Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wanderer


Meandering about on the hillsides of the old Twilight Estates, Ragnbourg was lost in the reflections of the night while her mind seemed content to waver like a driven sea; tossing to and fro as if by a westward gale. Unexpectedly, however, a voice called her from her thoughts, and for the suddenness of the sound, Ragnbourg drew up her axe by the hilt!

"Peace, Daughter of Beorn." Spake the voice of the Elven maid standing amid the broken and entangled boughs of a lesser tree. Ragnbourg looked up, and knew not what to make of the stranger, for surely she had never seen this other before. 

"Who are you?" Ragnbourg said, and though her words were in her heart chosen for the confusion, they came to her lips rather coldly. 

"A wanderer." Was the simple reply, and the Elven maid, knowing these words would not satisfy, spoke on. "The two of us are alike in that way, are we not?"


Ragnbourg was quiet a moment, thinking of what she might answer.
 "I do not know you, stranger." The Beorning woman said after awhile. "Why do you approach me? It is not oft wise to seek my kind in the night, and but for my thoughts I might surely have been in a far different state than you see me now."

"Had that been the case, you would find that it would make no difference to me." Answered the Elf evenly. "I speak the languages of both men and of beasts, of trees and of the earth... Another thing, perhaps, in which we are alike."

Hearing this, Ragnbourg grew more confused at the appearance of this Elf, and ventured ask again in a voice more genuine than before, "Who are you?"

"I am neither a light in the void nor a shadow under starlight." Answered the Elf.

"You speak strangely. You have answered me what you are not, but not who you are." Ragnbourg replied. "If you will not tell me, then I do not know why we need speak further tonight."

"We speak because you are wounded, though you do not know it." This time as the Elf spoke, her voice was direct, and it caused Ragnbourg's blood to run chill with coldness. 

"... How do you know this?" Rangbourg asked, and for the first time in a long time, she could not muster the slightest ounce of anger to defend herself from her fear.

"The thing is known to you, for it has caused you a hurt in previous days and although there has been no loss of blood or flesh, you are weighed down by a grievous affliction."  

The Beorning woman trembled. There was no way she could think of to explain why she did not argue, and nothing she could think to say that would dissuade the Elf from her words, for Ragnbourg knew verily that they were true. 
"Please," she ventured now, with so much timidity that she might later scarcely believe herself capable of it. "Will you not tell me who you are?"

Now, it seemed as if the Elf gave a moment to thought, for Ragnbourg heard her sigh softly in the boughs and there was a minute of silence. Then at length the Elf did speak, and her voice was gentle. "I will not give my name, for it displeases me when it is idly used. But this I will say; that on the Mountain on which you stand, though I belong not to it, I pass by and lend my hand withersoever I will in such matters. Tonight, I lend mine to you, for I know the cause of your stumbling, and I know also that I may mend it."

"How so?" Ragnbourg said, staring up at the figure in the tree with confusion in her eyes and earnest perplexity in her heart.

"I have eyes to see," the Elf replied. "And though I would hope this answer to be sufficient, I know you cannot understand it, so I will further explain; As light enables men's eyes to perceive images of the world around him, I may perceive other material that needs not be evident to be real." 

As Ragnbourg pondered this and tried to understand, her hands slowly tightened to fists and her feet relented their stance. "Very well. I do not know you, and I do not fully understand what you have said. But for reasons I cannot grasp, it is impossible for me to compel myself to disregard you. Therefore, you may take what you will from me."

"Nay, I will take nothing." The Elf answered quickly. "It is for the same reason that you feel so much anxiety for the earth that you cannot bring yourself to disregard me, because your ability to commune with nature also enables you to speak freely with me. Such is your gift, and mine. But put away your weapon, Daughter of Beorn, and I will come down."

Ragnbourg had not noticed that up until that moment she had retained her axe in her hand. Now being reminded of it, Ragnbourg drew the weapon back to her side, but in a moment of consideration, she hesitated to put it away. 
"Nay," she said aloud. "I will place it on the ground, so that I may not be tempted to use it, for I know readily that you can see my fear. Nonetheless, I will not take up my axe."

True to her word, Ragnbourg knelt down and laid the axe on the grass, then stood and took from it several steps.


The Elf watched Ragnbourg's actions carefully through her pale green eyes, and, as the axe was lain aside, she fluidly descended from the boughs. There was not a sound to be heard when the Elf alighted on the earth, nor did she seem much bent by the leap, but touched softly and stood erect.

"Will you draw off the covering of your head and shoulders?" The Elf asked gently.

Ragnbourg was hesitant, but she complied with the request and took off her hat and the fur shawl that was wrapped about her shoulders, placing both items on the ground.

Looking keenly but with a sensitive gaze, the Elf met eyes with the Beorning. "How did it happen?"  She said.

"I do not know." Ragnbourg replied. "I can scarcely remember the events that led to it. All I can recollect was that there were mounds of earth, and there was a cry from within, as if someone were in dire need. So I went in, and I remember no more until that terrible icy hand gripped my shoulder. I do not remember else after that, but I must have torn from the barrow with awful wrath, for when I came to myself again I found that I was no small distance away from that place and I was not as I was when I went in."

"Since that time," Ragnbourg continued, "It has been as if the smell of death, or whenever I have felt the presence of wandering shades, has caused me to be haunted by the memory, and my mind is soon overcome by insurmountable anger... I have kept it completely my own...."

"Know this, then, Daughter of Beorn," The Elf said, after hearing the tale. "That contrary to the whims and demands of fate, you have been made to continue another man's story, though it be ended. It was by little fault of your own, and in that you may have comfort, but I will tell you the tale that proceeded your coming to the Barrow of the Herdsman, and then tell you what must be done."

Although Ragnbourg did not yet understand, and nor could she fathom how the Elf knew of this particular matter, she was grateful for answers and listened with earnest interest.

"In an age I shall not name, only let it be said that it was long before your mortal arrival in this world, a man came to sojourn on the plains of an uninhabited land. From a boat he had come off the sea and made his mind to dwell amid nature's beasts, to serve them as healer, steward, and friend. To them, he was known by the name Keeper, after they came to understand his reasons for dwelling within their domain. There was peace and conflict-ended in his time, his days were spent in service to animals. But they were lonely days for a man, and they did not last, for men were at that age of the world engaged in great explorations and conquers - and conquering nature was no less their endeavor."

"Great ships arrived on the shore of the man's peaceful land, and those that came from them began their tireless effort to extract a living from the wood and bountiful riches of the earth that were found in plenty there. But where men toil they must also reap, and for strength they needed what-with to subsist themselves on, thus the animals began to be slain. It was the desire of this man that these unwanted visitors should leave, and discontinue their work of destruction, but try as he might to forbid them, they continued their work."

"What ire was raised! What terrible hatred poured forth, as the land began to be desolated! Woe befell the man, as it must needs do to all who cradle such loathing and animosity for their own race. He cursed the sailors with tongue and deed, and they cursed him when once they knew the cause of his fight - for they were desirous to be rid of him and thus actively hunted those beasts that he knew. All were slain, and with their passing a boiling wrath infested the man's heart, and drove him that he might enact vengeance for the loss of blood with more blood. So it was. Then, for all that was then done, the sailors conceived to bring an end to their torment, and thus sought out the man. Terrible was his end, and those that were his killers also were those that placed him within the mounds."

"But his spirit did not sleep, nor did his body rest - all for the wrath that was kindled in his heart. Deep was his barrow, and deeper still his hatred for men." The Elf maid said. "Long, however, was he made to dwell where light does not descend, and he plotted his revenge in those dark places of the earth, forbidden to rise."

Ragnbourg listened, and felt all the while much colder in body than she ever had prior.

"He knew well that he would never be able to escape his prison, Daughter of Beorn." The Elf said, and her voice was no less than it was before, though she could see Ragnbourg's unrest. "Therefore, he who's story was ended, sought another to act in his place." 

There was a stiffness in Ragnbourg's limbs and something quite hard to swallow in her throat, so she said nothing for the moment and the Elf continued.

"It might well be known to you, that had he found a person bereft of their own malice and anger, that nothing could have been done against you..." She said, and her pale green eyes leveled with Ragnbourg's gaze as she tilted her chin downward. 
 The Beorning woman was still, and said nothing. 

"But now, I have told you all that need be told, and what remains is what may be done." As this was said, the Elf turned and swiftly got herself back up into the tree, looking downward on the Beorning once again. "It is this: The wight can have no satisfaction in death for his crimes in life - and his hatred against those who wronged him will prove vain, for their time is far past. But his anger will thrive where it is given room to thrive, and his desires will not rest until his anger is no more. Therefore, the answer is one that is hard for mortals to hear, but nonetheless the answer; Forgive those who have caused you hurt, and release your own anger, then the Wight's Wrath will depart. But if you do not, then you will carry it to your grave, even as he did."  

Truly, even as the Elf had said, Ragnbourg did not find these words easy to hear, nor comforting, but after a moment she found the strength and bowed to collect her shawl and hat from the ground. When she stood again, she went to pick up her axe, and looked once more to the Elf in the tree. But where she looked, Ragnbourg saw only the gnarled branches and the empty night sky... the Elf was gone.

There was much to think about, and the night hills of the Twilight Estates felt even more quiet and lonely than before. But unlike how Ragnbourg had felt when first wandering here, the stillness and silence seemed dreadful and unwelcome, so she left the hills quickly, and went back to Ost Forod. Tomorrow, at sun's first light, she and her brother would depart from the hills and go again to Oatbarton, where there they would aid the folk of Northcotton on their errands.

 Such was the strange encounter of a wanderer in the hills of Evendim...


~Ragnböurg

Friday, December 11, 2015

Hop to Hopville

To my dear friends and neighbors, it is so good to be home again! I have been away awhile, but I have now returned to the beautiful Shire Homesteads, whereat I hope to again find myself in a warming embrace with each of you, my good friends here at the Grand Hole!

Since I've been away, it seems we have acquired both a new name for the neighborhood, and a bountiful amount of neighbors - quite a change from the secluded piece of the Shire I have grown accustomed to! So I, being most eager to meet all these new names and faces, made a request to view the neighborhood records and color each home according to association.
As you can see, I have continued to mark the individual estates of our own dear members in blue, and I was fairly pleased to discover that there are three other kindreds which have taken up residence in our old part of the Shire: 
The East Shire Trading Company (A very sophisticated name I should say, I wonder what sorts of trade-goods they handle..)  
The Defenders of Anduin (Very nice folk, from what I've heard of them from Skalithor!) and  
The Legion of Dark Hunters (Sounds frightful! Do you suppose they are dark hunters, or that they hunt dark things?)

I intend to speak with our kinship leader about hosting what my mother would call, a "Neighborhood Meet and Greet" in January next year, so that we may gain some friendly acquaintances with our new neighbors.
But of course, I don't think I'll have much time any prior to consider it - For you see, I heard Lilliway the other day mention something about a yule play to Aedynn and I am hoping that they might ask me to take part! I think it would be an absolutely delightful idea to boost moral up in Evendim, if each of the fellowships could return home for the Holidays and rejoice in the splendor of good company and fine entertainment! 

 Don't tell anyone, yet, though! I shouldn't like to go raising any hopes until I know for certain, so I'll just keep my ears open, and this'll stay between you and me, yes?


 I'll write when I know more, 
~Maeflower Tooke

Friday, December 4, 2015

Taivian's Dream

Last night I lay, for what seemed like hours, on the rough mattress the rangers had lent to us. My thoughts were lost in a tumultuous storm, and my heart aching for the anger and sadness I kept locked inside it... Over and over again, memories would flash before my closed eyes: Memories of my father's face as he begged me not to become like him. Memories of Mother's eyes, swollen with tears but filled with anger over Ardonali's intentions regarding me. I relived that moment when Tarvhos pulled a knife on Tyrral, and heard again Apostos' foreboding words that she had spoken to me the night before.

I struggled until I felt nearly choked by my covers. I was so restless, but I couldn't sit up or open my eyes. I felt trapped! Lost and alone... I would surely go insane if this despair continued. Was there anything I could replace these images with? Was there ever a time I was happy? ...Yes, there was! I remember her, and I tried to scream her name, then suddenly I fell...

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

Pain and worry vanishing away, I found the vast lake of Evendim lay before me, stretching into the horizon and eventually becoming one with the sky. The water lapped calmly around the small island on which I sat. There was no other islands in sight, nor any mountains in the distance... Just me. 

I felt peaceful and safe.. It seemed like I was in a different world now, one far from Middle-Earth and all her cares. I knew there was nothing evil within this world; no worry or despair, nothing wrong anywhere... What's more, I knew I could stay here for eternity if I wanted to.. 

Suddenly, I became aware of a presence coming up behind me. Glancing away from the glare of the setting sun, I looked and saw a young girl headed toward me. I recognized her face almost immediately. It was Aivah! With a sweet smile upon her rosy lips, she came forward and sat beside me. 

"Hey Taivian. It's good to see you." She said, leaning back on her arms.

"It's good to see you too." I said, smiling back at her briefly, then turning my gaze back to the golden sunset. Aivah stared at my face a moment longer, tilting her head slightly.

"What's wrong?" She asked.

I frowned. "Please, let's not talk about it. I don't like how everyone seems to be psychoanalyzing me." My words, as harshly as they were worded, were spoken with a tone a pleading.

Aivah frowned too upon hearing them. "I'm sorry. That's not what I meant by it."

"I know. But I don't want to bring the ugliness of the real world here. I'm finally asleep. I just want to enjoy this dream." I said.

Aivah smiled, looking into the sunset and taking a deep breath of the fresh air. "Okay, we can enjoy it.. But you know, Taivian; even though we're asleep, this isn't a dream."

I looked at her with confusion, yet somehow I knew in my heart she was telling the truth. Everything was as harmless as a dream, but it all felt real. Subconsciously, our minds had connected with one another. Still, I didn't understand how it was possible. Aivah's smile broadened to see the look of wonder on my face.   

"I hear my great-grandmother used to be able to do something like this.. Maybe I inherited her abilities. I was thinking about you before I went to bed." She said, leaning forward and wrapping her arms around her knees. Her head was then rested on them, though she continued to watch me.

I felt sheepish and awkward in in her green graze, though I knew she wasn't judging me. "I was thinking about you too." I admitted.

"Oh!" Aivah said, lifting her head. "Maybe it's you who brought us here then... You've got magic anyway."

I didn't know which of us had done it. "Maybe it's both of us." I suggested, then furrowed my brow in confusion as a thought struck my mind. "Why were you thinking of me?"

"I don't know." She said with a shrug. "I was just wondering where you were and how you were doing. It isn't fair they let you join the fellowship, but sent me to Rivendell. You're a year younger than me! Still, I know things are dangerous right now, and some of that war stuff can be really hard on kids like us.. I guess I was worried about you."

I smiled. "Thanks." I said, then looked back toward the sun. Aivah followed my gaze. We sat in silence for a time, then Aivah at last spoke again.

"You know what I always thought when I was little? I always used to think that the sun has a door in it's center-- A door that leads to a wonderful and magical place; and when the sun gets halfway in the water like that, the door is opened and lets ships sail in.... That's why I believed the Elves sailed across the sea: To get to the sun." Aivah said. 

'What an idea!' I thought, but I didn't say anything. The mention of Elves sailing across the sea reminded me that Hawkinz was missing, and that Tarvhos had gone looking for him-- Tyrral didn't want him to go without Skalithor's leave. They fought about it. Tyrral threw Tarvhos to the ground, then Tarvhos jumped back up with his dagger in hand!... It had scared me. No sooner had I learned about my father's death, then my brother wields a weapon against one of our friends and forsakes his group....  That one moment seemed to start a whole chain of events! Instantly, all my worries and hurts flooded back, along with the memories they were attached to. At that moment, the golden sun of my world sunk beyond view, and the surroundings around Aivah and I was left dark.

Aivah's face, now colorless and barely visible in the dark, shone with concern. "What's wrong?" She asked.

I felt a bitterness pain my heart. "Everything. I feel like I'm with strangers-- Like I can't trust anyone anymore.. Do you know what Apostos asked me today? She's received some kind of ominous threat, and is worried about turning evil again. She told Marthrandir about it, but is worried he won't have the strength to do what it'll take to defeat her if that happens. She asked me to do it."

Aivah's eyebrows shot up, but the look of concern didn't leave her face.

"I told her I wouldn't. If darkness does try to corrupt her, I want her to fight it. I don't want her to think she has the option of failing." I admitted, feeling my bitterness increase. "Apostos, Tarvhos, Marthrandir, even Thannor-- Everyone! It's like they're giving up.. Like, they think we can give up and everything will eventually work out. It's not true! We need to have courage to stand against the darkness, not compromise with it!" I shouted, slamming my fist on the ground.

Aivah was silent for a moment, then softly, she reached out and touched my hand. "Have you told that to them?" She asked quietly.

I shook my head, glaring into the water I could no longer see. "They won't listen to me. They don't even listen to Tyrral. It's like they don't hear more than three words before they're walking away."

"Okay," Aivah said calmly, "So just break it down into three words.. You don't have to be vague or silent, but you don't have to deliver a whole big lecture either. Sometimes it's easier to understand a message that doesn't use very many words.."

I looked at her, and she smiled as I met her gaze. I pondered her words and felt the frustration of that previous day slipping from my heart. I didn't want to be angry, I didn't want to become bitter or miserable due to all of this-- But I felt helpless. Then what Aivah said made that helplessness go away, and with it, my feelings of anger and bitterness. Above us, the stars came into view. They were bigger and brighter than the stars on Middle-Earth, and with them came a flood of soft, silvery light that granted color to Aivah's face.

"How did you know to say that to me?" I asked.

"I don't know. And I don't think we're alone here.. I feel like there is something helping me help you." Aivah said.

I smiled again, and suddenly my heart felt warm. The peace I had known before returned to it. I felt reassured.

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

I was awakened suddenly by Tyrral. We had missed a goblin camp in the Twilight Estates and had to take care of it. Throughout the battle, I kept reflecting on my dream and on what Aivah had said. That night, the four of us; Tyrral, Marthrandir, Apostos, and I gathered together to determine who would lead us. It seemed Skalithor had sent us without a leader, and Tyrral feared this would cause division among us. 

"The first company, though they deny it, stands only a few steps from dissolvement. All of us feel very much effected by it. Therefore, to see to the safety of my own, I must report these matters. We await word from the General on how we are to proceed." Tyrral said.

"I have no place as a leader, and it seems the others have no opinion, or else they will not voice them. So do what you must, it would be a good use of your skills." Apostos said.

"I thank you for your confidence in me, Milady. I will do my utmost." Tyrral said. 

Marthrandir remained silent for a time. He had been in a sour mood all day, and I could see from the look in his eye that he didn't trust Tyrral... Very few in our kinship did in fact. "Why must we have a leader?" The elf said at last, "We have seen how the other group has been doing, and we have been fine, why is that?"

"It is the position of every soldier to do his part. Theirs have not." Tyrral said.

Marthrandir  seemed skeptical. "Oh? And how do you know this?" He demanded.

"Each of us have done our part thus far to ensure the safety of the others. What is your position on this, Marthrandir? You are a Champion I may respect, and I value your opinion."

"Putting one as the leader would mean one is better then the rest, and if we are to keep the right path that we have now then we must stay that way." Marthrandir said. 

'I don't agree.' I said suddenly. I guess it wasn't my place to speak, because Tyrral continued as though I hadn't said anything at all. I was used to that; and I didn't mind it. I'm not the kind of person to argue with anyone about anything.

"In my experience, every man has his leader, be it on the battle field or in his home. It is nessessary to maintain order, and all things must, essentially, be done in order to be maintained. I do not ask to stand on higher ground than you all - no leader who is not a tyrant would. You have bested me in combat, my friend, I know surely that we each possess skills that the others do not. I am no better than you." Tyrral explained.

"Do as you will, Champion Of Men, I do not care.. If Skalithor thinks it best then that is well for me...And thats all I have to say on it." Marthrandir snapped. Then turned and walked away despite Tyrral calling after him. I felt anger stir again in my heart as the words I had spoken to Aivah were again proven true; He was walking away as though he hadn't heard more than three words. 

Tyrral turned to Apostos. "If he does not care than he sets himself to do as Tarvhos has done with his company. There is no room for selfishness on this quest." He said.

"It seems in mind, our fellowship is together. In heart, were are just as lost as the first." Apostos said. Those words sounded so hopeless to me, just as the whole situation seemed. It seemed as though it the despair that had poisoned the first company had now found habitation within ours... Everything was hopeless.. But I said nothing. Apostos walked away, then Tyrall turned to me.

"Taivian, might you help me?" He asked.

"How?" I replied.

"I need us to be united. You are wiser than I, be you but a lad. Help me." Tyrral said.

"...I do not know what to do." I admitted. I did not feel hopeless, but I did feel helpless.. What could I say more than Tyrral had said? No one would listen to me. 

"Than that is two of us. But let us not be drawn to despair on account of it. We may yet find a solution." Tyrral said, looking off in the direction Apostos and Marthrandir had gone.

"I'm not despairing." I said, hoping to somehow comfort him. It had no effect.

"But others are.." Tyrral said sadly, "How do we raise them up?"

I didn't know. At first, I thought of Hawkinz and the giddy way he handled these situations. His playfulness seemed contagious-- But it would not work now. Tyrral had tried to be positive and playful the whole day. It had done nothing but annoy everyone... Then suddenly, a thought occurred to me: "I think-- I think Marthrandir is upset by what Apostos has told him." I said, "He loves her."

Instantly, Tyrral brightened. "You are right. Milad! You are right." 
The champion started forward, and I followed, though his reaction to my words had been surprising. Only a moment ago he seemed out of ideas and almost lost, but with three words, he was suddenly rejuvenated....

Three words.. 
Aivah's voice returned to my mind, and the peaceful feeling to my heart.

"Apostos!" Tyrral called upon seeing her heading toward us. "Release Marthrandir from your promise. I beseech thee, please."

Apostos looked confused. "What promise?"

"He is weighed by the things you spoke to him regarding." Tyrral said.

"I have bound him to no such promise." Apostos said.

Tyrral didn't understand. Releasing Marthrandir would do nothing to ease his upset. He had already heard about the threatenings she'd received. To tell him he was not obligated to do anything would only feel he had detached himself from her, or betrayed her wishes. I remembered the way Apostos had told me, and the feelings it gave me-- That helplessness. It was just worded wrong. We didn't have to feel helpless. I knew the time had come for me to speak from the heart.

"Tyrral.. If I may.." I said suddenly.
 Tyrral looked at me. "Speak, Taivian." he said.

I looked at Apostos. "Apostos... What you said upset me because it sounded like there is some doom coming upon you, and that you have accepted it.. I know it's not true, and that you would never, but hearing you say it scared me. I thought you were asking me to be your safety net, and by having one, you wouldn't think you needed to fight as hard." Apostos lowered her brows, so I continued: "...I was that for my father...I believe what you said, and I'm afraid for you. But I think... In any situation, whatever happens next, our group would do best to live by three words." 

Apostos and Tyrral now listened intently. I could feel my my heart burning as three words came from my mouth: 
"Courage, not compromise." 
It sounded so right, as if I had heard it from somewhere else.

Instantly, Tyrral smiled. "Well said. Well said!"
Apostos nodded, "Indeed.." she said.

"Apostos, you have Marthrandir's heart on your side. Be united with us, I beg of you." Tyrral said, looking toward Apostos. 

She returned his gaze for a moment and replied. "I would not see another fellowship disbanded..." she said, then she looked at me. "You are wiser than most. I have been the contrary as of late, and for that, I plead your forgiveness for the hurt caused, and for the doubt I've laid upon you." The last part seemed directed at Tyrral. 

Tyrral kneeled before Apostos. "Together, in Peace and Doubt." he declared. Apostos thanked him. I said nothing. It seemed suddenly that I couldn't speak at all; though I wanted to tell Apostos that I did forgive her. I could no longer find any words to say. Just then, Marthrandir rejoined us.

"Marthrandir. We have great need of you. Stand beside us, I pray." Tyrral pleaded.

"I have nothing more to say on it.....I have battled hard today. I'm restless and wary.." Marthrandir said, and it showed in his fair elven face.

Apostos took Marthrandir's hand and wrapped her fingers in his, though her eyes were still on me. Was she waiting for me to say something? Or was she merely lost in thought? I couldn't tell.

"I understand." Tyrral said,"The day has been long.. Let us all rest. Tomorow we will move on to Ost Forod..."

"Very well.. Have a good rest." Apostos said, then both she and Marthrandir walked away. Once again, Tyrral and I were left standing together. 

"You and I again, milad! Haha.. Well, you should also get your rest." He laughed, sending me on my way. "Don't let any of the boogymen into your head tonight, eh? Hahah, sleep well my young friend.'

He had no idea how late he was on telling me that, but I smiled. I knew there would be no nightmares tonight. I had to tell Aivah..


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

That night, I met her once again. This time, we were in a field of green grass and flowers, both so tall they passed our knees. The sky above us was bluer than I'd ever seen before, and the wind blew strong. Aivah stood a few feet away from me, holding back her short hair with one hand. 

"How'd it go?" she asked, smiling brightly.

"You were right. Thank you Aivah." I said, smiling back at her.

"Don't thank me. I'm not the one who put the words in your heart.." Aivah replied. 

I knew she was right. Once again, my heart felt warm and peaceful. I had hope once again, and the courage to keep on going for just a little longer.

"So, while we're here, do you wanna play?" Aivah asked suddenly. 

I nodded. I had really missed playing with Aivah; it seemed she had a way of making time stand still... Like we never had to grow up, and nothing bad would ever happen again. I knew that wasn't true, and that eventually I'd have to wake up and go on with the quest...



 But while we were both here, we might as well have fun together.
So we did.

~Taivian

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reunion

For a long moment, Thannor kneels there upon the pale shore, his head bowed.  His heart and mind are too full for words.  He is here. He is finally here.  The vigil has ended...  So, he remains kneeling, trying to gather his whirling thoughts, and sinks his fingers into the sands of a land that he knows will someday be called 'home'.  Just as Eryn Lasgalen was, aye, and just as that wonderful kin-home became.  Suddenly, a sound reaches his keen ears, above the hiss of the tide or the call of unfamiliar birds.  Footsteps on the sand...  Just one person, moving lightly.

"Belegurdaer?"

The breath catches in his throat.  There is but one who would call him by that name...  He knows that voice, even after years beyond counting.  He will always know her voice.  Slowly, as if in a dream, he raises his head.  His blue eyes widen as he drinks in the sight of her, the breeze whipping at her dress and long hair.  She is not as she was when last he saw her, but hale and whole and so beautiful he knows no words in any tongue to do her justice.  She smiles, her face lit up with joy, and he feels like he has given her his heart all over again.

"Hissaeldis...!"


The name he has not spoken in years beyond counting leaves his lips.  And suddenly, the spell is broken and they are both rushing across the sand.  She flings her arms around his neck; he catches her in an embrace.  She laughs as he lifts her off the ground and twirls her in the air, and it is the most wonderful sound he has ever heard.  He overbalances and they wind up lying in the warm pale sand, laughing and weeping all at once, holding on to each other as if they'll never let go again.  After all, death cannot stop true love.  All it can do is delay it for a while.


(...So, this thingamajg is the result of a lot of Dr. Pepper, Twizzlers, having The Princess Bride on the brain, and wanting to write some Thannor/Merilwen fluff.  :3)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Man from Afar

Let me tell you of a man I met once long ago, in a faraway land under a tent of gold and rose. Sit down to feast, all that may, the company is fine and the time right for play. We ate and laughed, and drank our fill. Many men, altogether then, but fierce and few their thoughts that hour. How strange twas the evening, tell me lass, when three maidens fair sat down as guest. Whisper lads, how strange that hour, when on the war's eve they dressed in gown and face of sour. Who was it then to ask or wait, ne'er the forks to be lifted from the plate. Men of great and glory reckoning, sat all aghast, and none dare stirring...
~Taken from Maeflower Tooke's book of Tales and Adventures
Tyrral Ezekiel Jones

"I am one of the King's champions. There is no land too distant, no expanse too wide, no chasm's depth too great that would prevent me from answering the call of my King. - Nay, not even should I be called to travel from here to the stars would I be kept from His service."    

     ~Tyrral

  When the call goes out that the land where a man was born is in need of him, will he not leave behind all that he owns to go to its defense? Or will a loyal son wait a day to consider the plea of his mother, before he comes to her aid? Nay, he would not, and neither did I when the call came... 

I sojourned from my home faraway, coming as a stranger to my native land, here to aid the people lest they fall to the encroaching evils at hand. 

In my own land I have seated with captains and kings, and dined in fine halls and luxurious palaces. Here, I feel I am neither a complete stranger nor a regarded friend, and my welcome has been most suiting in that respect. 
Captain Naumran has remained optimistic of our endeavors and precarious acquaintances, all of whom seem to be of... different and varied ethical origin. Nonetheless I come not as a judge to uphold or condemn, rather as a soldier whose place it is to defend without question or cause.  

I know not how or why General Mountainzephyr has chosen his current company, whom oft between one another is used the word "kindred", though there is nothing to relate them. But as I have known little of the General, his comings and goings, save the power he wields on the battlefield, I cannot say it is either odd or irregular. Though I must admit he has been strange for his kind since the day I met him.
 

I recall that meeting with some fondness, if only for the comical first appearance of one I have now come to esteem with highest regard.
 On that occasion there was some trouble in the Riddermark involving the passage of orcs in lands where they were most unwanted, and I, along with few of my men had come to aid in the campaign. 
I recall we had encamped on a hillside somewhere in the Norcrofts with the intention of keeping our enemy between us and the great wood of Fangorn, wherein none of the foul creatures dared venture.
 

 The morning of that day, the sun had risen in such manner as would surely see victory in the coming hours, for it shown brightly. The smell of hay-straw growing in the farmer's fields was thick in the air and strengthened the hearts of all our men, for in their minds were the thoughts of home and the vision of women and children going to and fro amid the wheat. Greater cause has no man to go to battle, than the thought of his wife, children, and kine all peaceful in the safety of secured lands.
Yet, for me, no greater motivation came than that this was a good day for battle, and under the blue sky, a great day for glory! 


The captains of the Rohirrim had gathered to the tent of their council and I was shortly to join them, but I was that morning standing with my men from out of Gondor, as we pleasantly related to each other the promises of the day and the hope for finer meals. When then to our eyes was met a most curious sight; A stout, bearded man leading a great steed, and alongside it, a much smaller pony. 

I took him almost immediately for a manservant, and I wondered where his master was, for I desired to see by his attire  from what land the nobleman had come to aid us in this battle. Surely, thought I, the grey-dappled mare he leads has been bred for war by one of the Masters of the Riddermark. Little did I suppose however that I was then beholding the man I sought, and lesser still did I suppose that I looked then upon both a Dwarf and a General. Imagine then, my great astonishment, when in the next moment I should discover my folly...

"Whose man is this?" Said I to one of my men.
"My word, I daresay it is a Dwarf." Said he to me. 

"Not a Dwarf here, surely,"  I returned.
"A Dwarf indeed!" Said the Dwarf himself, and he stood before us without the least shame. Then to silence any further argument on our behalf, he commanded the great horse to kneel (which she did most willingly) and before our eyes he mounted as well as any horseman might. When his steed rose in the next moment the Dwarf looked down on us, and I would have been surprised to discover I had not shrunk five feet in his shadow. 

"Now then," said he, "I see there are lilies growing in the mire and the frogs are fit for catching, but boys are not for battle and neither men for the mire."

In that riddle that he later proved, I was to come to understand how greatly the General was esteemed in countries where his folk are seldom seen, as was on that occasion when I watched him lead against the orcs and drive them out from the lands of the Riddermark.

  Little did I think then that some years later, while traveling to join the King's campaign in the Reclamation of His Northern Kingdom, I should once again find myself in General Mountainzephyr's service, and come to know something of his history and the people who look to him as leader and friend. 

Concluding, 
~Tyrral Ezekiel Jones.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Birds, Beasts, and Bears: A Brief History

PART I

The Ancient Realm

 Have you ever looked up at a brilliantly blue sky, or a turbulent storm, and wished to be in it? Or, have you gazed at a wild beast crossing a great plain, or climbing rigid mountain slopes, and longed to walk a mile with him?

   I am almost certain every child, at some point or another, during the fancies of youth, has the mind to wonder and the heart to wish they could fly like a bird, or run like a horse, or climb like a lynx! How limitless would the world seem if we could bound over any barrier like a deer on the run, or escape in flight all that troubles us on this lowly earth?
   Here's a wonder, the more we observe in the majesty and magnificence of nature, the more we want to be a part of it. But, as youth gives way to the sage years, we experience the fading away of childish dreams and begin to realize that there is a real danger hidden beneath all that mystical beauty. There is a power in nature that is always moving and never seen...  Nature then, is a thing to be feared or shunned, and even in its smallest forms it begins to annoy and hinder our ways.
  Yet, for all the efforts of men to shun it and cast it off, this is the one truth Nature knows best - it can exist anywhere, even right among us... and we might never know.
Long ago, before the settlement of men in the land of Eriador, forests covered the western lands. Everything between the Misty Mountains in the east, to the great western Blue Mountains and beyond, was an untamed woodland, and the ancient home of the old beasts of Middle Earth.
   It is said that the trees themselves walked like men in those days, and the animals were far more peaceable and communicative than they are today. But, that was before the coming of shadow and men into these northern lands to build their ships, during an age they called prosperity.  During this time, the beasts were driven and hunted, scattered to the four corners of the realm, all while mankind expanded their territory and fought their great wars. 
  The forest was cut down, by acres and by miles, until only a minuscule fraction remained. Now only small scattered groves are left of what once was a massive woodland. The largest patches of which today are so insignificant that only two this side of the Misty Mountains are named; Eryn Vorn, and what is called by the smaller folk, the Old Forest.
  Of course it was not the desire of either side, man or beast, that they should become enemies and desolate one another, but as the woes of man suddenly befell them, it would seem they became blind and deaf to the woes of other forces in the land. While evil sent its ambassadors into the woodland, nature became confused with the enemy, some parts even giving in to it.
   As time passed, man was consumed by his own affairs and disputations, he was wrapped up in his own fears and passions. Evil brewed in secret, and while messages were sent in the forms of the birds and the beasts of prey, not many were heeded. Some creatures, such as the White Stag, brought tidings of great good to the eyes and ears of men, which were seldom disregarded. Others, however, came only as heralds of great evil, and were written into history as the ill omens that precede woe and misfortune throughout all of legend.
The truth remained that the beasts were succumbing to the influence of darkness. The animals began to prey on the children of men, and all innocence was smitten in the battle between the forces of good and evil.
The untamed wilderness became a savage, merciless land filled with cruel inhabitants; A realm where none could walk safely.
The Tree Herders themselves had been scattered with the destruction of their realm, and the animals relinquished their allegiance to the peoples of Middle Earth. Displaced in the land, they fought against one another. The need for fear and for food drove all, and the weak became the prey of the mighty, while those with greater strength entered in with evil to kill for killing's sake...

PART II

A More Recent History

Now, surely that is not the end of the tale, for not all creatures fell away and became the servants of evil. History, as we have seen, oft finds the tales of beasts entwined in the stories of men; Such as in the relations of Erebor, where the Dwarves knew the allegiance of the Ravens under Carc, the Raven King. And, before the Great Worm, even Smaug the Terrible, came from the mountains and desolated the lands surrounding the Dwarven kingdom, taking their palaces to be his own, the Thrushes of the woodland had already taught their speech to the Men of that land.
 So we see that the small beasts of the realm have had a great impact on the stories which are told of great evil being overthrown. It was so with Smaug when the Thrush knocked and the least suspected creature of all came walking unseen into his fortress: The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, was in the end the one who discovered the weakness in the dragon's armor, and by him was it made known to the Thrush, who in turn brought word to the arrow of Bard - and in fiery ruin the terrible worm was felled!
But Bilbo and the Dwarves of Thorin Oakenshield's company were often aided by such unusual means, and they would not likely have accomplished their quest if not for the help that came at the most needed time and from the most unlikely places - Unlikely it was indeed in the Great Beorn's time, that he would house thirteen dwarfs, one hobbit, and a wizard all in the same evening!
   Though Radagast the Brown was known to Beorn, and was friend to his house, it was the wizard Gandalf, then called the Grey, that led Oakenshield's company to the Great Hall to take refuge there. And, when the tale was cleverly unfolded, and later proved, the dwarves of Erebor knew the friendship of Beorn the Great for as long as he lived.
   Often in the succeeding years the dwarves of that company returned to Beorn's house again, and, even before in the Battle of Five Armies, did he play a significant part.  

Beorn later became a great chief of his people. Revered by all, and respected for generations of his line - many of whom inherited his valor, yet none were ever so great as he on the plain of battle. And, I shall be glad that it is of Beorn the Great Chief that I shall hereafter tell, for I am descended of him, and have walked in his hall when his son Grimborn the Old was chief of my kin!
  Though I shall not tell how bears and men came to walk together, for that is a tale to be sung of in the Hall of Beorn alone. Yet it was at the time of the great destruction and mustering of the shadows that my ancestors came over to inherit the white peaks in the eastern mountains, where there they dwelt for years unnumbered in the mountain country and no stories are had in the languages of men as to how their generations fared. But, after a time, the giants came to the mountains, and then came also the orcs and the goblins... thus it is. However, I shall not relate that tale, as the story of the great battles that were fought and the carnage reaped need not be spoken here - let it only be said that everlasting hatred was kindled at that time between my folk and the goblins of the Misty Mountains.

PART III

From the Past to the Present

Many things which Beorn lived and learned were passed on to his posterity. He taught his children how to plow fields, to reap the fruit of the trees, and of the earth. He taught them to craft weapons and to care for the animals of the land.  His people never knew fear in his days, and they grew numerous in the Vale of Anduin wherein his Hall was situated. They became a great people of the Vale, opening trade with their eastern neighbors, claiming the High Pass of the Misty Mountains and that of the Ford of Carrock, for the safe passage of the Free Peoples.

Beorn's line continued to grow through much of the latter Third Age. They settled in lands both near and far, making their homes abroad as well as in their age old homelands. Some returned to the mountains from whence we came, and others joined with the men in the lands of Dale, while others yet remained to inherit the Vale and aid in the reclamation of the Wood of Greenleaves, also called today Eryn Lasgalen by the elves of that realm.

 Thus the children of Beorn have grown great and numerous, having adapted to different ways. But whether they have returned to their origin in the wilderness, or have chosen to live amongst man, the presence of Beorn's children will always be felt, in whichever place they reside. And, perhaps, if you look very closely, you might even come to recognize them - be it in the forests and mountains, or the lively markets and homes of men.






~Ragnböurg

Friday, August 14, 2015

Assyle's silent thoughts

Day 3, since we received word..

The silence is alarming.. The ground seems to tremble in horror. Even the trees have fallen silent. There is danger lurking in the air. I find it daunting and harmful to all that I love and hold dear. My friends have taken flight from their homes.. I hope this will end. Very few have dared to question why, but the only word given in answer was to prepare quickly. I have found this errand challenging. However, I have continued without rest. My wish only, is to be ready in time to assist my kinship. We have faced many threats these past months, with some we have gained friendship and with others, enemies without faces.


Day 14 of training..


I ache from how sorely I have pushed myself to be ready in time. It feels as though the time to depart is growing increasingly nearer. The earth itself echos with it. I do not wish to fail in my errand. For many years I have watched my kinship members go to and fro, working hard to dispel evil and keep peace. I had no voice then.. Often I felt alone and left behind.. forgotten.. But this, I hope will not replicate that time. I continue to grow stronger and train myself, I will be ready.


Day 20..


 Our noble Leader spoke to me today.. He has chosen to reassign me to another group. Skalithor says there is reason in this. He reaffirms to me that I have not failed and I must continue readying myself. Though this has been disappointing, I feel he is right in this and I shall continue till I am ready.. Whenever I am needed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

World Transfer???

Attention Children Of The Fourth Age!

Urgent news, my dear fellows!
Turbine is apparently moving to a new server and only taking ten worlds with them, 5 US and 5 EU....

Vilya will not be one of them - Click Here! 

We will be required to transfer, though admittedly transfers will be free from what I can determine.

More Details Here!

Don't panic! The way Turbine describes it, this will be a very slow and careful process, but I do want us to be prepared. We need to get together and discuss which world we will be transferring to.

I vote Arkenstone!



~Hawkinz

Friday, July 31, 2015

Nilithion, The Rune-Hunter

My mind is a fog...
My vision is blurred...
My hand is unsteady, but still I must tell..
...Of the creature whose anger I've spurred...

Long has my kinship been in preparation for a journey into Moria. There is an evil that stirs below; one that has silenced the trees, and driven the animals mad with fear. We aim to stop it, though we know not what it is yet.. I know it is down there though, for I have felt it's malice each time I pass through the gates with my friend, Athrimn... It seeks him. 

...It lusts after his power.. The power he and Apostos share.. 
That ancient ability once used by Elven Smiths to craft the Rings Of Power: That of a Rune-Keeper.

But my kinship knows of this, for I have already told them. I write for other reasons; to alert them of a more present evil, lest I haven't the chance to speak of it to them myself.

**************
Dearest Friends, 
We have long known that something haunts the steps Athrimn has taken. It follows him wherever we travel, until we travel into Moria's depths, then it deviates and seeks the path trodden by Apostos instead. I can't pretend to be ignorant of the connection between this hunter and the evil that stirs below... I believe it sent her to capture the Rune-Keepers.

Recently, I have discovered the identity of this hunter, but through no easy means. 
I tried breaking from Athrimn's company and tracking her as she tracked him, but she was too illusive. Her steps have been light, and often she leaves the ground and goes on through the trees, or the river.. After speaking with Skalithor and all of you about it, I decided to try a different method-- To bait one's prey to you is a Hunter's last resort, because it is dangerous for all who are involved.. I know I have too often suggested it in previous ventures, when patience and wise planning from Skalithor made it unnecessary. This time, however, he was not there to caution me otherwise and I went ahead with it...

...Forgive me..

I left Athrimn in Moria, and beat his hunter back to Apostos' trail. I concealed hers and I set carefully a fraud path, then employed the boy Taivian to assist me. We were in Greenfields, near the road which leads to Evendim, and there Taivian replicated the energy a Rune-Keeper emits when they summon a rune.. The hunter was successfully fooled, and knowing Apostos is often alone, came into the open to retrieve her... I doubt either Taivian nor myself were truly prepared for what we saw, and we shall not soon forget it:

The beast is one of Ungoliant's dreaded offspring! 
A giant black spider, with blood red coloring on her legs and back! I could not believe something as horrifying as what we beheld had been roaming freely in the Shire, nimble enough as to have gone unnoticed for so long... Yet she was not as her predecessor, nor as her sister, Shelob. This spider was lithe, and moved as quickly as a regular sized arachnid.

She saw us while she was yet on the hill, but knew that if she turned, we would pursue her... It enraged her that she had been so easily deceived by an Elf and 14 year old boy. She cursed us our arrogance in interfering, and swore to devour us in a manner that was most unpleasant and does not bear repeating....

...In my defense should Tarvhos and Silverfeather ever find this, I had ordered Taivian home after he completed his spell. I could feel the monster's excitement, and knew she was coming quickly. If Taivian had listened to me, he would have been able to escape before she arrived... ...Yet it is to his credit, for though he refused, he was not frightened of her and stood with me, prepared to attack.

The details of this battle would take too long to write, and already the pen feels heavy in my hand. Let it suffice to say that between the two of us, we were able to drive her back, yet she did not leave without bestowing upon me a gift of parting. By then we had already wounded her badly, but before I could loose the arrow that would have finished it all, a sudden rage took her and renewed her strength. She tackled me to the ground and hissed her name into my face, swearing that in the final moments of my slow and painful death, I would remember it.. Then she struck me with her stinger.

I have no doubt that she was aiming for my heart, only thanks to Taivian, she penetrated my shoulder instead, and was forced to retreat with a lightning burn upon her back.. I tried to pursue her, but upon standing, my strength suddenly failed me. Quickly, and with yet more help from Taivian, I was able to clean and medicate the wound. Afterward, it healed surprisingly quickly, so we thought little more of it and sought to return to the Kinship House....

....I realize now that I have been poisoned, but the effects of that do not trouble me as greatly as the words the monster spoke during our battle:

She said she knew of us, and she had seen and watched us, all whom had ever spoken to the Rune-Keepers. She claimed she had followed a "drunken man" to where we live and reported it all to her back master. He knows the name of MountainZephyr and despises it.. Then, during her retreat, she swore her master had plans for our little kinship, and that she would yet see us destroyed....

...I know I have made a mistake, perhaps, in drawing this creature out. The time we have left is now slimmer than before, or will be when this vile monster returns again to Moria.. 

I am too weak to try and thwart her march, and have forbidden Taivian from doing so.. I discovered sometime later, during a battle in which I aided Orinmur and another in the defense of Gondamon, that the effects of the poison increase with my heart rate.. 

For now I am calm, and do not feel as ill, but I will not write anymore...

I say only this to my friends still travelling abroad in preparation of our journey:

Beware Nilithion, The Rune-Hunter... 
I do not know when she will choose to strike again.

P.S  Skalithor, I beg of you not to be angry with Taivian. I owe the boy my life..
..And as I know you are undoubtedly angry with me (and have every right to be)... Please do not lecture me until I am feeling better. I will not be able to hold my own against you the way I am feeling now.

Your (hopefully still) friend, and faithful idiot
~Hawkinz

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Mysterious Disappearance of Maeflower Tooke...

This record, had in the histories maintained by the Book-Keeper, whose duty it is to chronicle the times and events of the Mallorn Children, their comings and goings in the Fourth Age, and kept in his personal study for safekeeping, relates the recent occurrence of unexplained circumstances...

Miss Maeflower Tooke, with whom we have all been previously acquainted, who is known to come and go between the homes in the interest of upkeep and the caretaking of house, yard, and neighbor, was said to have left the homesteads in the company of two trusted guardians, Thannor and Ardonali, on the thirtieth day of the sixth month in the twenty-first* year of King Elessar.

The events prior to the sudden departure of our friend is recorded as the following:

Maeflower Tooke was met by Ardonali and Thannor of the Mallorn Guard in the yard of Miss Kimelly Bolger, where she was described as being "arms full" whilst transporting a large selection of necessities, (things, perhaps only a hobbit might have remembered to need.) At which time, the aforementioned Guardians offered to accompany Maeflower on whatever travels she was clearly setting out on, and were not declined.
The trio are reported to have set out on horseback in the late evening and to have ridden through the following locations; The Shire countryside, Breeland, the Lone-Land wilderness, and the upland woods of the Trollshaws. Coming to the Bruinen, the company then traveled south down the river and entered the land of Eregion, and began their trek to the land of Enedwaith.

Following an ambush by the unfriendly inhabitants of Eregion, the company took refuge in the ancient ruins of Mirobel, where they camped for a night. Setting out early the next day, they were once again attacked in the hills of Emyn Naer, and there, Miss Tooke was separated from her companions on the northern side of the river prior to coming over into Enedwaith.

In the land of Enedwaith, Thannor and Ardonali were also separated while searching for the lost hobbit. Thereafter, Skalithor MountainZephyr, who had some days been pursuing the company, met with Ardonali and began traveling north again in pursuit of the two lost companions.

Thannor was discovered in the northern regions of Eregion, but all signs to entail the whereabouts of Miss Tooke were, save for the passage of a pony near the river, absent in this part of the journey.

   'I will hereafter relate any details I recall of the events following: We arrived in the ancient ruins of the Noldor, called Gwingris, several days if not months* after the time this fateful journey began. Here, we took refuge to consider all that had transpired, and I bade Ardonali and Thannor to watch and rest, while I took my journey again in seeking what became of Miss Tooke.'
   'I was not, however, permitted to wander long, for near the Red Horn Pass of the western Eregion hills I discovered a set of tracks which I quickly identified as belonging to that of a heavy-laden pony. Hoping, perhaps, to find the creature and verify the fate of my friend, I followed these tracks. While thus engaged, I discovered them joined by two other sets that were unmistakably small horses.' 

  'What happened thereafter, I will not say, only that I was met by one of the three riders who knew of my coming, and had waited to inform me that Maeflower was both found and safe.'

'When I returned to Ardonali and Thannor, I do not doubt the heaviness of their hearts to learn that one of their companions, who they had last seen in peril, must now be left behind. And I fear it will be a great long while before we see that hobbit again, but we must suppose that Maeflower Tooke is now in the company of friends, and those who have undoubtedly never been far from her... '

Written for the archives of the Book-Keeper in the House of the Mellryn by
~Skalithor MountainZephyr.

Notes:
*The said year of this event is an estimated timeline, which may hereafter be subject to alteration as otherwise decided among the current participating individuals of the Mallorn Children of the Fourth Age.