The hall was large, its walls lost in distant shadows, and when Neela pushed open the heavy oak doors she found it in complete darkness. She paused in the doorway for a few moments, rummaging in the bag she had dropped at her feet, bringing out, at last, a small stub of candle which she lit, holding up in front of her to light the hall. It had lain disused for many months, perhaps even years, but after much searching Neela had found it, the perfect place for the new writers guild that had been set up within the walls of Minas Tirith. As she glanced around at the hall however, her heart sank. There was so much to do. A thick layer of dust covered every surface, and the air smelt stale. It would take her a very long time to make it habitable again. With a sigh she set her candle on a nearby table and rolled up her sleeves.
It took her four days in total to complete the cleaning job, but at last the hall was fit for visitors. The wooden floor had been swept and washed, the windows cleaned and opened to let in the fresh air, the old, broken tables had been replaced with new ones, and the fireplace scrubbed. She had spent many long hours thinking of how to lay out the furniture, and had decided in the end to group the tables and chairs around the great fireplace, in which a fire now burned merrily. A long counter lay across one wall, behind which she had placed a great store of food and drink for her visitors, and on the opposite wall was her pride and joy. A great notice board filled the wall, that was for the time empty. But she had high hopes that in times to come it would be covered by the work of her guests, such pieces that they felt willing to share with others. It would be a place for other citizens of Minas Tirith to view some of the work of those talented individuals who joined her writers guild. She sighed wearily as she glanced around at the hall, and sunk into one of the armchairs by the fire. Yet despite her tiredness, a bright smile played across her lips. Soon she hoped the hall would be filled with conversation and laughter. All she had to do now was wait. She had one last job to do though before she could relax. Standing up she crossed over to the notice board and pinned a single piece of parchment to it. It read:
To All Visitors
Feel free when you arrive to help yourselves to food and drink.
Before we begin any of the serious work of this gathering, perhaps we should discuss what it is we are working on at this time.
When the gnome thought that Hentian had at last found the way out of the winding tunnel, his rising hope was dashed. Before his drastically exhausted feet lay another long tunnel. "Where are we going, Hentian?" he asked. It took a moment for Hentian to respond, and Horust realized theat his comrade had been deep in thought. "To the hold of my Master, good gnome." He started off at once, even deciding to quicken the pace, which pulled a sigh of dismay from Horust's lips. "Why would Fistantil choose such a cold, dark, maze-filled place as his home?" he wondered aloud. He kept up his walking, reluctantly at first, hoping that Hentian would slow, as he had so many times before. Soon though, his hope of rest was renewed, for a voice sounded somewhere in the distance. He could not make out the words, but he knew at once that the crackling voice belonged to Fistantil. He let out a small squeal of surprise when the voice of Fistatnil seemed to jump at him from the side. He searched around him and, finding nothing as evidence, dismissed the sound as his own imagination. "We are almost there," he heard Hentian say. "You've said that so many times..." he started to say, until he saw that they had indeed come upon the last tunnel, for at the end stood Fistantil, his white beard and hair flowing around him in the magical breeze that emanated from his glowing staff. "Oh. I guess you aare right this time." "To answer your question, Horust," Fistantil said "My choice for this to be my home is because of the privacy it gives me from nosy gnomes such as yourself, seeking to be my apprentice. However many times I ask for privacy, I doubt I'll ever get it."
-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~- I aistan ilfirinion
From: Minas Tirith | Registered: Jan 2005
| IP: Logged |
Snowdog had not wandered far from his Inn for many a year despite good intentions to do so. So it was that he came to a great hall where a faded wooden sign hung on the porch reading The Writer's Hall. a gust of wind swirled the dry leaves and dust on the porch, and it made the sign swing on its rusty hooks and a faint squeaking could be heard.
"It a bit dis-used this place."
he said to himself as he stood before the heavy oak doors. Inside, he found it in complete darkness.
he called out, but was only met by the echo. Finding a flint, he struck it until he got a candle to burn, and its dim light made a stifled glowing orb in the darkness.
he said to himself as if a question had been answered. He walked across the dusty floor, and the candle flicked shadows around as the door closed out the daylight. Coming to a counter, he looked around and found an unopened bottle of beer. Holding the candle to it, it read Took's OLD. He worked the cork out of the ceramic neck, and a loud 'pop' echoed through the empty room. A swig told him it was a bit off, but still quaffable. Had it been cellared properly it would have been a most excellent brew. A couple swigs more and he took a look around.
Wandering over to where several tables and chairs were set, he could see a large fireplace. There was kindling and logs stacked nearby, quite dry as they had been there for some few years.
"Best get a fire going, with the wind coming up and the cloud moving in fast."
He set the candle on the hearth and made a stack of kindling and some larger branches and set it alight. Soon the room was filled with the bright flickering of the firelight. Snowdog had a good look around, and wondered why the wallboard only had one note tacked to it. He read it, then sipped the beer and said to himself,
"I already helped myself to a drink. Maye with this better light I will find more?"
He went back and placed a couple large logs on the fire, then sat down in a rather comfortable chair. He tought a bit before saying to himself,
"This must have been a Writer's Guildhall, but what happened?"
He himself had not written in some time, and noting the ink and quill on the end table, he checked if it was still usable. It was! And some clean parchment was there as well! He decided he would pen a tale and put it on the board for any who came here after to read. But before he started writing, he remembered some scrolls he had brought with him, and thought this would be the perfect place to put them. He got up and went over to the board and put up what he had with him. Satisfied they were hung straight and smooth, he went back to pen his new tale.
Recollections of a Dunedain Ranger Year 121 of the Fourth Age of Middle Earth
"I am Gilrénna, daughter if Halcwyn, daughter of Halasían and sister of Hanasían. I have now in my keeping much of the writings of Hanasían, and some of the collected writings of many who lived before his time. I wish now to share some of these writings with people who will never delve into the great halls of knowledge in Annúminas and Minas Tirith. May they learn and know of the events that led up to the War of the Ring, and to victory and peace in our days.
This account was written by Hanasían, son of Halasían of the House Halvarís, Dúnedain Rangers of the North. The first part was dated 7 Súlimë 3019 of the Third Age of Middle Earth, and was a swiftly scribbled recollection of Hanasían of the night the Grey Company was encamped in Dunharrow for the muster of Rohan. The Dúnedain, along with the Elladan and Elrohir made their camp nearest the ancient road that led east into the Dimholt, for the Rohirrim feared that road and told of dark tales concerning it. The second dated 23 Súlimë 3019 of the Third Age of Middle Earth and tells of his recollection of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The script used was Tengwar, written in his unique and flowing hand. The conditions in which he wrote was not well suited for ink and parchment, for there are the heavy stain and stretched weakness of the script in many parts. Also signs of his fatigue were plain, an obvious reflection of all of which he had seen and experienced." _____________________________________________________________
Shadows of the Mind - 7 Súlimë 3019 of the Third Age
The night was growing long but I could not sleep without first writing my thoughts, for I felt we sat on the edge of this age where all would either fall into darkness or burst forth unto light. This was the last night of any peace we would have and I wanted it to last. The fires in this great muster of the Rohirrim camp had burned in a solemn way, each throwing its light and warmth upon men gathered around them. A larger cook fire was burning near the center of the encampment, and all had eaten what they would. I spent much of the night in preparation, for I knew we would ride tomorrow. But I did take some time and walked about.
Passing by a group about a fire, I was waved to sit with some men gathered there and I did so. The elder man of the group sat beside fine armor, and in introduction I learned that his name was Dúnhere, the Lord of Harrowdale. We conversed for a time speaking of Aragorn, friends, and our lands in the north. In due course he spoke of knowing my mother Forcwyn. I asked him how she was for I had not been able to see her with our haste in these dark times being so great. He looked away for a moment, and then turned back to me saying she was well. Meanwhile a soldier outside the ring walked off. I then asked of Halcwyn my twin sister and he looked me in the eye and said,
'I believe she is well. Maybe you wish to ask her husband Éothain?'
I looked to where his eyes turned to, and I noticed a man stand up by another fire not far away where Lord Éomer's men had gathered. The soldier that was summoned by Dúnhere stood with him and they spoke in brief. The man turned his gaze toward us, and soon both started to walk our way.
My mind raced with this news. My sister had married and I heard naught of it? I could not take my eyes from him as he approached. A tall man he was, slightly more so than most of the Rohirrim. Grim was his demeanor, and as he eyed me I stood.
'You are my wife's brother?'
he asked and I nodded my head.
A moment of awkward silence followed as we sized each other up. I knew not what he may have heard of me from my sister and mother, but surely it was not all good. Both Forcwyn my mother and Halcwyn my sister had opposed my returning to Imladris ere thirteen years past. We were then fifteen, and I thought my learning would be best served by my study under the tutoring of the elves. My mother finally gave in, saying I was my father's son and would do what I thought right. In me she had hoped I would be like my older brother Hayna, or even better, stay close and live and be of the Rohirrim. But of us all, only Halcwyn remained close. Hayna was away south working the quays and ships along the coast of Gondor, and I went and remained in the north.
'I am, Hanasían, son of Halasían and Forcwyn, brother of Hayna and Halcwyn.'
'And I am Éothain of Eastfold. It is a dark hour you finally come, though your kin have been here. I have been your brother-in-law for near 4 years now, and have heard of you only from your mothers lips. Yet I have heard story and rumor of your father from many. I would be lying if I said this was a joyous meet.'
I could not reply, for the harsh words struck me hard. It was nothing though compared to what happened next. A woman, fair and tall, approached us. She took the arm of Éothain and looked at me. I did not know what to say to my sister as she stood before me. She stood there tall and proud, with a cold stare that cut through me.
'My wife Halcwyn.'
was all Éothain said. I nodded in greeting, and she stiffened. Suddenly a hand slapped me across my cheek. Then fists were flailing into my face...
'Damm you Hanasian! Damm you! I love you but damm you!'
I deserved it. Éothain started to restrain her but let her go. Her pent up anger toward me tapered to tears and I embraced her.
'I am sorry my sister...' '....Mother is going to be so happy for a breath! But why now when you ride off to war? Her sons always going... at least Hayna comes home every hear. You we get a letter now and then. And you come not to my wedding...'
She was holding me tight now, and I her. We were oblivious to the others watching save Éothain. He took not his eyes off me, and did not step back from his wife's side.
'I knew not of your wedding, or if your marriage ere now!'
She looked back at me and ran her fingers through my hair. I brushed away a tear from her cheek and swallowed. She went on,
'I wrote you...' 'I never got it!'
No, the letter never arrived in Rivendell. Passage of the Fords of Tharbad was treacherous in the best of conditions. The letter was lost in crossing, and it found its way to the sea.
The reunion with my beloved sister was short but was well in the end. We had been so close all our lives until we were fifteen. Forgiveness was the order of the day, and though I could never seem to break through the shell of distrust that surrounded Éothain. It was his way Halcwyn assured me, for he was a proud man, distrusting at first those from outside the realm of Rohan. Time would tell if we would get along, if time we had. I looked forward to seeing mother again, but it would have to wait. There was no time now on the eve of battle, for Halcwyn would not leave until she saw Éothain off. And I bade them farewell and took my leave of her and Éothain, and also of Lord Dúnhere who silently sat by in witness of my reunion with my sister.
Time? What time do I think of? We ride to war, and in the darkness of the morn, Aragorn spoke to us of our road. As the light of the morning broke, all that had passed last night seemed a dream and we set out early for the Paths of the dead....
Smoke still rose from the white city, but its fires had for the most part been contained and were fading. But the black smoke stains tarnished its white stone façade… where the stone was not damaged. And the air… death was in it. Every breath you smelled it. So many people were out in the fields in search of their loved ones. There were wives and mothers looking for their husbands and sons. Wounded soldiers looked for their missing comrades, and some of the Rohirrim grieving for their fallen horses. Yes, the smell of death... the crying of those who found whom they searched for, and the moans of those not yet dead from their wounds filled the air.
I am Hanasían, a Dúnedain Ranger from the northern lands of Eriador. I am weary from the days past, where the last decent sleep I, and my brethren had was in Dunharrow nearly a fortnight ago. Yet I sleep not, for I write now for the dead... those fallen in this great battle outside Minas Tirith be they man or woman of Gondor, Arnor, or the Rohirrim. We had defeated Sauron’s armies on this field. But the cost was high and this war is not yet over. For he hides now behind his great iron gates of Mordor, gathering his remaining strength, while we ourselves attempt to regain ours.
It seem a lifetime ago when I, along with well over two-dozen of my brethren answered a summons by our Captain Halbarad. He said we needed to ride in haste to come to aid our Chieftain Aragorn away south in the land of Rohan. We, along with the Sons of Elrond did ride south with speed, meeting Lord Aragorn and the escort of King Theoden of Rohan not long after crossing the River Isen. As the Rohirrim mustered for war, the foresight of Aragorn led us to take the Paths of the Dead. Of that part of the journey I have much to say, for Aragorn proclaimed himself to the Dead... he proclaimed himself Isildur's Heir! And they were called to the Stone of Erech to fulfil their oath. But here now I write for the new dead, those who lay about me here, those who will not return to their homes and families.
To the mouth of the Anduin we came in haste, and there with the aid of the dead and some local men (of whom I also have much to say, but again, another day) we fought and defeated the Corsairs of Umbar, the ancient brethren who had fallen into darkness and become enemies of Gondor. With their oath of old to Isildur fulfilled, Aragorn gave the dead their leave, and we took the corsair ships up the river. To Minas Tirith we came, arriving with the city engulfed in smoke and flame. Battle raged in and around the city walls, and elsewhere inside the Rammas Echor.
Swords rang, bows twanged, and engines thundered their deadly projectiles as the ships came ashore. The worst fighting I saw were where it was men fighting men… Easterlings battled Gondorians near the bropken gates of the city; Variags fought we Dunedain; Southrons and their mumakil against the Rohirrim and their horses. The beasts of Harad rampaging and the horses of the Rohirrim storming in terror.... So much death... We engaged the enemy almost immediately, but not before our surprise were complete.
A wound I had taken near my left eye, a lasting memory of the Variags of Khand. He came at me from behind in a ravenous yell, leaping down from the body of a slain mumakil. I had just turned an axe of his brethren and I turned, but I could not react in time. Pain I felt as I fell backward, the warmth of my blood rushing down my face. His knife would have claimed me but for the sure sword of Halbarad taking off his arm. But still we fought, for he tried to take my sword with his remaining hand. We wrestled and fell to the ground, and I killed him with a knife I found. It was his knife, still in the grip of his severed limb. He was dead but there was no time to think, for another came at me. As soon as one was dispatched another would jump at you, or you would stop another from the blind side of your brethren. Their attacks were fierce, but our defense was even more so. As a group we pressed on from the shores of the river toward the city. But chaos of a stampeding oliphaunt caused many of us to scatter. It was then I saw Halladan go down with a blow from a screaming Southron falling from the beast, but I could not tend him. Easterlings, ruthless in their attacks, came upon us. My blade rang and my foe's axe shattered, blood flew everywhere when darkness closed around me....
A pain I felt in my head, wondering if it was still upon my shoulders. I remember thinking that I should move my hand, and the feeling that came over me was pain. My eyes cleared the foggy grey that crept into the dark, and blurry figures moved about before me. Somehow I stood, my sword still in my hand. I shook my head in a shudder to either shake off the webs that filled it, or see if it would fall to the ground. And just as suddenly, an Easterling jumped before me swinging his axe. My arm moved and deflected his blow, and the Variag knife I still gripped in my other hand buried into his neck. I now fought, I was not thinking or seeing. Rage drove me on, slaying and swinging. I nearly had the head of a fair armored Gondorian soldier, his helm long missing and his face dark with dirt and blood. He too moved against me, and our swords coming together rang out a song that awakened us both from our blindness. Looking around, pockets of battle still raged, but the west was having the day. Without thought, I, and the young Gondorian stood back-to-back, taking down those orcs who still pressed their masters will. But soon fatigue had taken us, and we sat and leaned against each other, fatigue claiming us.
In the aftermath people searched, With Halladan finding me sitting against a smashed siege tower. I was surprised to see him, for I had seen him fall. He was missing a part of his scalp, but was in good cheer to find me. I looked around for the young Gondorian soldier I had fought with, for I wished to know him. But there was no sign of his presence, and I would never know who he was. Halladan walked me towards the gates of the city where tents were being used to treat the wounded.
In ones and twos and threes we Dunedain brethren of the north came again together. Most, like me, had minor wounds of one sort or another, and as we gathered outside the smashed gates of the city, we looked about. Who had we lost? Aragorn himself came to us. He looked each in the face, the strain of battle on us all He seemed evermore relieved as his eyes met each of ours in turn. We all had lived with some of us having wounds to show. His look of relief suddenly become strained as he looked swiftly back over us, and he asked solemnly… where was Halbarad?
His hand was needed, for inside the city the house of healing was filled and overflowing with soldier and citizen alike. Those who could not be brought inside were laid in the streets, tended as best as could be. Out in the fields the tents of the wounded filled likewise, and the remaining were laid nearby where there was room. I had some healing experience, and so once my eye was tended and I could see straight, I did what I could for those wounded still in the field. All the while I looked for Halbarad, and my heart would tighten with each man I tended that I knew by their wound they would be dead by days end. What do you say to them? It is hard... so many dead and dying. A man of the Rohirrim, a young man he was. He was I would guess we just saw his twentieth winter. He talked in his native Rohirric tongue to his comrade next to him. He asked me to see to his friend, in good Westron like all was well. He knew he would die soon, but his concern was for his comrade who sat next to him. His friend didn't seem wounded but for a drying stream of blood that had run down his temple. But his mind was gone and he would stare only at a clover he pulled from the grass. The dying man told me he had taken a hard blow from the ground when his horse was slain in full gallop and fell from under him. The dying man told me his name, and only wanted me to promise his friend would get home ok, even while the last of his blood flowed out of him and he faded to death. I held his hand for a moment before his fried took it from me. I nodded and moved on.
The day was darkening, and I helped my brethren Kayan to our camp. His leg was badly mangled, and though he would live, he would suffer a severe limp. As we made our way, a halfling, dressed in the soiled and bloodied attire of the Palace Guard, wandered forlornly about, looking at the dead and dying. Others from the city searched still too, but most were now grieving while others prepared funeral pyres. As the night closed about us, the sons of Elrond joined us. We were for the most part together again, but still Aragorn's question remained....
Where was Halbarad?
We all asked ourselves this as we rested into the night. No sign of him had been seen since our moment of scattering. Kaldil had seen him last, standing upon the body of a slain mumakil, hewing the Southrons that had not the fear and sense to leave him be. But another mumakil stormed by and the dust was raised, and afterward, those who looked saw him there no more. We searched the place and found many a corpse, but not a sign of Halbarad.
The darkness of night claimed the lands as we rested and wept. Those of us who were able, readied themselves for the day to come, and those whose wounds were ill were set to rest and heal. Word had been carried from the city that the King had indeed come, but here where we encamped, our Chieftain joined us. It was not yet time.
Aragorn's face showed weariness that I had not seen before, and the edges of his hair and beard seemed to have a silvery aura to them. The firelight detailed the lines of care that shrouded him, but I saw not the tired Ranger Chieftain that fought hard a day’s battle, but a man wizened. Wizened by the depth of his burden, and the knowing gut feeling that our friend and lieutenant would not see the light of another day. It was what we all felt inside really, though nobody spoke of it. Instead we spoke of the days to come, and what they held. Words of days in the north when our burden was to watch over the lands of the Shire we shared. Of times good and the weddings aplenty, of sons and daughters born in the quiet of the homes and the Midsummer’s eve celebrations past. A feeling of cheer and laughter came out amongst some of us, pushing aside this day but for a time. But this too passed, and with a final chuckle of a memory long gone, silence again overtook the Rangers.
The fire crackled and the flicker of its light made the shadows dance. Around the fields there were other fires. The Rohirrim staked a large camp out farther from the city gate, and there kept their horses in check. Aragorn looked up and the stood, and all of us who could stand did so to look at the shadowy horse approaching.
'Hail Dúnedain! Is this the camp of the Rangers?'
'It is.' Aragorn said as he stepped forward to have his back to the firelight. I too stepped forward at his left, and Kaldil did so at his right. The rider dismounted his horse and stood for a second. Our eyes seeing now in the darkness, we could tell he was of the Rohirrim. His helm was gone and the side of his face was covered in dried blood. We could see also that the horse was still burdened. The rider approached and spoke,
'I am Brytta of Dunharrow, and I bring bad tidings...'
Kaldil and I did not wait for Brytta's words, but went to the horse who stirred slightly from our approach. Aragorn's brow was crinkled as he cut the man's speech off..
'You bring us Halbarad.'
We lifted the bloodied body from the horse and carried him near the fire where Kallam prepared a place for him in Aragorn's tent. Aragorn looked at the wounds and his eyes grew wet with tears. Halbarad still breathed, but it was labored and slow, the sounds ill. His last strength lifted his hand to Aragorn's, and we knelt beside as Brytta stepped away to allow us a last moment with our comrade. Short burst of whispered, gurgling speech came forth from Halbarad as his eyes opened.
'My... my king! Your hour has come! But ere its passing I will join my fathers...'
'Quiet my friend and rest, for my hands will heal ...'
'Nay my lord. Not even the hands of a king can repair these wounds of arrow, sword, and knife. See now! Varda opens her cloak of twilight to light your way, and to carry me home. Speak well of me to my son and daughter...'
It was beyond Aragorn to say he would heal, but while he breathed there still was hope. Each of us came and sat for a time with Halbarad, mostly in silence as he rested. I could not speak, for I could not feel his strength. With a squeeze of his hand, I departed. Aragorn soon re-joined him, and he closed the tent to rest with Halbarad. Aragorn lay beside him, their hands bound together as a rough sleep overcame him.
We too took rest in tent or outside. Brytta stayed with us for a time, telling of the deeds of Halbarad that he saw. Apparently he had jumped from the dead beast where we had last seen him, and battled there the remaining Southrons that still stood. The thunder of the mumakil had scattered many of the Rohirrim, and Brytta rode headlong toward a wayward band of orcs that sought to slay the dour-handed Ranger standing alone. Brytta slew a couple while Halbarad slew more, and then he was pulled atop the horse and they turned about. The retreat was chaos as Easterling, Southron and orc ran this way and that, and the fight was drained from most. Halbarad was bleeding from a knife wound that was poisoned, and turned swords had cut his arms and legs. But the death knell of Halbarad was when a band of orc bowmen fired upon then in unison. Brytta's horse reared, taking an arrow and spilling he and Halbarad to the ground. Brytta split his head on rock debris, while Halbarad quickly regained his footing. The orcs were slinging arrows and fired as Brytta, stood dazed. Halbarad jumped to push him out of the way of the volley, but one late arrow caught him in the side, piercing his lung.
I noted this account in detail, and Brytta finished this telling and excused himself after his head was cleaned and bandaged. We rested as best we could, sleeping from exhaustion of nothing else, but were soon awake with the coming of daylight. The westward winds pushed back the darkness of Mordor, and the skies cleared with light clouds. Halbarad was lying in state in a field of honor of the fallen. King Theoden was there as well as many captain and soldier, of great renown or unknown, for many had fallen that day. Yes, Halbarad, the sullen Ranger and our friend had passed to his fathers in the night. His son and daughter will only have memory of him from before he rode south. His wife widowed at her prime. So it is with war, and now Aragorn gathered in council with Mithrander, Éomer, Prince Imrahil, and Elrond's sons Elladan and Elrohir.
Pelargir, such a beautiful, yet dark city. A crossing of cultures long sundered by the rift that was, now the crossroads of commerce between the north and west, the south and east, and ships that sailed the seas. The prefect Malgost had ruled it as his own city-state ever since an alliance was made with Gondor, who by right should have held it for its own. But when King Eldorian passed, his son cared little about ruling, and he lost the city in a card game called Tonk. Malgost was loyal to the king, and swore allegiance to Gondor then and there. How could he do otherwise? He only "ruled" in name only, got Gondor's army was quite mighty and its garrison in the city was quite large.
But it was not long before he got word out to one who owed him a favor.... Halas. Halas had served in the Gondorian army and rose to high rank before resigning. Why he resigned was a mystery at first, but for long. Gondor's rule was far and wide, and but for the victories of King's Aragorn and Eomer over the lands of Rhun, Khand, and Harad did they rule. But the fringes were never subdued, and battle on the far outreaches of the lands would take place now and again. In time the soldiers of Gondor and Rohan grew weary of fighting so far away from home, so Halas, a victor of many of these battles, returned to recruit mercenaries. He formed the Free Company of the West, consisting of former soldiers of not only Gondor, but of Rohan, Dunland, Dale, and others. A hard bunch they were, and with the exception of the first several hundred, new men were admitted to the company only after a vote of the first dozed senior men. Gondor paid them to fight, and fight they did. Unknowing to Gondor though, was their ability to recruit new numbers even from their enemies. Hence they dropped the last of their name and were now called The Free Companies.
Halas got word while in Pelargir recruiting new men. Their losses had been great the year before, and their numbers were less than a hundred when they were relieved. They were relieved by a tough cadre of old Gondorians with their ranks filled with poor young kids. They would get old soon enough.
Malgost wanted a word. A whisper in his ear by a Haradian dancer at a tavern. He would finish his drink and leave unseen, and come to the chamber of the Prefect....
Snowdog stopped there. Thoughts of Pelargir filtered through as he sipped down some more of the beer. This tale would become long, for there is much to tell of the Free Companies, especially the early days. He set that page aside and took another. He would write of them fully and properly, and this would take some time. He would start in the beginning, in the years just after the war ended....
From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000
| IP: Logged |
Denethor, the Lord of Gondor was finishing his meal in the dark evening. White-haired looking like what he was a lord though not a king he drained his cup of wine and finished his bread. He thanked his servant who removed his plate then got up and put on a robe against the evening cold. The Lord walked out of the chamber and up some stairs, patting one of his servants, Pippin Took on the head and releasing him from duties for the evening.
Denethor opened a door to a small, but very secret chamber. He looked out of the window onto his city below. The city he and his forefathers before him had ruled. There was considerable bustle below and why shouldn't there be? The city of Minas Tirith was under siege after all from a deadly enemy and looked unlikely to survive for long. The flames of unchecked fires could be seen by one as far-sighted as he.
But Denethor was more than aware of this. In fact he was trying to undertake an action that could save his city. Denethor opened a box and took out with difficulty a heavy, round cylinder dome. A palantir. One which only a very few in the world could use and fewer knew about. Denethor knew that one Mithrandir, the grey wizard suspected him of having this, but for all his subtlies, Mithrandir didn't know! Denethor could not help but give a quiet chuckle over this! The lord of the city, at least for now, looked inside.
He saw a famaliar tower of darkness and intomidable steel at night with a few stars. Some bat-like creatures circled around it. But then, He came almost as though He was expecting a visit. The Dark Lord, Sauron, the enemy of the world and the creature which was trying to destroy Denethor's country. The Dark Lord chuckled and gloated. 'Well, I can't say I am surprised at this. How often to you come and visit me at times like this. How about a cup of tea, one lump or two!' The Dark Lord laughed, horribly at Denethor. To Denethor, the Dark Lord appeared as simple one single lidless eye. It was a sight that many mortals couldn't bear, but the Lord Denethor did have more will-power than most.
Denethor said nothing but looked. He knew that he was taking a risk in using the Palantir as what the Dark Lord could gleam from him he never knew, but he had gotten information from the Dark Lord as well. Sauron continued. 'Maybe you wish for information in your trying time. Having trouble with my little forward force? The first feelings of my strength? Maybe you wish to see the full size of my armies!' For a while Denethor was shown a mass array of men, weapons, armies, under the Dark Lord's control, more than he had, more than any lord of the west could hope to contain, even if all where united. Army after army, might after might. For a long time Denethor was shown this. It didn't look like his city could cope with the present assault which was soon to be getting back-up, yet the full might opposed to him was tenfold.
Now in his heart, Denethor knew this. But seen it presented to him in such a way was still a shock which gave way to despair to him. 'Well now, are you going to show me your forces likewise? Never mind, I know what I am up against and it won't stop me for long. Neither will that grey fool of a wizard in your city. Yes, I know about that. That's one thing we both agree on, isn't it?' Then Sauron paused. Denethor was held enthralled. It looked like the Dark Lord, the most powerful person in Middle-earth was about to make an important statement to him.
'In fact, we are more alike than we seem. So, I am going to make you an offer. You can, if you like, die with your city with your west. But in your case there is no need for this. You could join with me. Yes, that's not so surprising. Others of your race and country have done and have worked out well. Most, that is!
'Betrayal,' Denethor whispered to the Dark Lord unconvinced
'Your the Lord of the City, how can you betray anyone? But think. You have opposed me all your life. And I have only grown stronger. Now I am getting too strong for all of you. But why put yourself through this? Why in your old age do you insist on been on the side to give you pain and agony when you could life out your life in relative comfort. You have secrets of your city, don't bother to deny, I know you have you know you have. But if you where to join me, my conquest of your city would be considerably easier. Think of the surprise on that old fool Mithrandir's face if you did that, do you like him upstating you all the time? All right, don't reply this instantly. But I had better have your reply and a positive one by midnight or..........'
The Dark Lord's voice deepened into a threat which only He could make. 'You had better make sure you burn before I get to you. I'll have a worst fate in store for you and your son!' The Palantir went cold, the interview was over.
Denethor stood up, tears streaming down his face. He felt like a baby knowing that he shouldn't cry but unable to help it. He wept for himself, yes that he had to be the one present at the end of his country, but he also did weep for his City, Gondor and the West. Despite all, he did consider himself something of a patriot. But would he accept the Dark Lord's offer? It could be a way out for him. And as the Dark Lord said, why should he be on clearly the losing side all the time? Denethor sighed. Because he must. He knew what Sauron's rule meant for his people, slavery with a life less dignified than that of a dog. While he, Denethor might be allowed some life as a puppet-ruler even if Sauron's offer was genuine which it might have been, it would be no life for his people and he did care for them.
But, Denethor knew the Dark Lord's future was the future. No power on earth could stop his armies. Some might hope, but there was no hope. This was real life, not fairy tales. Denethor didn't actually know if the Dark Lord had the one Ring in his position, but that didn't really matter he soon would. No way some simple Hobbit would elude capture for long in the dark land of Mordor. Why was this life his, why had the forces of evil and hatred so much power in this world? Was this the will of the Gods if they even existed and secretly Denethor had doubts about that. But no, this was the future and not one he wanted to life in. Not that the Lord of Evil and despair would let him. Denethor would not betray his people at the last. He was an old man after all and would not say that all his previous life and what he was living for was a lie in that way.
So there was only one thing for it. No way Sauron's armies could be opposed, why try? He wouldn't join them. Time for a little pain. Not much, not much for long for an old man like him. But this was the way he wanted to end with a little dignity. Same for his son too, he would be doing him a favour rather than letting him rot away or end up as his enemies prisoner.
Tears fell down the Lord of Gondor's face as he knew what he had to do and walked down to the buriel chambers to perform his one final task.
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006
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Beregelis was sitting on a sunny bank of the river. There was not much on at the moment and Beregelis was resting by the flowing bluey waters watching the splashy waves. The River was large at this point, and Beregelis could only just make out the opposite bank. Beregelis was a young man of Gondor of Numenorean stock, dark-haired stocky and around 25 years old making him rather young for one of his race. Beregelis was a long way from home and had been for a number of years, but this wasn't so much a problem for him as I can say he liked to travel.
There was a call from a friend of his. A blond haired young-man that had been Beregelis's companion for a while. Fregil his name was. 'Pleasant day. But then it often is, this far south. Doesn't make one nostalgic for the rains of home,' smiled the lad, offering Beregelis a bottle of liquid. 'Have a Beer. Speaking of home, I understand that there has been a delivery of those fuses you ordered from Gondor,' Ah, well this was of interest to Beregelis. Beregelis had something of an interest in crafts of metalwork and to do that well one needed fuses, the best of whom he could lay hold of came from Gondor, his home country.
'Oh, great, I could use those, when do I get them?'
'Well, there is a slight problem.'
'Oh, yes, Fregil?' Beregelis was very suspicious here.
'Well, you know that you ordered around 500? Well only 100 actually arrived. And I fear that the civic authorities grabbed the use of those. So I guess you're stuck with those bolts. Any that you haven't used up,' Beregelis sighed. This was nothing unusual. It was hard to get supplies from home. In fact that was a bit of a problem generally for his people at that place. But more of that later!
'What, again?' cried he. 'I paid for those!'
'Yes, and apparently, you can claim compensation for them later, as always!' smiled his companion used to Beregelis's technical interests. 'Which reminds me, it is in the interests of everyone to return to the City of Umbar as fast as we can. I understand there is a party there. Nice bit of food something of a sing-song, I always enjoy those!
'Yes, I'll just stay here with a drink for a while. No harm in that, is there. Then I'll make my way.' Beregelis sighed. 'There are things there I am not happy with after all as you know. Still can't do much about that, can I?' As Beregelis spoke a large flock of white Swans with yellow becks, Berwick swans actually you'd might like to know came flying past across the yellow sun flapping their wings gracefully.
'Well, see you there soon. Don't arrive too late or all the beer will be drunk!' threatened Fregil playfully. After a while, Beregelis finished his beer, untethered his horse, called Binky to him although it did have a more formal official name. The city he was heading to wasn't far by horse and easily recognizable by a bright, tall, sparkling tower commemorating early victories. The climate by the city was an arid, dry one, though by the River was more tropical and had plants of many varieties.
Now was there something I had fogotten? Oh, yes, his people had been under assault by the wild men of the South for a number of years now and where hard pressed. Indeed it looked very likely that the City would fall shortly and then matters would be perilous for those of the West living there. The good folk that where not killed would have to settle for a life of slavery. Beregelis himself was something of a warrior if a little reluctant one. In fact he was more interested in crafts as you have seen and he did desire to move away from soldiering.
Comfortably by the evening Beregelis rode into the City through the main gates of metal and silver, nodding to the gatemen as he passed by. There was indeed ale to be had. And Tea and cakes as well. Something of a party even. A local Inn which Beregelis enjoyed was full to the brim. The Birthday boy was saying, 'Soon be time to return to Gondor. To more habital lands shall we say. With women at least. I haven't had much of a chance for a while.' Which was true. As Umbar the city which was inhabited by these people was pretty much a frontier town, shall we say, it was considered too dangerous for most of the womenfolk and so at that time, the only sex that Beregelis saw was the male one.
Oh, and a few more considerations. The year was 1856 of the third age of the world. The city was under the rule of Gondor as had been said, but for a time recently had been under the control of their enemies. Many of it's inhabitants where under arms as an assault was expected at any time. Beregelis sometimes looked with longing eyes to the lands to the south of the City but it was unadvisable for someone like him to travel there. Many on their own where picked up by their enemies and I am afraid to say that the survival rate wasn't that good. Less that 50% in fact. Something make Beregelis nervous and he pulled out his sword that he had recently retrived.
To be honest, it wasn't quite at it's best. Beregelis had wanted to re-sharpen it, but some of the tools for this where lacking. There just wasn't the facilities to adequally equip everyone in the fortress and some just had to wait. Something to do, I believe to the problems of supply and distance. There was a desperate cry from one of the scouts. Then a fall of arrows. The assault had started. Men shouted, Captains blarred out orders and various companies where organised. This assault was not totally unexpected, you see. Beregelis was ordered to take a position at the wall. But before he had time to prepare, he heard a crash as a ladder thudded to the wall next to him and those of his foes climbed up.
With a cry one of his enemies dashed to Beregelis. The man heaved a sword at him aimed for Beregelis's neck. Beregelis's armour would not have saved him so he was forced to parry with his own sword. This was a desperate one to one. The invader was not giving up and made another slash after slash towards Beregelis. Beregelis took a step backwards and replied with a few parries of his own. Beregelis was not the greatest warrior in Gondor's armies, at least in terms of one to one fighting there where many better than he. Actually Beregelis did have more of a, strategic, shall we say, talent but that wasn't much use here.
With a whirl, the enemies sword just missed Beregelis's forehead, but with a little move he had been taught at the military school, Beregelis moved and his enemies sword flew out of his hand. Beregelis stepped forward but before he could do anything his enemy had vanished. But his body was then hit by a rock, thrown from outside and he was pushed backwards down from the wall. Where he couldn't help but notice that some chaos was in the streets in the nights darkness.
The enemy had broken in, slaying all they could find. As it happened, Beregelis doubted that Umbar would fall from the first assault, but one couldn't be sure. He saw men, many of companies he recognized, trying their best to fight individually, but with not much organization. None of the major captains he could see. Beregelis supposed it would be down to him to say the obvious. He called, putting an edge to his voice, 'Come on, men, get in formation at least!' and with a little persuasion, this advice was taken and the defenders pressed together to form a square. This had the desired effect and at least in that part of the City, the assault lessened.
However, there was some tough fighting to be had in the other sections. The invaders where not easily repelled and it was not until the coming of day, a bright one, which was always the hope of Beregelis's people that the assault lessened and then repelled. Beregelis had a few cuts and bruises and indeed a rather deep one on the neck. But many where worst wounded, even killed than him. Some went to the mess for much-needed victuals such as an early breakfast.
'Bit of a shock the enemy breaking in like that,' commented Fergil, Beregelis's companion.
'Well, that's not too much of a surprise, we where expecting some type of attack weren't we?' replied Beregelis. He was tucking into some kind of eggs. Someone cried and one of the major captains, Ecthelon named after a hero of old, rode by giving the men a salute and stopping for a moment to enquire on their well beaning. But Ecthelon couldn't stay long as some important information had been received and there was an urgent meeting of the King and his council.
And this information was bad news. Basically, a small, but significant fort near to Umbar, that of Irglis had been taken by the enemy. This meant that the people where close to been surrounded by foes. Which also meant......... 'We're pulling out,' Fergil told a slightly incredulous Beregelis. 'Trapped out here, without easy access to our supplies, we would fall to overwhelming hate. '
'But we've been here for generations!' said someone.
'For about a few hundred years. Yes, and only just hanging on. But I think the commanders have made the right decision on this one. We are a bit adrift out here. Or soon will be. But weather or not I approve of it is immaterial. We are pulling out and that's that. It would be nice to think we would be coming back soon. Unless any of us would fancy staying to greet any of our friends from the South!' The last sentence was a rather sarcastic one from Beregelis which didn't get any takers.
The reason been that the main Lord that was Lord of the Southrons their enemy had declared his own personal rule over those lands and many further. He had already declared who his friends and enemies where and had a deeply personal rule based on fear and corruption. Those few that where his favorites lived in ease, but most of those in his control lived in poverty, slavery fear or not at all. The Lord based his wealth on large slave mines in the East of his country where live was miserable, painful and short. He had already designated that all those of Gondor he could find would either be killed or end up there, which most did that left the Gondorian territories.
Now admittedly the men of Gondor hadn't always been whiter than white. There could be amongst some quite a superior attidude to those of other races and some had kept the enemy in conditions that where not much better than slavery, but such thoughts where on the decline if for no other reason than that recent defeats had shown Gondor the meaning of humility.
Anyway, the postings of retreat had been issued. It had to be quick as the danger of been surrounded was a real and growing one. So Beregelis had less than a day to sort out his affairs and pack his belongings. In fact it was with some negotiations that they had time till dawn the next day so urgent was the situation. So it was that at the dawn of a bright, hot day, though there where clouds in the sky and rain was a bit in the air, that in well-ordered companies, the Gondorians marched out of the gates of Umbar.
They marched out with arms and with the anticipation of conflict. Ecthelon had said, 'I would be very surprised if we do not meet any of the enemy on the way back. Therefore we should be prepared. One thing which is important. We are withdrawn, but not running. It does not do sometimes to withdraw too quickly or without order. Neither do we intend the Southrons to have it all their own way. Sometimes we may have to turn and counter-attack them. I will inform you of these times,' these words where not necessarily always listened to but Beregelis was one that paid attention.
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006
| IP: Logged |
Grassy hills overlooked a fertile plain garnished with swift silvery streams. In the tall leafy, green trees with maybe just a hint of gold, birds sang and flew jauntily around. Ten male figures emerged from a path in the woods. 'Northad, you have got us lost again. What happened to that famous Elven sense of direction?' asked one, with a sigh.
Northad, a young, slim Elf with pointy ears, wearing green, blue and yellow looked in puzzlement at a map. 'No, no, I'm not lost, not at all, I know those mountains over there!' He pointed to tall mountains in the distance. 'Oh, all right, maybe that was one of my little jokes, perhaps we are lost! Still, we all agreed that we wanted to see a bit of the beautiful country, so now is our chance.'
The first lad sighed, 'Well, we are at least doing that!'
One girl in the group sat down suggesting, 'We could have some lunch perhaps?'
'Very well,' said Northad.
A brisk breeze blew around them as they all sat down to eat.
'Ah, what a nice refreshing drink,' sighed Northad.
'Is that just water?' asked a young man called Earnur.
Northad coughed. 'Well, it does taste a little like Noldor beer.'
'Beer? Then I suggest you pass it around,' said Earnur.
Northad did this with a slight reluctance. The maiden suggested, 'But we ought to at least stick a little to the route which we agreed. If we concentrate, its surprising how much interesting birds we could see which dwell in these northern parts. I think I saw a mountain warbler just now!' sadly, she wasn't really taking the young men with her.
Northad laughed. He jumped up at a rock next to a stream. Nimbly, he leapt from rock to boulder across the water laughing and impressing the mortal Earnur. 'Why watch a bird fly when you can watch me dance!' he cried, showing off dancing and nimply leaping into the air from boulder to boulder. But as he did so, Northad could see a cloud of dark smoke to the North.
The smile on Northad's face turned into a grimace when he turned his face northwards. Above the mountains that he could see was an unnatural gloom. Northad had only heard them vaguely up to now, but those tales that he had heard of the realm of Angband chilled his blood. He made a mental note not to be travelling that way if Northad could avoid it.
Northad jumped down from a craggy little boulder onto the muddy, slippery, cold, green grass. He ran back to the others. He had only just noticed the shadow to the North. 'Mind we'd better be home by nightfall. Nightime could be tricky,' so all sat down and meandered and wandered for hours. Well, in the fascination of their journey by dusk, Earnur looked up at the sky and cried,
'Oh, no, its dusk!' The were all young. And the wisest, Rhosguil was at that moment away up a tree looking at some interesting sparrows.
'Oh, what can possibly happen?' Earnur said. Then there was a threatening growl. The youngsters looked up as Orcs leapt out of the gloomy trees. Short, green, bow-legged well armed cruel servants of Morgoth. 'Can we help?' Earnur stuttered, but then all had to duck as an Orkish sword swept at his head. 'Do we have weapons?' asked he seeing the deadly Orc blades.
'We have this!' Northad replied showing him a penknife. One man fell down to an Orc-sword.
Then there was a cry. Out of the hills some Men on horseback galloped around some hills. One Northad recognized as an ally. Hurin, a leader of men with his brother, Huor. The men charged at the Orcs on their steeds of black, white and brown causing the Orcs to flee or be slain after a sharp affair. Hurin was a tall, dark-haired, stocky man with a bushy beard. He put a large hand upon Northad's shoulder. 'This is where you are! You didn't report back to us before Night fall. It can get dangerous around here at night. Didn't anyone tell you?
'We lost track of time. But look to Terglis. He's hurt and it seems bad. You must be able to help! Terglis had collapsed to the floor clutching his chest in pain. Hurin was a mighty warrior and looked at the wound, then with a worried frown saw that this was beyond his skill and so called over to his younger brother, Huor had greater skill in healing.
Huor took a look at Terglis chest but shook his head. 'This is bad. Terglis has been pierced with slow-working poison. It's a cruel blow. He will die painfully within a day or so unless he gets more help.' Huor looked around at the green hills to the West. 'We are not far from Fingon and his Noldorian forces.
Northad's hope dwindled. He knew of Fingon a wise Elven lord. Fingon was a healer as were all the Elven leaders but the elf was busy. Northad thought Fingon would be too busy to worry about his friend. So, even though he did reach the Elven host of Green and White armoured-clad Elves with their cloaks, horses, swords with grey eyes, Northad was more concerned with Terglis's hurt. Despite Fingon having emerged from a great council concerning the assault on Angband he did see what had happened and took action. 'Athelas, we need the plant Athelas,' he ordered and was handed some. Pressing his pale-finger upon Terglis's chest he brusied Terglis's wound with a mixture of the plant and warm water, also using his Elven skill to draw out the poison.
To the relief of Northad who embraced Terglis as he stood up and Rhosguil moped his brow. Fingon frowned at Hurin, 'What were these young scamps doing around here? War wil ride in these lands soon!
'They got lost!' Hurin laughed. 'But what to do with them now, their not babies we could send them home!'
Terglis stood up and cried, 'No that's not fair! You can't not let us take part in this! This is the glorious moment of our age. The great assault upon the evil lord Morgoth. He cannot stand against us. When the moment comes, you will find that I am of the heart of, say, Feanor! You with me, Earnur, Northad?'
Northad, been young, had in fact only vaguely heard of Morgoth but was eager to agree. He pointed out, 'Fingon is of the line of Fingolfin. It is not always wise to talk of Feanor to him!'
But Fingon smiled, 'Oh, I don't mind that! If you want to come, come! But mind this is Morgoth we are dealing with! Once known as Melkor. He who arised in might and the first living being ever created by Eru. Defeating Him might not be as easy as you thin,!' Fingon did look a bit grim. But he was always grieved after the death of his father, Fingolfin in a one to one duel with the Dark Lord.
But Terglis wasn't convinced. 'The greater the odds, the greater the glory!' he cried, forgetful of both his injuries and the fact that the greater the odds the less chance of victory. He then sat down again, still suffering a little.
Hurin laughed and patted Terglis's head patronizingly.
Now, it was true that Morgoth was the enemy of free-thinking peoples everywhere. If the Dark Lord on his mighty throne in Angbnd all would live as chained thralls in his slave mines. None would be free to walk merrily in the freedom of the wild as they lied. Wouldn't be much of a free wild either as Morgoth desired to bend all to his will in his envy.
Northad, once he knew his companion would be fine now took the opportunity to take a look around. He could see many fair and mighty Elven folk, clad in fine colours and arrayed in well-organised companies. They were laughing, in joy and confident. All adult and nimble. Thousands, many on cavalry, stretching as far as Northad's eye could see, the weather was fair and underneath the green grass shone in the Sun. Not only were there Elven warriors in their splendour but they were backed up by equally large numbers of mortal men in the background. So too were short but strong armoured bearded stout-hearted Dwarves singing boldly in their deep voices.
This was as large a force as Northad had ever imagined. He could not conceive that anything could stand against it. But in fact Huor told him that it could get even bigger as the great Maedhras the eldest of the sons of Feanor and his brothers were on the way. Northad's joy was a little dimmed when it was pointed out to him that a fair-seeming bunch of trees was the site of were some Men a few years back had been eaten alive by werewolves of Sauron and their skeletons were still hung upon it.
If Northad had his thinking cap on he would have known that the absence of Meodhras was not good news. The son of Feanor should have been with the rest of the force but was delayed due to treason. As he travelled northwards in Hithilum, Angband came into Northad's view. It was in the distance, but clouds of thick, black smoke puffed out slowly to the sky in increasing might. Northad could one rad but also some grim pointed hills, strengthened by scraggly, dark, pointy trees and a whole, strong, network of defence but Northad didn't see all of this. Was it his imagination or had the ground shaken as in an earthquake and flashes of fireworks exploded in the North.
Earnur who had been riding with him, said, 'That's Morgoth's stronghold. This doesn't look quite like a stroll in the woods to me. I have spoken to an old Elf that did once hear Morgoth's voice.' Earnur's face paled a little after saying this. But Northad's confidence was restored by the coments of the soldiers around him. 'This shall be a glorious triumph for us! The Lord of Despair caught us by surprise last time. And possibly we had been softened by years of peace. But not now. Now we are together, prepared and strong. After this we will be free to wonder in the land of the world. Not molested by Orcs or hellish creations.'
'Mind, a lot of the land around here is a bit uncouth, cold, wild and uncultured. I think I could do some changes around here. A nice plot of land, growing some vegetables, a little bit of house building. This could be a nice bit of country!' Northad heard these confident comments as he rode onto the strong, tall, rocky though with a little vegetation that grew despite Morgoth's influence.
Northad could see the plains of the fen of seerch ahead and beyond the walls of Angband. But as he dismounted, having to lead his horse up a mountain and sat down for a mean with Earnur, the Captains held a counsel in the command tent. Fingon sighed, 'Well here we mostly are. But what of the sons of Feanor? They should be here and we need them, is there no news of their delay?' None was forthcoming.
Disclaimer: These characters and this world is Tolkiens.
This is a tale about Saeros. I've often wondered about him and how he could have been so haughty with Turin. Well, this tale possibly explains it. I am presenting him as not very nice. But I think that's canon as he possibly wasn't. He also sounds the ambitious type. Anyway, I hope anyone that reads it enjoys the tale, please tell me what you think if you have time, thanks Ham
It was night. But the weather was warm and the stars gleamed brightly in Doriath. This was the 2nd age of the Stars, the world was at peace. In the woods was a slender dark-haired Elf by the name of Saeros. He did not wish to be seen as he was playing a little game for himself. Through the trees he saw two other Elves were talking. Beleg and Mablung. Not about much. Not about anything, really just the wildfowl and patterns that they had seen. But Beleg thought he had heard something. He mentioned this to his friend, and they looked around. Saeros fell out of a tree.
Saeros had been eavesdropping. He was young, but he did have a habit of liking to know about other people's business, particularly if they did not know this. Everyone in Doriath at least. Those that he could. Beleg simply laughed. 'What were you doing up there, Saeros, I hope we didn't startle you! Our conversation been that fascinating!' he joked.
Saeros blushed. Mablung, however wasn't quite so forgiving. He glowered at Searos. 'All the same, you shouldn't be listening in on other peoples talk. There's no need for that, is there? There is such a thing as personal space and privacy. Go on, be off with you!' Mablung didn't give Searos much more consideration. But Saeros craved a little attention.
'Oh, please, sirs, if you don't mind, can I play something for you?' Saeros indicated his harp.
Beleg agreed and Saeros played some Elven music. To the untrained ear, this would have been lovely, soft, harp music to blend in with the night. However, the Sindar have a very high standard in their music and Saeros's audience was distinctly unimpressed. 'Youre no Daeron, are you? He could teach you a thing or two if you would listen! Some of those chords were distinctly out of tune!' Beleg laughed. With a wave of his hand he dismissed Saeros and he and Mablung walked of.
Saeros was very disappointed. He liked praise but he had little of it. He considered himself of no special talent. This wasn't particularly true, Saeros did have good all-round talent, but he was jealous of those better than him. He decided to show some of his poetry to people instead but this had only critical reviews or only reviews that had as much critic as praise. Saeros thought this very unfair. Most people he knew that tried poetry had great if brief praise was it only his work that people disliked?
So Saeros tried other craft. He build a magical toy that let loose steam and glowed in many colours. It was a fair glass and caught the light of the trees in Doriath. Unfortunately it was very fragile and toys that others created glowed with more lust and colour. Peoples reaction when he showed it to them was not that impressive. Saeros sighed and grew envious.
Time went on. One night, it was all starlight night at this age, Saeros noticed a great gathering of folk. More and more. Quite a crowd. Saeros was curious and followed swiftly and quietly climbing through the starlit trees, Some clad in armour and carrying spears. What was happening? It turned out that a great army of Orcs had broken through from the mountains and were attacking the country of Beleriand. Well, Saeros was confident in the ability of Doriath's people to deal with Orcs and he was right.
Saeros was in the battle under the stars, but had scarcely drawn sword. He had been right amongst the deepest guard of his lord, Thingol and in no danger whatsoever as the Orcs were slaughtered. But such a policy did cost him a little as he liked to have some influence and most of those that had in Doriath had taken a more active role.
Time moved on further. Morgoth took up his abode in Angband in the North. The Noldor's swords shone in the new Sun. The arrival of mortal Man drew nearer. Saeros became fustrated and more jealous. He thought he deserved a place in the King's council, but he was not considered of such worth by Thingol. But Searos had heard of strange thoughts by his lord in regard of Man. Why Saeros couldn't think they seemed of little worth to him, if the rumours he heard were true and the Girdle of Melian was strong. But he wondered...
One day Saeros was with Daeron. Daeron was playing a silver harp. The bushy trees of the forest of Doriath gleamed in the evening sun. The shadows were starting to grow long and the twilight chorus of birds were singing lustily. Daeron was playing beautiful music that no-one in Thingol's realm could possibly reproduce. Saeros was very impressed and let the sounds flow over him.
Dorian, stopped playing and looked at his companion, 'Well, what do you think?' he asked of Saeros.
Saeros sighed, throwing back his dark hair that grew slightly below his Elven ears. 'Good as always. I'm sure your bethroed, well your soon to be bethroed I should say will be impressed. I'm not sure why you ask me, however, everyone always likes your music!' As they did. Saeros had to admit to acknowledging Daeron's skill, but he remained a envious. Saeros wished that people would praise him for something in a similar manner.
He produced a small, box of twigs from his person the latest in his attempts to please and showed it to Daeron. Small birds did fly from it and the token did gleam in it's own way. Daeron looked at it but from his face, Saeros could see that he wasn't impressed. 'Interesting bird-box you have. Designed to help little birds in and out is it? There are much better ones, you know. Anyway, I should depart. Luthien is about I believe!' With that, Daeron waved a farewell and pulled himself through the trees.
Saeros sighed. He looked around and saw another Elf, a fairer one that he knew, and glasped the Elves hands. 'Greetings, Rothan, pleasant evening?' The Elf was a simple dweller in Doriath and was mostly beneath Saeros notice, Saeros had more powerful ambitions. But he hid this and convincingly shook Rothan's hand and patted his shoulder.
'Some strange tidings today. Rumours of mortal folk. Some are getting close to the woods border. Thingol is concerned!' That was interesting. Thingol was a reasonably wise ruler of Doriath, but he was known not to think too kindly of mortals, Men in particular. Now Saeros didn't really think that any mere mortal could be a threat to the Eldar, but Thingol was concerned by them. It was said that he had strange dreams regarding Man. Maybe Saeros could play on that fear somehow to gain influence in the Council. So far, Thingol hadn't really considered him for any position, but maybe! Saeros thanked Rothan and made his way quietly towards the woods border which wasn't far.
Saeros stayed, skillfully balancing his body in the trees when he saw what he was looking for. For many this was a long distance, but with Elf-eyes Saeros could see some people clearly. They weren't Grey-Elves that was for certain. Not Dwarves, a lack of beards. Even with his home-based viewpoint, Saeros knew about Dwarves. They were 3 male-figures, but what men!
They were so clumsy! The 3 struggled to cross a little stream, tangling themselves up in weeds that any Elf could have danced out of. One of them even fell in causing Saeros rather than having any sympathy as the 2 companions helped him out to laugh out loud at their efforts as the other two were also hindered by the water. This was almost unbelievable. The men were dressed in tunics that looked ill-fitting and easily spotted unlike the camouflaged and comfortable robes of Saeros's folk.
So these were mortal Man that Saeros had head about. Saeros found it had to imagine any folk could be so clumsy, uncouth and frankly dirty. As they were. Saeros like most of the Elven had heard strange rumours that maybe the Valar, the Gods of the world, found the Eldar too powerful and independent for their liking and so wanted to replace them with a weaker race which they would find easier to rule.
Was this true and was this them? If so, watching them, Saeros couldn't imagine anyone finding these people of any use. They were just so laughably weak. One of them had a deep cut on his knee and they didn't seem to have even the most basic of healing knowledge to bandage the cut or anything they had just let it bleed. Saeros rolled his head back and laughed scornfully again.
The men looked up, they had heard him. Saeros thought that for strangers hearing a cold, high laugh in the evening might be a little scary. But Searos had no sympathy. He was more thinking of how he could use this encounter for his own political advantage. Saeros was politically very ambitious but as of now, Thingol hadn't seen any talent in him to have him on the council Saeros was wondering how to change this. He thought he should have influence, perhaps on account of age as he was one of the Elder folk of Doriath.
Saeros was aware of the existence of the Dark Lord up north in Angband. But he was well kept in, firstly by the guard of Elves and also by the special Girdle of Melian around Doriath which Saeros knew that nothing of note could penetrate. But personally, secretly, he did not think Morgoth, the lord of Evil all bad. He even didn't rule out treating with him if Saeros had to. It wasn't Saeros that had sworn an Oath of hatred towards Morgoth after all. He liked to keep his options open.
He was also aware that Men had arrived in great number over the Eastern Mountains. He wasn't to troubled with the precise details, but he knew that they were weak compared to the Eldar. Yet, others of his kind, the Noldor at least had made allies of them. But Saeros considered these people too weak to be of worth. In fact, he considered Man to be little above beasts in the order of things, worse in a way, some creatures were better at some things than Man was said to be!
Saeros looked around. The twilight was turning to evening. The pale stars were just coming out. Saeros gave a call again at the men. Two of them saw him and panicked at seeing a Elf-lord, so it appeared to them, in wrath and fled. Only to the lower slopes of the mountains were Saeros knew that flesh-eating monstrous spiders dwelt. Not that Saeros cared about that. One was still trapped in the stream, the wounded one. Saeros drew his knife and made to slay the Man for daring to approach the woods of Droiath so boldly.
The man begged for his life in his own language, which Saeros didn't understand though he understood the meaning well enough. Should he perhaps show mercy? Saeros considered and almost felt pity for the wretched Man. But not enough pity. Saeros saw a cunning plan for his ambitions and slew the man whose body fell in the stream. Though before he died, the man did manage to surprise Saeros by cutting him on the arm, making him bleed. The scratch looked like it was last for a while initially to Saeros dismay, but later on he thought this could be to his advantage. Saeros made his way thoughtfully back to his home in the forest.
A few days later, the Elven-king of Doriath, the Lord Thingol and his powerful wife, Melian were at council. The great and the good of Doriath were present and his ministers were sat in colourful garments on the wooden table under the large trees with wine present. One of the matters for counsel were the issue of Mortal Man and their encroachment around Beleriand. As has been said, Thingol was concerned about mortal Man and what they might mean for him. So, at a point he summoned Saeros. 'Now, my fellow, you have news for me that I need to know. Speak!'
Saeros nervously stood up at the full court of Thingol. He swallowed a goblet of only water on this occasion, he needed to concentrate. Melian looked at him a little disapprovingly, Melian was not fond of him, Saeros knew, but some of her attention was taken up by other matters she was whispering to the lady Galadriel next to her. 'I report that some of mortal man are dangerously close to the border. We are lax in allowing them this near. You should increase the guard on our borders. Which will, sadly, require expense and work. You also need a General in charge of this guard, one that knows these mortals!'
Saeros was cleverly playing on Thingol fears to create a new post in the council. One of which there would be an obvious candidate for. Himself. However, Melian stepped in, 'My king, do not stress yourself too much with mortal Man. They are weak as Saeros himself as revealed. Armies of Orcs and the might of Morgoth cannot break through our Girdle. Indeed, you might find these mortals more trustworthy than some of the Noldor with there Oath will be!'
After speaking, Galadriel, another lady not that fond of Saeros whispered something to Melian. As a major power in Doriath and the only Maia in Beleriand at this time allied to the Eldar, she was very busy. Something required her attention so she made some apologies to Thingol and was forced to depart from the meeting, much to Saeros's joy.
Saeros didn't think much of Galadriel either. His face set in anger as he watched her depart. What right had she, a Noldorian lady had to have power over those in Doriath? He didn't understand how Thingol tolerated this. But he didn't like the Noldor in genral. Far too proud they were and looked down upon those that had not seen the light of the two trees of Aman. And just because of a greater skill in gems and bearing, they didn't take the Sindar seriously, Saeros thought. In their own country too! Though quite what Galadriel was really doing here, he wasn't sure of.
Saeros stood up and spoke again. 'Do not be too proud of this fact. Mortal man are untrustworthy. I'm not saying that they are yet under the Dark Lord's power, but they hold no allegiance to us. How many could be under his sway, none can tell. Yet I have encountered a band on our very border. Mere magic by itself cannot stop them, look!'
With a dramatic sweep, Saeros held up his injured arm. To his private delight blood was still flowing from it. He had personally picked the wound to make this happen the previous evening in fact. 'This is the wound, I a counsel of Thingol,' - Saeros wasn't quite accurate here, but he was hoping some might take the hint! 'have suffered at their hands. Do not think that illusions will keep your borders free. These Men could be dangerous!'
Beleg asked, 'Are you certain they weren't Orcs you encountered?' Saeros had yet to properly meet Orcs.
Thingol shook his head. 'If any Orcs had come so close, I would have known about it! Describe these people to me!' At Saeros's description Thingol agreed, 'Those were mortal Man.' Thingol looked at Saeros's arm, the blood still flowing from it. His fears were now increased doublefold. Now, Searos had been very clever up to now, but at this stage his plans almost were thrown into naught. Thingol stood up and announced, 'I agree, we need tighter security and a person to organise this, I therefore appoint...'
Saeros stood up smiling,
'Beleg Cuthalion to this post!' Thingol concluded.
Saeros almost gagged. Not Beleg! Possibly the worst opponent of his in Doriath. Saeros wouldn't have had much chance of influence with Beleg in charge of this. His throat was dry, he couldn't speak. But fortunately for him, Beleg replied, 'I am afraid not, my lord. I am of more use to you out in the trees and the streams. I am not good for long meetings and counsel. I am afraid I must refuse this post!'
Thingol didn't look happy, but there wasn't much he could do. He could scarcely reprimand Beleg! Beleg was one of his oldest, and wisest councellors. As he frowned, Saeros gave a little subtle nod to Rothan who had been summoned to appear at the council. Rothan stood up, and said, 'If I might be excused, I suggest, Saeros is the obvious Elf for this position. He has already encountered and driven of Men after all!'
Thingol looked relieved and agreed. With a wave of his hand he said, 'Saeros, I appoint you as General in charge of border matters. I wish you luck with this post. Come, I will confirm this tomorrow, but take up your rightful place on my table!' Searos smiled and did so. He sat down, took a congratulatory glug of wine for himself and leaned back smiling more so. He was going to reward Rothan for his nomination as things were now going his way!
Footnote: I suppose it's possible that some of you think that Thingol as an Elven-lord was convinced by Saeros a bit too easily. Well, his attitude towards Mortal Man, at least at the start was a bit of a blind spot as far as Thingol was concerned, look at his attitude towards Beren for example. I think that maybe that was what Saeros used to gain influence.
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006
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The Prancing Pony 3 or The further adventures of Tom Bombadil
Just a light-hearted look at how some of the characters might have reacted to their treatment in the movies. AU I suppose and I apologize in advance for some of the worst poetry of all-time, I admit it. Thanks to my Beata, Iggy, and I hope that any reader enjoys this, please read and review thanks, Ham!
The Prancing Pony 3 or The further adventures of Tom Bombadil
A watcher on the road might not have seen much. The young gate keeper was bored, as not that many folk came this way at this time. 'Not much happening and its cold, any chance of a smoke?' he thought. But as he lit a pipe and smoke flew around his face he heard someone in the cold evening, singing in a pleasant and cheery voice:
The day is cold, the weather is clear I'll warm my soul with tasty beer Oh trally, trooly lo lo lolly My ale is waiting at the Pony
Up the hill strode an extraordinary figure. Fairly short, red-faced, and a little tubby, wearing yellow trousers, a green hood, and laughing a hearty laugh in his usual manner.
Oh, Fred put your frown away You'll have your penny from me today!
'Fair enough, but you could have just paid the toll,' Fred muttered as he let the person through. He accepted Tom Bombadil's penny then turned to him and said, 'Oh, Tom, we've been watching these great films by one Peter Jackson. Have you seen them?' To Fred's surprise, Tom's cheerful face saddened and he almost frowned.
'Argh, you had to say the one thing that could make me feel sad!'
'He left you a little tab at the bar,' Fred grinned.
Bombadil wasn't impressed. 'Cuts me out of his movies, gives my lines to the one person in Middle-earth that claims to be older than me, then thinks he can make up for that by buying me ale. Hmph!' However, Tom gave Fred a cheery wave and strode briskly on to the Prancing Pony inn. The inn was fairly quiet and nearly empty on a Tuesday night. It had a window open, and the air was clear and fresh. A few patrons were at the bar and some waved at Tom, who waved back and sang:
Greetings friends and tra-la-la Barman, serve me my ale from the bar You know what I like and I like what you've got Unless, once again, you have forgot!
'Tom, you're slipping. That rhyme was appalling and your singing was way off-key. I'm not even going to mention the less-than-classical quality of your poetry, and could perhaps give us some emotion other than pure jollity? Your beer is free!' replied Butterbur, who on this occasion could give Simon Cowell a run for his money. But then he paused and looked at Bombadil with a little frown on his red face. 'What was your ale again?'
'And your memory is still terrible! Mugwort Pride, please. Still cut out, wasn't I?' muttered Tom resentfully. 'And as far as my singing goes, I didn't think that was too bad. Not for a little bit of off the cuff improvising. The hobbits liked it!' Bombadil waved his hand at one or two of the smaller, furry-footed folk who were smiling from a corner of the inn.
'They would!' Butterbur thought, his tastes a tad more sophisticated than those of the hobbits the men shared their town with. He sniffed as he served Bombadil a pint of frothy and tempting ale. 'My part wasn't that much better' he complained. 'I was barely in it. Not even added to in the EE's. The emotional importance of my relationship with Gandalf and my role with the letter just about ruined. I could have been anyone. Just because PJ "wanted to increase the pace!" Bah! Oh, hold on, I just need to see to some Onion and Beef Pie.'
As he exited, Tom was addressed by a gentleman sitting beside him.
'These pork chippings are excellent, try some!' offered Halbarad, a long-haired Ranger sitting at the bar.
'Thanks,' replied Tom, who knew that Butterbur prepared a lot of the food personally and had much talent in that area. Aided by his wife, and Bob the hobbit, his dedication to his cooking possibly explained his lack of attention to many other matters, that and the fact that he ran a busy inn. These musings were cut short as Tom's attention was taken by one Bill Ferny. This gave him a little pause for thought.
'Evening!' nodded Ferny but Tom wasn't impressed.
'Nasty piece of work!' he thought. 'And what has Ferny been up to?' he asked Halbarad.
'Oh, he applied for the post of a border guard!'
'What? Ferny?' Tom nearly spilled his ale in shock at this prospect. 'Why?'
'Well, according to him, and I quote, "So I can get at some Hobbits from the Shire and give them a hard kick!'"
'Didn't get it, did he?'
'No, Tom,' answered Nob, a little hobbit at the bar clad in brown trousers and red shirt. 'Even our Town Council aren't stupid. Mrs. Bottles, one of the councilors, had quite a bit to say against his appointment.' Everyone shook their heads at the possibility of Ferny as a border guard. Tom drank some more ale, nearly finishing it, and munched on some pork chippings.
'What is it with that man? Oh, is your beer free as well, Nob?'
'Drinks are on the house for those of us cut out of the movies,' Nob replied. 'Except Ferny, of course. And being as I was cut out of the movies as well then I might be persuaded to have a pint mid-shift.' He helped himself to an ale and sat down beside Tom. Unless I was one of those hobbits around Frodo, one of those "composite characters", which is stretching things. Not sure about Bob, however! Hmmm, seeing as Bob didn't even get a line in the book I don't think cutting him out counts. But PJ is feeling generous!'
Nob looked towards Halbarad. 'You were cut too, Halbarad. I expect that you are annoyed at that. They missed out on your big, moving moment. What a tragic hero you were.' Somewhat to his surprise, Halbarad didn't seem disappointed to be out of the movies.
In fact Halbarad choked on his beer. 'I don't mind being left out. It was better than what Tollers did to me I must say! "This is an evil door and my death lies before it, but I will dare to pass it nonetheless" my arse!' said Halbarad in a rather undunedainish manner, to the laughter of the other patrons. 'Or rather Barliman's big arse,' he added as Barliman returned (and it must be said he did have a big fat behind). 'Tolkien might have been moving and romantic but he doesn't know me. I wouldn't do it. I mean, I don't mind doing dangerous work for Elessar but I draw the line at certain death.'
'You might have preferred being left in the dustbin but I wanted to be in the movies,' sighed Tom.
'I liked them!' declared Butterbur's wife, Sybil, who had just come out of the kitchen.
'Despite all of the material they cut out?' asked Bombadil in surprise.
'Well, Legolas was nice, and pretty, and had lovely hair I would have liked to stroke,' said Sybil the fangirl.
'Now that's the first time I've ever heard it called that,' said Nob the cheeky hobbit.
'Movies,' sighed Tom again, unable to get over his disappointment, even with the help of free ale. And in fact he was showing a rather sulky and possibly vindictive side to him which any reader might have hitherto been unaware. Well, he couldn't be cheerful and jolly every moment of his waking day now could he? Even he found the movie world exciting.
'Arrr, what movies?' asked Barliman. Everyone groaned at his lack of memory and Tom cuffed him with a bar towel!
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006
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