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Ohtacárë i nwalmë úquétima: Rohan

Aerin

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"I wish to speak of Morwen." Aerin said, "I have not seen her for many a month, and would dearly love to hear of her; she is like a sister to me. I have heard rumours, but nothing I care to listen to. It would gladden my heart to hear tidings of her."

Ciryaher looked off into the distance again; his voice was remote, as if it came from a distance. "I have not heard from her for a long time. She has not ... kept in touch."

Looking down, Aerin said, "I wish I knew where she was; I must speak with her." She closed her eyes for a few moments, seemingly lost in thought. When she opened them again, they were bright with unshed tears.
 

Ciryaher

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Ciryaher made a noise of disappointment and then sighed heavily. After a long, open-mouthed pause he spoke, "To be honest...yes, I have spoken to her. We met upon the battlefield nigh a week ago. From there she left, taking a following into the east. She is traveling far...far far into the East, and has not yet stopped. I cannot guess her intention, but at the moment there is nothing that can be done. For good or ill (or neither) she will return, and will have a great part to play in this blasphemy that is a war. My sister ever speaks little of her intentions, but guesses can be made. She'll be back."

He leapt onto his saddle again and looked down upon them, his eyes moving slowly between them and then resting upon Lorien. The Emperor's eyes stayed upon him, but he spoke to them both, "If you have more of me to ask, then ask...otherwise let us ride back. We must make all haste to prepare ourselves for the doom that may await."
 

¤-Elessar-¤

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Elessar stood in the small forest path for a second before turning and sitting on a small tree trunk. He had not expected that, and was angry at himself for letting something slip past his roaming eye. But still he sat. He would not follow his friends off to Ciryaher, and did not know how long he would sit there, for they had not told them where they were going, nor how long it would take.

He sat there for hours, that seemed even as though they may have transformed to days. He suddenly looked down, and saw that the emblem still was in his hand. With his mind so pulsing wiht thought, he had failed to realise it's presence. He turned his hand over, and it was heavy as though made of stone. The small emblem fell to the dirt, with a thud that echoed through the quiet forest. He slowly turned his hand back over, and the imprint of the symbol was there, in his hand. And still he sat.
 
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Aerin

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Aerin nodded, "Yes, we must prepare ourselves, but hopefully not for doom." Looking over at Lorien, she said, "I have a few things that I must collect, before I can leave."

"I would be happy to give you a ride back," offered Lorien.

"Thank you, but I would rather walk." Aerin smiled, "My legs work as well as your horse's."

"Then I shall accompany you," Lorien bowed elegantly, but spoiled the effect by grinning.

As they walked along, back toward the camp, Aerin looked thoughtful. When Lorien asked what was on her mind, she said, "I am trying to think where Morwen could be... and what I need to pack." The latter was said ruefully. "You would think, by this time, that I would know what I have to bring." She sobered, "I wish I never had need of the knowledge of warfare."
 
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Lorien

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Lorien looked at Aerin and said, "There are many things in life that we wish were different, but it isn't so." As he walked along with Aerin, Lorien pulled out a small, oval, onyx colored stone on a chain from his pouch and looked at it with a sad smile on his face. Then he put the chain on and asked Aerin, "So will you ride into battle? Or shall you look for Morwen?"
 

Aerin

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"My dear Lorien," said Aerin with a slightly bemused smile, "what I intend to do now is to pack my things. After I have done that, I shall rejoin Elessar; we have some... unfinished business to attend to." She fell silent for a few moments, as they walked along. The horse pulled at its lead, to get at the grass that grew abundantly along the path, forcing Lorien to shorten the reins.

The last birds of the day were flying about, preparing for the night. Gradually, the noises quieted down, into a peaceful silence, broken only by their footsteps and the soft whickering of the horse. Quickly looking away when she found herself gazing at his profile, Aerin's eyes instead sook refuge in the trees. For the first time that day, she felt somewhat at ease. She relaxed, and let her hands fall freely by her side, instead of clenched, as they had been.

Chancing another glance at Lorien, Aerin said nonchalantly, "And you, where do you plan to go? Certainly you've no reason or intention of attempting to find Morwen; neither, I think, do you wish to ride in the front lines of the battle. Surely you have some destination to which you travel?"
 

¤-Elessar-¤

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Elessar sat, and sat, and thought to himself. He wondered if Aerin would truely return. He though that she must, for she was the closest thing he had to a friend left on this middle earth... Mithrandir had left. Eomer was gone. Valar had died. Dain was off into hiding. And, indeed, in that moment Elessar began to weep.
 

Lorien

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Lorien smiled at her and said flippantly, "I'm a rather lost soul dear. I do not have a clue as to what I should do. But I am expecting someone to come looking for me, she shouldn't take too long."
As she turned away from him, Lorien found himself staringat her face and shaking himself slightly said out loud, "Maybe I shall ride in the front lines if Ciryaher permits. Who knows?"
 

¤-Elessar-¤

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Elessar's body sat, but his mind wandered. It flew over plains and mountains, observing what it would. It streched itself, and engulfed itself in the joyous feeling that it was to fly. He came at last, after looking upon the wars in the west, a strange happening in the east. His body sighed, and his mind reeled. And it returned to the body in a flash. And Elessar stood, rather light-headed. He stood, remembering his place, and trekked off toward the west. He came back to the camp of Ciryaher, and unto the tent of Aerin. He stood outside for a moment, observing the conversation within. He found his timing, and entered.

"And yet you two may spend the next days together, for it seems that our plans were foiled, lady Aerin. Indeed, one of the few I have trusted has betrayed us, and I know not whom. I must go now, for my greif and the weight of my mind is causing me to age, and now I feel as though I were a hundred, rather than nearly fourty."

He turned, and looked out of the tent, one of his hands clinging to the top of the slit. He turned again, and a glint of sorrow passed his eyes. "Indeed, even know my words are sparse and mangled. I am not quite the man I once was..."

"But now, though one hope is gone, many remain. There is more than one way to divert the stream of darkness, may you find it in the days ahed. I prey that you may, for it seems that I cannot."

With a hefty sigh, he turned, and left the tent. He walked off into the distance, going northward, so it seemed...
 

Aerin

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Before Elessar departed, Aerin said, "I wish you the best of luck, my friend. Go where you will, but do not hesitate to contact me if you need anything." She stood, and watched Elessar disappear into the distance.

When she turned back, Ciryaher was pouring over a map. "So, you shall remain here for the time being?" he said as he looked up.

"Yes, I shall. Elessar has his own plans, and t'would seem I do not play an immediate part."

"That is well, for I have a task for you here. You, along with Lorien, shall be in command of the Rohirrim troops. I shall advise, but you will be commanding."

Aerin's face registered a little suprise, "Do you then intend to leave so soon?"

Ciryaher's eyes returned to studying the map, "Not at the moment." Nothing further would he say on the subject.

Aerin nodded and looked over at Lorien. He was standing apart, his unfocused eyes seemed to stare at something in the distance. She walked over to him and touched his arm; he jumped and turned to her. "Did you hear the Emperor? We have preparations."
 

¤-Elessar-¤

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From the southern end of the camp, a cry came. There was someone coming from the distance. Immediately there was action, a section of twenty or so riders rode out to meet the bogie, spears aimed for death. But they were quick to see that the man was adorned in a tattered uniform of the infantry of Gondor. He was collapsed, crawling upon the ground, but his voice was still sharp. He looked up at the riders, and caughed dust from his lungs. "This army *caugh* must not go into Gondor, *caugh* for Gondor is no longer *caugh* what she were..." The man's face hit the dry dirt again. And faded from conciousness.
 

Ciryaher

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Ciryaher had a map in his hand as he knelt down beside the rider. "Give this man a cot, and when he awakens, give him food and water. He may have my ration, if he desires more food."

He walked away and looked to the south and east. "The sea smells of flame...and there is death and despair in the eastern wind. I must leave very soon." His eyes drifted to the north and west, but the sun was near setting.

The Emperor sighed and walked to his tent.
 

Aerin

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Aerin ordered the generals to the tent. "Your orders are to march the Rohirrim troops out of the hills, and to Dol Amroth. I want as little delay as possible; speed is of the essence. Ready your men to march at sunup!"

The commanders all gave a short bow and left the tent to attend to their troops. All around the camp, the sound of packing was pacific in contrast to the sharpening of sword, lance, and dagger. Bows were checked for resiliency; arrows for straightness; shields for wear.

Throughout the preparations that stirred the camp, one was not participating. Astride his great steed, the Emperor Ciryaher rode to the North; not looking back. Too busy with her own tasks, Aerin did not see him leave; but knew he had some other plan in mind that was to be set in motion.
 

Ciryaher

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(posting for Aerin)

Aerin opened the letter sitting on her cot and read it quickly. It was from the Emperor. Now is the time. Go forth. was all it said, but she understood well it's meaning.

The Riders were all ready, and it took but a few minutes to break down the last tents and stow them away. Within a quarter of an hour, every person was mounted and with the Generals of Arnor at their head, they began to move forward.

They carefully picked their way through the hills and mountains, slowly but steadily descending through the Ered Nimrais. As the cavalry began their trek down the final hills, they could see far to the south a citadel upon a hill. Armies moved about it, and there was a hint of smoke in the air.

"We must make all possible speed," a captain advised.

"Yes," Aerin answered, looking for a moment at Lorien beside her, who nodded. "Let us ride, to beat back the foe that consumes! Forth Eorlingas!" she cried. Voices echoed thunderously and in a cacophony of hooves, the vast cavalry of Rohan moved southwards, with vengeance on their minds.
 

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