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  1. #11
    Posted by God'schild (Member #11236) on 17th January 2004, 04:21 AM
    *After much persuasion, Glorfindel and Cavsor convinced Pendai that Loth�riel's life was not entirely spent, and that all was not completely lost.. Thus, Pendai's next most logical conclusion (which was equally as extreme as her first) was to make ready to leave with all the speed they could manage, to go after Loth�riel and to see that she was taken out of danger. Glorfindel predicted correctly and they were all three ready by high noon, and he went to the stables where he would meet Avarielle, while Pendai went to retrieve her horse.

    The healer knocked quietly on the door of a small smithey, and was soon rewarded with a gruff voice,* We don't want you're business, go elsewhere! Our shop is full. *Pendai cleared her throat and replied,* If you do not open this door, Cottman Coal arm, I shall have your head. *There was an pause, followed by a scrabbling sound and the abrupt opening of the door. A huge man with a scraggly beard and gigantic hands that were black with dust greeted her, smiling with laughable sweetness.* Ah, heh.. Ahem, Pendai, how fine of you to drop by my humble abode. What can I do for you? *Pendai nodded toward the door,* Have you kept my horse well in that shack of yours? *Cottman nodded firmly* 'Yessum, very well, he's taken the finest care this city can offer. Would you like me to get 'im for y'? *Pendai nodded a second time and waited as he disappeared around the corner of his house toward the large single-stall stable behind it. He returned a short while later, leading a gigantic stallion with a velvet black coat and a single wide blaze of white down its nose, fully saddled. The elf maid greeted the horse warmly, completely ignoring the man that brought him and speaking quietly in elven as she ran her fingers along its crest, noting the glossy sheen of its newly groomed coat.* Nae saian luume', Maquissar, Cormamin lindua ele lle... Cottman, you have kept you're word. Only you have I trusted with my finest possession, and I thank you for holding it for me. I must go, but have I need to keep Maquissar again in safety you can count on my coming back. Namaarie! Fair winds be with you.

    *With this, she pressed her right hand to her left shoulder in a final sign of respect, vaulted up onto Maquissar's back and sped away, leaving him with rather muddled thoughts related to the oddities of elves.

    She came to the large stables and dismounted, having found Cavsor and Glorfindel waiting, she arrived just in time to greet Avarielle. The girl seemed almost shy, so to speak, and would not look either she or Glorfindel in the eye. The elf lord could not help but smile to her,* Lady Avarielle, I am glad you have come. It is best you know the nature of our journey before you begin, and I give you permission to remain here if you so desire.. The daughter of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth has fled the city and we go to find her and see that she is well, lest her death be on the healer's head.

    *Cavsor thought of his family and was silently glad that he could at last have a fair excuse to go and search for them...*

    *Glorfindel glanced at Pendai, then back at Avarielle.* I go with them because I must return to Rivendell that way. Alas, we must fly, choose quickly!

    *Avarielle at a loss of words simply nodded eagerly.*

    *Glorfindel nodded, content with her decision. He then turned and mounted Asfaloth, and Cavsor mounted his own horse. Pendai turned as well and mounted Maquissar, and they rode together from the city with speed lent to them by whatever force may be watching.

    For many hours they rode, sometimes slowing and sometimes traveling in a full fledged gallop. The horses were trained for such things as this and actually liked the running, and though their riders pushed them, they were not entirely spent by the time the day was through. They reached the Druadan forest and walked through much of it for a while, till at last they halted and drew a crude camp with no fire. Late into the night,
    Glorfindel was kept awake, for he felt that all of Pendai's thoughts were bend toward Loth�riel. She was willing the girl to wait, if only a little while. Pendai foresaw the Easterlings and knew that the girl would meet them, and it greatly troubled her.

    The next day they rode at dawn with twice the urgency, for both the elves sensed that it was needed. No time for rest did they take, and though the horses were growing weary, they did not pause for relief. At last night fell and they rode on still, when abruptly Glorfindel froze, listening. Pendai came alongside him and listened as well, and she heard the distant sound of battle along with the occasional shrill scream of death. Ignoring all else, she spurred Maquissar toward it. Her horse was bred for war, and he needed no second bidding. Horse and rider came flying through the clearing, coming like black lightning upon the easterlings.

    In Pendai's mind she saw the abrupt image of Loth�riel kneeling before a captain who was about to take her life, and he bore an elven blade. In a moment of fleeting panic she cried aloud,* Bragol thalion!*And with all her strength she urged the girl to stand and retaliate.

    Momentarily assured that Loth�riel was not in death's hand, the healer fought like a maddened thing, cutting down anyone that dared opposed her. It was not long before she saw a single guard in the full light of the moon, standing over the unconcious body of Loth�riel and warding off any stray Easterlings that had not fled. Pendai saw one such Easterling raise his bow and notch and arrow, about to slay the guard from a distance, but one of her blades was in his throat before he so much as got a chance for a death cry. The general din of battle now came to a slight lul. She dismounted and went toward the weary guard, pulling down her hood that he might see she was not an enemy. He was too tired to make a proper reply, and had no objection when she knelt beside the girl as she inspected her.
    Posted by Kookaburra (Member #3850) on 17th January 2004, 02:48 PM
    �omer of Rohan spurred his horse into a gallop, fairly flying over the plain. The two Easterlings he pursued were horsed and good riders, though no match for the speed of any of the horses of the Rohirrim. Not that the Easterlings did not have quality steeds, since they were bred for swift attack. But there was no union between horse and rider, no trust. The Easterlings treated their stock poorly, and the animals tended to be wayward and wild.

    The first rider swerved to the right, doing his best to throw off the pursuit. �omer had been expecting something of the sort, and followed him easily, losing no time in the maneuver. He gained ground fast, and stayed within a spearlength until the Easterling was forced to turn along the base of a rock outcrop, pushing him back beside the �ored's captain. The gold-adorned Easterling snarled at the man just a few feet away from him, trying to free his sword from its scabbard. �omer didn't even waste a sword-thrust on him, instead he struck the Easterling with his spear-butt, throwing the other from his saddle. As �omer circled around, he could see that he'd broken the man's neck on the sharp rocks.

    The other rider was advancing fast, seeing an opportunity to attack as the Rohirrim warrior was otherwise occupied. �omer saw him coming and spun his horse sideways, skillfully avoiding the point of the second Easterling's spear. �omer followed the dodge with a simple sweep of his blade, slicing the man's throat as he rode past. Knowing the value of a good horse, �omer collected the reins of the two rider-less creatures and led them back towards the original battle. Most of the Easterlings were destroyed, with a scattering of them still being pursued by the Rohirrim. One by one, they were hunted down and slain, then dragged towards a low hill to be burnt.

    As �omer rode slowly back to the entrance of the gulch, he noticed four strangers that had first entered his knowledge during the fray. Two were elves, and two were human - likewise, there were two males and two females. The female elf was bent over the prone figure of what he had mistaken for an Easterling rebel, seemingly inspecting a wound on the girl's side. The male elf looked vaguely familiar, as if �omer had met him recently, but not really spoken to that long. He had drawn up his great silver-white horse beside the black stallion, and dismounted also. �omer caught a glimpse of gold hair and bright eyes, and the glint of half-hidden mail under a light cloak.

    A young Gondorian female was sitting her horse just beyond, seemingly unsure of what to do. Her drawn blade was stained with blood, however, so she must have come through the thick of the battle. There was a thin streak of blood along her shoulder. The other male, a human, was assisting �othain in dragging a dead Easterling to the growing mound of the slain. �omer promptly sent a spare rider off to collect the two he had killed, then dismounted and strode up to the small cluster around the fallen girl.

    "Do you come from Gondor? I have not seen such a group for many years - two elves, three humans. How did you come to be in Rohan?"

    Pendai politely ignored him, rolling up the hem of Loth�riel's shirt to look at the makeshift bandage. All the while she was murmuring softly in her foreign tongue, reproaching the injured girl for leaving and using the powers allotted to elves to drive the darkness from her patient's mind. She frowned at the wound in Loth�riel's right side - it was serious, of course, but not enough to make the girl as ill as she was. "Mankoi lle keltal ar'varnanen? Amadhin, lle utugurtha arauka ... huine khillamin naiarauka kelsina tinu en'Imrahil .... "

    When it became clear that she would make no answer to the horse-lord, Glorfindel greeted him in the common tongue. "Hail, �omer of Rohan. I met you near Edoras not seven days ago, when you granted me leave to pass through your country. I am Glorfindel of Rivendell."

    �omer acknowledged him. "You come to fulfil the law of this country, and to abide the King's judgement in his halls?"

    Glorfindel spoke gravely. "You spoke not of this then, but I feel it necessary to go thither for a other reasons also."

    "I did not speak of it," said �omer with a tinge of bitterness in his voice, "since the law 'twas made just lately ? by Gr�ma the worm. And the others?"

    Glorfindel gestured to Cavsor and Avarielle. "My companions are both from Gondor - Cavsor, who searches for his family; and Avarielle, maid of Gondor." He did not think ti necessary to inform �omer that Cavsor or Loth�riel had escaped from Minas Morgul. Escaped thralls had always been viewed with distrust, as though they spied for Sauron still. He motioned towards Pendai. "My friend Pendai cares for the injured girl, who we followed from Minas Tirith, fearing that evil had fallen on her."

    The fire was lit on the wood surrounding the corpses as three spears were set around a small hillock where their three Rohirrim owners were laid to rest. �omer contemplated the strangers before him, his face grave. "I do not think your are evil - we men of Rohan are not under the sway of the Darkness, and so we can perceive such things easily in others. According to the laws of this land, I bid you to come to the Golden Hall of Medulseld to abide the King's judgement or that of his ... advisor." He added quickly, "I shall do what I can to grant your freedom, though I can guarantee nothing in these troubled days."

    Glorfindel was able to easily read his mind, since �omer opened it willing to him. The Elf-Lord sensed what a great admission this was, and touched his shoulder gratefully, respect showing in his eyes.

    �omer dipped his head in reply and turned to Pendai. "You may take one of the despoiled Easterling horses to take her to Edoras. There is much more available there that could aid the girl." As he spoke, he got a clear look at her face - pale, framed with short black hair. Pendai finally looked up, her eyes concerned.

    "Thank you, Lord. I have need to get her there as soon as possible. The foul Rhunedain used a poisoned blade. 'tis but a slight scratch on her shoulder, and she is lucky there. But the poison will work quickly." Even as she spoke, Loth�riel's eyes opened, vague and wandering.

    Her voice was faint, and she spoke in Sindarin elvish. "Pendai ... awr'rooma ... tamp ... telqualme .... "

    Pendai touched her forehead and closed her own eyes, concentrating. Her lips moved silently for a moment, then Loth�riel relaxed into darkness again. Pendai looked at Glorfindel. "A horse?" she pleaded. He brought her one of the Easterling's horses and helped her place the unconscious Loth�riel into the saddle, looping the limp fingers under the horse's harness to prevent her from falling off. The entire group mounted up as �omer marshaled his men. Then as one assembly, they moved off into the lightening twilight of dawn.
    Posted by CJF (Member #1112) on 17th January 2004, 04:54 PM
    Avarielle followed behind Glorfindel, in awe of all that had happened over the last couple of days. She'd never faught before, and now she'd had her first battle. Her arm had a slight scratch, but it looked worse than it really was. Now, she was heading for Edoras, the capital city of Rohan.

    She looked at the Rohirrian soldier that was up ahead. She'd never met a Rohirrian soldier, or anyone from Rohan, for that matter. First I'm offered the chance to travel with elves, then I'm in a battle with Easterling's and now we're heading for Edoras. What's next? she wondered with anticipation.

    Avarielle held her breath as Edoras came into view. It was a beautiful sight to look at, sitting on a hill with the mountains behind it. Avarielle smiled with excitement as they neared the city.
    ...to the topTop

  2. #12
    Posted by Blessed-one (Member #546) on 19th January 2004, 07:35 PM
    Traveling with elves was a new experience for him. Elves were soft spoken, wise and young looking beyond their years and they had their own language with their own elegant way of moving. Even the horses were beautiful, well groomed and well trained.

    And good natured.

    Cavsor could feel the pressure weighting on him. Unlike others who most likely felt excited in the companion of elves, like Avarielle for example, whom he still did not know much about, Cavsor was slightly wary of them. Their strange custom fed his distrust and their superiority as seen in the reaction of the humans made him feel extremely uneasy. Spending years in Minas Morgul had taught him to eye his superior with skepticism. Any newcomer and anyone of different race was viewed with a caution that was instantaneous. It was clearly difficult for him to be in the party and he had kept quiet throughout many days. It was easy for him as he was not outspoken by nature. The person that most of his wariness directed to was Glorfindel. Although Cavsor was placed under Pendai�s care in Minas Tirath, knowing her did not extend his trust to G.lorfindel.

    Riding into the forest, he had pulled his sword out, stabbing with it and swinging it with an ease that now came to him like a master scholar recalling the exact calculation of a challenging equation. The sight of Lothiriel lying wounded on the ground made him worry, spurring him on to cut down the Easterlings with greater speed. If he had stopped her from going out alone this would not have happened. If he had gone with her and realised his chance to find his family earlier, he could have helped her. Cavsor felt the guilt pulling on him heavily. Lothiriel was his only link to the years he spent in slavery. He felt strangely responsible for her safety though it was quite ridiculous to think so. As the battle drew to a close, he was relieved to find Pendai tending to the girl, so he went to help the Rohan soldiers in the clean up mission. Meeting the Rohan people was much like staying with the Gondorians, all honourable men with excellent fighting and leadership skill. The group was to proceed to Edoras, another human settlement, a city of Rohan, and Cavsor rode with anticipation and hope to reach the city. Lothiriel will be healed and if God was willing, he will be reunited with his family.
    Posted by God'schild (Member #11236) on 20th January 2004, 10:36 AM
    Pendai rode beside Lothiriel, using Maquissar to guide the Easterling horse the girl lay upon with utmost care, and yet she pressed their pace to the limit of safety. Endan! Too many people! They crowded her on every side. Though she knew they meant well and that they were oblivious to her discomfort, their good intentions did not ease her growing frustration. If she attempted to move one way, there would be someone already there who was moving in the opposite direction. The elf woman was not accustomed to such crowds in the least, and the dull prattle of foreign voices interrupted her thoughts. Alas! It was a fickle, annoying kind of burden she bore..

    Glorfindel watched the healer at the peak of her annoyance, very amused; he noted the instance when she resisted the urge to curse as she just missed the spear butt of an ignorant rider for the fifth time, who seemed unable to put the blasted spear in its proper place. With little hesitation the elf determined to aid her, and he did so with gracious indifference. Casually he brought Asfaloth just ahead of Maquissar, using his own horse's very bulk to put a space between her and the rest of the small mob, yet making it appear perfectly natural. Very soon, Pendai noticed that no one's horse or spear had swung in her direction for a good five minutes. She took the time to look around her, curious as to what suddenly made this new thing happen, when she noticed the elf lord riding in front of her. It surprised her to see that he was literally shielding her from the bustle of the people. She had no idea he noticed her annoyance, but was grateful of his act of generosity. Such simple kindness was foreign to her perception of life in general, and she pondered it long after the ride was done.

    At large they entered the city, and Pendai- with her usual suffocating manner and burning gaze- negotiated (or violently threatened) her way to one of the finest beds in Edoras. She would settle for nothing less. Here she finally lay Lothiriel, content that the location was good enough for her to work in peace, and the room was conviently out of the way of anyone and everything. Long the healer worked, oblivious of the beauty of the rising sun that brought pure golden light through the window in a flood. She would neither eat nor drink anything lest it distract her from lifting the evil poison from the wound, and she battled hard with the dark presence of the Nazgul that shadowed Lothiriel's spirit. Many times she would abruptly dash from the room out into the streets, where she would gain some herb or another and then go flying back, locking the door behind her.

    At last! The poison was finally purged from the wound, and Pendai quite literally tore the residue of the nazgul from Lothiriel's mind. Lothiriel awoke and was consious, but Pendai promptly put her out again with a mild sleeping brew, because she knew that the wound would only open a third time if the girl did not rest- if only for a little while. Just as she finished re-binding her patient and tidying up the remains of her herbs, there was a hesitant knock on the door. She glared at nothing,* Can you not leave a healer in peace to her business? *A muffled voice replied,* You have been summoned by the king and his advisor, he wishes to see you-.. *The voice broke off into an apologetic silence. She did nor reply for a few long moments. The elf woman was not in the mood for discussing anything with a king, regardless of who it was; and yet she knew could not leave whoever it was standing there out there forever...* One moment, I am coming. *Moving slowly for the sake of her own small vengance, she reluctantly lifted the lock and swung the door open, greeted by the face of Eomer. Her gaze softened. At least it was not just a common guard.. Those commoners could be very frustrating at times. Pendai determined upon meeting him that Eomer was of the intelligent sort, and chose not to be annoyed with him. 'Twas not his fault that a king wished to see her..

    Presently, Eomer asked her a question, and she noted that his tone held a note of respect.* How would you have me announced you to the king? *Pendai thought for a moment and then said simply,* Pendai Agarwaen, the Elven Healer. * He nodded and motioned for her to follow him and she did, adopting an air of slightly hostile tolerance. He lead her through the streets and up a winding path to the Golden Hall, where the guards (of just the sort she disliked) bid her remove any weapon she carried. She had no weapon and entered without hassle, for they knew she would not harm their king.

    Once inside, Pendai sensed the instant oppressive aura the room wore like a mantle, and even the air was depressingly thick with the dust collected from leaving all windows unopened. She strode slowly behind Eomer as they approached the throne at the end of the great room; and There, bent and twisted in his chair as the essence of rotting disease and age, sat King Theodan of Rohan, the shadowy body of another draped on his feet. Pendai experienced sympathy for Eomer; she clearly read at least five kinds of anger in his thoughts as he bowed low before his king, but this anger he held carefully and wisely in check.* My Lord, I bring you Pendai Agarwaen the Elven Healer, who comes at you're request. *He stepped aside into the shadows, allowing her to come forward.

    The thing on Theodan's feet righted itself and thrust an accusing finger at Pendai, yet it did not speak to her, rather it spoke to the ghostly residue of a man that sat on the throne.* She! That is the witch of our troubles... Fell and low in her state of feeble ignorance, she has trespassed on the land of the king and disobeyed his law. She has come into your city, my lord, without your permission or approval, and made you keep one of her worthless servants in a bed meant for the honored! *It rushed to the king's side and clung to his chair, gravely whispering in his ear,* What have you to say to this act of clear disrespect and rebellion, your highness? *Theodan just barely stirred, his limpid, glazed eyes flicking toward the elf that stood before him. He spoke with great, slow effort, in a kind of weeze.* Do you- *he paused long to refil his lungs shallowly.* Dishonor, me?

    *Pendai watched all this in fascination, beginning to understand Glorfindel's despair. She herself had to risit the urge to do something she would later regret. Was it "Wormtongue" that the whispering creature was called? How well the name fit him! She did not answer. Wormtongue cried aloud,* She has no excuse! She stands guilty of dishonor, such a twisted mind should be exiled from you! *Pendai said nothing still. Wormtongue stepped down the steps toward her, coming very close, his stink reaching her nostrils as he stared lifelessly into her face. He took a breath and was about to say something, when her dark eyes abruptly snapped to meet his, and she would not his gaze go.

    In that moment she looked into Wormtongue's very core, gripping his thoughts with the daggers of fear and convicting him of every twisted lie he ever told, silently holding his undying soul over the flames of the Abyss that would come with death, and making him face her new-born hatred of him unveiled. No one knew what things she told him in his mind, but after a few long moments she released him from her grasp and he wilted to the floor. Wormtongue crawled as a snake to Theodan, crying aloud all the while,* Lies! She is a liar! Exile! Cast her far away and make her never err return! *Pendai finally spoke. She found herself experiencing the very anger that Eomer bore, and she was hardly capable of containing her disgust, * Anything I say you will turn against me, so I will say nothing. I need not spoil my words upon the ears of they that devour the bile of leeches... When my wounded it well I shall leave, and I shall not return as long as his majesty is lord, never again may you see my face. *She caught the gaze of wormtongue one last time, scarring his spirit with her hatred of all that was evil. She fairly spat,* Blessed is the day the deceit of the king is spent! *Wormtongue screamed shrilly to her,* Get out of the king's sight and fly to the shadows whence you came! *Pendai cast her eyes down and left, for she knew all debate was utterly useless.*
    Posted by CJF (Member #1112) on 20th January 2004, 06:17 PM
    Avarielle dissmounted her horse, her gaze looking towards the palace where the King of Rohan dwelt. As she glanced around the city, she noticed the beautiful carvings that the buildings held, and yet there seemed to be no happiness in the people, which made the place very gloomy.

    Avarielle headed for the stables, and felt many eyes watching her. She cast her gaze to ground, as she walked into the stables, and tied her horse to a nearby wall. She took off the saddle, and set it on the ground, next to her horse. She stroked the black maine of her white horse, Niirnaeth.

    "How are you doing with all of this traveling?" she asked him quietly.

    He nodded his head and grunted slightly. Avarielle smiled and laughed. She fed him and watered him, and then went outside, looking for Pendai. She was again met with stares from the people. She headed for the palace, with her gaze at the ground.
    ...to the topTop

  3. #13
    Posted by Kookaburra (Member #3850) on 20th January 2004, 09:53 PM
    It was already late evening when Loth�riel awoke from her fevered sleep. Her body was so weak that to turn her head took considerable effort. The sun had set two hours before, and the moon had not yet risen. Through the small, high windows, only a few early stars were to be seen, glittering high and cold above the bent circles of the faded mortal world.

    Loth�riel felt herself slowly regaining her energy, although not her strength. The little she could see of the room in which she lay was strange, foreign to her eyes. The roof was high and thatched with straw, and the walls were of richly carven wood. Gold reflected light from about the room, enameled in the wooden paneling around the doors and inlaid in the intricate horse-head designs. Loth�riel could see that she was laid on a bed of thick fur, and a blanket sewn of deerhide and sheepskin was pulled over her, both warm and soft.

    Loth�riel did not have the strength or even the will to stand - not yet. She had been running long enough to appreciate a brief respite, however little she had ever rested in her life. Before long, she began to feel the last effects of Pendai's draught wear off, and the pain returned. Pain stabbed through her small frame, and every muscle in her body ached from over-use and rough abuse. A tingling sensation from her side convinced Loth�riel that her side was bleeding badly, but whether it was real or imagined, she could not bend herself to see.

    From the corner of her eye, she noticed the heavy wooden door swing open, almost noiselessly. A fair lady clothed in white and girt with gold entered, closing the door silently behind her. For a moment, she stood with her back to Loth�riel, her back straight. Soft and gently as a thought, the Lady �owyn turned to face the injured Loth�riel. Cool pity softened her icy grave eyes as she noticed Loth�riel's eyes were open.

    "You are awake?" it was a needless question, but one �owyn always thought necessary, to gauge the woundeds' strength or temperament.

    Loth�riel tried to push the blanket off of her, but winced and stayed. Instead of sitting up to greet her guest, she nodded meekly. "How long have I been asleep?" Her body was well-rested, even if still feeling the effects of the fight.

    �owyn moved away from the door and approached the sickbed. For the first time, Loth�riel noticed that she carried a basin of water in her hands, which she set down beside the furs. She paused a moment before speaking, seeming to survey the slender maid before her. "Two nights, and three days. The first day and most of the night was taken in riding here from the East-border."

    Loth�riel simply groaned in reply.

    �owyn moved the furs off of the wounded, and began to unwind the blood-soaked bandages about Loth�riel's waist. She did not blink at the scarred and torn flesh as she slowly revealed them - as a lady who had often ignored her high status and gone among the wounded, she had seen many worse. After a full minute of agonizing silence, she did speak, her voice almost apologetic. "I am sorry to disturb you, The Elf-Lady Pendai bade me to assist when she was taken to see the King. Elves do not sleep, they say, but after four hard days of riding and another two tending to the ill, I do not think the hardiest elf would be completely themselves."

    Loth�riel tried to say something, but then gave a pained moan as �owyn dabbed away some of the dried blood with a cloth dipped in warm water. After a moment, the pain subsided, and she finally had the strength to voice her thoughts. "Many thanks for being so kind, milady. I am afraid I do not know where I am, or what happened after falling from the rocks ... wait, I did not fall ... there were men there .... " Her voice trailed off into thoughtful silence.

    The lady gave a slight smile as she replied; "You are in the city of Edoras, as the common speech says it. This is the land of Rohan, the horse-masters, and growing evil." She dried the wound with another cloth and began to wrap a piece of linen around the partially closed wound. "You must have lost some of your memory, or the poison did it for you. You came across a band of Easterlings unaware, and were chased through the East-wall of the mountains, where you were overtaken. You were attacked and given a poisoned cut, but somehow you managed to overcome the Easterling captain."

    There was respect in her voice, and more than a hint of envy. Loth�riel could sense the checked emotion behind the words, and realized that however fair the White Lady of Rohan was, she was made of ice and steel, coldly beautiful and with a heart of fire.

    //Perilous,// thought Loth�riel, //Perilously fair describes her well.// Presently, �owyn finished changing the dressing and stood, taking the basin across the room and out of Loth�riel's line of vision. Then she returned, bearing a small tray with a bowl and broad spoon both carven from dark wood.

    Feeling as helpless as a newborn kitten, but too exhausted to protest, Loth�riel was spoon-fed a sort of medicinal stew. It tasted like a mixture of chalk and salted beef, not unpleasant but not delicious either. �owyn looked apologetic as she transferred the spoon to Loth�riel's mouth. It was all the shieldmaiden could do not to spill any of the near-boiling liquid.

    "I'm sorry that I had no time to make anything myself, I had to make do with what they feed the injured men when they come back from war - dried soup cakes."

    Loth�riel looked puzzled, unable to speak because her mouth was practically raw from the scalding broth.

    �owyn recognized the question anyway. "Soup cakes are basically dried packets of meat and healing herbs that men take with them to battle - they're both light and easy to make for the less culinary. All you do is basically drop them into boiling water and they're made." The Lady �owyn knew little about cooking good food, but she did understand the healing properties of most plants within the borders of Rohan, and how to best use them.

    The soup was finally finished, and Loth�riel smiled at the look on �owyn's face - a mixture between proud and irritated that she couldn't find more to feed her charge. Feeling somewhat dejected, she felt somewhat inclined to talk. "Where is it you hail from?" she asked Loth�riel, while searching around for another cloth.

    Loth�riel shook her head with a grim smile. "You don't want to know."

    "Try me." �owyn was determined to get her mysterious visitor to converse, and the iron will of the White Lady was not about to bend to the whim of a common traveler, whether she be under the care of elves or otherwise. However, she was unprepared for the answer Loth�riel gave her, a look of amusement on her face as she watched her caretaker's face.

    "I was born and raised in Minas Morgul, under the shadow of the Ephel Duath." Loth�riel got a sort of twisted satisfaction in seeing the untouchable �owyn recoil, her eyes wide, her pale skin fading still more.

    The voice came as a soft whisper. "Minas Morgul?"

    Loth�riel gestured to her shoulder, which had remained untouched, unseen. "I was a thrall in their dungeons for over nineteen years, and I am but lately twenty."

    �owyn had returned to stand beside the sickbed, the cloth forgotten in her hand. She opened her mouth to speak, but she didn't manage to say a word before the door opened again. A incensed Pendai came storming in, startling them both with the vividness of her fury.

    If elves show little emotion, Pendai was an exception. Her face had paled considerably with anger, a flush of red just along her cheekbones. Her lips were white and her eyes seemed to loom larger than ever. Pendai's whole countenance fairly crackled with electrical energy as she went immediately to Loth�riel.

    "How do you feel?" Pendai queried, checking the bandages and giving �owyn an approving look.

    "Honestly?" Loth�riel received a nod. "I feel as sick as dead rat, but I suppose that's an improvement from how I was before."

    Pendai shook her head. "You heal quickly, but I'm afraid not quickly enough." She looked up at �owyn. "We have lost the favor of your Lord."

    �owyn shook her head, bitterness edging her voice. "'tain't milord who gives favor these days. The Wormtongue makes all of his decisions for him. I fear that the realm of Rohan is drawing to an end."

    Pendai gave a sympathetic look. "Fear and death have troubled this land for long, and I fear 'twill worsen before the end. But I do not think you have to fear the end of Rohan as yet. Hope is rising, however frail. We have knowledge which has not entered the Enemy's knowledge, nor will until the very end of his rule is nigh." She did not speak more of what Glorfindel had told her of the Fellowship.

    �owyn did not press the discussion further, but instead nodded towards Loth�riel, who was trying to ignore the pain wracking her body. "Your charge is very courageous, but she does not remember slaying the Easterling captain."

    Pendai nodded slightly. "She won't remember clearly for many weeks, or perhaps never. In defeating the poison I had to remove the shadows from her mind. The experience in itself was enough to dampen her spirits." The elf healer whisked out her bag of herbs and other medicinal items. With a mortar and pestle she began to crush the leaves of various plants and aromatic seeds, adding some liquid from a small leather flask that glinted silver in the soft moonlight.

    While Pendai was mixing up the draught, �owyn began lighting a few lamps that were set around the room, bringing a comforting yellow warmth to the injured Loth�riel. Even as she bent to light the last one, her brother entered through the still-open door, his face apologetic but tight-lipped with contained rage built up from years of watching Wormtongue destroy his uncle.

    "I am sorry you did not find the welcome what you had hoped," he said softly. From growing up with him, �owyn knew this was perhaps the closest he had ever come to apologizing, and she raised her eyebrows in surprise.

    �omer shut the door behind him and looked towards Pendai. "It's not safe to leave any doors open anymore, the enemy has spies everywhere - even here, in Rohan." When the healer nodded, he moved over to join his sister over by the foot of the bed. His dark eyes were tinted with concern as well as the fading anger. "One of these is, I believe, the Master Wormtongue."

    "Apt name," added Pendai dryly.

    �omer nodded, and looked down at Loth�riel, who looked terribly frail and vulnerable, although he knew she was made of underlying material that no one had seen yet. He had caught a glimpse of it on the eastern fields of Rohan. He knew little of her past except what �owyn had told heard, and the delirious ramblings he had caught in the long ride from the East-border to Edoras. From what he'd learned, Loth�riel had lived through a darkness beyond his experience, and had escaped singly from Minas Morgul. From his knowledge, she and only one other person - the Cavsor that had ridden with them - had ever escaped from the Morgul Vale, and eluded Nazg�l as well. He was sympathetic, maybe overly so as she embodied the fighting spirit of the �orlingas of old. Finally, he spoke. "How soon will it be until she is well?"

    Loth�riel winced at being referred to as simply 'she', since no one seemed to deem her own opinion important. But Pendai gave her a reassuring smile and turned to answer the Horse-Lord.

    "It depends what you would call 'well'" replied the healer. "If you call 'well' the ability to travel, then it will be some time yet. And I fear that the shadow of her past will always be a factor in anything in her future. The scars will remain forever."

    �owyn broke her silence, speaking to Loth�riel. "You have endured much that I cannot fathom. What should we call you? Certainly your name would not tell enough of the story that is your life."

    Loth�riel dipped her head to Pendai, who handed her a wooden vessel with the drink she had made. "My own name is adequate." Pendai glanced keenly at her face before nodding her agreement in trusting her name to them. Loth�riel locked eyes with both �owyn and �omer replying, "But it must not leave this room."

    The brother and sister exchanged puzzled looks. "I will not utter a word," �omer promised, and �owyn nodded for her to continue.

    Loth�riel looked down at her hands, her voice so quiet that �omer had to move closer to hear. "My true name is Loth�riel, and my father is the Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth."

    �owyn's face suddenly changed to bewilderment while her brother was visibly startled. When he spoke, his voice was strained. "Your father was Imrahil? Much of great repute is told of him here, although seldom have our people met his. Across the mountains it is said he lives, on the shores of Belfalas."

    Loth�riel sipped the drink at Pendai's impatient bidding, and then handed the drinking vessel back to the elf. "I have never been to Dol Amroth, nor do I wish to until I have lived through a life free of captivity."

    "How can this be?" asked �omer. "The people of Belfalas are surely not barbarians?" �owyn gave him a reproving look - she understood Loth�riel's point immediately.

    "No, but I have no wish to be kept behind lock and key until I am married off to some lord or equally as protective man." Loth�riel could feel the draught take effect, and she felt suddenly distant from her own body, looking on as she slid quickly into a dreamless sleep. Just before her eyes closed, she stared up at �omer. "I am not some jewel to be hoarded away from sunlight."

    Pendai smiled at the success of her medicine and turned to �owyn. "I need some rest; would you perhaps keep an eye on her for a while? Loth�riel should not wake for some hours."

    �owyn gave a faint ghost of a smile. "Of course. Where can I find you if you are needed?"

    Pendai pulled the furs back over the wounded girl and stood, gathering up her few items. "I will either be in the stables or just outside the gate. I have need to think and rest my mind. Oh!" she became serious. "Do not speak Loth�riel's true name to any one. She was brought through this danger and will go through many more because of it."
    Posted by CJF (Member #1112) on 21st January 2004, 05:06 PM
    As darkness set in, Avarielle walked from the stables in search for either Pendai or Glorfindel. She hadn't done much since they'd arrived at Edoras, and she felt the need to do something. She spotted Glorfindel and ran over to him.

    "Excuse me, m'lord?" she asked.
    She bowed slightly, out of respect, even though it felt a little awkward. He turned and faced her, waiting for her to continue.
    "Do you have anything that I can do?" she asked, feeling as if she should explain her question but not doing so.
    ...to the topTop

  4. #14
    Posted by God'schild (Member #11236) on 23rd January 2004, 12:50 PM
    OOC: *Come's flying out of no where to go zooming into computer chair* AH!! I'M COMING! Hold th' postin' for me! *upon making contact with chair, self and chair go rolling at a very high speed across the floor to hit the wall with a disturbingly loud noise. Self recovers and manages to post, if in a bit of a rush.* Sorry I'm late! Been VERY Busy.. No time! Eek, well, here I am.. sry.....


    The healer left the room and closed the door, leaving Lothiriel to Eowyn and her brother. She sensed a strange relief, at last knowing that the girl was out of harm's way, if only for a time.. She would admit to no one how very weary she was. Her body was tired, yes, but it was her very power of will that had been spent; she caused herself to tolerate concentrated strain in such large amounts that if prolonged, it would rob her of her sanity altogether. Life was a terribly relentless event indeed... Smoothing out her bristled anger, she took a breath and remembered that she was an elf, thus dutifully took on once again an air of ethereal "existance" that elves in general are known for. Having abandoned her anger she adopted then sorrow, for she grieved the great degree of death that was about to come because of the ring, and this knowledge had been heavy on her for days. Pendai strode slowly down the hall outside her room, the bleak chill of the winter air being lost upon her. She walked without coat or cloak like a ghost of the faded glory of some distant age, a wind that did not exist toying with the hem of her clothing. The whole of Edoras slept and no light of a lantern could be seen through any window; Though they sleep, thought she to herself, their rest is not peaceful, and this was true. No peaceful sleep could be had for many days yet to come.

    Glorfindel had just completed a much-needed debate with Asfaloth, for though Asfaloth never said anything at all, it was his mere silence that made the best argument. The elf explained (in elvish, as it were) the utter hopelessness of 'The Fellowship's Quest', along with all the matters of war and darkness that pressed him and everything dismal he could possibly think of. Any passing stable hands that stayed late simply averted their gaze and left him be, wondering what urgent things he spoke of. He ignored them so they ignored him�as much as one can ignore an elf lord, who is passionately arguing with his horse... By the time he had fully finished and poured every last drop of war from his heart, Asfaloth was the most well-educated creature in Edoras. Glorfindel eyed his horse who eyed him in return, and then laughed aloud- which he found was a very refreshing act- then began to go away to find Eomer. You see, Glorfindel came to the conclusion in his debate with Asfaloth that Eomer was one his greatest present ally, and he knew that he must not ignore the aid that the captain of the Rohirim could give him.

    Just as he turned to depart, a familiar voice stopped him. "Excuse me, m'lord?" Avarielle! He had completely forgotten about her. How dreadful of him... He turned and faced her, glancing at the cut on her shoulder and then waiting for her to continue, feeling guilty at his forgetfulness (and feeling guilty now at the fact that she had gotten hurt, if only to a small degree, under his protection). "Do you have anything that I can do?" He raised one eyebrow. However odd it may sound, her question actually pleased him. Such a simple desire for work was a much needed thing, and- he noted with great interest- this girl did not have a hidden motive. Glorfindel shifted his weight and looked genuinely thoughtful. He replied at leisure, "What things have you a talent for?"

    Glorfindel then caught a movement over Avarielle's shoulder, and looked past her to see that it was the healer, Pendai, going towards the gate. A great weariness and a kind of sorrow was upon her, so heavy that for a moment he was surprised by the strength of it. He percieved that she fled the city to find solitude, where then she would deal with whatever inner demons she warred and he knew that she would not come back till she had made peace with herself. Alas! May Eru allow that she return to Edoras among the living!

    Pendai made her way toward the gate and though the sentries saw her, they dared not halt her progress, for they were rather intimidated as she met their curious looks with her own bitter gaze. With surprising efficiency she slipped past the large doors and closed them behind her in silence. They all clamored up the gate to watch her, for where would the elf go once she left? But they did not see her, for her figure was already gone, as if she had entirely vanished.

    She had not vanished, in fact.. They could not see her for the clothes she wore were dark, and thus blended quickly with the shadows of night. Even Pendai did not know why she left Edoras, perhaps to be rid of the presence of Wormtongue, or to be free of the heavy fear that was the heartbeat of the world in these evil times? She knew not how far or long she walked, nor did she know when her mind finally drifted into a state of what most call sleep, but on the wide plains of Rohan she found whatever rest she had lost and there she stayed for a time, coming to terms with herself on the deepest level non deities are capable of.*
    Posted by CJF (Member #1112) on 23rd January 2004, 05:37 PM
    Avarielle paused for a moment of thought. She had expected to, simply, be given a task that she could do, not asked what her talents were. Truthfully, she couldn't think of any 'talent' that she had that would assist anyone.

    "I'll do whatever you ask of me, m'lord." she said, not knowing what else to say. She stood, staring at the ground,(for she, still, had not the courage to look either, Pendai or Glorfindel in the eye.)waiting for Glorfindel's reply.
    Posted by Kookaburra (Member #3850) on 23rd January 2004, 07:46 PM
    The cold wind from the sea howled about the high battlemented walls of Dol Amroth, hunting the flags about their posts and harrying the wave-tops into white spouts of mist. Only a few of the hardiest souls dared remain upon the walls, and these were called the storm-watch, the men who were called up for duty in the midst of the fiercest storms. They stood proud and straight, watching the ways in conditions most men found unbearable.

    But one man who stood upon the Western battlements was not a watch-man, errand-runner, or stout civilian. Clad in light mail and heavy cloak, the Prince Imrahil braved the storm's fury with the strength of his sea-faring forefathers. Being of the high blood of N�menor, he had been taught the stories of the Valar since childhood. This day it seemed that Oss� himself waxed wroth at the flight of Loth�riel, and Uinen wept salt tears for the Prince's sorrow.

    News had just arrived from Minas Tirith - the daughter he had never met had vanished from the guarded city. Cold was the message from Lord Denethor, who claimed that his son Faramir was at fault - as usual. He had informed Imrahil that Faramir had allowed an elf - of all things! - to care for Loth�riel. Bewitched, she fled from the city - so he said. It reminded the Prince that nothing much had changed in the city since the beginning of Denethor's reign - Faramir remained the scapegoat for Denethor's personal shortcomings.

    //Sirall� survived!// When Imrahil had first heard that she had indeed given birth to his daughter, he had been full of mixed emotions. //Loth�riel!// he thought, //Flower Garland? Sirall�, you defied the depths of Mordor by naming her so.// His emotions broiled inside of him, each refusing definition and recognition. Sorrow, joy and a mounting fear that it would prove to be but a dream, a deception of the enemy - all of these were present, but not subdued.

    When Imrahil had been told Loth�riel had been captive in Minas Morgul and had escaped, he felt disbelief and suspicion deepen. But Denethor swore that it was true, and that both Boromir and Faramir had witnessed her dodge Naz�l to reach Osgiliath.

    Sudden fears assailed Imrahil, and his farseeing eyes searched the sky above as if to pierce the very spirit of his enemy. The daughter he so longed to find fled before him like a moth in a high wind, perhaps drawing strength from the same dread that haunted his steps. And yet, despite his natural anger, he understood her motives. Loth�riel was, and would always remain, her father's daughter to the core. Darkness had hounded her every step, from birth to Minas Tirith's gate.

    The dark clouds veiled the night sky, and amidst their gloom came stabbing flashes of light that, followed by the beating of the heavenly drums. The wind had a distinct voice of its own, and it seemed to wail at the Prince Imrahil, whipping his heavy cloak away from his body. Sea breakers roared as they pounded against the rocks below the walls; wind tossing the whitecaps high against the age-old walls, wrought by the men of N�menor ages before.

    The Castle of Dol Amroth was like to the tower of Orthanc that no power, be it natural or intelligent, could alter the stones that built the fortress unless it be stronger than that of the N�menorian's in the strength of their reign. But in all other regards, it was unlike. Where Isengard was ringed with cold black stone, the Castle of Dol Amroth was built of pale rock that no wind or water could wear. It had withstood the years without crumbling, and even the enemy had never assailed the castle itself. When Sirall� had been taken along with many of her folk, it had been in the mountains of Dor-en-Ernil where her kindred lived.

    Prince Imrahil let the wind tear at his body, his back straight and his eyes out to sea. The riddle was never ending: a daughter he'd never met had been born and raised in Minas Morgul; she escaped to Minas Tirith, only to vanish? The Prince had so many questions that had no answers. He would have to find her, or he knew that he would never be at peace with himself.

    Imrahil tried vainly to envision what she would look like, but only a faint memory of his wife came to mind - slender and with wavy hair like writhen gold, and green eyes that looked into the very soul. He shook himself and tried to forget, but Imrahil could not lose the vision that came into his mind, the first time he had ever seen the fair lady of the Mountains.

    Her eyes had caught his, even from a distance. Not just the color, but also the innate passion for all life. Her personality was vivid, and even as she helped her aging father ascend the steep stairs from the wharf, she did not lose her smile. The early light seemed to be caught in the net of her hair, glimmering pale and golden. Sirall�'s eyes had met his, only briefly, but neither ever forgot the moment that their two souls became bound together.

    Imrahil sighed and pushed the vibrant memory aside. He had no time to lose in the search for Loth�riel, or she would be beyond his reach forever. The Prince had never expected his wife to survive, much less since she was three months pregnant when taken. His baby he had expected to be tortured and killed immediately, if she even survived past birth. But she had been born in fire and by the flames been shaped, even in the city of the Silent Watchers. While hope had long been absent, the daughter of the Prince had never lost the spirit of her forebears - over thirty generations before she was descended from the lords of N�menor; from the brother of Amandil the great, the grandfather of Isildur the King.

    The chill wind sank to a mournful song amongst the roofs and proud walls of stone, and the Prince turned to look across the land he had been given to rule. His eldest of three sons emerged to find his father, Elphir the Fair. Still young when his mother had been taken away, Elphir had mourned for the loss of her and his unborn sister the most of all his brothers. Erchirion and Amrothos were twins, and had been much too young to remember much of Sirall�. Thus, they were much surprised when news had been born out of Gondor that they had a sister.

    Elphir leapt quickly up the steps to the battlements and came to his father, a tired smile lighting his sea-gray eyes. "It won't do to despair. We shall find this Loth�riel if she walks the earth, even if I have to drag my brothers along to do so." He spoke lightly to alleviate his father's mood, even as he shielded his eyes from the elements.

    Imrahil's face broke into a smile at his son's promise. "I have no doubt in your ability, my son. But war is coming, we shall need you here."

    Elphir remained adamant. "Do not worry, father. The Lord of Dol Amroth won't lose his son to rash deeds. I will not go alone. I shall take old Farroth with me, and my friend Telthar wishes to come and see some distant lands before his father makes him heir to the Shipmasters. And you cannot find a servant more stout and better with a sword than Farroth."

    "Or a young man so rash as Telthar," added Imrahil, but his weariness was lightened. "So be it! But if rumor of war comes to you, you must ride to Minas Tirith immediately." The Prince allowed his son to guide him back down the stairs, though he little needed the support. "Agreed?"


    When Pendai had left, �omer had stayed only a short while with his sister. He had business to attend to on the east-borders. His men needed some rest before they returned to the field, but there were already rumors of unrest in the lands. In a little over two weeks he had promised to ride to the Fords of Isen to meet Th�odred, heir to Th�oden and his cousin. From there, they would go orc-hunting in the West Emnet. There, the enemy's strength grew quickest, as it was nigh to Isengard. Saruman the Cruel had claimed them as his own, and there the brooding clouds of battle ever drifted lower.

    �owyn sank to a chair by the wall, inspecting her charge carefully as if to divine the secret to Loth�riel's strength. She knew how finely the thread of doom was strung in her sinew, how close she already lay to being broken. �owyn perceived that Loth�riel had only barely survived several lethal encounters, and that the secret did not lay so much with her strength but her will. Only by the depth of her determination had she had a chance to escape Minas Morgul, and only by the endurance of sanity had she reached Osgiliath in time.

    �owyn recognized a little bit of her own personality in Loth�riel, but it was strangely changed. �owyn was driven by the need to prove herself in battle, at least to her own mind. She was well-off, and had never lacked for anything. She knew that Loth�riel had a chance for the same sort of life, but had rejected it. Loth�riel had already proven herself in battle and longed to repeat the experience, eager to wreak her vengeance upon the evil that had imprisoned her. Their differences lay in their motivations, not their desires.

    The door swung open silently, and �owyn was surprised to see Gr�ma framed in the lamplight. His stooped form was draped in a dark cloak, trimmed with rich velvet and soft fur. She didn't want to imagine how much stolen gold he spent on such a lavish creation when hundreds of her people longed for a simple blanket on cold nights.

    �owyn's voice was colder than usual as she addressed the wayward shadow of a beast. "Yes?"

    The reply was an errant sneer. Wormtongue shut the door behind him and gave the bed a wide birth as he approached �owyn. "You do not stand to greet me?" His eyes peered at her from under heavy lids, hooded with dark brows.

    �owyn did not move. "You deserve no such honor," she said calmly, though her voice wavered slightly.

    Gr�ma's sneer vanished, replaced with a glare full of spite. He did not love �owyn, nor desire her affection. He simply wanted her, and had been sworn into Saruman's trust for that very purpose. Always he had been foiled by �omer in one way or another, and above all else he feared the sharp-eyed horsemaster. Wormtongue had put his poison to work soon after seeing the Lady �owyn, seeking to destroy all of �omer's relationships and to weaken his standing in the King's eyes. Th�odred was another threat to his position, but there was no way to part him from his father. Instead, Saruman had to use another way to devour his opponents.

    Th�odred! Always alert, always watchful. He had noticed Wormtongue's interest in �owyn before her own brother. Gr�ma snickered softly to himself. Th�odred was being taken care of. And once he found cause to get rid of �omer, there would be no one to stand between him and the prize he desired. He pulled himself out of his thoughts to see �owyn watching him, a deadly gleam in her eyes that he could not identify.

    "Do you not find it hard to be left behind to care for an elf's wretched associate?" He sweetened his words with as much cunning as he could, hoping to bend her will. �owyn looked at him steadily, her hands folded on her lap. "I sense that you are bitter at life for not granting you a better time. It would have to be lovely indeed to equal your beauty. And yet, we who are born into these times must make the most of what we do have." He reached to feel her hair.

    �owyn recoiled from his touch, finally coming to her feet in one abrupt movement. "Irrepressible slug!" Her voice was strained with fierce anger. "Am I some common beast that you feel the freedom to handle me whenever it suits you? My heart has not changed, and you are not a part of my affections!"

    Wormtongue followed her across the room, his pale-skinned face tinted a sickly green. "You are not common, nor would I look upon a beast with the favor I look upon you. Can you not see? I can give you the freedom you desire ... you deserve!" Gr�ma reached for her again.

    The White Lady drew her hand away from him and wrung it, as if to rid herself of a germ. "Keep away, bloodsucker! I did not close that door for no reason. I do not want to be touched by so vile a creature!" With that, she stepped to the door and opened it, indicating her displeasure at Gr�ma's presence. "Now, if you don't mind, I have a patient who needs caring for, and that can not happen with you around."

    Wormtongue stared hard at her for a second, before waving his hand dismissively. He spoke not a word, but drifted out the door like a shadow of malice.

    �owyn shut the door and leaned against it, suddenly feeling deflated. She hated the very sight of Wormtongue, but for years had been unable to find cause to dislike him. There was no way to argue treasonous deeds, as to do so would be instant banishment. �owyn sensed that her brother was growing impatient with the lack of action, and she knew that with Th�odred's help he planned on ousting the Worm from his place of comfort.

    She shook herself and held her hand to her forehead. Gr�ma was a filthy wretched in borrowed feathers, but he had a penchant for getting inside of her head. He knew that she wanted to be more involved in what was considered the 'real work', and he seemed to follow her wherever she went, poisoning her mind as well as the King's. At night, she lay awake, trying not to imagine the iron bars slowly being put in place.

    The girl lying on the bed stirred, wakened by the disturbance Gr�ma had inevitably made. �owyn looked down at Loth�riel with pity and wonder. //Where does she fit in?//
    ...to the topTop

  5. #15
    Posted by Kookaburra (Member #3850) on 23rd January 2004, 07:46 PM
    Voices in both dream and reality mingled in the sleeping mind, merging into one mass of confusion that eventually faded with the night. The blessed darkness had slowly given way to the gray shadows of morning. It was the morning of the third day since she had woken, and she was restless with suppressed energy.

    She had seen no one since the night before, when Pendai had briefly entered, administering still more medicine to her reluctantly obedient patient. Loth�riel still had not seen Glorfindel or Avarielle, though doubtless they had visited her in the periods where she lay oblivious to all around her. The pain in her side had lessened, and she was beginning to feel her strength return. �omer and �owyn had not come to visit her again. Loth�riel could not help but feel that they were tending to important matters and did not have enough time to tend to her, one unimportant visitor.

    //Off doing something worthwhile, I suppose,// Loth�riel thought regretfully. //Why is it I'm stuck in a sickbed most of the time?// She flexed her shoulder carefully, surprised at its mobility. It remained slightly stiff, but the shallow wound had healed over.

    "Feeling better, I suppose? Don't stress yourself unduly, but you should be able to get to your feet later today. The wound in your shoulder was only serious because of the poison ... that has been taken care of." Pendai's voice surprised her. The elf moved so lightly that she had not heard her footfalls as she entered.

    Loth�riel could not completely hide her pleasure. If Pendai had not looked so overall exhausted, she would have demanded to stand that moment. But the elf-healer looked as if she had struggled with a riddle all night in the strange paths of elven dreams. "Are you all right?" she asked innocently, blind to the events surrounding the Ring and the Fellowship.

    Pendai shook her head. "You're under enough shadow, little one .... "

    Loth�riel rolled over, drawing herself into a sitting position. "Pendai, I am a human. The wisest of us do not live to be as old as an elf-child. If wisdom is to be gained through experience, then I am as qualified to carry that burden as the Lord Denethor."

    "I have enough troubles to worry about right now," snapped Pendai, dark eyes flashing at her own futility. "I do not want to be responsible for shattering your present feeling of safety as well."

    Loth�riel was taken aback by the elf's anger, but was not about to be intimidated. "So that's it ... you feel like you have to protect me? Is that it? When was the last time you shared your sorrows with another person? I've lived long enough to recognize yours. You were captive also, weren't you? In a darkness greater than mine." She held Pendai's gaze evenly. The elf did not daunt her, no matter what her innate strength.

    Pendai's eyes flickered after a moment, and she left the room without a word. Loth�riel watched her go, confused and yet empathetic. Whether it was from the distant elvish blood or the otherwise pure N�menorian descent, Loth�riel's eyes were as sharp and piercing as any elf's when unveiled in anger.

    All at once, she felt her confidence drain. Up to that point, Pendai had been her closest acquaintance, if even that. Now she had alienated herself, and out of the same attitude that had prompted Isildur to keep the Ring and doom himself. She dropped her eyes, and relegated herself back to the unimportant set. For a moment, she debated standing up, but then threw caution out of the window. Loth�riel refused to do anything by halves, even the healing process.

    She crept to one of the small windows, peering out through the glass. Little activity could be seen, only a few peasants darting from building to building in a never-ending hustle. Beyond a small ledge, the hill fell away steeply into a thick mist that spread itself around the lonely upthrust of rock. Above the soft gloom there hung the heads of the Ered Nimrais to the South-east, the White Mountains of Gondor. Starkhorn, Halifirien, Calenhad, Minrimmon, Erelas ... beyond Erelas the others faded into a haze of distance, shadowed on their tree-cloaked flanks.

    The shadow of the Enemy drew closer.
    Posted by Blessed-one (Member #546) on 25th January 2004, 08:55 PM
    The stay at Edoras was another heavy blow that left him feeling more empty inside. If someone needed a gong, he would do nicely, for his insides were echoing that same emptiness, making him laze around and do nothing. Like the time in Minas Tirith, Cavsor found a spot overlooking the icy caps, an unobtrusive corner of the platform that the palace stood upon, and sat brooding with the whiteness of the wilderness filling his vision and mind. It was more then a bit hypnotizing, so much that he often found himself dozing off in some occasions. Since the elves were meeting with the King and Lothiriel was recovering in bed, with Avarielle having gone to who knew where, Cavsor had plenty of time to himself. He asked around earnestly for clues or whereabouts of his mother and sister, inducing much sympathy in the citizens of Rohan.

    It must be a cycle to be fulfilled in due course though, for Cavsor brooded in depression for a few days after the fruitless search in Rohan, and then quickly found himself helping people around, doing menial tasks, playing with fatherless children, assisting widows and elders. Perhaps his want for his inner desire had driven him to this particular group. Without realising the reason behind this pattern, Cavsor started to enjoy his stay at Rohan, oblivious to the political intrigues that his elven companions were suffering. Occasionally, he would join the practice sessions of the Rohan soldiers, and he was always welcomed not only because of his good reputation among the people but also because of his expert skill and honesty. Cavsor�s skill in weaponry had improved dramatically to the point that he began having thoughts of joining the army. But that fascination with army life, a life most men of Middle Earth seemed to be tied to at this point in time, fled swiftly to be replaced by the faces of his mother and sister. Cavsor walked aimlessly, trying to recall his sister�s face to no avail. Five years, a lot would have changed in five years. He might not even recognize his own sister on the street. She was only thirteen when the fall of Cair Andros came.

    Someone familiar pushed past him.

    Cavsor turned automatically, recognizing the back of Pendai. She seemed to be storming away and he turned around, realizing that she must have just left the place where Lothiriel was resting in. Hoping it had nothing to do with Lothiriel�s worsening condition, Cavsor discarded his mental attempt and hurried up the steps to see how Lothiriel was doing.

    He found her sitting on the bed looking quite confused and moody. �Are you all right?� he said, his eyes pulling away from the mountains she was watching.
    ...to the topTop

  6. #16
    Posted by Kookaburra (Member #3850) on 26th January 2004, 03:40 PM
    OOC: Warning! Tomorrow I will be leaving for a three-day school camp, I will post as soon as I get back, if possible. That'd be late Friday night for me. I will also try to post before I leave, though that may not be possible

    Also, I have created an OOC thread for this RPG, any comments or discussion, please put them *here*: http://www.christianforums.com/t87620
    Posted by cyberwing (Member #11784) on 26th January 2004, 04:41 PM
    The leather clad rider moved as one with the golden-spotted white mare beneath her. The horses white mane slapped her neck in a smooth rythym. The herd of horses in the meadow followed the two in a joyous dance of freedom. Foals kicked up their heels and joined in the romp, feeling the firm rich soil beneath their hooves as the last remnants of sunlight filtered over the clouds. Washing the clouds and the mountains they hovered over, in spectacular color.

    Nearing the entrance to the cavern the herd turned off to spread out over the lush grasses. The mare slowed, easily dropping into a prancing walk. Her rider barely moved her little finger giving the mare the most subtle of cues to stop. The woman sighed heavily and slipped off the mare's back. With the ease born of familiarity, she removed the saddle and bridle to place the rope on to walk out the fine mare. Her sides glistened with the last vestiges of light. The woman skillfully rubbed her down with handfuls of twisted grasses. Then the woman reached for what appeared to be remnants of a lovely, thick material, only the gold piping indicating it's origin as a fine gown, and used this to finish off the rubdown.

    The woman turned to continue walking out the mare, allowing the muscles to cool down slowly to prevent stiffening or soreness. In the sunset's brilliant light, the woman's golden hair seemed lit with vibrant reds and spun gold. Her warm brown eyes held deep affection and tenderness for her equine companion.
    "Come Lightblade, we have seen two mares foal this day. It is time for both of us to rest." Sianowyth smiled and rubbed the jawline of the gold spotted mare, the silky white mane hid her hand from sight. Sian had been having very evil dreams of late and she felt something dire in the air. Long had she been feeling this growing unease but now it was as if.....a dam had broken. Evil was moving in Middle Earth with unchallenged confidence. Sian wished fervently one of her few friends would come to give her news of the outside world. Stryder's last visit had been intriguing, Gandalf had called for him to meet him but Stryder had not offered any other information. Sianowyth never pushed for information and respected her guests. His visit had left her wondering. Combined with her evil dreams of late....they did not bode well.

    Sian shook off her worry and shrugged. 'What do any of these things matter to me? I have no input in the greater matter of things! I am but a 'keeper of horses', nothing of import to Middle Earth.' Suddenly she scolded herself. 'Feeling a bit sorry for ourselves are we? Shame on you, Sianowyth!!! No one knows the import they have, you simply must do what you can and let the rest play itself out.' Sian leaned her head on the neck of the mare, drinking in the sweet natural smell of mountain grasses and horse. Sian was indeed tired.

    A familiar image leapt unbidden to her mind and Sian sighed deeply, as one thrust through the heart. ' His' face, the one that had stolen her heart, long ago when she was young. Fate was indeed cruel to keep tormenting her so, these last twenty-three years. Unbidden tears slipped down the rosy cheeks of Sian, wetting her lashes. Angry at herself for giving in, Sian stepped away from the mare and slapped her charge lovingly on the rump.
    "OFF with you now Lightblade, go enjoy this lovely evening. The moon will undoubtedly shine tonight and sorrow will have it's part it seems." Sian whispered to the mare. The mare took only a few steps, then returned to her mistress. Lightblade placed her forehead against Sian's as if to let her know, she was there for her heart-broken mistress. Smiling Sian kissed the mares long face and turned back to the cavern. The concerned mare moved out but kept an eye on the cavern entrance, knowing well the mood of her mistress. Quickly Sian set the fire and ate. Although her culinary skills were well known and enjoyed among her few friends, to her, she could have as well eaten tree bark and twigs.

    Sianowyth, went to the hotspring pool deep within the cavern to bathe and soak. Hoping forgetfulness would come, but it did not. Sian wept but the steam droplets disguised her tears, only the redness of her eyes revealed the truth. The memory of him was plain this night and his voice haunted her mind. Her tears spent and only lingering sorrow haunting her heart, Sian pulled on one of the rich, beautifully wrought gowns from Lothlorien. Combing out her honey gold hair, she sat drying it by the fire. Satisfied that it was somewhat dry, she reached for the stringed instrument resting on the shelf she had built from sturdy driftwood.

    After tuning the strings, Sian allowed the image she was trying so to block, to come flooding full force into her minds eye. She danced and sang with the memory but soon the songs turned sad, with a deep sorrow. A tragic love never realized stabbed at her being and her beautiful voice drifted out over the meadow filling the night with a plaintive melody. She walked out over the moonlit paths near her cavern, knowing herself to be a fool but allowing herself to grieve over her tragic dilemna nonetheless, for it was the only way to retain any remnant of sanity. Gandalf had once scolded her for not letting her sorrow out, for it was killing her in a wickedly slow manner he said. He never had revealed if he knew the 'source' of her pain but he indeed recognized it was a matter of the heart. "Time changes things...." he had once said to her as he hugged his friend. Sian had hoped Gandalf would reveal more to her by his greater wisdom but nothing more was mentioned. Since that time the ambiguity of his words had caused her to lose any hope she might have gained that night.

    The herd moved to stay even with their mistress as she walked the paths, her mournful songs echoing off the mountainsides and into the valley. Always the horse herd kept a watchful eye on the sorrowful woman. However this night, Sian's pain was being witnessed......

    Far away in the Golden Wood, one of the Marchwarden's thought he heard something carried on a magical evening breeze. Galadriel had this very day scolded her watchman for being lax in 'matters of his own life'. He, knowing the Lady was gifted with 'the sight', had been puzzling over the meaning of her words. Haldir was always loyal to his post and trained himself tirelessly, that he would always be ready to serve. 'There! There it is again.....what was happening?' Haldir thought to himself. The melody was heartbreaking and yet had such a familiarity to it....Something that reached for him but withdrew....Concerned, he nodded to his fellow guard and indicated he was going on a circuit of the woods. Nearing Galadriel's private pool, the melody was clear and unmistakable.

    {You Haldir....listen well, for this suffering belongs to you....} The Lady's mindvoice whispered into his own and Haldir froze. {{ME? What have I done Lady? How could I have caused such a thing?}} His own mind answered back.
    {Always Haldir have you been loyal to me and to your duties, but can the same be said of your own heart?} The Lady's voice responded.

    Haldir looked down, at a complete loss. Twice in one day The Lady had gently scolded him now. He was a Marchwarden and one of her best archers....he could not understand.

    {{Show me Lady....}} He whispered, confused.
    {Only IF you will SEE.....} Her stern whispered response came back.

    The melody resumed and memory flooded back to his mind. She was the most stunningly beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her brooding brown eyes were as captivating as they were unusual. The pleasing, full curves of her body spoke of her humaness as she danced joyfully to the elven music, rejoicing in her graduation. He had watched her unnoticed many times before. Once, their eyes had met and she had smiled at him so that Haldir thought the sun had surely ripped a hole in the tree canopy of the Golden Wood and bathed him with pure radiance. He had arranged to 'run into' her on several occasions after that, always enjoying her company. Lost in his thoughts, Haldir continued to watch the human girl, his stare one of open wonder and hope.
    R�mil and Orophin walked up beside their brother, both elbowed Haldir and laughed. "Careful Haldir....the human girl is bewitching you!!!" Orophin teased him.
    "What a shame she is human. Such a pity that kind of beauty will only blossom for a such short time! You know the saying, Human and elf equals a broken elven heart! Come on Haldir, let's have more wine!" Rumil had spoken out loud what Haldir had been wrestling with, the reason elven and human relationships were discouraged. The one thing that kept him from pursuing her with more insistence. He had gone with his brothers and never seen the human girl again.

    Haldir started and immediately looked around. The Lady was no where to be seen and the music was gone. Haldir shook himself. Carefully he reseated his bow and pulled his tunic straight. The winds were carrying dire warnings of things to come and this must have been some vision to release stress. Haldir quickly dismissed the incident. 'No matter, there is more work to be done.' Haldir thought to himself. He moved on into the quiet forest, his senses alert for anything out of the ordinary....but for some reason he kept imagining two warm brown eyes watching, just from the edge of his consciousness.
    ...to the topTop

  7. #17
    Posted by God'schild (Member #11236) on 27th January 2004, 02:43 AM
    Pendai saw Cavsor's curious glance as she brushed past him, and her mood was so entirely spent that seeing his face only provoked her to helpless frustration. Her thoughts turned to the patient who was nearely well... Lothiriel was a human girl, no matter how strong of will, and the human mind was created to deal with its own deathly, human evils. Lothiriel already had been forced to cope with a darkness that she should never have known, and the elf dare not further darken her soul for fear of loosing it. Oh yes, the soul can be lost, she knew this as fact... Telling the girl of what sorrow she herself faced would cause her only to carry a burden that was not hers to bear. //Perhaps one day when the life of the ring is spent, Lothiriel may recall my face and understand why I could tell her nothing?// But this kind of thought was frivolous. Only the previous night she had battled with the nightmare'ish memory of death and fire, yet the very next day she was reminded again- by the girl she wished to save, much less!- of her own humiliating weekness. Pendai Agarwaen, the healer that all believed was so strong, could never face Sauron. Not directly, at least... She knew in her heart that Sauron's power would seduce her if she ever saw his eye again, and she would become like the wraiths. Worse than this, she knew that if she was offered the ring, that she would take it and be corrupted. Through her corruption the ring would come to Sauron and the greatest slaughter of light would take place that any generation had ever known, all because of her weakness to its power.

    This awful truth mocked her every moment she breathed, and so she lived in fear of herself.


    Glorfindel never did give Avarielle a straight answer to her question related to work because she would not give him a straight answer as to what she would do, so he decided to have her do nothing at all till he thought of something helpeful. He told her briefly of Eomer, conveying he would be able to aid them and that Glorfindel needed to speak with him. They were discussing where to find him. The elf thought Eomer would be with the king, while Avarielle though he would be elsewhere, and they were about to make a decicion; but just then a nearby guard overheard their conversation and offered what little information he had. His words were weighted with an accent, for he spoke most commonly in a different tongue, but they understood him well enough.* "Pardon my words, m'Lord elf and m'lady, but perhaps you might wish to know that the Third Marshal of the Mark is riding out with the Rohirrim early tomorrow. Because of this, it is my guess he is with his Sister, the lady Eowyn." *Glorfindel graciously accepted his words and turned to ask,* Pray tell, where is the fair lady? *The guard nodded in a direction* Up there, sire, she is caring for your injured companion." *Glorfindel thoughtfully noted that he did not mention Lothiriel's name. With a nod he said simply, his "high elf-lord" presence very heavy,* Thank you.

    *Glorfindel then turned to Avarielle,* I bid you go to the room that Pendai has kept "our injured companion" in, and there, if that is where Eomer is indeed present, tell him I wish to speak with him. *As Avarielle went to do this, Glorfindel began to make ready for a swift departure, as he guessed would come. He saw that the stablehand gave fodder to Asfaloth and Maquissar, and Avarielle's horse Niirnaeth- he need not ready a horse for Lothiriel. He believed she was to weak to travel... But he hessitated when considering Cavsor's horse. Glorfindel knew well that Cavsor had no trust for himself. He saw but a glimpse into the other's mind. There he saw a great inborn suspicion of authority, and the elf did not blame him for it. Such things he had no power over, and he could not say whether or not Cavsor would come with them or not. To be safe, Glorfindel had the hand make ready the horse of Cavsor to be safe, for if he did not wish to come, he need not take the horse.*

    *Then came the task of finding packhorses. Rohan bred creatures of strength and beauty, so packhorses were rare enough.. Further, and all the packhorses were either in use or were gone, or the ones that were left had masters who were very protective. He eventually managed to convince a few suspicious peasants to lend him two of their packhorses, with aid of his intimidating aura and the reward of a handsome price it turned out well. They were good horses so it was quite fair

    As all this happened, he sensed the brooding presence of Pendai not too far off, and he knew that she was venting her anger on some innocent thing that came her way. That thing was presently food, a loaf of fresh oat bread to be exact, and she was attacking it with savage petulance. This thought made him resist the urge to smile.. Her thoughts were so clear and so direct that he could not help but know them, and over the days he had been with her, he found he could not miss her signature cheerlessness. That poor loaf of bread! Oh good heavens, she had abandoned the bread and taken in its place a drumstick of a wild turkey... Well, on the bright side, at least the lady was eating. She had not eaten in all the time he had been with her, and that was a little over 7 days time. Perhaps food was what she needed to make her less dismal..

    He continued "watching" Pendai's thoughts as he went about the task of preparing his weaponry, when Avarielle returned, and he informed her that Lothiriel and Eowyn were gone. No one knew where, for no one else had been informed of it either, save that they were simply gone. Glorfindel found this curious, and he did not notice the two figures clad in light mail pass him, their faces turned away in deep conversation.*


    Pendai ripped the soft flesh of the drumstick with her teeth, leaving all polite manners of any kind far behind and eating. She was alone in the room she had been given- which was annoyingly sparse in itself, the room of a common guest. At least it had a table...- and so etiquette was irrelivent, regardless of any of her fine herritage. The meat on the turkey was, in her imagination, the flesh of wormtongue- or better yet, his head! Ha! This thought heartened her to particular hostility. She then went to the cheese, then the meager fruit, then the cooked vegetables, and by the time she reached the baked potato, every orc in middle earth now lay cozily in her stomach. Unable to think of anything else to devour- and being quite full, she had actually eaten quite a lot- Pendai found herself overwhelmingly weary. She knew she needed rest, sleep.. Simple unconsciousness for a time, long enough to let her mind be at peace. But her body would not rest. It was rest-less and it wanted to throw itself over a cliff. But it would not defeat her, as everything else seemed to have done... She would force it to sleep! But all of the herbs that she used for this were to weak for putting herself into rest, she had tried them all in the past... The only other thing she had was poison. That would make one sleep... She only had a very, very potent poison on hand, but it did not matter. Thus, grabbing a large handful of the single herb she had that was capable of poisoning her, Pendai dropped it into her goblet of golden mead and drank it all. Before any other thought could thrust itself before her threadbare mind, she indeed fell entirely unconcious where she stood and dropped the goblet, falling half-way upon the table.
    ...to the topTop

  8. #18
    Posted by Kookaburra (Member #3850) on 27th January 2004, 05:47 AM
    Loth�riel shrank away from the window that bore silent witness to the enemy's growing power. The citizens of Edoras rarely remained out of doors unless necessity drove them to. They preferred to hide their fear from each other, vainly seeking to leave the darkness outside of their carven doors. But evil could not be withheld by lock and wood - it had already invaded the very people itself.

    No matter how much she loathed lying in sloth, Loth�riel could see nothing else to do for the present but sleep and think. She sat on the bed, covering herself up to her waist with a soft tanned fur.

    No sooner had she done this then Cavsor opened the door, a concerned look on his clear-cut face. "Are you all right?"

    Loth�riel wondered if Pendai had clued him in, and she shook her head slowly as if to deny herself the opportunity to answer. After a few moments and a calming breath or two, she looked up with a bitter half-smile. "Yes, I am fine ... in fact, I am much better than I was even yesterday. I think that I shall fret myself to death if I am not soon given some task to do."

    Cavsor could see a shadow behind her eyes, of some memory or anger perhaps. He crossed his arms and stood looking down at her, studying her critically. "I am sure the stables could use someone gifted with animals as yourself," he said lightly, trying to ease the tension he could feel emanating from Loth�riel.

    Loth�riel's eyes widened with utter panic. "I haven't touched more than two live animals since I've been born, sir. I'd probably kill or lose any one I am given charge of."

    Cavsor gave a short laugh, perhaps his first since leaving Minas Tirith. Then he became serious, seeing no reason why not to give her a reason for his presence. "I saw Pendai leave the chambers. She didn't have a kindly look .... " He bent his eyes towards her, seeming suddenly to be displeased with Loth�riel.

    She blinked and looked away. "Yes," she said softly. "Yes, she should. I pried too deeply into her personal troubles, I think. Pendai does not believe I am capable of understanding such matters." She gave a shrug, noting that her shoulder didn't hurt at all in doing so. "Perhaps she is right, but I would rather have been corrected gently .... "

    Cavsor gave a nod, indicating that he understood. Loth�riel could not fathom the look behind his eyes, a mixture of sorrow, kindness and introspection.

    The door opened again, and �owyn entered, giving Cavsor a curious glance before asking, "I apologize for intruding," she said, dipping her head in greeting.

    Loth�riel gave another shake of her head and Cavsor replied, "No, that is all right. I just came to check on the lady." He grinned as Loth�riel's eyes flickered, knowing such a title rankled.

    "You had better not have told anyone my name," she warned seriously, before looking up to �owyn. "Is there something - anything - you could have me do?"

    The Lady �owyn gave a pale hint of a smile and offered her hand to Loth�riel. "As a matter of fact, I came to inquire whether you would like to visit the stables."

    Cavsor frowned slightly, turning to survey Loth�riel again. "Do you think she's ready?"

    "Don't talk over me, Cavsor," Loth�riel laughed, accepting �owyn's assistance to get to her feet.

    The Lady turned to Cavsor, her lips twitching upwards. "I think so."

    Cavsor nodded and left, allowing Loth�riel to don some more appropriate clothing for the stables instead of the white ankle-length smock. When �owyn handed her the bundle and ducked out the door, Loth�riel unfolded the cloak and picked up the other items. To her surprise, the lady did not give her a dress, but rather handed her a standard Rohirrim uniform, complete with leafmail underlay, a short hauberk of steel rings, and metal-plated leather vest.

    Loth�riel changed quickly, clueless as to the reason she was disguising herself. Within minutes after she'd laced the vest closed, a fully-armed Rohirrim rider entered the room, with the same confident stride as displayed by all riders of the Mark. Startled, Loth�riel stared ... the warrior looked too familiar. "�o - " she stuttered, and �owyn laughed at her fellow accomplice.

    "Nay, not �owyn, and remember that. My name is Dernhelm." �owyn, now Dernhelm, settled a helmet upon Loth�riel's head, fashioned after a bird in flight, pinion feathers forming long cheekguards and its tail fanning out into a horsetail plume, which cleverly disguised the strands of black hair that escaped the metal case. Dernhelm stepped back to survey her work, then gave Loth�riel back the elvish sword she had wielded against the Easterling captain, and a bow and quiver. With the sword and bow both strapped across her back, Loth�riel could feel her adrenalin returning.

    "Now, would you tell me what is going on? I hardly know what to think of myself - Loth�riel the sword-maiden?" She received only a gleam of dark eyes before she found herself led out of the healing chamber. The luxurious bed received a parting glance before hiding itself behind numerous walls and entranceways.

    Dernhelm nudged Loth�riel to walk beside, leading her through the bewildering back ways of Edoras that snaked back and forth across the hill of rock to its base. At the entrance to the stables, Dernhelm paused slightly in stride, then motioned to Loth�riel, who saw Glorfindel speaking to Avarielle. The Gondorian nodded to some unheard statement and turned to walk up the main avenue, clad in a long dress of blue. Loth�riel jerked her head down abruptly as they passed the Elf-lord, saying something abstract to her companion related to the rusting of weapons.

    As soon as she entered the stables, the unfamiliar scent of horse, hay and manure assailed Loth�riel, causing her to raise her eyebrows. Satin muzzles and the glint of dim light on harness-tack showed at every stall door, and hurrying riders dodged past each other with all the grace they could muster, sometimes carrying saddle, sometimes leading a horse to the corral. Since �omer's �ored was preparing to leave at first light the next morning, the stables were even busier than usual. Into this broiling mass of confusion Dernhelm led Loth�riel, who was completely at loss of how to approach such a situation. To her utmost relief, �owyn-in-disguise turned from the main thoroughfare to a less busy section, opening a stall-door and gesturing for Loth�riel to enter.

    "This is Windfola, my horse." With those simple words, Loth�riel was given a quick tutorial of how to tack and prepare a horse for war, and her teacher was adept at dropping any number of hints about other Rohirric trademarks. While Loth�riel assisted in currying and saddling Windfola, Dernhelm informed filled her in on how the Rohirrim lived, camped and rode. Under the expert instruction of the King's niece, Loth�riel soon knew off by heart every inch of a horse's harness and grooming.

    The lesson finished as the sun fell into the mountains' cradling arms, and the traffic through the stables became less. Dernhelm led Windfola out of the stall to the corral, having recently been untacked for the fourth time by Loth�riel, whose fingers ached from the stiff leather.

    As she turned to follow, Loth�riel's eyes were caught by the commotion in one of the closer stalls, where a spirited filly resisted a rider's touch, straining against a rope tied to her headstall, eyes wild and flanks streaked with lather. Every time the rider tried to lay a hand on her, the fiery chestnut struck out with her hind legs, her front hooves planted firmly apart in an attempt to defy being ridden.

    Loth�riel drew closer, her eyes running over the filly's sleek body, born for running, bred to be ridden by only the best. Shadowfax himself was not more fleet of hoof than Malanor the Golden, the wild princess of the grassy plains. The horse's ears flattened, and a low shriek like the wind whistled through her bared teeth. The rider got the point, and left with a last well-aimed kick from the horse, sending him spinning to the wall opposite the open stall door.

    Entranced, Loth�riel stepped around the recovering man and approached the frenzied filly, palm open and outstretched to show she held nothing to hurt the horse.

    Malanor ceased pounding the wooden walls of her enclosure, straining against the rope towards the open stall door. Her intelligent brown eyes focused on the approaching Loth�riel. Suddenly, she calmed, snuffling expectantly at the outstretched hand. Loth�riel held out her other hand, with a clump of sugar taken from Windfola's stall. The filly backed away, then paced, turning this way and that. Finally, she returned, scenting Loth�riel carefully before lipping the proffered sugar.

    "She was caught wild on the East Emnet a week ago," intoned the bruised rider. "It took three men with ropes to snag her, and even when tied between two other horses, she caused havok. I was sent to saddle her for another rider, but she hasn't calmed any since dawn." He eyes Loth�riel admiringly. "I don't understand why she calmed around you. Every person who's tried to calm her before has ended up on the ground."

    Not trusting her voice, Loth�riel merely shook her head and smiled, reaching out to brush the filly's gold-tinted muzzle. She'd fallen in love with the filly, and had realized instantly that the horse had recognized her as female, which was associated with kindness. However, Malanor had not been touched by anyone since her youth, and it would probably take long into the night to fully soothe the restive filly.


    The mist still lay thick about the valley of Rohan in which Edoras stood, a lonely hulk of rock piercing a great sea of silver, as if the land had been broken and drowned by glimmering waters from the Gap of Rohan down to the sources of the Entwash. To the south marched the great peaks of the Ered Nimrais, gray and indistinct against the pale sky. To the West, the mountains curved and reached steadily Northwards, only a small space marking the point where Saruman made his abode in Isengard, between the outliers of the Ered Nimrais and the Misty Mountains. There the fog lay thinnest, doing little to hide the new ugliness to the land. To the North the ground fell away into the long plains and rolling hills of the Emnets, and beyond to the Wold - goodly land for raising horses in the past, but now crossed by orcs in ever increasing numbers. To the East lay the Eastfold, and the fair Gondorian province of An�rien, long flatlands with little to mark boundary except the swift and silent streams. The grass grew so tall there that it reached to a horse's withers as often as not, and soil was so rich that any plant that grew was burdened with every kind of flower, nut or fruit.

    Below the fair canopy, the riders in �omer's �ored made ready to ride. His �ored consisted of the riders from the Eastfold of Rohan, riders of his household and his father's household, Lords and knights of the Eastfold. Fierce men and strong, they were quick and efficient at what they did, sparing no glance at what was unnecessary. Luckily for Loth�riel, this held true on the morning of their riding from Edoras. She had spent a long night in the stables, earning the trust of Malanor by sheer stamina and instinct. Not a thought had strayed from the rich golden-red mare that now fretted beneath her, and not until morning had Loth�riel realized that her companions probably were worried for her. Loth�riel stubbornly refused to apologize to Pendai, no matter how much she blamed herself for the bad blood between them.

    Windfola nipped playfully at Malanor, who promptly tried to attack the other horse in retaliation. With considerable effort, Loth�riel managed to turn her mount's head in another direction. Malanor snickered in suppressed mischief, trotting with her head twisted to the side to keep an eye on her rider, who wondered how long it would be before she fell off the filly. Unused to carrying a spear, it was a new experience to ride among so many who were expert at its use.

    Loth�riel drew her mount to a stand outside of the wooden gates of Edoras, breathing a sigh of relief that she'd made it out without being detected. The gate guards had asked her name of course, but Loth�riel's one-word answer satisfied them, and they'd let her pass without incident. "Ravenor," she'd told them, keeping her voice as nondescript as possible.

    Dernhelm and Loth�riel held their mounts as close to the head of the column as they dared without drawing attention, doing their best to seem unassociated with each other. Four abreast and twenty lines, the riders gathered outside of the walls, halting between the somber mounds covered with simbelmyrn�, the flower of the Evermind that carpeted the tombs of the bygone Kings. After a full minute of silence, the riders wheeled and leapt their mounts into a soft canter, heading North-West to the Fords of Isen. Even Loth�riel's pessimism did not prepare her for what they would find there: massacre.
    Posted by Kookaburra (Member #3850) on 27th January 2004, 05:48 AM
    Elphir allowed his horse to slow as they approached the River Gilrain. Seven days before, he and his old servant Farroth, and his friend Telthar, had left the Castle of Dol Amroth and its beaches, its cliffs, its fair towers and white ships. His two comrades had proceeded north and skirted the Dor-en-Ernil, instead of taking the dangerous pass through them. After leaving the mountains behind them, they'd ridden with as much speed as their mounts could give them, knowing the trail of Loth�riel could well be cold already. And as soon as they crossed the shimmering flats of the Gilrain they would proceed slower through the hilly land of Lebennin, where the Haradrim were ever attacking the lonely settlements at the command of their lords. There were still many days of hard and wary riding before reaching Minas Tirith itself, before proceeding North and West to whatever land the Prince's daughter had lost herself in.

    Elphir looked back to where Telthar had pulled his own horse to a halt, inspecting the surrounding land. His irrepressible golden-haired friend made the best in any situation yet had a fearful bloodlust when aroused. He had only been in one battle and a few skirmishes in Lossarnach, and yet the orcs already knew his name among them, listed among the most prized heads to hew along with Elphir's own, his brothers, and his father. Few men in Gondor had such skill in arms, trusting rather to sturdy walls and gates than to their own strength. And yet, it was rumored that Thorongil was even the more skilled than the Prince Imrahil. The two had met, several times. Only to Imrahil of all the royalty of men had Thorongil revealed his true name - Aragorn, heir of Kings. Elphir himself had been only young when Aragorn had visited Dol Amroth, and yet the D�nadan had seemed to him a kind though grim Lord of men, his majesty still cloaked until such a time as was prophesied.

    Farroth drew up beside his master; a goodly though grizzled man of many winters and more sorrows. His family had the pride of serving the Lord of Dol Amroth since the fall of N�menor, but his lineage was at an end - his newly born granddaughter Morwel had vanished in the attack in which Sirall� was taken, and his young son had taken ill and died in his ninth year.

    Elphir shifted his reins, waiting for Telthar to catch up to him. The shallow water swirled about the hooves of his horse as they slowly waded deeper to the more solid gravel in the midst of the ford. Until he reached Minas Tirith, silence seemed more welcoming than useless discussion.
    ...to the topTop

  9. #19
    Posted by cyberwing (Member #11784) on 27th January 2004, 03:24 PM
    A high-pitched, alarmed neigh split the early morning mist hanging heavily over the valley. Sianowyth rolled instantly to her feet, awake and looking for her weapons. She knew Lightblade's calls and this one was filled with fear. Racing toward the entrance Sian grabbed up her Rohirrim shield and elven wrought sword, her hair flowing free as the nightdress she still wore. Lightblade met her just outside the cavern entrance. Sian jumped up onto a nearby rock outcropping to slip over easily onto her mare's back.

    The heavy fog meant Sian had to rely on her mare's ability to navigate. Feeling blind and totally frustrated Sian tried to keep herself in check. The mare's footfalls over the meadow were sure and they flew over the vast meadow in record time. Suddenly Sianowyth could make out some of the horses shapes milling about restlessly ahead in the gloom.

    Lightblade came up to one mare Sian recognized immediately, one of the mares that had foaled the day before! The mare's eyes were white and rolling about in a frenzy. Her neighs frantic. Sian gasped, hoping she was wrong in her conclusion. She dropped to the ground and began to move forward looking at the signs, soon she was in the forest outside of her meadow. Moving deeper into the forest she passed her 'statues of warning' and there she found what she dreaded....wagon tracks and the tracks of her other newly foaled mare! Someone had stolen the two small foals and one of her best mares. Sianowyth was furious.

    "This is inexcusable, this time we track the thieves!!! Come Lightblade, it is time for us to ride out and do some searching!" Sian stood up, with some of the dirt from the tracks still in her hand. It was still semi moist therefore the perpetrators were not that far ahead of her if she hurried. The fog was now beginning to burn off in the rising sunlight and she could see much better. Sianowyth and Lightblade raced back to the cavern and there Sian grabbed up the pack she usually had ready for emergencies and into it she dumped three loaves of bread, two bricks of cheese and several packets of dried savory fruit. Her healing herb bag was added to the pile and her weapons. She went to the back and pulled out the short bow she had not touched for many years....for it had come from Lothlorien and held memories painful for her. Shaking off the onslaught of memory Sian found the quiver of arrows and added them both to the pile. She changed into her tunic and leathers. As a second thought, added her old Rohirrim short hauberk of steel rings, just in case. Lightblade waited impatiently and now it was her turn. Sianowyth brought her into the outer cavern area and began to equip her mare with the Rohirrim war-horse tack. All of these preparations took less than one hour and the two were ready to leave.
    Sianowyth put out the fire completely and left the log gate to the cavern open. The herd would have shelter in her absence but they could not get into her private chambers which were on a ledge above the entry.

    Riding off Sianowyth took the frantic mare with her but left the rest in their familiar valley. One stubborn young stallion followed her so she let him, he would soon need to leave anyway. The tracks turned toward the Ford of Isen. Sianowyth shivered, remembering the inexplicable loathing she had been feeling of late and now it seemed to be heavy upon her. It was as if, that very breath of evil could now be felt on the air, here... Sian placed her staff into it's proper place on her saddle and resting in her stirrup. She felt for the shortbow. The very one 'he' had taught her to use. Sian shivered momentarily as the treasured pleasant memories of Haldir's instruction came flooding back into her mind. Angry with herself for giving in yet again to memories, Sian hooked the bow onto her saddle. Purposely redirecting her thoughts to checking all of her other preparations. Her gear was rolled into a blanket or tucked into one saddle bag, The other saddle bag held grain for the horses. She had two metal water jars that fit into a leather sling, easily suspending them on either side of her saddle. These treasures had been crafted by the dwarves and she had found them very useful. She checked over her herbs again letting Lightblade take her head.

    Sian felt her mare tense, Lightblade snorted with disgust. Below her and beyond the tree line... 'MORDOR'S ORCS!! SO MANY OF THEM!! HUNTING OUTSIDE OF MORDOR???' Sianowyth began to realize she was completely unaware of what was happening in her world. Terrible things had been put into motion and she knew nothing other than the terrible feeling of foreboding she had been having. Her thoughts turned to Lothlorien and her heart twisted with fear. "Be safe Haldir.....be safe...." Sian's voice whispered the elven words. She wove all of her heartfelt protection for him into her whispered words, as Galadriel had taught her. Sian no longer cared if Haldir heard her whispered voice or not, she just HAD to do what she could for his safety. As the elven words pulled her momentarily into a realm of dream, she felt a horrible evil lurking. It frightened her so that even though she saw Haldir's face turn to her, she pulled back from the contact, breathing heavily and shaking with terror. Realizing what these things signified, she was in more danger than she knew! Sianowyth reached back for her hauberk of steel rings, pulling off her elven cloak and leather tunic, she pulled the hauberk on and replaced the leather tunic then the elven cloak overtop. Suddenly Sianowyth felt deeply ashamed of her own self-centered isolation. Gandalf was undoubtedly fighting this evil and she hid herself away. No more! It was time her heritage as a Rohirrim and her gift of restoration was used!

    Sian's eyes fell on the path ahead....the wagon tracks! She MUST stop that wagon or all the occupants would become orc food! As angrily as she had been comtemplating the thieves demise, being eaten alive by orcs was too awful to bear. So now she rode to save the very ones she was tracking to punish. Sian began to review all she had learned of stealth and fighting from Haldir, she would need ALL of his skillful training now.
    Sian grabbed up the bow and nocked an arrow. The thought of the helpless foals pushed her forward. "Come Lightblade, let's save these fools." The three horses had their second wind and flew down the path soon catching up to the wagon.
    Posted by cyberwing (Member #11784) on 28th January 2004, 03:58 PM
    Sian rode hard and passed the wagon in the woods to the left to get in front of them. She would be stepping out in the path just ahead of them so they could not run. While she waited behind the rocks off of the path, she checked her weapons. She selected the bow. Haldir's voice suddenly seemed to be within her head, repeating his lessons on observation and weapon use. She was trying to remember every word he had spoken, every bit of wisdom he had shared but some had been lost because of the yearning she fought in her own heart. Sianowyth caught her breath sharply as the memory of a bow lesson with Haldir came flooding back to mind. It replayed with intensity and emotion.
    "Haldir, I shall try to be worthy of the time you took with me....." Sian hung her head for a brief instant. The croaking of the wagon wheels neared her position and she urged Lightblade forward with a light movement of her knee. She nocked an arrow and pulled the string back with a firm even pressure. Sighting along the shaft she stared at the man holding the reins. Poor, ragged fools, these two probably had stolen the wagon as well!
    "HALT! You will return my foals and my mare to me now please." Sianowyth spoke but did not move, the arrow still drawn and aimed at the driver.
    "Foals? Don't gots any o' those....yer c'uld buy thisn mare 'ere ifn yer wants." Sian's face seemed carved from stone.
    "Buy back my own mare? I think not. Where are my foals? You best answer if you wish to avoid being food for those carrion birds yonder. Be quick for my arrow grows weary and longs for a target."
    "Now, now.....No need ta' be hasty Missus! We found these three wandering in the forest fog, we did. We sold the youngin's a ready. A Rohan Rider he was.....said he was taking them to the King's stable!" The other man spoke up quickly.

    "What kind of idiot sells a day old foal away from it's dam??? You are sadlly mistaken or lying to me, no Rider of Rohan would make such a grievous error." Sian snarled and let the arrow fly. It thunked solidly into the wood between the drivers knee and the second speaker, pegging the drivers breeches to the bench seat.
    "Well, he said he was getting them to give to some Lady of King Theoden's house. His master being Theoden's very advisor and all...." The man was interrupted by Sianowyth's angry scream.
    "YOU UTTER FOOLS! You gave my wonderfully bred foals to some plowboy for that slimy Grima Wormtongue?? I should kill you both on the spot!" Sian forced herself to calm down and Lightblade moved forward.
    "I will instead save your miserable hides for telling me where they are. You must turn back from your path, there is a pack of ORCS hunting ahead of you. They will most certainly kill you." As Lightblade moved past the men, Sian stopped to retrieve her arrow from the wood. She then moved to the back of the wagon to cut her other mare loose. The frantic mare that had followed her, nosed through the back of the wagon snuffling and snorting. The poor mare could smell her foal but it was not around. The two mares now free, moved back down the road ready to look for their foals. The young stallion joined them, all three turned to look at the lead mare, Lightblade.
    "Turn and flee back up into the mountains if you would live!" Sianowyth yelled back to the two men who sat staring at her. She could not wait, she had to ride and ride hard. Those foals were in terrible danger.
    ...to the topTop

  10. #20
    Posted by Kookaburra (Member #3850) on 30th January 2004, 05:30 AM
    OOC: Back from camp; I'm exhausted, so this post isn't my usual length ....

    The wind rippled through the sea of grass, roaring in Loth�riel's ears as the world swept by underneath. Each blade of grass was edged with gold in the dying light, each shadow cut fresh and clear. The sun was reaching towards the horizon, withholding any warmth the dying rays might have cast upon the intent faces of the Rohirrim.

    Malanor held her place proudly in the line, her slender legs blurred as her hooves drummed the earth. Her head was up, her ears erect and neck forming a proud arch as the filly kept up easily. Loth�riel could tell that Malanor still withheld the greater part of her energy, slightly impatient at the inflexibility of riding with the slower horses. It was rumored she had speed greater than that of the Shadowfax, although acknowledging his authority as the Lord of Horses.

    Windfola raced alongside, his head not so high, nor his ears forward. He trusted his master Dernhelm to halt when his strength was at an end, and would bear �owyn to the ends of the earth, even if he died in the attempt.

    The sun began to dip behind the cover of the hills, spilling its horn of golden dew over the unfolding lands of the Westfold. That morning, the riders had swept past a steep-cloven valley that lay deep in early shadow. Far along the ravine lay the refuge of Helm's Deep, the last stronghold of Rohan.

    But for now the spent sunlight was cut off, veiled by a bitter storm from the East. The crash of heavenly cymbals echoed about the sky, the sultry air rent to tattered shreds by the jagged bolts of lightning. The mountains parted ahead of them where the Fords lay, where the Isen ran over a shelf of shallow gravel. In the midst of the Fords stood an eyot of stone, where the Rohirrim held an outpost against the treacheries of Saruman.

    Through the trees swept the horsemen, expecting at the least some small cheer at the sight of their comrades. To their astonished eyes there opened at once a scene of tragedy and fierce valor. Bodies were scattered over the black stones, tainted red with the spilt life of man and orc alike, a torn banner hanging limply to its broken pole. At the very center of the Fords had been raised a black standard with a long white hand.

    Over this dreadful scene the sky opened, giving no care to the dazed men who now paused at the East bank. The rain slanted down in the wind, soaking any bare skin and cutting to the bone. Loth�riel shivered, adding another drop to her well of slow-burning hatred for the Evil of the East.

    "Find the King's son!" �omer ordered, wheeling his horse and dismounting. The others of his �ored followed suit, inspecting the bodies for Th�odred, heir to the Kingdom of Rohan.

    "Mordor will pay for this," said a rider coldly, his voice trembling with restrained anger. Loth�riel only half-heard the reply �omer gave him, her entire being concentrated on the death-paled faces strewn before her. Many fair faces lay stained with blood, marked with strange designs by the orcs. She kicked one of the twisted creatures that was mangled on the ground, surprised to find it not human, nor orc. It looked like a mixture of orcs and men, some new evil devised by Saruman - his pets, the Uruk-hai. Loth�riel curled her lip in disgust, contenting herself with placing a mark of her own on the dead uruk's forehead - her heel-print.

    �omer's call to return to the horses came sooner than expected. He and a rider were carrying a body, evidently Th�odred, Prince of Rohan. Dernhelm's eyes were gleaming with sorrow and hope unlooked-for as Loth�riel remounted.

    "He's alive!" she whispered. "We must hurry to Edoras and raise the alarm."

    Loth�riel gave the Fords a lingering look as she turned Malanor. Now she would have to call on all of the horse's legendary strength to just keep going, there would be no camp that night.
    Posted by cyberwing (Member #11784) on 30th January 2004, 08:51 AM
    Celeborn came and placed a gentle hand on Galadriel's shoulder. "What worries you so now beloved? The orc raiding party was repelled." Galadriel looked out the window toward the northern border. "Yes, that was minor, we will have more intense battles ahead. It is Haldir that concerns me. He still remains stubborn about facing his own heart. You know as I do, the enemy will use it against him, to destroy her."

    Celeborn smiled at his beloved wife. "Haldir is a dutiful son of Lothlorien and serves well, perhaps it is time someone nudged him??" Celeborn's eyebrows came up in a question and his lips curved into a gentle smile. Galadriel laughed musically and kissed her husbands hand. "Yes, perhaps it is time to awaken a sleeping heart..."

    Haldir leaned back against the tree, to rest his eyes. His encounter with The Lady from several days ago disturbed him still. Duty kept him from thinking about his own heart....he liked it that way....it was more suitable to his chosen path. Or was she right? Was he using his devotion to duty, to hide from his own life? Haldir did not want to face the possiblity. That would force him to deal with things he had intentionally suppressed.

    Haldir was walking a circuit of the northern border, when he heard a faint voice at the edge of his consciousness. The feminine voice was speaking elven words with an odd human accent. Words of loving protection for him! They were filled with the emotion he thought surely had long since died. The ever-hovering evil presence was there too though, quickly the faint voice responded with fear and was lost. Haldir looked up, as if willing the voice to return or reveal itself to him, but he did not possess the power of the Lady and he could not. Frustrated, he picked up a stone and skipped it with vengence across the surface of innocent brook. He continued walking, his keen eyes sweeping the wood. How he longed for an orc face to pummel with arrows and take out his anger upon! After fininishing his circuit, Haldir set himself to the task of scrutinizing each of the arrows in his quiver. Satisfied, he drew out his blades to observe the sharpness of their edges. Even these tasks did not completely relieve his mind of it's burden. The daylight faded into twilight and stars began to be revealed.

    {Come, Haldir. It is time you face your weakness.} The Lady's voice came clearly to him, summoning him. When Haldir arrived, The Lady was waiting for him, she leaned over with her pitcher and filled it with the flowing water. Turning to look at him with penetrating gaze, she poured the water into the mirror. She stepped back and dipped her head, indicating he should come forward.
    {Look Haldir and see what you fear the most! Face it and you will have victory.}

    He closed his eyes and let his mind flow forward, seeking, as he obeyed her. Then he looked down into the pool of water. He was expecting to see battle, orcs and Saruman's forces. The water seemed to move in the moonlight. Haldir suddenly heard the song again, clearly this time. For a moment he saw a woman wandering in the moonlight, followed by a herd of horses..... 'Rohirrim!! It was Sianowyth!' Haldir thought then frowned as the agony within her sweet voice gripped his heart. Her spirit had always been so filled with joy, laughter and light! What had happened to her? Dared he find out?
    {KEEP LOOKING...} The Lady's voice commanded harshly as he started to look up. Haldir wanted to look away, he didn't want to see anymore. 'Some human male has broken her heart, no doubt!!! I want no part of seeing such things!' He thought angrily. Then from the image in the water Sian's eyes looked up, directly at him and he thought she uttered his own name!
    "No...." He whispered and looked away. 'If this were true....no, it couldn't be....' Haldir thought to himself desperately.
    {As long as you subvert your own heart, you will have a weakness the enemy can use. Haldir, to deny the TRUTH is to open the door to evil. One of my Marchwardens SHALL NOT enter into battle so ill prepared for the wickedness of the enemy!} The Lady's voice was stern and commanding. Haldir looked down reluctantly into the water once again.

    An image of Sianowyth, dressed as a Rohirrim warrior, a Mordor arrow protruding from her shoulder! One of Saruman's orcs was pulling her lovely head back by her golden hair to slice her throat. Her terrified eyes met his..... then all became ripples of mist in the water. A roar of indignation and righteous anger ripped from Haldir's throat as both hands came up to grip at the edges of the pool. His heart thrust through by the image, more surely than any Mordor arrow could have done.

    {This last was an image unclear, of a future not sure. Your paths are entwined...} Galadriel's voice had taken on a softer tone, one of compassion. Haldir dropped his eyes to the ground, suddenly ashamed of his dismal failure. The Lady had made him face the truth and it was harder to bear than he believed. When he looked up again, he was alone. Haldir moved into the quiet forest to find solitude and think. "Sianowyth.....I WILL find you." He finally whispered to the starlit sky. "Forgive me for being a proud fool...." For the next several hours, Haldir let his heart have free reign and he was lost in sweet memories and bitter regret for letting the Truth, Sianowyth and himself down. The gap between human and elf no longer mattered to him.
    ...to the topTop

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