Riders of Rohan:Vengeance Unleashed 2005 Silver Thread Award

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Riders of Rohan:Vengeance Unleashed 2005 Silver Thread Award

Postby RohanCouncil » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:27 am

Winner of the WCA 2005 Silver Thread Award

Vengeance Unleashed

Two years have passed since the War of the Ring. These two years have been a time of peace, rest, and recovery for the peoples of Middle Earth. Rohan suffered great loses during the War, and many hearts were broken with the loss of their loved ones. Homes have been rebuilt, and the lands are slowly being restored. With lives being put back together weddings and births have replaced the burial processions and mourning.

Aragorn and Eomer have ruled their respective Kingdoms of Gondor and Rohan in thankful peace. Only minor skirmishes have taken place to the east of Gondor, and the land of Rohan has had peace on all of its borders. The Ents are still in control of Isengard to Rohan's West, and Anorien is again under the control of Rohan and Gondor.

The time now has come for Eomer the King to be married. His friendship with Aragorn and Imrahil has continued to grow, and now something else has formed from those two relationships: he has fallen in love with Imrahil's daughter, Lothiriel. Eomer has made several trips to Dol Amroth to visit the Prince's daughter, and their love has grown over the last year. The time now has come for them to be married, and the wedding is to take place in the beautiful port haven of Dol Amroth.

The events of the War of the Ring still come out in songs, tales, and privileges to those who fought in the war. Rowyn's brother Haleth is now part of the personal guard of King Eomer, and Rowyn still receives great honor for her action of saving the King's life at the Black Gate. Also because of the bravery of the women in Elrosar's eored they have been allowed to continue to serve as long as they wish too. Another new eored with some women members has also recently been created under the command of Captain Bremor. Rowyn, Lark, and some of the other women members of Elrosar’s eored were asked to be the Captain of this new one, but all decided that they would rather stay where they were.

Plans were made for King Eomer to travel to Dol Amroth for the wedding, and three eoreds plus the King's royal guard would accompany the King to the coastal haven of Gondor. Elrosar's eored is one of the three that has been picked for several reasons, but mainly because of their bravery in the war, Haleth's requesting that they be one of the three chosen, and because of Rowyn's actions in saving the King's life.

Elrosar's eored was given six months off when they got back home from Minas Tirith after the war, but then they were called back to active duty for six months in which they carried out patrols upon Rohan’s western border. After those last six months they were granted a full year off in which to tend to their personal lives, but now they have been called back to active duty with the great honor of escorting their King to his wedding.

While the kingdoms of Rohan and Gondor have been enjoying increasing peace and prosperity in the days after the war, those countries that fought for Sauron have suffered greatly. The Corsairs of Umbar were nearly wiped out by the Dunedain, and the Haradrim suffered heavy losses, particularly at the Battle of the Pelennor. Those that are left are struggling to survive, and bitterness towards the Men of the West has been steadily increasing. The Haradrim have particularly come to hate Rohan, since they were largely responsible for their losses.

The new chieftain of one of the largest tribes of Harad, Jadim, has been working to unite the scattered tribes of his people and rebuild their strength so that they might strike back. He has also formed an alliance with the surviving Corsairs, knowing that their ships might be needed in order to launch an attack. Using spies throughout Gondor, they have been steadily gathering information and biding their time, waiting for an opportune moment.
Last edited by RohanCouncil on Sat Nov 12, 2005 7:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby shieldmaidenofrohan » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:29 am

“Isilme, could you bring me another ale?”

The barmaid turned from the table she was clearing, her lips curving into a flirtatious smile as she looked at the young nobleman. “But, my lord, you have had three ales already this evening,” she replied, her words faintly accented. “Perhaps you should call it a night?”

“No, I can’t,” the man said, looking despondent as he stared down into his empty mug. “Nothing can bring me cheer this night, so I may as well just drown myself here.”

The barmaid picked up his mug and added it to her already-full tray. “Perhaps it might help if you had someone to talk to, my lord?” she said, bowing her head demurely, then glancing back at him.

He looked up at her and smiled a little. “Perhaps.”

“I will be right back with that ale then,” she said, sashaying away from him gracefully. She could sense his eyes following her as she walked, and added a little extra sway to her step even as she seethed inwardly. Once she was back in the kitchen and safely out of sight, the barmaid let her mask slip for just a moment, her dark brown eyes lit with a fire of barely-suppressed anger and disgust.

She hated this place. She was tired of dealing with the noise and the leering eyes that only paid attention to the tight-fitting, low-cut bodice of her dress. There was only one good thing she had to say about the men of Gondor who were regulars at that inn, and that was that they couldn’t hold their ale. A few drinks, a few seductive glances here and there were all that was needed for them to pour their foolish hearts out to her. That, and the fact that the inn was located so close to the waterfront and was frequented by the sailors passing through the city, as well as many of the lesser nobles of Dol Amroth, made it an ideal place to hear a great deal of news from all over Gondor. But though she had been working there for nearly two years, since shortly after her people had lost the war, and she had learned much that she had passed on to her father, she still had nothing that would change the fortunes of the Haradrim. She hoped fervently that she would find something soon, and she could be done with these fools and take her rightful place once more as Jahira, chieftain’s daughter. But Lord Calanon was waiting for his ale, and so she would just have to keep playing the role of Isilme, the barmaid who had escaped to Dol Amroth from her life as a slave in Harad, seeking refuge among her mother’s people.

With her smile firmly back on her face, Jahira brought a full mug back to Calanon’s table and sat down across from him. “Now, what troubles you, my lord?” she asked softly.

He picked up his mug, draining half of it, then set it back down on the table. “She’s getting married.”

“Who is getting married?” Jahira asked, inwardly groaning. The last thing she wanted to hear right now was yet another spurned lover mourning the loss of the object of his affection.

“Lothiriel,” Calanon said sadly, dropping his head into his hands.

That made her give pause. “Lothiriel, the daughter of Prince Imrahil?” she asked, hoping she did not sound too eager.

“Yes,” Calanon said, his words beginning to slur together slightly. “Could’ve been me…she seemed like she might have cared for me, before that horseman came along…” He took a long drink from his mug again, slamming it on the table for emphasis.

“She is marrying one of the men of Rohan?” Jahira asked.

“Not just a man… the bloody king,” Calanon answered. “Can’t measure up to a bloody king.”

No, of course not, Jahira thought. But she smiled sympathetically as she moved her chair a little closer to his, taking his hand and leaning across the table in such a way that showed her figure to full advantage. “She does not realize her mistake, passing you over for one of those barbarian Northmen,” she said, caressing his hand lightly.

“See, that’s what I’m saying!” Though he still looked distraught, he was warming to her; she could tell.

“When does the wedding take place?” she asked, running a hand along his jawline.

“In six months,” he answered.

“I am truly sorry, my lord,” Jahira said, her voice practically dripping with sympathy.

“I knew you’d understand, Isilme,” He smiled at her a little drunkenly and put his arm around her waist, suddenly pulling her onto his lap.

“I must be returning to my work now,” Jahira said, giving him another flirtatious smile as she playfully pushed her hands against his chest.

“Can you not stay awhile and keep a sad man company?” Calanon pleaded, his eyes traveling from her face to the neckline of her dress.

Jahira curved her full lips into a small pout. “I would love to, my lord, but my master will grow cross with me if I neglect my tables for long,” she said, tossing her head slightly as she attempted to stand up. “Shall I get you another ale, my lord?”

“I believe that such fair company will do me more good than all the drinks in the world,” Calanon declared, kissing her neck.

“My lord!” Jahira exclaimed, giggling. But inwardly, she was beginning to get anxious to find a way out of this. Preferably without slitting his throat. “I really must go,” she said again, pushing his arms away a little more firmly.

“But Isilme…”

“She said no,” a firm voice said behind them. Jahira turned and looked over Calanon’s shoulder to see a tall, black-haired man standing behind them, resting a hand on his sword-hilt casually. Calanon looked from his face to the sword, then released Jahira without another word. “Are you all right, miss?” he asked, concerned.

“I am. Thank you for your concern, sir,” Jahira said, looking up at him wide-eyed.

“Are you sure? Perhaps you could use some fresh air,” the man asked again, giving Calanon a dark look. “Would you allow me to accompany you?”

“That would be good,” Jahira replied, still acting as if she were shaken. He put a hand on her back and guided her out the door.

Jahira walked beside him demurely until they reached the far side of the stable attached to the inn. Then she suddenly whirled on him, shoving him into the wall with a surprising amount of force for one who stood a full head-and-shoulders shorter than him. “You have a lot of nerve coming here, Calimahir!” she hissed. “You know we are not to be seen together if at all possible!”

“What can I say, Jahira? I missed your pleasant company,” he replied, smiling innocently.

“What do you want, Cali?” Jahira asked crossly.

“The weather is changing; I could not wait for you to come to the docks with any news. I must sail tomorrow,” Cali answered. “Do you have any report to give to Jadim?”

Jahira smiled. “I do. I have just learned some news that may very well prove to be just the opportunity we have been waiting for.”
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Postby Elladan_Elfhelm » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:30 am

Cali moved around the edge of the stable to see if anyone was nearby; after he was satisfied that no one was around he came back to Jahira. “Ok what did you find out?”

“Well it seems that our poor Lord Calanon’s heart has been broken.” Jahira said for a start.

“You’ve broken hundreds of hearts since you’ve been here Ja.” Cali said with a smirk, but he knew for a fact that she was the object of many of the men’s desires in Dol Amroth. He also knew for a fact though that there was no man of Gondor that would be able to tame this woman.

Jahira scowled at Cali, “Not me you fool, and do not call me Ja, Isilme is bad enough.” Jahira wanted to throttle Cali right then, but she restrained herself. “It seems that Calanon had hopes of marrying Prince Imrahil’s daughter, but she has spurned him and is going to marry the King of Rohan.”

“That is very interesting,” Cali said thoughtfully. “When is the wedding to take place?”

“In six months.” Jahira answered.

“Were you able to find out where?” Cali asked hopefully.

“No, Calanon seemed to be more interested in me at the time than in sharing the whereabouts of the wedding.” Jahira said as she kicked at a pebble on the ground in frustration.

“He has a good eye my dear.” Cali said with a wink, but then he had to duck a swiftly thrown fist at his face. “He may still have some useful info then.” Cali added quickly.

“He may.” Jahira said bluntly, if Cali had been any other man, she would have drawn her hidden dagger and killed him right there on the spot. “What are you thinking?”

“We might be able to extract the exact date and place from him if he knows it. Wherever it is I think I am safe in saying that the King and Queen would be present, as well as the Steward and the Prince.” Cali’s mind was whirling madly with thoughts right then. “We could do away with all of them in one fell swoop.”

“What do you mean?” Jahira asked as she tried to figure out what Cali was thinking.

“We have to find out where the wedding is going to take place.” Cali said placing a hand on Jahira’s elbow. “You need to see if you can get anything else out of him.”

“I am not yours to command Cali.” Jahira said forcefully as she jerked her arm out of his grip. “I could care less about your personal ambitions also.”

Cali was slightly angry with Jahira, but he quickly let that pass. “Please forgive me milady,” he said with a bow. Jahira just rolled her eyes and scowled at him as he spoke again. “As you said my dear this could be the opportunity that we have been looking for. We can only hope that the wedding will take place here.”

“I do not know if I can get anymore out of him without someone possibly overhearing or becoming suspicious.” Jahira replied, and Cali could tell that she was slightly worried about being caught. Jahira then grabbed Cali’s left wrist and squeezed it tightly. “And there is no way I am going to be alone with him. I would have to kill him, and that would definitely blow my cover.”

“No, and I would not ask you to do that. There has to be another way.” Cali said as he rubbed his short-cropped beard in deep thought. Suddenly they both heard loud shouting and crashing coming from the inn. They both eased over to the corner of the stable and peered down at the door of the tavern.

The door was thrown open and a man, who they both immediately recognized as Calanon, was tossed out onto the cobblestone street that ran in front of the tavern. “Go home Calanon, you’ve already run off two of my girls tonight. Now go home, and don’t come back until I tell you that you can.” Jahira recognized the voice as that of Varook, the tavern owner.

“This might just work to our advantage now.” Cali said with a smile back at Jahira.

“What do you have in mind?” Jahira asked, but she already knew the answer. Neither of them was entirely evil by nature, but they both knew how to be ruthless when they had to be.

“Try to get his attention and lure him down to the docks, we can deal with him there in my old ship repair shop.”

“What if someone sees us there?” Jahira asked.

“I’ll go on ahead and make sure no one is around, it is very late now, so there shouldn’t be any one about.” Cali replied. “If there is I will come to your rescue.” He added with a wink.

“You better, because I would hate to have to kill him and blow my cover.” Jahira said seriously, and Cali gave her a mischievous smile as he disappeared into the darkness. Jahira sighed heavily as she watched Calanon pick himself up off the ground and start walking drunkenly toward the stables. He was coming right toward where her and Cali had been talking. She made sure that her dagger was loose in its sheath as Calanon drew closer.

Jahira let Calanon pass by her hiding place. She knew that the street led to the market district, and then on up to Calanon’s family estate. She quickly dashed across the street, making sure no one saw her, and up behind the shops across from the stables. She then hurriedly ran, as quietly as she could, to where the street that ran from the markets to the docks intersected with the street Calanon was on.

She arrived at the crossing well ahead of Calanon, because he had fallen twice since passing the stables. Jahira ducked into the shadows of one of the shops, and then tried to catch her breath. She could hear him getting close, so she took a deep breath and sighed heavily and stepped out into the dim light of the few torches that lined the street.

“My lord.” She spoke softly looking at the disheveled Gondorian nobleman with a slight smile.

“Isil…Isilm…Isilme?” Calanon stammered as he stopped walking and looked up at the young woman. “Is that you?”

“Yes my lord it is me.” Jahira said as she took a few steps toward the nobleman. “I wanted to apologize to you.”

“Oh my dear, there is no need to apologize.” Calanon said dizzily as he tried to walk towards Jahira, he promptly stumbled to his knees. “You are a fine lady to come back to me, please lend me a hand and you can escort me to my estate.”

Jahira rolled her eyes at the drunken man. There was no way she would escort him to his estate. “My lord, could we first take a walk down by the pier, the moon is very beautiful tonight, and I would greatly enjoy seeing it from the pier.”

“That is a fine idea my lady, I even have a small ship there that we could use to err see the moonlight.” Calanon said as he picked himself up again. He walked over to her and put his arm around her shoulders, Jahira winced at his fetid breath. “Come my dear, and I will escort you to the pier.”

Calanon and Jahira then began their slow walk to the dock area. Several times Jahira had to remove Calanon’s head from her shoulder, and she held his hands tightly, so he couldn’t grab a hold of her. They were passing one of the run down shops on the pier when two strong hands reached out and grabbed both of them and pulled them into the darkness.

“Wh…wha…what is going on?” Calanon stammered, but the two strong hands held him to the ground with his face to the floor.

“Nothing my kind sir, that a little helpful information will not cure.” The voice said roughly. Jahira already knew, but she could tell that Cali had something over his face masking his voice.

“Information, I have no information.” Calanon stammered again.

“Oh, but I believe you do my kind sir.” Cali said and pulled back on one of Calanon’s arms almost breaking it. “The wedding of the Prince’s daughter, when and where is it to be?”

“What?” Calanon answered while wincing from the pain.

“When and where?” Cali said pulling harder on the nobleman’s arm.

“Why do you want to know?”

“That my sir is none of your business.” Cali replied coldly and then he finished breaking Calanon’s arm. The nobleman tried to scream out, but Cali used his other hand to muffle the sound. “Now tell me.”

Calanon was in great pain now, and his fighting was over. “The wedding is set for the 20th of April, and it is to be at the Castle here in Dol Amroth.”

“Thank you.” Cali said, and then smacked the back of the drunken man’s head with a wooden board rendering Calanon completely unconscious.

Cali stood and looked at Jahira who had been silent through the whole encounter. “What are you going to do with him now?”

“No thanks?” Cali asked with a grin.

“No.” Jahira replied with her own grin.

“You’re good,” Cali replied smiling, and then looked down at the body of Calanon. “I will see to it that Lord Calanon doesn’t bother you anymore. My men will make it look like he must have slipped off the pier and drown.” Cali then looked back at Jahira. “You better head back to the tavern for the night. I will be sailing at first light in the morning, is there anything that you want me to tell your father?”
Last edited by Elladan_Elfhelm on Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby shieldmaidenofrohan » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:32 am

Jahira thought for a moment, then lifted Calanon’s hand and pulled the signet ring that signified his position off of his finger. “Send him this,” she said. “Tell him that it is proof that this information comes from a reliable source.” She then proceeded to pull out a knife from a sheath cleverly concealed within the folds of her skirt, cutting a small pouch from the unconscious man’s belt.

“What are you doing?” Cali asked, a look on his face somewhere between confusion and amusement.

Jahira couldn’t quite keep a smirk off her face, knowing that she had thought of a precaution that Cali hadn’t. “Whatever your men are planning to do with him, this way it will look like he was merely the victim of some robbers.” She opened up the pouch, spilling out several large gold coins, as well as some smaller silver ones. “Besides, this way I can give the messenger his reward.” She pocketed a few of the coins, then poured the rest back into the pouch, tied it up and tossed it to Cali.

He caught it smoothly with one hand, commenting wryly, “You’re in a generous mood, I see.”

Jahira raised an eyebrow and grinned. “A small fortune for a simple barmaid. It would raise too much suspicion for me to have so much gold. However,” she added as her smile faded a bit, “a few coins will not hurt. Lord Calanon owes me that much, at least.” She looked down on the unconscious man and scowled in disgust; this had not been the first night that the man had tried to take advantage of her. She had to admit, she could not blame the Gondorian princess at all for choosing the king of Rohan instead; Calanon had quite a reputation among the other barmaids as a terrible womanizer. Then she put her knife away and tossed her hair back behind her shoulders. “I must be going back. Varook will be missing me.”

“Undoubtedly. If it weren’t for half the men in town coming to gawk at your beauty, his pathetic tavern wouldn’t make a quarter of its business,” Cali said with a smirk.

Jahira merely rolled her eyes. “Funny, Cali. Good night,” she replied, storming off.

“Goodbye, Isilme!” Cali called out cheerfully after her.

Jahira gritted her teeth together, then turned back to snap at him. But Cali was already heading off towards the docks. Jahira sighed and shook her head. “Have a safe journey, Cali,” she said softly, the hardness leaving her eyes for a moment. Then she quickly headed back to the tavern with a lighter heart than she had felt since arriving in this city. She knew full well that the upcoming wedding of Imrahil’s beloved daughter would be the topic of many nights’ conversation; perhaps she’d finally, truly be of assistance in aiding her people in their quest for revenge.
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Postby Elladan_Elfhelm » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:33 am

The next morning Cali woke well before dawn, and walked up to the deck of his ship. His crewmen also rose early and their last hearty breakfast that they would have for the next week or so was served. A thick fog had moved in during the night, and Cali couldn't see the upper parts of the city through the heavy mist. He had noticed that the area was very prone to early morning fog, and that poised well for what he was hoping would happen in a few months.

"Ah Cali, don't get ahead of yourself you fool. Patience that is what I must keep telling myself." Cali said out loud to himself as he leaned on the side of his ship looking up at the dock area to the city. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring that Jahira had removed from Calanon's finger. Her father would be very pleased with this ring. "That is if I give it to you Jadim." Cali said with a grin, but as he pocketed the ring again, he knew that he would. Jahira would kill him if he didn't.

"Cap'n, we are ready to sail at your word." Donar, the first mate called from the bow of the ship.

"Set sail then." Cali called back. He took one last look at the foggy city, and his eyes rested upon where he knew Varook's tavern was located. "Good bye Jahira, don't break too many hearts while I'm gone." He said with a laugh to himself, and then he headed to the bow of the ship to watch the sail being raised.

Cali's voyage took him south to the small port of Tumaland where he dropped off a shipment of wheat and several cases of clothing items. The people of Tumaland were a mix of Gondorian and Haradric descent, and the town that Cali grew up in was directly south of Tumaland. All of the people of the town knew who Cali was, and all of them looked up to him. He had over the years provided them with many shipments of goods, and had used the profits from those shipments to further his business and his fleet of ships.

After receiving payment, and then scheduling his ship to be reloaded with a shipment of some of the best rum in Middle-Earth, Cali borrowed a horse and rode to the outskirts of the town. About a mile outside of the town several large tents had been erected and Cali knew exactly whose they belonged too. He rode up to the tents, and he pulled to a stop as two heavily armed Haradrim approached him.

"I'm here to see Jadim." Cali said in Haradric as he dismounted.

"He is waiting for you." One of the guards replied. "I will need your weapons, all of them this time."

"If I had wanted your chieftain dead, then I would have done that years ago." Cali said as he handed the guard his sword and two daggers. The guard ignored his comment and then led Cali to the biggest tent and opened the flap for him to walk him.

Several burning oil lamps lighted the tent, and Cali’s attention was immediately drawn to the center of the tent to the elaborate throne that was there. Sitting on it was a wise looking man who immediately arose and dismissed the others in the tent. "Ah Calimahir. You bring me news I take it?" The man said walking toward Cali with a slight smile.

"Yes my Lord Jadim, and a gift from your daughter as well." Cali said as he bowed his slightly.

"A gift?" Jadim asked. "It is I who should be sending her a gift, but show me what it is." Cali pulled Calanon's ring out of his pocket and gave it to Jadim. "How is my daughter doing?" Jadim asked.

"Your daughter is doing well, she has single handily stolen the hearts of all of the men of Dol Amroth. I do believe that they would follow her anywhere.” Cali said with a broad smile.

Jadim’s expression did not change with Cali’s humor. “I don’t doubt that she has stolen many hearts, but is she safe?”

“Yes my lord, I and two of my associates are watching out for her safety closely.” Cali said, all humor leaving his voice.

“Did she steal this ring?” Jadim asked as he examined it.

“Well no not really. The one who was wearing it didn't really need it anymore." Cali replied grimly.

"Ah, I see." Jadim said while examining the ring more closely. "This is one of the nobleman's rings of Dol Amroth."

"Yes and that is part of the news that I bring." Cali said and Jadim motioned for him to continue. "It seems that the former owner of this ring was madly in love with Prince Imrahil's daughter, but it seems that the Princess is going to be marrying the King of Rohan."

"The straw headed King?" Jadim spat.

"Yes my Lord, the wedding is to take place in a little over five months now." Cali stopped for a moment as Jadim placed the ring in a box near his throne.

"And this is news to me why?" Jadim asked.

"Well, the wedding will take place in Dol Amroth, and I am certain that the King and Queen of Gondor will be there, as will many other notable Lords and Ladies." Cali paused again as Jadim removed something from the box.

"Cali, your ambition for being the King of Gondor is well known to me, but my people are not your personal army to command." Jadim stopped directly in front of Cali and looked him closely in the eyes. "My disdain for Gondor has not left me, no matter who is King of that land. Personally I would like nothing better than to see that infernal white city in flames." Jadim paused slightly as Cali's expression surprisingly did not change. "But I see what you are presenting me with." Jadim continued, and then moved back to his throne and sat down.

"Vengeance." Cali said coldly. "Revenge on those who killed your sons and people."

"Yes, vengeance." Jadim said through clenched teeth. "Let us discuss our plans then."

For the next two hours the two men formulated a plan in which to strike at the object of their hatred and malice. After that Cali arose to leave. "I will be in port for one week my lord if you should need me."

"I will be here that length of time as well." Jadim replied and then rose and walked over to Jadim. "Please give these to my daughter. I think she will find them useful for what she will need." He passed to Cali a beautiful golden necklace set with emeralds, and one large ruby directly in the center. Jadim also gave Cali a small pouch that felt like it had sand or some similar substance in it. “Do not open that Cali, for you own safety.”

Cali bowed to Jadim while pocketing the necklace and pouch. He then exited the tent, mounted his horse and rode back to Tumaland. He wondered what the significance of the necklace meant, but even more he wondered what was in that pouch.
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Postby Gwenare » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:35 am

The first year and a half of marriage had been a wonderful experience for Adrial, but she was saddened as well. Every woman in her family was always with child by this time of her marriage. Adrial, however, was not and this upset her. She could not get the thought out of her mind. She had always wanted a big family and so did Elrosar. Why was she not pregnant?

Things became worse for Adrial eight months into their vacation from duty. Adrial just knew that she was with child. Everything was right, even down to the morning sickness. She would wake up nauseous and after a sparse meal; she would vomit. She talked about this to her family and friends and they all agreed; she had to be pregnant. Adriana and Alona especially thought this! Unfortunately one afternoon, after Rowyn and Haleth had come for a visit, Adrial discovered she was not. She was completely and utterly devastated. She had already begun to think of names and Rowyn and Elwing were even more excited than she was, or so they thought.

Now, she was a simple, married shieldmaiden who desired to have a child more than anything, but could not for some unknown reason. She felt as if she had somehow betrayed Elrosar. She could not explain it and did not dare try. Elrosar talked to her numerous times about this, but nothing helped. Deep inside her soul, she felt useless and empty. No one understood how she felt and she pushed all of these feelings further down inside her already troubled soul.

Elrosar had called a meeting of the eored to give them their next orders, which had come straight from the King. They had only days left before leaving on their next journey, which would be to escort the King to Dol Amroth for his wedding to Princess Lothiriel. Elrosar's eored had been one of the eoreds selected for this task. They would be told about it shortly and Adrial was sure that everyone would be excited. They had never sailed on ships before and they would need to in order to reach Dol Amroth.

Adrial was hoping that this trip would help her to forget that she was not pregnant, maybe even change her mind. She seriously doubted the later, but she needed a diversion before she went crazy. Escorting the King to Dol Amroth would be the perfect diversion for her, she prayed it would be.

The eored was to meet in less than an hour. Adrial was brushing MJ enjoying the company of her beloved horse. She noticed that all of the ladies were walking past the stables going towards the meeting hall. She would follow them later, she wanted to finish with MJ first.

Lark, Rowyn, and Elwing were walking towards the meeting hall talking about nothing in particular. Elwing seemed a little saddened and Rowyn asked her about it. She expressed her concern over Adrial and the conversation quickly went to Adrial and how she was so disappointed right now. They stopped to talk about this and Adrial soon caught up with them.

"Hello. What are you talking about?" she asked very casual. Adrial had no idea that she was the topic of conversation.

Rowyn spoke up and said, "I want to know where we are going? I know that you know where too Adrial." She nudged her slightly as she finished the last.

Lark said, "That's right Adrial. It's not very shieldmaiden like to keep secrets from your friends, especially those who wore dresses to be your bridesmaids." They all laughed at this. It was the first time in a long time that Adrial had actually laughed. Elwing thought it was so good to hear her laugh again.

They did not notice that Natan had crept up beside of them. "What a fine looking group of ladies we have here." He spoke with confidence and winked at Rowyn who blushed slightly from his remark. "I have just heard the latest from the grapevine."

"Do tell us Natan." The girls all said in unison, not suspecting that his news would cause pain to one of them later.

"That is why I am here. I aim to please." He winked again and was smacked by Elwing for delaying the news. "Well, I have heard that the Lady Gwenare and her brothers have arrived in Edoras." Rowyn could sense that trouble was coming, so she gently elbowed Natan in the ribs. He did not catch on and continued, "She will be giving a special blessing to all of the eoreds escorting the King to Dol Amroth. But she will give a few gifts to some special members of one eored, of which I can not find out."

"Pffffffttttttt. Some information source you are," said Elwing with a grin.

Natan cleared his throat and continued, "That is not the best of it. I know that you ladies will enjoy the next part. She has brought her child with her…." Rowyn elbowed him harder this time; he looked at her, but still continued. "I hear she is quite cute and cuddly as most babies are. I thought that since you girls all seem to have the maternal instinct in you that…." Rowyn elbowed him so hard the next time that he looked at her and said, "What is wrong with you woman? If you want my attention all you have to do is say my name. Quit this infernal abuse." He then winked at her and all she could do was roll her eyes.

The damage had already been done. Tears were forming in Adrial's eyes and she politely excused herself. Natan noticed that she appeared upset, but was clueless as to why. Only Elrosar and the girls really new the deep burden that Adrial carried. "What did I say?" he asked very innocently.

Rowyn snapped at him, "You can be so insufferable at times! I tried to tell you to stop, but NOOOOOOOOO you just had to keep going on and on!" While Rowyn was snapping at Natan, Elwing had gone after Adrial who headed straight for the stable where their horses were at.

Lark put a hand on Rowyn's arm and said, "Rowyn, he did not know. Be easy on him." Rowyn sighed and she and Lark followed Elwing and Adrial leaving Natan to wonder what he had done.

Adrial had walked briskly straight for the stables. She needed to get out of here and MJ would take her. She did not care that she was needed for a meeting soon. Elrosar had already told her the details so she technically didn't need to be there anyway.

She was in the middle of hooking the saddle on MJ when Elwing came in. "Adrial, where are you going?"


"But we have a meeting soon and you have to be there."

"I already know what it is about so I don't have to be there." Her responses were short and cold.

"Adrial, he didn't know. He didn't mean it." Elwing was trying very hard and had come closer to Adrial now.

Adrial sighed heavily before continuing, "I need to get away. Please do not make this any harder than it already is." She tightened the saddle.

"You should not be by yourself now."

Adrial had already mounted MJ. "I must be by myself now. I can not stay here, not now." She took off without a goodbye and rode like the wind. The tears which had been forming in her eyes were flowing freely now. She was not aware that her friends, Lark and Rowyn were at the stable doors as she rode out. She was also not aware that she almost knocked down two men, one of which was the King. Adrial was blinded by her pain.
Last edited by Gwenare on Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby shieldmaidenofrohan » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:39 am

Lark and Rowyn watched helplessly as Adrial rode away, nearly knocking down their King in the process. Eomer looked from Adrial to the two women, confused. “Where is she going?” Elrosar asked, running up and looking alarmed. Rowyn shrugged helplessly, not knowing what to say. “Should we go after her?” Lark asked Rowyn softly.

“I am,” a determined voice said from inside the stable. Lark and Rowyn looked in to see Elwing, who had already finished saddling her horse and was leading her out of the stall.

“I’ll come with you,” Lark replied, moving back towards the stalls. “Are you coming, Rowyn?”

“Sure,” Rowyn said, just before remembering that Wildfire was still in his stall back at her uncle’s house. She scowled briefly, then decided she’d just take Natan’s horse. The horse wouldn’t mind; she wasn’t sure about Natan, but at that moment she didn’t particularly care what he thought.

She led the horse outside, half-listening to Elwing and Elrosar discuss who, exactly, should go after Adrial, and was tightening the girth on the saddle when she heard a voice behind her. “Rowyn? Where are you taking my horse?”

Great, she thought before turning to face Natan. “I’m going to fix your mess, if you must know,” she said crossly.

“With my horse?” he asked again.

“Oh, go kiss an orc,” she snapped, feeling irritated again.

“What did I do?” he asked, sounding genuinely confused. Rowyn ignored him and began shortening the stirrups on the saddle. “Come on, Rowyn,” he groaned.

“Rowyn, give the man his horse. And I will make that an order,” Elrosar said.

“Fine, fine,” Rowyn grumbled, tossing the reins back at Natan and turning to walk away.

“Where are you going now?” Natan asked, beginning to sound exasperated.

“To get my horse!” Rowyn shouted back.

“We can’t wait up! She’ll get too much of a head start,” Elwing said.

“Go on, then! I’ll catch up.” Rowyn protested.

“If she can catch up, I should be able to go to,” Elrosar grumbled. “She is my wife.”

“No way,” Elwing said to her brother. “This is clearly a job for the women.”

Lark watched the exchange silently, a bemused expression on her face. Finally, she sighed and gave them all a stern look, with her hands on her hips. “Rowyn, you will stay here and talk to Natan. Elrosar, you will stay here because you need to be at that meeting. Elwing and I will go look for Adrial, by ourselves, and that’s final! Got it?”

Elrosar, Rowyn and Natan all stared at Lark in shock for a moment, then finally all mumbled variations of agreeing to do her bidding. With that, Lark and Elwing rode off, and Elrosar headed for the meeting hall after hurriedly whispering “Good luck” to Natan. Rowyn and Natan stood there silently for a moment, with Rowyn looking at the ground with her arms crossed over her chest and a scowl on her face. Finally, Natan grabbed her arm, steered her into the stable and asked, “Please, Rowyn, just tell me what I did. How am I supposed to apologize if I don’t know what I did wrong?”

“You really don’t know?” Rowyn asked incredulously, an angry edge still in her voice. “Are you really that clueless? Because I would hate to think you’re that insensitive.”

“Apparently, I am that clueless. What did I do?”

Rowyn began pacing. “Think about it, Natan. What were you talking about when Adrial got upset?”

“I was talking about Gwenare and Eoden and…” he paused, then tentatively asked, “It’s the child, isn’t it?”

“Yes!” Rowyn exclaimed, whirling around to look at him. She was about to start yelling at him some more, but he looked so genuinely distressed that her anger began to fade. “Is she all right? I feel terrible, I didn’t mean to hurt her,” he said.

“I don’t know,” Rowyn replied, beginning to feel guilty. Maybe she had been a little too hard on him. Natan still looked upset, so she moved a little closer, took his hand and added, “I’m sure she knows you didn’t mean anything by it. Maybe if you apologize when she comes back…” Natan nodded, glancing up at her tentatively and looking very contrite. “Don’t do that,” Rowyn said.

“Do what?”

“Don’t look at me like that. I’m trying to be mad at you.” Even as she said it, Rowyn realized she sounded ridiculous, and smiled a bit.

“Is it working?” Natan asked, smiling a bit himself.

“No,” Rowyn admitted.

“Oh, good.” Natan said, obviously relieved. “I would hate to start this trip with you angry at me. I don’t want to be the only one to die on a peaceful mission.”

Rowyn swatted his arm lightly, smiling fully at him. The smile quickly faded though, as she glanced down and said, “I’m sorry I got so upset with you. I don’t know what got into me.”

“You were just trying to protect Adrial. I should have taken the hint sooner,” Natan replied. “Forgive me?”

“Of course,” Rowyn answered. Natan smiled and pulled her closer. He was just about to kiss her when they heard someone clearing his throat in the stable doorway. Natan jerked away and they both turned red when they saw Rowyn’s twin brother, Haleth, standing there with a smirk on his face.

“Glad to see you two have made amends. Just wanted to make sure you won’t be late to the meeting,” he said cheerfully, though his eyes were sparkling with mischief.

“Thank you, Haleth,” Rowyn said, rolling her eyes. “He’s right though, we should get going,” she added more quietly to Natan. The two of them followed Haleth out of the stable, slowing down as soon as they were out so he ended up far ahead of them.

“I swear, Rowyn, your brother seems to take special pleasure in tormenting me. You’re sure he’s going on this trip?” Natan asked, looking a bit frustrated.

“Quite. And Haleth likes you just fine, Natan. He’s just doing his brotherly duty of trying to protect his sweet, defenseless little sister, that’s all,” Rowyn said, smiling at Natan innocently.

“You are many things, my dear shieldmaiden, but defenseless is certainly not one of them,” Natan replied with a laugh. “They wouldn’t have offered you command of that eored if you were. And I still can’t believe you turned that down!”

“What can I say? This eored is like my family. And I would have missed everyone too much, especially you,” Rowyn said. Then her face turned bright red as she realized what she had let slip.

Natan laughed. “It’s all right. I would have missed you too,” he replied, putting an arm around her shoulders. “Besides, I’d get in too much trouble with all these women if I didn’t have you around to point out when I’m being an insensitive pig.”

“Hey, I never said pig,” Rowyn protested with a laugh as she grabbed his hand.

“So how’s the training going for you?” Natan asked then, changing the subject. Both he and Rowyn, along with Elrosar and a few of the other original members of the eored, had been helping to train some of the younger new recruits over the last few weeks. While Elrosar was in charge of most of the training, he had given Rowyn most of the responsibility in working with swords, while Natan spent most of the time working with them on archery.

“They still have much to learn,” Rowyn answered, “they’ve improved a lot over the last few weeks, for the most part. Several of them will be quite good, I think.”

“Is Fram doing any better for you? I hear he’s still having trouble with the mounted work.”

“We all did, at the beginning. He’ll get it eventually,” Rowyn said optimistically. “But he does need a little more time, I think.”

“Same here,” Natan replied. “But Leofwine’s doing really well with a bow; he might end up being one of our best archers if he keeps it up. And didn’t you say one of the new girls is doing really well with the sword?”

“That would be Robin,” Rowyn answered, thinking of the red-haired girl that had showed up a few weeks ago, insisting that she wanted to join. “But she works twice as hard as the others; I think she feels like she has more to prove, since she’s one of the only women in that group.”

“Sounds like someone else I know,” Natan teased her. Rowyn smacked his arm again. “See? You’re not defenseless,” he added, kissing her temple. Then he groaned as Haleth called back, “I saw that!” Rowyn rolled her eyes at the two men, though she was smiling.

“He’s going to do that the whole time, isn’t he?” Natan complained.

“Not necessarily,” Rowyn replied, smiling mischievously. “I can think of a way to distract him.”

Natan groaned again. “This had better not involve our Captain’s little sister. I don’t need Haleth and Elrosar after me!”

“Why would he go after you?” Rowyn asked, confused.

“Because,” Natan explained, “he would know you were playing matchmaker, and if he tried to hit you, Adrial would beat him up. And probably Elwing. And Lark, for that matter. Therefore, he would take it out on me.”

“Wait, who’s trying to beat you up?” Rowyn and Natan both turned to see Maranwe behind them, heading towards the meeting hall.

“Apparently, everyone in our eored, the poor man,” Rowyn replied with a grin.

“And you left me out of this?” Mara said with a smirk.

Now what did I do?” Natan groaned.

“Nothing. But you men outnumber us, so I have to side with the women,” Mara answered.

“Women,” Natan muttered, rolling his eyes as Rowyn let go of his hand and walked into the meeting hall with Mara, the two women chattering quickly as Rowyn caught her up on what was going on with the other women.
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Postby Leofwine » Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:07 pm

Leofwine threw himself down into the empty seat at the long table, grabbing up a wooden spoon and attacking the hot stew like a wolf falling upon a hapless lamb.

“Careful. Lef! It's hot – you'll burn your tongue Then you won't be able to swear so much at your trainers.” Aldric laughed at his younger cousin and sat back in his chair, stretching his legs out under the table. For the moment, they had the taproom of the rather seedy inn to themselves. The lunch crowd had moved on, and the afternoon drinkers had yet to arrive.

The boy made no response, continuing to shovel food into his mouth as fast as possible. His cousin flicked a lazy hand at the old woman standing behind the long shelf which served as the bar. Busy washing the wooden cups which had stood duty during the lunch rush, she chose to ignore this ignorant country yokel. “Here! Woman! What's a former honored rider of the mark got to do to get a drink around here?” The woman snorted, a sound implying she was not impressed. But she did take up a pitcher and poured a cup of ale, shuffling over to the table and setting it down with a thump, sloshing some of it on Aldric's sleeve. “Many thanks, my good woman.” Aldric smiled at Leofwine, winking. “See, women just can't resist my charms.”

Aldric pushed the ale across the table to his cousin, who picked up the cup and drained it in one gulp. Passing his cuff across his mouth, Leofwine belched, saying, “You know I never swear at them. At least, not that anyone can hear.” He too leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms on his chest and propping his feet up on the table. “Sorry to be late. That Rowyn kept us later than I'd planned. Sometimes I think she's out to break us, not train us. And I've got to get right back. There's a meeting – Elrosar's going to tell us what's up.”

“I see soldiering will suit you well, Lef. At least you've the table manners for it. And believe me, if you ever do see any action, you'll be glad she did – break you in, not break you.” Aldric's mind wandered, as he considered how many more days the money they had left would last him. Leofwine was set, since joining an eored. Meals were provided, although to a sixteen year old like his always hungry cousin, supplemental fare from the inn was always a welcome bonus. And there were tents to sleep in. Aldric had no interest, though, in joining anyone's eored. He had had his fill of war two years ago, and would be perfectly happy to never again hold a weapon more deadly than a knife for cutting his meat. There were other reasons holding him in Edoras. “So, what is up?” he asked laconically.

“If I knew that, then I wouldn't have to be at the meeting, now would I?” Lef grinned. “I guess we're to be given some sort of orders – finally.” The impatience in his voice was clear.

Aldric shook his head in mock dismay at his cousin. “Yes, I can see your point, Lef. After two weeks of training, what could our king be thinking, to hold you back from doing some real soldiering?” he said sarcastically. “Have you heard any rumors?” he asked, wondering if the possible orders might take Leofwine out of Edoras. If so, things would really be getting lonely, and his reason for staying would be that much more tenuous. At least while Lef was here, he had the excuse of needing to watch over him.

As if reading Aldric's mind, Leofwine answered, “Haven't heard a thing so far. How about you? Any news?”

Aldric shook his head. Leofwine looked at his cousin, who was staring out the unshuttered window, his face a blank mask. The boy did not press him, knowing the pain which lay behind the mask. They both knew that the chances of Aldric succeeding in his search were slim. Leofwine personally thought they were nonexistent. But he realized there were more complex underpinnings to his cousin's motivation to accompany him to Edoras. “I'll keep asking around the eoreds, Aldric. Maybe someone will know something.”

His cousin nodded his head, but said nothing.

“Well, I've got to be going. Don't want to be late – don't need a black mark against my shining reputation.” Leofwine grinned and stood, leaning across the table and gripping Aldric's shoulder. Aldric placed his own hand over his cousin's.

“Take care, little cousin. Don't let any of those pretty girls get in under your guard.” Leofwine had been surprised by the number of women now serving in the king's army. Aldric, having served under Theoden and then Eomer in the war, was more accustomed to see a woman here or there riding with a sword or a lance in her hand.

“I'll give your greetings to Fram, shall I?” Leofwine asked as he made for the door.

“Yes. Do that. Tell him to come see me – I'll stand him an ale.” Aldric waved at Leofwine's back as the lad hurried out into the street.
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Postby Borin_Silversmith » Fri Sep 23, 2005 5:51 pm

"When are we leaving Gil? If we don't leave soon we'll miss the wedding. The prince sent all this way to get Daddy's special Wine for the wedding." Dori kept pestering her older brother as he was loading the wagons.

" Don't worry "pest" we'll be leaving in the morning. Now don't you think you should finish packing and spend some time with our mother before we go." Gil answered his younger sister with a smile. He really had missed all her chatter while he was off fighting with the Riders of Rohan during the war.

Gillem had been home about a year and a half now. He kept busy helping his father with the vineyard. When his father had received this order of wine, for the wedding of Prince Imrahil's daughter to King Eomer--he had asked to be allowed to deliver it. He was hoping to meet up with some of the friends he had made. His father agreed and told Gil that he could take his time and visit with his friends.

When little Dori had asked to go along Gil told her it was up to their parents They surprised him when they told her she could go...he didn't think they would allow it. As his father explained to Gil " she rides better than anyone at the vineyard except you and she has proved that she can take care of herself." Then Gil remembered the story he had heard when he got home...

It seems that one day their mother and father had taken the wagon to town for supplies. The housemaid went with her parents to visit her sister, and the men were all in the vineyard, which left Dori alone in the house..It seems there was a wandering rogue who had been watching the house for several days hoping for a chance to steal something... Dori wouldn't talk about what happened ..all she would say was she took care of it. When the workers came in for their midday meal they found the rogue all trussed up like a goose ready for a holiday meal.
The workers said the rogue was pretty embarassed to be beaten by a little girl.

Gillem was going to have to stop thinking of his sister as a litttle girl. She had just had her 20th birthday so she was getting all grown up but she was still his freckled face little sister. Everyone said she looked like their mother .She stood a whole 5 foot 5 inches tall with strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes. Gil was always teasing her by calling her freckle face ,she did have freckles but only a few across her nose.( more if she was in the sun without her hat).
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Postby Spirit_of_the_Willow » Fri Sep 23, 2005 7:05 pm

Nauta ran a distracted hand through her close cut hair, somehow still feeling naked without the soft diklo covering and warming her head. It was a strange emptiness which plagued her and she did not know how to escape it. She had not worn the cloth which signified her married state since she had left Rhonnyn’s child for the carpenter to care for. A familiar shaft of pain shot through her heart as she thought of the tiny infant she had left lying beneath the willow tree, and she welcomed it, using it to stoke the embers of her hate.

It had been difficult to return to Rohan, not because of happy memories, but because it felt so foreign to her, and home should not feel that way. The only home she had really known had been the small wagon she had shared with Rhonnyn. Much had happened in the world while she had slipped between the pages of time with her gypsy clan. But despite it all, Rohan looked the same. It had recovered very well from the ravages of Saruman’s Uruks, though many of the farms were worked by more women and children than they would have before. So many lives lost.

She could not decide if it would have been easier, or harder to return if she had had friends to return to, friends who might be shocked at the changes in her appearance, and ask questions about where she had been. She was not the same person she had been, no longer meek and docile, striving only to charm someone to help her escape, but a woman who only sought to hone her skills so she could punish the man who destroyed her, praying that no one else would do the job before she could.

That was why she was here now. She had joined the eodred of Captain Elrosar, very grateful that he had accepted her. She was as near a complete stranger to this land as you could get for spending her youth there. It was generous of Elrosar to welcome her with only her word as recommendation. She had been able to join in a few of the training sessions, glad to know that her skills were at least currently above those of the newest recruits, since she was older than most of them.

Many of the eodred had fought in the Battle of Pellenor Fields together, and they were very closely bonded. Perhaps that was part of the reason she was hesitant to go to this meeting. She felt like an intruder here. She had not lived in Rohan for years, did not know anyone, and did not know how to belong in any group save her gypsy clan, and even then, she did not think she could belong without Rhonnyn.

She stood now before the meeting hall, watching the others walk in, greeting each other familiarly, with an ease of manner that she had never possessed. She had been close to learning it with the clan . . . she cut that thought off. She had to move beyond this for now. Plenty of time to feed her anger later, when she had the skill to act on it. For now, she would try to make a place for herself here.

Rhonnyn, help me to be strong, she prayed, taking the first steps up to the meeting hall, the first steps into her new life.
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Postby Robin_Greenleaf » Fri Sep 23, 2005 9:23 pm

Walking her horse Robin was just heading back to the stables for the meeting that was called. Stroking the paints nose "Well lil-brother, I do hope that father is proud of me" she spoke softly. Nodding his head excitedly Hidalgo gave his owner his opinion, "Ya, you'r right! Why shouldn't he be proud of me? I am the only girl in my eored after all and that in it's self makes me want only to work harder than thoes BOYS!". Snorting in disaprovel, "Oh sorry about that" Robin giggled " I keep forgetting that your a male also. I'm sorry lil-brother" Robin replied giving Hidalgo a kiss on his nose.

After placing her horse back into his stall, Robin reached into her saddlebag, "Here you go! I'll be back as soon as the meeting is overand I'll let you know whats going on ok" she replied as she palmed some oats she keeps for him as a treat. Watching as Hidalgo ate the contents in her hand " You be good now and I'll give you a good brushing before I go to bed tonight!" Turning to walk out the stable doors Robin watched as the other member of her eored walked into the meeting hall, "Give me strength father, give me strength" she thought to her self as she walked inside the hall.
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Postby lark » Sat Sep 24, 2005 7:20 am

Lark had not bothered to saddle her horse in her haste to catch up with Adrial, and already she was regretting this decision. As Viggo struggled to keep pace with the lighter, swifter horses, he began to sweat and foam, causing a great deal of gray hair from his back to stick to Lark’s dark riding breeches. She glanced down at herself in disgust, then urged him on faster.

“Adrail, wait up!” Elwing called. She was a few lengths ahead of Lark, and had nearly caught up to her sister-in-law. Adrial looked back, and seeing that she was being followed, she reigned in MJ and slowed to a trot, then a walk, allowing the others to catch up and ride along side of her.

They had ridden out of the city proper, and Lark realized with some surprise and nostalgia that they were in the same field where their eorod had first gathered and begun their training long ago, before the war. Knowing this place would not have the same meaning for Adrial and Elwing as they did not join until much later, she did not comment on this, and instead turned her attention to Adrial.

It was obvious that she had been crying, and the three rode for a moment in silence as Lark and Elwing searched for words to comfort her.

“Don’t be upset, Adrial. Natan didn’t know..” Elwing started.

“I know.” Adrial said, cutting her off. “I’m not really upset with him…it just hurts to think about.”

Lark laid her hand on Adrials arm and the three came to a stop. “Don’t be sad Adrial. These things come about in Eru’s time. You just need to be patient.”

“But I have been patient! All the women in my family have babies right away after they get married. What’s wrong with me?”

Elwing leaned over and hugged her. “There’s nothing wrong with you, Adrial. It’s just not the right time yet." Adrial hugged her back, then wiped the tears from her eyes and cheeks.

“Come on, we should really get to the meeting.” Lark added, and the three women pulled their horses around and headed back at a quick pace.

Adrial turned to Lark suddenly. “Lark, you’ve been married much longer then I have. Don’t you want a baby?”

“Of course I do!” Lark snapped back a little more harshly then she had meant to. She quickly softened her tone. “It’s just not the right time now…and with Ranthim…who knows if it ever will be.” She finished quietly.

“Where is Ranthim?” Elwing enquired. “He didn’t come back to Edoras with you, did he?”

Lark shook her head. “We received word recently that his Mother intends to go to the Grey Havens soon, and then sail West. She wished for him to come and spend time with her first. The thing is, when an elf asks for you to come visit, you never know if they mean for a few weeks, or a few years. I don’t expect him to return soon.” Lark did not try to hide the annoyance in her voice.

“I thought Ranthim had been banished from Mirkwood.” Adrial commented.

“His Mother has influence with the King.” Lark said flatly.

Elwing looked puzzled. “If his Mother has influence with the King, then how did he manage to get himself banished?”

“I don’t know anything about that!” Lark said firmly and in a well rehearsed tone. The other two looked at her strangely. Lark flushed then looked about as if to make sure no one was listening. She lowered her voice. “I’m sorry…I know more about that now then I did before, but I’ve been forbidden to talk about it.”

“Is it that bad?” Adrial asked quietly.

“It’s much worse then I would have imagined, but I don’t want to think about that now. I’ll just be glad when he back here, safe in Rohan.” She finished.

The meeting hall was now in view, and the girls dismounted quickly and returned their horses to the stables, so they could catch up with the others.
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Postby Elladan_Elfhelm » Sat Sep 24, 2005 7:47 pm

After leaving the stables Elrosar made his way back to where the King was waiting on him. “Is Adrial ok, Elrosar?” Eomer asked as the young Captain walked up to him.

“I don’t know my lord, something obviously happened, but I think it’s a woman thing.” Elrosar said with a shrug.

Eomer patted Elrosar on the shoulder, “I’m sure I will discover the different moods of a wife very soon, my friend. Eowyn was one thing, but I am sure a wife is completely different than a sister.”

“Very true my King, very true.” Elrosar said and then the two men walked up to the meeting hall where Elrosar’s eored was gathering, so he could speak to them. Many of the members had already gathered in the hall, and the King excused himself to attend to his many other duties.

Elrosar stopped at the door of the hall and looked over the men and women who were part of his eored. There were several new members that had been transferred to his eored after their year off. They had lost many of their members in the war, and even a few who chose to go back to their former lives after the war.

Many of the trainees had improved greatly over the few weeks that they had been together, but many of them were still very young, and would need a great deal more training before they were ready for any combat. Elrosar breathed a sigh of relief as he remembered that this muster of close to five hundred Rohirrim, was not for war but for a celebration. Their King was to finally marry. He was going to be married to the Prince of Dol Amroth’s daughter, Lothiriel. Very few, except those close to the King, knew of this, and Elrosar had to laugh within himself at the thought of how many young women in the Kingdom would be heart broken to know that their handsome King had wed.

Elrosar could over hear the questions, rumors, and suspicions about where they might be going, and what they might be doing. Many of the younger members were anxious for battle, but Elrosar was glad that the prospects of any action would be slim to none on this journey. That is unless there was some friendly competition between the eoreds along the way.

He greeted Nauta as she entered the meeting hall. Nauta gave him a thankful smile as she passed him and then went and found a seat off by herself near the middle of the room. Elrosar wondered about what had drawn her here. He wasn’t one to pry into people’s lives, but he could tell that something tragic had happened to her.

His attention then was drawn to Rowyn, Natan, and Mara as they entered the room. Rowyn and Natan had grown closer, and it seemed that they were a good fit for each other. He hadn’t had much time to catch up with Mara, but there would be time for that.

“Rowyn,” Elrosar addressed his friend. “Why don’t you, Natan, and Mara sit close to Nauta over there. I’m hoping that we can make her feel more at home with us, before we head off on our journey.”

“Sure thing,” Rowyn replied and then gave Elrosar a mischievous grin. “And where is that journey taking us?”

“Ah, for that my friend, you will just have to wait with the others.” Elrosar said with a broad smile. Rowyn tried to scowl at him, but Elrosar caught the smile at the edge of her lips. Elrosar took one last look out the door to the street below before entering. He was hoping to see Adrial, Lark, and Elwing coming back, but he couldn’t see them, so he walked on into the room, and the doorkeepers closed the door behind him.

Elrosar took his place at the front of the room and stood looking back at everyone else. Most were still talking amongst themselves, but when they saw Elrosar standing at the front everyone became quiet.

“May I have your attention for just a few moments?” Elrosar asked as he looked at everyone. After everyone was watching him, he continued. “Thank you all for coming here today, and thanks for showing up a few weeks early for training. I hope that all of our older members enjoyed their year off, and I trust that you have seen to yourselves and your families in that year.”

“I know all of you are wondering what we are going to be doing, and where we will be going.” Elrosar said, and he could tell that everyone’s ears perked up as they were hopefully about to learn where they would be going.

“We will be leaving in one week and heading off to Gondor, to Minas Tirith.” Elrosar said, and then he listened as many began questioning if Gondor was at war again. “No, Gondor is not at war again, thankfully. There is to be an event in Minas Tirith on March the 25th to celebrate the beginning of the Fourth Age. It has been almost two years since the ring was destroyed, and Mordor defeated.”

“We’re going to a party.” Many said with loud cheers and jokes.

“Yes we are, but also to a wedding.” Elrosar said while he called for everyone to quite down.

“A wedding Captain?” Leofwine, one of the new young members of the eored asked quickly.

Elrosar knew that Leofwine was ready to go to war, and Elrosar believed the thoughts of going to a wedding were not what Leofwine was looking for. “Yes Leofwine, a wedding.”

“Who’s getting married?” Rowyn asked, and Elrosar could tell that she was tired of waiting.

“Our King is getting married.” Elrosar said as the door to the room opened and Adrial, Lark, and Elwing walked in and sat down in the back. No one seemed to notice because there was an instant buzz in the place over this news. He allowed them a short while to get the excitement out of their system, before he spoke again. “We have been chosen as one of the four eoreds to escort the King to his wedding.”

“Will the wedding be at Minas Tirith, and who is the King marrying?” Mara asked from her seat near to Nauta.

“No the wedding is set for April 20th in the port haven of Dol Amroth.” Elrosar answered, but before he could add anything else, the room became very loud with the discussion of a trip to Dol Amroth.

“This is not a vacation now; we will be providing security for our King and many other Lords and Ladies while we are there.” Elrosar said correctively.

“But you didn’t tell us who the King is marrying.” Mara asked again.

“If you all must know,” Elrosar said with a grin, “the King is marrying Princess Lothiriel of Dol Amroth.” Elrosar continued quickly before anyone could ask any questions. "We will have two days of rest and then we will leave early on March 10th. Before we dismiss, I want you all to know that this is serious business, and we all will need to be prepared for anything to happen.”

“But sir, what could possibly go wrong?” Robin, another of the younger members asked.

“I don’t know, and that is what worries me the most.” Elrosar said grimly. “Thank you for coming and you are dismissed.”
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Postby Robin_Greenleaf » Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:30 am

Suddenly fealing like an idot for asking that. Robin kind of sunk down into her seat. "Great now they probly think i'm a brainless, hero-chassing, glory-seeking, bar-wench!" she thought to herself crossing her arms infront of her. Looking over at the new recruit that was sitting next to her "What?" she whispered at him.

Trying not to laugh, "I never got to introduce my-self to you, I'm Lef. Don't worry about that. My question was almost as embarassing" he spoke softly.

Remembering the guestion that he had asked, "Thanks, I hate feeling like a fool! Especialy around people I don't know" Robin replied as she begain to feel less embarassed. Sitting up in her seat "So how do you like the workouts that Rowyn gives us?" she asked softly knowing that she was still with in ear shot.

Rolling his eyes, "She's tough!" was all he could says.

Knowing what he was talking about,"I know what you mean, she works us hard because she knows that we still have alot yet to learn. I'm used to the hard work! My father worked my brothers and I about as hard as she does, if not harder." Robin explained. "Well I need to go tell Lil-brother what's going on,"

Puzzeled at what she was talking about "lil-Brother?" Lef asked her.

Laughing at what she had said, "Oh Lil-brother is what I call my horse Hidalgo. He's the only family that I have left so I look at him as if he is my little brother" Robin explained to Lef.

" Ah" was all Lef said about it.

Standing up, "If you want I can entroduce you to him. We could talk along the way if you wish" Robin asked him. "It would be nice to actualy get to know some of the people in the eroed before we have to leave!"
Last edited by Robin_Greenleaf on Sun Sep 25, 2005 8:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Borin_Silversmith » Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:38 am

As the first rays of the sun topped the horizon, Dori was up and ready to go.She had never traveled far from home,unlike Gil who had gone off to war. He didn't talk of war much but he did tell her stories of the people he had met. He told her about one eored who even had women fighting with them. He said that one of the women even saved King Eomer during the last battle. He told Dori he would have liked to meet them, but the group he was fighting with was in a different section, so he never got the chance.

Dori had learned to use the bow when she was a child. In fact one of the Elves who bought wine off her Dad had made her a bow just her size, and had shown her the finer points of bowmanship. She had learned how to use knife and short-blade while Gil was gone. Darius, one of her father's workers, told her that it was a good thing for a lady to know how to use the knifes so she could protect herself and her family. He had even taught her how to throw a knife and hit what she aims at. Dori learned to fight with a sword when Gil returned from war. It took her a while to convince him to teach her ...but one thing she had learned as a child.....her big brother could refuse her nothing ...Unless it put her in danger. (He still wouldn't let her sail alone on the Sea of Rhun.) As a gift when they were leaving Dori's Dad gave her a lady's sword with sheath. He had the leather worker engrave grape vines and grapes on her sheath just like the ones she had on her saddle. (the same engraving was on the knife sheaths she had also, especially the one she had strapped to her leg, which no one but Darius knew about)

By the time the sun had risen fully they were on their way. Dori was on her horse, Starfire. Dori was so proud of her horse even if it wasn't one of those Rohan horses. Star was a short horse about 14 hands high but that was just right for her. She had a pure white blaze that looked like a shooting Star( hence the name ),Her fur was mahogany brown with black mane and tail. She was kind of shaggy but Star and Dori enjoyed the times Dori brushed her out. Gillem's horse was a magnificant beast..a gelding named Tempest, 16 hands high,.dark brown (almost black) fur with black mane and tail. Tempest even had the dark mood to go with his name but he had kept her brother well during the war.

The wagons were being driven by Darius and Lando, two of her father's workers. Along with the wine the wagons carried food and tents for the party. Gil had planned the trip out so they could take their time on the journey to Minas Tirith where he was hoping to meet up with his old friends. Dori was glad he had been so considerate...when she dismounted for the evening she found herself very stiff indeed and her backside was quite tender.
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Postby shieldmaidenofrohan » Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:39 am

"Dol Amroth!" Rowyn exclaimed excitedly, turning to Natan and Mara as they were dismissed. "I always wanted to see what the ocean looked like."

"From what I hear, it's like a lake, only really big," Natan teased her.

"Oh, be quiet," Rowyn said, rolling her eyes. He just grinned back.

"Guess we'd better start getting things ready," Mara interrupted, cutting off their mock argument.

Rowyn glanced over at Nauta quickly; she had been silent for the entire meeting, and was looking around as if trying to figure out a way to sneak out. Rowyn hadn't had a chance to talk to her much, since she had been busy with her training duties. And Nauta seemed to keep to herself most of the time, but it seemed to Rowyn that it was more from shyness than anything else. She remembered what that was like; she had been the same way when she had first joined the eored. "Go on, I'll catch up," Rowyn said.

Natan and Mara left them, and Rowyn turned to Nauta. "So are you excited?" she asked, attempting to start a conversation. Nauta gave a half-shrug in response. "I know this probably isn't what you had in mind for this, just being an escort," Rowyn continued. "But it should give everyone a chance to get to know each other better, at least."

"I suppose," Nauta replied, less than enthusiastically.

"Oh, they're not that bad, once you get to know them," Rowyn said lightly, hoping that the attempt at humor might draw Nauta out a little more.

"It just seems like everyone's so close already," Nauta answered.

She had a point. The people in the eored that Rowyn had fought in the war with had become a very tight-knit group, and the friendships had stayed just as strong since their return to Rohan, if not stronger in some cases. "It's inevitable, when your lives depend on each other on a daily basis. It was hard for me at first too, and it took awhile before I could really get comfortable enough around everyone to be myself," Rowyn admitted. Especially Natan, she silently added. It had taken her nearly the entire six months they had been on duty in the Westfold to relax enough to even consider thinking of him as anything more than a friend. "It's a little strange--I never really felt like I belonged anywhere before, and I wasn't sure I'd fit in at all here. But they're like family to me now," she continued, smiling.

Nauta actually smiled a bit at that, looking a little more hopeful over the thought of staying with the group. Encouraged by this, Rowyn asked, "I saw that thing you were doing in training yesterday, fighting with the two knives. Where did you learn to do that?"

"Just something I picked up traveling," Nauta said, more cautiously this time.

"Oh," Rowyn said. She hadn't meant to pry, especially if Nauta wasn't ready to talk about her past. "I was just asking because Elwing and I have been trying to figure that out for months! I mean, we were trying to do that with a sword and a knife, but still. I was wondering... I don't think we'll be traveling very quickly, since this is a peaceful mission, and we'll probably have lots of free time. So I was wondering if maybe you could show me how to do some of that?"

Nauta visibly relaxed when she realized that Rowyn wasn't going to question her any further about her travels. "Perhaps," she answered.

Rowyn smiled as she stood up to leave, guessing that Nauta probably would not be inclined to talk much more, at least not yet. "I'll talk to you about it again later then."
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Postby Leofwine » Sun Sep 25, 2005 11:18 pm

Leofwine stood as well, considering the girl beside him. It still seemed very strange to him, to be training alongside women. In fact, some of the trainers were women. The boy wasn't sure how far a female could be trusted if you were counting on one to cover your back. But he had heard many stories now since coming to Edoras of the valor certain women riders had shown in the war, in particular the one called Rowyn, who happened to be something of a taskmaster when it came to their sword training. Looking at Robin and her long red hair, he couldn't help thinking to himself, "She's pretty - but I wonder how well she'd do if it really came down to it?"

Out loud, he said, "Little Brother? That is an unusual name for a horse. Well, I need to check Yffi's left rear frog. It looks like he got a stone bruise yesterday when we were spending all those hours of mounted bow practice. You can introduce me to Little Brother and I'll show you Yffi."

He followed Robin out into the sunshine, squinting his eyes at the brightness. "So, are you from Edoras?" she asked in a friendly way.

"No, the Westfold." Lef replied, as they walked towards the stables. "My family are farmers there, in a little valley in the foothills."

"Oh. Did you come to Edoras by yourself then? To be a soldier?" Robin squinted too, as she turned her face into the sun towards him to ask her question.

Momentarily distracted by the cute way in which her nose wrinkled as she smiled, Leofwine answered, "Hmm? By myself? Oh . . . oh, no. My cousin Aldric came too. I mean, I came looking to join an eored. He came . . . for other reasons." Leofwine didn't know if he should go into the whole story of his cousin's somewhat insane quest. "Did you come here to soldier?"

"Yes. I guess you could say that soldiering is in my family. Or . . . at least, it was." A shade of melancholy momentarily passed across Robin's face.

Sensing her source of pain was like unto his own, Lef asked quietly, "Did you lose someone in the war?" It was almost a pointless question, so many fathers, brothers, husbands, sons had not come back – from the Isen, Helm's Deep, far Gondor, and even farther Mordor.

Robin paused, just at the door into the stables. "Yes. My father, and two brothers. I've come to Edoras to pick up where they left off."

Leofwine's hazel eyes gazed into her green ones, both children who had left their childhoods behind when the war was over and the aftermath had forced them to grow up. "My two older brothers were killed – Gyrth was seventeen. He was killed at Helm's Deep. Tostig was eighteen. He fell at Pelennor Fields. Yffi was his horse. I stole him, I guess you could say."

Robin regarded him, her eyes large, but she didn't press for answers. She too could see the pain of loss in this boy's face. Instead, she said, as cheerfully as possible, "Well, here's Lil-Brother." leading Leofwine down to a stall on the right. "Hey, boy! How ya doin"?" She held out her hand to the brown and white horse, who snuffled it hopefully, looking for a treat.

Leofwine rubbed Lil-Brother under the forelock, saying "An unusual name for an unusual horse. I've never seen a horse this color before."

"Well, he is unique that's for sure. Almost human. We' re practically inseperable."

"I wish I could say the say about Yffi and me." Lef said. "I never got to ride him much before I . . . left. I think he still misses Tostig. He seems . . . restive. I know he knows I'm not my brother." Lef patted Lil-Brother on the neck as the horse stretched it out, having left off searching Robin's empty hand to poke her chest with his muzzle, as if to say "Hey, friend, did you forget me?"

Robin laughed at her horse. "See what I mean. He thinks he's a person." She glanced sideways at the boy, trying to think of the right thing to say. "Give Yffi time, Lef. He'll get to know you – and love you. Horses can really get attached to their owners. And I think they do miss them when they . . . go away." Reaching into her pocket, Robin pulled out a slice of apple and held it out for Lil-Brother. "There you go, boy. See, I didn't forget you."

Lef pointed down the shedrow. "Yffi is down there, five stalls down on the left. Come down and say hi when you're done here with Lil-Brother." He gave the horse a final pat. "Looks like you better be ready for a long journey soon, boy. We're going all the way to Dol Amroth!"
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Postby Robin_Greenleaf » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:22 am

Watching as Leofwine walked away, Robin was suddenly brought out of her trance like state by another nudge to her chest. Smiling at Hidalgo "Well boy as he said we have a long road ahead of us! The King is getting married and we have to escort him to the wedding" Robin spoke softly as she picked up his brush. Glancing down the way "Well what do you think? He's in my eored after all and we'll be traveling together..." she begain to whisper softly. Shaking his head as if he was objecting to the idea, "What? You like him and you know it! Otherwise you would have kicked him like all the other guys that have tried to get friendly with me since we got here!" she teased. After giving her horse a good brushing and another slice of apple, "Well I'm going over to see how Yffi is doing. I'll see you later Lil-brother." Robin replied as she kissed his nose softly before walking away.

When she reached Yffi's stall she watch as Leofwine checked his horse's left rear frog. Robin could tell that Lef missed his brothers just as much as she missed hers, just by the way he handled his horse." Both my brothers were killed in Helm's Deep. One was killed on the outer wall and the other died from his injuries only days after, and my father was crushed by an Oliphaunt on the second charge" Robin said startling Lef by the suddeness of her voice.
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Postby Spirit_of_the_Willow » Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:36 pm

Nauta heaved a sigh, half of relief, as Rowyn started to leave. Trying to work so she belonged with these people would be full of danger. From what she understood, it was natural to share bits of your life when you grew closer to others, learning more of them as time went on, but she felt she did not have anything to share. She did not see how she could ever explain what had happened to her in the years away from Rohan.

But strangely, she did not want the other woman to leave just yet. Rowyn had at least made some overtures towards getting to know Nauta, and she was absurdly grateful for that. But she had no idea how to prolong the contact, so she only nodded when Rowyn promised to speak to her again about the knife fighting technique. Rhonnyn had not wanted to teach her. Women in the gypsy clan were highly respected and cherished, and sometimes overly protected, Nauta found. It was only his knowledge that Norvaen might be chasing them which had convinced Rhonnyn she would be better protected by knowing how to fight herself, though in the end, it had proved to be of little avail. She had survived herself, but only at the loss of everything she had so recently come to cherish.

The crowd left in the meeting hall was sparse enough that if she remained longer it would be remarked more than if she attempted to leave, so she stood, watching as Rowyn rejoined Natan and Mara who had waited for her at the door. Everywhere Nauta saw clusters of people chatting about their eodred’s assignment, all at ease with eachother, all obviously friends not only with their group, but the others to whom they waved greetings. She had been alone most of her life, but until now she had not really recognized that the emptiness she felt as loneliness. But every experience in her life conspired to build a wall between her and others which she did not know how to bridge, so she lowered her gaze, and followed Rowyn and her friends out.

She had to prepare if she were to accompany the eodred to Dol Amroth. The thought brought her up short. If she were to accompany them? When she first heard their eventual destination she had been filled with a combination of fear and excitement. Dol Amroth was where Norvaen had lived. Going there now, before she was ready to face him was tempting fate in a way which was foolish in the extreme. The girl she had been wanted nothing more than to turn and run in the opposite direction, perhaps back to her daughter. The carpenter would not turn her away once she explained. But Norvaen’s men would have reported her escape, and she knew, in his madness, he would not just decide to let her go, not after hunting her for two years already.

There was another part of her which was filled with a strange thrill of anticipation at the thought of dancing between the strands of the spider’s web, acting within Norvaen’s reach, possibly to escape, possibly to die.

She could leave. She had no attatchments here. But that was not true, she realized as she saw Rowyn laughing at something Natan said. If nothing else, she did not want Rowyn to think her a coward. She would be a coward if she left now. Even if it was only to return later. She could not just run in fear. If she did that now, she would never be able to face Norvaen, and her life would hold no purpose. So she would go, and she would laugh in the face of fate.
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Postby lark » Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:27 pm

Lark Adrial and Elwing came in quietly just as Elrosar was announcing that the King was getting married. The three exchanged looks as they sat down and listened to all their Captain had to say on the matter. Most interesting to Lark was that they would all be going to Dol Amoroth for the wedding. Lark had never been there, and was quite excited at the idea. She also couldn’t help but feel some degree of relief that they were being sent out as an escort to a wedding party, and not out on some dangerous mission. Since the War, Lark had lost all desire for fighting, and had begun to worry that she had possibly lost her nerve altogether.

Elrosar finished all he had to say and the room filled with excited chatter. Lark looked around at the faces, some familiar, and others new to her. One face especially caught her attention, and she stopped to look at him. She had noticed his face the day before as she was observing Rowyn train the new riders, and thought he had seemed familiar then, but she couldn’t quite place him. Now it suddenly came to her along with a rush of memories.

She remembered now that his name was Leofwine, and she had not recognized him because he had grown and changed so much since the last time she had seen him. She had not know him well, as he was quite a bit younger then her, and his family lived in a remote valley of the Westfold, but she had known his brother, Tostig, and for one brief summer, had been quite convinced that she was in love with him. He had been two years younger then her though, and no where near the age of thinking seriously about marriage, and the two of them had eventually lost touch.

The last time Lark had seen Tostig was as he was being laid out with the other dead solders after the Battle of Helm’s Deep. She had not even know he was there until after the fighting was over, and a wave of pain and grief washed over her now as she remembered the sight of that handsome young face, so still and so pale… She had heard since then that the other brother, Gyrth, had also been killed in the war, and she realized that Leofwine was the only son left.

She looked at him again as he walked out of the meeting hall with a young women from their eorod, one of the few new women to join, and Lark was overwhelmed with a sense of protectiveness for them. She closed her eyes for a moment, and realized she was shaking. Why was recovering from the War so much harder then actually being in the War had been? Her sleep for the last year had been plagued with nightmares that she could never remember, and though she had kept up with her training, the thought of actually fighting made her feel sick. What if there was an attack on the wedding party, or an attempt on the King’s life? She realized she no longer had the confidence in her abilities she had once had, and worse, had no idea how to regain that confidence.

The sound of her name being spoken brought her back to reality, and she realized the meeting hall was nearly empty now. “Lark!” Elwing repeated. “Are you coming?” Her and Adrial were near the door waiting for her, and Lark quickly got to her feet to follow.

“Aren’t you excited about the wedding and going to Dol Amoroth?” Elwing asked her.

“Of course I am.” Lark smiled in response, but inside she wasn’t so sure anymore.
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Postby Borin_Silversmith » Tue Sep 27, 2005 12:18 am

The days of travelling were very monotonous. The route they were taking lead them along the western coast of the Sea of Rhun. and east of the mountain range. Gil decided to stay between them until they reached the southern edge of the mountains, then cut cross-country until they hit the gates of Mordor. Once there they would follow the road along the mountains to the crossroads where they would turn east and cross the river at Osgiliath, then on to Minas Tirith. Dori was looking forward to having a chance to visit there for a while. Gil had told her so much but she didn't believe half what he told her. No place could be that wonderful or have that many people. The biggest city Dori had ever seen only had about 3,000 people and that was on market day.

One of the nice things about this trip was Dori got a chance to get to know her brother much better. It also gave him a chance to learn much more about his "little" sister. He knew that she had been learning to shoot her bow before he left but he didn't know how good she had become. During their travel Dori had taken to carrying her bow and arrows while they rode, the meat for their supper was usually brought down by her bow...a couple of rabbits, a brace of birds, she had even figured out a way to tie a string to her arrow and shoot fish. They also had time for Gil to continue her sword fighting lessons. It was much easier for her to swing the short sword but she didn't have the reach Gil had with his. He told her ways to get around it, with her being short he said if she did it right she could wait until her opponent swung then sneak in underneath for the kill. He was sorry he told her about that trick.... when she did just that one evening... and snuck in under his arm and stuck him in the side . Darius and Lando had fun with that and wouldn't let Gil forget it for several days. He still hadn't learned about her knives, and she wasn't planning on telling him either, he would really have something to say about that.

After a couple days Dori had become used to riding and they had picked up their pace a little. Traveling between the lake and the mountains provided an interesting scenery variation. It was still early enough in the season that there was still snow on the mountain tops and if the wind was blowing right you could feel the coolness of the snow in the air. If the road wandered near the lake you could feel the moisture from the water and smell the sea. Gil told Dori to enjoy the scenery while she could because they would soon be traveling across flat land for a couple of weeks as the middle part of their journey was across the plains.

One night after camp had been set up and supper over Gil and the men sat smoking their pipes while they all had coffee around the fire. "Gil would you tell us of the battles you fought?" asked Dori. Gil looked across the fire at his sister, "It's something I like not to think about, not to mention talk about, Dori, but I will talk about it this time, just do not ask again...It was horrible..I still see it in my dreams as though it was yesterday. It was like a giant wave ... the creatures of Mordor poured out the gate." Gil got a far-away look in his eyes " they swarmed out of the gates, the orcs came like water pouring out when a sluice is opened and with them a troop of giant hill trolls swinging their giant hammers like smiths at their anvils." Dori rose silently, filled their cups with coffee and sat next to her brother placing her hand on his knee as he spoke." The arrows flew through the air as thick as flies on a day old carcass, there were men falling all around me some were only boys. Then the trolls attacked, smashing arms ,legs and heads....some were even picking up the half-dead men and biting their throats.....the blood ran..." Gil stopped talking, put his head in his hands, tears running down his cheeks. Dori sat with tears streaking down her face,and her arm around her brother's shoulder. Even Darius and Lando had tears in their eyes.

"Oh, Gillem, I'm so sorry. I didn't know " Dori said quietly. After a few moments Gil raised his head, wiped his eyes and said," How could you know little sister...but now you know why I do not speak of it.. I lost many friends that day...and almost lost my life. If it hadn't been for my Captain I would have. My sword was knocked out of my hand and as I bent to pick it up my Captain killed the orc that was trying to take my head off. He is one of the people I wish to look for in Minas Tirith.... Now, my little one, we need to get to sleep... dawn comes early"
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Postby Leofwine » Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:34 am

Leofwine let Yffi's hoof drop back down into the straw and straightened up, patting the gelding's back absentmindedly. The bruise looked better than it had this morning, but he was concerned. If Yffi was not sound in two days, he might have to stay behind. No - he wouldn't even consider that possibilty, even if the eored's assignment was only to escort the king to his wedding, which couldn't possibly involve any chance for heroic battles. Still, it was a chance to travel, to see far off corners of the world that he had heard of, not much, but a little since Aldric and Father had returned from the war. Lef knew if Tostig and Gyrth had come back, they would have told many an exciting tale and sung songs far into the night around the fire. They had been heroes, and would have been proud of it. Not quiet and unhappy like Aldric, or angry and drunk all the time, like Father. Lef couldn't understand it - why had the ones who survived come back so changed? If he had had the chance to go with them, as he had begged and pleaded with Father to do, he would have fought like ten demons and lived to tell the tale. He would have spitted five orcs on his spear at one blow, and sliced off their heads, and . . .

"Both my brothers were killed in Helm's Deep. One was killed on the outer wall and the other died from his injuries only days after, and my father was crushed by an Oliphaunt on the second charge."

Lef jumped at the sound of Robin's voice. She was leaning against the doorframe of the stall. The subdued light of the shedrow was enough to outline her slight figure against the dimness of the stall itself. Robin was tall, for a girl, he thought. But she seemed so . . . so insubstantial. He flexed his own bicep unconsciously, feeling the smooth motion of the hard muscle under the wool of his tunic sleeve. But the ache was there - the ache from all the hours spent within the past few weeks, practicing with the sword, practicing with the bow, practicing with the spear. How could these women hold up, he wondered. He had watched them, the trainers, like Rowyn, and the recruits, Robin, and the one called Nauta, who was very silent. She reminded him of Aldric somehow. But they all did well, some even better than him, he was ashamed to admit. Wouldn't Tostig have had a good laugh over that - his little brother beaten by a girl!

"I wanted to go. I should have gone, with my brothers. But my father wouldn't let me. He came back, but they didn't. I sometimes wonder why." Lef turned away from her, the bitterness in his voice all too apparent.

"Well, at least your father came back to you." Her voice was quiet, the sadness making it soft with regret, not reproach.

"Yes, well, better that he should have died too, for he's been little enough of a father to me for the past two years." He spun about and made as if to push past Robin, but she stopped him with a gentle hand on his arm.
"What's done is done, Lef. We can't change the past. I know how much you miss your brothers. I miss mine too. But life goes on, and we have to go with it. It seems like you've been very unhappy these past two years. Perhaps coming here to Edoras will be the start of some newfound happiness for you . . . and for me too, I hope." She smiled at him. "C'mon." She said, her voice regaining it's prior note of merriment. "Let's see what we can cook up for some fun. It's been rather dull around here - training and training for days on end. I've a mind to get into mischief. What say you?"

Leofwine smiled back. Although the thought of his now broken family caused him much pain and anger, he was not one to dwell on such unhappy thoughts for long. Yes, it had been a long time since he had had someone to get into trouble with. That little voice inside his head which said, very quietly, "Be careful - you're going to regret this!", was muffled and distant, and he paid it no further heed than he ever did - which was not at all.

"Oh, hey! I've this excellent idea for just what Rowyn needs . . . " They walked out of the stables, their heads close together, and Robin laughed as he told her his plan.
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Postby Gwenare » Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:32 pm

Adrial walked out of the meeting hall with Elwing and Lark close at hand. Elrosar came up behind them, “It was nice to see you ladies at our scheduled meeting.” He did not take his eyes off of Adrial.

“Of course, we would be there. We have never missed one, dear brother, and we do not intend to start now. What kind of example would that be for our new recruits?” Elwing said with hands on her hips. Lark remained silent as if in deep thought.

“Example indeed.” Elrosar said with a sly grin on his face. He hugged his sister tightly. “If you beautiful ladies do not mind, I would like to escort my gorgeous wife to our room.” He winked at Adrial who blushed at his words.

Lark and Elwing grinned at the lovebirds and said in unison, “Of course. We will leave you two alone.” Elwing winked at her brother and left with Lark.

Elrosar took Adrial’s hand in his and they walked back to their room, in silence, holding hands. When they entered their room, Elrosar lit an oil lamp so they could see. Adrial sighed heavily and sat on the bed waiting for him to speak.

Elrosar watched her for a long time. He was wondering what thoughts were racing through her mind. She was so troubled and she wouldn’t open up to him, not much anymore. This broke his heart more than anything. He wanted to help her, but he didn’t know what to do. She ceased letting him in her inner world.

“Well, are you not going to say something?” Adrial asked with slight sarcasm in her voice and pain as well.

“What do you want me to say?”

“Anything would be better than this deafening silence.” Adrial was becoming agitated and did not know why. She had been on edge lately, too much so.

“Ok, let’s start with a question.” Elrosar waited until she nodded. “Why did you almost kill the King?” He noticed the wide eyes of his lovely wife and continued, “I would have thought if you disliked him so much; that you would have come to me instead of trying to kill him.” He knew this would get her off guard, and he hoped it would make her laugh. He succeeded with both.

Adrial’s eyes became like saucers when he spoke. She had no idea that she had almost hurt her King. She was devastated by this news, to the point of crying. Elrosar said something crazy about her planning this, and she had to laugh at him. He always knew how to make her smile. It was one of the reasons she had fallen in love with him.

He came and sat next to her on the bed. “You can be so difficult sometimes.”

“I aim to please, my beautiful darling,” he said, taking her hand in his and gently kissing it.

“See what I mean!” She laughed then and he took her into his arms.

“I love you Adrial, and nothing will ever change that. Baby or no baby.” Why did he have to say it? Why did he have to bring it up? He knew how much this bothered her and he just had to mention it.

Elrosar could tell that his words had hurt her; that was not his intention. He hugged her tighter and then gently pushed her away from him. He cupped her face in his hands and gently lifted it up until their eyes met. Tears filled hers and his heart broke. “I know that you want a child more than anything. I do too, but I am willing to be patient. I just wish you could be.”

She swallowed hard before speaking, “It’s hard Ro. It’s so hard knowing that everyone in your family seems to have no problem getting pregnant and here I am.” She stopped to catch her breath and gather her thoughts. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest. “And then I see…… I see them everywhere I go.” She could not control herself any longer. She began sobbing uncontrollably, and Elrosar took her in his arms and held her until she stopped.

When she had calmed down, Elrosar again took her face into his hands. “Adrial, I know you have been going through a rough time. I just want you to be happy…”

“A baby would make me happy. Our baby.”

He sighed, “I know, but you need to realize that it will only happen in Eru’s time and not a day before.”

“That’s what Lark said.”

She looked down and Elrosar moved his head until he could see her eyes. She laughed at him, and he said, “Maybe you should listen to her.”

“I know. It’s just hard to wait. You know I am not a very patient person.”

“You stuck around when I waited to marry you. And then you said I do, so that makes you a very patient person.” He has the biggest grin on his face then, and she laughed.

“I love you Elrosar. I really do.”

“I love you too, Adrial.” He kissed her tenderly on the lips.

“If it will make you happy, I’ll try to be patient.”

“It would.” He hugged her again knowing in his heart that things would be different.

They both went to bed exhausted from a busy day. They did not have long before their departure and the night before leaving; Gwenare was planning on blessing the eoreds. Adrial hoped she could get through it.
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Postby Maranwe-Ar-Feiniel » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:37 pm

When Rowyn caught up with Mara and Natan as they walked out of the hall, Natan proposed they go to the White Horse, an Edoras inn of renown for its wines, ales, and food, for supper. The girls agreed on that, and the trio started up the hill and into Edoras.
Soon they arrived and were seated in a corner table, chatting and sipping their drinks while waiting for the serving girl to bring the stew they had ordered. Mara and Natan each were sipping wine, and Rowyn had an ale. Soon the conversation turned to what had happened after the War, and Rowyn turned curiously to Mara.

“You know, I never heard where you were....What have you been doing? I saw you at the wedding, and during the six months in the westfold, but you kind of faded off somewhere after that....”

Mara nodded...yes, she had kind of faded away after that. She really had neglected her eored family. “Well, after the war I went to the ruins of my family's farm. I just felt I needed to go....You may not realize it, but during the final days, I was actually thinking of, um, going over the sea.”

Natan broke in. “You were?!”

Mara smiled wanly. “Yes. I actually was....kind of strange, isn't it? I've lived my whole life in Rohan, I've fought for Rohan, I would die for Rohan, but I actually thought about crossing...I really had a difficult time figuring out what I would do.”

“So what did you do?” was Rowyn's question.

“Well, I decided to stay in Middle Earth....too many of my friends, those in the eored that I counted as family. I then decided to go to Mirkwood....that's where my Mother was from, you know. However, I did not go until after the wedding. I felt I needed a really long time when I went, because I did not know where or who any of my relatives were. So, after the wedding, I left. I went east cross the Anduin, and so made it to the southern tip of the forest. I then followed the edge of the woods north, towards Dale.”

“Why didn't you just go in at the southern tip?” was Natan's question.

“Well, if you had seen those woods, you would understand. It was almost as if a shadow of evilness hung over them. I found out later that in the southern part of Mirkwood was where the dark lord had his fortress before he took Barad-Dur...The elves I met in Mirkwood said it was an evil place, even now with him destroyed.
“So, after about two weeks of easy riding, I found the elven city...or, rather, the elves found me. It would seem that a residence of the deeper parts of Mirkwood is gargantuan spiders.”

Rowyn asked,“How big?”

Mara shrugged. “Oh, I would say about the size of a child's pony.”

Rowyn shuddered.

“They had hairy legs, and aweful fangs. Since I had no idea that they existed, I was ah, unpleasantly surprised when a half dozen of them jumped onto my path. And it just was worse when they started talking.”

Rowyn shuddered again. “They talked?”

“Yea, and they weren't the most gentlemanly of spiders either.....You would not believe how weird it is to hear them talking about you....I tell you, I've heard orcs talk nicer than that. Disturbing. Very disturbing...So. They surrounded me, and started closing in. I hacked off a couple of legs, but I was too disturbed by the fact I was fighting spiders, and I, well, lost my nerve, I guess., and they got too close, and one stung me, and I passed out, still trying to swing that sword at them. I woke up on the ground, surrounded by elf men. They brought me to the city and I recovered there....Ever since that, I have had a fear of spiders. Bad memories....
But, while I was in the city, I searched to see if I had any living relatives. I knew my grand father and grandmother were dead, but I wanted to see if I had any other family. As things turned out, I don't, but I met the king, Tharanduil, and I also met his son, Legolas. And, Rowyn, he asked about you.”


“Yeah, he wanted to know how the girl who nearly got herself killed saving the king was doing, and, was there anything 'tween you two?”

“HE SAID THAT!?” Rowyns face was flaming scarlet, and Natan was laughing behind his hand.

“Yeah. But he was teasing, I believe. I got to know him pretty well, and he says he was. A nice guy, but, between the three of us, not my type. I also saw Lark there with Ranthim. We never spoke much though. I was busy with just learning about the elvish culture, and I spent a lot of time exploring the wood. Within sight of the city, that is. I saw that she spent a lot of time with her mother-in-law. An interesting woman.....rather difficult to describe her. I don't think that Lark and her got along too well. Whenever I saw Lark, she didn't look too happy....but, like I said, I never really talked to her much..... So, I've been in Mirkwood. Thats about it.”

“About it. All that happened to you was you got attacked by giant spiders, nearly went over the sea, searched for unknown family members and consorted with kings and princes. Sounds quite normal.” Natan shook his head. “Why does my life seem so boring all of a sudden?”

Mara shrugged. “I don't know. It actually wasn't as all exciting as it sounds. I really missed Rohan and you guys. Missed seeing whats going on with the erored. I've noticed several new members. And I've heard them speak of Rowyn like some kind of monster.”

Rowyn smiled. “Yeah, I'm training. It seems kind of strange. I mean, it doesn't seem so long ago that I was in training myself.”
At that moment two of the new recruits in question walked into the tavern, laughing at some joke, but when they saw Rowyn, they wiped the laughter off, and instead just broke smiles from time to time.

Rowyn saw them “I have a feeling those two are going to be a bit of trouble.”

Mara and Natan glanced over. “Trouble? How so?” Mara asked.

“Well, those two just seemed from the first that if they got together, stuff would happen. I'm afraid I'm going to wake up with a snake in my sleeping roll or something like that.....”
Last edited by Maranwe-Ar-Feiniel on Thu Sep 29, 2005 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Robin_Greenleaf » Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:13 pm

Laughing at the idea of pulling a prank of Rowyn, "That sounds like a great idea but how about we wait until it's dark? That way we can pull it off under the cover of night." Robin spoke in a loud whisper.

Nodding in agreement " That sounds good. Hey what do you want to do in the mean time?" Lef asked softly as they were walking out of the tavern.

Thinking about that for a minute, "I have an idea, come with me!" she said taking Lef's hand. Walking quickly it didn't take them long to reach the tents, "Before my mom died she gave me my father's throwing knives. He left them to me before he went off to Gondor." Robin said excitedly. Letting go of his hand she went inside her tent and rummaged through her travel pack "Ah, found them! Lets go" she said walking out of her tent.

Eyeing the leather package that Robin held close to her chest, " Do you know how to use those?" Lef asked sounding a bit nervous.

With a big grin upon her face, "Trust me!" she spoke in a soft femine voice.

Rolling his eyes, "Do I have much a choice?" he mumbled softly as they both walked off to find a safe place to use the throwing knives.

It wasn't long before Robin found the perfect spot. Kneeling, she placed the leather package onto the ground, "These have been handed down from father to son for many genrations. My brothers were killed before he was able to decide who was to receive them. He told my mother that if he did not make it back from the war that I was to receive them." Watching her unroll the the leather, Lef saw six exquisitely crafted knives.
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Postby Borin_Silversmith » Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:40 am

The next morning everyone was up early and off just after sunrise. Gil was extremely quiet for most of the day...Dori had tried to engage him in conversation but he just answered in one word sentences. After the noon stop for food and to rest the horses Gil told Dori he was going to scout the trail ahead. Dori decided to ride on the wagon with Darius.."Did I do something wrong Darius? I didn't know it was so horrible...Noone ever told me...I hope Gil will forgive me.."

"Don't worry, Miss, your brother will be all right after awhile but he will never be the same as he was before he saw those horrors. War does terrible things to a man. He sees things that no one alive should have to see. Some men come back and are completely the opposite..a sober man will become a drunk--- a kind man will become mean and nasty." Darius tried to explain to the girl. " The best thing you can do is be there if he wants to talk but don't question. Let him have his quiet time to reflect on what happened . Actually he's also probably feeling a little guilty that he's alive and all those friends are gone"

Dori started questioning Darius about their journey." Have you ever been to Minas Tirith?... Is it really as big as they say it is?... How can all those people live together?... " Gil rode up and told them that they would be getting to the pass through the mountains that evening. They were going to camp on this side tonight and go through the pass in the daylight. That evening was a somber one with no one doing much talking, and they all went to bed early.

As dawn rose Dori awoke..Gil was sitting by the fire drinking a cup of coffee..Dori joined him and asked about their trip...Gil told her they would be about two weeks crossing the Plains and about a week from the gate until Minas Tirith. They hitched up the horses and started on their way. Dori rode the wagon while going through the pass but after noon break she decided to ride Star. When they had reached a flat grassy area, Dori felt like taking Star for a run. Gil sat astride Tempest and watched the wild woman, who was his sister, with her hair and her cape flying out behind her. He smiled as he watched her ride back with her cheeks red from the wind and her eyes glittering with the pure joy of the ride.
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Postby Elladan_Elfhelm » Wed Sep 28, 2005 6:58 am

Cali was sitting at the desk in his cabin going over some charts when someone knocked on his door. "Yes."

"Cap'n, she's leaving." The voice on the other side of the door replied.

Cali smiled grimly and put away his charts. "It’s about time she was." Cali said while scooting back from the desk and walking over to the door and opening it. "Finish preparing the ship quietly and discreetly Donar."
"Yes Cap'n," Donar replied. "When do you want to leave?"

"We will give her two hours head start, and then we will follow." Cali replied coldly. "I want to head northeast until we are out of sight of the land, and then turn south. Make sure the men are ready for when we catch her."

"The rum has been secured also sir, and we still have plenty of room." Donar stated as the two men began walking through the ship up to the deck. Cali squinted slightly as the almost noon sun was shining brightly in the sky. "It's a beautiful day Cap'n, and she will see us coming."

Cali and Donar walked up to the prow of the ship, and Cali leaned over the side and watched as a medium sized merchant ship sailed out of the port of Tumaland on its way south to Umbar. Cali too notice of how low the ship was in the water as it moved away from the port. "They are carrying a lot of weight; I hope the Raven's Claw is on schedule."
"She will be sir, Marach was a good choice to replace Lorgan." Donar said as he watched the ship as well. "He will not make the same mistake that Lorgan did."
"Lorgan was a fool. If Lorgan's father hadn't been my father's loyal friend, he would have been dead a long time ago." Cali muttered under his breath.

"Aye Cap'n, but all's well that ends well, right?" Donar asked.

Cali turned and gave his first mate an evil look. "If that second ship had escaped that day Donar, then all of our plans would have been for naught. Every port in Middle Earth would have turned us away, and how long do you think we could have lasted on Gondolin?" Gondolin was once a hidden city of the Noldorian elves, as Cali had learned from stories that were handed down through his family. Many years ago Cali’s great-grandfather discovered three small islands about two days sail west of the port of Umbar. The islands were uninhabited until Cali’s great-grandfather found them, and so he built a small port there and the pirates have used it as a secret base of operations since. Cali’s great-grandfather gave the islands the name Gondolin, because they were hidden in the sea. The name also fit because of their natural shape and form. If someone sailed by the islands they would never even see the port unless they actually sailed all of the way around the islands and through the small inlet that led to the harbor. The islands were perfect for hiding, and for dismantling captured ships. If things went as planned, Cali would be visiting Gondolin in two days.

"Aye sir, you are right." Donar agreed as the two men watched the ship fade into the horizon.

"One hour Donar, we will leave in one hour. Storm season will be here soon, and it will probably be a bad one, since last year was fairly calm. We need to be back in Dol Amroth as soon as possible." Cali said and then stepped down from the prow and headed back to his cabin. He left the door open to his cabin this time, so he could hear the sounds of the men preparing to sail. He was always more at peace right before leaving on a voyage. His father had been the same way, except for one time. Cali's mind then went back to the night before the Corsairs sailed north toward Gondor. Cali's father was troubled and he had come to Cali and told him.

Cali's father told Cali, that he had never been troubled before a voyage in his life until now. His father shared a story of how Cali's grandfather had experienced the same thing before his last voyage. Cali never saw his father again, nor any of the Corsairs that had sailed north to battle Gondor for that matter. Word finally reached them that the King of Gondor has slain them with an undead army, and that none had survived.

Cali hadn't been permitted to be apart of the doomed fleet, because his father wanted to make sure that there was still one direct descendent of Castamir still alive. Even with a troubled spirit, his father still held onto his hopes of him or his son sitting on the throne of Gondor. That had been the promise given to him and the Corsairs for aiding Sauron. Sauron had promised to allow them to rule the haven of Dol Amroth and the region south of there. Cali never trusted the former Dark Lord to keep his word, but at the time the Corsairs' hatred for the White City blinded them to the treachery of Mordor.

Cali’s mind was then brought back to the present as he heard Donar calling to him. “Cap’n we’re ready.” Cali arose and headed up to the deck. “Cast off.” Cali said and immediately the ship began to move forward.

The sun had risen past noon, and the sky was still crystal clear. The wind picked up the main sail and the Sea Eagle began to move through the water smoothly. The Sea Eagle left a trail of white foam behind her, and the port of Tumaland began to shrink quickly into the distance.

“Cap’n we’ll be completely out of sight of the city in an half an hour.” Donar stated as he checked the wind and the speed of the ship.

“Good,” Cali replied. “As soon as we are out of sight, turn her south. We have a date to keep.”

“Aye-aye Cap’n,” Donar said. “We’ll catch her like she’s anchored down.” Cali nodded his agreement and then sighed deeply as his men prepared for battle.
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Postby shieldmaidenofrohan » Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:37 am

Jahira collected the empty mugs from the bar, washing them out and smiling coyly at the male patrons when she caught their eyes. The time for the noon meal had nearly passed, and since she was working in the afternoon, she would have the evening off. Varook was usually quite reasonable in not overworking his serving girls—though she suspected much of the reason for that was that the barmaids would not draw nearly as much business if they looked worn-out. But at least she would be able to escape the tavern for a little while that night. She hoped the rain that had been falling since the night before might cease by then.

She glanced up briefly as a noisy crew of sailors that had obviously just reached port came barging through the door, calling loudly for hot food and ale and flirting with any woman in sight. But her attention was held by one of the men who followed them in; one of the ship’s passengers, she guessed, with his travel-stained cloak drawn closely around him. But his features were a little too dark to be fully Gondorian. He had to be from further south. She suspected he was a messenger from her father, though it would be surprising to her if that was the case—usually Cali brought the messages, and he had told her that he would be in Tumaland for a week. Unless he lied, she thought. She wouldn’t put it past him. But it was little over two weeks since he had left Dol Amroth; surely he hadn’t had enough time to deliver his message to Jadim, finish his business and return so soon.

The man sat down at the bar, pushing back the hood of his cloak. His dark hair clung damply to his face, disfigured by a scar running from above his eyebrow and down across his cheek. The injury that had left that mark seemed to have blinded him in one eye, which was covered by a dark patch. Jahira set down the mug she was washing and approached him with a smile on her face. “Good day, sir,” she said.

“Good afternoon,” he replied. “And what might your name be?”

“Isilme,” she answered. The man’s eye lit up, as she had suspected it would. “And what can I get you, sir?” she asked, lowering her lashes demurely.

“A hot meal and some ale would suffice,” the man said, looking at her keenly with his good eye. “But I don’t have much. How much will this get me?” He pulled a coin out and slid it across the bar.

Jahira picked up the coin, casually glancing at it and swiftly closing her hand around it before any of the patrons could see. The gold piece was from Harad; a token from her father, undoubtedly. “Depends on what you are asking for,” she replied flippantly.

“What are you offering?” he shot back.

“We have fish stew and roasted pork today,” Jahira answered.

“I’ll take the meat,” he answered. Jahira nodded, understanding perfectly that he was more concerned about speaking to her away from the crowd than about what he would be served for his meal. She quickly went to the kitchen, returning with a steaming plate of food, then asked, “Did you have a pleasant journey?”

“It’s a difficult time to travel. Storms are brewing,” the man answered.

So it has to do with the mission then, she thought. Out loud, she asked, “Will you be staying in the city long then?”

“Depends. Is there a room free?” he asked her.

Jahira thought for a moment. “There are three, I believe. I would take the one in the corner; you can watch the sea from there.”

The man nodded, saying he would consider it, and Jahira went back to her duties, her mind full of questions as to what this was all about.

That evening, just before the time when the guards on the third watch would be taking their duties, Jahira left the tavern and hurried down the streets under cover of darkness. The messenger would be waiting for her on the beach near the caves, according to the coded message. Sure enough, he stepped out of the shadows as she approached, greeting her in Haradric. “Greetings, my lady, and thank you for coming,” he said, bowing respectfully. “My name is Barir, and I bring a message from Lord Jadim.”

“What is the message?” she asked impatiently.

“First of all,” Barir said, “he wishes to know if you have learned any more details concerning this wedding.”

“I have,” she replied; it had been almost all the patrons talked about, especially the women that occasionally stopped in to rest from travels. “It seems that there will be representatives from most, if not all, of the noble families of Gondor, and many from Rohan as well. And the King and Queen will be there, of course, and Lord Faramir and his wife.” She practically spat out the last part; there were few among her people who would care if the new Steward and his family were wiped from the face of the earth. They had lost too many good men to his Rangers in Ithilien, and if that weren’t enough, he had married the sister of Rohan’s king. It was no secret that she had ridden into the battle at the Pelennor in disguise, or that she had slain the captain of Mordor’s army. Personally, Jahira had decided she would like nothing better than to slit the woman’s throat, since it was likely she was the one responsible for Adir’s death.

“How well will it be guarded?” Barir asked, bringing her back out of her thoughts.

“Quite well, I fear. I do not doubt that a large group of Gondor’s soldiers will be there. And I have heard that Rohan’s king will be accompanied by a large group as well, though I have heard too many conflicting reports to know the exact number yet.” Jahira scowled. “There must be a way to draw off some of the guard.”

“I will report this to Lord Jadim for his consideration,” Barir answered, then paused. He lowered his voice so that she could barely hear him over the surf and added, “I am also to warn you to be wary of entrusting too much information to Calimahir. It’s no secret that he wishes for Gondor’s throne. Lord Jadim fears that, if a choice must be made, he will betray us. You must keep an eye on him, my lady, and if he shows any sign of turning against us, he must be eliminated.”

Jahira blinked, a little surprised. Could she really do it? she wondered. Would she be able to kill Cali? True, the man could be completely infuriating. And any man who would betray his own people for his own ends had no honor in him, and could clearly not be trusted to keep to his word. But still…he was the only link to home that she’d had since leaving. And, as much as she hated to admit it, he was the closest thing she had to a friend in Gondor. “My lady?” Barir asked. “He’s just a man of Gondor, after all.”

“I know that,” Jahira quickly retorted, a steely edge to her voice. “I just do not think he’s outlived his usefulness yet, that’s all.”

“And if you must kill him?”

“Then I must.” Jahira’s dark eyes narrowed as she determined that she would not fail her people in this. “Now go back to my father, and tell him I shall do all he wishes of me.”

“Very well, my lady.” Barir bowed once more, then they parted ways. But Jahira could not help hoping that she would not have to make that choice.
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Postby Leofwine » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:59 am

Leofwine stared down at the shining knives spread out before Robin, his eyes wide. Well, this girl certainly came prepared for anything! The knives were beautiful, by far the most intricately ornamented he had ever seen, with what looked to be silver filigree inlaid on the hilts and delicately wrought metalwork forming the cross piece, in the shape of horses' head, one to each side. All six kinves appeared to be identical. He knelt down beside Robin and stretched out his hand. "Careful! They're razor sharp." She cautioned.

Picking one up, Lef felt the perfect balance of it. He made an imaginary feint with it, as if he were throwing it, and he knew it would fly straight and true.

"They're beautiful. It's a shame there are no sons left to inherit them." Lef was still busy examing the knives and didn't notice the scowl which jumped to Robin's face. In one swift, fluid movement, she reached for two of the knives, stood, turned on her heel and threw, sending them both singing through the air. With hardly a sound, they sliced into the bale of straw sitting some 25 feet or so away on this, the field where they had been honing their archery skills.

'Yes, It is a shame." Robin said simply, standing and staring into the semi-darkness which was fast enveloping the practice field.

Lef, who had felt the movement of air next his ear as Robin's hand had brought the kinife from the ground, turned to stare at the bale of straw, his eyes almost popping out of his head. After an awkward moment of silence, he said, "Um . . . that was pretty good. Did your father teach you that . . . or your brothers perhaps?"

"No. I've been practicing on my own."

"You're very surprising, for a girl." Lef said, rising to stand next to her. She made no attempt to take his hand this time, and he wasn't sure whether he was glad or not about that. "Perhaps you could teach me that trick . . . It seems I've a lot to learn."

Robin turned to look at him, his image becoming softer in the evening gloom. "I'd be happy to teach you what I know. It's not much, so far. But I've tried to learn to use them" she indicated the knives on their leather coverings."Because they're aren't any sons, and never will be more. I want to honor my father's memory by at least knowing how to use them, if there ever comes a time of need."

She bent down and picked up two more knives, handing one to the boy. "I've found the best way to hold it is like this." She held the knife far to the end of the hilt, almost gripping it with only her thumb and two first fingers. "I don't know if that's right, or not. But it's worked OK so far. Maybe there's someone in the eored who really knows how to do this." Again, in one smooth motion she pulled her arm back over her head and brought it forward quickly, releasing as the knife just cleared her temple. Again, it flew towards the target, hitting an inch or so from the other two.

'Seems to work perfectly to me." Lef said with a grin. He held the knife as Robin had and pulled back and threw. Flying off to the left, it missed the bale by mere inches. Groaning, he said "Well, that's one orc that didn't go down." Robin laughed and Lef knew he was glad to hear it.

Robin stooped to retrieve one of the remaining two knives. "Here. Hold it like this, with your fingers here." She curled her hand around his, moving his fingers with her other hand to get them in the right position. "Now, pull back to about here." She stepped behind him and reached up to pull his arm back farther. "Keep you eye on the target. Look exactly at where you want it to hit. Release when the knife is level with that spot. Got it? OK . . . " She stepped away to give him room. "Go!"

This time the knife went whistling into the ground with a heavy thud about halfway to the target. Robin laughed again as she went to retrieve it. "Guess I don't make a very good teacher!"

Lef followed her, looking the other knife that had went astray as she pulled the three from the bale of straw. "No, I think the problem is the pupil. I'm just glad my brothers aren't seeing this." A quick movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention. Their activity and noise had apparently startled a small grass snake from its cozy nest at the back of the bale. His hand darting out quickly, as it tried to slither away, Lef caught the wriggling reptile and laughed." Look, here, Robin." He held it out to her. "Just what we were talking about. Do you think this one will do?"

Robin stepped closer, examing the firghtened creature as it struggled to escape Lef's grasp. "Well, it looks a bit small . . . but it will do. I think it will do just fine!" They grinned at each other. Walking back to where Robin had set down the knives, the girl carefully cleaned the balde of the one which had bitten into the earth, and replaced them all into their carrying case, as the boy attempted to guide the wiggling snake into a leather pouch he had taken from his belt. Giggling, Robin, held the packet under her arm as she then held the pouch open wider and Lef finally managed to get the snake inside, drawing the top shut and securing it tightly with a leather tie.

'Shall we?" Lef asked ceremoniously, holding out his arm, which Robin wrapped her hand around.

"Oh, let's!" She laughed, and they made their way back to the tents.
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Postby Leofwine » Wed Sep 28, 2005 1:34 pm

Aldric wove his way through the narrow lanes of Edoras, tracing the route back to the inn where he was staying. Supper with his cousin had been interesting, to say the least. The way those two kept shooting those meaningful looks at one another, and laughing at everything the other one would say. Well, the girl was actually giggling. Ah, well, youth! he thought to himself, although he was only twenty himself. He felt much older. Aldric still flirted with women when he had the chance, which had been pretty limited back in the isolated valley he and Leofwine came from. But his heart was no longer in it. After breaking off his betrothal to Cynwise, keeping his distance from females, at least emotionally, was a long term goal he held firmly in mind.

Leofwine's news that Elrosar's eored was being called upon to form part of the escort for King Eomer had not taken him by surprise. But it certainly forced him to think about what he really menat to do at this point. When Lef had first talked of leaving the valley and the family farm behind, and going to Edoras to be a soldier, Aldric had laughingly told the boy that he had best make plans to bring his mama along for he couldn't possibly survive without her wiping his snotty nose for him. Over several months, however, it had become apparent that Lef was serious, and that his father's black moods and drunken rages were driving the boy to desperation. Realizing that his young cousin would really leave, and soon, Aldric made up his mind to accompany the boy, at least as far as Edoras. He owed Tostig and Gyrth at least that much. But in his heart he knew that making sure Lef got there safely wasn't the main reason he was leaving.

For the past two years, Aldric had been consumed with a restlessness he had difficulty defining. He had returned from the war thinking himself ready, at least in his mind if not in spirit, to pick up the pieces of his life and assume leadership of his now masterless family. His father's disappearance after the desperate ride to Gondor and the devastating battle before the gates of the white city had never ceased to haunt him. If there had only been a body, then he could have believed. He could have accepted. Leod himself had talked to Aldric, trying to comfort the now fatherless boy, patiently insisting that Edil must be dead, his body assuredly overlooked before the valiant dead had been buried in mass graves. But Aldric held on to the belief that his father was still alive, somewhere, somehow, although he had taken to keeping this certainty to himself, as one after another of his friends and surviving brothers in arms shook their head in sympathy but raised their eyebrows in skepticism.

And home was no longer the idyllic hamlet of his boyhood. Of the several families that shared the farming of that lush vale, none had escaped without loss. His two cousins, Lef's older brothers, had not returned, and thier father, Osred, seemed unable to recover from their deaths, ignoring his three younger sons, his two small daughters, his wife and his farm. Aldric's own mother had suffered a complete collapse upon hearing the news of her husband's "death", which surprised her oldest son somewhat, as she had never seemed overly fond of Edil when he lived. But being prostrate with grief had formed a convenient excuse to do nothing more than while away the days resting comfortably in bed, eating like a cow "To regain her strength", and crying copiously at the mere mention of her husband's name. Aldric's aunt, Lef's mother, had generously lent a hand to take care of her sister's brood of children, only to find the hand becoming shackled to her sister's household when the woman refused to resume her motherly responsibility. In short order, it became apparent that it now fell to Aldric and his aunt to run the two households and the farms.

So, in Lef's running away, Aldric had seen his own chance for freedom. Freedom from responsibility, freedom from his mother, freedom from marriage and children and yet more responsibility. And freedom to do what he had longed to do since the dust settled at the black gate of mordor - find out what really happened to his father.

He had been in Edoras for more than two weeks now, and had been able to hear no word which could help him in his search. Talking with various members of his old eored, and others whom he had known from the war, garnered only the same puzzled looks and noncommittal shrugs of the shoulders as two years ago. It was time to move on, and Gondor was the most logical place to go. Perhaps there, some citizen, some soldier or city official might somehow, possibly have heard of Edil. As Aldric entered the run down inn where he had been staying, he called out to the old woman behind the plank counter, "Here, my lovely!" He winked and she spat on the floor. "I know you'll be sorry to hear the news, but I must part from your pleasant company. The day after tomorrow. I'm off to visit the white city. I'll be sure to give your regards to King Elessar." he smiled and made his way up to his room to take inventory of what he might need for the journey ahead.
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