Vanished

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

Postby Lord_Tarquin » Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:02 pm

It had been eleven years since the war of the Ring, and much had changed. Sauron's henchman Dhalir had risen up and attempted to take over Middle Earth by a twisted plague; but he and his ilk had been defeated for a year, now. During that year, Middle Earth had known peace and prosperity. A cure had been found for the infected, and they had earned the forgiveness of the people, by living and working honestly; with the exception of the orcs, who went on pillaging and plotting whenever they had the courage to leave their mountain halls.<BR><BR>This is why it took all by surprise; there was no warning, no prophecy, nothing had prepared them for its coming. It simply happened. Children never returned home in the evening; men woke up to find their wives gone from their beds; men disappeared in the midst of work. The disappearances occured over two weeks time, and battles had come from them. The remaining elves distrusted men, for they believed that some of the Firstborn had been seduced and kidnapped by the sons of men. The orcs fell under the most suspicion, but all attempts to break into the orc's strong places fell. So it was, a month after the disappearances, that the Wise decided that the time had come to assemble a group of seekers, to search for the vanished or to perish in the attempt.<BR><BR>*******************************<BR><BR>Cody Tarquin, former heir to the lordship of a small village in the mountains of Hithaeglir, brushed the branch of an oak tree out of his face as he rode alone. Leslie had implored him to stay with the group, and return to Rivendell with her, but he had declined. He needed to be alone, to cleanse himself of what he had done and who he had become. Shadowbane, his black stallion, stopped to reach down for a mouthful of grass. "Are you getting hungry, friend?" Shadowbane nickered in response. "Very well, we shall eat." He dismounted, and removed the saddle and saddlebags, loosing the harness to allow the horse greater freedom to move his head and mouth.<BR><BR>Out of one of the packs, Cody pulled out a bit of deer meat, wrapped in strips of bacon to keep it fresh, which in turn was wrapped in some cloth. He started a fire with his tinderbox, and began feeding it. No sooner had he put the meat on to cook when his keen eyes spied an eagle: Gwaihir the windlord, his old friend. The great eagle alighted on the branch of a tree. <BR><BR>"Hail, Cody son of Arthur," the bird spoke in a raspy, yet solemn voice.<BR><BR>"Hail, Gwaihir, Lord of the Eagles; what brings you to the Western edge of the Hithaeglir?" <BR><BR>"I have been set to find you, and to tell you:<BR><BR>Doom thought vanquished is near at Hand;<BR>Darkness spreads throughout our land.<BR>Reality and illusion will be confused;<BR>And of fell things thou wilt be accused.<BR><BR>Beware, young Tarquin, for in great peril<BR>thee shalt find. Hearken, lest thou imperil<BR>thy comrades in thy great desires and ambitions<BR>This shall prove to be thy greatest mission."<BR><BR>With that, the eagle flew off, and Cody, a bit bewildered but solemn, retacked his horse and rode on for home, little knowing what he would find.<BR>
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Postby Leslie-ElfWarrior » Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:52 pm

<BR><i>Leslie smiled contently glad that she would not have to worry about Declynn or Drake for a time even though both still plagued at the back of her mind, and once in a while Cody managed to plague her mind as well. But it was hopeless to think of him, and so she would try to think of other things. She had been in a constant state of worry. Worried about Declynn’s behavior, worried about Drake’s behavior, worried about the close friendship and father daughter relationship Declynn and Drake once shared and how they had grown distant, and even more worried about herself she felt so tired and the deep pains of what had occurred seemed to attack her around every corner. The only familiarity was the Breelanders whispering their gossip of how she was an elf, or how she was an elf mistress and her lord left her here in Bree out of anger, how she was forever a shame to the elven people at least those were the rumors the Breelanders would spread and perhaps they were right. Perhaps she was a disgrace to all elves, she lived as a mortal and had fallen foolishly in love with a mortal that would never return the love she felt and still somehow felt for him. At least Arwen received love from Aragorn whereas she did not, it was a despair she had grown accustomed to over time. The Breelanders continued their gossip as she past by on her wary white horse Angel. Then she slide off of the horse whom would usually protest to being locked away was gently guided in by the stable hands. Leslie took her things and headed for her real home Pomporo’s Magic Shop, where the man she considered to be like a father worked and owned it. She smiled as she entered the shop and waited for Pomporo to come forth, the jolly old and heavy set wizard finally peeked around the bookcase to take in the sight of Leslie standing in the doorway. He came around with a big grin as he slowly came forth and hugged her.</i><BR><BR>“I have most certainly missed you my dear girl, where have you been all this time?”<BR><BR><i>Leslie sighed as she told the story of all that happened over the past year and during the time of the plague, not leaving anything out except for the tortures detail, and other intricate details. Pomporo sighed and looked sympathetic at the mention of Cody.</i><BR><BR>“If I may young lady, I think Lord Elrond is right in the case the elves should be with their kind and men should as well. I know how much you do not want to hear my preaching about this, but dear girl you are an elf. Besides a man that does not return the love a woman has is best forgotten, this Cody was probably blind and did not see what lay before him.”<BR><BR><i>Pomporo began to laugh as though to make it a joke to benefit Leslie but she was not up to the joke, and did not laugh at it. After a moment she asked to go rest and Pomporo bid her goodnight while he continued to maintain the shop.</i><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Declynn » Sun Sep 28, 2003 9:13 pm

<BR><i>Back in the grand land of Rivendell Declynn had rested and recovered at least to a degree from all that had happened to her during the plague, but she was still warn out, and still suffered as well. She was too ashamed to go near Drake and he was too ashamed to go near her as well. Elrond had ordered an overly worried Leslie to go home and recover for she only did worse to herself by worrying about Declynn and Drake. Declynn however was still distant, she had promised that any man dare harm a woman as she had been would die a horrible death and she did not joke about that. She held much of the plague still within her which had been growing and was still growing to do things that were not expected. Declynn kept the secrets of the plague’s new abilities a deep dark secret, her blood had become a deep dark red that scared Declynn. The plague made it so she could sense other infected when near, and had done other things to her, but she would not acknowledge what all the plague did to her. Her attitude had also changed to a more disturbing attitude, she had a severe attitude problem and especially hated men of any race that tried to even touch her slightly. This amongst other thing had worried Leslie greatly, but still Declynn was bound to be changed after such a trauma. Some of the changes had been led on by the plague while others were of her own change. She would not allow anyone to even attempt to take advantage of her ever again. She had set her own personal defenses and prepared herself in a number of ways for any further attempts down the road. Some thought this was paranoia, but Declynn felt she had good enough reason even though she had grown colder and such something she was once not. Sadly it was a change the was inevitable it was bound to happen sooner or later and it had happened. Declynn had taken up practicing with her sword and making herself stronger. She had also left Rivendell for a short time to relieve her aggression, she had found a small band of Orcs harassing a few villagers, and had put a halt to them harming anyone ever again. She had then returned and continued to recuperate and over time was slowly beginning to relax from the torments of her past. <BR><BR>But some things could not be forgotten---Aram she thought of Aram a great deal. She tried to tell herself he was evil and vile, but inside she knew that was not true, he actually cared for her, and she for him. She often fell asleep and instead of dreaming of her attackers she dreamt of him, him alive and with her now. Those dreams were a blessing and she never disliked the dreams of him, though she wished he were with her now. In a way he was still with her he protected her from her nightmares comforted her in her sleep. At times she thought she could feel him sense him near by and felt at peace sensing that, or maybe she was losing her mind, but for her she was happy despite all the evil he had done to her to serve Dhalir, besides Declynn reveled in the sight of seeing Dhalir a dead rotting corpse when she had seen his lifeless body. So barely a thought went to the vile coward, her thoughts seemed to remain focused on Aram, and Rien even slipped from her mind like water. For the most part Declynn was beginning to find peace, especially now that Leslie wasn’t about to worry over her constantly. The relationship with Drake the father daughter connection seemed to fade though and over time it was slowly being repaired with the help of Elrond. Things seemed to slowly grow back to the way they were yet there was a taint within them all, a taint that they hoped to eradicate from themselves over time. Declynn stood outside watching the sun set and enjoying the quiet peace before going to bed her thoughts eager to dream of Aram.</i><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Riencuran » Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:49 am

Carum Kadoa. Assassin of Khand, Desert Lord. Known among his men as Bloody Kadoa. Silent Carum, secretive Carum, strange and unmerciful Carum. But soon, he would no longer be the assassin that was feared throughout Middle Earth, the assassin that had taught Mortals and even the First-born to avoid the Southern deserts, the assassin that ruled all lands south of Gondor and empty Mordor with his unstoppable force and black magic. He would make all nations fear him and see him as their lord, see him as their Master, and see themselves as his joyful slaves.<BR><BR>Joyful? Well, maybe not that. He did not know joy, so they would not know it either. He would brainwash them like he did the vanished ones, and make them see their new lives as ‘reality’, and their past lives? Just illusions. <BR><BR>Carum looked into the mirror in front of him, where one thousand faces flitted in and out. They were the Men and Elves he had taken, right from their beds, from their play, and from their work. <BR><BR><i>My vanished ones.</i> Carum thought to himself. <i>Never to return until I control Middle Earth. All I need is my Elf, the Elf who will bring about the fulfillment of the Prophecy. She is the one I will wed, and she will help me change the face of this world.</i> His deft hands began to weave a spell as he thought thus.<BR><BR><i> Show her to me. Show me the Elf.</i> The images of the vanished cleared, and an Elfess appeared. She was not the regular height of an Elf; Carum would have thought her a Nymph had he not requested an Elf in his spell. Her long dark hair reached almost to her waist, and her eyes were a bluish green. She was dressed in black, and had a demure and quiet look to herself. <BR><BR><i>So, that is my Elfess? Where is she now? What is her name?</i> The latter thoughts were commands for his spell, and once again the mirror faded, and showed her sleeping in a room in Bree.<BR><BR><i>Ah, so that’s where I can find you?</i> he mused. The image faded yet again, and showed a scene between the Elf and a Mortal.<BR><BR><i> ‘Are you sure you’re fine Deck? I know what happened last year must still bother you, but you are ok?’ The Elfess asked.<BR><BR>‘Yes, Leslie. You’ve asked me that many times. Stop worrying about me, alright?’</i> The image faded, and the mirror looked like itself again.<BR><BR>‘Leslie.’ Carum said the word like a new food, testing the sound, listening to it. It was pretty, in it’s own way. Carum had not come across many beautiful things in his life, and when he did, he had never cared for them. But Leslie, Leslie he had to care for. She was the link, the link that would let him take over Middle Earth. <BR><BR><i>Soon you and I shall meet, O Leslie. And once we do, Middle Earth will almost be mine, and my pains shall not have been in vain.</i> he smiled softly as he summoned her image once again. She looked so innocent, and she would be so easy to manipulate. The Desert Lord’s unnatural blue eyes roved over Leslie again, and then he retreated into his archives, where he started to think of how he could kidnap her, and bring her to Khand, and to 'reality'.
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Postby Aiwe » Sun Oct 05, 2003 8:59 pm

Ngwaw tugged gently at the reins of his horse. "Come on, Robin, it's just mud..."<BR><BR>Reluctantly, the dark red gelding minced his way through the slurry that had formerly been a riverside road until yesterday's heavy rains. The tip of his pale-orange tail dragged through the muck and the miscellaneous floating things that Ngwaw didn't care to speculate about, given that he was almost knee-deep in the murky water. "Good lad...we're nearly there...just a few more steps." Finally they reached the ridge of high ground they'd spotted that morning, rising from the flooded valley. Ngwaw unpacked Robin and let him scrounge out some lunch from the hilltop growth. While the gelding munched away, Ngwaw wrung some of the water from his soaked clothes. They'd been hiking through the flooded lowlands the whole morning and most of the afternoon, so he felt that a fresh set of clothes was in order. That done, he laid everything out to dry in the last of the evening sun, and laid back against a tree. "I think it should be safe enough to take a rest now. They must've lost our trail in the rains," he said to himself. Robin gave a snort as he munched on a bush of some sort. <BR><BR>Ngwaw tried to ignore the growling in his stomach. <i>Next time this happens, I need to be sure I get a waterproof pack for the food beforehand,</i> he reminded himself. He'd been in quite a rush to get away from the small village--what was its name again? he couldn't remember--and consequently hadn't put much thought into packing. He shoved all his travelling food into a cotton sack, which he'd last seen sinking rapidly into the torrential murk last night.<BR><BR>Oh well. There was nothing else for it, it seemed. Ngwaw shut his eyes and let his ears and nose scan the area for a few minutes. There was the clean scent of rain, and the sound of gurgling water below, but no signs of any people nearby. He still was wary, though, as he padded quietly into the woods beside the trail. <BR><BR>Twenty minutes later, Ngwaw returned to his little campsite, carrying a mall armload of relatively dry wood and a rabbit. The rabbit was bloody and quite dead, having been bitten on the neck by what looked like the teeth of a wolf. He struck a spark over the dry wood with his flint and steel, blowing on the infant flame until it grew and crackled strongly. Moving his feet up to the warm fire, he began to eat the rabbit raw, tearing at it with unnaturally sharp teeth. He tried again to remember the village's name, but couldn't. <i>I was there three weeks!</i>. He was feeling helpless--he knew that people in thier late teens weren't supposed to start losing thier memories in little pieces that sometimes floated back again, and sometimes didn't. But he couldn't go to a doctor for help. No, if he did that, they'd soon figure out what he was, and then his death would be quite certain and also quite painful.<BR><BR>Ngwaw was just washing the blood from his face and hands at the foot of the hill when distant thunder of hooves caught his ear. <i>They've come after me,</i> he thought, fear gripping his heart. The hoofbeats were coming from ahead on the road, from the high ground undamaged by flooding. <i>They must have circled around last night to cut me off, blast it! There's probably more coming from the other side too...</i> Hastily he buried the fire with earth and scattered debris to hide it, stuffed his still-damp clothes into his sack, and leapt onto Robin's back just as the great black stallion and rider galloped into view. Ngwaw dug bare heels into the gelding's side, and they half-ran, half-slid down into the valley again. But, true to his nature, Robin balked at the rushing water's edge. "Come <i>on</i>, lad! They'll catch us!" pleaded Ngwaw, he dismounted and led the horse into the water again, but Robin was loathe to get his hooves wet again, and was distraught even further by the unusual harshness of his master. The rider slowed to a safe speed as he urged his stallion down the slope. Ngwaw took one look at that horse and decided that bolting was not an option. He threw the knife at his belt to the ground, and spread his arms out, to show defeat. "I give up!" he called out. "You've caught me, please, don't hurt me! I'll go quietly." His eyes darted to the sun, half-sunk behind distant mountains, and hoped silently that he'd be able to escape before moonrise.<BR><BR>--Aiwe
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Postby Riencuran » Fri Oct 24, 2003 1:59 pm

Carum sat, contemplative within the large tent. His prized mirror Ceredrim was to his right, and the tent entrance was on the opposite side of the tent from where he sat. Rugs and furs were scattered all over the tent, giving the cold Desert Lord's home a warm feeling. He summoned a guard, intent on his plan.<BR><BR>"Yes, Lord Kadoa? What is your bidding?"<BR><BR>"Bring me Raven." he ordered quietly.<BR><BR>"Yes, my Lord."<BR><BR>Raven entered, her long black hair brushing against her shoulders, and her black eyes betrayed the hate she felt for her overlord. <BR><BR>"What did you summon me for, Kadoa?"<BR>Kadoa's voice reverberated into Raven's mind like a wave breaking onto sand. <BR><BR>"I should hate to punish you for insubordination; do try to learn respect."<BR>Raven glowered like an annoyed bulldog. <BR><BR>"I do your work for you; I should be able to address you to my liking, Kadoa."<BR><BR>"Dear me, I do think you need a lesson in manners." He smiled, which Raven had learned quickly during her time with Carum, was not a good thing.<BR>He reached into her mind, probing. <BR><BR>"You are powerless." He whispered into her mind. "I can kill you right now you know. Or I can destroy all your memories and create you into anything I like. And by addressing me so disrespectfully; are you not hindering the very Cause? That all will know me as the Lord of Middle Earth? Keep a civil tongue in your head, Raven, or I'll give you one."<BR><BR>"My tongue is civil enough for the likes of---" Raven was caught off; shocked at being rendered temporarily mute by Kadoa.<BR><BR>Carum flung Raven across the tent, pinning her to the floor. <BR><BR>"My dear girl, if you won't speak civil, you won't speak at all. Nothing but my command will give your voice back."<BR><BR>Raven looked flushed with anger, and appeared to want to say something, then began to think better of it, and dropped her gaze slightly, so that she no longer made eye contact with Kadoa. She wondered what she must do to hear the command that gave her voice back to her. Had she been servile enough?<BR><BR>"That's better. Another insubordination though, and I'll rip your throat out, understood?"<BR>Raven nodded and Carum released her.<BR><BR>"What is your bidding, Lord Kadoa?" she asked humbly.<BR><BR>"There's an elfess whom I want you to fetch for me. She's in Bree. Are you capable enough to get her?"<BR>Raven bit her tongue. "I am, Lord Kadoa."<BR><BR>"What does she look like? How will I know her?" Carum showed her the image in Ceredrim, the mirror.<BR><BR>Raven looked at the image in awe; surely Lord Kadoa was most powerful. "Thank you for revealing this to me, My Lord. May I have permission to depart at once?"<BR><BR>"You may." Carum smiled as he watched her go. His plan was beginning to unfold nicely.
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Postby Lord_Tarquin » Sat Dec 06, 2003 12:04 am

Cody's thoughts were of the recent past: his slavery under Dhalir, a cold, calculating madman who nearly succeeded at controlling Middle Earth through his dreaded plague. Ironically, it was only due to the woman who wanted to kill him that he was freed from Dhalir. As Shadowbane thundered down the path, a darting figure caught Cody's eye, interrupting his thoughts. Curious, he wheeled Shadowbane off the path to make certain that no evil mischief was afoot. The figure leapt onto his red gelding and cantering off. <BR><BR>"Probably a thief or criminal on the run; I'll take care of him easily." Cody reasoned. The fleeing pair made for lower ground, and Cody took to the pursuit. The figure was trying to urge his horse across the water, but the frightened animal was reluctant to cross. After they crossed, the fellow--for it appeared to be a man--surrenedered, fear shone in his eyes. <BR><BR>"Cross the water and follow me back to the road." It was a clear order. The man urged his horse back, glancing at the setting sun. "We'll be at my stop soon enough; you'll be safe with me from those that skulk in the darkness." For a reason Cody couldn't fathom, the man did not look convinced. Shrugging, he led his tense prisoner to the road, then began walking both horses towards his home village. <BR><BR>"Can't we pick up speed?" the man pleaded, looking furtively towards the sun. Cody looked at him suspiciously. "It's very important, I don't take to the darkness very well." Cody waited for an explanation, and his gaze must have visibly hardened to a great degree as the man eyed Cody's weapons nervously. "Please, I'll do anything--anything--just grant me that you'll take me to a safe place before the sun sets."<BR><BR>Cody thought before nodding. He motioned for the man to follow him and paved the way through dense brush and foilage; tree branches loomed overhead. It was harder to see the sun, here, but Cody knew that there was another half hour before sunset. His father had taught him well. Another memory came up as he remembered reading in his father's journal of the family curse--but no, he would not go into that now. The curse was over; his foes were conquered, and he was riding home, or would the next day. Cody stopped when he reached the mouth of a cave. "There is a place inside for our horses. It is dark, but warm and dry." he explained. <BR><BR>Both men dismounted. When the gelding showed resistance to entering, Cody grabbed the reins; urging the horse forward. The gelding followed, and the man still looked worried. "Don't bolt on me either." Cody said sarcastically to the man. "unless you want to watch how I can make my blade dance." He smiled in wry amusement when the man looked even more frightened. "Don't worry, friend, that was but a jest." Growing more serious, Cody told the man to sit down as he lit several lanterns to bring light to the cave's interior.<BR><BR>"You're fortunate that I did not question you at first; however, several things about you have intriqued me, and I insist on being satisfied. Tell me who you are, your destination, your mission, and why you fear darkness." The fellow acts like a frightened dog rather than a man, Cody mused, little knowing how astute the thought would prove.
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Postby Ngwaw » Sun Dec 07, 2003 12:09 am

Ngwaw's mouth opened and shut a couple of times. "Uh..." he began. "Er, my name's Celeb, and, and--I passed through a village near here and they, er, mistook me for a man who'd committed a crime there recently, and so I ran. I-I'm not comfortable in the dark in the wilds. Wolves, you know?" He twisted his face into an expression of sincerity--or at least as close as he could get with the fear boiling in his gut. His eyes darted out the cave mouth, watching the last of the sun slip beneath the peaks. <BR><BR>The man did not look convinced. "Really," he said slowly. "This village--what was its name?"<BR><BR>Ngwaw panicked. "I--I can't remember..."<BR><BR>His captor nodded. "I thought as much." He leaned closer, hand on the hilt of his sword. "I know a liar when I hear him speak."<BR><BR>Ngwaw couldn't stand it any more. He had to run, now! The wolf within him was clawing to escape...<BR><BR>Animal-quick, he darted out the cave mouth and tore off for the woods. Another few minutes and he'd be free--<BR><BR>A hand gripped his shoulder with the strength of wolf's jaws, swinging him around so that he was face-to-face with his captor--and his glinting sword. Ngwaw let out a howl. The pain was immense, he couldn't hold the change off any longer. He whimpered and gasped. "Let me go, please!"<BR><BR>"Not until I have the truth from you," said the man, calmly.<BR><BR>And then the wolf burst free.<BR><BR>Ngwaw cried out again in agony. Bones split and re-formed with excruciating speed, muscles tore and travelled, teeth sharpened, claws split forth from fingers and toes. In one terrible moment, Ngwaw's form twisted sickeningly, until no hint of man was left. Only wolf remained.<BR><BR>Ngwaw staggered to his paws, fell, tried to stand again, whimpering in terror and pain the whole time. A hand latched onto the scruff of his neck, he yelped shrilly, and then found the sword was at his throat. Three words circled round and round in a frantic circle in his mind--<i>I'mgonnadieI'mgonnadieI'mgonnadie!</i><BR><BR>"Speak the truth now, foul beast. Or I shall slit your throat wide open."<BR><BR>"No! Please!" Ngwaw whimpered, voice made strange in a wolvish mouth. "My name is Ngwaw. I was staying at the village--just doing odd jobs, I swear! Whatever work I could get. I stayed too late and a man saw me change--they chased me--I thought you were one of them, I thought I could get away by nightfall--"<BR><BR>"Which village?" the man asked sharply.<BR><BR>"I don't know, I swear!" Ngwaw yowled. "I--I know you won't believe me, but by Iluvatar I can't remember the name! I--I haven't been able to remember a lot of things. For the past couple of months, I think."<BR><BR>He gritted his teeth, waiting for the blade to dig into his flesh, to hear the words he'd heard a thousand times before from a thousand different mouths--<i>Liar! Demon! Foul, shadow-bred beast! Thief! Killer! Cursed mongrel...</i><BR><BR>But, to his immense and bel=wildered surprise, the blade was lowered. The grip on his nape was lessened, removed.<BR><BR>Shivering, hardly able to stand for the fear that twisted inside him, he raised his yellow-green eyes to look into his captor's face.<BR><BR>--Ngwaw
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Postby Arwen32315 » Fri Dec 12, 2003 5:32 pm

<BR>Raven kicked her stallion into a gallop and left the camp without looking back. The moon had <BR>risen hours ago and black birds circled the air above the tree, voicing their earie calls. Days <BR>later she approached the gates of Bree at midnight.<BR><BR>The old gatekeeper raised his lamp to the rider. "Who's there? Name yerself."<BR><BR>Raven kept her hood down. "My name is Anarya. I come to Bree to visit an old friend."<BR>"<BR>Well..I'm not supposed to let people in after night..but I suppose you can come in." <BR>He opened the gate for her.<BR><BR>"My thanks for you, master." Raven nodded the elderly gentlemen and raised a hand in salute<BR><BR>"Your quite welcome miss." He tipped his hat. "I trust you know where you're headed?"<BR><BR>Raven shook her head. "Would you be so kind as to direct me Pomporo's shop and then the Prancing<BR> Pony?"<BR><BR>"Aye, I know Pomporo. His magic shop is just down that lane there, the shop has a large sign, <BR>"Pomporo's Magic Shop". And if you follow this main road, you'll soon see the Prancing Pony. <BR>Can't miss either one of 'em."<BR><BR>"Much oblidged," she bowed slightly "Good evening to you."<BR><BR>"Evenin'"<BR><BR>Raven rode slowly through the muddy streets. The rain from the day before<BR>had transformed the roads into muck. A slight wind blew the shop signs back and forth <BR>squeekily. One in particular caught Raven's eyes. It read 'Pompero's Magic Shop' she <BR>glanced at the dark building, memorizing it's location then continued on her way to the <BR>Prancing Pony. She hoped Barliman did not remember her.<BR><BR>The Inn was dark except for a few candles sitting in the guest room windows. She dismounted<BR>and beat on the old wooden door forcefully.<BR><BR>Barliman opened the door, squinting at the woman. "No need to be so loud.." He stepped back,<BR>allowing her to step in.<BR><BR>"What is it ye be wanting tonight? A room, a meal?" He didn't recognize Raven at all, <BR>having a habit of forgetting things easily.<BR><BR>"Maybe not." Raven shrugged. "I need lodging for myself and my horse."<BR><BR>"I'll send a servant to care for your horse, and I'll show ye to yer room." He took an key <BR>from under the bar, and motioned Raven to follow him up the stairs. <BR><BR>She wiped the mud off her boots and followed the old man. She smiled evilly to herself. <BR>The old fool had forgotten, and that just made things easier for her.<BR><BR>"Here ye are. Shall I be sendin' a meal up to ye, or will ye be coming down for your <BR>supper?" He handed her the key.<BR>"Don't worry about it," she took the key and produced a coin pouch and handed it to him. <BR>"Just have breakfast sent up in the morning"<BR><BR>"Aye miss." He bowed his hand and went back down.<BR><BR>Raven unlocked the door to her room and entered, throwing her pack into the one chair after<BR>locking the door from the inside. She removed her cloak and laid on top of the bed before<BR>stretching out on it and drifting in to the daze that elves call sleep.<BR><BR>"Raven." Carum whispered softly in the girl's mind.<BR><BR>"I know where she is, my Lord." she replied. "It is only a matter of having the proper <BR>deception ready."<BR><BR>"And when will that be Raven?" He spoke quietly, but his tone held authority and <BR>deadliness. <BR><BR>"Tomorrow evening," Raven knew there would be severe consequences if she failed in this <BR>task. "And I will have her back in Khand in a week."<BR><BR>"See that you do. I'll be watching."<BR><BR>Raven stared at the dirty, wooden boards of the ceiling without actually seeing them. Plans<BR>and alternatives raced through her mind. She already knew that Leslie would not come <BR>willingly unless she believed that it was for her benefit. "I shall simply have to use the<BR>danger of her situation and her fear of being found against her." she muttered to the <BR>darkness. "I'll need some help deceiving her."<BR><BR>"She lives with a Mortal while in Bree that goes by the name Pomporo. I could cast a spell<BR>on you, changing your looks and voice to match the man's. You could trick her that way. <BR>Have you, as Pomporo, tell her an assassin is after her, then that a friend will guide her <BR>to safety. Leave and go outside, mount up, and your guise will vanish. Lead her away to <BR>Khand and you have her."<BR><BR>Raven nodded. "It will work perfectly"<BR><BR>"Of course it will work. If it doesn't that will be your fault, and I will be very, very <BR>displeased." He whispered.<BR><BR>"I will not fail!" Raven was determined to stay in Carum's good graces. Life <BR>was painful otherwise. "She is vulnerable. I can use that agianst her."<BR><BR>"You know the consequences if you do fail." Carum broke the connection with this last warning. <BR><BR>Raven sat up on the bed. All she had to do when she left the inn the following evening was make<BR>her way to Pomporo's shop, get Leslie's horse ready, and, then, go inside an get the elf. It was<BR>as simple as slitting someone's throat. She simply had to make sure that they did not wake<BR>Pomporo. She smiled and lay back down, slipping slowly back into a watchful sleep. <BR><BR>"Mylady?" she heard Barliman outside her room. The old fool thumped his foot against the bottom<BR>or the door, causing the dishes on the tray he was carrying to rattl.e <BR><BR>Raven glanced out the window and could just see the edge of the suns red disk rising above the<BR>dark horizon. Stars still shown in the dawn sky, and the moon was giving off her last few rays<BR>of silver light before retiring from her nighttime vigil. She opened the door just enough for<BR>the tray to come through. "Thank you, good sir." She thanked him before shutting the door in<BR>his fat face. <BR><BR>After locking the door again, she surveyed the tray of what obviously passed for food in this<BR>part of the world. Greasy strips of meat stretched themselves next to a lump of what she could <BR>only assume were eggs. A dry biscuit and a mug of warm milk completed the meal. Raven wrinkled<BR>her nose in disgust. After chocking down the food, she began making sure everything was ready<BR>for her departure that night. All she had to do now was wait for darkness to fall once more. <BR><BR>*****<BR><BR>Raven creapt quietly through the streets, leading her horse behind her. She could see Pomporo's<BR>shop ahead of her. The building was dark, not a light was visible. After tieing, her horse to a<BR>post, she walked around to the back of the shop to the stables. A small pony and a tall, beautiful<BR>horse were the only occupants. Raven soon found the saddle and reins and began her work. Once the<BR>animal was ready, she lead it out and tied it beside her own horse. <BR><BR>She paused at the door before she began working at the lock to make sure no lights had come on<BR>while she was in the stable. None had and a few seconds later, she had the door open. "Now<BR>Carum," she thought, knowing he was watchign her. <BR> <BR>Carum whispered the appropriate words, making Raven appear as the sleeping man Pompero, <BR>smiling cruelly, "Pompero" left the room and entered Leslie's. She was fast asleep, <BR>clutching her pillow in fright as if in some terrible dream. <BR><BR>"Leslie," Raven hid the smile that tried to form on her face when she heard her now <BR>changed voice. She laid a hand on Leslie's shoulder and shook her slightly.<BR><BR>"Wha-what? What's going on, Pompero?"<BR><BR>"There's someone looking for you in town, and you have to leave immediately." <BR><BR>"Who? What? Is it Cody Tarquin? Bring him in at once!" Her face fell when he didn't <BR>answer as she realized the full implications of the warning.<BR><BR>"No, not him!" Pompero wrung his chubby hands. ""It's an assasin I think."<BR><BR>"I'll put on my cloak." Leslie said simply. "How soon must I be off?"<BR><BR>"As quickly as possible. I'll leave you to get ready." Pompero turned quickly and did a <BR>nervous dance toward the door. "I found someone for you to travel with- a trusted friend-<BR>that can take you to safety"<BR><BR>Leslie smiled, Pompero always looked out for her. She quickly prepared her belongings, <BR>completely unsuspecting of the trap which threatened to take her. <BR><BR>Carum whispered a counter spell, changing "Pompero" as Raven waited on her horse. Leslie <BR>emerged in the stillness of night, then turned to address the still rider. "Are you the one Pompero mentioned?"<BR> <BR>Raven had already prepared Leslie's horse and handed the reins to her. "I am indeed." <BR>she had her cloak hood down. "Hurry!"<BR><BR>Leslie swung up on her horse, completely trusting of the stranger.<BR><BR>"Stay with me, and dont' look back." Raven wheeled her horse around to face the road. <BR>"No matter what happens do not loose sighe of me" Without looking at Leslie she kicked <BR>her horse into a gallop. They made their way quickly through the streets until they <BR>reached the gates. Raven dismounted in one fluid motion. "Wait here. I'll wake the <BR>gatekeeper" Leslie nodded but did not say anything. Raven walked quietly to the small h<BR>ut, pushed open the door, and closed it behind <BR>"Can i help you?" the old man stood quickly when he saw her, his pipe falling to the <BR>floor. <BR>"Yes, you can!" Raven produced a dagger from somewhere and shoved it into the old man's <BR>chest. "You can stay out of my way." she left the knife where it was and rushed out into<BR> the cool night air. <BR><BR>"He's dead." Raven began to lift the bars of the gates herself. "The assasin must have <BR>got here before we did. We'll have to travel even faster now because he'll be on to us <BR>soon."<BR><BR>Leslie nodded, urging her horse onward. "Where are we going?"<BR><BR>"It's safer for all of us if you don't know." she pulled the gates open and whistled <BR>softly to her horse. The animal trotted up to her and she mounted. "Come!" she kicked<BR>the horse into a gallop and the two disappeared into the night.
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Postby Lord_Tarquin » Tue Dec 16, 2003 4:45 pm

Cody recoiled at the howl, but his will was set and nothing would break it. Grabbing the werewolf expertly by the nape of the neck, he held on tightly and held his blade to the creature's throat. The lupine shivered and tucked his tail between his legs in fear. <BR><BR>"Speak the truth now, Fell Beast, or I will slit your throat wide open." <BR><BR>No! Please!" Ngwaw whimpered, voice made strange in a wolvish mouth. "My name is Ngwaw. I was staying at the village--just doing odd jobs, I swear! Whatever work I could get. I stayed too late and a man saw me change--they chased me--I thought you were one of them, I thought I could get away by nightfall--"<BR><BR>Cody began to feel pity for the wolf, and was making up his mind as to the wolf's fate. However, he had to make certain that this wasn't a trick so did not show any sign of mercy in his face or voice. "Which village?" he demanded sharply.<BR><BR>"I don't know, I swear!" Ngwaw yowled. "I--I know you won't believe me, but by Iluvatar I can't remember the name! I--I haven't been able to remember a lot of things. For the past couple of months, I think." Cody saw the terror in the animal's eyes, the belief that it would soon die. Cody smiled as he removed the blade from the animal's neck and released his strong hold on the beast.<BR><BR>Trembling, fear in his eyes, Ngwaw turned around, wondering at his release and unsure what this change portended. Cody kept his voice firm. "I will spare you and protect you from those who hunt you on the following condition: that you will stay where I can see you at all times; should I have any reason to suspect your trustworthiness, I will not hesitate to take the appropriate action. Is this clear, Ngwaw?" He asked. "If you agree, place your right paw in my right hand<BR>and vow to obey the condition given you. <BR><BR>The wolf did so, still frightened, and yet beginning to feel relieved. Cody led the animal back up to the cave, and pulled a blanket from Ngwaw's pack out for the animal. He smiled at the animal, and did not pull the blanket down, but dug a pit six inches deep and put a couple pieces of hot wood from the fire in the pit, then he covered the pit. The ground above it was warm from the dying flames. On this cover, he laid the blanket. "Lie down there, Ngwaw." The wolf did so, resisting his instinct to fear fire. Cody smiled. <BR><BR>"An old trick that my father taught me in order to keep warm if anything should happen to the fire. You are safe from the flames, so worry not about that." His explanation finished, he laid down on his own pallet. "We leave tomorrow at sunrise, Ngwaw. I will wake you." The human fell asleep quickly, but Ngwaw still felt a thousand fears gnawwing on him and it took him some time to fall asleep.
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Postby Ngwaw » Tue Dec 16, 2003 7:08 pm

Ngwaw shivered despite the toasty warm bed he cowered in. What on Middle-earth was this man going to do with him? The werewolf realized that he didn't even know his mysterious captor's name. He watched the slumbering figure pensively. <i>If I run, he'll probably catch me, and that'll be the end of me. If I stay here, I could live or I could be killed depending upon the will of this man I know absolutely nothing about.</i> He sighed a doggie sigh. <i>What a wonderful little conundrum you've gotten youself into, Ngwaw.</i> <BR><BR>Ngwaw rolled onto his side, trying to get comfortable in his lumpy bed, and gazed out the cave mouth. The moon was full and bright, veiled loosely in tattered cloud. <i>A pox on you!</i> he cursed the silver orb. He always did. Not that it helped matters much. But it did make him feel a little better. <BR><BR>At the mouth of the cave, his captor's stallion fidgeted nervously now and then. Animals instinctively feared the scent of werewolves, and for good reason. Ngwaw's own sorrel gelding, on the other hand, was sleeping placidly, unperturbed by his master's scent. That was the reason Ngwaw put up with Robin's annoying idiosyncracies--his fear of water, his distaste for mud and dirt. He'd raised the horse up from a colt, so he had no fear of werewolf-scent and would even let Ngwaw ride him on full-moon nights.<BR><BR>Eventually, Ngwaw drifted off into a sleep plagued with nightmares and the smell of silver. He saw the things he'd done before he left Mordor, the terrible things that would haunt him till the day he died; and he saw his sister's death replayed yet again, heard her screams of pain and fear as the orcs killed her with silver. He saw an orc turn toward him, clawed hand reaching for his throat--he was frozen stiff, he couldn't move--he growled a and roared as the orc who killed his sister brought a kife to his throat--he felt a hand on the back of his neck...<BR><BR>Ngwaw whipped around, snarling terribly, teeth gleaming, ready to clamp his jaws on the hand of that vile orc. But he stopped just in time. His eyes were open now. The sun was rising. The hand on his neck was the hand of his captor, shaking him awake. He looked away. "I'm sorry...bad dreams...thought you were someone else," he mumbled. <BR><BR>At Ngwaw's request the man tuned away for a moment so that he could change and get his clothes back on. That he would be willing to turn his back on a known werewolf was astonishing. <i>Why would he do that? Everyone knows you can't trust a werewolf. Even I know that!"</i> He coughed politely when he was done tying his belt. <BR><BR>His captor turned, looked at him, and said simply, "We need to get going."<BR><BR>Ngwaw stood. "Wait just a minute," he said.<BR><BR>The man stopped checking the harness on his stallion and raised his eyebrows. <BR><BR>"Why are you doing this?" Ngwaw asked. "Why haven't you killed me yet? And who are you, anyway?"<BR><BR>--Ngwaw
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Postby Lord_Tarquin » Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:26 pm

Cody woke up and pulled his cloak about his shoulders. He moved silently towards the sleeping werewolf, who was arching his back and kicking his legs as if in the throes of some terrible nightmare. Cody hesitated. He could very well get his hand bitten off if he woke the werewolf, on the other hand, they had to get going. The sun was rising. Without further hesitation, he grabbed the wolf by the nape of the neck once more. <BR><BR>Ngwaw snarled and whirled around, trying to loose himself, but opened his eyes before he clamped his jaws on Cody's hand. Then he looked fearful and trembled again, muttering an apology.<BR><BR>Cody tried to make himself appear relaxed. "You are forgiven, but I'm extremely tempted to start tying you up at nights." Ngwaw looked alarmed. Cody chuckled. "Joking, my lupine friend, I'm joking." At the werewolf's plea, Cody turned around while the werewolf took on his human form and dressed himself. Shadowbane glared at Ngwaw suspiciously, but Cody calmed his steed as he loaded the supplies and restrapped the harness and saddle. After he heard Ngwaw's quiet cough, he turned to inform the werewolf that it was time to depart.<BR><BR>Ngwaw stood. "Wait just a minute," he said. The man stopped checking the harness on his stallion and raised his eyebrows. "Why are you doing this?" Ngwaw quiried. "Why haven't you killed me yet? And who are you, anyway?"<BR><BR>"Those questions will be answered on the road. I must get to my own village quickly, and I want to reach it before sunset tonight. You will ride to my right and I will give a brief accounting of myself." Cody's words left no room for argument, but they were kindly spoken. He waited for Ngwaw to mount his horse and they both rode off to the path, heading northwest to Cody's village. Cody began after they began ascending the second hill.<BR><BR>"My name is Lord Cody Tarquin. I was born in these mountains, raised by my father to be the governor of my people and a warrior. He died when I was a young man, and I rode out to avenge his death." Cody's face grew solemn and sad, and his face had the expression of one who had been through many horrors and had many regrets. "At any rate," he continued. "after years of traveling to avenge my father's death, I have finally had the opportunity to return home." His thoughts went to his home, and he was silent for some time. A shadow seemed to have fallen over his face, and he rode quietly, lost in a swirl of memories, hopes and fears.<BR><BR>Two horsemen cantered up behind them. Cody stopped his horse, urging it to stay still. Ngwaw looked panicked. "Keep your gaze to the ground and do as I tell you." Cody ordered, knowing that one look at Ngwaw's face would raise the rider's suspicions. Cody pulled his black cloak about him, covering his face and body. The two riders rode up, one was stout and ruddy, the other thin, with angular features.<BR><BR>The thin man spoke first "by Order of the Family Tarquin, we are required by law to question you both." His eyes pierced Ngwaw, as if already suspicious. Cody urged Shadowbane to ride between Ngwaw and the questioner. <BR><BR>"By whose authority do you waylay us?" Cody demanded, keeping his voice calm and gaze steady. <BR><BR>"By the authority of the Late Tarquin, we have the authority to question any people of suspicious character in the borders of our village. We of the village Niolbo are seeking a thief; a thief with the ability to turn himself to a werewolf." <BR><BR>"The only persons here are myself and my squire." Cody replied. "I can vouch for my squire's character that he is no thief. Or would you have it said that the House of Tarquin cannot judge character?" With that, he lowered his hood, showing the ring on his finger that gave the name of his house. <BR><BR>The stout man gasped, "Forgive us, my lord. We were unaware that Lord Tarquin was among us--we thought you had left these mountains for good." <BR><BR>"I left for a time, but have returned. It is the law in the villages governed by myself that I can make compensation for your loss." Cody pulled out a purse and removed twenty gold coins. "Search for the thief, and hold him until I return to judge him." <BR><BR>The two men, nervous, made weak apologies before riding off in the way they came; the thin one looked back at Ngwaw, still suspicious, but moved even faster when he saw Cody's harsh glare.<BR><BR>Cody turned to Ngwaw to explain; "In order to keep some of the other local villages alive, the heads of those villages swore allegiance to my family. As the word spreads, it is not likely that you will be threatened around here, however, I do not give you leave to depart from my side before I can be sure of your safety." He smiled at the werewolf. "None will bother you as long as you remain by me." With that, he urged Shadowbane on, wanting to get to his home quickly, little knowing what he would find when he returned.<BR><BR>Ngwaw looked at him in fear and awe, still not certain what to think of Cody, and wrapped in his own thoughts.
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Postby Lord_Tarquin » Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:05 pm

Cody heard the sound of an approaching horse, and motioned for Ngwaw, the werewolf who was currently in his human form, to be silent. "Who enters my domain?" he demanded.

The approaching rider replied in a pleasant, yet proud female voice. "Is that anyway to greet such an old, beloved friend, Cody Tarquin?"

Shadowbane shied, and Cody calmed his mount down, muttering “Rien?" in utter disbelief. Involuntarily, he shivered; she had spelled him to forget his love for her when she sent him away from Mordor. He remembered her only as his former mistress.

Riencuran Elenath came in sight, riding her black stallion Shadow Blade. She smiled mischievously down at her former slave. "I'm surprised you have so few old and beloved friends that I immediately come to mind."

"Perhaps so few of them dared to spell me, my--" he stopped, swallowed, and then corrected himself. "Riencuran."

Ngwaw glared at the dark efless, for he did not trust Riencuran.

"And so you travel in the company of dog-men, you are so deprived of companionship?" She stared icily at Ngwaw.

"Would you be interested in joining our company?" Cody asked dryly, moving his horse between the pair.

"I don't keep company with curs." Rien replied in a miffed voice.

Cody attempted to reason with his former mistress. "I can't let him go alone, Riencuran. He'll be killed."

"And all of Arda would mourn his loss." She replied sardonically.

"I at least should see him safely to Rivendell..." Cody began. "I plan to travel there soon, after I return to my village."

"There's no point in returning to your village, boy." Riencuran interrupted.

"Don't call me, 'boy'." Cody said sharply. Taking a deep breath, he continued, "Of course there's a point. I want to see family, friends." Cody began.

"Then like I said, there is no point returning there." She repeated.

"What do you mean?" he asked, his curiosity growing.

"Let's say everyone has taken a leave of absence." Her lips curved into a slight smile, as if she was amused at her own joke.

"Who attacked my village, Rien?" Cody demanded, his Tarquin temper coming through. “Who took them as captives?"

Ngwaw muttered. "I think the answer is in front of your face, m'lord."

Rien looked affronted. "Why would I take the friends and kin of such a dear friend captive?"

“Is he a friend? You don't treat him like one." Ngwaw noted, "And he doesn't act as though you considered him your equal in times past."

"That'll do, Ngwaw." Cody whispered. If Ngwaw really angered Riencuran, they’d get nothing out of her, no matter what. He turned to the dark-haired elfess. "Rien, please, who attacked my village?"

Rien dismounted Shadow Blade, and then proceeded to feed him a sugar cube. "What is the information worth to you, Tarquin?"

"What price would you have me pay?" he looked concerned. He reached into his money wallet and pulled out a sack of gold coins. "Is this sufficient?"

Rien laughed quietly, and shook her head. "Cody, Cody, Cody. You should know money is of little importance to me. I can slit any purse I want if I need it. I'm not going to sell valuable information for something I can get anywhere for free."

Cody's face fell, if she didn't want money, she must want him. "Name your price, then. I will pay it if it is within my ability."

"Get rid of the dog." She jerked her head towards Ngwaw.

"I---I--can't." Cody began.

Riencuran scowled, but then perceived how low the sun was setting. "Perhaps the morning will put you in better sense, Tarquin. Let's ride to your village where you can rest your mortal body and then I will see if you are interested enough to accept my terms." She was determined to get rid of Ngwaw while the boy slept.

Reluctantly, Cody led Rien to his village. He started heading for his home, and saw that nothing was out of place.

"How can they be kidnapped and leave everything in order?" Cody wondered aloud.

Ngwaw glared suspiciously at Riencuran as the werewolf began to take his wolfish form. He snapped at Riencuran.

"Remove the whelp and I'll give you all the juicy details." She looked unconcernedly at Ngwaw.

Cody sighed, and he offered Rien a hand down from her steed, leading both horses to the stable. He then opened the front door, "please, come inside and rest. I will sleep on the couch in the parlor tonight." Cody lied down on the couch and fell asleep. Ngwaw lay on the rug nearby, guarding Cody.

Rien began humming quietly to herself, and she moved her fingers in the weaving of a spell. In a few minutes, twenty earthquakes wouldn't be able to wake Cody from the deep sleep she was casting. She watched Cody, and saw the enchanted sleep had taken effect. Then she whispered the second half of her spell, and bite marks appeared on his right hand, which dangled from the couch. Now for Ngwaw.

Ngwaw snarled as he heard her approach. His ears fell backwards on his head and his white teeth gleamed thanks to the moonlight that entered the window.

"You've been a bad dog." Rien said, drawing her sword. "And bad dogs need to be put away, don't they, mutt?"

He crouched lower, as though to spring. "I won't let you do anything to Cody; darkness is in all your features, she-elf. I know your intentions towards the boy." Ngwaw paused, and then continued. "Cody Tarquin is the only mortal who has been kind to me; I won't let him be hurt by the likes of you."

"My intentions are for my best interests. And I won't let anything stand in my way, especially a mongrel dog-man." She lazily waved a hand, pinning Ngwaw down.

Ngwaw was pinned, and his eyes looked down wildly, for the first time seeing the bite marks on Cody's hand. "What have you done to him?"

"I didn't do anything. The resident werewolf did it."

"I did no---" Ngwaw began, but stopped when he heard a sound that gave both pause. Cody groaned in his sleep, as though in pain. He stirred as if he were beginning to wake. Ngwaw perceived that if Cody woke, Riencuran would entice Cody to kill him. He could not keep Cody’s trust, he knew, so he was determined to run as soon as Riencuran was completely distracted.

How could he be resisting her enchanted sleep? Rien wondered, turning to check on the mortal.

Ngwaw took advantage of her distraction to make a run for it. He would come back later and help Cody.

Rien growled in frustration as the werewolf ran away, and sheathed her sword.

Cody blinked his eyes and moaned in pain. He saw the bite mark on his hand, and the accompanying blood.

"See what happens when you trust werewolves?" Rien said, walking over.

"But, Ngwaw wouldn't, he's slept with me in the same space before..." Cody began in disbelief, yet, a part of him wanted to believe her. “Another animal must have gotten in..." but he didn't believe his own explanation.

"He wanted you to trust him, lack-wit." Riencuran rebuked him.

Cody bristled, until he thought of something. "Why didn't I wake when he bit me?"

"You've always been a sound sleeper, Cody, especially when you are tired." Riencuran lied.

"Rien, I don't think Ng--" Before he could finish his sentence, Rien sat down and embraced him, as though sympathetic.

”I tried to warn you about him, Cody. I'm so sorry.” She looked as though she was truly regretful that he had been bitten. Cody began to want to believe her. Seeing this, she purred. “Let me heal you."

Cody held out his hand reluctantly.
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Postby Riencuran » Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:13 pm

Rien took Cody's hand, and whispered a spell. She then took out a salve, and put the ointment on his hand then wrapped it up.

"I really trusted him, Rien." Cody whispered, stunned at the betrayal. “He really acted like he was loyal to me."

"A wolf in sheep's clothing." She sighed with remorse. “I’m sorry it had to happen to you, Cody.”

"I wish I had believed you, Rien." Cody said regretfully. The first rays of sunlight were appearing over the other mountain peaks.

Rien kept her sympathetic facade up. "Mortals err, Cody. All is forgiven; I knew you'd see the truth eventually." She embraced him. "We must be going."

"Going where?" he asked.

"To your kin and friends, of course."

"Where are they? Who has them?" He asked.

"Shh. Just trust me. I know where they are."

"You promised you'd tell me everything." Cody protested.

"I will, when it's time. For now, you need to trust me." Rien replied lightly.

"That's what you said in Mordor." The young Mortal crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow.

"And what was so bad about Mordor?" Rien said innocently, her grey eyes wide. "I thought it was rather nice."

"Slavery. Humiliation. Torture. Any of that ring a bell?" He replied dryly.

"I haven't the faintest idea." Riencuran smiled brightly. "A much needed vacation from all those troublesome thoughts is what I thought it was. You know how I feel about Mortals being left to their own thoughts for too long. It burdens your little heads too much.”

Cody smirked subconsciously. "Can't you at least tell me who took them?"

"An old, dear friend."

"Of mine or of yours?"

"Neither. Both. What does it matter?" The elfess shrugged.

"Why did this 'old, dear friend' take it into his or her head to kidnap my relations, friends and people?"

"Why not?" She replied vaguely.

Cody looked concerned. Rien took his hand. "Trust me, Cody; I want you reunited with your relations as much as you do."

"You do?" he raised an eyebrow again.

"Of course." She smiled encouragingly.

"Have they asked about me?"

"Everyone is dying for you to join them." She smiled again, only differently, as if enjoying a private joke. Ahh, if only you knew how true that is… she thought to herself.

Cody began to be suspicious. Something was wrong. "This feels too familiar...like the day you kidnapped me." he muttered under his breath.

"Now Cody, how often do Mortals get to enjoy a scenic vacation in Mordor for free, with a view of Mount Doom to boot? You make it sound as if you had a horrid time visiting. I know I enjoyed the low costs of living in such a fine country, even if the neighbors were a bit rowdy and carnivorous at times."

Cody smirked. "Perhaps my idea of a vacation and yours differ." Riencuran laughed, and Cody remembered how pleasant her laugh was and how he loved making her laugh as a slave. As she laughed, she began mussing his hair. He tensed, afraid.

"Worried about something?"

"Should I be?"

"Not when you have your most favorite elfess around." She continued mussing his hair, running her fingers through his thick, raven-colored locks. "We had such wonderful times in Mordor, Cody. You begged me not to make you leave, as I recall.”

"I don't remember that." he said quietly. She had removed those memories, because they also included his declarations of love for her.

"I know." She still played with his hair. "But I remember it. Do you want to leave me now, Cody?"

"Why would I want you to leave, Rien?" Cody looked alarmed, perplexed. He was clearly distressed at the thought that Rien would even suggest she leave, which, of course, was the motive she had for activating his trigger.

"Maybe you don't like it here with me." She sighed, as if distressed by the thought.

"I do, Rien!" he protested. "I felt...lonely...when you sent him away." he vowed. "Please, don't leave me again." he pleaded yet again.

"Do you want to stay with me forever, Cody?"

"Yes, Rien. I'd do anything to stay with you forever." His face brightened amazingly at the suggestion.

"Promise?" She had a spell prepared; he needed only to say the words....

"I promise, Rien." he assured her. "Name anything, and I'll do it."

"Promise you will never want to leave me, and that you will obey whatever I tell you, because it is for your own good."

"I promise, Rien." Cody swore faithfully. "I will never even consider leaving you, and will obey whatever you tell me, because you know my own good more than I do myself."

The spell was sealed as Cody finished speaking. His promise was now bound.

Cody was ecstatic. "Thank you, Riencuran for not leaving me. I shall never forget your generosity. What do you wish of me?"

"Come with me, Cody. We're traveling south." Rien smiled to herself, pleased with her work. Her task was almost complete, and Cody would soon again be completely in her grasp.
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Riencuran
Ranger of the North

 
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Postby Lord_Tarquin » Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:47 pm

Cody followed Riencuran out to the stable and saddled both Shadowblade and Shadowbane, assisting Riencuran onto her horse. "This trail is the quickest to the south lands." He pointed to a narrow trail that was difficult to spot. It was not the road Riencuran had planned to take, however.

"No, this trail is better." Rien said, pointing to a different path, and waited to see if he contradicted her.

Cody looked at his trail, than the other. "You have a good eye for trails, Riencuran. You have chosen a better path,” the mortal conceded.

"I knew you'd see my point of view." With a wink, she moved Shadow Blade down her path. "Come along then, we have a long journey ahead of us, and the sooner we get to our destination, the sooner you are reunited with your village."

Cody urged Shadowbane forward, but the horse nickered worriedly, sensing that something was wrong with his rider, and the rider in front of him was causing it. Shadowbane took a step backwards.

"Problem, Cody?" Rien asked, looking back with a frown at Cody's stallion. The beast had an annoying way of mistrusting her.

"He's nervous. I don't know why." Cody's voice was embarrassed.

He urged Shadowbane forward again, but the stallion reared in protest, landed on his front hooves with a snort and backed away further.

"Are your horses always this ill-trained? If that was my horse, I'd kill it for being useless."

Cody felt shame as he noticed Riencuran's displeasure. "I'll talk sense into him, Rien. He's just spooked, that's all." Shadowbane's eyes rolled backwards; he was determined not to bring his master closer to the elfess that frightened him so. This his ears perked up and he calmed down noticeably to the sound of a whinnying mare in the distance. What neither Cody nor Shadowbane knew was that the mare was an enchantment devised by Rien to entice the horse to ignore its fear-instinct. Shadowbane began moving eagerly forward.

Cody shrugged. "I don't know what got into him."

"I still think you should kill the dumb beast." Rien muttered as they started moving again, though she was pleased that Shadowbane had been tricked by the sound of the non-existent mare.

Cody looked discouraged. "Am I displeasing you, Riencuran?" he asked, aggrieved at the thought of upsetting Rien.

"You are not displeasing me."

Cody was relieved and tried to change the subject. "Of what lineage is Shadowblade? I have never seen a finer animal."

Rien shrugged. "It's of no importance." She smiled slightly as Cody winced almost imperceptibly, so convinced was he that he was stepping out of bounds by asking unnecessary questions.

Cody rode astride Rien, and after a few minutes, became brave enough to speak once more. "Where are we going?" he asked curiously.

"South." She replied vaguely.

"What's in the South?"

"I've been to Gondor and Mordor. Are we going to Gondor?"

"Yes, Cody, your clan has been kidnapped and hidden in Gondor, an exceedingly disgustingly lightsider country. The perfect place to put them." Rien’s every word dripped with sarcasm.

"What's wrong with lightsiders?" he asked, somewhat miffed.

"You reek." Rien sniffed.

"We do not!" Cody protested, "The light makes us noble, caring, loving..." yet he felt ashamed, as though he was an ignorant child who needed to be taught a lesson.

"You have the sickening scent of nobility and justice for all living kind. It's revolting. Being dark is much more freeing."

"I've always fought against darkness; I cannot go back against what I have been taught by those wiser than I."

"And one day, the darksiders will have control of all Arda, and every lightsider walking will be forced into servitude, and I'll be able to relax and not have to deal with this love-thy-neighbor-including-assassins-who-try-to-kill-you nonsense I get from nearly every lightsider."

Before Cody protested, Riencuran replied as though upset. "It shames me that with every word, you deny what I have taught you."

"When did you teach me anything of darkness?" Cody demanded. Then he shrank back under her gaze. "Forgive my impertinence." He did not deserve her favor, he knew.
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Lord_Tarquin
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