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Old 01-29-2003, 09:38 PM   #201
Eruwen
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Tolkien

Eruwen followed her company quietly as they defeated the Wargs, crossed the river, and continued to journey through a patch of woods on the other side. She felt a need to talk to someone, as she had not spoken for days to anyone, yet she just walked near the back watching the other members. It was almost as if she was afraid to communicate with them---like she would be out of place.

A few nights later while they were resting from the journey, Eruwen woke up suddenly to a strange sound. Maybe it had been her immagination, but to some reason she felt an urge to followed the sound into the wood. She walked on eagerly to find the remote sound that constantly kept coming back to her ears.

As she approached a small clearing in the wood, the sound stopped. Eruwen stood for a moment listening in case she heard it again. Nothing. "There is nothing." she said quietly. Eruwen turned to return to the group, but a clicking noise from behind made her stop. She turned slowly to see the figure which made the noise.

Eruwen stood in amazement as she faced a tremendously tall troll that seemed to have wandered its way all the way out into this land. The troll looked down at Eruwen as she stared up at it. In fear that it would follow her to the camp, she started to run a direction away from it screaming and hoping that someone from the company would wake up.

She did not run far for fear of getting lost or too far away from the group, so Eruwen stopped and hid under some plants growing thickly at the base of a tree. Although it was dark, she could plainly see the monstrous troll searching vigorously for where she had run to. Eruwen kept silent.
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Old 01-31-2003, 09:29 AM   #202
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"Why do you torment me, spirits of the past?" murmered Zohariel. She knew Khorbar- she was sure she knew him. But from where? Father time would not let that secret go. She needed to speak with him.

"Khorbar. I must ask you something."
Khorbar turned round, and gazed at the young necromancer coldly.
"Why should I listen?"
Zohariel had to bite her lip to prevent herself from stabbing him there and then. Instead, she gave him a dark look.
"Stay your tongue. Hear me out." She frowned. "I know you from somewhere. Do you recognise my face?"
She threw back her hood once more.
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:13 PM   #203
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Khōrbar looked at Zohariel. She was not too familiar to him in person. He had heard tales of her, of course, but he knew he had not seen her...at least not in this form.

"If you saw me," he said, shrugging, "'Twas not in the body that you display before me. Unless you can shapeshift, I have not traveled with thee. I would know if I traveled with one of your strength and of the respect you command. I do not travel with people that much to begin with. Because of this, I would remember if I had met you."

Khōrbar sighed. He wanted to get back to the land. This speaking and socializing with others was not what he was good at. Now, speaking with nature was a forte of his.

"I do not know," Zohariel said, at a loss now, as she was getting no aid from the slightly more jovial Ranger.

Khōrbar smiled at her, grinning for the first time, and turned. "If you have a memory, stop me," he said, merrily, "For I would much desire to know if I knew some of you from before! It might help me in remembering names!"

Khōrbar laughed, noting startled glances from the group, and returned to the head of the group, inhaling the smell of the earth again, and once again feeling at home.
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:51 PM   #204
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Sting

Lorin was snapped out of her doze by a scream, a frightened, frantic screaming. She jumped up with others of the group following suit. Lorin took up her bow and plunged into the forest, followed closely by Elentari and Soronūmė came after her. They followed the screaming for a while, it was travelling fast, in the opposite direction, but soon it stopped, leaving them with no sound to follow, and no way of helping the screaming person. Elentari began searching for tracks, though in vain, they hadn't taken the same route as Eruwen.
"Hreeza!" Lorin whispered into the air, not wanting to bring them to the attention of any danger that might be lurking.
"Hreeza!" she called again.
"I am here! Follow me to Eruwen!" Lorin stopped for a moment, why had the quietest of their group run off like that? And what trouble was she in? Soronūmė's face showed the same worries.

Soronūmė and Elentari followed Hreeza, Lorin followed them, she didn't trust her own sight as Hreeza sometimes looked more like moonlight on the leaves of trees to her. They slowed down as they approached the troll, everything was silent except for the occasional troll-grunt. Lorin's eyes widened as she realised the size of their adversary, maybe they could get Eruwen out of there without a battle.

All three of them searched the nearby trees for Eruwen or signs of her and it wasnt long before Soronūmė spotted her,
"Over there." he said as quietly as possible, pointing to a bush. Now came the trouble of getting her attention of her without the attention of the troll. But no! That wouldn't be needed, Eruwen had seen them, Lorin suspected that Hreeza had something to do with that. Now how were they going to get her past the troll?

Lorin slowly began to sneak closer to Eruwen, motioning to Eruwen to do the same. Their feet, light on the ground made minimal noise, the troll was still stupidly searching in the same bush. Lorin stopped and waited for Eruwen to get closer, nearly there, at last, they were together. Lorin smiled a little at Eruwen despite their situation and they began to hurry back towards Soronūmė and Elentari, perhaps too hastily. Lorin wasn't watching where she was putting her feet and a twig snapped beneath her, she froze, tilting her head slightly so she could see what the troll was doing, it had heard something. The troll turned towards the noise, and began its clumsy lumber towards it.

Suddenly great swoosh of wind went through the trees behind the troll and it turned to investigate the new sound, leaving Lorin and the others free to escape. They ran fast as they could, not caring about the noise they made.

They foung the rest of the group a little way into the forest, looking for them,
"What happened?" one of them asked "Where have you been?"
"No time to explain." Replied Elentari, "We're camping elsewhere tonight"

[ January 31, 2003: Message edited by: dragoneyes ]
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Old 02-06-2003, 04:26 PM   #205
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Sting

The company wandered over another mile or two before they would rest again. Eruwen thanked Lorin many times. Elentari and Airerūthiel kept watch that night. Airerūthiel twitched at the slightest sound. She looked towards Elentari. The elf-witch seemed deep in thought. Airerūthiel thought better than to disturb her. Although Elentari would not react to being interrupted, Airerūthiel knew what the elf-witch was thinking was most likely important.

Elentari was thinking about important things. Why was there and cave troll so far south? And did Khōrbar know her secret? IT was impossible but, but still… Elentari was starting to worry that her friends – the first friends she had had in a long time- would discover her secret. If they did, she did not know how they would react. If that found out she was… it didn’t bare thinking about. Elentari’s past was too painful for her. Living alone in Mirkwood and surprisingly helped her forget the past. But now with so many Elves around, the memories came flooding back.

Lorin and Soronūmė walked up. It was their turn to take watch. "Three hours gone already?" said Airerūthiel. "Time has flown by."

"It’s probably because you were twitching at each bird that flew by," laughed Elentari. She would leave her problems for now. She just hoped no one, especially Airerūthiel, found out.

[ February 06, 2003: Message edited by: ElentariGreenleaf ]
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Old 02-07-2003, 03:06 PM   #206
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Silmaril

Khōrbar reluctantly made up camp. He felt a danger in the area and, although he loved this land, he wanted to move out of this area quickly. He wished that they did not need to rest for the night, but he knew that they needed to rest.

Elentari looked fairly worried. What did this woman have to hide? Or did she just sense the danger that lurked nearby? Khōrbar hoped that the feeling of danger would be in vain...

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

Soon everyone bedded down. Khōrbar took the first watch. He could tell that many were not asleep. This group seemed to have so many secrets that they kept from even each other.

Khōrbar remembered that this was one of the reasons he avoided civilization. Everything was so political. Everything was done in the hopes of saving face and pleasing another. That was why he did not get along well in society. He spoke his mind and did not feign a guise of a person he was not...

Others took turns aiding him in guarding, but he refused to get any sleep. He could not sleep with all this restlessness around him.

The night passed slowly...

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

The next morning came, much to Khōrbar's unenthusiastic joy. They packed up and started off again after a short breakfast.

They continued on quickly, stopping only briefly for lunch. The scenery passed by much the same, each one traveling by whatever mode of transportation they were now accustomed to.

Soon evening came and they were again looking for a place to camp...
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Old 02-08-2003, 07:43 AM   #207
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Sting

The company walked for days without event, across the Brown Lands east of the Anduin and the living forest of Fangorn. The landscape was much the same as they had seen for days, seeming to stretch away forever into the distance. As the distance between the group and the last safe haven that was Mirkwood increased, everyone's mood seemed to grow heavier and more melancholy. There was a sense that the journey was too easy.

Airerūthiel could see that her fellow Ranger, Khōrbar, was as uneasy with the situation as she herself. She knew that when the eastern lands of Middle-earth were quiet and untroubled, danger was growing about them. And she was thrice troubled - as well as having to worry about the problems that dogged Elentari, her only true friend since she left the land of Gondor behind, and the journey's constraints, she was still edgy.

The Gondorian she saw when she closed her eyes...he was connected to her family by some link. She remembered seeing a child with his red-gold hair and dark blue eyes walking in her parents' house when she was barely out of babyhood. The eyes were his most haunting feature; she had seen those in the face of her mother on the night that she was slain by Orcs. The truth weighed heavy on her heart as she scanned the country.

When most of the others had gone to bed, Khōrbar took the first watch, while Airerūthiel and Elentari stayed to clear up the camp following their meagre meal of berries and roots. It was not enough to satisfy any of the company, and the half-Elf's stomach rumbled miserably as she absentmindedly fed the horses and secured them for the night. "Are you all right?" asked Elentari. "You seem very nervous."

"It is nothing," said Airerūthiel. "Do not worry yourself with my concerns when you have troubles of your own. I may be young but I do know how to handle my own problems." The Rivendell Elf nodded wordlessly and went back to her blanket. Meanwhile, faint columns of grey-blue smoke rose into the air from Khōrbar's pipe, the only motion around the dying fire as the two Rangers stood together, not speaking a word.

"Khōrbar..." Airerūthiel knew she needed to tell someone who she really was, but never thought she would choose a strange and cold Ranger over the only true friend she had ever known. Maybe it was because he was not particularly her friend; it made burdening him with secrets and lies easier in a way, softening the emotional blow she would inflict on the one she revealed the truth to. He grunted in reply, not meeting her eyes.

"I'm not Airerūthiel."

~*~*~*~*~

The Ranger was shaken out of his stupor by the young girl's words. His thoughts instantly jumped to the most suspicious that he harboured - she was a spy, an infiltrator. Slowly he turned to look at her. She stared fixedly at the toes of her steel-capped black leather boots, her long shiny black hair glinting blue in the firelight as it cast a hood over her pale oval face.

"What do you mean, you're not Airerūthiel?" he asked, raising a thick dark eyebrow the colour of a charred beam at her. There was a tinge of anger in his voice, as a parent scolding their disobedient child might have. "And why did you tell me this? Why not Elentari, or Lorin? We are not friends; indeed I might say you appeared to hate me on sight. And why tell me now, when we are so close to sighting Mordor?"

"Airerūthiel was the name of my mother," the young girl replied. Khōrbar could see her grey-green eyes were glazed over with tears of relief, but they did not soften his heart towards the Gondorian. "I had no choice, Khōrbar. If I use my real name of Bragolhirwen, then those who murdered my family will surely find me. Their spies are everywhere, and although the dark times have passed they will never relinquish their quarry. Should I take the true name I was given at birth, my days would surely be numbered.

"You are a Ranger, like myself. You have seen as much of this Middle-earth as there is to see. We have been through the same things - both outcast by society, both simply tolerated rather than accepted or rejected. Elentari, Lorin - none of the others would be able to help me. They are not being chased by their pasts each day they live to see. There are no secrets for them. They are not unwanted."

With that, unable to prevent herself from bursting into tears, the half-Elf drew her dark hood over her head and almost ran back to her bed as far from the campfire as possible, leaving Khōrbar confused and alone in the darkness. The fire had long burnt out.
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Old 02-08-2003, 01:15 PM   #208
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Hreeza heard Aireruthiel telling Khorbar of her secret. She couldnt help it; they were facing away from the wind, probably so the news wouldnt carry towards the rest of the group, so there was very little chance of anyone hearing, but no matter how quietly they spoke, from one who was the wind itself it is hard to keep secrets.

"You are a Ranger, like myself. You have seen as much of this Middle-earth as there is to see. We have been through the same things - both outcast by society, both simply tolerated rather than accepted or rejected. Elentari, Lorin - none of the others would be able to help me. They are not being chased by their pasts each day they live to see. There are no secrets for them. They are not unwanted."

Khorbar remained silent, shocked, as the other ended. She stared at him for a moment, pleading with her eyes for him to say anything before she threw her hood over her head and walked away with a sob, stumbling as she ran away from the dying campfire, into the darkness. Hreeza knew that people needed to be alone when sad, but it also turned to brooding, and that wouldnt do; also this was hardly the safest of places, so close to the dark land. Silently she followed the dark figure of the half elf until Aireruthiel suddenly slowed to a halt. She turned slowly and looked up into the air all around and then, to Hreezas surprise, gave a harsh laugh.

"Come on Hreeza, I know youre there. At least show me youre there." She called, her voice choked with tears. Hreeza raised an eyebrow- the elven side her surely was strong.

"Showing myself has always proved a little difficult, O Daughter of Two Races." She replied. Aireruthiel smiled briefly before it twisted with bitterness. "Aye, make jokes, Sprite, make jokes with other peoples feelings!" The last few words were raised to a shout. Hreeza would have taken a step backwards- if it had been possible, as she had been reminded that it wasnt.

"Well, jokes are often easier to make in times like these, O Sorrowful One." She said softly, her voice sadder now. "Easier than facing the truth, I think. I mean, I could, oh, lets see, smile sympathetically- oh no, wait, no I cant. Well then, I could put an arm around you- no, thats not possible with no limbs is it."

The half elfs expression changed as she heard a tone of bitterness that she had never before heard from Hreeza, but only slightly. Hreeza continued. "Yes, others have problems, Child. I am just sorry I heard yours."

The ranger sat down on the ground with a sigh, but her tears were now gone. "Khorbar didnt exactly take that well though; harsh words hurt."

"Harsh words from who? As he said, you werent exactly welcome towards him, nor even friendly. But I must ask, as did he...why now, so close to Mordor?"

Aireruthiel didnt answer for a moment and Hreeza actually wondered whether she had heard before she spoke very softly. "Because Im afraid. All my life I have been afraid, afraid of being found out...but the creature we will face..." She trailed off. Hreeza smiled and gave her small silvery laugh. "Well, Im glad Im not the only one, I was beginning to think I was letting down elementals! We are all afraid, even Arawil. But, as one who had seen generations of sadness and lost much said, sometimes to see the light you must face the darkness. And it os best you face yours soon." She sent the symbol of a smile into the half elfs mind and pushed her gently to her feet with a small gust of wind. "And also the sooner we face our dark enemy, the spawn of Ungoliant, the better. Come, let us get back, we must set off at dawn."

[ February 09, 2003: Message edited by: Amanaduial the archer ]
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Old 02-08-2003, 02:04 PM   #209
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Sting

The next days travelling were much like the others. The same landscape, the same familiar faces. But Elentari was full of guilt when she looked at Airerūthiel's young half-elvish face. It was full of sorrow. Guild caught hold of Elentari's mind the further they walked. Why does such a young one as Airerūthiel have to suffer so much? To Elentari, her own problem seemed so selfish, so... well, stupid really. She was letting the past haunt her once more while she hadn't even tried to talk to Airerūthiel about the half-elf's troubles.

"Airerūthiel," said Elentari gently. "What is troubling you. Please tell me for it has now started to trouble me." Elentari looked at Airerūthiel's eyes. They seemed so glazed over, it was unnatural.

"It's nothing, really." replied Airerūthiel. "Don't worry about me. I'm fine..." She trailed off and Elentari knew that something terrible must have happened.
~~~
Elentari had to walk quite fast to catch up with Khōrbar without looking suspicious. As soon as they walked through the next patch of trees Elentari was pinning Khōrbar against a tree.

"You're quite strong," said Khōrbar as best as he could with Elentari nearly strangling him in her rage. "What have I done to deserve this?"

"What indeed." shouted Elentari. A little too loud perhaps, with a sprite in the company.

Even though no one was near Hreeza heard Elentari and floated above the raged elf-witch.

"Hreeza," shouted Elentari. "This does not concern you." Elentari didn't even have to look at Hreeza to send her flying backwards. Elentari was too angry to want to control her rage, and her power. Khōrbar could see a dark blue outline appear around Elentari.

"WHAT DID YOU DO TO UPSET AIRERŪTHIEL?" screamed Elentari.
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Old 02-08-2003, 03:52 PM   #210
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"WHAT DID YOU DO TO UPSET AIRERŪTHIEL?" screamed Elentari.

Eruwen looked up when she heard Elentari yell. Much to her surprise, she rushed over to find Khōrbar pinned up against a tree. Hreeza was floating around in the air trying to calm Elentari down.

"Elentari!" Eruwen screamed as she approached the tree. She calmed down to a low voice. "I'm sure Khōrbar could answer you much better if he could breathe."

Elentari let go of the grip around his neck and backed up breathing heavily in anger. She spoke to Khōrbar once again, but this time in a more quieter form of anger.

"What did you say to her?" she said.

Khōrbar looked up at her still panting from lack of breath. "I said nothing, nor did anything." he said with harsh eyes looking into Elentari's. The whole group was now standing listening to the commotion that was going on. Airerūthiel stood in the back silently. Khōrbar continued...

"If she is upset about something, I am sorry for it," he said. "though I did not knowingly hurt her in any way. If you want to know so badly what caused her to get upset, then ask her. I would dare not say without her consent."

Elentari turned and looked at Airerūthiel who was staring at the ground, then back at Khōrbar. "I did talk to her...or at least I tried."

Elentari rushed off to continue the journey. Soronūmė helped Khōrbar up, and the others followed them out towards Elentari. Eruwen was somewhat shocked at the response from members in this quest toward Khōrbar on the next few days journey. She had not seen anything to be untrusting about him, nor did she know him very well either.

Eventually, after a long time in the journey without any important events happening, the company rose above a hill on the plain. As Eruwen stepped over to where she could see what lay beyond, she stared into land of Mordor.

[ February 16, 2003: Message edited by: Eruwen ]
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Old 02-08-2003, 05:02 PM   #211
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Pipe

Along with the company, Soronūmė stood still at the sight before him. Khōrbar was at his side with Eruwen. The others approached.

For some time they stood silent, staring at the land where they had ventured much time and many pains to reach. Hreeza brushed past them, "So still?" she questionned, "after such a journey you are to stay on the borders and go no further?" The company stood until at last Khōrbar spoke, "We must continue. Cirith Ungol is so close now, to stay on the very edge of Mordor is to watse time which could prove to be invaluable." With that Soronūmė stepped forward, his steed following behind.

"You are so quick to trust Soronūmė!" shouted Elentari who was standing firm behind. "How can you follow him over us?!" She was raged again. "Far from it Elentari" spoke Soronūmė calmly as he turned to face the elf-witch, "I am not one to trust easily and have learnt that lesson well over time." His eyes narrowed, "time more than you can imagine but I see no reason to believe that this man could want to harm us in any way."

Soronūmė was now standing at the side of the ranger some way in front of Elentari, behind which Lorin, Zohariel, Eruwen and Airerūthiel stood. Hreeza was somewhere inbetween the now split company.

Elentari was fuming, "We do not know this ranger, we do not know what he is capable of as he leads us to the very heart of Mordor!"

Soronūmė was quick to reply, "I am still partly stranger to you all, you do not know me in part, nor do we know eachother well but we have come to trust along the way. Elentari, you proved to us all not so long ago that you are capable of some strength and ability with magic that we had not realised. Are we not to trust you?" Elentari stood quiet. He continued...

"Airerūthiel, you have a secret that I suspect you shared with Khōrbar above your friends and yet you stand parted? Zohariel, you have been healed back to strength, is that not of the aid of someone who cares? Eruwen, you travelled with me from the Shire and to meet with this company, and Lorin, what about Min? If he were here?" Soronūmė turned back to the rest of the group. "Have we travelled so far, losing friends and saying goodbye to those you loved to stand apart when we are so close?"

Khorbar stepped forward. "This was not my quest, it was yours and I followed. If you cannot trust me then so be it, but surely not so much that we cannot complete as a company what you set out to acomplish as a group so small."

Hreeza brushed past the ranger and elf-kind, then around Elentari bringing her hood down to her shoulders. "Come children" she spoke softly, her words floating on the breeze.

[ February 09, 2003: Message edited by: Gorothlammothiel ]
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Old 02-09-2003, 02:03 PM   #212
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Silmaril

Khōrbar trudged on for a while more, stewing a bit at the other's mistrust of him. He had been more up-front with the group than it seems that the members were. He would not have lied to them, had they asked him a question about his personal life. Yes, he was vague, but he did not lie. This mission seemed to have been composed of lies and deceit. How could these people live this way?

And this new development with Airerūthiel was strange to him as well. He understood why the girl told her what she did, but he could not, for the life of him, figure out why she kept this information from her sworn allies in this quest.

The group moved on until sunset, then on the next morning. They were reaching their destination and they were now merely three or four days away from this goal. Khōrbar then realized that he did not know what he was leading this group into peril for. He did not much care now, anyway. If all else failed, he could slip into the shadows, as he was wont to do when things became difficult.
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Old 02-15-2003, 11:17 AM   #213
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Sting

As the last few days went by spirits grew low. In this barren land, even the highest spirits would be quelled. Everyone felt out of place and a few wished they hadn't come this far. Food and water were also becoming an issue, none could be found anywhere, unless they were to eat the dust on which they walked and drink from the polluted streams that ran through the land.

The road they followed came to some crossroads, strait ahead of them loomed a dark city, once great and powerful but now ruined, Minas Morgul. They stared up at the great tower, it's windows dark and it's stones blackened. The presence of many evil things could still be felt, whether they were still there or had fled, nobody wanted to find out. "I would not have liked to have seen it while the dark lord was here." Lorin said fearfully, nobody replied.

They turned away from that evil sight and carried on along their path towards the stairs of Cirith Ungol. Lorin tried to hum a little, she found that it always made her feel better but her throat was dry and her voice grated on it. She gave up and the silence dropped on them once more.

[ February 15, 2003: Message edited by: dragoneyes ]
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Old 02-16-2003, 10:05 AM   #214
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Eruwen's heart cringed as she peered ahead into the darkness beyond them. She knew what lay ahead---an evil, black foe which had been sulking in the shadows of her cave for many ages now.

As they journeyed along the road, the entrance to the stairs became more visible. The time had now come. The beginning of the end of their quest stood before them as they stared into the cave which beheld the stairs of Cirith Ungol. Khōrbar was the first to enter, followed by the remainder of the group. Eruwen followed from behind.
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Old 02-17-2003, 01:52 PM   #215
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As ELentari watched Khōrbar climb the stairs she thought maybe she was wrong about him. He did seem courageous and willing to go first into danger. Airerūthiel had been avoiding Elentari, which did not surprise the elf-witch. The way she had acted was childish. Elentari cringed inside as she realised how close she was to killing Khōrbar.

The long, steep stairs barely affected Khōrbar's speed. It took Elentari a while to catch up with the swift ranger. Khōrbar seemed not to have noticed Elentari's approach.

"Um," started Elentari slowly. "I'm sorry, Khōrbar. I... I..." Elentari nearly started to cry as she remembered her voice and the great amounts of energy that had been flowing through her.

"I know that you were not in total control of your actions," said Khōrbar, barely turning his head. "But you need to learn how to control your powers. Others may have got hurt." Khōrbar stopped and faced Elentari. "But you are of good nature, and have a good heart. That will help you learn what you must to control your strength."

Elentari was left standing alone as Khōrbar raced up the stairs in true ranger style. He was right. She needed to learn to control them. But how was she to practice with no target, nothing to annoy her. Elentari continued up the stairs, hoping to one day learn control and to one day become Khōrbar's friend. It would take a lot of fixing, but maybe this would teach her to be patient.
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Old 02-17-2003, 05:48 PM   #216
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As they reached the top of the stairs, Khōrbar turned and waited for the others to catch up. He gave a small sigh at the ones lagging so far behind. When they all caught up, he addressed the group.

"I will aid you, as you seem to be in need of another companion," Khōrbar said, "But, there is one thing you must do for me."

The group remained silent as Khōrbar paused. He looked around at the grim, silent faces. The group had been through a lot, he could see. they had probably lived through a lot more than he could now imagine. Khōrbar gathered his thoughts and continued.

"I, however, will proceed on only one condition," Khōrbar said. The other remained silent, listening for his demand. He finally continued, after a fairly dramatic pause, "You have to tell me what you are doing here. It came to my mind that I do not know your plan or what you hope to accomplish by traversing foolishly through dangerous lands to an even more perilous place, such as Cirith Ungol. I refuse to guide you any further if you do not enlighten me as to the details of this quest."

Khōrbar stood steadfast, hoping that someone would tell him what they were doing here, and that they would not just leave him to his fate here, in what was probably one of the most dangerous areas they had been to as of yet.

There was a silence before someone stepped forward from the group...
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Old 02-18-2003, 06:16 AM   #217
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Zohariel stpped forward. She had been thinking about Sorunume's speech.
"Welcome, friend." she said, extending a hand towards Khorbar. "Quite off topic but it needed saying nevertheless."
"However" she continued "I am not the one to tell you about this quest, for I know very little myself. Indeed, many of the members of this quest seem to judge on appearances and do not trust me as well as they might." She glared at one particular personage.
"So, Khobar, whether I know you or not, it should be a long time before I reveal my true means. But. As you all have worked out I have a past, and a secret. And I think we should stop with the secrets. If we can't trust each other, who can we trust?"
She drew her sword and scraped it along a tree, then spat on the blade and lifted it high into the air.
"If you believe in honesty, tradition dictates you should follow."

[ February 18, 2003: Message edited by: Zohariel ]
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Old 02-18-2003, 05:44 PM   #218
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Khōrbar looked at Zohariel in some confusion. Had the girl just questioned his honesty? He had told these people everything they had wanted to know. Khōrbar had never lied to them. He had never lied to anyone in his life, truthfully. He could be brief in his answers, true, but he never blatantly lied. His anger grew within him, and he fought the urge to attack the tirl who stood there before him, daring to think that he would not hold to his own values, virtues, and morals. Khōrbar finally collected himself and addressed Zohariel, hoping to quench her mistrust.

"I have told you the truth," he said plainly, "Although I have not told you all of my life's story, I have never lied to you. Much of my life, quite honestly, is a mystery even to me. If you feel that it is necessary to question me before we go on, however, do so. But make it quick. We do not have long before we are discovered and killed. And I still await an answer as to why we journey all this way into such peril for, seemingly to me, no reason."
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Old 02-19-2003, 06:29 PM   #219
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"We are here," said Lorin, wearily stepping forward "To rid Middle-Earth of Shelob." There was a silence as the words sunk in. Many times now, Lorin's mind had thought of the seeming futility of the quest and many times had she regretted not turning back while she had the chance. Her long-time friends back in Lorien and Mirkwood were far behind her and her horse ran free across the plains of Mordor, she had let Brilthonien go once they'd come to the base of the stairs. She was tired from the drearyness of the darkness that ever hung over this land.

Khōrbar may have said something but Lorin pressed on into the darkness, wishing to meet her fate, whatever it was, as soon as was possible. The cold of the tunnel peirced her heart and she wavered for a moment, on the edge of turning back. You've come this far now, no point turning back. she thought, the others caught up and they began their decent into the utter darkness. Their eyes, no matter how sharp, helped little. They felt their way along either side, any noise that they made fell dead to the floor, but still served as a little comfort to one another, reminding each that they weren't alone.

[ February 19, 2003: Message edited by: dragoneyes ]
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Old 02-20-2003, 10:58 AM   #220
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Zohariel's request for honesty had set the young Gondorian thinking, and she knew that Khōrbar should not have to help her bear her burden. Honesty was vitally important to her, and for the last few hours the foreboding words had been drifting constantly across her mind in a streamy of mist: 'If you believe in honesty, tradition dictates you should follow.' The weight of her secret was one she needed to cast off, and it had to be discarded now, or she knew she would not be able to go on.

In the darkness, even though she could not see her companions, Airerūthiel spoke. "I have a confession I want to make," she said as quietly as she could, her voice echoing down the corridor nonetheless. "Only one other in this group knows my secret. But as I sense we may not all survive - call it half-Elf's intuition..." She paused briefly, and hearing nothing but her own breathing and the almost-silent footfalls of the company, allowed herself a small smile. "I pride myself on my honesty, but in order to protect myself I have lied since the deaths of my family. If I never see the light of day again, I want to leave this Middle-earth with a light conscience.

"My true name, the one I was given at birth, is Bragolhirwen. The ones who slew my family know me by that name, and they still seek me with intent to kill. I have always been told that I resemble my mother, and so I thought nothing of taking her name in order to stop the murderers discovering who I am. If that is how they know me, they will not wish to slay me; my hope was that they would be afeared of that name, thinking I was her vengeful ghost.

"But I have no reason to hide any more. I have foreseen that this quest may bring death to our group, but who will be among the fallen I cannot say; fate did not bless me with that foresight. If we go to our ends, then I say let us go without fear and with nothing to hide!" Her hand went to the hilt of her father's Elven blade, a wedding gift brought from her mother's people at Mirkwood, and as she drew it she, and everyone else in the group, heard a noise that sounded like echoing footsteps, coming closer and closer, quickening to keep time with every heartbeat in the passageway.
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Old 02-20-2003, 01:46 PM   #221
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Elentari was shocked at this secret, but was not surprised that Airerūthiel had wanted to tell her secret before the fight ahead. But death? No, Elentari would not let that happen. She had not come back to this land to see her friends die. Sailing to Valinor had made her realise how much suffering there was in this world, how much death and destruction there was. Her Loved One had understood why she wanted to return. Elentari had promised him that she would protect those who needed protection, to be there for them as a loyal friend.

"I too have a secret," said Elentari boldly. "None of you can know the true suffering in this land, for none of you have ever sailed to Valinor. I left this land and sailed with my family from the Grey Havens. But I saw that in this land too many people suffer needlessly, so I returned.

"My quest is much like that of Arawil. I wish to rid this land of evil, and I will until I am slain by that evil. Not one of you knew this secret of mine. I have many a time tried to forget that place beyond the Grey Havens. Peace I felt there. I hope one day all of us may find peace. Inner peace at least..." she trailed off. Elentari did not know how her companions would react, but she knew they must wait no longer.

"Come," said Khōrbar. "We must tarry no longer." With this the company continued in the dark, not knowing when they might encounter their target.
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Old 02-20-2003, 06:46 PM   #222
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Eruwen quietly listened to the confessions of members in the group. It seemed a right time to confess any unspoken secrets, yet she had none to tell. It was true, yes, that she had not spoken much throughout the entire journey, but she hid nothing from her companions...at least not from Soronūmė. He had been closer to her than anyone of them.

Her thoughts were suddenly shattered when Eruwen heard faint footsteps from beyond them. She turned and followed her companions into the heart of Cirith Ungol---the lair of Shelob. Her heart was racing. She knew courage and strength she had, yet it was hard to find any when one felt so near to death. No light could be seen from inside. All was dark. She felt somewhat too nervous to shine a light and reveal what may lay beyond.

No sound could be heard other than the light footsteps of the travelers, nor did anyone dare break the silence. Darkness was far too near now. A shadow had grown close. Fear mixed with a sudden eagerness to destroy this sulking foe had entered Eruwen's mind. All other thoughts had ventured away.

As the group continued to move slowly through the black surroundings, Eruwen stopped. It was not through fright or fear of what lie ahead, it was through knowledge. She knew the time had come. Their foe was here---she could feel it. There was no need to move on. Eruwen made no sound to tell the others, for they had felt it as well. The sound of many steps could be heard coming. The incessent noise grew louder and louder every moment until suddenly, it stopped.
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Old 02-20-2003, 06:52 PM   #223
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Khōrbar pushed on into the darkness, both physically and mentally. He thought of the secrets of his company. They all had kept their identities from each other. And yet he, the supposedly aloof member, had no secrets. And here they were, planning to kill a mere spider. That was no secret worth keeping. Why these people decided that this creature, even more quiet now than Khōrbar, deserved death was more of a question. What grudge did they hold against Shelob? Yes, she was spawn of Ungoliant, a dark creature of Melkor, but Shelob had been silent for so long...unless they knew of unseen movements made by the vicious monster. Knowing their histories now, Khōrbar deemed that it was quite possible that they knew about some movements made by Shelob that Khōrbar was unaware of.

"As for me," he said, addressing the others as they moved, "I have no secrets. My life is simple. My parents died when I was young and I lived with various wild families over the years. Here I am, the product of those groups. I have traversed the land and seen many things. I have met many races and witnessed many births and deaths. That is all I know of my history."

Khōrbar grew silent again as they pressed forward. They continued for what felt like an eternity in the dark. Once they stopped for a rest. Khōrbar made his way over to Airerūthiel and sat beside her.

"You were brave," he said quietly to the girl, "And I think that you have nothing to fear from these others. They are good people. You are lucky to have companions such as these. If I had such companions, I may have found more joy in the ways of society. You travel among noble beings. Try to always be in their company, or in the company of people such as them."

Khōrbar whispered these words quietly to the girl, who listened silently. Khōrbar waited, hoping that Airerūthiel would respond, filling this awkward silence with words...
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Old 02-21-2003, 02:59 PM   #224
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Eye

Hreeza smiled as she heard their 'confessions', not because of any humour, but because she was proud. They were learning. She sighed happily, like a small breeze, then stopped, as she heard the noise the others had noticed. One by one, all of them froze, listening, hands on weapons. A sound, like needles, carefully managed with such power, as if they were walking...

Hreeza gasped sharply as she realised what the noise was.

"She is in there..." She whispered, causing the humans and elves to look up at the sprite they had almost forgotten. If she had been solid, the sprite would be as pale as the others. "She is in there...

And she is awake."
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Old 02-21-2003, 06:54 PM   #225
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Silmaril

Khōrbar quickly rose and pulled Airerūthiel to her feet before the girl could respond. He drew his sword and looked down the passage that the others now peered down. A rustling noise came. Shelob was moving, and it sounded like she was coming closer. Khōrbar looked around. This passage was wider. If they went down the other passage, they would probably be forced to travel in single file. If they stayed here, however, they may be able to fight her more than one-on-one. Fighting together was the only way they could hope to win.

"Stay here," Khōrbar whispered, getting in battle position. He saw the others were preparing their weapons as well.

The sharp-sighted Elves could almost make out a shape deep in the darkness, moving towards them. Soon she would be upon them, and the success of their quest would be determined, all within this one decisive battle...
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Old 02-22-2003, 07:38 AM   #226
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Hreeza could feel the evil wafting out of the tunnel, countering everything she was, and all who had made her. She shuddered. Below, she saw the group preparing themselves, drawing weapons and preparing themselves for battle...

The giant spider attacked the hall, her vicious legs whipping out all around, injuring the shocked and surprised Maia, caught unprepared. Behind her a huge shape loomed, the shape of a valar, but the air around him twisted, corrupted, the dark magics he was summoning shattering the calm of the hall, sending the elementals into disarray...

Hreeza fought of the urge to be sick as she remembered the attack of Melkor and Ungoliant that day, so long ago. To the surprised Valar and Maiar she had been...unstoppable. The evil around her, and around Him had beenmind shattering. And this was Shelob, the spawn of Ungoliant, who they were about to try and fight. She looked down at the children of elves and men, less powerful than any who had been there on that day. And Arawil looked up and caught her eye. The Maia smiled sadly and Hreeza saw something inside her seem to die. She too held the gathered memories of those who had been there.

"We shall fight." She whispered, for Hreezas ears only. Khorbar started to creep forward, oblivious of the memories of the pair, into the tunnel.

"Wait!" Hreeza almost cried out, forcing her voice down so as not to alert the thing inside to their prescence. The ranger looked up, surprised. "Wait. Wait until the spider is asleep. We must catch her offguard...just as she did us..."

The humans and elves were puzzled, but obeyed, seeing the logic, and Hreeza fell once again into memory. It would be more than just Arawils revenge wreaked here...
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Old 02-24-2003, 06:50 PM   #227
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Everyone sat down and waited in the darkness for silence from the beast. It took quite a while for Shelob to fall asleep, but eventually she did. Hreeza whispered to the group again after noticing the sleeping menace.

"It's time."

Nothing else needed to be said by the sprite. They all knew what was meant by the commment. It was time to fight...to conquer. As they creeped into their foe's dark lair, Eruwen saw her. Sitting in a corner she was---sleeping peacefully in the shadows. At first Eruwen crept towards the back of the group, but courage regained inside her as she saw Hreeza hovering close to the foul creature.

She silently walked up towards the spider with some caution, but with vengence in her heart. As Eruwen stood close, she gazed over Shelob's somewhat towering body. This was no normal Orc from Mordor. This was far more terrible. She pulled back her bow ready to strike as did the others with their weapons.

Eruwen crept up more towards the head of the spider to get more of a direct shot. All fear had suddenly faded from her mind. There was only hate and a will to kill. As she beant over the creature to shoot, a voice from behind caught her attention.

"She's awake!" said a member of the group to another. "Get back, she'll attack!"

Eruwen did not notice from whom the voice was coming, for she had turned back towards her foe staring straight into the deep, red eyes of the spawn of Ungoliant. Eruwen pulled out her sword to strike, but it was too late. The creature had already overpowered her. Her company watched as she fell beneath the evil Shelob at Cirith Ungol.

A few screams were heard, but there was nothing they could do to save Eruwen...but to fight. As some of them lured the monster away into another part of the lair, Soronūmė approached the fallen Elf. No life was coming forth. Not long had it been since he had known her, but it seemed long enough to miss a friend. He stood in anger and ran off towards the remaining few of the group to accompany the others in defeating the evil creature called Shelob.

[ February 24, 2003: Message edited by: Eruwen ]
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Old 02-25-2003, 05:16 AM   #228
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A blazing hot rage welled up in Bragolhirwen's throat, burning her eyes with stinging tears. Eruwen's death was a reason for vengeance - even though she had not known the Elf very well, the whole group had grown closer to each other as their journey had gone on. To lose one of her companions so close to fulfilling their task was a bitter blow; the half-Elf could not tolerate that dark evil any longer.

The others could see this great source of power within the troubled child, and there was a sense that she could be incredibly dangerous should she try and attack the great spider. It seemed as though nothing could overpower Bragolhirwen's desperate desire to attack, no matter how much the others tried to control her as they struggled to lure Shelob into another part of the tunnels.

The spider was advancing slowly on the group, her red eyes blazing with a strange desire as she sought out the choicest meat from the band of attackers. Her gaze fell upon the young Gondorian, who did not break the eye contact between herself and the creature. Bragolhirwen's heartbeat quickened; fast, faster, keeping time with the monster's footsteps. The sound of her own breathing roared in her ears, uncontrollable and overpowering every other sound.

In the blink of an eye, Bragolhirwen drew Minyacirith, which seemed to have taken on a strange glow; it danced like a marriage of fire and ice, cutting her face perfectly in half as she raised it in front of her. A loud and vicious-sounding battle cry ripped forth from her throat, surprising even Shelob, as she charged forward. In the background she could dimly hear voices calling her names, but they did not register.

Putting all her weight behind the sword, she swung it wildly at the massive round body. There was a hideous screeching cry - where it came from she could not tell - and then a sensation of slime dripping from every surface, but mostly from Shelob's side and her own blade. Without even waiting to see what the spider's next action was, she could vaguely register the rest of the fellowship charging forward. The battle had truly begun.
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Old 02-25-2003, 12:58 PM   #229
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A few screams were heard, but there was nothing they could do to save Eruwen...but to fight.

"No," thought Elentari. "How could I let this happen?" The elf-witch saw Bragolhirwen charge forward, followed by the rest of the company. "Should I use my powers? Could I control them enough? Maybe, but... how could I be certain?". Elentari remembered what someone had once told her, not long ago. But you are of good nature, and have a good heart. That will help you learn what you must to control your strength. Khōrbar's words filled Elentari's mind.

With a loud war-cry, not quite like Bragolhirwen's, Elentari ran forward to join the battle. Star rang as it met Shelob's putrid flesh. All of the company now fought for there lives. There was either life or death in this battle. As Elentari thought of Eruwen, she fought harder still. The elf-witch would not let another of her friends fall that way. Not while she had strength left in her.

Shelob took a strike at Bragolhirwen. Bragolhirwen dived to avoid it, but felt no impact. As she looked up she saw Elentari standing above her with a gash on her arm, but one of Shelob's legs on the floor at her side. Bragolhirwen gave Elentari a brief look of thanks, then continued to fight.

Shelob had screamed in rage as she felt one of her legs huged from her body. She saw an elf like person standing before her and swung out gashing Elentari's left arm. Elentari winced in pain, but did not let Bragolhirwen see this. Hope faded from Elentari's mind as she saw the great spider face Lorin.
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Old 02-25-2003, 01:50 PM   #230
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Until now, Lorin had been stabbing and slashing at Shelobs side, it would've hurt her were it not for the many thick layers of skin which had built up over many years. Now though, Shelob had turned her attention towrds Lorin who saw her chance.

Lorin charged with her dagger pointing towards Shelob's blazing eyes. before Shelob could react, she lunged into one of those eyes which went out like a torch in a gale. Liquid gushed out as Shelob screamed once more. The liquid ran all over Lorin's dagger and it slipped out of her hand and fell to the ground with a thud. With no time to draw out her bow, Lorin dived towards the dagger, though in the darkness, she missed it. Lorin fumbled around, lying on her front, feeling towards the dagger with her right hand.

Lorin suddenly screamed in pain, she looked up and could see that Shelob had brought down one of her feet and stood on Lorin's hand. Lorin pulled as hard as she could, but to no avail, Shelob had her full weight on that leg and she was now coming round to finish off her prey. Lorin couldn't fight off Shelob while trapped like this, she had to try and escape. With her other hand she reached towards the dagger again, she wasn't going to use it to attack this time though.

Her hand clasped the hilt of her dagger and she dragged it towards her. She looked at it, it was still covered in slime. She glanced behind her and could see the looming eyes. Lorin hardened in her resolve, it was either this or Shelob's stinking stomach. She raised her dagger above her head and brought it down as hard as she could upon her own wrist. She sprang forward, and Shelob's open fangs closed on thin air. Lorin dodged between Shelob's other legs and appeared out the other side, collapsing against the wall, cradling the stump of her arm, it had been a clean cut at least.
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Old 02-25-2003, 05:38 PM   #231
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Soronūmė had hastily ran forward with his bow poised after laying the body of such a good friend down. As the others Soronūmė was fighting with all his strength, he turned and shouted back, though the others could not understand his words. He noticed Elentari wince hard as blood flowed from her arm onto the cold stone. Tears were running down her cheeks. Soronūmė flung his head around and quickly moved from one of Shelob's legs which would otherwise have surely thrown him to the ground. Catching himself he could do nothing much watch as Lorin became trapped under the giant creature.

Time seemed to stand still as the elf slowly realised how hastily the company had walked into this, and how he had taken up with them with no real score to settle with anyone other than himself- least of all the spawn on Ungoliant. Such a quest was folly, that he had realised from an early point, but he had not the heart to tell them. Such hope they had in this quest,he could not turn them down, such a company of young females. And it seemed neither could Khorbar. He too had realised the dangers, and had warned the company, at which they had paid no heed. And now the cost? Eruwen, the maiden that had walked with Soronūmė from the Shire to meet with the company, now fallen at the side of the spider.

Soronūmė's thoughts were cut short by cries from Lorin who he could see fallen against a far wall, clutching her arm. He rushed with the ranger at his side to aid her. He drew his brothers sword from the scabbard at his side, Lunos. Wielding the sword in both hands with a tight grip around the hilt he ran hard.

Elentari who had been holding back, partly from pain stood not far from the young sword maiden who was fightly valiantly. Elentari's lips began to mutter words of a foreign tongue-another spell.

The elf-witch had distracted Soronūmė's attention and Khorbar's cries were all too late as a heavy blow pushed Soronūmė across the cold dark ground. It was surely luck that the elf had not suffered more than he had. He was still concious, though on the floor he held tightly at his waist. The blow had not broken the skin but still the pain throbbed as an evil within him.

Still Elentari muttered, her voice growing so that it no longer seemed her own. Shelob too had noticed this as she turned and faced the chanting figure. She took a step forward towards the elf-witch, seemingly oblivious to the three still fighting and stabbing at her side. The foul creature took another step and Elentari remained standing, no longer wincing. Soronūmė tried to pick himself up but fell back to his knees. He reached towards his quiver which he found bare. Lunos was lying some distance away. Weaponless he sat and watched as the creature they had all come to destroy crept closer towards destroying another of his own. Soronūmė would not lose another to this quest and, relying on his last hope, began to chant himself.

Khorbar certainly had some strength in him, still stabbing and slashing at the spider. He had worked his way between Shelob's legs and was standing beneath her possibly most vunerable part, her abdomen.

Soronūmė chanted, it had been such a long time since he has used his magic, that which had been condemned by his family so long ago yet the words flooded back into his mind as if they had never parted.

Still slimy and dark, Khorbar looked up upon Shelob's underneath. With no hesitation he thrust his sword hard into the creatures stomach causing the spider this time to recoil slightly in pain.

At the same moment Soronūmė had stopped his spell, and watched as a well of light formed above the spider, burning bright. The light pained Shelob, perhaps more than any of the blades or arrows she had so far endured and she grimaced in pain. Khorbar took another stab upwards and the sword maiden from behind. To their surprise, Shelob fled.

The light dimmed to nothing and Soronūmė let out a sigh of both relief and of breath. Pulling himself up, he held his side and made way towards Khorbar. The ranger picked up Lunos and handed the sword back to Soronūmė with no expression on his face. The blade had no weight to it so the elf did not have such trouble placing it back in the scabbard at his side.

Soronūmė made way to the fallen Lorin as fast as he could manage,whilst the ranger and sword maiden ran to Elentari who now seemed to be herself though unaware of recent happenings. Lorin was awake. Injured but not undeterred. She stood up looking down to the clean cut wound which was now the bottom of her arm. All the members of the company made way to the lifeless body of Eruwen.

Soronūmė fell at the maiden's side, on his knees he wept for his friend, tears falling to the ground creating a pool of silver. Lorin knelt beside him. "Such a loss you have suffered as a company, and many more in part. She gave her life for you." Hreeza they realsied was hovering overhead. Her words but a faint whisper, "Yet still the creature lives, you have weakened her, that is certain but she shall still put up a fight when next she attacks, she knows of our presence now."
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Old 02-25-2003, 06:49 PM   #232
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Khōrbar remained silent and expressionless amidst the mourning that took place around him. He had lost too many companions, brave, bold, and noble, to similar fates to let this trouble him at the moment. He knew that they must move on. Shelob had fled, but it would not be long before she came back, refreshed and prepared for battle. Khōrbar came and stood behind Soronūmė, awkwardly putting his hand on the shoulder that was still heaving with sobs.

"We must move on," Khōrbar said quietly, "You know we cannot remain. It is for us to decide whether we pursue and strike her down in this, the hour of her pain, or whether we retreat."

Khōrbar flinched, hoping that the answer and reason would not be what he feared. If they went on, revenge should be a reason, but not he only one. The desire to avenge the death of a friend or loved one clouded people's judgement. He had seen only too many times what blind, thoughtless fury did. While it gave unbelievable strength, most were too hysterical to use it correctly.

"I," said Khōrbar, hoping that he would not regret the vote he was about to cast, "Say that we should press on. If we do so, however, it must be now. We can waste no time allowing Shelob to gain back her strength. Either we move on or we leave immediately. We may mourn the dead when we, too, are safe. It is no use looking to find their fate as well."

Khōrbar looked at the remaining company, silently hoping that they would press on, but willing to comply with whatever agreement was made.
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Old 02-26-2003, 02:06 AM   #233
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Bragolhirwen was struggling to sort out her head - the pain and destruction caused by the spider had filled her with a chokimng rage that her will could not overpower. She cursed herself for being so stupid as to start the attack. 'Had it not been for my folly, Elentari would not have been hurt by the spawn of Ungoliant,' she thought bitterly to herself, biting her lip so that a small drop of blood appeared in the corner.

And yet the harsh reality of what they were doing had suddenly dawned on the half-Elf in those tunnels: this was no mere attempt at trying to hide from evil. Now she was truly fighting for her life. She had always thought herself to have grown up at least twice as fast as a 'normal' child, but the horrible realisation that she was nothing but a headstrong little girl who could not deal with what life was throwing at her.

"I think..." she said eventually, her voice shaking slightly with fear, "I think we should go on. My judgement may still be clouded due to the blood of my friends and my kind shed by this monster, but I have finally realised what I have come to be. Maybe I am still a child; maybe I just like to think of myself as the brave warrior-maid I always wanted to be when I was younger. But maybe, just maybe...I am finally growing up.

"I do not deny that Shelob is pure evil, but we cannot merely kill her for what she has done to the others. Before I came to Cirith Ungol, I was fighting for my parents and running from my past. Now I go to battle for the safety of the free peoples of this Middle-earth, from the Lands of the West all the way to Ithilien, and I walk into what I now know I was destined to become. I am willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of all."

She wiped her blade absentmindedly on a rock and then re-sheathed it. Her eyes met Lorin and Elentari's, both of whom were nursing their injuries, and she made herself a promise: 'From now on, I embrace who I truly am, and I come to accept whatever befalls me - be that adventure or boredom, friendship or loneliness, life or death.'
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Old 02-26-2003, 01:57 PM   #234
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"I am willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of all."

"No."

Hreeza looked up, the silver tears in her eyes visibile even to those who couldnt see the sprite well. The spawn of Ungoliant had wreaked such havoc in the Halls, and now...now this elf, this young elf maid, so young in this eternal world...gone.

"No." Once again she whispered the one word. She had been as hurt as some of the others; not physically, but she could feel herself falling apart, could feel the particles splitting painfully away from each other... She shuddered and took a deep breath. "No, we will fight. There will not be any more sacrifices. We will win this one."

She turned to look down the tunnel the way Shelob had fled. "We will rest for only a short while. Then we shall follow. We will win." She repeated. Even Arawil didnt argue with the difinite tone of the sprites voice.
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Old 03-01-2003, 11:29 AM   #235
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Sting

Zohariel looked at Hreeza, then touched the bells which hung at her belt.
Hreeza frowned quickly. "Not until it's abousoloutly nessescary." she muttered.
Zohariel shrugged, trying to look like she didn't care, but she did. What use was she against a spider? Hand to hand combat was alright, with her mad hacking style, but a spider could creep up. It didn't care for the basic rules of combat. It would just...
The rake- thin necromancer drew her sword anyway. It wasn't like the bells would work. They might daze the spider, but not do any lasting damage. She'd just have to try as hard as she could to fight.
She gripped her sword tightly, her cudgel in the other hand, and steeled herself for battle.
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Old 03-01-2003, 12:52 PM   #236
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Hreeza tried to form her thoughts into a sensible order, trying to work methodically instead of thinking. She knew exactly what they were up against. They had no chance...no, not no chance, they had one very slim chance...

"Right...we must have some sort of tactics to fight this monster." She spoke quite slowly, arranging her thoughts as she spoke, but trying to speak confidently. "Khorbar, Lorin, you will fire as many arrows as possible at the spider, as fast as you can, from ledges above. Dont worry, there are ledges, I...I have been here before." She simply gave this explanation, as she knew they wouldnt understand the way her mind and memory worked, not even Arawil fully, and although the maia gave her a strange look, she didnt question her, and neither did any of the others. "This will give us the element of surprise, provided we move quietly. Elentari, would you be able to multiply the arrows as they fly, somehow?"

Hreeza knew it was a wild hope, but after a moments careful thought, the elf witch nodded. Hreeza smiled at her and carried on. "Thankyou. This will probably confuse Shelob, and she will be busy wondering what is happening and looking for the source of the arrows, hopefully without success, as you must confuse her. Make as many of the arrows count as you can, but spread them around a bit, to confuse her. I will give a signal, and you must stop firing. As soon as you do, the rest of you will rush in, attacking with swords. Come in two lines, a few on the front who will then…drop back, and the others will move in. After a few minutes, they will drop back and the second row will go forward again, more refreshed. This means we can keep attacking her continually. If the archers feel up to it, they can also come back down and join the attack from the other side UNLESS Shelob is completely blocking the corridor down. If she is, don’t give indication you are there until she has moved away; if youre too close, one swing of her legs could…” She stopped, not knowing how to phrase it. “Well, anyway. Elentari, you do not have to attack with the archers if you don’t feel up to it-“

“I will.” Elentari stubbornly interrupted. Hreeza looked at her and cursed silently as she realised the witch had probably taken it as an insult to her ability. She would speak with her afterwards.

“With this method, we should be able to tire out Shelob and finish her off.” She finished hopefully, if rather lamely. She then came round to float just behind Elentari. The elf witch sensed her there and spoke before Hreeza could.

“I will help. I will.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I will!” The witch sounded insulted. It was as if she had to prove something. Hreeza sighed and spoke even more softly, gently.
“You have nothing to prove. I know how magic can wear you out.” Elentari looked like she would start again, but Hreeza got there first. “Just remember you don’t have to, alright?”

The witch nodded, after a pause. Then Khorbar cleared his throat, looking around; he couldn’t see Hreeza. “Here.” She said, letting him know where she was. He spun around, then gathered himself and spoke.

“What will you be doing during this, Hreeza? With all respect.” He added hastily. “Its just…well, you can fight with neither sword nor bow. And what if Shelob sees us, when we are going up to fire at her, on these ledges you tell of?”

Hreeza grinned to herself, knowing the others wouldn’t see the malice in her smile. “Those things are related. Don’t worry, I will deal with her eyesight before I give the signal to shoot. Nay, she will not be able to use her eyes much, I think..” Hreeza laughed softly, but it was a harder laugh than usual; she was at last going to get her revenge.

“Come, let us go. Shelob awaits.” Quietly, Hreeza led the way towards the being in the darkness…
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Old 03-01-2003, 02:36 PM   #237
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Pipe

The company followed the sprite down in the dark. Soronūmė was deep in thought, he had been listening intently to Hreeza's plan. He looked over to the sorrowful Lorin then stopped in the darkness. The rest of the company came to a halt and Hreeza brushed past the elf's cheek. Khorbar stepped forward, "What are you doing?! You know we must fight now!" He was speaking impatiently but with a respect that Soronūmė understood. "Hreeza?" Soronūmė looked up to her, "your plan, how is Lorin expected to fire arrows from a bow? Had you forgotten our pains of late?" Hreeza fell still and silent as she looked over to the fair maiden with her bound, wounded arm.

"If I were to take her place" Soronūmė continued, "for am I far more skilled with a bow than with the small sword I carry" he stepped forward enthusiastically. "No" stated the sprite defiantly, "indeed you are skilled with your bow Soronūmė but your grief is near. We cannot let it cloud judgement, not in this hour." The elf was shocked at the statement, "My grief has rightful place in my heart, and in yours. It was not only I that lost a friend today and if that grief is to cloud my mind then it will do the same to you!" Elentari and Lorin agreed with him. Lorin spoke softly, "Hreeza, I cannot use a bow, let someone else take my place. Eruwen died in this battle and we all suffered at the hands of this beast. If we are to defeat Shelob we will need to work and trust eachother."

"Very well Soronūmė, you will take place of Lorin. You fire down onto Shelob but then wait for my command. Lorin if you can you must now fight with Khorbar and Zohariel on the ground. Elentari, are you sure you are up to this?" She looked onto the elf witch. "I am ready" she replied.

The company all turned as they heard the groans coming from the darkness. Silently now they crept on.
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Old 03-02-2003, 02:31 AM   #238
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Sting

Bragolhirwen felt drained of all hope; she wanted to drop to the ground and fall into a deep sleep. Maybe she was bitter with her realisation that she served no purpose in Hreeza's plan, but secretly she felt guilty for attacking the spider without thinking of the consequences. There was nothing she could do, except watch...and wait.

The silence in the tunnels seemed to echo on into eternity, save for the spider's occasional groans. They shook the walls of the catacombs so violently that Bragolhirwen had to cling onto the cloak of the person in front of her several times in order not to lose her balance. She kept her hand on the hilt of Minyacirith, but did not dare to draw it in case she should alert the monster to their presence a second time.

The noise was louder now, tearing through the stuffy atmosphere in the caves as though it was a sheet of paper. Bragolhirwen shut her eyes tightly, a sense of fear running down her spine in a cold shiver. She felt physically ill, and had to swallow several times in order to prevent herself regurgitating the meagre contents of her stomach. Slowly and cautiously, they came closer to the spider's lair.

Shelob was lying in a strange position, a horrible slime spurting briskly from the open wound in her side. The ground had become wet and slippery with the amount of disgusting fluid the spider had spilt as she crawled away to her hiding place. Suddenly Bragolhirwen, who was last in the group, lost her footing and skidded several feet down the path, slamming into the wall in the end.

Shelob was instantly on alert, seeking out the intruders. Bragolhirwen hated herself that very instant for ruining the plan, but now she realised they had no choice. Someone yelled at the group to get into their positions as fast as possible, and without another word they all shot off into the darkness like arrows from a bow.

[ March 02, 2003: Message edited by: Airerūthiel ]
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Old 03-02-2003, 03:57 PM   #239
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Arrows flew from the ledge. Soronūmė and Khōrbar fired arrows as quickly as they could. Elentari made a diamond protection around her, and doubled even tripled the amount of arrows. It rapidly drained her energy, and Hreeza could see this.

"No," said the Sprite as loudly as she could without showing Shelob the others' positions. "Stop Elentari. Don't drain your energies." Elentari ignored her.

Shelob was completely confused by the hail of arrows and her legs flailed wildly. At one point she was very close to hitting Bragolhirwen. Elentari saw this, and at the same time Soronūmė and Khōrbar ran out of arrows.

"NOW!" shouted Hreeza. The first line of brave fighters ran forward to attack. Lorin was in the second line and nervously held her knife. Hreeza looked around at the scene. The attack was going well, but there was one person missing. Elentari had said she would fight in the second line, but she was not there.

"Elentari," shouted Hreeza. "Where are you?" She could see the diamond protection flaring near the foot of the ledge. "Elentari!" The elf-witch had collapsed from over-using her magic. Hreeza was about to float to her friend as she heard a scream of exhaustion come from the other direction. Someone had been hit.

Bragolhirwen was in the front line. She had started to become tired. Where was Hreeza's command to pull back? Without warning, Shelob swung round and hit Bragolhirwen to the floor. The half-elf let out a cry, alerting Hreeza and the others to her pain.

"First line retreat, second line attack. Someone get Bragolhirwen out of there!" shouted Hreeza.

Elentari heard this, and stood up. There was new rage burning in her eyes. With a scream of anger she leapt forward, chanting a new spell: she was calling her staff. A bright light appeared before Elentari and a tall pale grey staff appeared. The elf-witch took a firm hold on this and swung it in a large circle as she ran in front of those attacking Shelob. Bright blue light came from both Elentari and the staff, causing even Shelob to back off a little.

"Elentari. STOP!" shouted a number of her companions. But it was too late, Elentari was too far into this now. There was no stopping her.
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Old 03-02-2003, 04:43 PM   #240
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"First line retreat, second line attack, someone get get Bragolhirwen out of there now!" Hreeza yelled, not even pausing when she said Bragolhirwens true name. She was not trained in war, but she had seen enough of them. She felt like a general!

Then Hreeza felt it, the Change, the differences in the energies of the cave. She turned to Arawil but it was not the maia...

"Elentari! STOP!"
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