR>Turning to look at the ranger, he said: "Come now Lith, sit by the fire and let me explain why you are here." Gilfein drew forth from his pouch a long and intricately carved pipe, filled the bowl and lit it. The aroma of pipe weed wafted around the camp as the mage waited for all to gather around the flames.
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Postby Léanë » Sat Aug 02, 2003 11:46 am

(OOC: Ok, I know this is out of sync.. but it will have to do for now.. I will try and edit later.... if not, I will be back on Wednesday, and post properly then.)<BR><BR><BR>IC:<BR>Riding behind the others, the last in their group, Léanë’s mind lay on the Road ahead, and on her brother. For her, this was an adventure, and she gave no thought to the dangers that may lay ahead, and the grave looks and solemn bearings of her companions did not affect her. She could only feel great joy and an eager anticipation.<BR><BR>“Some music!” she said suddenly, feeling that she needed to share her joy with the world, not noticing the little Orc’s wince. Twisting around in her saddle, she rummaged through her pack for a few minutes, and suddenly, with a triumphant “<i>A ha!</i>”, produced a beautiful flute delicately carved from silver. She began to play, heedless of the others, not thinking that there might be unwanted ears listening. For that moment, there was only her and the bright vista of happiness that enveloped her.<BR>The tune Léanë played reflected her mood, for it was merry and playful, and Léanë closed her eyes and pictured a moment many years ago: her parents and her brothers clapping loudly and long, as Léanë performed the piece she had learned that day. It was a happy memory, yet tinged with sadness, for it had been one of the last times that they had all been together. As other memories began to crowd Léanë’s mind, her tune faltered and stopped. She put down the flute, and blinked back the tears that suddenly appeared in her eyes. <i>She was being foolish. Tears achieved nothing...</i><BR><BR>“That was beautiful, my friend,” said a voice close to Léanë. Léanë blinked and looked around to see the Lady Elráwien smiling at her. Léanë hadn’t even heard Lady Elráwien drop back to ride next to her. Léanë gave her a rather wane smile and said apologetically, “Thank you, Lady Elráwien... I am glad you are coming with us on this journey.” Elráwien said, “As am I. Léanë. And please, just call me Elra. All my friends do.” Léanë looked ahead at the others, and murmured, “I wonder how long it will take to reach Rivendell?” “You go to Rivendell? What business have you there?” asked Elráwien. Léanë looked at her, surprised by the harshness of her voice as she asked the question. “I go to see my brother, Déor,” said Léanë, quietly. “That is all.” “Your brother? In Imladris?” asked Elráwien, looking surprised. “But you told me you were...” “Yes, well,” Léanë cut in hurriedly, looking rather embarrassed now. “I... changed my mind. I can always go to Minas Tirith another time.” Léanë had not told Elráwien anything about her family, so Elráwien did not know that until a few hours ago, Léanë had thought her brother to be dead. And also, although Léanë did not truly understand why, she instinctively felt that the less number of people knew her brother was alive, the better. Just then, the Ranger, Lith, spoke, and Léanë was saved from having to answer any more questions. For a while.<BR>
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Postby Ulugz » Sat Aug 02, 2003 1:45 pm

Ûlugz backed away from the fire muttering “Ghaash agh dush…gortag maugothuk (<i> Fire and magic… all leaders are madmen</i>)” A prickling sensation all down it’s spine warned the little orc of the proximity of the wizard’s “wards”. Just being near the invisible barrier was like standing on a ridge-top in a lightning storm. Any thought of attempting to cross, or even to touch the line of magic was eliminated, when a single step closer more than doubled the discomfort.<BR>Even the black pup was subdued when Ûlugz returned to the wargs. Huddling miserably in a small patch of brush that had been included within the wizard’s circle, the young warg whined nervously at the feeling of entrapment. Lambent eyes flickering from green to red in the reflected firelight, the elder warg growled softly, remembering the last time he was held captive. The forest clearing they were in was a far cry from the reeking pits below Isenguard, where he had once been penned. Where he had fought, for survival and for his captors amusement, until no warg could stand against him. Then this little orc had come to the pens, cleaning the filth and stopping to scratch him gently behind the ears. When the army of wargs and their riders had been loosed upon the horse-lords, they had escaped together into the surrounding mountains. The trees-that-walk covered their tracks, and no-orc lived to track them that day.<BR>When the false dawn had barely lightened the sky, a single word from the wizard dropped the magic barrier and the three wolves raced into the forest to hunt. By the time the group had broken their fast, and packed the horses to leave, the wargs returned. Bloody jawed, the female proudly dropped a rabbit at the little orc’s feet, basking in the praise she received. The males however growled a warning of the sign of many orcs moving eastward through the woods ahead. Ûlugz translated the warg’s warning, while quickly gutting the rabbit, then hopped atop the waiting warg to follow the ranger again.<BR>
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Postby Key_Blade » Sat Aug 02, 2003 3:12 pm

Tal had been riding for at least four hours and his rear end was killing him. That's he smelled something. Blood. He guided his horse carefully around the bend, not wanting to encounter another orc like the one he dispatched earlier that morning. Instead, he came across a man lying in the road. Tal jumped from Adras's back and rolled the man over. Tals, pupiless eyes seemed to darken as he examined the wound in the man's arm. It was poisoned. The man groaned.<BR><BR>"Hold on sir," Tal unhooked the waterskin from Adras's saddle and poured some clear water into the man's mouth. Closing the skin, Tal then pulled out a vile of a bubbly green liquid. It was a potion for infections. He let a drop fall onto the man's wounds. The man hissed and gritted his teeth as the potion did sting at times. <BR><BR>Tal managed to wrap the wound in clean bandages, but it would need more attention later. He helped the man onto Adras, who shifted nervously under the unfamiliar weight.<BR><BR>"Shhh...it's okay boy, we're just gonna help this nice man get some help," Tal spoke reassuringly to his companion. Taking an extra rope around the horses's neck, he began to lead the horse to the waterfront. It was only a quarter of a mile so he would be fine on foot. He just hoped there weren't any more orcs to deal with.
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Sat Aug 02, 2003 6:41 pm

The horsehoves came closer, Luke's vision swam badly, his throat was dry and scratchy. He couldn't understand it, why was he feeling so lightheaded over such a "minor" injury.<BR><BR>The injury wasn't truely minor but he had had worse and managed better than this. Then it hit him, poison. <BR><BR>He muttered as he fell once again to the road, "Dak, Orcs and their poisons!"<BR><BR>The horse stopped, Luke was dimly aware of this, and a moment later he felt hands on him. Water rushed into his mouth and he drank feverishly, relishing each drop. He was slightly disapointed when there came no more and instead a burning sensation filled his shoulder and arm.<BR><BR>He nearly blackout then and there but held on to consciousness. He felt himself hoisted onto something warm, he guessed it was a horse but he kept his eyes closed. A few words broke through to him but he couldn't quite make them out. Already he could feal strength returning.<BR><BR>He opened his eyes and saw that he was seated atop a horse with another man leading it through the trees towards the river in the distance.<BR><BR>"Thankyou freind," Luke managed, trying to strengthen his voice a bit, "ahem, I don't know how long I would have been able to hold on there. Though I fear we must hurry, the Orc shaft was poisoned and I do not know how long I have left if I am to live"<BR><BR>"It is well, I used a potion of mine to expell the poison," The man turned and gave him an assuring smile, "you should be well until we reach the elves"<BR><BR>"Again, thankyou, I am in your dept," Luke's voice had returned to normal and he was beginning to feal again the thrubbing pain of torn flesh in his arm but thankfully not the sickening spread of the poison.<BR><BR>They arrived at the water a short time later, by which time Luke was able to sit straight but his arm still felt useless. He had already tide it in a makeshift sling though blood saturated the area around the wound.<BR><BR>"I am fealing much better now, if you wish I can walk," Luke offered.<BR><BR>"Hah, you are injurd," the man laughed slightly, "I will walk"<BR><BR>"So be it, I am Luke by the way," Luke extended his god arm down to the man walking besides the horse.<BR><BR>"They call me Tal. A pleasure"<BR><BR>Luke dismounted for a minute beside the river and stooped to get another drink of water. He straightend when he heard more horses approaching....<BR><BR><BR>(ooc: I did a bit of minor autoing. If you don't like the way I did it just tell me and I'll chang it. This is the part I think were we all meet up)
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Postby Gilfein » Sat Aug 02, 2003 8:53 pm

Gilfein woke up in the middle of the night, disturbed, by what he had heard and seen, or thought he had heard and seen in his dreams. Harsh cries, the ring of steel, orc voices! But he had awoken to find only the stars shining above him, not orc faces. He stood up and wrapping his cloak about him, paced around the embers of the fire, trying to shake off the disturbing premonitions he just had. He was about to lie back down when a large bird, a raven, landed on his shoulder startling him. Before he could wave the bird away, it dug it's talons painfully into the mages flesh and croaked at him. To Gilfein's surprise, he could understand what the bird was saying!<BR><BR> <i>*I come from Radagast the Brown, looking for Gilfein the Green. And I have found him! Radagast gave me message. He is safe but in hiding. Do not go to his nest. Orcs there!*</i><BR><BR>Gilfein drew in a deep breath, Radagast safe! *But Rhosgobel is infested with orcs! Well, this can be dealt with!* thought the wizard. He was about to thank the raven when it continued:<BR><BR><i>* I was also sent to watch and bring news. I watch, many orcs east of here near river. Also, many more orcs go to town west of here. Almost 80 in all. Great battle start just before men-who-walk-in-trees get there. Most orcs killed but some escape into woods. 3 men from town killed. 2 men-who-walk-in-trees killed. Men-who-walk-in-trees look for you but cannot find you. I find you! I bring message! Do you have message for me?*</i><BR><BR>Gilfein looked at the raven and said: "Many thanks for this news. Yes, I have messages for you. First, find Radagast and have him send his most trusted messenger to the King in Mundburg, the City of the White Tower. Tell King all. Second, find leader of men-who-walk-in-trees and tell them we head for the Ford of Bruinen with all haste, but there may be orcs already there. Have him try to clear the ford. Third, fly to Rivendel after talking to men-who-walk-in-trees and ask the elves to send help to the ford, both for defense and to help the injured. And finally, great raven, fly with care. Do not let the minions of the dark powers find you!"<BR><BR>The raven took off into the air croaking: <i>* Do not worry Master Gilfein. I fly like the wind. I am as black as night. No one can catch me! * </i> and soared away, disapearing into the night sky.<BR><BR>Gilfein paced around the firepit for the remainder of the night, unable to sleep with the tidings he had just received. When dawn finally came, and enough light hit the hill, he dropped the wards, and smiling, watched as the wargs bounded gleefully off into the trees on the hunt. The aged mage waited until their ranger leader was awake enough to speak with, then went over to her and whispered all that he had learned and sensed the prior night. Fear was in his eyes when he said: "It is as I had feared. The hunt is up quicker than I had hoped. They are before us and behind us! They know I am no longer in the village and will be searching in the wild now for us. I am very much afraid we will find the Ford of Bruinen already held against us. And if I am not mistaken, there is no other place to cross the River Loudwater anywhere this side of Rivendell!"<BR><BR>The aged Istari slumped down next to the embers of last nights fire, allowing his head to drop onto his chest in complete exaustion muttering over and over "We must get to Rivendell, we must get to Rivendell, we must get to Rivendell..." as the others busied themselves preparing for the next days ride.
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Postby Lithtaur16 » Sat Aug 02, 2003 9:16 pm

Come now Lith, sit by the fire and let me explain why you are here.<BR><BR>Master Gilfein, it is late and we will start early...<BR><BR><i>Lith murmured quietly as she did return to her place by the fire. Her dark eyes sparkled a little with reflected fire light as she gazed in the direction the stranger had taken.<BR>Now that she considered it in her mind, he had looked very much to be one of her countrymen.<BR><BR>“Curse it, why didn’t I realize it before? He might not have followed if I and Baital had actually the time to speak with him ourselves.”<BR><BR>Lith wondered if he would return to his campsite or continue on as he had said he would. She would have to check traces before they left the next morning to make sure he wasn’t the curious sort... and that blamed orc would certainly require a dousing at their first chance after the bridge. The clear wind seemed able to slip through the wards as easily as the mage, himself, had and it carried the faint, though sourly pungent... odor of their companion and its friends whom had unconsciously chosen a sleeping space upwind of the others. Lith wrinkled her nose imperceptibly at it before continuing.</i><BR><BR>I do not trust that there are not other ears listening to our speech even if our “friend” has indeed moved on. Though I’m sure your wards do indeed work: you said it was for the invisibly of our fire and us and impenetrability of our camp..... and though a lad from town out exploring might take murmurs for ghosts or such like superstition: an orc hunting party most likely will not. This must be saved for another night when we are <u>certain</u> there will be no intrusion... which may be soon enough. Tomorrow we cross the Last Bridge: a dangerous attempt as we will need to take to the road for a short while, but necessary as I am sure you will agree that the River Mitheithel is not for fording at this time of year even at it’s shallowest point, which is barely a quarter days ride from this camp. From the bridge... if the weather holds... it will take six or seven days to reach Imladris, perhaps eight as we will be sticking to rough terrain. Now please take your rest, we’ve a long road still ahead.<BR><BR><i> She finished and pulled her cloak closer about herself, flipping the hood up over her long, dark hair as she stood and moved off a bit, her instincts going into watch mode despite the insurance the wards gave to them. As the others bedded down at their will, she made a slow circle with Anaiu at her heel, keeping well clear of the wards as she eyed the greenery, trees and hillocks beyond their camp. She paused momentarily to check Spirit and the other horses, untangling a few knots she’d missed before from her mustang’s loose black mane and keeping a respectful distance of the Mearas. The buckskin’s soft nicker and the nudge in the small of her back assured her of him and she circled back to the fire, stepping softly around the figures of her companions who were already asleep. <BR>Sitting down again were she had been, she tossed a few branches in the lowering flame and raked a few embers closer to it’s circle. Bending her knees up and folding her arms under her chin, she half-closed her dark eyes: dark eyes given to her by her grandmother of Numenorian bloodline. The woman, beautiful and strong, who was partly responsible for Lith’s decision to choose a Ranger’s life.<BR><BR>“So few memories really.”<BR><BR>Lith thought as her eyes slipped fully closed for a moment, secretly searching for the one time... the story before the hearth. Her warm breath, clean and not a tooth missing from her care-lined mouth which moved with a voice behind it, not entirely forgotten. Some hero of the old days when she’d in turn been a child, barely able to hold wooden spoon or short blade. She’d always smelled like mother’s herb garden and horses to Lith, comforting,... and maybe something metallic as well but that might just have been Lith’s impressions of Grannie’s occasional temper and manner turning into something perceptible...<BR><BR>“They are enough.”<BR><BR>Her eyes opened and gazed into the fire a few more minutes before shifting to silently check on the others. A moment later she unbuckled her sword from her belt and laid it in reach of her hand out of habit as she chose a grassy spot to rest on. With eyes half open and ears roving she let her mind wander again to her home.<BR><BR>She did not notice the mage rise and pace the fire towards the middle of the night.<BR><BR>********<BR><BR>They rode with greater caution through the winding paths leading Southwest as the sun inched it’s way up through the branches. Gilfein's words stayed with her thoughts for most of it, and she did not try to speak with Rodrin as she chose a difficult trail. If the Fords were held against them, so be it. Her sword would see the mage and the others across and safe under Lord Elrond if no other help reached them in time, even if it cost her the greatest gift Eru had given her: the same gift that had been given at the first breath to all of her kinsfolk before they fell defending their families and country years later.<BR><BR>The orcs warning as well had her on alert. Strange, as she felt traveling with it to be Lith did trust as much that the orc would know when its own kin were around... especially since Gilfein's words confirmed them as well. Why it would warn them in the first place, however, was still mysterious and somewhat unsettling to the Ranger. Out of character assuredly. <BR>If Gilfein never got a chance to explain the true extent of his plight, well then so be it. She knew her duty as much for right now. This orc was another thing however... such questions would need to be given understandable answers before this Ranger would take it and its friends anywhere near to the hidden valley.<BR><BR>Guiding Spirit carefully over a stony path, she chose another creek course that brought them within a half a mile from the road and the bridge as the sun moved towards it’s zenith. Exiting onto another gravely bank, Lith glanced back once to be sure that the others were making it well. She noted with hidden surprise that the orc paused its ride and dismounted long enough to move small, disturbed pebbles back into place before catching up and Lith turned her hooded face away before it noticed she’d been watching.<BR><BR><BR>“Well that beats all! No orc I’ve ever encountered and followed ever thought to cover its tracks like that. I suppose it’s been doing that since we first started out. Certainly a strange one we have here.”<BR><BR>The Ranger thought as the trail wound on a bit farther. As the greenery began to thin and the treeline came into view, she called a temporary halt. They wouldn’t take to the road too far from the river so they had to find out for sure how close they were and whether it was being watched. Letting Rodrin dismount for the moment, she rode on ahead with Leane this time, advising the girl to stay in the shadowed parts and check the near side with her blade at ready while Lith swiftly crossed the road and searched the far side.<BR><BR>They returned a short while after, carefully trotting their steeds over the ground.</i><BR><BR>We are not far from the crossing, but there has been trouble on the road. A band of orcs was apparently watching it. Our friend from last night and another seem to have dispatched them or the majority at least. The lad we saw was injured in the fight. They are heading for the bridge now. We might wait for them to cross but I will not wait long with the hunt about us like this. We might carry the bluff from last night if they show interest in our crossing.<BR><BR><i>She spoke. And Gilfein moved his stallion up closer.</i><BR><BR>We must move with all speed over this bridge. It is the only one crossing the Hoarwell.<BR><BR><i>He replied and Lith nodded as she loosened her blade in it’s scabbard.</i><BR><BR>Keep your weapons as ready as can be, lest there’s another band guarding the other side before us. The two men ahead shouldn’t question it too much with orc blood upon the road.<BR><BR><i> Helping Rodrin back up, Lith urged the buckskin on: noticing again their orc’s attempts at sweeping the tracks from view. She ordered Anaiu to stay beside Gilfein and checked Spirit’s pace momentarily until she was close to the orc and commented softly with some interest in her eyes.</i><BR><BR>You are quite good at that.<BR><BR><i> The orc only seemed to grow uncomfortable at this attempt at talk so Lith sighed and spoke again but it was softer with a hint of disappointment.</i><BR><BR>Thank you. <BR><BR><i> Before she urged Spirit ahead again and beside the mage.<BR><BR>Soon they were upon the road, trotting cautiously and eyeing the treeline until the two men came into view...</i>
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Postby Ulugz » Sun Aug 03, 2003 6:26 pm

<i>You are quite good at that</i><BR>Ûlugz looked up at the soft voice and found itself staring into the eyes of the cloaked Ranger-woman. At the sudden proximity of one who would normally be the little orc’s deadly enemy, Ûlugz shivered nervously. In any other circumstance letting a Ranger get this close would have been a final, fatal mistake. Before the orc could respond, that learning to cover it’s tracks had kept it alive many times over, the Ranger was turning away. Her voice seemed almost sad as she whispered “<i>thank you</i>” and rode ahead.<BR>Doubt and confusion clouded the dull yellow eyes of the wiry little creature as it hunched in the dirt. Why would the Ranger thank an orc that was only doing what it needed to survive and pursue it’s own vendetta? What had the orc done to make her sad? Dragging claws through it’s matted cords of thick black hair Ûlugz prepared to climb back on the Grey-one’s back when a familiar sword caught it’s eye. Straight bladed and edged on both sides the blackened steel gleamed dully at the road’s edge. Hefting the blade, whose quillons came nearly to the little warg rider’s chin when the point rested on the dirt, the goblin peered at the great yellow stone in the shape of an eye, inset with a black obsidian pupil that capped the massive pommel. This was definitely the sword carried by the great black Urûk who had ridden on a horse like a man, alongside the black robed teller of lies. Whoever could fight well enough to cause that one to drop this precious thing, would be a worthy ally indeed!<BR>After sending the wargs into the forest bordering the road, Ûlugz loped ahead to tug at the stirrup of the wizard’s great horse. “Dushatar!, erm Gilfien…sir wizard… This sword..” The wizard’s sharp exclamation interrupted the stuttering goblin, and indicated that he too knew the owner of the weapon.<BR>Before any further explanation could be made however, the wargs returned. “<i><b>That</b> one’s body is not among the dead</i> the Grey-one growled. Ûlugz began to translate, but the wizard waved the little orc aside. “That I knew already” he snapped curtly responding directly to the warg.<BR>
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Postby Ulugz » Sun Aug 03, 2003 7:02 pm

Computer u bagronk!. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-devil.gif"border=0> Double post, so sorry <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0>
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Postby Gilfein » Sun Aug 03, 2003 7:14 pm

Gilfein was glaring at the sword the little orc had showed him. He knew all too well who it's owner was. Patting the orc on the head as a thank you and whispered in orcish *Keep alert!* He repeated the instructions to the warg and noted a nod of recognition. He loosened his own sword, "Laimacil" in it's sheath and spuring his horse to catch up with Lith, Léanë and Rodrin and said: <BR><BR>"It appears we have had some luck. This sword", and he showed them the orc blade, noting the disgust in their eyes, "was one carried by the one who is in command of the orc host, for that is what I believe we are now facing, under orders of the Mouth of Sauron. He is a Black Uruk of Mordor but larger than most and rides a horse "manwise" as is said. It was he that lead the attack against me and my companions when we came down from the Redhorn Gate <u>and</u> on the lane near the village 2 nights ago! If he dropped this, he might have been wounded, perhaps mortally tho I doubt it. More likely, he was momentarily disarmed and fled rather than perish for such is the style of those creatures. I will be happy to return this to him!" They all noticed the look of fierce, almost maniacal glee in the wizards eyes. Then he continued:<BR><BR>"But more to the point. At least, the force before us has been lessened somewhat. We may have gained some time, perhaps a day, maybe two. I fear we will still find the Ford of Bruinen held against us, unless the raven has delivered the message to Rivendell. But the leagues are long between here and the hidden valley, even for a raven to fly. Loosen you axe my good Dwarf for you may soon have a row of orc necks to cleave! And as for you, sweet Léanë, tho I have taken responsibility to protect you on this journey, do not be overly concerned. I know you know how to fight as all Rohirrim do. Be cautious, but fell handed. Do not shirk when it comes to a fight! I know you will not let us down! Finally, Lith, you can trust in the orc to warn us quite a ways before we are attacked. Right now, it's wargs are acting as out-riders and will return immediately if any orcs are near. Do not stop to wonder at this. It will all be explained later. I trust the orc." The last statement was said flatly, without emotion but with truth.<BR><BR>Rounding a bend in the road, they came within sight of the bridge and 2 men on the other side. One was definately wounded, and it looked like the man who had entered their camp last night, the other helping him. As the party turned towards the bridge, the one able man immediately set his companion on the ground and drew his blades, standing over his falled comrad and challenging the approaching party. Gilfein saw the orc stiffen in the saddle and reach for it's scimitar as Rodrin started to draw his axe. Only a sharp command from the ranger stopped the actions. The party paused on the road above the bridge briefly, then with Lith and Gilfein leading the group with their right hands raised in a token of peace, rode down towards the crossing, the staff the mages's left hand now glowing slightly.<BR><BR>
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Sun Aug 03, 2003 8:27 pm

Bellow them the man they had seen before at there camp rose from the ground and spoke to the other who replaced his blade.<BR><BR>Luke smiled wearily as the group approached, “Seems as though not all the Orc in the area are traveling with you, and I dare say you were not so completely honest with me last time we spoke”<BR><BR>The Ranger opened her mouth as if to speak but Luke raised his hand to fend off her words, “It is no matter. You had reasons, I am sure, not to trust me, and now so close to Rivendell we do not need argument among us. Recently I slew about ten Orc not far down that road and another escaped me. I do not know why they would be guarding this ford but I would like nothing better than to hasten to Rivendell.”<BR><BR>The ranger healed her mount forward a bit more, “We thought that perhaps the Ford would be guarded and it may yet me on the other side. We may yet encounter more Orc before we reach Elrond’s protection. For sure the both of you may ride with us to Rivendell”<BR><BR>“Yes indeed, I’m afraid I can only offer one sword and not both but I was injured,” Luke raised his good arm slightly and let it fall back. Suddenly his eyes focused on something directly behind the newly arrived group, “Ah! I was afraid I would have to ask Elrond to send back for him. Geb!”<BR><BR>A tall black roan stallion skirted the edge of the party and walked over to Luke, laying his nose on his shoulder and receiving a rub.<BR><BR>“We should move now if we intened to reach Rivendell within the week, and pray that we do not come in contact with anymore Orc,” the old man broke in and pointed up the trail, “we most likely still have danger in our path”…
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Postby Gilfein » Mon Aug 04, 2003 5:44 pm

“we most likely still have danger in our path”… Gilfein said, gesticulating nonchalantly up the road. He had seen what the others had not. A black shadow in the woods, not more than a furlong up the road in the trees, moving <i> against </i> the other shadows. The mage urged his horse forward coming beside Lith and said: “Lith, let us go up this road <i> single file to hide our numbers </i> to the point where the trees start to encroach beside it. There, you take off left, Léanë, you take Rodrin and go right. Rodrin, drop off the horse when you are just inside the tree line, you know what to do next! Léanë, be ready and on your guard, you will not have a lot of space to maneuver in those trees!” The mage noted the Dwarf slip from behind Lith to behind Léanë and loosen the axe in his belt, his eyes sparkling with the thought of battle soon to come! The Mage continued in a hushed voice: “Ulugz, take your wargs around the back, drop off now so they cannot see. Come in from behind. You know what I mean. I trust you! The rest of us will continue up the road, but all of you be ready. If I must use my staff, you will have no warning! While the power I wield is death to the minions of evil, it can also harm the unwary as it is the Power of the Two Trees of Valinor unblemished! No more plans can we make right now. May the Valar protect us all!"<BR><BR>Drawing his blade, all saw it glowing from within, it’s edges licked by a deep emerald fire. He gripped the staff in his left hand tighter, and urged Éobrand forward, watching as the orc slipped off into the darkness of the woods behind them as he and the two newcomers along with Elrawien continued over the bridge and up the road, getting ever closer to the threat that waited silent for them.
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Tue Aug 05, 2003 1:11 am

Luke kept an eye on the forest ahead and stuck his hand into his saddle bags, searching urgently for the rope he kept there. Finding it at last he arranged in on his lap and using his left hand painfully and his right tide a loop in it.<BR><BR>Placing the loop over his shoulders he wound the remainder of the length tightly around his injured arm and chest, pinioning it tightly to his side and abdomen. If was to fight again today, he did not need his injured arm flopping around and getting in his way. He would have time later to stitch the wound together at camp, or ask one of the others to.<BR><BR>Tying the rope of firmly he tried to move his left arm away from his side and abdomen where it lay bent across it. He noted with satisfaction that he could not and drew one of his blades with his right hand. He may have been down one sword but that did not change the fact he had taught it for nearly seven years.<BR><BR>They rode along single filed over the bridge till they were about halfway. Luke had been expecting, if an attack came, for it to come in the form of a hale of arrows while crossing the bridge but so far he had seen no sign of archers.<BR><BR>For the moment, while it was true he had lost his bow, his arrows, and his hunting knife; at least Geb had appeared and he could at least ride his own horse, instead of imposing on Tal. Besides the very thought of leaving Geb behind was appalling. <BR>
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Postby Léanë » Wed Aug 06, 2003 12:35 pm

Things were happening too fast and too soon for Léanë’s liking. This was nothing like she had expected. <BR><BR>For the most part, she had kept to herself, feeling, ever so slightly, that she was unwanted and not needed. Every one of the others in the group had a purpose. Master Gilfein, as the leader, with all his magic and wisdom, on a quest to save Middle-Earth. The Ranger, Lith, effortlessly guiding through a wilderness Léanë would have gotten lost in in minutes. The Lady Elráwien, calm and regal, her eyes holding almost as much wisdom as the Wizard. The Dwarf, Rodrin, looking almost comical as he sat behind Lith on her horse; but nevertheless a strong and sturdy ally. Even the Orc, Ûlugz, with her Wargs, seemed to have a purpose and a right to be on this quest.<BR><BR><i>But Léanë...?<BR><BR>What purpose did she have? Her only claim to be on this journey was to see her brother after many long years. After reaching Rivendell, the rest of the company would leave, on their way to more urgent business. And her brother might travel with them as well. But what would she do? Déor would not allow her to accompany them; she knew that as a certainty. He would plead and beg, and if she remained stubborn and insisted on journeying further with them, threaten to send her home tied in a sack. And what about Master Gilfein? He saw her as an innocent young maiden, unaware of the cruelties of the world. Perhaps he, too, will think it better if Léanë remained behind in Rivendell, or returned home to Rohan.</i><BR><BR>These where some of the thoughts in Léanë’s mind as they set up camp that night. She did not partake in any of the conversations that took place, still too wrapped in her own dark thoughts. Even the stranger who had stumbled onto their camp unwarily aroused the barest of interest from Léanë. No, she was just too miserable and forlorn to care.<BR><BR>---------------------------------------<BR>She did not know when she fell asleep, but her dreams, unlike her thoughts, were happy and bright. She awoke the next morning feeling refreshed, and much more happier than the night before. But that happy feeling did not last long. As she was carrying her pack to where Storm stood, she overheard the whispered conversation between the Wizard and the Ranger. <BR><i>"...It is as I had feared. The hunt is up quicker than I had hoped. They are before us and behind us! ... I am very much afraid we will find the Ford of Bruinen already held against us..."</i><BR>Léanë did not wait to hear anymore. She ran to her dark grey stallion, and swiftly swinging her pack onto his back, she mounted him in one fluid movement.<BR><BR>Soon they were all on their way again, the Ranger leading, Master Gilfein behind her on his <i>mearas</i>, then Elra, with Ûlugz behind Léanë. As the greenery began to thin, Lith called a temporary halt. Letting Rodrin dismount, she beckoned to Léanë to ride with her. Léanë, surprised and pleased, quickly rode up to her side. Advising her to stay in the shadowed parts and check the near side with her blade at ready, Lith swiftly crossed the road and searched the far side. They returned to their companions a short while after, carefully trotting their steeds over the ground.<BR><BR><i>“We are not far from the crossing, but there has been trouble on the road. A band of orcs was apparently watching it. Our friend from last night and another seem to have dispatched them or the majority at least. The lad we saw was injured in the fight. They are heading for the bridge now. We might wait for them to cross but I will not wait long with the hunt about us like this. We might carry the bluff from last night if they show interest in our crossing.”</i><BR><BR>Léanë listened carefully to the Ranger, liking her cool self-assurance and natural leadership. “Now why can’t I be like that? Ever since I left home, all my confidence seems to have been taken from me,” she thought rather wistfully. They began to move towards the bridge, when, turning back to speak to Lady Elráwien, Léanë saw Ûlugz go up to Master Gilfein and show him a sword, speaking in urgent tones. Wondering what that was all about, Léanë slowed Storm’s pace slightly, but she needn’t have bothered. The next moment Master Gilfein’s horse drew alongside them, and he said, “It appears we have had some luck. This sword was one carried by the one who is in command of the Orc host, for that is what I believe we are now facing, under orders of the Mouth of Sauron...” “Bloody Orcs again. Nasty, evil, filthy creatures... they have no right...” thought Léanë angrily, hate flaring up in her heart. Lost in her thoughts, she did not hear the remainder of the Wizard’s words, until she heard her name. “...Léanë, though I have taken responsibility to protect you on this journey, do not be overly concerned. I know you know how to fight as all Rohirrim do. Be cautious, but fell handed. Do not shirk when it comes to a fight! I know you will not let us down! ... ” Léanë nodded grimly, and Master Gilfein continued speaking, and ended by saying, “I trust the Orc.” Léanë looked back towards Ûlugz, and thought, “Strangely, so do I, although I cannot say the same about the rest of her kind.”<BR><BR>They came within sight of the Bridge, and Léanë saw the two men on the other side, one obviously injured. Léanë was wondering whether or not she should unsheathe her sword, but a sharp command from Lith put that though out of her head. <i>They didn’t look very dangerous, anyway. But one never knew...</i> With Lith and Master Gilfein leading the way, the company rode towards the crossing. The injured man got up as they approached, and spoken to his companion. As they neared, he smiled wearily at the group, and said, “Seems as though not all the Orc in the area are travelling with you, and I dare say you were not so completely honest with me last time we spoke.” <i>When did he...? Ah, of course, he must be the stranger that had stumbled onto their camp last night.</i> He continued to talk to Lith and Master Gilfein, offering to help. Master Gilfein told him that his company and that of his companion would be most welcome to join their group.<BR><BR>Léanë listened as Master Gilfein issued orders, and then smiled at Rodrin as he left Lith and joined her on Storm. Unsheathing her sword, she follwed Lith and Master Gilfein, giving a small nod of acknowlegement to the two new companions.<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Gilfein » Thu Aug 07, 2003 6:21 pm

The party rode over the bridge, getting ever nearer the point where the trees encroached on the road. Looking back, Gilfein noted with pleasure that once they had crossed the Hoarwell, the orc and it's 3 wargs disappeared into the shadows as if they had never been there. The orc riding the grey one and the male pup to the left, the female pup to the right. *Curious,* thought the mage that the female would be on her own, *but then the orc had said she had more sense than the male! Ah well, isn't that always the case?* thought the wizard with a wry smile.<BR><BR>Gilfein also noted the shift of Rodrin from Lith's horse to Léanë's pony and the sparkle in the eyes of both of them. Then he turned his attention to the road ahead. He could clearly see the movement in the trees up the road, now not more than 500 yards ahead. Making sure Laimacil was loose in his sheath, he spurred Éobrand forward to Lith and said: "Now we come to it. Be aware, the orc Ulugz is on our left. I will lead, let you and Léanë follow until we hit the trees, then you go left, Léanë will go right. We will part with good words as if you were leaving to go to some other place or erand! I will take the two others forward into the trap and draw them out. Do not be concerned. They cannot harm me! If we are lucky, they will think you have deserted me and will attack!" The wizard said this with almost longing that the orcs would do as he asked. It was a strange thing to the ranger that a wizard would wish openly for death, but this was a strange situation, one that did warrant an explanation, eventually, but now, to battle!<BR><BR>The party reached the trees and Lith and Léanë broke away as planned. Gilfein halted his horse and standing in the saddle, called in a loud voice: " Thank you for your companionship. I wish you the best in your journey to the 'Tower Hills', and to you" he said turning to Léanë, "may you make Hobbiton with no further discomfort or delay!" Smiling, he sat back down on his horse as the two party members rode off into the trees. *Now, take the bait!* thought the wizard! He did not need to see when Lith and Léanë checked their progression and turned into the deeps of the forest, he just knew they had done it.<BR><BR>The attack occurred almost on schedule. The rest of the party had not gotten more than 300 yards up the hill, when with a foul yell, orcs descended on them from both sides. Gilfein spurred Éobrand sharply and the horse responded, literally jumping on and trampling into the dust of the road the first orc that attacked. He swung his sword over and caught the second orc square on the helm, bursting it asunder with a sheet of emerald green flame. The edges of the mage's sword were arcing in green fire, while the blade glowed with an unearthly light. Gilfein took the third orc to attack him with an overhand sweeping slash, catching the unhappy creature just above the neck and severing it's head from it's body. The mage's sword now rose and fell with a green fire. He saw Luke, drop from the horse and take another orc thru the throat with a single fluid thrust. The third member, Gilfein remembered his name as "Tal", was whirling and slashing with a sword, skillfully dispatching any orc that dared go near him. Suddenly, a large swart goblin jumped towards the mage on his horse, weilding a spiked cudgel. In an instant, and before Gilfein could react, a black feathered shaft smote the beast in the throat, sending it back to the side of the road, dead. The wizard uttered a silent thanks for the little orc he knew was guarding his flanks.<BR><BR>The battle now raged about the party with particular violence. In the trees on the left, he could hear the ranger Lith, shouting as she slew, the ringing clash of steel on steel and the dull thud of sword on helm and shield, and the strange muffled sound of a bow firing rapidly, echoing into the roadway. To his right, he heard the harsh cries of the Dwarf as he beat his opponents back, along with...a song? Gilfein paused in shock. Yes, it was a song, a song of slaying and the aged Istari knew that the Rohirrim maiden Léanë had finally invoked the warrior blood of her ancestors and was, true to Rohirrim fashion, a terror to her enemies! Luke and his partner were deep in orcs, swords flying faster than sight! Behind him, he could hear Elrawien slashing back and forth with 2 long daggers, a whirling dervish of death. No orc alone would come near her!<BR><BR>The wizards musings were cut short when out of nowhere, a orc flew up and dislodged the mage from his mount! Before the wizard could react, he felt the sharp quick thrust of a short sword thru his robes. Spinning on the ground, Gilfein shifted his weight so as to kick the beast off of him. Before he could continue the action, a shout echoed across the road: "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai meinu! The dwarf Rodrin, suddenly hurled himself from the trees, taking two of the attacking orcs in one swipe of his great axe. A strange light was shining in the eyes of the dwarf as he picked himself off the carcases. Yet another black shafted arrow sped from the trees to the left of the mage and slew two more orcs, the first through the head, the second in the eye.<BR><BR>Suddenly, and to the shock of all, an orc dropped out of the trees and landed on top of Gilfein. He was overbourn and fell to the road, the orc slashing with a sinisterly curved dagger. Rodrin was knocked to the side and momentarily disarmed as Luke and Tal were rushing to the aid of the fallen wizard. But just before the orc made to stab one last time, a warg, long, lean and with a fell look in it's eyes leaped from the trees and took the orc in it's back. As the orc fell, the warg stooped and bit the throat out of the creature, dropping it's carcass in the road. It then disappeared into the trees as suddenly as it had appeared!<BR><BR>Gilfein picked himself up with the help of the dwarf, dusting off his robes and retrieving his sword. All told, some 15 orcs lay dead in the road itself, and untold numbers lay within the tree line. The mage looked around as Lith and Léanë came warily stalking out from the trees. The young warrior maiden was covered in blood...orc blood...and had a fire shining in her eyes that smote the heart of the aged Istari with a longing he could not explain. *Surely, her brother cannot now deny her the right to accompany us on this journey!*thought the mage with a smile, *for she has truly earned it!*<BR><BR>Gilfein saw that Luke had taken another wound, tho slight and to his left arm, the one bandaged already, but the man looked weak. *He <i>must</i> be tended to, and soon if he is to make Rivendell,* thought the mage. Tal was also wounded, a slight cut to his right thigh and a stab, tho slight, to his abdomen. Even Gilfein's hat had not escaped without injury. Somehow, a black fleched arrow was lodged in it, but where it came from, no one knew!<BR><BR>Attention now turned to the wounded. Luke and his partner were laid down on the side of the road, Léanë tended to them, under the guidance of the ranger. Even Ulugz offered some of the orc's healing salve, only to be turned down akwardly, but politely, by the ranger. Rodrin was unscathed but Lith noted that Léanë had a cut above her right eye that bled profusely. She tended to it in time, over the protests of the Rohirric maiden claiming it was a battle injury and a badge of honor that her brother could not now deny, etc. Lith smiled and said: "Yes, it is a battle injury, and one to be proud of, but we would not want your young countenance marred by an ugly scar, no matter how honorably won," and now Lith's voice dropped so that only Léanë could hear: "Besides, I think our 'wizard' has a soft spot in his heart for you!" Lith grinned at Léanë and got a slap in the arm and a "oh you!" with a smile for her efforts. The Rohirrim maiden aquiesced and allowed the ranger to treat her wound.<BR><BR>Luke, Tal and Rodrin now turned to Gilfein, helping him to stand. They started to inquire about his injuries when the mage cut them short with a hand motion and said: "Do not worry about me now. I am unharmed. We need to head for cover. Let us mount immediately and with Lith's guidance, we can make a safe campsite somewhere to hold up and deal with the injured. But not here, not now!" Lith stood up and said "You are right, Gilfein, let us head for cover. The sooner we are out of here, the better. Let our opponents find this slaughter and wonder. That might gain us some time!"<BR><BR>Following her lead, the party reassembled in the road, Rodrin riding behind Léanë with Lith, and Tal helping to guide Luke's horse as Luke was again feeling the effects of the orc poison, especially in light of the last battle. Ulugz again brought up the rear, taking care to erase their passage as needed. They rode until the ranger saw an inviting exit from the road and again, turned from civilization and disappeared into the wild.
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Postby Key_Blade » Thu Aug 07, 2003 6:53 pm

As they rode along, Tal reached up and felt the bandage on his forehead. It covered a small cut near his right temple. That had not been the only injury he had received. He had taken a blow to his lower chest which was bandaged and had a few bruises on his back. But he had received worse. Soon, Tal fell into stride with the wizard. He decided to speak first.<BR><BR>"So, what name do you go by?" The wizard chuckled then answered.<BR><BR>"They call me Gilfein the Green. And you are?" <BR><BR>"Tal. Tal Lykouleon," for some reason, he felt he could trust the mage with his true name, just so long he didn't use it for it's real purpose*. Gilfein pointed to Luke who sat atop Adras.<BR><BR>"So how long have you two been in alliances?" <BR><BR>"I only met him about half a day ago," the wizard gave nodded and gazed at the scenery around them. Soon the leader came to a point where she turned and headed into the wild. Tal had seen Luke double over a few times so he reached into his pack and drew out the potion her had used earlier.<BR><BR>"Pour some of this on the wound if you're feeling the poison again. Keep it until we reach Rivendell," Luke took the vile and nodded his thanks. Tal turned and stared up into the canopy of the trees, mezmorized my the specks of light and completely forgetting and overall, not even noticing the sicklyness that he felt spreading from his chest wound. <BR><BR>*remember, Lykouleon is his real name.
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Thu Aug 07, 2003 10:48 pm

It was a few hours before Luke could once again ride without wincing at every down swing of Geb’s trotting gate. The potion Tal had given him when first he had found him had kept the poison at bay, but the second fight had sent his blood racing and with it, the poison anew into his blood. He felt weak but once he had applied the potion again to the wound and allowed it to seep in, he felt his strength returning once again.<BR><BR>But he still felt weak, weaker than he had for years. The poison had done some of its work. He needed sleep and food, both of which would have to wait until they camped, he kept reminding himself. For now all he could do was keep up and keep a vigil on the trees around them.<BR><BR>He glanced down again at his arm and found that it had turned very purple with the rope cutting of the circulation of blood. Grudgingly Luke untied the knot and unwound the cord. His arm fell immediately to his side, and hung there. He couldn’t feel it for a couple minutes as blood flowed into the arm, and then the dull pain started again. At least he still had the arm. He had seen men in the Rohan Clans missing arms and legs and had been told that such was the price of Orc poison if one wanted to live. <BR><BR>Luke shuttered at the thought of loosing one of his arms, the skill stored there lost forever to him. He thought he might rather die. His wife and children already dead, if he were to loose an arm… he wouldn’t dwell on it. He had already outlived everyone’s expectations anyway. <BR><BR>The son of a Rohan Clan chief, run off to seek adventure and fame, nearly killed then by an arrow that left its mark in his side. Saved at the last moment. Then later when he had lost everything, then a hundred times since then. Such was life…<BR><BR>They road for hours more until the sun began to dip beyond a distant rise and it was no longer visible through the trees. Darkness descended very quickly upon them and it was not long after that the Ranger had halt in another small clearing and dismounted, declaring it their camp for the night. A blackened depression showed that while not frequented, this place was not a stranger to travelers.<BR><BR>Luke dismounted and attempted to untie his bedroll from Geb’s saddle, even trying to use his left arm before giving up and looking about for any that did not look so busy as to lend him a hand…<BR>
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Quimrill_Renctar
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Postby Lithtaur16 » Fri Aug 08, 2003 8:00 pm

<i> The Ranger drew her buckskin up in a sheltered dell, a clearing. Letting Spirit graze as he wanted, she searched the area with Anaiu quickly but found nothing alarming. A mark near the blackened patch spoke of friends, fair weather and no other frequenters. Still recent events lent need for more than usual caution...</i><BR><BR>Anaiu, seek.<BR><BR><i>Lith called and the hound wagged her long, gracefully shaggy tail like a beacon before settling down to her perimeter. <BR>The woman turned back towards the camp... Rodrin was already building the flame for the night’s meal with Leane’s help and... as best as she could guess... Gilfein was preparing to set his wards as he had last night. His face was lined and weary... more than was want from the battle Lith sensed.<BR><BR>“Well, if we have no distractions this night he will be able to lay whatever worries him into words.”<BR><BR>She thought to herself, knowing that such often eased one’s mind... though she had no recollection of it easing hers... !!!! she really didn’t think that much over such things... black memories of the past, let alone speak of them. A blessing really, her Ranger’s habit of considering only the present in situations like these. <BR><BR>“Distractions...”<BR><BR>Her eyes wandering to the new pair. She’d caught the name of the most recent one as he spoke with Gilfein on the trail... Tal.<BR>Their friend from last night was yet a mystery... <BR><BR>“and is likely to remain a mystery if the orc’s poison takes any more effect upon him.”<BR><BR>She thought, as her eyes glided over the others to him where he had been tending his horse and getting his bedding off the saddle’s back... or at least attempting to. His left arm was obviously useless: swollen, slightly discolored and faintly marked by a tourniquet removed several hours earlier.<BR><BR>“Those things are dangerous to use but necessary in this case.”<BR> <BR>She thought as Lith strode over, knowing that tourniquets, especially improperly made ones used for a long time, only worsened tissue damage in a poisoned limb by cutting the circulation, even though it blocked some of the poison’s movement. And he seemed weak even though he kept his feet well enough beside his steed... Lith recalled espying Tal passing something to him and supposed whatever it had been, it had done a fair bit of good for the man. He’d have been well off his legs by now with the tourniquet removed if he hadn’t taken something or she didn’t know orc poison.</i><BR><BR>Leave the roll, you can get it later. Let’s get you by the fire.<BR><BR><i> She spoke as gestured for him to try and come forward. A few shaky steps and Lith took his good shoulder, helping him... lightly though since she knew most men did not enjoy showing weakness. He was seated beside the warmth just as the meal was being put on the fire, and the old wolfhound mosied into the circle of light to find a comfortable spot not far from Leane.<BR><BR>Lith couldn’t hold back a smile looking at the younger woman, a regular tom boy Lith knew. Not only because the girl had shown grit coming along the trail so far and had obviously fought well in what was probably her first real encounter with orcs, taking a light along with it... the Ranger knew because she’d been the same way: it was in every Rohirrim’s blood... and, despite her mother’s protests, the Ranger’s father had encouraged it. He’d even boasted that Lith might be one of the King’s Riders one day, once when he’d taken her as a small girl on a Horse Fair trip. He’d been one himself...<BR>She returned her attention to the man next to her.</i><BR><BR>We’ll be back shortly.<BR><BR><i> She beckoned for the Elven woman to follow: the Ranger would need her sharper senses to help find what she sought though she knew where it should grow near to this camp, and called to the others: waving for Gilfein to wait with his wards and rest until they’d returned. With a few words exchanged they disappeared into the darkness.<BR><BR>A quarter of an hour later they returned, each bearing in their favored hand a few leaves of Athelas. The Elven woman tucked those she held safely into a small hip pack on her belt as Lith approached the man with the ones she’d taken. Leane was quick to set a bowl of water on the fire as Lith cut what was left of his shirt sleeve away to check the swelling’s progress.</i><BR><BR>I don’t think I caught your name the last time we met. You can call me Lith.<BR><BR><i>She spoke to him, taking the cloth and bowl of water with the steeped leaves from Leane with a friendly nod, allowing the man to take the cloth himself to bathe the wound.<BR><BR><BR><BR>Meanwhile, Anaiu watched the group: conveniently on the other side of the fire from the wargs and their master.<BR>She’d registered the orc’s use well enough... a trail coverer though one the hound felt needed to be watched. She just didn’t understand the wargs need to be there... alive at least except to be transport for the orc.<BR><BR>With a short puff of breath resembling a snort and shake of her head, the hound set her fur straight with her tongue, cleaning away the last of the orc’s blood and grime that she’d taken on during the battle while guarding her mistress’s flank as the Ranger had stalked and slain several on her side of the road. Her eyes narrowed with alert content-ness as she looked at those gathered around the fire near to her.<BR><BR>Her mistress was tending and speaking in the human tongue with a new stranger to the hound’s left... then there was the mage that set the hound’s hackles up slightly walking around in a ring like he was some sort of sentry. The smell of magic was strong coming from his direction though, so the hound’s mind registered something stranger going on than sentry duty... something to be avoided.<BR>The woman, Leane, and the dwarf did seem somewhat inviting company... the elf and the other man were still very unknown to the hound so it was down to the other two. <BR>Tilting her head somewhat, Anaiu quietly rose and approached them, heading more towards Leane as the girl had seemed the least threatening from the get go. They were eating now as well and the salted meat looked very tempting too though she knew Lith would feed her very soon.<BR>When she’d trotted close enough, the hound nudged the girl’s shoulder with her muzzle just gently enough to get her attention and then grinned with some friendliness as she tilted her head to the side and wagged her tail. It was her way of saying, “want to play/be friendly?” or in more literal terms “want to give me some of your dinner”</i>
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Lithtaur16
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