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Old 08-05-2006, 07:47 PM   #131
Estelo dagnir, Melo ring
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Join Date: Oct 2002
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Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.

His heart heavy in his chest, Vrór stared down at the rough grass beneath him, allowing sadness to pull him down. He was frozen for several moments under its weight, and Carl watched him briefly before shuffling over to the small opening in a black abyss. Vrór gave him more space, and the Hobbit put his ear up to the hole. The Dwarf now remained still by force of will, not wanting to disturb Carl with any movement or sound. After a few moments, the Hobbit pulled himself away from the opening, and disrupted the silence.

“It feels as if there are sounds just beyond what I can hear,” he whispered, “but no matter how hard I strain my hearing, I know I cannot reach them.”

Vrór shook his head and muttered gratingly, “Aye.”

“And to think it seems like such a short tunnel by the nature of the echoes…” Carl trailed off, as he met the Dwarf’s gaze. They realized simultaneously just what the Hobbit had said. A tunnel!

Each wished to burst out with some sound of rejoicing, but found themselves silenced by the presence nearby. The slavers’ camp was a noisy reminder of how close they were to capture and…death? Or would they be made slaves, as well? A fine catch, a Dwarf and a Hobbit; unique.

Vrór put his ear up to the opening once again, closing his eyes and focusing his mind on good, hard stone. The Dwarf had to hear for himself again what Carl was talking about, and he could only nod in silent agreement toward the Hobbit. He sorely wished they could risk lighting a torch to solidify their beliefs, but he knew that would be practically handing themselves in. Pulling away from the gap in the stony earth slightly, he eyed the structuring around the opening. He began to trace lines around stones as the gears in his head turned with a steady clicking and whirring.

“I do think I can get that opening a great deal bigger in a pinch, as long as I bring along just a couple tools…” he whispered to his comrade, who gave a nod of understanding in reply.

“You feel confident enough to move on?” the Hobbit asked in a voice Vrór had to strain to hear. The Dwarf hesitated for a moment before he nodded sharply. It would do. He had completed tunneling projects on hundreds of occasions before taking up work in Minas Tirith, where those Men were much more interested in raising things high above the ground and waiting for the wind to blow them over.

“Let’s see what we can find out about the camp,” Vrór muttered. He gingerly replaced the rock to close the hole he had maid, and then gestured with his axe that Carl take the lead shuffling along the bank past where they had discovered their tunnel. They would follow a small bend in the stream to get a little closer to the camp. Their hearts pounded in their ears, and every sound they made brought them a feeling of utmost dread.

Once around the bend, their eyes were caught by a small fern-like growth that appeared upon closer to look to be seemingly a patch of well-grown weeds. The two squatted down to silently debate who would take a chance at peeking at the camp through the vegetation. Vrór insisted as best he could without using any words, and Carl relented. Rising slowly, inch by inch, the Dwarf peered through the patch of weeds, reaching up just as slowly to pull a few out of his line of vision.

He did a quick recount, and found himself again looking at about two-dozen men. He caught sight of metal glinting in the sunlight by a rough tent nearest to the stream, and focused on it. Armour of some kind…perhaps more for show than anything else, but… One man strutted around the camp with both a sword and a long knife at his belt. There were smells in the air that said that they had food that smelled…well, like food, rather than a meager portion of whatever they could find. Mostly they seemed at ease.

Near to their tunnel, Vrór estimated, two men walked above, obviously trying to look busy through rather determined looking pacing. One had a sword, the other a spear, at least. Certainly well-armed, well-fed, and well full of themselves, this lot. Perhaps that was why they had stopped in the middle of the day – they were taking their time, feeling they had nothing to lose or to rush. Or perhaps they did not wish to move too far away from the slaves, who, at least according to Aiwendil, and apparently the strange Southern fellow, were not too far north of here. Were these men waiting for something? There seemed to be something else underlying the laziness in the camp. Something was waiting, watching, and plotting…

Pulling himself slowly back down, Vrór whispered a few of his findings to Carl, and then asked him if he’d like to risk a look, as well. The Hobbit hoisted himself up, knowing that four eyes were better than two. The Dwarf waited beneath, and seconds dragged on for hours before Carl finally lowered back down.

“There are two guards, and they both were speaking to someone below them…it is a pit, just as Aiwendil said. And they…they…kicked and threw…dirt…maybe rocks…down…” he trailed off. Both felt pained to think how they were treating two children.

After agreeing it was time to move on, the Dwarf and the Hobbit made their way back around the bed, and past where they knew the tunnel was, sparing it a glance or two. They followed the stream away from the camp for longer than they had followed it toward the camp, before they climbed out of the streambed, and made their way back to the rest of the Fellowship, where they hoped camp awaited them. It was about their only hope. Covered in dirt, the Fellowship of the Fourth Age’s spies approached the camp, dragging their feet, having forgotten for the moment the good news of the tunnel.
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