Monday, March 30, 2015

From Under the Apple Tree: Entries I - V


                           ENTRY I: Strings of Fate

      My Dearest Mother,

More has happened with the passing of every new moon.

There was a long period, where I followed in Rædwulf 's footsteps. About six years after your passing, I met the cause of fathers long absences in our lives; an elf by the name of Apostos who has long ensnared our family lineage to her cruel will. Rædwulf has long been a spy for her. When I turned eighteen, that changed. She found me and turned his sights on me, and since then, my father has not been seen.

Much has been revealed to me as of late. Perhaps Rædwulf has planned it from the start, that I should take his burden for him. This is why he took me on his hunting trips from such a young age. I have been so naive. However now is not the time to dwell on things unseen in the past...

While I spent those years alone save for Ardonali - some fourteen long years - I am making up for it now. I have made some new friends and with their trust, a new light has shone in a dark tunnel, and while things may still be bleak in some places, I know that with their help, there is certainly no obstacle that I cannot overcome. 

How did I come across this wonderful and diverse Kinship? Now that is something I must tell you about.

I had briefly met the leader, Skalithor, and a small collect of his company some time ago, though the meeting was brief and I did not think I would find him again in travels. my  travels.

 So it would happen...

Apostos the Cruel

I was at the Inn of Dale, in between tasks. Twenty years ago on  that day is when I lost you, my dear mother. Already I seem to have fathers trait of being easily addicted to certain substances, and I sought to drown away my thoughts of your passing with strong mead. That same day it would happen that two acquaintances of Skalithor were present in the Inn.

It should go without saying I am not entirely pleasant when I'm intoxicated, so I wasn't very friendly to this hobbit, Maeflower, and her human friend, Aivah. Long story short, I think there was a fight, I fell out a window on the second story, and one of them stole something from me. The details are a little embarrassing so I'll leave those out. Now, while I got back what was taken from me, there were ill feelings between the three of us, and I left without expecting to see them again. Hah! 

Fate is a funny lady. As she would have it, we would find each other in Bree later. Maeflower was expressing her exasperation, no - it was just plain outrage - over the situation, when I happened across them in a park. I could tell that I had upset them a great deal, and sought to apologize, and yet the Hobbit would hear none of it, and I was hard headed about it myself when my apology was initially shot down. So it was, I departed from them again, not before being approached by two more members of their group, who I will discuss later.

It could not have been two days later when I chanced upon Skalithor, and I mentioned to him that I was moving, and he offered me his aid. It would happen that I was moving to the Shire, but where I had not decided, and Skalithor again aided me in finding a home and even purchasing it for me until I could earn the funds myself. He seemed a little eager for me to move there, and soon I would learn why. 

As it turned out, nearly the whole neighborhood was a dwelling place for his Kinship - including Maeflower and Aivah. No doubt knowing what sorrows had befallen a kinship member, he had moved me into a neighborhood where I would be a short walk from her! You can imagine I was furious, and impatient with Skalithor, and though I threatened to leave, I did not. Somehow, I knew you would want me to stay. 

And still there was more turmoil yet, even after hard feelings had been forgiven, as I had avoided others for so long, fearing Apostos would know how to use their friendships against me. Still I remained, though I threatened to leave time and time again, and Skalithor just as well threatened to follow me to the ends of the earth, and he very well did one time. 

My secrets became theirs to know, my burdens were spread out over them, and despite that it would not have been my choice, in the end I have never been wiser. We also learned that our fates had been intertwined from the start, as they too had a friend under the snare of Apostos...

For now, that is all I will say. Much has happened since then, and these matters have grown more complex by the day. In spite of this, we have grown in hopefulness as things have become more complex, and I know that we will see these bitter affairs through to the end, and we will be stronger as a whole because of them.

                                                         - Tarvhos Bartholomaus 

                 ENTRY II: A Light in Dark Places (Part I) 


    My Dearest Mother,

As I have mentioned in my previous entry, I have met many new souls, who have taken my darkness and filled it with a new and beautiful light. I have not met one yet who I distrust, so long as they are a friend of Skalithor, though some of them conceal themselves more than others. Still, let me at least tell you of those I know, some in more detail than others.

Skalithor the Valiant
                 Skalithor  Mountainzephyre the Valiant

Firstly there is Skalithor, the leader of our Kinship, named Mallorn Children of the Fourth Age. He is the first that I met in this group, and I gladly give him all of my trust. You would like him, Mother - he is strong and yet not brutal in his ways, he is wise and yet he does not seek to place his wisdom over yours, and to all of his friends he is a beacon of protection and caring. I have inadvertently learned of some deeper sorrows of his, and I can see that he has lost much, and yet he does not dwell on these things.

He is a man of justice. A dear friend to his companions, and that much more terrifying to his enemies. I have seen that he will hold back until he is sure the enemy is against him, without any inclination to change their ways.

There is much that I can learn from him. I like to think that he is as much of a father as I have ever had, and it is only with his help that I have begun to creep out of the depths of fear and sorrow and right what I have wronged. I hope with his aid to grow in wisdom. 

 Maeflower Tooke the Dear
One of the first that I met in the Kinship was Maeflower along with Aivah. Due to those aforementioned circumstances of our meeting, my first impression of her was that she was high strung and haughty. As I've discovered, this is the furthest thing from the truth.

She is perhaps one of the most caring souls I have met. She frets about her Kinship like a nervous mother, and cares greatly for every member, or at least she has demonstrated otherwise. Maeflower is a sensitive and loving person and has shown a great talent for making all who meet her feel comfortable and cheerful. It is hard not to be in a good mood around her; her smile is contagious and her laugh brings a great sense of joy about a room. This wonderful hobbit constantly places others before herself, and I'm sure that she would take every burden from you in an instant if it would make you happy even for a moment.

Lallinvorn the Bright
Lallinvorn the Bright and Beautiful
What a sight to behold! Skalithor might have my head if he reads this journal entry. In any case, Lallinvorn is a beautiful elf maiden, and a Guardian of our kinship. She is as bright and talented as she is lovely, and I do not think that some of the greatest warriors of men could best her in battle.

Unfortunately, her brother - Marthrandir, who I will speak of in a future entry -  has been caught in this web of fate as well, as he was taken by Apostos as her mercenary. I can see that the events have weighed on Lallinvorn, and I have learned that if anything can send my heart aching, it is to see a beautiful elf sorrow so. 

Hawkinz the True
 Hawkinz the Playful and True

One of the first that I met, along with Skalithor, Maeflower and Aivah, would be Hawkinz. At first there was much mystery to him, though now I would be wrong to say that he is the secretive elf lad I initially thought. Hawkinz, though serious when the situation calls for it, is a high energy fellow with a good spirit and strong will! He is as witty and ornery as he is loyal and kind. Our first interactions were stiff, though I have learned much about him through them.. Still, now he is more like a brother to me, and when he is not preoccupied with some task, his company is usually full of lightheartedness and maybe a little bit of mischief as well! Sometimes I wonder where Skalithor finds the patience.

Like all of the others in the Kinship, he undoubtedly has his sorrows and woes, and yet little has he let them be known.


Aivah the Innocent
    Aivah the Splendid and Innocent 

Another one of the first few that I met is Aivah. She was there with Maeflower on that fateful day in the Inn. Needless to say, I thought her a thief and coward in the beginning, and dare I wonder what her initial thoughts of me were! And yet like the others, we have moved past the bitter meeting and have grown to be friends.

She is a young girl who I have learned is half elf, and she hails from faraway places.. Might I mentioned that she is a Princess? What a strange group I have met. Though she is only fifteen, she has told me that she has much admiration for the Hawkinz lad, and there is also much turmoil in her soul as there are much to distance them. Some time after our initial meeting, I had the chance to talk to her and I learned of these things, and it was through these conversations that we were able to find friendship despite everything.
Innocent, full of energy, kind and bright, Aivah is a priceless friend to the kinship and myself. 
These are just a few of the wonderful souls I have met. There are many others who I will include in future entries.                          

  - Tarvhos Bartholomaus

                     ENTRY III: A Light in Dark Places (Part II)


                My Dearest Mother,

There are more still I would like to mention, who have brought me some wisdom, comfort, or friendship in this times of chaos. I would like to say that all of those who I have met, have expressed a great deal of similar noble traits; honor, loyalty, kindness... despite all of their own trials and afflictions. So much can I learn, from such a diverse Kinship of grand people!  

Assyle the Gentle
Assyle the Majestic and Humble 

Skalithors Kinship is certainly one of many treasures! Assyle is no exception.

I had met her earlier on, and I knew her a short while before truly learning about her. She has been through a great sorrow, the loss of a dear friend.. which has weighed heavily on her, and left a scar on her soul so deep that she had lost her voice. And still something wonderful happened, under the apple tree.

We had been speaking of our loved ones - you, my mother - and her mentor, who was lost to her.. and we spoke of my tree, and how it connected me to you, and the stars which connected her to him, and how our loved ones were only lost if we forgot about them. Then she began to sing a song with her hands, and as she furthered into the song.. her voice returned! And ah, I could not have been more fortunate to be there, for it is a lovely voice! And what a splendid friend to have. 

Thannor the Patient
Thannor the Patient Protector 
Thannor is newer in this Kinship than myself and still he has left a great impression on all of the Kinship folk! Despite that little good has befallen him upon joining us, he remains diligent and keeps his head above water. And certainly a lot has happened since he joined. So worthy has he proven himself to be, that Skalithor has bestowed him a rank as a Guardian.

Most importantly he is a great friend and ally to have. He puts others before himself in any situation that calls for it, and knows how to keep himself composed! I envy his sort of self control, and I know I can learn a lot from him. I hope he will be with us for a good long while.


Dorus the Humble and Reserved
Dorus the Elusive

This is one Kinship member that know little about. As a matter of fact, I cannot say for certain that he even exists! I have seen him a few times when I was injured, and barely conscious, so I cannot say if he's someone I made up or a hidden member of this Kinship.. in any case, I remembered him clearly enough while I was awake once that I was able to conjure this image. This would certainly explain how the Kinship home is mysteriously cleaned every day, and the food that keeps showing up on the tables...

In any case, I would like to think that if he does exist, he is a loyal member of this Kinship, and I hope to meet him someday. Otherwise if he doesn't exist, I probably ought to retire early...

Orinmur the Cautious

One other of Dwarf Kind I have met, though regret to say that know little about, is a dwarf by the name of Orinmur.  I know that he has helped me greatly and offered me many words of advice and friendship in these troubled times. He as well as the others has my trust and friendship as long as he would take it.

He is brave though not rash, on the contrary I know him to be very cautious, and his intuition regarding certain matters has proved reliable.

Kimelly the Sensitive 

Another hobbit friend of the Kinship is Kimelly. Like Maeflower, she worries greatly about her Kinship in times of trouble, and she is a very sensitive and loving Hobbit - witty to boot! What she might lack in courage at times, she makes up for in good wisdom and counsel.

I hope that once these complicated times have come to pass, I will be able to learn more of her; she is very pleasant company, although I have spent few precious moments with her.





                       ENTRY IIIV: A Question of Trust


       My Dearest Mother,

I am nearly healed now..  regardless of where I am along that path, I can no longer remain still. This is not in line with Skalithors ideals - he would have me stay still longer an read books regarding his journeys, and look over maps all day. He has told me that I should give time for my heart to heal, and I still fail to see what he knows.

Many strange and confusing things have occurred, and though I might have missed some of them due to my injury, I have obtained knowledge, or a loose idea rather of the events.

It was learned that my father is seeking me with some ill intent. Hawkinz obtained this information, and he is certain that he seeks my demise. What is more, is that Raedwulfe is traveling with a boy, around fifteen years of age. Already this has unnerved me, because certainly he wants nothing else than to obtain some good for himself and he does not truly care about this child's well being.

Moreover, it has been said that Ardonali is the one who betrayed my location to Raedwulfe, and has turned him against me. My father is convinced that I will seek to destroy him, and that if he is not rid of me first, this will be fulfilled.

The Face of Friend or Foe?
Ardonali has long been a trusted friend and guardian of our family line, protecting us from some of Apostos threats.  
He was even appointed as your guardian, and I have believed this all along.

And still things may be very different. There are things that I see about him now that were not apparent before I joined the Kinship. There is a stiffness to him. Many of the Kinship members took a great deal of time to begin to trust him, and even Skalithor only recently appointed him an official member of the Kinship.

Another situation of both curiosity in concern is something that Hawkinz has possibly learned about the boy who travels with my travel.

What we know is that he was an orphan in Gondor, taken in by a woman by the name of Silverfeather. I have not personally talked to her but a short moment or two and still I hope to understand more about her. Skalithor has given her a rank in the Kinship already... in any case, this boy is like a child to her, even though they are not related. While she's not related to him, I might be.. as there is some evidence to support that Raedwulfe took a second wife and had a child with her not long after he abandoned me to Apostos.

For now I will look at this with an open but critical mind, and I hope the answers will become clear sooner than later.

As it is I will not have another entry for some time, I'm afraid that I have upset a great friend and a lovely elven maiden and I have to make amends, while trying to unravel this puzzle. My mother, watch over me that I might not stray far from the truth.

                                   -Tarvhos Bartholomaus  

               ENTRY V: Drowning Feeling

   My Drearest Mother,

It has been long since I've written in my journal and much has happened between these entries. Some things better than others, and still everything has managed to bring with it a new wave of confusion so thick, every step I take with the Kinship feels like I'm wading in sap, and falling in it more than moving forward.

Raedwulf left. Much ensued, and essentially, he declared that he was against Skalithor, and so he would either suffer the consequences of anyone who might declare themselves against justice, or leave. He took the latter route, and fled to Gondor.

However, it was an odd thing that he should bid Taivian, the one thing he seemed to care about still, behind. Taivian is his son, and my half brother. He is only fourteen and very wise. The events have shifted greatly since his arrival. Apostos, who I once knew to be an enemy, has become an ally to the Kinship. And still, to tell you of Taivian and Apostos, I will have to step back a pace..

The Bartholmaus family line has a dark history... many generations ago, an evil necromancer named Xargoth caused a great many to live in fear. Ardonali and Apostos fought beside teach other ceaselessly to make sure Xargoth would never again be able to bring harm to anyone, and when they at last succeeded in the long battle, he would leave them with a haunting prophecy.

Xargoth had a son, and though his son had aided Ardonali and Apostos in bringing his own demise, he could very well be responsible to some extent for bringing about the predecessor of Xargoth, the one to receive his powers. For it was bade that the second born son of a family in the Bartholomaus line would inherrit his power.

Once Apostos and Ardonali had rested from their turmoils, they immediately began to discuss the plan for when that time came. For it could be but a few years or many generations and so they would have to be ready.

When at first they thought that they would both share the same sentiments regarding this cursed child, they soon discovered their methods were completely different.

Ardonali sought to have the child destroyed before he could pose any threat. Apostos would seek to help raise the child, acting as a sort of overseer for the family, and teach him to use his powers wisely. Each was horrified by the others decision - Ardonali would accuse Apostos of seeing the fall of many innocents by her ignorance, and Apostos would accuse Ardonali an unjustified murderer if he should hold true to his path.

So they went their ways, each one not hindering the other but they have no spoken since. They both crossed interesting paths along their ways.. Ardonali became a good friend and guardian of the Bartholomaus line, though his intentions were ill. And Apostos takes up studying the same dark magic that Xargoth used, which ultimately takes hold of her as she had not prepared adequetley to learn of it's secrets. So one with good intentions is painted evil, and one with ill intentions is painted good. Now Raedwulfe Bartholomaus has a child, myself, whom he abandons whilst trying to rid himself of the eyes of Apostos, who has serviced much of the family line to deeds influenced by the darkness holding her. And so she turns her focus on me.

Little do they know, that my father Raedwulfe has taken another family in Gondor, and the second son is born. And just as it was said, he is born with a great power, though he was hidden for a good while, of course until he came into contact with us.

As it would occur.. Ardonali did not kill Taivian, and still by making his decisions of the past known, he created a rift - namely between himself and Taivian's adoptive mother, Silver. As I have said, Apostos has become an ally of the Kinship, and I believe she is helping to train Taivian, as the boy often goes off to places I do not know...

Which brings me to a more personal matter.

Skalithor has placed Taivian in my responsibility. Although he has told me that I do not carry this load alone, it has still weighed heavily on me. I am due to be a good role model to Taivian and I have only proved myself a fool thus far.

I feel very distant from him although he is my brother. Now that he seeks to hone his abilities, a power that I am not at all familiar with and in all honesty afraid of, Apostos is a better guide at this point in his life. There are things that they understand that I do not, and it makes me feel as useless as a small insect, barely able to understand the earth it walks on. I am only as good a role model as I am a man, and that is to say, I am not. Taivian does not need me and somehow, this thought makes me feel lonelier than all of the years I had traveled Middle Earth on my own, and puts a deep well in the pit of my stomach. I am afraid he's already established a better friendship with Ardonali, the one who once intended to end his life, than he has with me. And that is well, there is more to be gained from knowing Ardonali than myself.

Silverfeather seems to be suffering from the same sorrows in that matter of subject. I tried to approach her about it. When I first met her, she was a chipper woman full of strength and dignity, and yet since she has learned of Ardonalis intentions, and the extent of Taivians abilities, she too has had to come to terms with the thoughts that he will grow more distant from us. However when I tried to speak to her about this, I only reflected my own frustrations off of her and left us both worse off than before.

I would like nothing more than to run away. To have only myself to worry about. To forget the Shire and the Kinship and maybe I would again feel like I am moving ahead instead of falling back twice for every step I tried to take forward. And still, would that only make me a selfish coward? Staying doesn't seem to be doing anyone any good.

At this point, I feel lower than I did when Apostos commanded me to do many dark deeds, and I submitted to them willfully.. Never before have I had so many allies and still never before have I felt more isolated and afraid. And then because of such, I feel like a coward and a weakling, and there is a cycle of fear right now I do not know how to break. These events and thoughts are on my constantly, and often now I forget to eat or sleep. I feel like the cold jaws of despair have begun to wrap around me..

How I wish you were here, Mother. You would know what to do and what to say. How I wish you were here...

            -Tarvhos Bartholomaus