OOC: This is a collaborative effort, shaped by Halasían and myself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dunland - Fourth Age, Year 16 A fair country of green hills and glens within the Enedhwaith was Dunland. Its beauty was fiercely defended by the Dunlendings, who dwelt in scattered villages as a wary, secretive and hostile people. People who had for two Ages endured persecution from the descendants of the Three Houses of the Edain despite their Aduanic descent from the House of Haldor of the First Age. The beauty of the land and was lost on the small band that now pressed north in the quiet hours before dawn. Away from the villages stood a small farm. It was simple, a humble cottage and a barn that the riders nervously pulled up to. One horse bore an empty saddle. A woman, tall and beautiful with the stamp of Numenor upon her features slipped into the barn. Her hair was pale and her eyes were the blue of a northern winter sky. She carried a basket that she clutched protectively to her chest. She had forseen this, as was her gift, and yet been unable to dissuade her proud husband from his path. In the nearby cottage a man, his wife and three year old son slept undisturbed. Their son dreamt of catching frogs and of swimming in the nearby spring. The woman entered the barn on quiet yet weary feet. Within plough horses whickered and chickens fretfully circled on the floor. The woman passed them all by, finding a clean stall. The hay within still held the sweet, clean scent of a bountiful summer. She knelt and laid the basket carefully down, taking care to disturb nothing. Tears traced shining paths down her proud cheeks. By the doors, a man hissed a warning to hurry. The woman bent and whispered to the basket,"I will come for you." Her heart had already died with her lord and husband, Bereth. Verawyn left her hope in the basket. The heavy sound of racing hooves roused the farmer from his sleep. He peered out the window into the pre-dawn murk. A man of Rohan, he knew the sound of a war party. Dunlendings rode by and the man released a breath he did not recall holding that on this night, they hunted something or someone other than himself. He returned to the warmth of his bed and his wife, unaware of how the lives of all within had veered. Nine days later a weary and mourning band of men made Imladris at dusk. With them were two horses with empty saddles. The Dunedain of Cardolan carried yet another sorrowful tale. Their lord, his wife and baby heir had been lost on the road to Minas Tirith, under unrelenting Dunlending attack. Cardolan had no other.