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Inside the Golden Hall

Daranavo

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Daranavo listened as she spoke but movement up ahead caught his eye. He lifted his head and saw several horses move into view. He spoke softly while he stared ahead, "You know, it was blind luck that put me there that day. I saw you fighting those orcs. You had...a certain grace about you as you moved. I truely thought I would not survive so many and yet, I knew I had to try to help you. I heard your voice in my head...

*The road was shaded for a good portion of the day. Between the trees and the clouds, the afternoon had grown quite cool. Daranavo had stopped a moment to rest and to think. He selected a spot near a clop of trees just off the road a pace. He sat down upon the ferns and stretched out his tired legs. He drank heavily from his water skin, letting droplets of water run down the sides of his mouth and dampen his vest. The past 2 days had been very trying upon him. Though he felt himself just lucky to be alive, he silently mourned the loss of his home. For he knew he could never go back now. He continued to dwell upon his predicament…

*Though he heard a high pitched sound in his head, it was the low guttural tone of an orcs voice that woke him with a start. Groggily he stood up, the water skin in his right hand drizzled water down the side of his pants as he listened. He heard nothing. He raised his water skin up and capped it shut. He tested its weight and decided that is was about half full. Gaidon was grazing only steps away from him and as he approached him, he patted his neck smartly and spoke. “Where to now boy? We sure did get ourselves into quite a pickle. "With his right hand, he lifted the leather flap to his saddle bag and let the water skin fall inside. As he tested the draw of Gaidon’s harness, he heard it again, a deep voice in the distance. This time though he jumped upon Gaidon and within an instant he heeled him on. Gaidon glided from the brush onto the road with a sureness all his own. Daranavo thought he would stop short and see what had the orcs in such a state, and so close to Edoras. He rode until he heard the sounds of battle before he stopped and dismounted. With his right hand outstretched, he pointed to the tree line and told Gaidon to not be seen. The horse quickly complied and hid behind a very thick tree. Daranavo moved across the road and up along the tree line, staying low he dodged in and out of the bushes. He stopped a moment, set a bolt into his readied crossbow, and made sure his blade would loose unfettered. He drew nearer and finally, he saw what had the orcs attention.

From secret he spied 2 elves fighting the orcs. One he knew was a female. He watched her a moment and thought that her movements were like that of a swan on a lake. He shook himself out of his daydream, rubbed his chin and wondered what could the elves be doing out this way. The elves sliced into their orc opponents, and he sighed almost disappointed that they seemed to have the orcs all but beaten. He looked back to where he left Gaidon, and was startled as several more orcs burst from the brush not 10 feet in front of him. He fell back to the surprise but managed to catch himself with his arm. The small group of orcs raised their jagged blades and bloody clubs as they witnessed the elves skillfully finish off their comrades. The orcs spat and growled angrily before they jutted toward the pair. The suspense rose in Daranavo as he saw the orcs close the distance at a rapid pace. He was sure the woman had not spotted them yet. It all happened so fast. She sliced into the remaining orc but was about to be run over by this new threat. Just as she turned to see what was coming, her companion dove forward and knocked her to the side. The orcs trampled him and dug their blades into his body as they moved up to her. The moment was more then he could take. Adrenalin coursed through his body. He watched as the orcs surrounded her, shouting taunts and licking their lips hungrily. He took a breath, and then another. He settled, drew his crossbow to his face, aimed, and fired at what he assumed was their leader. The older, grey orc fell back dead before he hit the ground. Daranavo quickly slipped up the tree-line, shot out of the brush, and growled to get their attention. It had worked he thought, seeing their gnarled faces now as they all looked at him. He saw one go down as he rushed them but did not know exactly why. He dropped his crossbow and drew his rapier as he came up on them. One orc ran toward him and as he came near, Daranavo jumped up and to its side as he passed it. He stuck his blade deep into its neck and came back to his feet without missing a stride. The orc staggered a few steps behind him, then fell. He saw that one orc had the elf rolling to avoid its spear, but two others leered at him as he approached them. He stopped short and waited for one to move up and attack. The larger of the two did step forward and lifted its thick club over its head. Daranavo stood at the ready, took a deep breath and bounced to stay loose. The orc swung down at him but Daranavo spun out of its strike and slashed along its face. It reeled in pain, fell to the ground and slowly bled to death. He could see that the elf was now in trouble. He lurched forward at the orc that faced him and knocked it off balance. With his blade, he guided the orcs own blade into the belly of the one that held the spear. Before the orc righted itself, Daranavo relieved it of its head. Their bodies spilled dark blood in thick puddles about their corpses. With his left hand, he smacked the hilt of his sword and sent streaks of black blood from his gleaming blade.

He was breathing hard but became instantly settled as he stepped up and saw her face for the first time. She sat up and held herself by her arms. She too was breathing hard as she looked up at him.*

Daranavo stopped altogether and smiled as he remembered the look in her eyes then. He sighed, tilted his head up and realized what he was feeling for Tiriviel. As quickly as it had come, he stifled it as he looked on at the horses.

"Do elves ride without a saddle?" He said questioningly as an idea popped into his head
 

yhwh1st

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There was a mischevious twinkle in her smiling eyes as she turned to answer. "Indeed, we do." She knew what he was thinking, and the smile spread to her lips. It didn't take them long to reach the herd, but each time they would move closer the horses would move away. "Perhaps it would be better if you waited here." Daranavo nodded and she moved in among them. Tiriviel spoke with a soothing voice and the few that were wary of her presence, soon relaxed. She felt a slight touch on her shoulder and Tiriviel turned around to see a palomino curiously observing her. Sho moved toward him and spoke. "Will you come with me and be a help to me, my friend?" The horse stamped his foot and nickered at her as he bobbed his head. Tiriviel stroked his velvety nose and said: "You are young, but steady and strong. I will call you Hurin, the steadfast." She ran her hands down his sleek neck and across his back. She looked into his eyes and knew they belonged to eachother. Turning around, she made her way back to Daranavo. Tiriviel knew that Hurin would follow. Once they reached the place where Daranavo stood, she once again turned and spoke to the horse. "We have far to go today, will you let me ride you?" The horse lowered his head and touched his nose to her shoulder. She moved around and Daranavo moved over to help her but she was up before he had a chance.

They continued forward and Tiriviel felt the strength in the muscles of Hurin's body. A smile spread across her face and she leaned forward to whisper in his ear. "My friend, how swift are you?" Hurin tossed his head and shot off the next minute. She felt free and one with the horse. Tiriviel did not let him run for long, there was no need to tire him out so early on the journey. She pulled him up and Daranavo quickly caught up. "Almost as fast as Gaidon." she told him as he came up along side her. It was early afternoon but the Autumn days were getting shorter. They only had a few more hours of riding before they stopped to make camp. she turned to Daranavo and said, "We should make it to Imladris within two weeks. That is good, we will arrive before the snows. Have you been in that part of the North before?"
 

Daranavo

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He shook his head, "I have been North of here, but, not that far. I really had no cause to." He looked again at the horse she rode. "A magnificent animal and you ride elequently even without a saddle." and nodded his head approvingly."There is much more to you elves then I had realized." He said now smiling at her.

The day wore on and the evening sun dissapeared behind the tree tops. There were ample trees in the area to shield their horses from prying eyes that traveled the roads at night. Daranavo suggested for them not to have a fire tonight and Tiriviel agreed. He frowned when she handed him another Lembas for he thought them dry and tasteless. Even though they seemed to satisfy his empty belly. Daranavo took first watch for Tiriviel's eyes would be better suited for the darkest hours of the night. Also he had thought that if they were going to be attacked, it would happen very soon or not at all.

Again he layed out his bedroll for her then took a few minutes and gathered ferns and thick brush for camoflage around her while she slept. She looked at him with puzzlement as he began to place the brush around her. "If I am taken down silently tonight, they may not be able to find you easily this way." He set the horses apart from one another but at two positions opposite his. With the horses and himself, she was adequately surrounded. If anything comes in, it will either spook the horses or run into him he surmised. He loaded his crossbow, and set it down near him. He would not be able to shoot it with accuracy in the dark but he felt that it could not hurt. Twice he practiced snapping it up from the ground and aiming it. He bent his legs at the knee and wrapped his cloak around him. He set his rapier under his cloak and layed the hilt on his thigh. Earlier that day he picked up a good soft piece of wood for widdling and now he set to it in the dark.
 

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She was very tired and grateful to Daranavo for letting her sleep first. Spreading out the bedroll, she curled up into it and was soon asleep.

Tiriviel was surprised at the loudness of her own voice. She was frieghtened by the Orcs and she along with many other elves fired arrows into the treeline almost out of pure instinct. In turn, arrows were shot back at her and her friends and she ducked down and avoided an arrow that whistled by her head. The rush of sound was terrible. The orcs sprang from the trees and growled menacingly. Tiriviel dropped her bow and drew her sword in one fluid motion. An orc screeched as it came at her with a spear aimed for her middle. She dodged its tip and stepped to its right side. Twisting around, she parried an attack from another orc that had a spike through his nose. As she reached down to draw another long knife from its sheath Tiriviel became faintly aware that her comrads were slowly being taken down. A sinking feeling rose in her just then but she stifled it down as an orc attacked. Grasping her sword with her right hand, she swung out with her knife in her off-hand at the throat of the orc with the spike. His blade caught hers in the air and she followed up with her sword and removed his arm in a single strike. The first orc that attacked her was on top of her in an instant. She turned around just in time to extend her blade and meet his mid swing. The orcs blow caused a sharp pain in her right shoulder as she strained against the sheer ferocity. A sudden thought caused her to step back and quickly withdraw her sword. Her action caused the orc to stumble forward and pierce his blade into the chest of the other orc nearby that had retrieved his blade and was about to stab her from behind, however Tirviel had caught the movement from the corner of her eye. The orc withdrew his sword from the chest of his comrade and screeched loudly in anger. It made a desperate swing aimed at her heart but she raised her sword in time to parry. As their blades tangled for one last time she looked into its ugly face and forced his blade downward. She flicked her wrist in a circular motion and disarmed the orc. A quick slash to its neck cleanly relieved it of its head. She watched as the body fell to the ground and turned to survey the survivors. Tiriviel came face to face with a band of seven orcs running toward her. The group moved toward her and one raised his sword to strike her down. At the last possible moment, Cuthalion shoved her down and took the blow for her. She landed face down and when she turned over, she found herself surrounded by the orcs. They began kicking her and jeering at her as they licked their lips and eyed her flesh. Tiriviel knew there was no chance of escape, but she refused to give up hope. She still had one last hidden knife, if she only had the chance to get at it... One of the orcs was suddenly struck from behind by a bolt from a crossbow. Four orcs rushed off to the direction from which the shot had come, leaving two to guard her. The distraction offered her the one chance she needed. Diving for her knife she deftly drew it out and thrust it up into the spine of the nearest orc. It screamed and fell to the ground paralized and bleeding to death. The other orc gave an angry roar and thrust a spear at her. She rolled out of the way but the orc followed her with the spear and continued to stab at her as she rolled over the ground to avoid the sharp point. Each time she would roll one way the spear would land right in front of her. The orc seemed to be purposefully missing her and to be enjoying the sight of her dodging his spear. Tiriviel began to tire and the orc made a final lunge and was ready to pierce her heart.

Tiriviel Gasped and bolted upright. She sat panting for a moment and realized that she had been dreaming again. Thinking back, she recalled the first time she set eyes on Daranavo. He had killed that last orc only a moment before he would have sent the spear through her.

She pulled herself into a sitting position and gazed in wonder at the man who had saved her. Where had he come from? Why had he risked his life to save hers? She took in his build and features, there was something appealing about them now. He was a well built man with strong and bold features. His eyes were a sea of green and gold and she gazed into them as they bore into hers. He took a step toward her and asked: "Are you hurt?" She shook her head and he reached for her hands and helped her to her feet.

Standing up, she moved over to where Daranavo sat. "You should get some sleep. I'll take over the watch."
 

AraCelebEarwen

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She had managed to find some healing rest in the last few days, though her dreams were still no less painful then they had been. The woods of Imladris could be seen now, so close they would seem, yet Aralindo’s feet would not take her any farther just yet. She had not wandered far from where she had been, seeming to be lost between taking the news of death and failure back to her people or fading into the shadows. The thought of returning almost frightened her at times. They may forgive her for running...but could she ever forgive herself? Granted she was not much of a fighter, but perhaps it would have been better, had she stayed and died. then live with the memories and nightmares that ripped at her heart and mind.

The only peace to be found was when the little flute’s voice had at last been set free, the desire to play finally having become too strong to subdue. The long chain had run between cold fingers; the last gift and a reminder of what had been. Shaking hands had lifted the little instrument to dry lips and slow breathes found their way into the night air as a quiet, sad and hauntingly beautiful song.

Time had passed since then, she had found a little to eat and a cool stream to drink from and wash in. Her soft, brown dress was ripped and torn from running. The cut sleeve she had pulled off and into strips to bandage her arm, leaving her shoulder uncovered but for the warmth of the cloak. It had started to look as though the gash might heal, but it was still red and pain shot through her when it was touched or moved wrong. If only her cousin where here...her head sank, a tear falling into her lap. What had happened to her...?

It was dark now, the stars shining down on her white face. Dull eyes watched as a falling leaf danced on the chilling breeze. She would not sleep this night, only when the sun was again warm on her huddled form would she let her eyes close. Only then could she wake from the dreams without being lost in deep shadows. A whisper of a sigh escaped as she pulled the injured arm across her thin waist, curled up under the dark cape and thought. Perhaps after another day of rest and she would be able to go home...
 
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Daranavo

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Daranavo lied down with his hands under his head and looked up at the night sky. Well, what he could see of it between the trees. The stars were alive with color against the clear blackness of night. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He was very tired but his thoughts coursed like a deer running from a hunter. He wondered what his sister was doing at this specific moment. Probably sleeping he guessed. Could he ever go back? This thought molded and contorted into the hate he felt toward Ferran and his men. He deserved vengeance. Not only for himself but also for his family…his father. His name was held in high regard for what he had done for his people. Now all was spent and thrown to dust like a tumbleweed in the wind. Ferran was the father of all of that. He had always respected and admired the man. Now he despised him. Each thought of the man sent a sliver of hatred through his very soul. For several moments he thought of leaving Tiriviel to tend to that which he needed to do.



Why had he interfered? He silently answered the question and cursed himself. “Because it was the right thing to do you idiot.” Somewhere deep within himself he knew he wanted to die to those orcs. He felt it all had something to do with Tiriviel though. She had called to him or was it only his imagination? He was not certain. She continued to befuddle him with her total disregard for good sense yet he knew she was very intelligent. Perhaps she felt she owed him. Now though, we are even. A life for a life. Then, those same thoughts came rushing back to him and his mouth formed a smile to them. Thoughts of her and being with her or around her. It always smelled as if wild flowers were always nearby. She mystified him and more then once he had looked into her eyes and felt as if he were truly dreaming. He closed his eyes and indeed, he did dream of her.
 

yhwh1st

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Tiriviel took the seat that Daranavo vacated, and her thoughts strayed to her cousin. The last quiet time they had spent alone together.

They walked hand in hand by a calm pool in Imladris. Aralindo had a slight foreboding about the quest they were about to embark on. "I feel it too." Tiriviel replied. "But, we have had the same feelings before and nothing has come of it. Perhaps we are mistaken this time as well." They both pushed the foreboding thoughts away and began reminiscing with each other. "You always were a bright ray of sunshine, Tiriviel." Aralindo said. "Ah. But you bring music to the light. I never could play as well as you." Tiriviel replied. "I don't know what I would ever do without you, Aralindo. The sunshine would not be as bright without you."

Shaking herself, Tiriviel stood and moved off to get better bearings of her surroundings. The moon was waning. They would have little or no moonlight for the next several days. This would make for difficult traveling at night but would also serve as a cover for their movements. Tiriviel sat back down to wait for the morning.

A pale grey light began in the east and slowly changed to purple, then pink and orange. Tiriviel stood between the trees and watched sky change color. The sun will rise in a few minutes. We should get ready to move out. She moved over to where Daranavo lay. Gazing at him she wondered what dreams had caused the slight smile on his face. Not wanting to wake him just yet, she leaned up against a nearby tree and watched as the sun rose between the branches. There seemed to be a sudden flash of color as the sun peaked over the horizon. Tiriviel gasped at the brilliant colors in the sky. She stood with her hands clasped and her eyes shining as she gazed on the glorious sight. So enraptured was she by what she saw, that she didn't hear Daranavo's movements as he rose, until he was standing right next to her. "You have missed a beautiful sight. I do not think I have ever seen a more beautiful sunrise." she said, as she looked up at him.
 

Daranavo

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He sat up slowly and looked around. He saw the horses grazing right where he left them. He turned and also saw Tiriviel standing in front of a fiery backdrop of a sunrise. He thought he had never seen something so lovely as her hair as it was tossed in the arms of the wind. Small streaks of red and gold showed through her brown hair when the sunlight hit it just right. Not wanting the moment to end, he walked quietly and approached her from the left side and looked on to the horizon. *"You have missed a beautiful sight. I do not think I have ever seen a more beautiful sunrise."* She looked up at him and without thinking he slipped his hand in hers and responded, "On the contrary, I have never seen something so beautiful." He did not look at her when he realized what he had just said and he hoped she did not know what he truely ment. In a softer voice he then said, "I'll fetch the horses," then moved in front of her and released her hand as he moved back to the bedroll. He rolled it up and tied it then moved over to Gaidon.

Gaidon stomped his right front hoove when Daranavo began to tie the bedroll to the saddle. He did not like his master's showing of affection to the elf. He also did not like this other horse among them. He had grown jealous and agrivated to the newcomer. He had been quiet longer then he could stand being so close to this strange horse and he would have no more of it now. "Hold Boy." Daranavo told him when the horse moved a step forward. Daranavo moved up to his neck and rubbed him. "It's ok Gaidon, whoa." he patted him twice then moved back to finish tying the bedroll down. He moved over toward her horse and it balked its head as he drew closer to him. He stopped and realized the horse was uneased. He looked back to see where Tiriviel was to make sure she was not watching. He had heard her speak to both horses in elvish and he thought he would try what he had remembered her saying. He held out his hand palm up and said, "Estee le, Estee le." He took another couple of steps, "Dad roch...Estee le dad roch?" at that the horse seemed to settle. He held his hand out and allowed the horse to sniff his palm. He smiled and repeated, "Estee le dad roch." He patted its neck and rubbed its nose. "Bein roch." The horse seemed to respond favorably to him now. He smiled and tucked his hand under his chin and turned him around. When he did, he stopped as he noticed Tiriviel was looking right at him.
 
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yhwh1st

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Tiriviel sent a questioning look after Daranavo, as he walked toward Gaidon. What had he meant when he said he had never seen anything so beautiful? Was he talking about me? Does he think I'm beautiful? A blush surfaced and she was glad that he had his back to her. She turned to retrieve some dried fruit and lembas from her pack. As she pulled the food out she thought: “The first bird or coney I see is going to be our next meal.” Surprise caused her to abruptly stand from her task and stare for a moment when she heard this man speak her language. When he turned and looked at her they stood for a moment without speaking. “You have a talent for tongues that I did not see. You catch on very quickly.” Tiriviel said as she turned to retrieve her pack, pull the food out and adjust it on her shoulder. Tiriviel ensured that her bow and quiver were at the ready. She tossed Daranavo some food, which he caught in his left hand, then mounted Hurin. “We should reach the Gap of Rohan before our first rest today. We might make Imladris in less than two weeks, if we make good time.” Tiriviel tried not to think on the feelings that had come over her, and still possessed her, when Daranavo had taken her hand and spoken. She enjoyed the touch of his hand, the feeling of his nearness and the warmth that flowed in his words.
 

Daranavo

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The next few days were hard for the travelers. It rained almost nonstop and the nights were spent shivering near the smallest of fires. The constant moisture made it difficult for Daranavo to find much dry wood at all to burn. The dry creek beds were also no longer dry and twice they had to forge across them in the mud. Exhausted they trudged on in the rain. The two of them headed North and he thought that it was getting colder in the evenings. There were several nights that he would of delighted at curling up next to her to keep warm but he knew that one of them had to be on watch at all times. During those long and cold evenings alone quite often he asked himself many questions. How does a man let a woman know he has feelings for her? He did not know for sure. Should he? Again he reminded himself that now is not the time for such foolish thoughts yet he found himself daydreaming like a young boy about her more then a few times. When that had happened he would always curse himself and promise to not do it again.

One afternoon while they rode side by side Daranavo asked her, "Do not the elves have magic to stop the bloody weather!?" She only giggled and shook her head. He began to wonder if it always rained in the north. He thought about the elves in Imladris. How would they take to him? What were they like and what did they do? In truth he did not know how long he would stay. He felt though that it would have alot to do with what was happening between him and Tiriviel. However, he would always suggest to himself that nothing was happening at all. He would laugh at himself and wonder if all men had such indecision as he did.

When it rained there was not much talk between them. Talking ment loss of warmth and both had known about such things. Food began to run low however, water was something they had in abundance.
 

yhwh1st

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As they progressed toward Imladris, Tiriviel began to feel more and more anxious. She could not seem to grasp the truth that many would not be there to welcome her home. Many nights were spent wondering how she would tell everyone what had happened. She dreaded, and yet longed for the day which they would arrive. Many nights, she relived the day in which she had lost so many. She often woke trembling from the dreams that plagued her, and longed to be folded into the arms that had held her in Edoras. She had felt a safety and comfort there and felt that nothing evil could touch her. As each day passed Tiriviel became more aware of his presence. Daranavo’s muscular build and even features seemed to dwell in her mind.

They were now a mere eight days from Rivendel. They had made good time in spite of the rain but their supplies were running low and Tiriviel had seen no game for many days.
 
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Daranavo

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Thankfully, the rain subsided if not for a short while. There were clouds still and the ground was very wet but at least there was no downpour as in the last few days. The journey was less than a week from its conclusion, however, there was but a few halves of Lembas left. Daranavo decided they would have to stop early for the day and that he would do a bit of hunting. Tiriviel insisted that the two of them go together however he would not have it.

Daranavo took off everything that he felt he would not need, even his blade. He took only a sack, his skinning knife, a waterskin and his crossbow. When he was about to leave, Tiriviel again tried to reason with him and the discussion that followed soon turned into an arguement. The past few days had taken their toll on them and they were both exhausted and quick to temper. The arguement lasted several minutes and when Daranavo began to get very angry toward her, he simply could take no more of her stubborness. He dropped all that he carried and took her into his arms. He pressed his lips to hers and kissed her vigorously. He felt her soften to his embrace and her arms went around his neck. His anger melted away to the warmth of her lips upon his. For him, time slowed down, however it was Gaidon that broke the moment. He snorted loudly and stomped in protest and sheer jealousy. Daranavo hugged her hard and softly said, "I will come back soon, I promise." Without another word he picked up the sack and crossbow. He moved up to her and brushed along her side as he passed by. He nodded to her words, then lurched forward into a run and was soon out of her vision.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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She had passed through the woods of her homeland, echoes of song fading to be replaced by the sound of her people mourning for the lost. Her hope to find healing and safety had been suddenly crushed as the sentence of banishment rang in her ears.

Hot tears streamed down her face as she ran stumbling from all that she had ever loved, branches ripped at the ragged dress and cut across her face. A dark fog settled over the land, blinding her eyes and hiding things that caught at her feet.

A whisper of a woman’s voice called to her only to be drowned out by a shriek somewhere in the darkness. Sounds of a battle came to her now; weapons clashing with armor, yells mixed with and changed into screams. Coming to the edge of the trees, a rolling field stretched out in front of her, the sight stealing away what breath she had left.

Green grass danced with a soft breeze and patches of wild flowers scented the air, but everything looked to be sprinkled with blood. The bodies of elves and orcs were scattered across the meadow; only the form of one man still stood.

She knew this man. The smile and tears came as she ran to meet him. His eyes had an odd look to them as he caught her up in his arms. Pulling back to see him, her face fell as a darkness grew in his eyes. Reaching for her hand, he pulled her arm up to himself to see where the bandages had fallen away from her wound.

She tried to pull back, tried to escape his grasp. A scream rose in her throat as his face changed: deep blue eyes and a tender smile were replaced by glittering black eyes and hungry jaws. A sickening flash of color shot through her mind as the jagged teeth sank deeply into her arm.

The scream faded into a sobbing moan as she cradling her throbbing left arm, still lying under the branches of the large tree. The dreams seemed to have grown stronger as her body grew weaker. Though she was so close to Imladeris, she no longer had the strength or will to walk any further.

The rain had forced her to find shelter under the twisted roots of an old tree as the long, cold days and nights passed. Images and sounds danced in her fevered mind. Her body shivered from the mix of pain, loss, and the poison that ran through her veins. The wound on her arm had grown closed, but the skin now had a green color mingling with the red and purple. It had become hard and then painful to use her hand.

It was well into the afternoon, the sun warmed the damp ground so that a fine mist could be seen floating through the air. Aralindo had managed to gather only a little more to eat, something telling her to keep hope. Something in her heart would not let her just give up, not yet, not now.

Keeping warm in her cloak and eating only a few bites of food a day, she found that as much as she feared it, she was slipping into dreams more and more as she could not keep herself awake - wishing with each time that she would not have to face another.

She was losing track of time, day becoming as hard as night. The voice of the little flute had been silent for the last two or three days, the ache growing stronger than the wish to play. How could this have happened? Why had she let Tiriviel calm her when she, Aralindo, had tried to warn her?

Curling up under the roots and pulling the cloak tighter around her shivering form, she set her head down on a pillow of leaves. Fighting was no use, deep sleep blinded her eyes and clouded her mind. Only for a moment did the shuddering continue, the injured arm across her chest and the other falling limply beside her white face. Only the faint whispers of breath were evidence that she was still alive.
 

yhwh1st

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If this doesn't work with either of your ideas, I can edit it later.

After being told she must stay for the second time, Tiriviel began to be angry. Lack of rest and much traveling were beginning to take their toll on her. What right does he have to tell me what I can and cannot do? Her eyes flashed with anger as these thoughts passed through her mind. We do not know what lies ahead. It would be far better to keep together. She then proceeded to say this but was again denied. Placing her hands on her hips, Tiriviel continued to argue her point with Daranavo for several minutes. She felt herself growing angrier every minute until Daranavo suddenly did something she least expected. Dropping what he held in his hands, he encircled her waist with his left arm and quickly pulled her into his arms. Before she had a chance to react, his lips were on hers. Slowly closing her eyes, Tiriviel melted into his embrace as her hands made their way up around his neck. The touch of his lips on hers and the feel of his arms around her sent a warm current through her. Gaidon snorted and stamped. As their lips parted she looked into his eyes for a minute, then he pressed her to his chest where she rested her head. He set his chin on her head and said, “I will come back soon, I promise.” He released her and picked up his gear and began to move off. Still shaken by the potency of the kiss, Tiriviel stuttered, “I-I will tr-try to find some dry wood and… and build a fire.” He nodded and was out of sight a few moments later.


She spent over half an hour searching for dry wood and managed to find just enough to start a fire, but much of what else she found was either too wet or would not be much good for burning and would smoke a great deal. As she gathered the wood, Tiriviel couldn’t keep her mind from wandering to Daranavo. She could still feel his lips on hers and the warmth of his arms around her. She built up the fire but did not light it. I will wait for him so we can make the most of what little dry wood we have. She climbed up a nearby tree to the lowest branch, which appeared to be the driest, and waited.
 
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Daranavo

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Daranavo moved swiftly staying low as much as he could, his unloaded crossbow nestled in his hands. He stayed near the low brush when he moved and would kneel amongst the long, wet ferns when he stopped to look for tracks. The overcast created a looming dimness that forced him to linger his gaze in the darker places of the forest. He heard the chirpring of birds and the chittering of some smaller animal nearby. The sound was almost constant which made it dificult for him to hear anything else. He tried to take soft short breaths when he became winded from running and he now stooped next to a long hanging branch with large leaves. With his hand he tilted the branch toward his face and angled it down so that the moisture that was nestled atop the leaves rolled down into his mouth. Suddenly, a twig snapped nearby him and he tilted his head slowly away from the branch. The water that still fell from the leaves dripped down upon his arm then onto the already damp forest floor. He lowered himself into a squat and with his left hand, he retrieved a crossbow bolt from his pocket and quietly load it into the crossbow. He spied a deer that warily grazed upon some ferns several yards away. He shook his head and marveled at his good fortune. He slowly lowered his knee to the ground and lifted the crossbow to his face. Moisture from sweat dripped down his brow and he took a moment and wiped it with his sleeve before he returned the crossbow to his eye. Silently he beckoned to the deer, "Don't move, please don't move, please, please, please, please." With a steady hand he took aim.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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She knew from the start that something was quite different about this dream. She saw that lush forest plants surrounded and partially hid where she was standing. The sound of birds an echoed reflection of that which drifted to her sleeping ears. Everything had a blurred feel to it, as though covered in a soft fog. Her mind wandered through the woods, giving a form to her dream.

The pale, thin figure was no different from that of the sleeper; the tattered edge of the brown dress brushed lightly against bare ankles. Long, unkempt hair fell in dark ribbons over and around her shoulders and down her back as silent feet carried her to the edge of a small clearing.

She felt the presence of another; someone was close! Carefully, with a ghostly silence, she stepped closer to and looked around one of the many bushes. A shadowed form crouched in the underbrush across the clearing; she could see a crossbow held ready and aimed at a nearby deer.

Dark eyes watched the figure; fear and doubt pushing hope to the back of her clouded mind. She wondered for a moment if she could be seen, then stepped back slightly to still watch but be better hidden by the shadows.
 
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Daranavo

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An itch tickled the up-most corner of his right eye. Or was it an itch at all? His concentration drifted within that final moment as his finger pressed harder onto the trigger, something to his right just out of his vision. Yet he was hungry and so was Tiriviel. Hair, he saw brown hair mixed into the brush. An elf, a woman was looking at him. He saw her face as pale as a soft snow for no more then a second as she silently moved back into the brush. He reluctantly removed his finger from the trigger and stood up quickly. The deer bound away and he saw her run amongst the trees. He sighed heavily and gave chase.

“Wait, hold on!” His words did not seem to slow her pace. Faster and faster he ran after her as she bobbed and weaved between the damp, green trees with such grace and subtlety that he could gain no ground. Before he could grab it, his loaded bolt came away from his crossbow and spun off into the forest behind him. He did not stop to retrieve it. Her skin and clothes both seemed very white or was it gray he was not sure. It looked to him as if she shimmered as she ran. Soon, his breath came in gasps and he ignored the pain swelling up into his chest. The elf ran at incredible speed he thought as he pushed himself to his limits, his body strangled for oxygen. Finally, he saw her turn to his left into a clops of trees and he lost sight of her.

Daranavo slowed and stopped. His heart raced and he winced with every breath he took. His brow, neck, and exposed arms dripped with sweat. His clothes drenched with moisture from the same. He bent over to catch his breath and loaded another bolt into his crossbow. He wiped his brow with his arm and took two long breaths to calm himself. He knew he did not want to harm her he only wanted to speak to her. As he moved forward his mind drifted to what he might say to her if he saw her. He figured she would probably try to run again and he knew he could have no more of that anytime soon. He sifted the air through his partially closed mouth to silence his breathing as he closed upon the trees.
 
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AraCelebEarwen

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She found herself curled up in the corner of the make-shift shelter. Silently, careful, she slipped out and into the fresh air. The breeze stirred through the bushes, a cool touch as she thought back over what had just been seen. ‘It must have been a dream...or, perhaps...could my abilities be playing with my own mind now? Others could be tricked, but...it must be the fever. Yes. That was it. The dream must have been...’ Just then the sounds of heavy foot falls and raged breathing had her sliding further into the shadows.

Aralindo listened and watched as the intruder came closer. Her good hand reached for the long, thin sword; her veins rushed with sudden energy. The face of the stranger was hidden in shadow; only the large build and crossbow could be seen by her blurred vision.

It came closer; fear flooded her mind and blocked out any thought of running. Another few steps; Aralindo did not even stop to think. Springing from her hiding place, the dark figure turned just as the point of her long sword pierced it's side. As she had moved so quickly, she hit the form full force; the sound that reached her was not what she had expected though. It was a moan of pain and shock, but it was not the sound of a beast but the voice of a man. All the pain and fear struck her, the short lived adrenalin fading with her sight. Her limp hand dropped from the hilt of the sword now stabbed through the man's side and her tear filled eyes rose to his face. She only caught a glimpse of blond hair and green eyes before everything faded into the consuming darkness of unconsciousness.
 

Daranavo

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There were four trees with a thick blanket of ferns and brush that covered the ground around and between them. He moved up to the them and listened. He heard nothing and lifted his crossbow out in front of him. With the tip of the bolt that was nestled in its holder he folded back a fern to look at the ground. Just as he did, an elf lunged from the brush. The sudden movement scared him and he fired his crossbow. The bolt stuck squarely into a nearby tree. She cried out in elvish as she leaped toward him. A flash of steel and a sharp pain quickly followed her movement, and he staggered back when the weight of her body fell against him. He dropped his crossbow. His left hand went to his side and felt the hilt of a sword. His right cradled a mass of brown hair that covered her head. Carefully he bent his right knee and set her down. He took his right hand and grabbed the sword handle and with his left he held his side. He looked up at the trees then closed his eyes. Slowly, he drew the sword backward and out of his flesh. The pain made him want to scream however his training only allowed him to tremble as the large shard of steel was slowly removed from his body. Blood flowed greatly from the wound and he hastily pressed his hand upon it to try and stop the bleeding. He knew he did not have very long.

He tore the bottom of her dress and wrapped it around his sternum. He tightly tied a bunched up parcel of the material right over the wound. He bent over and lifter her up onto his shoulder. He held her waist with his right arm and his side with his left. The trek back to Tiriviel was both long and arduous.


After several hours, he arrived back at their camp exhausted, wet, and very pale due to loss of blood. As he expected Tiriviel was waiting for him, however, she did not expect someone upon his shoulder. She ran up to him and helped him set her down. With tears in her eyes she cleared the hair from the elf’s face then sat back and looked at her in disbelief. She did not speak to him she only spoke in elvish and held the woman to her breast and cried uncontrollably. When she calmed down Tiriviel began to examine and go to work on her. Daranavo felt very feint and decided to go and sit down in front of a tree near them. He saw that kindling had been set into the fire pit however he had no strength left to stand. He felt very cold and sleepy. He did not notice the dampness of the ground beneath him nor hear Tiriviel’s words as she began to heal the elf. He had lost a lot of blood and silently he sat there and knew his end was near. There would be no more killing for him. No more will he spill the blood of his own people. “What will be will be” ,he said to himself. He wondered whom the elf was that Tiriviel labored over. By her reaction to seeing her he surmised that she must know who she is. He wanted to kiss her and hold her in his arms one last time. She had been the only woman he had ever felt this way about. He hoped she would not be sad. His breaths came shallow and he stared at his horse Gaidon that began to fret and snort at Tiriviel. Only the palm of his left hand that cupped the soaked fabric to his body was warm.

His mind drifted and he felt Tiriviel remove his hand from his side. He heard her gasp and he wanted to comfort her. In a weak voice he said, “Don’t worry Tiriviel, I am no longer afraid. It is my time. Perhaps it is better…” *She cut him off angrily. “Better for whom you crazy fool of a man! I will NOT let you go so easily, not after what we have been through!”* Her stubbornness made him laugh however he had no breath left to do so. He heard his own voice again but did not know what he had said. He was so very tired and his vision soon faded into darkness.
 

yhwh1st

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As Daranavo slipped into unconsciousness Tiriviel began to peal away the blood soaked cloth. There was so much blood that it took Tiriviel a moment to find the wound. She pulled her water skin out of her nearby pack and poured water out onto a cloth and began to wash the deep wound. Silent tears made their way down her cheeks as she washed the gash and wondered what had happened. She finished cleaning the wound and lifted the chain over her neck to heal his wound. When she had done, Tiriviel stood up and quickly moved over to light the fire. He has lost a lot of blood, I must get him warm. Tiriviel stared at him as she contemplated how she would move him closer to the fire. He sat proped upright against a tree. I wonder, could I possibly wake him enough to have him lean on me? No, he wouldn't wake enough for that. She decided to move Aralindo while she considered what she would do. Removing Aralindo's tattered cloak she spread out the bedroll, lifted her cousin, and set her down on it and covered her.Turning again to Daranavo, she had decided that the only thing she could manage was to drag him by his ankles. Tiriviel spread out Aralindo's cloak next to the fire and then turned to her task. Bending over and taking hold of his ankles, she began to pull. The progress was slow and once or twice an involuntary grunt escaped her lips and prespiration stung her eyes, but she managed to get him over on top of the cloak. She was still panting as she dug through her pack for her cloak and covered him with it, then sat down to rest and catch her breath. Gazing at the two sleeping figures she thought "Daranavo will sleep a great deal for the next two days, and no wonder with the amount of blood he lost. Aralindo should be alright once she has had a good nights rest. Tiriviel picked up her bow and checked the surroundings, then moved off in search of food. The others might sleep through dinner, but her stomach wouldn't let her.


She had been hunting for nearly three hours and had seen no trace of game. It was growing dark and she was almost ready to give up when she spied a movement in the tall grass.


Tiriviel walked back into the clearing carrying a sack containing two fat, skinned conies. She cut up the meat and stuck some on a stick to roast over the fire. The smell of roasted meat caused her mouth to water and stomach to growl. Once the meat was cooked, Tiriviel sat back to enjoy her meal. The sky had been dark for some time and Tiriviel gazed at the stars as she finished her dinner. A slight movement caught her eye and she looked to see Aralindo beginning to stir.
 

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