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Old 06-15-2006, 02:12 PM   #26
Child of the 7th Age
Spirit of the Lonely Star
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Here is the first game post....

I really think this story could be awesome!



Elessar set down the letter on his desk, walked over to the window, and stared off into the distance. Here at the summit, he could look down and see the gleaming white towers and six lower tiers that characterized Minas Tirith, the chief city of Gondor. The streets were far more crowded than they had been a short while ago, since the city's population continued to grow. This was only one of the many accomplishments in the past ten years. The ancient lands of Gondor and Arnor had been reclaimed and reunited. The Hobbits of the Shire, the Elves of Greenwood, and the Ents of Isengard could be counted among the many Free Peoples of Middle-earth who enjoyed complete self government with freedom to maintain their local customs. Representatives from the king had even managed to reach a rough understanding with their long-time enemies, the Easterlings and Haradrim.

Despite the return of peace and prosperity, one troubling problem remained. Early in Elessar's reign, the king had declared that the lands of Núrn be gifted to the slaves of Mordor. This edict had proven difficult to enforce. In the region south of the Sea of Núrn, most of the slaves had revolted and secured their freedom, setting up fortified villages where they could defend themselves against orc attacks and till their fields in relative peace. In the region north of the Sea, the situation was different. With Sauron's restraining hand removed, local strongmen with armed retinues continued to repress the slaves and deny them freedom. Eager to extend their authority and gain more land, these tyrants engaged in constant warfare both among themselves and against the orcs who roamed throughout the region. Gondor had sent soldiers to try and topple these petty rulers, and the troops had scored an easy victory. But the moment the armies were dispatched back home, another strongman emerged and reasserted control over the slaves.

Elessar had once hoped that the slaves could flee the plantations and find refuge in the fortified villages to the south. Given the chaos that dominated the area, it was very possible for slaves to slip off into the night and simply disappear. But the neighboring communities were too young and fragile, and lacked sufficient stores of food to offer a home to more than a handful of deserters. What was needed was a safe haven for the refugees to go, someplace where they could begin a new life. They could not remain in the area near the Sea of Núrn or even on the Ash Plain to the north because of the presence of numerous gangs of orcs. More than one group of escapees had managed to elude the dogs and posses of the slaveholders only to perish at the hands of orcs. The slaves of Mordor were now a forgotten problem that no one had the knowledge or heart to resolve.

For the first time, however, after reading the missive, Elessar felt a tiny glimmer of hope. The letter, for all its rough and ragged appearance, had been written by a slave leader who understood the problems of his people and had some notion how to solve them. Though the message had been penned by one who could barely read or write, its meaning was unmistakable. A group of fifty slaves had raised an armed rebellion, managing to escape and take refuge in caves along the river to the west. There, they had been greeted by fifteen other men, the beleaguered remnents of an earlier band of run-away slaves.

Both groups agreed they could not stay in their temporary shelter. The ex-slaves were insistent that the situation was too dangerous, since brutal orc attacks had recently become a frequent occurence. Yet where could the refugees go? It was one of the new escapees who came up with an audacious plan to head north across the Ash Plain for the southern reaches of the Plateau of Gorgoroth and attempt to establish a village there. The petitioner had written this letter, humbly requesting that Gondor send representatives from the Free Peoples of Middle-earth to help protect them on the journey, individuals who could also teach them the skills needed to forge a new community.

Aragorn shook his head in amazement. It was at once a bold and utterly perilous suggestion. As far as the King knew, no party had made it across the Ash Plain in recent years. Roving bands of Orcs and other outlaws made the passage dangerous as well as unamed shadows that had been unknowingly left behind when Sauron departed the earth. At the very least, the journey would be a challenge. Even if they made the crossing, there was no certainty of success at the end. The Plateau of Gorgoroth was uninhabited, a veritable wilderness. Farming would be difficult at best, since there were no substantial bodies of water nearby.

Still, if the feat could be done, if a new community could be established, the possibilities were enormous. Freed slaves from other plantations would finally have a place to go. Aragorn conjectured that, once the village was well established, it could even send couriers back to encourage other slaves to revolt, guiding them across the Ash Plain to the safe refuge that lay beyond. Half-way camps could even be established. One village could multiply and eventually become a whole network of thriving outposts. So much suffering could be avoided! The image was simply too appealing for Elessar to resist.

The King felt a strange yearning to join the group himself. What an exciting and worthwhile endeavor it would be. But that was no longer possible, since his own responsibilities as well as the presence of his beloved wife and children required him to stay in Minas Tirith. This adventure would have to go to others.

Aragorn quietly began humming the tune of an old ballad as he wrote out the orders for each individual whom he would ask to join the group. Dwarves, Elves, Men, and Hobbits--they must all be included. This might be the last time that all the Free Peoples were called together in a common goal of such great importance. The soul of Mordor was at stake. It would take a fellowship--the Fellowship of the Fourth Age--to rise to such a challenge and guarantee a new beginning for the people of Mordor.

Last edited by piosenniel; 06-16-2006 at 02:09 AM.
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