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ItarildeSirfalas
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on: January 27, 2015 07:42
Here goes my first RP post... Hope it doesn't bore you all to tears!

Itarildë wandered out onto the plateau that homed her grandfather's many councils. She was restless, and if she must admit it, she was terribly bored. She had heard of the suffering of the Men in the North, and despite all her efforts to learn as much as possible, still knew too little for her own liking. She couldn't help it that she held a deep fascination with Men. If anyone were to blame, her great-uncle Elros and her father, Elrohir were first in line.

She lowered herself into one of the nearby chairs and closed her eyes, catching one of the silver beads embedded in her hair against it. She sighed deeply.

"What thoughts are within your mind to have you sigh so, Ildë-nîn?"

Itarildë started and looked up to see her grandfather, Lord Elrond standing in front of her. He held out a hand to her, which she took to stand, her eyes troubled.

"Why did you send the others, but not me? You know as well as I that my knowledge would be useful to Nestedir!"

Elrond sighed and looked away, trying not to become irritated by her words. It was not the first time they'd had this conversation.

"Itarildë, your father wants you here, where you will be safe. Maybe when the tides have turned for the Men, you can take them aid, but right now, it is not wise for you to rush there. We are not even completely sure how terrible the situation is becoming. No, it is best that you stay here."

Elrond rearranged Itarildë's stray hairs that had come loose from the beads her father had sent to her. She looked away, a deep frown darkening her face, mirroring her father's childhood expression. He then began to walk back the way he came, but he had expected Itarildë would follow him. She did not prove him wrong.

"You know that I am no use here. I am old enough to make my own decisions!"

"I remember another certain young elf, who said the very same thing when he was your age," Elrond smiled, and turned towards Itarildë, his expression changing. "Which reminds me. I have a gift for you."

They went towards the stables. Her father had always been here when he was home, which was very rare these days. His skill as a rider was renowned in Imladris, and Itarildë had vowed one day that she would make him proud. But alas, her riding skill was of an average status, and her many journeys were on un-named horses to different parts of Middle-Earth, for short periods of time, on typical and unadventurous terrain.

The familiar smell of hay and horse hit her, and she was sent back to her childhood, spent watching her father care for his beloved steeds.

"This, is Silmë," Elrond was gesturing towards a silver-maned horse, which Itarildë had never seen before. "Your father says you both shall make an interesting partnership."

"He is for me?"

Itarildë moved towards the horse cautiously, not wanting to spook him. He was beautiful, but seemed aloof and wary.

"Yes. And it would be a secret between you both, if you were to suddenly go on a journey, of which I were to know nothing." Elrond raised his eyebrows, and Itarildë tried to hide her delight.

========================================

The moon shone brightly that night, and as Itarildë led Silmë out of the stables, she pretended to not notice her grandfather watching her.

Elrond watched as Itarildë left Imladris under the comforting blanket of the stars. He was unsure if he had done the right thing, but he couldn't keep her here forever. She was her father's daughter, and it was in her blood. He continued to watch until he could no longer see her, before he went back to his books, none of which he could muster the will to read.

"Eru, keep her safe."
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"Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere." ~ Elrond ♥
Naurmaethor
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on: February 02, 2015 09:57
Bregolman, and a handful of his comrades from the 2nd Company now followed Marcadil to the gate of Fornost. Marcadil was only two years older than he and now carrying the burden of Malassuil’s command. The companies of Dunedain in the North were close-knit. The men they were comprised of stayed the same for many-a-year. It had been years since the Dunedain had suffered such heavy losses. And the battle was not over yet. Bregolman, wondered to himself, “How could it have come to this?” as he thought over the men that he had known since his apprenticeship that were now fallen.

Bregolman had reason to hate Angmar and those sympathetic to Angmar that went back to his childhood. His family lived on the outskirts of Arthedain near the border of Rhudaur. He was a young boy when his home was attacked by men of Rhudaur in league with the Witchking. His father was a veteran in the 2nd Company of Dunedain Rangers. The Rangers tasked with defending that stretch of the border were able to repel the attack but, Bregolman’s father, Thalion, was taken and never seen again. A captive of Angmar that escaped several years later told Bregolman of the courage of his father, and the defiance he showed before the cries of the Witch-King himself. Bregolman’s eyes glazed over, and this brief moment of reflection ended as the men positioned themselves in defense of the entrance to this once mighty city of the Kingdom of Arnor.

Word had been sent from Arthedain to Gondor the previous year as the rumblings of war grew in the region and the resources of Arthedain continued to be wittled down by periodic attacks from Angmar. However, they could not know if the word ever reached the Kingdom ruled by Anarion’s heir, King Earnil, and if it had been received would help come? Would it come too late?



[Edited on 02/03/2015 by Naurmaethor]
Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate: and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.
Arveleg
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Post Fornost...
on: February 02, 2015 10:59
… the dream Dauwna was having filled her exhausted mind with flashing images of despair. The darkness threw out scenes of pain and suffering, and everywhere there were people dying. The sound of steel meeting in battle was not far away, and She worked on wounds of men that would not survive. But amongst this, a light was kindled, and a soldier came to her. At first she did not recognise him as Marcadil. His face was scarred and bleeding, and his eyes were filled with death. Dauwna shivered as the cold winds wrapped around her. But with a breath, all became fair, and warmth spread through her. Despite the echo of battle and the sounds of sickness, they seemed to fade as she fell into the arms of the soldier before her. She whispered his name, and he kissed her brow. The visions drifted away then…

Dauwna felt warmth on her, and her hand came to her breast as she lay on her side. Her fingers entwined with the hand it met and she opened her eyes. She saw that the sun had risen, and there was much activity as she saw legs moving this way and that. She stretched and felt the warmth pressed up against her back. She was torn between being startled and scared and wanting to stay and rest. The cloak that was over her had a familiar scent and she looked at the seam that was before her.

”My Beloved!”

Came a sleepy voice of the man that lay with her. Dauwna gripped his hand even harder, and rolled back toward him. Marcadil was looking over her, and she touched his face gently.

”Beloved husband! You are wounded!”

She tried to wipe the dried blood from his cheek, but he sat up as he took her hand. They looked into each other’s eyes, the pain and desperation melting away for that moment, forgetting all that was arou8nd them…

”I could ask the same of you my dear beloved wife.”

He took the frayed hem of what once was her beautiful silk dress between his fingers and gently rubbed them together. The blood stains streaked what remained of it. Dauwna said,

”The wounded… they started coming in… I had to do what I could. What of the battle?”

Marcadil looked grim. He said in a low voice,

”The Kingdom will be in for some hardship. But we will prevail!... as we have through the centuries! The carrion of Angmar will meet their doom!”

Two men came by with a carrier and paused as they looked around. One of the men said,

”Pardon me Marcadil, but it appears we will need this space.”

The world came crashing back. They were not the only ones there. The grounds were covered with wounded men. Marcadil stood, helping Dauwna to her feet. She looked at the man they were setting down, and a tear started to slide down her cheek.

”There are too many! So many more have come, and some are sick as well as wounded! I .. I..”

Marcadil led her away from the infirmary. He said,

”You have done so much. You cannot save them all. I know your heart, and I have seen you work. It was one of the many things that drew my heart to yours.”

He kissed her brow and held her close, saying,

”Some from Imladris have come! They have healing hands! You go and rest and clean up. Return to help when you are ready. I will walk you home.’

They were silent as they walked. Would it always be this way? This would count as the ninth day they had spent together since being married. Dauwna washed and
dressed in the grey leathers she used to wear when she would walk the hills in her younger, safer days. They fit, even if they were tighter. She looked at herself and frowned. Could it be? How long was it since Marcadil had left Fornost with the 2nd Company? Her head swam at the blur of days. Too much has happened, and it was probably her tired mind messing with her thoughts. She sat down to stretch the breeches.

Marcadil washed some, but he had little time. He admired Dauwna in her sleek leathers. He also noted she was checking herself. She said,

”These will have to do, for I feel the days of wearing dresses will be a long time coming. I am sorry I ruined that lovely dress you got me dear heart.”

Marcadil shrugged and said,

”As rough as you looked, I have to say you were ever more beautiful to me in that remnent of a dress. One day we will stand again and dance to beautiful music in each other’s arms. But now, there is much to do.”

He gave her a hug and kiss before having to leave. They wished it would never end. Marcadil finally said,

”I must go and report. I have been gone too long as it is. Malassuil would be…”

He paused as he realised that Malassuil did not return with them. He was considered a commander now. He had to get back, to set an example. He would have to pull himself, and the men, together. He took a deep breath as he gazed one last time at Dauwna. He then turned and walked away.

Dauwna watched as Marcadil had to go to his post. At least he was now here in the city and not off somewhere in the wilds. She held hope that they would be able to see each other more now. She inhaled, and felt her stomach as she started to feel ill.

Marcadil got back to the gate wall, and Bregolman pointed off into the distance. Marcadil nodded. They could see the enemy gathering in the distance. They were unsure when they would attack, but it would be soon. Siege towers could be seen, and the din of preparation echoed over the land. Marcadil guess the first wave would come after nightfall. What would Malassuil say now? Marcadil called out to his remnant of men, the bloodied veterans of the two companies of the North Downs

”Company, weapons check! Be alert! They are coming!”

[Edited on 02/06/2015 by Arveleg]
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
ItarildeSirfalas
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on: February 03, 2015 06:43
Itarildë had ridden long and hard to catch up with Nestedir's company, but had seen no sight of them. Silmë was beginning to tire, and she herself was running low on water. The grey-green hooded cloak she wore had become slightly damp and cold from her journey, causing her to feel a chill down to her bones.

But eventually, she arrived at where she hoped was Fornost. There were armed men at the gates, and Itarildë and Silmë were soon surrounded.

"Who are you, elf?" asked one, all of his companions' eyes mistrusting.

Itarildë lowered the cloak's hood back from her head and held her weary head high.

"I am an elf of Rivendell. I bring aid to the injured and sick."

"Others from Rivendell arrived not long ago. Were you not among them?" Her 'interrogator' asked of her.

"I was delayed in my departure... Is this necessary? Currently, there is the possibility you are outnumbered by an ever-approaching enemy, and the city is wracked with plague, and you choose to concern yourself with questioning an ally?" Itarildë couldn't hide the offended tone from her voice.

"How are we to know you are an ally?"

"Because I am the grandaughter of Lord Elrond; the elf who has sent you much-needed aid. Now if you'll excuse me, I have the sick and dying to attend to." With that, Itarildë pushed through defiantely, leading Silmë into Fornost, while the guards watched, bemused.

Little did she know how serious the situation in a day's time would become...

[Edited on 02/04/2015 by ItarildeSirfalas]
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"Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere." ~ Elrond ♥
Naurmaethor
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on: February 04, 2015 09:28
“Weapons check!”

Marcadil made his first command in place of Malassuil. The beaten and battered men of the 1st and 2nd looked at their weapons. Each one told a story. One man carried an elven dagger that had been passed down through his family for generations, it bore no signs of losing its edge. Another man carried a sword that was forged just weeks ago. It was presented to him for his 10th year in service of Arthedain by his company. In runes, the initials of his closest friends were imbued in the blade, they were all dead.

Bregolman unsheathed his sword, gripping the ebonized walnut with symbols of Numenor carved into the wood, his hand rested against the guard which was shaped to look like the two spread wings of a sea-bird. As the blade was drawn from its walnut scabbard, also bearing Numenorian symbols, Bregolman wandered at the feather-like pattern in the blade’s dark steel. As a boy he had looked in wander as this blade was drawn from its sheath only a few times in his presence. But the first time he saw it, he never forgot it. And he never expected to receive it at such a young age. He still remembered the kneeling soldier in full ceremonial garb with winged-helm bowed low as the sword was presented to him, the only thing left of his father when he was taken by the servants of Angmar. Where had it been forged? The leaf-blade shape echoed the teachings of elven-smiths that imparted such wisdom of language and lore that lifted the Numenorian race up to stature no mortal had ever dreamed.

Skilled as the smith that forged his sword was, the blade was not impervious to wear. It was dull from the violence of the day. It needed to be sharpened to be effective in the defense of Fornost. He spoke up to Marcadil.

“Sir, my blade needs a sharper edge if I am to slit orcs throats with ease. I will be at the smithy for but a moment.”

He was about to leave when he heard the watchman above the gate shouting down at someone below. The gate being shut, he could only hear the watchman’s side of the conversation.

“Who are you elf?”

An elf? Another healer from Rivendell perhaps?

“Others from Rivendell arrived not long ago. Were you not among them?”

How many times have the men of the North been betrayed by elves that we would doubt one at our door now?

“How are we to know you are an ally?”

Bregolman thought of the elven dagger his brother in arms bore. Many gifts of friendship such as this could be seen throughout the city. The White Tree itself was a testament to the friendship men have had with elves. What elven gifts of friendship did our enemies bear?

“Watchman, war has robbed us of much, let it not rob us of our common sense. This must be an ally.”

Bregolman bowed his head as the maiden entered the city and walked by, before turning to go to his next task, sharpening his blade. He hoped the defenders of the city would sharpen their minds ere the enemy arrived. They would soon know the desperation and madness that can set on the hopeless.


[Edited on 02/04/2015 by Naurmaethor]
Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate: and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.
Eruwestiel_Evensong
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on: February 04, 2015 10:51
The cry was given to open the gates, and Ithilwen and her party rode through. A woman ran up and clutched at Ithilwen's free hand. "Oh, bless you for coming! Can you help us? Please?" The desperation and pleading in her voice broke Ithilwen's heart. "We will do what we can," she said, sliding down from her horse. Nestedir sent two of her comrades to care for the wounded, and motioned for Ithilwen and one other to follow him to the healing houses.

The illness had obviously not been contained to the houses alone. Here and there people were sprawled beside the street, either groaning in pain or lying too still. "What of these here?" Ithilwen asked, concern filling her voice. Nestedir looked back at her. "Most of them have only hours to live. We must learn what we are facing before we can treat it." Ithilwen nodded, though it still pained her to leave them behind.

~*~*~*~

Meriam felt herself floating between light and darkness. Dreams, terrible and dark, filled her fevered mind. The only thing that kept her from giving in to the darkness were the faces of her beloved husband and children. "Who would care for them if I was gone? They need me."

~*~*~*~

Richard threw his legs over the side of the cot and pulled himself upright. "I have had enough of this," he said to no one in particular as he stood up. The blood began to seep from his now reopened wound, so he grabbed a fresh bandage from a table and hastily wrapped it around his middle. Then he fetched his weapons from beside his cot and looked at his sleeping brother one last time. "I will keep my family safe as long as I have any life left in me."

He slipped from the room and out into the street, blinking in the sudden brightness. Richard hesitated for a moment, wondering if he should try to see Meriam. No, odds were he wouldn't even be allowed inside the healing house. There was no sense in exposing the relatively healthy fighting men to the illness even more.

"Where has that Marcadil gotten off to?" Richard heard shouts from the wall and looked up. "Ah, leading the men. Like I should have been doing, instead of lying around in a bed," he grumbled to himself as he took the stairs to the top of the wall. The effort of climbing left him slightly winded, but he did not bother to catch his breath before striding over to Marcadil. "Here I am, and still in one piece! What would you have me do?"

~*~*~*~

Freeda sat in a chair, resting her head on the high back. "My father is probably wounded, my mother is dying of a fever and my city is about to be overrun. This whole situation is hopeless." There was that word again, the one that constantly whirled through her head. Hopeless.

She fingered the leather sling that was wrapped around her waist, and counted the stones in her pouch for the twentieth time. "At least I won't be completely defenseless." But what would happen when those stones ran out? Her mind immediately went to picturing the gruesome death that would likely be her fate.

Her brother cried, and the kindly woman who had come to care for them hurried to quiet him. Freeda lifted her head and looked at the door. Something was going on outside. She rose from her chair, slipping out the door and into the street.

"Elves from Rivendell! They've come to help us!"

The cry came from a short distance away. Freeda stood on the low front steps of the house. "Elves! Will they pass this way?" She was not disappointed; a few minutes later three tall people came into view. Their steps were graceful, but determined. Freeda watched in awe as they moved closer. The tallest, and the one leading the way, was a male with long silver hair. He appeared to be thinking very deeply on some problem. Slightly behind him and to his right was a maiden. Her dark hair hung down her back in an intricate plait.
~*~*~*~
Ithilwen looked to her left and saw a little girl standing on the steps of a house. The young face held a note of awe at the presence of the Elves, but when Ithilwen met her eyes the girl did not look away. There was something in those eyes, something Ithilwen knew she needed. But what was it?
Courage, she realized. Courage even in the face of such darkness.
~*~*~*~
The woman turned and caught Freeda's gaze. Within the clear blue depths of the Elf's eyes Freeda saw an emotion she knew too well. Fear. But there was also something else. It was the same thing her mother seemed to carry around in her pocket...hope. In fact, all of these Elves seemed to carry that with them. Freeda looked on with longing eyes as the beautiful people passed by and continued down the street towards the healing houses.
"I wish I had hope."




[Edited on 02/05/2015 by Eruwestiel_Evensong]
"And I dreamed of seas and ships, and of waves crashing on the shore in the twilight of the world..." ~Song, member of the Realm of Ulmo
Arveleg
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Post Firnost ~ The Enemp closes in
on: February 04, 2015 08:48
Marcadil nodded as Bregolman excused himself to re-fit. By day’s end, there would be need for fit weapons. Marcadil looked at his own sword. The steel was dull but the edge sharp. The smiths of Westernesse were second only to the Elvensmiths of Rivendell, most having learned their skills from them as well as their fathers. He was ready as he could be. Marcadil said,

”Anyone else need their edges tended to, do it now. If they need major repair, get new weapons from the armoury and return as soon as you can. I don’t expect we will be besieged before nightfall, but we need to stay aware.”

A few of the other men followed Bregolman down the rampart. Marcadil paused and was bemused by the young City Guardsman who challenged the fair elf shield-maiden that had come in alone. Marcadil considered her a brave sort to be riding the leagues alone in such times. To him, she had proven her worth in her abilities of stealth to not be spotted by any enemy scouts, let alone being brought down by one of them, for they were Rhuadurian hunters, marksman archers, employed by Angmar.

The sound of laughter from some of the City Guards turned Marcadil’s attention back down to the street inside the gates. It was at the expense of the young guard, who seemed flustered and humbled when he learned that she was of noble Eldar birth. She gave him a slight smile as she pushed by him. It was heartening to see their friends come from Imladris with healing hands. Flexing his sore arm, Marcadil turned and looked out to the northwest. The enemy has yet to begin movement, but he could sense that some were close.

”Close the Gates! The enemy has come!”

…cried the young guard. An arrow had embedded into the edge of the heavy wooden gate. Some of those scouts are near enough! The gates closed and the bolts placed. Marcadil looked about to see if any of the scouts could be seen. The Hillmen of Rhuadur were good at concealment, and he could not make out any movement. Though the men on the walls had raised their shields in case any arrows were coming in, none came. Only the one arrow had come. It was likely a single scout who had tried tracking the lone elf, and the shot was to let us know that he was close on her track. Still, Marcadil kept the men on watch. It was then he heard a familiar voice…

"Here I am, and still in one piece! What would you have me do?”

“Richard!”


They grasped each other’s wrists in greeting. Both tensed and gritted their teeth with a bit of pain. Marcadil noted Richard guarding his side with his other arm. Marcadil said as he saw the blood-stained leathers,

”You look like crap. Were you released for duty?”

“I took it upon myself. The healers have too many to attend, most worse than me. I’ll be alright, provided I don’t have to turn too quickly for a time. What of you?”


Richard said as he looked at the cut sleeve on Marcadil’s right arm. Marcadil looked at it and said,

“Yes, I have seen how busy they are. My wife Dauwna worked herself to exhaustion through the days and nights. She did fix me up some before I returned. Have you seen your wife and family?”

The expression Richard gave told him that he did not, and that he missed her. Marcadil was glad he had the short time with Dauwna. He nodded to Richard and said,

”You’ll get a chance to see them. Now, I need you to help me with our motley bunch. It seems we’re getting all the soldiers who are released from the infirmary. There are no companies anymore. We have what is left of our 2nd, and those of the 1st & 3rd who managed to get back to the city. I heard that the City guards of the Gate will be attached to us, and we will come under the overall command of Amaliath, the King’s youngest son. Aranarth commands the reserves, and the King has his Royal Guardsmen. As far as our command structure, you are my 2nd, and I think Bregolman will make a good sergeant of our combined companies. He has a good eye and knows his weaponry. We’ll have to ask him if he would take the responsibility.”

Marcadil coughed slightly, and looked off to where he last saw Bregolman. He then said,

”Now, the city has siege defences ready, and the trebuchets are well-stocked. It was good to get the elven healers, but a company of archers would have been helpful. Fornost Erain will prevail, and we will extract our revenge for the losses of the North Downs! Now, you sit and keep watch while I walk the wall and make sure all is well.”

He headed toward the northwest reach as the approaching clouds covered the sun. The air grew chill immediately. It was then a loud thumping came through the air. The cadence call! The enemy was on the move! The darkening of the day was enough to draw them forth. Marcadil tapped each man as he passed by. Faces he did not know, young and inexperienced men, much like he was only a year or so ago. Veterans older than Malassuil who returned to service to man the walls. Wounded men bandaged, and fit men looking grim. He paused to look at the bandage that wrapped the head of a man. The lace hem of Dauwna’s dress could be seen. She had treated this man, and likely many others who were here now on the walls. He sat his hand on the man’s shoulder and nodded encouragement. They were ready for what may come. Marcadil worked his way back along the line to above the gates, and Richard said,

”It appears they could not wait until dark. They will be in position by nightfall.”

Marcadil nodded agreement to Richard’s assessment. It would only be a matter of time after that before the first assault would start…

~ ~ ~

Dauwna could not shake the queasy feeling she had after Marcadil left. She lay down with her eyes closed, and it was not long before she fell asleep. Dark dreams came, with the city in ruins. Fires burnt here and there, and people ran this way and that. Thunder shook the walls as they crumbled. She raced frbetween the fallen bodies in the street, looking for someone who would live. She could see the leg of a soldier moving as if he was trying to crawl. She rolled him over and saw Marcadil’s mangled face…

’Noooo!”

she cried as she burst awake and sat up. Her heart pounded and she was drenched in sweat. She struggled to gain her breath, and she suddenly leaned forward and threw up. She barely had time to gather her hair in her hand to keep it out of the way. She sat up again and reached for some water. She couldn’t get sick! No! Not now! A drink of water seemed to settle her some. She stood, and though dizzy, she held on and it too settled. At least her stomach didn’t feel ill anymore. It was a dream.. a bad dream. How long was she asleep? She had to get back out there!

Dauwna tied her hair back into a tail, and went over to her closet. She looked at the petticoats and took some out. She then thought some, and took them all out. She said to herself,

”These will become bandages…”

She sat down and tore them into strips. She made some wider and some longer. She gathered them together, and put some on a leather pouch with other items. She would carry her medicine kit with her. She secured the pouch to a belt, and she looked at the sheaths that were already on it. She put it on, and removed one of the blades. It was quite sharp. Dropping it back in the sheath, she sighed. She would use them for treatment of the wounded. But she was haunted by the dream, and would use them if needed in a fight.

The day darkened, and Dauwna left her room. Leaving most of her torn up clothing by the door, she told the caretaker,

”Keep these here until I need them. If others need bandages, give them freely.”

She stepped into the street when the un-natural sound of thunder rumbled over the city. There would be more wounded before this day was done….
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
Naurmaethor
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on: February 05, 2015 02:17
Bregolman found the grinding wheel used to sharpen steel blades. The blacksmith stepped aside, “Use it as you need mellon.” Bregolman offered him payment for use of his wheel but the blacksmith refused. “It is war-time, what right do I have to accept your money when you offer your life in defense of mine?”

“Yes, it is war-time Camedhil but I cannot expect a blacksmith to give up all his resources on a war effort and then be able to continue his much-needed service to his people when all his resources have been spent with nothing to show for it. Take the money.”

Bregolman was not exaggerating, Camedhil, “the elven-hand” was not the given name of the blacksmith but the name given to him by the people of the city. He was nearly one-hundred years old but still full of vigor and learned his trade from elven smiths in Mithlond, Cirdan’s realm. Much of the metal-work in Fornost over the last century was done by his hand as well as the finest weapons in the realm of Arnor. It was the kind of work Camedhil did that could inspire fear, not only of the warriors that fought the forces of evil but of the weapons with which they used to fight. It was of old the two swords Orcrist and Glamdring were given names by the goblin armies of Morgoth, “Beater” and “Biter”. Who knew what names had been given to the fierce weapons crafted by the Elven-hand of Fornost.

A few soldiers had followed Bregolman to the smithy and had seen and heard his exchange with Camedhil.

“How can you speak of a future in Fornost, when you know there is no hope?” A younger soldier, Belorn, asked.

The faces of the other men around the grinding wheel told the same story. As far as they were concerned the city was already lost. Doubting now would destroy them before the battle even begun.

Bregolman sat down at the grinding wheel and looked up at Belorn, “I haven’t had to sharpen my sword in weeks. No, make that months. You know why, brother?” He didn’t wait for a response, “Because the steel we use is the finest in the land. Now, weaker steel sharpens fast and cuts quickly but loses its edge just as quick. The forging of one of our weapons takes time. The metal is heated, and folded, and pounded together, and heated again. And it takes much longer to put a fine edge on a sword made by the Men of the West. But, our swords hold their edge much longer and they do not dull easily. Our swords cleave armor and hew bone. Our arrows do not glance off the helms of our enemies but pierce straight through. They are not blown off their mark by the weather of the world”

The men looked at him, they longed to believe it but they needed more. They needed more than just to know their weapons were better than their enemies. Bregolman wasn’t finished. He looked every man in the eye.

“But, much greater than our weapons are the weapons that wield them. You men are strong and sturdy metal. You have been forged your whole lives for this day. You have been forged in the fire of battle and pounded in the storms of the world. But, what is our edge? What gives us our sharpness? Hope! What do orcs hope for but a chance to kill, a chance to mock. Our hope is for the lives of our children and our children’s children. For the future of Middle-Earth, that is our edge! Now you are forged steel, do not lose your edge so quickly! Remember who you are! We are men of Numenor! Men of the West! The blood of Earendil and Elros, Elendil and Isildur flow in our veins! Our fathers reached Valinor and convinced the Valar themselves to aid in the chaining of Morgoth! Our fathers slew Ancalagon the Black. Our fathers remained faithful and escaped the downfall of Numenor. Our fathers slew Sauron the Faithless! Those orcs and evil men have been striking and slashing. Their swords are dull, their weapons are weak. The Men of Arthedain are about to put a fine edge back on their blades. Put on hope men, your people need you.”

A crowd now surrounded the smithy. The speech smote the hearts of civilian and soldier alike. In that moment the fear melted away and the hearts of the city beat as one. It was as though nothing could defeat them. Suddenly, a horn blew. The cadence call of their enemies.

Bregolman stood up from the grinding wheel and looked at his blade, the edge burned bright. He hoped the men’s hearts burned brighter. “Sharpen your blades men.” He turned and began walking back towards the gate. As he neared it he could see Marcadil and another man he did not expect to see, Richard. The sight of this friend suited for battle stirred his heart to even greater hope.

Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate: and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.
ItarildeSirfalas
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on: February 05, 2015 04:09
Itarildë pushed through the men, not trying too hard to gain authority, which had become a habit. Besides she was alone, as she did not know of Nestedir's company's whereabouts.

Despite her fatigue, she was anxious to find whoever may be in charge and warn them of the forces that were coming. The scout who'd failed to catch her had been alone and clumsy, but there were obviously companies behind him. She took note of the severe lack of archers within the ranks gathering, and realised she had a difficult decision to make: stay and help heal the sick and wounded, or help the Men fight?

An impromptu horn blew, and she realised she was too late to warn anyone, they would have to learn the hard way. The enemy were coming. Itarildë led Silmë to the stables.

"Grandfather, Ada... forgive me..." she whispered before heading towards the gate once more.

A rather large crowd of men had gathered near the smithy not too far away, but Itarildë continued towards the gate, her bow upon her back. She was still trying to find the one in charge, while surverying the ranks before her.

"We need more archers, we have too many men with swords and almost none trained enough with a bow to be useful." She overheard one man mutter to his neighbour. "Lord Elrond could have sent archers instead of healers. Or both. Surely there are more than 5 Elves in Rivendell?"

"Gentlemen, allow me to help you." She spoke up, ignoring her grandfather's voice at the back of her mind telling her to stay safe and alive, and instead allowing all of her father's personality she'd inherited to shine through.

"The House of Elrond has not entirely failed you, Men of Fornost."

The young guard who had previously questioned her stepped forward, and although he did not speak, he clapped a hand on her shoulder and smiled warmly.

Another man spoke up.

"You are brave, just like your father, young Elf. It would be an honour to fight alongside you." Itarildë nodded while smiling at the men, and reaching down to the ground, she then smeared three lines of dust across her cheek.

[Edited on 02/05/2015 by ItarildeSirfalas]
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"Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere." ~ Elrond ♥
Cenor
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on: February 05, 2015 07:58
When Barad woke Richard was gone and two healers and the Commander of the 3rd were inspecting the wounded. Every now and then the Commander would pull a man out of a cot, pat him on the back, and send the man to the armory. As the Commander drew near Barad addressed him.
"Sir, I can fight. My right shoulder is still weak but I wield a sword with my left hand."
"Then get to the armory soldier."
Barad struggled out of the cot then limped to retrieve a new sword, his own was lost somewhere between the 1st' encampment and Fornost. Laying in the cot had stiffened his muscles but the walk to the armory loosened them some. He pulled a sword off the rack but it was heavy and unbalanced. A glint caught his eye and he wrested a sword from the back of the rack. This sword was light, strong, and well balanced. He found his way to the East wall and took his position among the men.
~~~~~~~~~
He would die. No one could defend themselves with just a bow. His trainer was gone, dead probably, his sword still felt clumsy and heavy, and he stood there watching swarms of orcs marching upon them.
Quintin gripped his bow tighter. Dots of light from the beast's torches dotted the black sea that raged towards them. It was then that he determined, he would not die in vain.
~~~~~~~~~
Caladwen had been assigned by Nesteldir to tend to the men on the wall, and to fight among them if needed. She had hastily donned a leather shirt and grabbed her bow and knives, and her medicinal bag. But after swinging her bag over her shoulder she took a kettle of hot broth and several bowls. Her step was firm as she ascended the stairs leading to Fornost's walls. She passed out the broth to as many men as she could, mostly the wounded ones. The man she gave the last bowl to was pale and the blood staining his side revealed a severe wound.
"You should not have been picked to fight," she stated simply. "Let me bandage it so that you will not fall when the first orc bears down on you."
Her quick skillful fingers hastily bound his side. Taking a deep breath she continued down the line singing quietly in the tongue of her people of courage, strength, and most of all hope.
Image "Every good pirate has an alias" Felix glanced down, looking at contraption around the stump of his wrist. "Hook," he answered. "My name will be Hook."
Arveleg
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Post The Enemy moves in....
on: February 05, 2015 08:43
Marcadil gave Bregolman a nod as he approached. It appeared he was somewhat surprised, yet heartened to see Richard. Greetings were in order, and it was Richard who said,

"I believe Marcadil has something to ask of you.”

Bregolman turned and Marcadil said,

”Yes. Indeed. Your skill is well known among the men, and they always feel heartened when you are around. Now I remember Malassuil saying that he would make you a leader of men, but things did not allow for the formality. These times, it is rare to allow for it. Due to the losses of so many veterans on the North Downs, Malassuil was going to make you the Comnpany Sergeant. It seems I inherited his command, I will ask you if you want to be Company Sergeant. With me, you have right of refusal.”

Bregolman, nodded and said,

”I will act in that capacity until such time it is formally confirmed.”

Marcadil smiled and nodded, saying,

”Yes, we all are acting in some unofficial capacity. May the time come after our victory this night that we can have all this worked out formally. The men speak highly of you, and you have the ability to be able to rally their spirits.”

Marcadil and Bregolman grasped each other’s wrists and gave a nod.

The sound of the enemy cadence was gradually growing louder. Marcadil looked at their approach. They were still well out of range, and Marcadil lamented over the losses on the North Downs. Too many of their best archers were lost there, though they made the enemy pay dearly. To have them here now to rain arrows upon the ranks that approached would have made the odds of the coming battle better. A fair voice was then heard,

"Gentlemen, allow me to help you. The House of Elrond has not entirely failed you, Men of Fornost."

Marcadil turned to see the fair elf who had come in late. The young City Guardsman took note, and another said,

"You are brave, just like your father, young Elf. It would be an honour to fight alongside you."

Marcadil turned and looked over the elven woman who stood his height. Her eyes seemed to dance between a silvery grey and deeper brown. He smiled and said to her,

”Welcome to Fornost Erain m’lady. If only your visit was at a better time. I am Marcadil, pleased to make m’lady’s acquaintance. My comrade here is Richard, and also Bregolman. It has fallen to us to command this mixed company. Though I wish for a company of the finest archers that Imladris has, I believe Imladris will have enough troubles on their northern reach ere the year is out. Yet the city appreciates that they send one so high to us. As for our mixed company, we could use a sharp-shooter, so if you wish to join this ad hoc company of Arthedain, I informally accept. You may find yourself your preferred vantage point, and we will be blessed that we have your sure arrows with us. When the enemy gets close enough, use your arrows sparingly and target their commanders. They tend to easily turn into a rabble without their leadership. I think with you being here will raise the spirits of the men even more, knowing they do not stand alone but stand with the grand-daughter of Lord Elrond himself!.

He was going to give her the customary hand on the shoulder, but wasn’t sure if that would be appropriate to do with the daughter of Elrohir and the grand-daughter of Lord Elrond. Maybe he assumed too much. He nodded and added,

”If however you wish to join your kin, They would likely welcome your presence. I believe they are at the infirmary working to heal those who are sick.

He could tell she would stay. She streaked herself in some ritual that had meaning to her as her eyes searched the ramparts for her chosen vantage point.

Marcadil noticed another lady elf coming up the ramparts carrying something. She made for the men who looked weakest, and fed them and tended the wounds of those who came to fight. She paused before Richard, saying,

""You should not have been picked to fight. Let me bandage it so that you will not fall when the first orc bears down on you."

Richard didn't say a word.

~ ~ ~

‘Danimal, you will never make a good scout.’

Dukhalas said to himself as he picked up his heavy track. It was the light foot of a horse that he was tracking, and surely the elf would know he was in her trail. Dukhalas made an attempt to head her off, but he was too far behind. He found Danimal resting behind a ridge.

”Back to the infantry with you boy. You let yourself be enamoured by the charms of the lady elf, so much so that you got sloppy and maybe even forgot what you were supposed to be doing. She has surely made the gates of Fornost by now!”

They crawled up to the ridgeline and peered over. Danimal squinted to try and get one last look at her as she approached the Gates of Fornost. It was the last thing he did. Dukhalas slid his knife swiftly across his neck and let his head fall forward.

”The infantry didn’t want you in the first place.”

Dukhalas said as he wiped his knife clean. He then swiftly moved.

He would not get close enough to take her down, for she was already there. He checked the wind before letting fly an arrow in a high arc. If it found its mark, it would have been a very lucky shot at this range. It only found the gate. A gate well watched in these times. If it was hard for one of the Eldar to get in, he would stand no chance. He would not be recognised, let alone welcome after being gone so long. And he had nothing to trade. And with the leigions of orcs of Angmar closing in, there would be no way to get by. No, he had to find another way. He slid back below the ridge and made his way North toward the edge of the Downs…


[Edited on 02/06/2015 by Arveleg]

[Edited on 02/07/2015 by Arveleg]
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
Eruwestiel_Evensong
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on: February 06, 2015 02:44
Freeda sat on the steps of the house for some time, watching the preparations for war going on all around her. "Will we live to see another day? Or will we live only long enough to see our city crushed by the enemy?" The dark thoughts crowded in like the clouds in the sky, blocking out the light.
"I need to talk to Grandfather Camedhil." The older man was not really her grandfather, but he had always been like one to Freeda.

The small girl began to thread her way through the crowded streets toward the smithy. There was a large group gathered around the entrance when she arrived. A man's voice floated out to her.

"...But, much greater than our weapons are the weapons that wield them. You men are strong and sturdy metal. You have been forged your whole lives for this day. You have been forged in the fire of battle and pounded in the storms of the world. But, what is our edge? What gives us our sharpness? Hope! What do orcs hope for but a chance to kill, a chance to mock. Our hope is for the lives of our children and our children’s children. For the future of Middle-Earth, that is our edge!"

There was that word again. Hope.

Freeda hung onto every word, willing herself to believe them.

"Now you are forged steel, do not lose your edge so quickly! Remember who you are! We are men of Numenor! Men of the West! The blood of Earendil and Elros, Elendil and Isildur flow in our veins! Our fathers reached Valinor and convinced the Valar themselves to aid in the chaining of Morgoth! Our fathers slew Ancalagon the Black. Our fathers remained faithful and escaped the downfall of Numenor. Our fathers slew Sauron the Faithless! Those orcs and evil men have been striking and slashing. Their swords are dull, their weapons are weak. The Men of Arthedain are about to put a fine edge back on their blades. Put on hope men, your people need you.”

A small spark flared to life in the young girl's heart. "I am a part of something big. In days to come tales will be told of the courage and bravery of my people. And I will stand fast with them. We may yet live to see the light of the sun shining down on the firm towers of this great city. My city." For the first time in many days, a smile filled Freeda's blue eyes with light.

~*~*~*~

Freeda hung back until all of the men had sharpened their blades and exited the building. "Grandfather, may I sharpen my blade too?"

Camedhil turned at the sound of the young voice. Before him stood a small girl with blue eyes and long brown hair. A dagger was clutched in her little hand.
"What would my granddaughter want with a sharp knife? I know how you hate peeling potatoes," he winked at her.

"I...I want to help defend my land," Freeda said with determination. "I cannot bear to sit around and do nothing!"

Camedhil smiled a little. She sounded exactly like her father.
"My dear, brave Freeda." He put his broad hands on her slight shoulders and looked deeply into her eyes. "There may come a time for valor on the field of battle. A time when we must give our very lives to defend our families and homes.
But there is also a time for strength behind the lines. You can provide that. Your brother needs you. Your mother needs you. Our men will need food and water. There is much you can do."

He saw the disappointment begin to creep into her eyes and added,
"If the worst does come to the worst, I'll wager you could take out several of the foul creatures with that sling and dagger of yours."

That brought a smile back to her face. Camedhil looked lovingly at her. "You will live to do great things, Freeda. Of that I am certain." Taking the dagger, he gave it a sharp edge before handing it back. "There you are." She slid it back into her makeshift sheath and gave him a hug. "Thank you, Grandfather."

He returned the embrace and watched as she ran back down the street. "Stay safe, little one."

~*~*~*~

Ithilwen stood at a low table, mixing ingredients in a wooden bowl. "I hope this one works," she thought, giving the mixture one last stir. She sat on the edge of the nearest bed and spooned a little of the liquid into the patient's mouth. The woman groaned, but otherwise made no response. Ithilwen laid a hand on the woman's brow and listened. Faint words reached her mind. "Darkness...Fear...Despair. The light is no more."

She withdrew her hand and went back to the table. Flipping through several more pages of her book, she thought, "I don't have time to try all of these cures. The best I can do is make a guess." The healers had searched through all of their books and had not found this particular illness recorded anywhere. That meant they just had to keep trying different cures until either they ran out of supplies or found one that worked. Ithilwen had made three different mixtures so far. None of them seemed to be doing any good yet. "Give it time," she told herself. But the cadence that was sounded a moment later told her there was no time.

The door suddenly flew open, and Ithilwen turned to see the other Elf silhouetted in the doorway. "Nestedir needs you to come immediately!"

Ithilwen snatched her medical bag and hurried from the room after the younger Elf. She ran through the door of the next healing house and came up short. Nestedir was leaning over someone, and he appeared to be listening. "What...?"

He held up a hand to stop her question. A woman with light brown and gold streaked hair was lying on the bed. Her eyes were closed, but her mouth was moving. Nestedir beckoned Ithilwen closer, and she knelt beside the bed, eyes riveted on the woman's face. Finally she was able to make out the words: "Darkness... Light... Fear...Hope...Richard, Freeda...Son. Must cure the sickness! Calendula...Feverfew...Yarrow...Goldenherb..." These words were repeated over and over.

Nestedir straightened and looked at Ithilwen. "I have been told this woman's name is Meriam. Being an herbalist, she worked tirelessly to cure this sickness. Then she herself took ill." He glanced down at the woman's face, then back up to Ithilwen. "Have any of the other patients spoken?"

"Yes. Not verbally though. They seem to have lost all hope." Ithilwen looked out one of the high windows. The sky was darkening. The sound of thousands upon thousands of marching feet was coming closer. It was no wonder these people were lost in despair.

Suddenly it all made sense. "This malady is no longer one of the body. It is of the spirit." She leapt up and walked quickly back to healing house she had left. Kneeling next to one of the beds, she took the frail hand in her own and began to sing softly,

"Return to the light, all hope is not gone.
Awake to the light!"


She stood and began to walk amongst the beds, holding a hand here, wiping a feverish brow there. Her voice grew stronger.

"Find strength in hope;
It is unchanging, unending, undying."


Her voice grew stronger still.

"Arise and be well, feel the sun on your face!
Let Hope return and take Despair's place!"


The last notes died away, and Ithilwen collapsed onto a chair, utterly spent. She sat still for some time, but nothing happened. Impending doom was drawing ever nearer. "I have failed." The Elf laid her weary head down on the rough table and began to weep softly. "Lord Elrond should have sent someone else."

~*~*~*~
Ithilwen awoke, but did not open her eyes. Had she fallen asleep over her books and dreamed the whole thing? No, the rough wood of the table under her hand was real. She sat up, blinking in the light of a lantern that had been hung from a hook on the wall. Rising wearily, she stretched out the tight muscles in her neck and shoulders before going to check on the sick folk again. She crossed the room and laid a hand on the forehead of a child. It felt surprisingly cool. "My mind must be playing tricks." Ithilwen moved on the next bed. Same thing....a cool forehead. Hardly daring to hope it could be true, she checked all the others.

When she touched the hand of the last person, the woman opened her eyes. "May I have some water? I've a terrible thirst." Ithilwen ran to fetch the liquid. After the woman had drunk a little Ithilwen asked, "How do you feel?" The woman smiled softly. "Nearly right as rain now! Only...I had the strangest dream. There was darkness gathering all around me. I couldn't run, nor escape from it. Then I heard a voice calling me. A figure in white appeared before me and led me into the light." The woman's eyes searched Ithilwen's face. "Tell me, was that you?"

The Elf just smiled, but her eyes were bright with tears.

~*~*~*~

Freeda sat on her mother's bed, holding her hand. She had gone to check on her brother before coming here some hours earlier. The tall, silver haired Elf she had seen before was here to. He had been chanting and singing. When Freeda asked what that helped with, he said, "Your mother helped a great deal with the physical side of the sickness. My companions and I are helping to heal their spirits." It seemed he was right; the patients were taking a turn for the better.

All, that is, except her mother.
"Mama, please wake up. You have to get well."
"And I dreamed of seas and ships, and of waves crashing on the shore in the twilight of the world..." ~Song, member of the Realm of Ulmo
Eruwestiel_Evensong
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on: February 06, 2015 02:45
accidental double post

[Edited on 02/06/2015 by Eruwestiel_Evensong]
"And I dreamed of seas and ships, and of waves crashing on the shore in the twilight of the world..." ~Song, member of the Realm of Ulmo
Naurmaethor
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on: February 09, 2015 09:27
”Yes. Indeed. Your skill is well known among the men, and they always feel heartened when you are around. Now I remember Malassuil saying that he would make you a leader of men, but things did not allow for the formality. These times, it is rare to allow for it. Due to the losses of so many veterans on the North Downs, Malassuil was going to make you the Company Sergeant. It seems I inherited his command, I will ask you if you want to be Company Sergeant. With me, you have right of refusal.”

Company Sergeant? Him? Bregolman, didn’t know what to say. There were so many brave and capable men still available. He didn’t expect this at all but, he was honored and he would not refuse such a request of a friend and now, Commander.
He nodded and said,

”I will act in that capacity until such time it is formally confirmed.”

Marcadil smiled and offered Bregolman a badge that would indicate this rank to the men. He nodded, saying,

”Yes, we all are acting in some unofficial capacity. May the time come after our victory this night that we can have all this worked out formally. The men speak highly of you, and you have the ability to be able to rally their spirits.”

Marcadil and Bregolman grasped each other’s wrists and gave a nod.

Suddenly, they heard the bellow of the enemy horns filling the woods. Steadily, the enemy was nearing the city. They had precious little time left to assure that every defensive measure was made ready and being used effectively. Bregolman felt the desire to check their defenses. He left the wall and visited the catapults. They were loading ammunition, which meant large stones, as he arrived.

“Remember men, you will not be able to fire at the enemies that will inevitably bunch up at the gate as our men will be right there as well. So, once the enemy is in range do not hesitate and do not worry about conserving ammunition. Only make each volley count by aiming for the center of each formation for maximum damage.”

He went to the other catapults and echoed the same advice to the men manning them. He then made his way through the city. Men were saying farewell to their families. The women and children were entering a large stone structure near the rear of the city. It was, in fact, the Royal home of King Arvedui and his family. But, they would not turn away their people at a time like this and it was the safest structure to be in during the siege. In the midst of the crowd his eyes were drawn to a young maiden. So fair she was, like the first star in the night sky that teaches the rest to shine. She was reuniting a little girl who had briefly become separated from her mother. A smile curled on this Star-maiden’s face and it smote Bregolman’s heart. Her eyes met his and he felt a smile turn the corners of his mouth in response to hers. She was called into the stone structure by the cry of “Elwen! Elwen!” and vanished from his sight.

He did not know what he felt inside himself but, now was not the time to find out. The city was no like a ghost town. The only sounds that could be heard were shouts of preparation by the defenders of the city. He found Camedhil still sharpening blades at his grinding wheel.

“Mellon, what are you doing still sharpening blades? The battle is coming sooner than you think.” He said.

“This is the last blade I sharpen today, háno. This is my blade.” Camedhil sheathed it, put on a coat of mail, and a helmet. Camedhil didn’t look like one of the oldest men of the city any longer. He looked like an ancient warrior stepped out of Numenor.

“We will be honored to have the Elven-hand at our side.” Bregolman clapped a closed fist to his chest and bowed. Camedhil nodded and turned to make his way towards the gate of the city. Bregolman followed closely behind. As he neared the gate he saw two men that were the keenest archers left in Fornost. Belorn and Beleg were brothers and both of a young age, but they had skill and instincts in archery that could not be taught.

Bregolman approached them, “Brothers, we are woefully short of archers for such a siege. I would ask for your bows on the wall above the gate. Bring full quivers. I will join you for the beginning of the battle if I am not ordered elsewhere. If the city is breached we will all be needed below.”

The brothers nodded to Bregolman but he caught a look between them of excitement. Their whole lives they had a competition between them of who was the better archer. They looked forward to getting to prove this in battle.

Bregolman hurried up the wall and found his position above the gate right near where the boiling oil cauldrons were sitting, ready to be dumped over the side onto enemies below. The sun was setting and the enemy was nearly in range of the catapults.



[Edited on 02/09/2015 by Naurmaethor]
Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate: and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.
Arveleg
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Post The Battle Begins...
on: February 10, 2015 06:03
Marcadil squinted into the distance where he thought he saw something light up. But daylight was fading, and the clouds were moving swiftly. He gave Bregolman a nod as he returned to the walls. Richard moved to the right to give a young soldier some encouragement, and Bregolman did the same to the left. The sound of marching boots began to recede, and the sound of steel-on-steel cadence started to rise. Their first line was possibly in range of the best archers, and they were itching to take the first shot, but they waited. We would let them get a little closer before we gave the order.

Any thought of waiting for them to come in closer was quickly put to rest when a large flaming ball was sent skyward from deep in the enemy lines. We watched its arc as it came closer, thinking it was launched too far away and would land before their own armies. We only had time to sound a warning when we realised our mistake in judgement.

”Incoming! Take Cover!”

Marcadil yelled as he ducked low behind the wall. The flaming mass narrowly missed the wall about ten men to his right. Richard was there and got the men to go flat on the rampart as the intense heat blew past them. It hurtled down into the street just inside the gate where the fireball burst open, scattering fire and shards of hot stones forth. The street exploded and everything in front of the projectile was set alight. Most of the people below ran for the wall while some scattered this way and that. Screams came suddenly from those wounded by its hot sticky pitch and the fragmented bits of stone while outside the walls, the rising jeers of the approaching enemy echoed forth. Marcadil ran over to see if everyone was in good order, then he looked out into the fast-closing darkness. The ground was dotted with torches, and a larger fire could be seen far in the distance. Whatever it was they used to send that fireball such a great distance and have it land on target had come from there. He estimated they only had one so large, or they would be letting more go. Good thing that, for they had us zeroed in. No, they were readying another, but it was taking time. Closer the siege towers rolled, and the smaller catapults krept forward. It was a bad start to this siege, but at least we were ready for the next one that was surely to come.

~ ~ ~

”Incoming! Take Cover!”

Dauwna heard the yell of her husband high above. There he stood on the wall giving commands! For a brief moment, she thought him extraordinarily beautiful standing there in the sun as it shone between the clouds and the land. But there was no sun. The source of the glow quickly broke over the wall and was heading down right toward her! She jumped inside the doorway she was next to as a crashing noise and intense heat flashed against her back. She fell forward hard as she felt a lot of stinging press into her back. She smashed a small table as she slid across the floor and crumpled against the far wall. The stinging quickly turned to points of pain in her back and legs, and she had hit her head hard against the wall.

As this happened to her, a shriek of someone else in pain could be heard behind her. Dauwna’s head spun and she could feel the warm wetness of blood running down her face, obscuring her vision. She wiped her eyes and squinted. It didn’t help much. The crackling and flickering from the fires that burned around the room made the air heavy with pitch and wood smoke. The door-frame burned lazily and crackled as she tried to see outside, but the street outside the door-way was alight. She could make out in the haze that w woman lay just inside the door. Dauwna shook off the fog her mind was in, and had enough strength to crawl over and smother the spots of flame that burned off the clothes on the woman’s back. She moaned and was sobbing in pain as Dauwna started to regain her senses. Her kit! Where was it? She needed it! Only a broken strap hung from her belt. She quickly took out one of her daggers and worked at prying out the stones that had embedded into her back. There was little blood, but the burns that covered her back were bad. She had nothing to treat them. She needed to find her pouch. Crawling back to where she had first regained herself, Dauwna patted out some flames that started to burn some of the bandages she had packed. Her pouch was torn open, but still had some of its goods in it. She tried to stand, but as soon as she did, she screamed in pain as her leg gave way and she fell forward. She banged her chin on the floor when she fell and almost lost consciousness again. No, she couldn’t! She had to help this woman! Pulling herself over, she looked again at the woman’s back and started to cry. The woman was dead. Dauwna covered her head with her arms as the pain she was in started to bite deep. The wooden doorframe gave way and fell, sending sparks up as some of the stone façade fell. The last thing she heard was a voice calling out from the wall,

”Archers! Ready! Take aim! Release! May your arrows fly straight and true!”
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
Cenor
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on: February 11, 2015 02:43
”Archers! Ready! Take aim! Release! May your arrows fly straight and true!”
Quintin shot deep into the ranks of fiendish hordes with the other archers lined up on the wall. Returning shots were fired, but these were hasty and few and none met their mark. Ladders were thrown against the walls and were soon crowded with the orcs. Some of the crude ladders were thrust back wreaking small havoc in the crowds beneath, but as these fell the orcs poured over the wall. The archers kept up their hail of arrows while the swordsmen fought off the endless stream of creatures surging up the ladders and over the wall.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Barad's sword drove deep into the orc's head splitting it in two. He pulled the sword out and rammed it into an orc who rushed in from his left side. So far he had made it without any hard blows to his weak shoulder. He could see his brother fighting several paces away and the commander of the 3rd felling a rather large orc to his right. Suddenly a dull thudding and the creaking of wood grabbed his attention. The archers were focusing on the gates where several large orcs carrying a battering ram were trying to break down the strong, iron enforced wooden doors of Fornost.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A dark being on a sable horse rode alone in the blackening night. Behind him was the rear-guard of the hosts of Angmar ahead was the legions of orcs already attacking Fornost. Night creatures sank from him and the nightingale shrunk back in terror as he galloped towards the great city. The horse snorted and frothed at the mouth, it's red eyes gleaming fiercely. The black rider reined in his horse as he reached his rear of his main force and watched the city intently. Orcs flooded the walls, trolls slammed rough hammers into the walls, and the battering ram hummed a deadly song. The siege towers remained motionless waiting for his command. An unearthly screech filled the air as the rider announced his presence and defied his enemies. The orcs shrank back as the rider spurred his mount forwards, giving way to the Witch King of Angmar.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mathias shook in terror as the siege began. Flaming balls of fire hissed overhead and rolled in the streets spreading chaos and fear. The Healers had put him out of the houses as soon as the Elves had arrived, a clumsy boy like him would only hinder the great ones work. He hobbled down the streets looking for something to do, somewhere to go. Horrendous cries of orcs tortured the lad, he had to do something to defend the city. It was then that he stumbled upon a young girl with light hair with a crying baby in her arms. Her face was pale and drawn but her lips were tight pressed and her eyes beamed courage. She had been missed by those who were herding the women and children into the Royal Home.
"Do you need help?" he asked her, "getting to the Royal House?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Caladwen stared out into the night, her bow was put aside for knives were the best tool in this rabble. Men were strengthening the gates as the ram continued to weaken them. Still the black hordes swarming outside seemed unaffected by the numerous losses wrought by arrow and sword. Courage she repeated to herself Men need us, we cannot fail them. A dreadful scream rent the air and fear found its way back into her heart. He is here she thought the Witch King of Angmar. We will not win this night. The she-elf shook her head clearing the black thoughts from her mind.
"Courage Men!" she sang. "We shall win against the Black Sorcerer!"
Image "Every good pirate has an alias" Felix glanced down, looking at contraption around the stump of his wrist. "Hook," he answered. "My name will be Hook."
Naurmaethor
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on: February 11, 2015 10:51
The orcs and men of Rhudaur were now in range of the archers and the order was given to fire at will. Arrows buried themselves in the closest wave of enemies. Bregolman aimed his bow high into the air and let the arrow go. It sailed high and was carried back down into the neck of an enemy. Bregolman didn’t wait to see where it hit; he had already fired another arrow. His second shot glanced off an orc captain’s armor and crippled one of the men who wore the emblem of the Witch-king on his breastplate. Bregolman glanced to his left and saw Belorn and Beleg drawing back their longbows and firing with skill and speed. Though it seemed to him the advancement of the first wave of enemies was faltering, Bregolman could see their comrades falling in behind them, swelling the advancement back to full force.

The enemy also seemed to have catapults of their own that were hurling enormous burning ammunition at them. The first flaming projectile had narrowly missed decimating their forces on the wall above the gate. Only by the warning of Marcadil and the action of Richard were the men spared. But, when the molten rock landed it splashed fire onto all around it. Thankfully, most of the structures in the city were made of stone but what was not was immediately engulfed in flames.

Bregolman fitted another arrow to his bow and as he drew back the shaft he saw the white boulders from their catapults floating as if weightless up above the battlefield. For a moment, one might have thought the great rocks would sail into the stars. They did not, but instead screamed back down into the ranks of orc and men that were flooding toward the city. A great troll picked up one of the stones that had landed near it and hurled it back toward the city it bounced and tumbled in front of the wall and stopped just in front of the section that Bregolman was standing on.

Arrow and stone sailed through the air from bow and catapult, but still the enemy pressed forward. The Men of Fornost cheered as the banners of Angmar would fall, but immediately they would be raised again by the seeming multiplicity of enemies. The forces of the Witch-king were now not only advancing but they were within reach of the wall. The archers on the wall kept the enemy waves from reaching the wall but at first one, then two, then three enemies slipped through hacking and beating on the gate like the first few drips that begin the breaking of a dam. As the orc invaders piled up against the gate several heavily armored larger orcs brought up a battering ram and trolls came up to the walls with hammers and beat hard on the stone.

“Archers above the gate focus your attacks on the orcs using the ram! Archers on the walls focus your attacks on the trolls! We cannot let them bring down the wall!”

Bregolman yelled the instruction and watched as several of the large orcs were killed, but even as they fell more came to take their place. The same for the trolls, even as one was felled another picked up the hammer and continued beating. The archers let their arrows fly all the more.

Even as Bregolman was scrambling to instruct the men under his command a ladder rose and landed against the wall opposite the direction Bregolman was facing. Several orcs climbed the ladder up over the wall. Bregolman looking at Beleg and Belorn, saw their bows pointed at him. They let fly three arrows and as he turned to see what they fired at, three orcs fell to the ground dead. He nodded his thanks but it was no more than a nod as more orcs now hurried up the ladder.

Bregolman rushed the ladder and as he grabbed it to push it away from the wall an orc swung a mace at him, he parried the attack and pushed the ladder away. The orcs at the top of the ladder would not survive that fall. Another ladder near to Beleg and Belorn began to bend under the weight of more orcs. The brothers aimed their bows down the ladder and fired arrow after arrow. The orcs that jumped onto the ladder might as well have been sheep lining up to be sheared. Beleg, the elder brother, kicked the now empty ladder away from the wall.

Suddenly, a giant calloused hand gripped the top of the wall to the left of the gate. A troll had decided to abandon his orders to pound the wall into rubble and simply climb over. It pulled itself up, despite the stabbing and slashing at its limbs by the soldiers. With one swipe of the troll’s arm ten men were knocked off the wall. Bregolman narrowly dodged the same fate by suddenly dropping down. The move saved him from the previous attack but now he was in a compromising position. The troll glaring down at him lifted a hulking leathery foot and brought it down towards Bregolman. His last hope was to thrust upward into the tree trunk coming down on him. The sword embedded itself deep into the foot of the monster and the troll would have delivered a crushing fist down on Bregolman but a stone slammed into it and engulfed it in flames.

Bregolman shielded himself from the blast that had apparently come from the enemy’s own catapult. The troll and the wall took the brunt of the blast. It had saved Bregolman’s life but done considerable damage to that section of the wall. He rose to his feet, not noticing the damage to the wall, but of the giant corpse of his attacker blown off the wall by his own catapult.

A blood-curdling cry came from the battlefield. The leader of the attacking force had announced his presence. Bregolman faced back out toward the black sea of enemy forces. The siege towers were moving.


[Edited on 02/12/2015 by Naurmaethor]
Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate: and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.
Eruwestiel_Evensong
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on: February 12, 2015 01:04
"Ithilwen, we must move these people to the Royal House. It is safer than here, and we will need these beds to care for those wounded in battle," Nestedir said, striding into the room followed by several men carrying stretchers.

The maiden nodded and went to rouse those she could. As many people as could would need to walk. Nestedir helped the weaker patients onto stretchers, then helped Ithilwen support others as they made their way slowly to the large stone building near the rear of the city.

The place was quickly filling up with civilians and room had to be made for the new arrivals. People were lowered from the stretchers to pallets placed up against the walls. Kitchen workers and maids scurried around, delivering food and blankets. Nestedir surveyed the scene for a moment before stepping into a smaller room. His armor was waiting for him in a corner.

~*~*~*~
Ithilwen moved around the room checking on wounds and offering soothing words. Two other Elves were there as well, and their presence seemed to bring no small comfort to the hurting people of Fornost. The Elf maiden had just turned her attention to another person when a voice came from behind her.

"Ithilwen!"

She turned around to see Nestedir striding toward her, a crimson cape flowing from his broad shoulders. His long silver hair hung loose down his back but for the a few simple braids. The armour he wore was fashioned by Dwarves, incredibly strong and beautiful. Whether it was silver or gold could not be said, for it seemed to change depending on the light. A broadsword with a red jewel in the pomel rested in a beautiful scabbard at his side, and a shield was secured on his left arm. The uncertain light of the torches and fires in the room made him look even more ancient and powerful than in daylight. He was a formidable figure indeed.

"We will soon be needed in the battle. You have skill with the bow, and I with my blade. Our powers of healing will also be needed in the front lines. Don your armour and go where you are needed most."

His face was grim. Ithilwen gave a quick nod and grabbed her bag, stepping into a side room and closing the door. Her simple dress was soon replaced with a think, dark blue skirt and leather shirt. Over the shirt came the silver breastplate, shoulder guards, and vambraces, all with designs etched in blue. She belted on her dagger and quiver of arrows and strung her bow.

~*~*~*~
"Incoming! Take cover!"

Nestedir saw a burning orb sail through the sky to the street ahead. He ducked into a doorway just as the projectile smashed into the street. Screams of agony rent the air. He waited a few minutes for the heatwave to pass and the dust to settle before running to the scene of destruction. Several people lay in the street. One look told him they were dead, but he checked each one anyway. A woman was sprawled in the doorway of a house, half buried by rock and smoldering wood. He pulled her out and checked for signs of life, but it was too late. There was someone else a little farther into the dwelling. Nestedir stepped over the rubble and knelt at her side. Though her back and legs were badly burned and filled with stones, there was still life in her.

He took a flask from his bag and poured a small amount into her mouth to help deaden the pain. Placing his hand on her bloody forehead, Nestedir whispered a few words in the tongue of his people.

He removed the bigger stones from her flesh with his knife and smoothed a salve on the burns. Bandages were then loosely wrapped around her, and he gently propped her up to care for her head wounds. With trained fingers he explored her scalp and found a crack at the back of her skull. It would have to be sewn up, but right now a bandage was the best he could do. Her badly cut chin received the same treatment. In the midst of these ministrations, Nestedir sensed something else about this woman - she was with child.

Dauwna stirred and opened her eyes as Nestedir gently picked her up. It took a moment for her to focus on him. "What...?"

"Hush now. You will live, though there might be some scarring. The child within you is safe."

She blinked, not sure she had understood correctly. "The...child within me?"
Nestedir smiled down at her. "Yes, a child! I see this comes as a surprise to you."

That would explain why she had felt so wretched that morning. Her hand reached up to rub her belly. Marcadil would be so pleased. A smile briefly touched her bloody lips before the blackness set in again.

~*~*~*~
When Ithilwen emerged from the Royal House her eyes caught sight of smoke from a street near the front of the city. "So it has already begun." The sun was nearly set by now. She hurried through the streets until she came to the gate. The archers were posted on the wall above, and a group of armed men were stationed behind the gate. One in particular caught her eye. "Camedhil?" The man turned at the sound of her voice and a smile broke over his weathered face. "Ithilwen! It is long since I looked on your lovely face." He gripped her arm in a gesture of friendship. "Aye, and it is long since I felt a grip like yours!" She smiled at him. "I consider it an honour to fight alongside you, Camedhil."

~*~*~*~
Freeda was growing worried. She had retrieved her brother and returned to the healing house, only to find it empty. Where had everyone gone? Her brother began to fuss as she ran up street after street, trying to find her mother. Burning, pitch covered projectiles came crashing into the streets at several places.

Then she saw a boy, apparently some years older than her, making his way up the street. He had a terrible limp, and Freeda tried not to stare at his crooked legs. But when she looked at his eyes she couldn't stop staring. They were so clear and friendly.

"Do you need help getting to the Royal House?" he asked.

The Royal House? So that's where everyone had gone! "I would greatly appreciate your assistance," she said shyly. "What is your name? I am called Freeda."

~*~*~*~
The light was long gone when Nestedir made his way back to the wall. He had left the woman, whose name he had learned was Dauwna, at the healing house with specific instructions for the care of her extensive wounds. There was a great risk of infection if any debris remained embedded in her skin.

Now he was at the wall. The smell of smoke hung heavy in the air from several points in the city. Obviously the enemy was making full use of their catapults. Nestedir smiled grimly as the men of Fornost returned the favour. He took stock of the situation, noting the men posted at the gate. Most of them had weapons suited to close combat. If the enemy managed to break through at that point they would receive quite a nasty reception. His gaze traveled upwards to the archers on the walls. Though he wore a sword instead of a bow, Nestedir knew he would be needed up there. The archers could only hold the men and orcs off so long, and their bows were not meant for close range.

He took the steps to the rampart and looked out at the approaching army. The torches bobbed up and down as they marched, blending together like a sea of fire. Everyone around him seemed to be holding their breath, waiting. This was not the first battle Nestedir had been in; the tall Elf was far older than he looked. Still, he could never grow used to these tense moments before the real combat began. He began to pace the wall, offering words of courage. Caladwen's clear voice came to him from another section of the wall. She was employed in the same manner as he - encouraging the people of Fornost. Nestedir gripped Ithilwen's shoulder as he passed and she looked up at him, trying to smile bravely. "Do not fear, mellon. Your aim will be true." He continued down the line.

"Itarildë! I do not how you happen to be here, but your skills are a boon to us." Ithilwen heard Nestedir's voice come from somewhere farther along the wall. Itarildë? What was she doing here? But she did not have long to ponder the presence of her young friend, for just then an arrow slammed into the wall right below her.

”Archers! Ready! Take aim! Release! May your arrows fly straight and true!"

Ithilwen shot off an arrow into the hoard below and was rewarded with a scream. Another arrow left her bow a few seconds later. Enemy arrows splintered against the stone wall.
The archer's bows kept up a steady rhythm of nock, draw, sight, release. But no matter how many they took down, there were always more to take their place. Several large orcs managed to slip through and began pounding on the gate. They were soon joined by trolls carrying large hammers and orcs bearing a battering ram.

“Archers above the gate focus your attacks on the orcs using the ram! Archers on the walls focus your attacks on the trolls! We cannot let them bring down the wall!”

Ithilwen snatched another arrow from her quiver and shot it straight down into the unprotected neck of an orc. The orc went down, but another charged forward to take its place. She reached back for another arrow, only to find her quiver empty. Bending down to retrieve her second quiver from the area at her feet, Ithilwen heard an arrow whiz through the air right where she had been standing. She sucked in a deep breath as she realized how close she had come to having an arrow buried in her chest. There would likely be many moments like this one during the long night ahead.

~*~*~*~
Richard was glad of the clean dressing he'd been given by the Elf maiden, though by now it was again covered with blood. The salve still helped to lessen the pain somewhat. He fired off his arrows with the rest of the archers, but at a slightly slower rate. It was not long until ladders were thrown against the walls and he had to exchange the bow for his sword.

"Archers! Position yourselves to the left and right! Take out the ladders from the sides!"

He fought side by side with his brother, each of them hacking away at any enemy foolish enough to show his head above the wall. Richard grunted as he yanked his blade free from a corpse. It seemed his sword grew heavier with every swing. No, it wasn't the sword - he was weakening. He gritted his teeth and swung again, this time severing an orc's head from its body. The foul creature toppled backwards down the ladder, taking several more with him.

Richard's mirthless smile faded when a huge hand took hold of the top of the wall. A troll pulled itself up and over the side. He was too far away to do anything about it except stare in horror as ten men were swept off the wall by its giant arm. Bregolman went down, and it looked like he was about to be crushed by the troll's foot. Then suddenly a fireball from the enemy lines slammed into it and the wall, doing great damage to both. Richard couldn't see what happened after that, for his attention was yanked back to his section of the wall by a scream. One of his men had been hit by an arrow and fell from the rampart to the ground below. Richard's throat clenched. Somewhere in the city a woman was waiting for the lover or husband who would never return. The thought pumped white fury into his veins. He threw himself at the orcs that now spilled onto the wall, slashing relentlessly this way and that.

When all the orcs on the wall were dead and the last of the ladders had been kicked down onto the orcs below, the defenders on the wall took the chance to replenish their arrows and quickly tend to wounds. As Ithilwen bandaged his wound, Richard looked out into the blackness and sighed. The siege towers were moving.
"No rest for the weary."

[Edited on 02/12/2015 by Eruwestiel_Evensong]
"And I dreamed of seas and ships, and of waves crashing on the shore in the twilight of the world..." ~Song, member of the Realm of Ulmo
Naurmaethor
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Post Words of encouragement from the Elven-hand
on: February 12, 2015 09:41

As the men found time to re-group and re-arm for the next onslaught of the enemy, Bregolman noted that their losses had been few. However, when you know every man by name, the loss of one man is a heavy blow. Amazingly, not all the men who were knocked off the wall by the troll had died, a few were still alive and taken to be tended with the others who were wounded beyond hope of returning to battle.

The order was passed down to the catapults to aim for the siege towers when they came into range. The towers would be pushed by trolls so the bowmen also knew, once in range, their priority would be bringing them down. Bregolman hastened to the other parts of the wall where Marcadil and Richard were. Both looked a little battered and bruised, Richard worse than Marcadil. Of course, he would probably say the same about himself if he had a mirror.

“How are your men holding? How many did you lose? Who did you lose?”
Bregolman listened to their answers. They were holding, but it was hard to hear of the losses no matter how few they were.

“We lost a few to the troll. The relentlessness of the enemy has done more damage than their weapons at this point. We should give our men some words of courage before the next wave hits us.”

Camedhil appeared at Bregolman’s side. He had watched most of the action from below with the soldiers that were charged with defending the gate at the lower level.

“The men’s courage, no doubt, is shaken. What they are facing is the extension of an ancient enemy. He is the Father of all enemies of the free-folk of Middle-Earth. No, not the Witch-king and not his master, but Sauron’s master.” he spoke of Morgoth, who was no longer counted among the ranks of the Valar in the West. Camedhil was more than the three men’s ages combined and he studied under elven-smiths who had forged weapons for the wars against their most ancient and hated enemy. Even now, thousands of years after his chaining in outer darkness, the evil seeds he had sown continued to bring forth dark fruit.

“The men face an evil born long ago. Let me hearten them with a passage from the Lay of Leithian that tells of one who challenged Morgoth to single combat.”

Bregolman made no protest. He would not have asked such a favor of Camedhil but also would no turn down such a generous offer.

Camedhil stepped forward, a man of distinction under his shining helm, the eyes of the soldiers were fixed on him.

“Eyes forward, men! I want you to face your enemy! In the First Age of this world one of the Valar was the chief enemy in this world. He waged war on the fathers of the Eldar and Edain. His treachery against men and elves was great and he was protected in his fortress of Angband sending out legions of orcs to impose his will. Listen to the words of this ancient tale.”

Camedhil’s eyes looked up as if he was reading something written in the sky. He began to recite word for word the Tale of Fingolfin’s Challenge.

“In that vast shadow once of yore
Fingolfin stood: his shield he bore...”


The siege towers came into range of the catapults and they let fly their ammunition. It rained down on the towers like a hail storm. One collapsed, but another pushed past it. The catapults began reloading.

“...In overmastering wrath and hate
desperate he smote upon that gate...”


The archers drew back their bows in unison and released a deluge of arrows into the next wave of enemies.

“...His hopeless challenge dauntless cried
Fingolfin there: 'Come, open wide,
dark king, your ghastly brazen doors!
Come forth, whom earth and heaven abhors...”


Those few who knew the words of the lay joined in and recited with Camedhil the tale as a battle cry as they fired their arrows and beat back the ladders of the enemy.

“...Then Morgoth came. For the last time
in those great wars he dared to climb
from subterranean throne profound,
the rumour of his feet a sound...
...with shadow like a thundercloud;
and o'er the gleaming king it bowed,
as huge aloft like mace he hurled
that hammer of the underworld,
Grond. Clanging to ground it tumbled
down like a thunder-bolt, and crumbled
the rocks beneath it; smoke up-started,
a pit yawned, and a fire darted...

...Fingolfin like a shooting light
beneath a cloud, a stab of white,
sprang then aside, and Ringil drew
like ice that gleameth cold and blue...
...With seven wounds it rent his foe,
and seven mighty cries of woe
rang in the mountains, and the earth quook,
and Angband's trembling armies shook...

...Thrice was Fingolfin with great blows
to his knees beaten, thrice he rose
still leaping up beneath the cloud
aloft to hold star-shining, proud,
his stricken shield, his sundered helm,
that dark nor might could overwhelm
till all the earth was burst and rent
in pits about him. He was spent...
...a foot like rooted hills was set,
and he was crushed - not conquered yet;
one last despairing stroke he gave:
the mighty foot pale Ringil clave...”


Every arrow released, every blade swung was swung with purpose. This time evil was beating on their door. This time they would defeat it.

OOC: The poem Camedhil recites is a part of the Lay of Leithien. Not by me but by Professor Tolkien himself. The section recited tells of the high king of the elves, Fingolfin who challenges Morgoth to single combat. He is crushed but only after wounding Morgoth's foot so gravely that he limped ever after and never answered a challenge to single combat again.

[Edited on 02/13/2015 by Naurmaethor]
Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate: and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.
Cenor
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Post The Wall Weakens, But Men's Hearts Grow Stronger
on: February 13, 2015 04:25
...a foot like rooted hills was set,
and he was crushed - not conquered yet;
one last despairing stroke he gave:
the mighty foot pale Ringil clave...”


The last words of the Lay were sung louder and stronger as the men took up their swords and faced the line of siege towers crawling towards them. They had not the heart to sing of the death of the great Elven King. Catapults hummed as they sent whirling sharp stones into the black ranks and occasionally slamming into a siege tower. The orcs responded with a song of their own, a deep guttural chanting and the booming of drums echoed against the stone walls. Barad leaned over the wall peering into the night; siege towers were going on either side of them and no orcs gathered in front of that portion. Glancing down he realized this was the section of the wall where the trolls had done the most damage. Then it dawned on him; his face paled as he motioned the men away from the wall.
"Get away!" he shouted.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The catapult is ready." a grim faced orc growled.
He was answered by a quick wave of the Witch King's iron-gloved hand. The black rider urged his mount forward and he galloped past the seige towers, in full view of the men on the wall. Shots were fired at him but none could piece the fell flesh of the sorcerer. He caught one of the Fornost arrows and crushed it in his unholy grip to prove his power. A screech, filled with malice and magic, silenced all who heard in for bound within the scream was a enchantment of weakening. Dark words could be heard as they attacked the battered wall, sucking the strength out of the mortar and stones.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Courage seemed to be pulled away as the screech continued, unbroken and horrible. But the men began to sing again, faintly but it grew ever stronger.
"...With seven wounds it rent his foe..."
Swords were raised in defiance as well as voices and it seemed as another battle of songs were taking place. But then there was a sickening crash as a stone ground into the weakening wall. Barad reeled as the wall shook and rocked unsteadily. He could hear the stones crumbling underneath but still he urged the others to safety. The sound of a catapult releasing froze him for a minute, but he recovered and dashed for the stronger portion of the wall.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
The pitch of the scream changed as the Witch King strengthened the sharp rock about to launch against the cracking wall. The stone hurled into the air and struck the ill-fortuned wall.
~~~~~~~~~~
"Yes, you should be among them." Matthias stated. "We young and crippled can't do much tonight," he whispered. "Freeda is a lovely name. I am called Mathias."
He hobbled up the street keeping pace with the young girl and the baby. The steep incline gave him a bit of trouble but the girl was weary and thus his slowing down was not noticed.
"Do you have family on the wall?" he asked curiously.
~~~~~~~~~~~
Quintin reloaded his quiver wondering what he would do when his arrows ran out. He had seen some of the elves, they fought with bow and knife and this encouraged him some. He did not need to be a master swordsman to fight. He rejoined the archers on the wall and soon was firing at the trolls pushing the towers. The Witch King came into sight and many of the archers wasted precious arrows on the bodiless wraith. The scream brought back bad memories, bad dreams to be exact. There was the ruin, the bodies, the flaming sword. He opened his eyes and heard the Lay sung by brave voices. Hope returned to him and his hands steadied. The dreams would not torture him tonight.
~~~~~~~~~~~
Her arrows were spent and the enemy was gone for the moment so Caladwen tended the wounded. She descended the stairs to care for those still alive after the troll's attack, but these were few. Her heart grieved for those families whose fathers, brothers, or sons would not return.
Image "Every good pirate has an alias" Felix glanced down, looking at contraption around the stump of his wrist. "Hook," he answered. "My name will be Hook."
Arveleg
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Post A Battle Hard Fought.
on: February 15, 2015 04:53
”You are with child…”’

… the words of the fair elf floated through her mind as it swam. Yes, only the firstborn could perceive this. It was why she was ill earlier! It was also a good omen that he seemed at ease with this news. She had not hurt the child in all that happened that brief moment. The searing pain came back, and Dauwna again felt ill. She fought it back and dreamed of the time when she would be able to give the news to her husband….

~ ~ ~

Battle on the ramparts raged on as the Dunedain kept the enemy from getting a foothold on the walls. But the night seemed endless, with the solemn glow of the fires flickering about. Marcadil had gone this way nd that by the gate trying to keep the orcs from getting in. The trolls were the worst, and one nearly finished Bregolman. But the strength was renewed, even if the numbers were not, by fair singing of tales of old. The enemy catapults were seemingly ineffective, but they were targeting only a part of the wall with them, and here the wall was weakening. Another of the large fireballs was released in the distance, the forth one. The others had arced over the walls and caused some troubles in the streets and broke down some of the smaller structures, but this one had a different angle to it. Marcadil guessed it would fall short, killing some of their enemy. To an extent, he was right. He started battling a gangly orc that had gotten onto the wall, and slew it and cast it down into the street below. He had little time to turn when the fireball smashed the enemy siege engine that was nearing him, and slammed against the wall just below him. The wall of Fornost exploded before his feet, and Marcadil fell backward with the blasted, burning rubble.

It seemed an eternity while he fell. He could see Richard swinging his sword hard and fast, with a young soldier to his back. Bregolman moved swiftly away from the blasted wall and took on two orcs with his knives. As Hanasian spun, he could see the fair Elven archer choosing the victims of her arrows, even as fighting raged around her….

He hit hard even as he tried to roll out of it. The rubble strewn about stopped him in place and he cringed as a shooting pain raced up his side. He couldn’t breath! He wanted to take in air, but he couldn’t. he could see legs and boots moving about, charging toward the wall where he had been. The City Guard is making sure none get in over the rubble gap in the wall to the right of the gate. Already the orcs were trying to scale what was left of the wall there. An archer was picking up spent enemy arrows and shooting the orcs that tried. But sun there were several that got over. The soldiers had formed a line and met them.

Finally! A breath, Marcadil gasped in the air. The stench of burnt pitch, stone and flesh reeked, but to him right then, it was the best breath ever. He wheezed and gasped and coughed, and tried to steady his breathing.

”I gotta get up…”

he said to nobody. He said a couple more times as he struggled to stand, using broken bits of the wall to pull himself up. He looked about and could see the men holding a line and driving back any who got over the broken wall. High above, Richard and Bregolman worked to keep the men together. It seemed that attack was waning, but he wasn’t sure. Standing, he could tell he had some broken ribs and his right arm didn’t want to work. It too was fractured. He picked up his sword with his left and started to make for the broken wall.

”You are wounded sir. Let me tend you.”

A voice of one who had come from Rivendell stood before him. She had been looking for wounded among the dead. The fact he was alive seemed to have brought some hope to her at this time.

”Aye.”

Marcadil said as he sat on a broken piece of the wall. His arm throbbed and it was still painful to breath. Maybe a healing hand of the Eldar would get him back in this fight, or better yet, to live to see another day.
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
Arveleg
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Post The Morning Comes....
on: February 15, 2015 11:13
The first sign of daylight that could be seen was a faded grey to the east, and it could not come soon enough. The cloud was thick and low, and the air chill with a biting north wind. But for the heat from the waning pitch fires, it may have been noticed sooner. Winter has come. King Arvedui had come to the streets after seeing to the sick and wounded that filled every open place in the palace’s lower floor. Walking amongst the waste, he gathered his sons and the remaining commanders in a hastily council right there in the city square, even as the sounds of battle still raged about. The rocks and the occasional fireball were still flying in in from the enemy lines, pummelling the great fortress city walls and structures. It did appear that with the morning light, the attack was waning. The King’s assessment was they had managed to hold the perimeter wall, even where it had been broken down. The decision by some of the field commanders to have their archers target those who appeared in command had played its part well, causing the onslaught to be uncoordinated and unruly. Yet though the enemy hordes were not defeated, they were hurt and had for the most part fallen back into the greyness to re-group. It was a solemn council as the king said,

”You have all fought bravely, and we have hurt the enemy! If I had our armies of old, this would be the news we would welcome, and we would press the enemy until he was utterly broken! But as you well know, we have little left to throw in. We held our city this night, but now our foe grows stronger while we have been diminished. So we will have to defeat this attack with our tactics. Aside from the remnants of the three companies that fought so bravely in the North Downs, we have our reserves and my guardsmen. This will not be enough to defend this city over a winter. We may hold for a time, but I feel this time the enemy will not go easily.”

The King lifted his gloved hand to his face, his finger rubbing his lips as he gave thought for a moment. He then said,

”So I have to give the hard order and say we have everyone prepare to leave the city. I know there is many sick and wounded, and some will have to be assisted to be able to get out. I also know it would take a couple days to have everyone ready, and we will only be able to move once the siege is broken. I fear we may not have that much time.”

It was hard for King Arvedui to reign over the abandonment of the fortress city, but he wanted the kingdom to endure, and if that meant leaving Fornost and moving west, so be it. He went on,

”Our plan is one of calculated desperation. Anyone who is able will need to be ready to move. Only what is needed to survive a trek on a hard road in hard lands in winter will be taken. Ananarth will take what men he needs to move the people swiftly west. He will use the small southeast gate where the enemy is the weakest. After they start to move, his brother will provide a flank shadow and rearguard to prevent any attacks directly on the caravan. The hard yards will be done by me and my mounted guardsmen, and any infantry that can be spared. We will move out the main gate at nightfall and we will feign attack before withdrawing north into the North Downs. The Witch King will know it is me leading, and will most assuredly pursue us. I can only hope this is so. A small cadre of men will stay behind and make like there are many more remaining, putting up a fight and withdrawing back through the city, defending the southeast quarter until the last. They will then slip away after the caravan, for the enemy that gets inside the city will be a rabble and will want to stay and loot. Meanwhile, as we draw the enemy toward us in pursuit into the North Downs, we will use our familiarity of the terrain and wear him down, keeping him distracted while the caravan makes haste west. Is there any questions?”

The commanders were quiet and ill at ease. Though they were proud Dunedain, most everyone had hidden inside them thoughts that this day would come. The sound of a sporadic fight echoed through the streets as the enemy stragglers were finished off one by one. Amliath asked his father the question they all wanted to ask,

”Will Gondor come to our aid, or have they forsaken their brethren?”

King Arvedui looked into the distance as a gentle north wind pushed its way by, bringing the first snows of the winter. His mind fled back to many years before, when he had presented his claim to the throne of Gondor. It was at that moment a fair woman walked up to his side, taking his hand. Lady Firiel was dressed in rough, yet elegant attire ready for travel. She had a grim if hardy glow to her, and the commanders gave her a bow. Queen Firiel answered after looking at his wife.

”Hold to hope! They will come! They will come if only for the sake of the daughter of the late King Ondoher if not for me. But King Earnil is an honourable man, and I believe he is sending aid nonetheless.”

He took a deep breath as the light snow started to fall heavier…

” Rivendell can send no more aid, for they will likely be under atttack themselves. Lord Cirdan is too far away to help, but will come when Gondor arrives. It is our best hope to regroup with them when we reach his realm. Our hope lies with the armies of Gondor. Though I prayed they would arrive in the field even now in our darkest hour, alas, the enemy is upon us sooner than we expected, and there was no word of their arrival.”

He looked at Lady Firiel, and she ran her fingers down his cheek. He then said,

”My wife will oversee the preparations for our eventual evacuation.”

She turned to the commanders and said in a voice both firm and fair,

” Sadly, the Mettarë Winter Ball will have to be cancelled due to the arrival of unwelcome guests….”

There were some light laughter from the men. It was heartening to hear that even in this ill time, some cheer could be found. She went on,

”The next days and weeks will be hard. Yet this day will be harder. Already a plan has been put in place to clear this city, but I fear time is against us. What needs to be done proper would take two days at least. As my husband said, we have this day and no more. So even as the defence is held, make sure you see to your loved ones this day.”

She smiled and turned away to her husband, being careful not to let the tears forming in her eyes to be seen. The King gave a nod and everyone bowed before turning to go. King Arvedui took Lady Firiel in arm and they set to walk about the city as the snow fell. The sight of them lifted the hearts and spirits of the people and filled them with a grim determination. It would be their last walk together. The King would go to prepare for battle. And the Queen would go work on all that needed to be done to move the people far away to the west.

~ ~ ~

The cry of the Witch King could be heard in the distance, and he was not pleased.

”My commanders had failed me! Their assurance of a quick victory the first night has come to naught. If any good came from this, it is the defences have been weakened. Now, I gather together my retreating army as I strengthen the ranks with the Northern Legions. Keep the catapults working through the day to keep them under pressure, and this coming night, I will crush the Men of the West! Do not fail me in this!”

His new orc commanders quaked before him, but growled in a building rage. They would be ready!
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
ItarildeSirfalas
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on: February 16, 2015 11:04
Itarildë had chosen a spot on the wall where she had the largest range of perspective. Swarming hordes of orcs could be seen on the horizon, and Itarildë had begun to pinpoint the obvious leaders, breathing deeply to keep her focus as her father had taught her.

"Let your mind flow to the end of the arrow. Imagine a tether between yourself and your target, and let the arrow cut through the air towards it. Breathe in, and send your mind with the arrow-point into the target's heart."

"Itarildë! I do not know how you happen to be here, but your skills are a boon to us." Nestedir's voice came from behind her. She bowed respectively, then resumed her position, readying her bow.

”Archers! Ready! Take aim! Release! May your arrows fly straight and true!"

She pinpointed one orc, adorned with slightly more armour than the rest. Becoming the point of her arrow, she felt her mind flow into the tip, and then let it loose. The arrow flew and arced into the air, then landed square between the orc's eyes, releasing a scream so blood-curdling, Itarildë could feel it in her chest. She continued to find victims, hitting them with accuracy and speed not unlike the rumoured hand of Legolas of Mirkwood, son of Thranduil.

Arrows whipped past her head, and men fought behind her back, but her focus was never swayed. There was one moment where a filthy orc came upon her, but she had been prepared. Slashing her dagger through the air, Itarildë dispatched the orc, but not before suffering a small gash to her cheek. The sting only caused her to sink further into a battle-ready mind.

A troll lumbered into her vision. Itarildë played with the idea of aiming for it's eyes, but decided against it. She had not prepared for trolls. But she could certainly anger it. Grabbing a pile of arrows beside her, Itarildë showered the troll with stinging points haphazardly. She would continue her onslaught through the long night, not even stopping to rest some.

-----------------------------

The scream of the Witch King ripped through the air, and Itarildë shuddered. Her father had warned her of this terror. Elrohir and her grandfather had met this horror before, and their stories had chilled her to the bone.

Apparently his troops were retreating into the night, but some of their forces remained to pressure the men.

Itarildë had begun to become fatigued. Her fingers were covered in bruises and cuts from her continuous flurries of arrows. Her cheek burned from the horrid gash, and she was in need of water.

She descended from the wall, giving a regretful glances to her peers. She spotted a young man among them, his expression a mixture of fear and determination. She smiled as best she could, before heading to the streets, the words of the Tale of Fingolfin’s Challenge floating through the air.

Just as she placed her foot on the final of the steps of the wall onto the street, Itarildë felt a momentary white hot sting in her side. Glancing down, Itarildë was horrified to discover an orc arrow in her side. It was not a deep wound, but it was most definitely poisoned.

Wrenching the arrow from her skin before it could cause more damage, Itarildë felt the world rush and her skull clench hard. A metallic taste filled her mouth.

"Ada..." she whispered before falling into a warm, heady blackness.

-----------------------------

Whispering voices rushed through her mind. She couldn't make out any of the words, but images of her father and grandfather flashed before her. She felt someone touching her, but couldn't muster the energy to meet whoever it was by opening her eyes.

She once more slipped out of consciousness.

In the stables, Silmë whinnied painfully. He could sense something was wrong and he was petrified.

Image Image
"Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere." ~ Elrond ♥
Cenor
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on: February 17, 2015 10:17
Caladwen felt the arm, feeling the broken bone with gentle fingers. She reached in her bag and pulled out a strong smelling herb. She crushed in in a bowl and made a paste with some cold water.
“What is it called?” the man asked.
“Tudeine,” she answered taking a handful of the paste, “it’s common name is Cave Hack because it grows near the mouths of the mountain caves.”
She breathed on the paste and whispered in Elvish, “Mend what is broken, restore that which is shattered.”
She rubbed the herb on to his arm then took his wrist and jerked it hard pulling the bones together. He grimaced and muffled a cry but he bore the pain remarkably well. Caladwen bound the arm tightly and attached a sling to the bandaged arm. She popped his ribs back in place and spread the poultice on them.
“There,” the sighed, placing her herbs and bowl back in her bag, “it will mend with time, do not expose it to the enemies too much or they will use it to weaken your defense.”
“Thank you.”
She smiled and watched him move off. The healing had taken a toll on her energy and she leaned against a doorway. Suddenly a figure caught her gaze. It was Elrohir’s daughter! Caladwen rushed to the young Elf’s side and examined her. There was a gash on her cheek, but the pool of dark blood gathering under Itarilde worried the Healer. She could smell poison in the wound. She reached in her pack but to her dismay she had run out of Athelas. Ithilwen,” she thought, she is a better Healer than I, she will know what to do. Caladwen jumped up and raced to the wall to find her fellow Healer.
“Ithilwen!” she called, “Ithilwen I need your help!”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Barad leaped as the rocks crumbled beneath him and grabbed the still intact wall. He hung there for a moment but his bad shoulder gave way and he slid down into the rubble. His vision swerved and swayed as he tried to focus his eyes into the darkness of the enemy ranks. Slowly he could see clearly and he grasped his sword tighter at the sight that met his eyes. Orcs charged the shattered walls and crawled up it like vermin on a corpse. The first orc over the wall met Barad’s sword and they fought until the Ranger pushed him over the rocks. Men rushed down the stair from the wall to aid in the defense of the breach. Black blood stained the debris making it dangerous for Man and Orc on the slippery stones. Streams of red flowed down yet the men of Fornost still held the breach until night began to fade. The dark masses retreated as the dawn, though pale and wane, gave hope to the weary soldiers and they yelled triumphantly at the retreating army. However, they knew that was only the first of a series of attacks. The sun peeked over the horizon and courage, hope, and strength came with it.
“Dawn,” Barad whispered, “you may be the last we see in these dark days. May we be able to preserve your beauty.”
Storm clouds gathered above and in a few hours the bright light was blotted out. Barad shuddered, not from the cold, but in horror.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quintin stood straighter when the Elf maiden smiled at him. There was courage in the smile and hope, the latter was something that had abandoned him early in the night. He saw that she carried no sword but fought with bow and knife. One does not need a sword to fight for one’s country, or one’s life he thought. He would not use his sword again. He took a deep breath and watched the sun until it began to fade. Hope was not lost.
Image "Every good pirate has an alias" Felix glanced down, looking at contraption around the stump of his wrist. "Hook," he answered. "My name will be Hook."
Naurmaethor
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on: February 17, 2015 10:18
The night drove on. Every ladder pushed off the wall and every siege engine destroyed just before it reached the wall, was a reminder of how blurred the line they were trying to hold had become. The defense of the city was teetering on the brink.

The oversized quivers of Beleg and Belorn were nearly empty. Bregolman had not seen one arrow they had fired that had not resulted in a dead orc. Meaning they likely had killed fifty orcs each. The unfathomable number of enemies thrown at the men of Fornost forced each soldier to take as a big a bite out of the enemy forces as he or she could.

Bregolman had lost more men on his side of the wall and was now forced to engage up to three orcs at a time. He didn’t have the limbs to engage them all with his sword and had resorted to using his throwing knives to cripple or kill when he was overwhelmed. His sword now locked with a large orc but he could sense an imminent attack coming from his left. He forced the large orc he was locked with to the left which caused the smaller attacker’s blade to pierce through the foe he was directly engaged with. Bregolman reached around and with his left hand pulled the scrawny orc tighter up against its victim then rammed his sword through the chest of the larger orc. His sword was buried to the hilt in his enemy but angled downward it had now gone into the throat of the scrawny orc he had grabbed with his hand. Both fell dead at his feet.

He lifted his eyes to see a siege engine nearly at the wall. Looking at it caused his eyes to catch something just behind it. A fireball descended from the sky and was moments away from crashing into the wall. “Everybody, move!” He yelled, the words unconsciously escaped his mouth. He swiftly moved away from that section of wall as the flaming projectile went through the siege engine like a knife through butter and rocked the weakened wall. The top half of a twenty foot section of the wall had crumbled and orcs swarmed toward the opening.

As Bregolman was moving away from the impact, orcs clambered over a ladder and rushed towards him. Beleg and Belorn dispatched two with arrows. Bregolman dispatched another with an airborne knife. As the knife had left his hand he ducked the high horizontal slash of the fifth orc and spinning around brought his blade straight through the filthy yrch’s legs. His last stroke brought the sword down like a hammer on the grounded wretch’s neck. He turned and saw the first orcs coming up over the damaged wall.

“To the breach men!”

Even as he called to his men to fill the gap in the wall he saw Camedhil lead a group of swordsmen and spearmen from below into the breach. Orcs had made it through the gap but were now being met by the defenders lead by the Elven-hand. It was like to waves of equal force crashing into each other. As these two waves met, Richard and Bregolman were crashing into the sides of the orcs with a force of their own. Spears pierced, swords slashed, shields were cloven in two, armor rent, but the Dunedain held the line and sealed the gap.

As the defenders repelled the invasion into their city, dim light could be seen in the distance beyond the trees. They had survived the night. They would get a brief reprieve before the full might of Angmar was unleashed.

The commanders were gathered by King Arvedui himself in the city and there he laid out there plan and best hope. Through superior tactics they would hope to preserve their kingdom, especially the people of the kingdom, at the expense of their city. Bregolman would do and give whatever was required in service of Arthedain.


Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate: and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.
Eruwestiel_Evensong
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on: February 17, 2015 11:18
"Freeda is a lovely name. I am called Mathias."

"Thank you! I think Mathias is a very nice name too."

"Do you have any family on the walls?"

Freeda hesitated. Did she? Her father would surely be in the battle...if he was even alive. It had been more than a year since she last saw him. A shuddering sigh escaped before she could stop it.

"I really don't know."

The two walked on in silence until they reached the Royal House. A guard opened the door and let them in.

"I need to find my mother," Freeda said, turning to Mathias. "Would you like to hold my brother while I look?"

The small girl handed the baby to the boy and went in search of her mother. She found her lying on a pallet off to one side of the room. An Elf knelt at Meriam's side, spooning some kind of medicine into her mouth. Freeda stood quietly to the side until the Elf maiden looked up at her a moment later.

"Is this your mother?"

The girl nodded.

"Then perhaps you can do some good. Take her hand and speak to her."

Freeda did as instructed, but the words stuck in her throat. What good could she do? These Elves were the best healers. If they couldn't cure her mother, how could she?

I have to try.

Meriam tossed and turned on the rough pallet. Nightmares filled her mind. Foul things snarled and snapped at her from the darkness just beyond the circle of light at her feet.

Then a voice broke through and the light grew a little brighter.

"Mama? You have to get well. I'm sure papa is fighting on the walls. You have to do the same; fight against the darkness in your mind! Please...I couldn't bear to lose you."

~*~*~*~

Nestedir walked up and down the wall during that long night, offering encouragement and using his blade whenever necessary. His shield took several arrows that were meant for the reloading archers.

A screech filled with hatred rent the air. The sound brought back a rush of terrifying memories.
The blood stained face of his dying mother. His father's form, once powerful and proud, crushed beneath the hooves of that accursed black horse. More vivid than either of these was the burning pain in his thigh, as if the Witch King's blade was again rending his flesh. Nestedir felt a strong urge to rub at the spot, but kept himself from doing so. "I will not show weakness."

A voice grating voice began to whisper in his mind.
"Maybe you do not show your weakness on the outside, but I know it is there. You will fall at my hand, just as your father before you. Evil will win. The kingdoms of men will fall, and ever Elf will be destroyed from off the face of the earth."

Nestedir felt the strength sucked right out of him.
The changed words of the men floated up to him, but these were not encouraging.

“...Then Morgoth came. For the last time
in those great wars he dared to climb
from subterranean throne profound,
the rumour of his feet a sound...
...with shadow like a thundercloud;
and o'er the gleaming king it bowed,
as huge aloft like mace he hurled
that hammer of the underworld,
Grond. Clanging to ground it tumbled
down like a thunder-bolt, and crumbled
the rocks beneath it; smoke up-started,
a pit yawned, and a fire darted..."


He leaned on the wall for support and bowed his head. "This will be my end."

Then the next words of the poem reached his ears:

"..Fingolfin like a shooting light
beneath a cloud, a stab of white,
sprang then aside, and Ringil drew
like ice that gleameth cold and blue...
...With seven wounds it rent his foe,
and seven mighty cries of woe
rang in the mountains, and the earth quook,
and Angband's trembling armies shook..."


Ithilwen's voice, beautiful and strong, joined in from somewhere down the line. Nestedir lifted his head and added his voice to the others.

"...Thrice was Fingolfin with great blows
to his knees beaten, thrice he rose
still leaping up beneath the cloud
aloft to hold star-shining, proud,
his stricken shield, his sundered helm,
that dark nor might could overwhelm
till all the earth was burst and rent
in pits about him. He was spent...
...a foot like rooted hills was set,
and he was crushed - not conquered yet;
one last despairing stroke he gave:
the mighty foot pale Ringil clave...”


Nestedir drove his gleaming sword into an orc's heart. He would follow the steps of his ancestor, though it meant his death.

~*~*~*~

Ithilwen kept up the barrage of arrows until her supply was spent, at which point she devoted her energy to tending the wounded on the walls. Only a few orcs made it to the top of the wall, and these were soon dispatched by the men wielding swords.

“Ithilwen I need your help!”

Caladwen rushed up, fear clearly written on her face. She led the way down the wall to where someone lay on the ground. Ithilwen could see the pool of blood long before she could make out who the fallen person was.

No. Not Itarildë!

"I am all out of Athelas. I hoped you would be able to do something for her." Caladwen sounded on the verge of tears.

"I have some." But I fear even that wonderful plant may not be enough to stop this orc poison.

Panic began to worm its way into her heart, but she took a deep breath to quiet her pounding heart and evaluated the situation. The arrow wound was bad, but not life-threatening in and of itself. The poison, one the other hand, was obviously fast acting. Ithilwen checked Itarildë's pulse. Both it and her breathing had slowed down dramatically. "Bring me some boiling water. We need to act quickly."

~*~*~*~

Richard fought all through that dreadful night, growing weaker even as he encouraged his men to stay strong. At one point when he found himself fighting next to Barad he said in a lighthearted tone, "Just like old times! Except we've traded wooden swords for real ones," he brought his sword down with a crack. "And we're fighting orcs instead of each other."

Just then another fireball came blazing through the sky and smashed into the already weakened wall. Richard was knocked backward by the impact, but saw his brother go down with the wall. "Barad!" his voice sounded strange in his ears. He crawled to the edge and peered into the darkness below. A ringing, as of steel on steel, met his ears followed by the strangled cry of an orc. What a relief!

A relief that his brother was alive maybe, but now the wall was breached. He leapt up and cried to his men, "Fill the gap! We must not allow the filthy creatures to gain entrance!" Camedhil and his men were already taking the brunt of the force of orcs that had flooded into the breach, and he and Bregolman led groups in from the sides. Richard fought with every ounce of strength left in him, but he feared it wouldn't be enough.

~*~*~*~

The rising of the sun brought new hope to the battle weary. They had survived the long night. But the relief was tainted by sorrow as men found friends numbered among the dead. Richard did a headcount of his men. Their losses had not been many, but each one was felt keenly by those remaining. He shook his head sadly, unashamed of the tear trailing down his cheek. These men were the only family he had known for many years of his life. And now many of them were dead.

~*~*~*~

Nestedir scanned the horizon with narrowed eyes. The enemy seemed almost casual in their attack on the city since daylight. The wall was breached; they could have easily flooded in and overwhelmed the small force within its walls long ago.

They must have something bigger planned.

He descended the wall and went to the square where the king and his sons were gathered with the remaining commanders.

"...Aside from the remnants of the three companies that fought so bravely in the North Downs, we have our reserves and my guardsmen. This will not be enough to defend this city over a winter. We may hold for a time, but I feel this time the enemy will not go easily. So I have to give the hard order and say we have everyone prepare to leave the city. I know there is many sick and wounded, and some will have to be assisted to be able to get out. I also know it would take a couple days to have everyone ready, and we will only be able to move once the siege is broken. I fear we may not have that much time."

King Arvedui went on to describe the plan for escape of the city. Under the current conditions, it seemed the best possible solution. If the enemy didn't catch on.

The men had hope that Gondor would come to their aid. Nestedir knew they would come if they could, but who knew how long that could take?

Now the Queen was speaking.
”The next days and weeks will be hard. Yet this day will be harder. Already a plan has been put in place to clear this city, but I fear time is against us. What needs to be done proper would take two days at least. As my husband said, we have this day and no more. So even as the defence is held, make sure you see to your loved ones this day."

Richard listened intently to all the plans and nodded his agreement. When the King and Queen had left and the other commanders had gone back to their posts, he turned to Marcadil. "You should go see your wife. I can cover for you." He looked down at his friend's bandaged arm and abdomen. "You shouldn't even be out here. You look terrible." He pulled a wry grin as he remembered Marcadil's previous comment on his own appearance. Undoubtedly he looked even worse now. Yes, it was probably better for his family not to see him like this.
"And I dreamed of seas and ships, and of waves crashing on the shore in the twilight of the world..." ~Song, member of the Realm of Ulmo
Arveleg
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on: February 20, 2015 06:20
In the North Downs…. Dukhalas had made it to a place he remembered from days he spent there before the troubles came. A fond memory it was that day, but soon afterward, his world darkened. He rested for a time until he heard someone coming. He readied himself.

Stepping out suddenly in front of the approaching man, Dukhalas had his short sword to his neck. The man was startled, and his movement caused a cut where a little blood started to ooze from.

”Garn Dukhalas!”

Commander Gukkrus stepped back and rubbed his sleeve on his neck, then looking at the slight stain of fresh blood. He then said,

”You’re late! Where have you been? Where is Danimal?”

“About that…”


Dukhalas said as he looked back in the direction from where he came.

”You and I know that Danimal wasn’t a tracker. You should have never attached him to us, and surely never sent him to watch the track from Rivendell. At least he would have served a purpose had he still been with the grunts that are marching on the northwest wall out of the edge of the hills.”

‘Yes, served a purpose as a target for the Dunedain. So where is he?”


Gukkrus asked. Dukhalas paused before saying,

” A pretty elf shieldmaiden riding alone out of Rivendell had smitten him, and in so doing, he met his end.”

“Did you finish her?”


Gukkrus asked. Dukhalas replied,

”No, I didn’t find Danimal until we were in sight of, and possibly in sight from, Fornost. I took a shot, but the range and the windage was too much to be effective. All my arrow did was let them know I was near.”

Commander Gukkrus thought a moment and said,

“Right. Well…. This plan of yours…. How many men will you require?”

“As many as the number of usable Dunedain uniforms that could be salvaged from their dead laying around the North Downs.”


Dukhalas said, looking toward the way he would take. Gukkrus smirked and said,

“You will have to do with ten…nine counting you.”

“I see…”


Dukhalas said, thinking. After a moment he nodded and said,

”That will be enough provided I can pick my men.”

Gukkrus grunted and nodded as he walked away.

Dukhalas had already eight men he wanted in mind. The other two looked most like the Dunedain, and it was likely they, like the rest of his men, had a strain of Dunedain blood from the early years of the Third Age. He gathered them together and they fitted out in the salvaged uniforms. Dukhalas would go in his own attire. The orcs were pretty ruthless in their slaughter, and many of the uniforms were seriously damaged and blood-stained. They removed any insignia that were left, and made themselves look quite like they had been through a long fight.

As darkness fell, they were ready. But Commander Gukkrus held them, and all his Rhuadurian Hillman infantry from the fight. Instead, they watched from the highlands as the battle commenced and raged. Gukkrus said to Dukhalas and his 2nd in command,

”We’ll see how this plays out. We’ll let the brainless orcs and trolls spend themselves, and if it appears they have broken the defence, we’ll move in on this rugged side.”

“Good plan sir.”


Dukhalas said. He went on,

”I’ll get in position, and either way, will go in just before dawn.”

He took leave of his commander and they were quickly on their way under the cover of darkness of the trees.

The undergrowth was thick around the small creek that led toward the high wall of Fornost. They had to step carefully as they went single file, for the ground was wet and it was near freezing. Dukhalas found the place where the creek had a side diversion that enters the city. He started down through the creek, stepping lightly. He had to pause and the men lay low when a soldier looked about from the wall. When they started to move again, the man walking rearguard paused when something hit his back. He peered back into the darkness, but could see nothing. He turned to catch up with the men when a hand came over his mouth and a knife slid across his neck. He silently slumped to the ground. The killer stood and looked around, looking grim. His aged face was bloodied and scarred, he stepped with a noticable limp, and he had a badly wounded eye. He removed his insignia from his uniform and tucked them in his vest before he went to catch up with the rest of the men. He wasn’t sure what plans they had, but he guessed they were trying to get into the city. For now, he would appear to be one of their party, hoping he wouldn’t be recognised by any of them.

Dukhalas came to the wall and looked at the opening. The could make it.. just. He tapped a couple of the men who was smaller and sent them in. The rust barrier gate that was part of the way down easily crumbled when they pressed it, and the lead man came to the other side. The glow of fires burning lit the city in an eerie light. The stream fell over some rocks and flowed a short ways to where the water flowed into a holding pool. A guard stood by the pool. he didn't look like he was a regular soldier. The two stood and one moved over behind him. He fell without a sound when the thrown knife hit him in the neck. He then stood there. The 2nd man signaled back to have everyone come.

It was beginning to snow lightly when the last man came through. He stood there and watched the others as they moved off into the city. He followed at a distance, looking like he was providing rearguard when they looked back. He kept trying to let them distance him, but one of the men kept holding up and waiting for him. This time he was waiting for him to catch up.

"Whats the matter with your leg Huk... who are you?"

"The one who kills you."


He said as he buried his knife into his heart. His last gasp could not be heard, for a fireball had come crashing down in the city, spreading fires as it made a crackling sound. The rest of the men were too far away to hear him. He fell to the ground with a thud, and the man turned to go down an alley. But two young soldiers rushed him from the corner and demanded,

"Who are you?"

"That is what he asked me."


The young soldier was scared, but used good skill to get his sword to the man's neck.

"Again I ask! Who are you?"

The man was silent. He thought hard as he remembered who he was. He squinted his eye and looked at the young soldier and said,

"I am Malassuil, of the 2nd Company."

He reached into his vest and held out his rank and insignia.
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
Arveleg
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on: February 20, 2015 07:49
Marcadil was amazed at the abilities of the fair elf woman who came to him. His arm felt in place at least. Still hurt though, and the ribs too, but they were in place. The poultice and the cave hack... and those fair words from her mouth. It seemed to him that her face shimmered as if lit by moonlight as she spoke. The pain relented immediately with them. His head was dizzy when she said something to him... something about taking care of himself and beware of the enemy or something. He couldn't really place the words, so all he said to her was words of thanks and he started to walk away. With each step, his head cleared. He was several steps away when he paused and turned to look back to the lady who had healed him. She was leaning against a doorway, breathing heavy. What she had done for him really took her strength. And all he could offer was a simple thank you? No, he had to go back. He didn't even find out her name!

He started back toward her when she looked over toward the wall. He too looked the same way and he paused. The fair elf that joined them on the wall... Itarildë, Elrohir's daughter, fell at the bottom of the stair and was not moving. The healer ran to her and he too turned as well to go to her. Before he got there, the healer looked at her, cringed, and ran off to find one named Ithilwen. She had appeared fatigued from having tended to my wounds. Maybe if she had not, she would of had strength to heal her! She cannot die! Not here! Not now! Not like this!

Marcadil got to Itarildë and squatted down next to her. He saw the arrow that lay next to her and picked it up. Smelling the head as Itarildë's blood dripped from the tip,he cringed, for he knew of this evil poison. The arrow head was blunt, and it had chipped. A shard may still be in her! He gently rolled her to her side to look at the wound. Though not a healer, he was fairly good at battlefield triage. He slid his little finger into her wound and felt around. Her blood spilled down her side, but it pushed the shard and some of the poison out. He then took the sling off his arm and pressed it over her wound as he eased her back. He brushed her hair from her face and could see that she had lost that aura that she had when she entered the city and came up on the wall. He may have bought her more time, but he looked around in hopes the healer elf returned with who she sought. They came running and so Marcadil stepped back to give them room as he listened to them talk...

"I am all out of Athelas. I hoped you would be able to do something for her."

"I have some." But I fear even that wonderful plant may not be enough to stop this orc poison."


Marcadil could see on their faces what they feared. He knew the smell of that orc poison. Usually it was a death sentence when it hit a man. How did it affect the firstborn? The one named Ithilwen looked grave as she took a deep breath, but she soon started to work

"Bring me some boiling water. We need to act quickly."

Marcadil said,

"There is no boiling water here, and water carried here will not be at boil. But if we can get some that is still hot, and you need it hotter, I can get it back to boil on that fire if need be."

He turned and yelled at two men who were moving the wounded...

"You, come here! Hurry!"

They turned and hurried over. Marcadil told them,

"This is Itarildë, daughter of Elrohir of the line of Elrond! She is a renowned archer who slew many a foe from the walls of our city! These healers need a pot boiling water. You get some here as fast as you can!"

They ran off, heading for the old tea shop. They usually had boiling water. Indeed the iron pot was still boiling, though nobody was there. They came back with two small pots of steaming water.

It appeared to be at an acceptable temperature even though the cold air worked against it.

Marcadil stopped the men from leaving, saying,

"If the healers need Itarildë moved to the Palace healing house, you do it!"

He then stood and let them work.

Some yells went up as several stones flew in, two hitting the wall and one clearing the wall and crashing into the city. Marcadil staggered before he looked back. The healers were hard at work, and he knew there was nothing more he could do. He turned and started walking the street as he went to where Dauwna lived. When he got there, his heart felt like a rock falling, for the place had been hit by an enemy stone. He climbed through the rubble and got inside, but there was no sign of her, or anyone. This was a slight relief, for he guessed she went to the palace, or to the infirmary. She had a heart for it, and would do all she could for the wounded and sick.

He started for the healing houses when he ran into Richard.who was saying the King had summoned his commanders.

The words of the King were grim, but inspiring none the less. It was a dark hour for Arthedain, but they would live to fight another day when aid from Gondor arrived.

Richard said,

"You should go see your wife. I can cover for you. You shouldn't even be out here. You look terrible."

Marcadil chuckled a bit, then cringed. it hurt to laugh, but moments of laughter was was too few in coming of late. he then looked somber and said,

"I have gone to the house, but it was destroyed. Dauwna wasn't there, but I know now where she is. What of your wife? Do you not wish to see her? But I will take you up on this offer. I will go to the healing house and see if the is working there. That is where I found her before. I should get checked out anyway. The elven healer did wonders, but I'll use it as an excuse."

They parted ways, just as another fireball came crashing into the city. The enemy was not letting up their attack with those. The damage from the fireballs were minimal, but they had a psychological effect. The heavy stones they kept lobbing at the walls were doing more damage. Then the horns blew. the sentinel yelled out,

"Enemy on the move! They may be attacking!"

[Edited on 02/23/2015 by Arveleg]
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
ItarildeSirfalas
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on: February 22, 2015 06:09
Itarildë drifted between feeling scorching hot and blistering cold, and despite all efforts could not leave the warm and heady darkness that enveloped her.

To others, Itarildë seemed to be in perpetual sleep or near death, and was prone to fits of shakes and night sweats. But she did not wake. Those who cared for her feared the worst, and all were loathe to send word to Rivendell. Although the elf was young and strong, the orc poison was formidable enough to hold her captive.

-----------------------------

Elrohir was glad once more to see the sight of Rivendell in his eyes. It felt like an age since he'd last been home, and he was looking forward to some well-earned rest. It was as quiet and peaceful as it had always been, but something seemed amiss, but he could not think what.

-----------------------------

"My Lord Elrond, your son, Elrohir, has returned." A voice from the door informed him.

Elrond closed the still-unread book and sighed deeply, his head heavy. Time had moved slowly since Itarildë had left Imladris, and he'd felt its passing in every fibre of his body.

"I shall go to him now. I must not put this off."

Elrond made his way to the small gathering of elves who had joined to receive his son, Elrohir. He looked happy, and glad to be home. Elrond's heart became painful within his chest. It was to be his fault when Elrohir's mood shattered at news of his daughter.

"Ada!" Elrohir smiled and embraced his father. "It is good to see you again."

They walked towards Elrond's reading room, and sat across from one another in amiable silence. Elrond could not find any words, but his expression betrayed him. Elrohir could sense something troubled his father.

"I have not seen Itarildë. Is she hiding in the woods reading again?" He spoke, trying to lighten the mood. It only made things worse.

"She is not here, Elrohir."

"What do you mean? I can see that, father, I was asking if you knew of her whereabouts."

"No, I mean she is not here in Rivendell, Elrohir. She is gone." Elrond averted his gaze. It hurt too much.

"What? But then where is she? In Lothlórien?" Elrohir's heart had frozen. As far as he had been aware, Itarildë never left Imladris, except when escorted by Elrond himself.

"I'm afraid not, ionneg. Goheno nin..." The Elvish words 'forgive me' hung in the air, choking any other words from emerging. Elrohir saw the change in Elrond's expression and fear entered his mind.

"Man agoreg?" Elrohir spat at his father, forgetting himself for worry. "What did you do?"

"I could not keep her here forever!" Elrond turned to his son, his eyes full of sadness and pain. "She would not have listened to me either way!"

Elrohir begun to pace. He suddenly felt betrayed, and guilty. Was it because of his abscence that Itarildë had left? Had she gone looking for him?

"Where did she go, Ada?" He almost whispered, fearing what his father would say next.

Elrond lifted his gaze and looked out of the window. One solitary tear traced a shimmering scar down his cheek.

"Fornost."

-----------------------------

Elrohir had ridden like death was breathing down his neck to the North. The argument that had been unspoken between himself and Elrond plagued his mind, but with great effort Elrohir held it at bay. All that mattered to him now was reaching Fornost.

By night he'd stealthily passed enemies, some of which he'd had to fight through, others he'd passed by unseen. But finally he'd arrived at Fornost. He was carrying some injuries, but he was ignoring them, whether out of choice or not.

The guards at the gate had recognised the elf, and allowed him entrance. He could hear the battle ensuing to the other side of the settlement, but he could not concern himself with aiding them now. He needed to find his daughter.

Horns were blowing, following the crash-landing of an immense fireball. Elrohir could see a young man before him.

"You there! I need your help!"

[Edited on 02/23/2015 by ItarildeSirfalas]
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"Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere." ~ Elrond ♥
Cenor
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on: February 22, 2015 07:57
Mathias leaned against the wall holding the baby awkwardly. He watched Freeda disappear and started to wonder what he would do if the small boy decided he needed to eat. Sounds from the wall made him shiver Could a cripple make it out of the city if the forces of Angmar made it in?
~~~~~~~~~~~
Caladwen knelt by Itarildë tears brimming in her eyes. She had not known the Elf Princess very well but her loyalty to Elrond and his sons flooded her emotions. She looked at Ithilwen as she worked to heal the deadly wounded princess. But the work was in vain, without one of Rivendell's royal healers there was only one way to heal Itarildë.
"Ithilwen," she whispered, "there is only one way for her to survive. I will gladly give my life for the Half-Elven's daughter."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Barad looked wearily at the new masses of troops swarming across plains towards the city. Fireballs hissed through the air narrowly missing the defenders as they avoided the deadly flames.
"No rest for the weary." he whispered.
He cleaned his sword on his begrimed tunic and took a deep breath. The breach was focused upon by Angmar's forces and the men of Fornost had a difficult time guarding it.
"Where are the Commanders?" one of the soldiers grunted.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quintin and the other archers focused the last of the quivers full of arrows on the Uruks racing up to attack the gates. Men underneath reinforced the weakened timbers but the new wood could do nothing against the black magic of the Witch King. It was moments before the real attack began that the Elven Lord, Elrohir Halfelven galloped into the failing fortress. The gates slammed shut just before the attackers could break through. New beams where swung across and Men shut their ears to dreaded screeches.
"You there! I need your help!"
Quintin turned around surprised and bowed hastily as he recognized the Elven Lord.
"What do you require of me my'lord?" he asked.
Image "Every good pirate has an alias" Felix glanced down, looking at contraption around the stump of his wrist. "Hook," he answered. "My name will be Hook."
ItarildeSirfalas
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on: February 23, 2015 06:23
"What do you require, my Lord?" asked the young man, lowering into a bow before him. Elrohir in response dipped his head, despite it throbbing painfully for some reason or another.

"A young Elven maiden with beads in her hair from Rivendell rode to Fornost a few days past upon a silver-maned horse named Silmë. Do you know of her whereabouts? And where are your Commanders? Fornost is in more danger than I anticipated..." Elrohir responded.

Another fireball ricocheted off a building not far off, but Elrohir barely flinched. He was too on edge now to react to much around him. Something wet crawled down his temple sending a minute shiver down his spine.

The young man lowered his bow, and looked uncomfortable all of a sudden.

------------------------

Itarildë could see something through the haze of her mind, but the figure wavered before her, coming in and out of focus.

"Please... don't leave. I'm so far gone..." she mumbled weakly to the nothingness.

The whispering voices outside her mind were giving her a headache... well, more of a headache than she already suffered. Then one voice became clear to her through the pressured blackness.

"...there is only one way for her to survive. I will gladly give my life for the Half-Elven's daughter."

"No! Don't sacrifice yourself for my sake... I'm so far gone now, just stay with me..." But the voices were not listening. Or they just couldn't hear her anymore.

Another wave of sickness washed over her, and she fell prey to another seizure of shakes and nightmares.
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"Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere." ~ Elrond ♥
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on: February 23, 2015 08:49
The commanders had just been given the battle plans by the King himself. Now, they had to begin executing it, for they did not know how much time they had before the attack would begin anew. Since the city’s defense was now a combination of men from all over the kingdom and the commanders knew their men best, it was up to them to determine where their men would be divided.

Bregolman’s walk back to the gate of the city was one of sober thought, as was the rest of the commanders’ walks. As he approached his men he could see some were rearming, some were ladling water from a pot that had been left by the healers during the reprieve. The brothers, Beleg and Belorn, were finishing scavenging arrows from the corpses of enemies and had about half a quiver each. Camedhil was leaned against the wall sharpening his longsword with a whetstone.

“The King has a plan.” He had the men’s attention. “This plan involves evacuating Fornost-“ He was cut off by young Belorn, “He is giving up the city?” his older brother chimed in, “He means for us to flee like cowards?” The murmur and chatter grew louder amid the cries of “There is no hope!”

“Let me finish!” Complete silence came over the men. “It is for hope that we evacuate the city. For the hope that while this city may be destroyed, the ones who give it life, the people, will survive. Our traditions, our way of life are not bound to wood and stone. When our forefathers fled the judgement of Numenor they kept hope alive for our way of life here. And we will do the same for our children and their children. But, the plan is not simply to flee like madmen into the wild. Prince Aranarth will lead a caravan west and will need men to escort the women and children. But, they will be run down and killed if the entire city is abandoned. We need enough men to stay and give a defense such that the main forces of Angmar will keep their focus on the city and even, when the defense can no longer hold, to retreat into the city so that the enemy will be distracted with the spoil of the city and not pay heed to its lack of people. If possible the defenders will escape through the southeast exit of the city and catch up to the caravan.”

“And what of the King?” asked one of the men.

“The King, hoping to draw the pursuit of the Witch-king, will take his Royal Guard on horseback and any infantry that can be spared through the main-gate at nightfall in feigned attack and then withdraw to the North Downs to hold out there as long as possible while the caravan escapes.”

The men swallowed hard. The look in their eyes was that of defeat. They must hold out here, flee there, they would be a kingdom in exile. But, it was their only option and every one of them knew it. They must become a humble and wandering people for the future of the Dunedain.

Now came the hard part. Bregolman's men must be divided, separated from one another. He divided them three ways. Camedhil and Beleg would be among the city’s defenders. Belorn would be with the defenders of the caravan. Bregolman could see the younger brother did not want to be separated from the older but he could not see the city taken by the enemy. A good archer would be of use to Aranarth and the caravan.

Bregolman had yet to place himself. He did not want to leave the men that would be staying in the city, but he longed for revenge. The Witch-king would pursue the King, he had no doubt of that, and that meant the possibility of a chance for Bregolman to confront his father’s abductor. He would head back into the city to report to the King’s guard how he had divided his men.

As he made his way down the street he heard a commotion near the edge of the city, someone was shouting. Bregolman quickened his pace. The words, [/i]“Who are you!”[/i] echoed around the corner down a side street. He rounded the corner at a run to see a young soldier with his blade at the neck of a bruised and beaten man in tattered Dunedain garb. He wore no insignia, nor sign of rank, instead he held them in his hand. They were the rank and insignia of Malassuil, Commander of 2nd Company.

“2nd Company returned over a day ago! For all I know you picked up the uniform, rank, and insignia off a fallen soldier and are an infiltrator of the enemy sneaking in the back like a snake.”

As Bregolman neared the men he was able to see clearly that this was no imposter, this was his Commander returned from the dead.

“I can identify this man!” Bregolman drew level with the soldier and Malassuil. “This man has been serving Arnor since before you were born, since before I was born. This is my commanding officer. He stayed behind to secure our escape. We had no hope for his survival.” The soldier lowered his sword from Malassuil’s neck. “I am sorry, I did not know.”

Malassuil’s eyes were studying Bregolman. He was battered and bruised, stained with the blood of his enemies, friends, and his own. From his appearance, Malassuil could gather that the defense of the city was not going well. One thing he did notice was the rank Bregolman wore, he was the company Sergeant. He smiled as he extended his arm, “I always knew you would be a leader of men one day, mellon. Mae govannen. Your father would be proud.”

Bregolman smiled as he gripped Malassuil's arm, but he had tears in his eyes, “We…we left you. Goheno nin!”

Malassuil shook his head, “Ú-moe edaved.” They embraced but then Malassuil looked gravely at Bregolman.

“I was not the only one to enter the city this way. The enemy has infiltrated the city, Bregolman.” Bregolman’s eyes widened.

***********************************************

Halbarad followed Dukhalas down the lonely, snow-touched streets of Fornost. He did not know the city like his commander did. Their pace was quick but they still were endeavoring to blend in with the other city’s defenders until they reached their targets. Now they came to the corner of a street and Dukhalas raised his hand signifying they halt. He turned around and a look of confusion came across his face.

“Where are the others?” Halbarad now turned around, they were missing several men. “They were behind me when we entered the city. I don’t know what happened to them.”

Dukhalas spat, “Whatever has befallen them is most likely due to their own stupidity. But we must be all the more quick, the enemy might be onto us. Halbarad take three men down this side street. It will lead you to where the Royal Cavalry is stationed in the city. The King will most likely be there. If he is, you know what to do. If not do as much damage to his most skilled fighters as you can.”

Halbarad nodded and signaled to three of the remaining men to follow him. They turned down the side street with grim smiles on their faces and headed towards the Royal Guard.

OOC: "Goheno nin" means "Forgive me" in Sindarin and Malassuil's reply, "U-moe edaved" is "There is nothing to forgive".
Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate: and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun.
Arveleg
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on: February 23, 2015 09:16
"Enemy on the move! They may be attacking!"

Macardil heard it as if in a dream. The dream became real with an exploding fireball hitting too near. He would not be able to find Dauwna now. All he could do is hope she is safe!

Instinct took over and he ran toward the gate and the broken walls. They were attacking in daylight! The grey clouds hung low and the snow flurries had made visibility hard, and the enemy had managed to move forward quietly. They were closer than he expected. Bregolman had given the men hard news just a little while earlier, and Macardil had hoped to talk to him. Plans were made as to where each man would go. Marcadil would likely go with the caravan and with his wife. but these plans, partially made, were coming to an abrupt halt with the yell of the orcs. The battle was at hand.

Marcadil yelled and pointed and stopped men from retreating from the chasm in the wall, and the orcs started coming over like a pack of mad ants. The archers had re-supplied themselves in the lull, and were taking a toll of them, but too many were getting over!


"Get those wounded out of there!"

He could see that the elves were still trying to work their healing power on Lady Itarildë, but they would not have time! He ran over to them, but fell forward when a fireball and a stone hit the gates exploding it and the reinforced beams into pieces. Marcadil stood back up and said,

"We have to go now! Get Lady Itarildë back! The King's son Amliath is forming a line behind us! We must get behind them"

The two men he had left with the healers had run to the breach to fight, and they now lay dead. It was clear the flood of orcs would too soon become unstoppable. The walls were being hit hard, and it seemed the ground shook with every stone that hit. Marcadil noticed that Lord Elrohir had come, and was surely looking for his daughter. A young soldier named Quintin, a veteran of the North Downs from the 1st, had been talking to him when the gates broke. They were now fighting as they tried to withdraw with the survivors. Archers atop the walls stood at their broken edges and fired mercilessly into the screaming orcs, but the gate courtyard was being lost. An orc's knife flew toward them and though it went between the three, it missed them all. Marcadil looked back and said to the two elven healers,

"Come! You will have to work your healing get behind Amliath's men!"

Marcadil lifted Lady Itarildë up over his shoulder and ran toward the line. The healers were right there with him. They made it through their line and the archers immediately let forth a volley of arrows. They felled so many orcs that were battling the men who were guarding the breach and gate, that it allowed most of them to retreat toward the line. Elrohir and Quintin were the last to retreat as they put up a spirited rearguard fight. They made it back behind the line and except for the archers on the ends of the broken wall, the enemy was pushing into the city. Marcadil ran on until he was behind the ranks of men before he lay Itarildë down gently. She was delirious and saying something he couldn't quite hear. The healers knelt down beside her once again, and Marcadil stood and gave a slight bow as Elrohir approached.

"M'Lord... she fought well, and she fights this now. These healers have tended to her since she fell.

Elrohir nodded but his eyes were on Itarildë. He stepped over and knelt beside her. Marcadil watched for a moment, then drew his sword and too a place in the line. The orcs inside the walls were forming up to make an assault on the line...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Rumour was already spreading that Malassuil had returned from the dead. This, even if not true, gave the men facing the orcs new hope! The orcs yelled and many fell to arrow, the rest were met with a blade as they crashed into the line. The sound of steel echoed about the gate courtyard as they men stood firm. Amliach had pulled some men to form a shield wall before Elrohir and the elves who worked to heal Itarildë. The wall shoulders seemed to be holding as well, as long as they weren't hit by the large stones.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gukkhus looked at his mercenaries and nodded,

"Ok men, lets do what we're paid to do"

They quietly and with precision moved through the rugged brush toward the lightly defended north wall. Two arrows fired in unison and the sentries both fell over the wall, hitting the ground near them with a thud. A small man they called Spider took hand holds on te rough rock and started his way up with ropes. He somehow managed to gt atop the rampart without being noticed. Maybe the battle out in front of the gates had the men worried. Three ropes went over, and as soon as they hit the ground they were secured by a man, and others went up quickly. The The first men over moved down that wall in both directions. By the time the men noticed they were enemy mercenaries, they were dead. Securing a section of the wall, Gukkhus knelt by a stair and said,

"That was too easy. Lets move!"

The Hillmen Mercenaries were inside the city.

[Edited on 02/23/2015 by Arveleg]
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
Eruwestiel_Evensong
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on: February 23, 2015 11:14
"There is no boiling water here, and water carried here will not be at boil. But if we can get some that is still hot, and you need it hotter, I can get it back to boil on that fire if need be."

Ithilwen looked up at the man and nodded her thanks. The commander sent two men for the water and they soon returned, breathing heavily. Marcadil stopped the men from leaving after they had delivered the water, saying,

"If the healers need Itarildë moved to the Palace healing house, you do it."

Ithilwen took the steaming pots and threw in some dried Athelas. While not as potent as fresh would be, it still released a calming aroma. She let it steep for a few moments before using a little to bathe Itarildë's wounds. Her voice shook as she chanted words over the stricken maiden and bound the wound. But it seemed nothing could touch the poison working into her blood.

"Ithilwen," Caladwen whispered, "there is only one way for her to survive. I will gladly give my life for the Half-Elven's daughter."

Ithilwen looked up at her friend sharply.
"No! I should have been there to protect her. I should have done something to keep her out of the battle. This is my fault."

Even as she said the words she had been thinking for some time, Ithilwen knew they weren't true. There was nothing she could have done to prevent this. But whether or not she could or should have done something differently was beside the point. The fact still remained that Itarildë was dying.

Her voice softened. "Caladwen, you are a true friend...the bravest and best. But if a life must be given it should be my own. My skill is beyond yours, so there is a chance I could survive the extraction of the poison."

She squeezed Caladwen's hand. "If this doesn't go well...please give my love to my family."

Ithilwen bit her lip and pricked her thumb with a knife. When the blood began to seep out she carefully removed Itarildë's bandage and placed her cut finger on the wound. She sang softly,

"Ú i vethed nâ i onnad.
Si boe ú-dhanna.
Ae ú-esteli, esteliach nad."


Her arm grew numb as the poison entered her blood, but she didn't notice...her mind was far away.

She saw her father and mother sitting on a bench together. Her mother laughed over something her husband whispered in her ear and the joyous sound mixed with the trickling of the stream at their feet. The image changed to her sister. She sat under a tree playing her harp and singing. After a moment she looked up, vivid green eyes smiling. "Ithilwen, be strong. Do not let the darkness quench your light. Gerich veleth nín."

"Estelio han, estelio han, estelio,
estelio han, estelio veleth.
Esteliach nad, estelio han."



~*~*~*~

Richard leaned against a wall as Marcadil replied to his suggestion to go see his wife.

"I have gone to the house, but it was destroyed. Dauwna wasn't there, but I know now where she is. What of your wife? Do you not wish to see her? But I will take you up on this offer. I will go to the healing house and see if the is working there. That is where I found her before. I should get checked out anyway. The elven healer did wonders, but I'll use it as an excuse."

"I do want to see my wife, but that can wait until someone can temporarily relieve me of my post. Enjoy yourself," Richard said, taking Marcadil's good arm.

"Enemy on the move! They may be attacking!" The cry sounded from the wall.

"Never mind, I guess seeing our families will have to wait."

~*~*~*~

Ithilwen kept singing, though now her voice was barely audible. Through a blur she saw the fireballs crashing into the city and the battle raging on at the breach...but now it all seemed very small and insignificant.

A fireball crashed into the gate, reducing it to flaming splinters.

"We have to go now! Get Lady Itarildë back! The King's son Amliath is forming a line behind us! We must get behind them"

The voice seemed to come from a long distance away as Ithilwen's sluggish mind tried to comprehend the words. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion - the men's swords...the archers arrows...the knife that streaked by just inches from her shoulder.

"Come! You will have to work your healing get behind Amliath's men!"

The commander lifted Itarildë and ran toward the line of men. Somehow Ithilwen found her feet and followed him, Caladwen at her side. Marcadil laid Itarildë down and Ithilwen sank down beside her.

"Caladwen...please tell me I did her some good. I feel like I'm buried beneath a ton of bricks. I can't breathe...The light is going out..."

Her eyes dropped down to the hand she had used in the attempt to extract the poison. Her entire arm was blue, with angry red veins shooting all the way up. She looked back at Itarildë's still face and began to weep, even as the world shrunk and spun around her.

A figure came into view and Marcadil spoke to him.

"M'Lord... she fought well, and she fights this now. These healers have tended to her since she fell.

Elrohir was here. Ithilwen slumped against Caladwen and closed her weary eyes. Everything was going to be okay.

~*~*~*~

Nestedir saw a figure on a horse break through the enemy and ride up to the gate. He knew without closer inspection that it was Elrohir, son of Elrond. There was only one possible explanation for his sudden appearance...Itarildë.

"When he finds out I let his daughter fight in the battle..." The thought was never finished because just then the enemy began to break upon the walls in earnest. They soon overwhelmed the defenders and broke over the breach as a great wave. Nestedir ran down the stairs, his sword flashing like lightning as he cut down orc after orc.

The men of Fornost had formed a line to hold back the attackers from the rest of the city. Nestedir joined them, his sword a blur of motion as it carved the enemy horde.

Richard was there too, shooting off every arrow he could find.

"Courage men! Don't let the foul creatures break through!"

~*~*~*~
(OOC: "Gerich veleth nín" means "You have my love".
The song Ithilwen sings is called "Evenstar", and comes from one of the LotR movies. Here is the translation:

It's not the end, it is the beginning.
You mustn't falter now.
If you don't trust it, trust something.
Trust this, trust this, trust,
Trust this, trust love.
You trust something, trust this.')


[Edited on 02/23/2015 by Eruwestiel_Evensong]
"And I dreamed of seas and ships, and of waves crashing on the shore in the twilight of the world..." ~Song, member of the Realm of Ulmo
Arveleg
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Post Havoc inside the City
on: February 26, 2015 06:56
The Hillmen had a foothold, and they were good at holding it. The wall ramparts were quickly blocked and a defence was held as the rest drove into the city. The city guard reserves tried to put up a fight, but everywhere they fell back. It wasn’t until Amliath sent some of his well-trained regular soldiers to bolster this incursion did the Hillmen solidify their defence line. They fought as good as they got, and Gukkhus was for the most part pleased with their rapid progress. They had the free running water supply to the city in their hands. Now, if Dukhalas could destroy the well….

Dukhalas watched as Halbarad and his detachment made their way quietly into the greyness. The damn snow was falling a little bit harder was starting to cover the ground on the edges of the streets. Much more, and tracks will become a problem. He looked back north, and the sound of clashing steel started to echo down. Gukkhus has made his move! Dukhalas had to hurry.

”Come! This way!”

With silent precision, Dukhalas and his three men moved down a narrow alley.

Coming up behind an old house, he looked intently before waving the men to move around to the left. They pushed through a door and settled in a store room. There wasn’t much in it. He watched the house through the door crack, and could see people moving about in it. There were wounded about trying to stay warm, and it appeared they were readying to move.

”Interesting. Where would they be going?”

Dukhalas said more to himself.

"I’ll go see if I can get close enough to the well. You wait here and watch. As soon as I signal that I have ruined the water, one of you get word to Gukkhus.”

Dukhalas slipped out and walked across the courtyard with a limp. Nobody took much notice of him as he looked much like the many other wounded Dunedain soldiers that have come to be treated. He passed near the well and as he did he reached into his satchel. Smashing the paper wrap, he tossed it down the well. He kept walking toward the door of the healing house. He eyed the women that were working there, studying their faces as best he could. They were indeed readying to move! The wounded who could not walk were being loaded on wagons, and they were setting off through the narrow alleys. He stood there, trying to figure out how he would get into the palace. That was where she was working when he was there last. He sighed, realising how stupid and unattainable his plan was. But the memories were good. They were the last good times he really had. He turned and made the signal to his men, He scratched his right ear three times. But he didn’t see any acknowledgement, he started to walk that way.

”You there! Help me with this man!”

A voice called out. She waved at him as she tried to get a wounded man on to the wagon. Dukhalas paused, then turned and helped her get the man settled.

”You’re with the 2nd?”

The wounded man asked him. Dukhalas hesitated only for a moment as he looked at the wounded man. He could see he was with the 1st.

”Yeah. Barely made it back.”

Dukhalas said, turning to leave.

”Tell me how was your fight?”

the wounded man asked, holding on to Dukhalas’s sleeve. Dukhalas took the man’s hand and gently set it down.

We’ll have to talk over ales at the Inn when this is over. I need to get back.”

Dukhalas nodded to him and walked at a steady pace back toward the building.

While Dukhalas was gone, someone stepped around from the house and was heading for the door. The man watching through the door slid back, and with his hand silently signalled the others to hide.

The door creaked open, and a young maiden stepped in. She looked at the empty shelves and shook her head. There were just a couple small jars of dried herbs. She took them and put them into her pouch. She then knelt down to get another jar that was near the floor. It was then she saw the toe of a boot. Fear took her, and she stood and turned to run for the door. The man on watch man stepped out in front of the door and she froze for a moment. She started to scream, but a hand slapped around her mouth. The other men stepped toward them as he held his free hand up.

”The sacking of this city starts now!”

Dukhalas slowed down as he got close to the door. It was closed and nobody was watching out. He was about to kick the door open when two city reserve guards came running up. They stopped in front of Dukhalas and looked at him suspiciously. Muffled noise could be heard, and Dukhalas said to them,

”In there! I think I saw someone go in there!”

The two guards moved toward the door, and one suddenly kicked it in. There was the sound of muffled yelling and some sword thrusts. Dukhalas shook his head slightly before turning away and heading down the street. The idiots just couldn’t wait. Now that he was alone, he could do what he wanted to do…
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
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