The Tolkien Forum

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

Something Rotten in the Riddermark

Turgon

Ghost-King of Gondolin
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
1,341
Reaction score
7
Location
Manchester, England.
It was almost dark by the time the two companions passed beneath the carved wooded gates of Edoras. Haluin's words had proved somewhat prophetic as the two gatemen stopped Hengist as he approached them, the look of annoyance on their faces was quite apparent. Dressed in bright mail, with burnished helms upon their braided hair, these were no slovernly city watchmen, but rather season veterans in the King's employ. Strange though that they chose to stop the old man, for he had known both of them since they were children. Indeed, Hengist knew every rider within the city walls, from the ruddy, beardless youths in their first season of service, to the old hoar-locked campaigners like himself.

'What make you in Edoras?' One of the gatewardens asked as the companions approached. He was a tall man, as tall as Hengist almost, though not quite as sturdy. 'If you have business here, then state your purpose, though the King welcomes merchants and travellers to his city, he has bidden us to turn any wandering vagabonds away.' He said this with a sneer, plainly enjoying himself. His fellow warden though looked somewhat sheepish, keeping his eyes downcast and refusing to look Hengist in the eye.

Haluin stirred, plainly disliking this man's tone, but Hengist put a hand on the elf's shoulder and took a step forward. 'Kjartan,' the old man said with a crooked smile. 'I would have thought the beating I gave you at last summer's fair was enough to teach you some manners. Ah, but you were ever lacking in grace.' With this Hengist turned to the other gatewarden, nodding his head in greeting.'But you Eófric, you know me well. Many is the time we have ridden together through the plains of Rohan. What is the meaning of this?'

'King's orders.' Eófric muttered, still refusing to look Hengist in the eye. 'I have no liking for it, but the King's word is the King's word.'

'The King refuses me entry into my own city?' Hengist growled. 'I served Rohan faithfully for nigh on forty years...'

'But it is not your city is it, old man?' Kjartan snarled. 'It is the King's. If it were my choice you would have been run out of the Riddermark years ago.'

'Come Hengist,' Eófric said softly. 'It is not just you. With all these rumours of the Dunlending tribes massing on our border, well, the King has to be careful. No telling what mischief the hillmen might cause with the fair going on and all.'

'Aye.' Kjartan said with a grunt. 'And so we have been given orders to turn any of your kind away at the gate.'

'My kind?' Hengist asked with a face like thunder, his hand going to slowly to his sword. This time it was Haluin who put forth a restraining hand, his bright eyes glittering a warning from beneath the shadow of his hood. Hengist drew a long breath and nodded to the elf, then turning back to insolent guard spoke again, this time with a voice both weighed and measured. 'What exactly are you saying Kjartan? Come speak quickly, and be careful how you answer.'

'We all know you have hillman blood in your veins.' Kjartan spat. 'The King's law stands, so turn back old man, you will find no welcome in Edoras this night.'

Hengist fell silent at this, wounded by Kjartan's words. There was indeed Dunlending blood in his veins, his mother being one the hillfolk who had assimilated themselves into Rohirrim society over many long years. Yet, never in his long-life had this been a stigma to him, never before had somebody dared to hurl it at him as an insult.

It was Haluin who broke the silence. 'Tell me, goodman Eófric,' he beamed. 'Did the King expressly forbid Hengist from entering this city?'

'No, no he didn't.' Eófric reply, feeling at once unnerved by the hooded stranger's words, yet at the same time feeling lulled by it's soft, melodious sound. 'But our orders are to stop all Dunlendings from entering this city.'

Kjartan found himself suddenly silent.

'Tell me Eófric,' Haluin continued, the words falling like music from his lips. 'Do you think the King will be pleased to find you have turn one his finest warriors from his gates in this his time of need?'

'I.. I think not.' came the reply.

'You could perhaps send for the King?' Said the elf with a shadowy smile. 'I am sure he could clear this matter up for us? Or perhaps for one of the Marshal's of the Riddermark? Surely they would not mind being called from the supper table for a matter as important as this?'

'The King?' Eófric stuttered. 'Call the King?'

'Aye,' Haluin cajolled. 'Or do you plan to leave his messenger sitting at the gates until the morrow?

'His messenger?' Kjartan muttered, himself feeling a sudden liking for this soft-spoken stranger. 'You have business with the King?'

'No apologies needed,' The elf said suddenly, giving Kjartan a friendly slap on the shoulder. 'We will be sure to tell your lord how well his gates are guarded.'

So it was the companions entered Edoras. Striding boldly passed the gatewardens, Haluin flashed Hengist a quick grin, before beckoning him to follow. The two guards, it must be said, were left scratching their helmets. Something strange had happened, though neither of them could quite figure out what it was. Yet, has Hengist walked beneath the fine carvings of the gateway, he couldn't help but feel troubled.
 

chrysophalax

Dragon of Note
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
4
Location
Prowling the Withered Heath
As soon as they had passed through the gates, Haluin grabbed Hengist by the front of his tunic and pulled him behind a large waggon. "What was that all about?" he hissed. "Why does he think you have anything to do with those Dunlending brigands?" Hengist pushed Haluin away, trying to ignore the look of pained confusion in his friend's eyes. "Come on, I have need of more than venison just now." he said gruffly. "A good strong mug of beer and then some should put me right." He strode away, leaving Haluin to muse over the vagaries of men.

They ended up in one of the many feasting halls that has been prepared to furnish visitors to Edoras with food and drink during the Harvest Festival. Even though the weather could hardly be called chill, fires were kindled in the hearths and mead was to be had in plenty. Haluin watched as Hengist proceeded to down mug after mug of the stuff, but it didn't seem to improve his mood overmuch, therefore, the elf settled himself to observe those around them. There were the usual regulars, a few waomen of questionable repute and a goodly number of people who were obviously strangers to the Riddermark. One in particular caught his attention.

The man in question would have been considered eccentric in almost any company. His mismatched armour was in poor repair and his "helmet" looked as though it wouldn't have protected him from anything more aggressive than sunlight. He was glaring at a rather large man whose hair gleamed in the lantern-light like gold. Amazing. I have never actually seen that effect before on a man. marvelled the elf, grinning to himself. "Wha'so funny Haluin? You thinkin' you're better than someone else again?"

The elf turned, startled by the smouldering anger in the voice. "Hengist, what...?" "What did you mean by "Dunlending brigands"? Can I help it that I have..." Haluin, assessed his friend's condition and where this would lead within seconds. He also knew that if he were discovered, given the prejudice the Rohirrim held against elvenkind as wielders of magick, he would be lucky to escape with his life. He had come here because his friend needed his help, not to die. Therefore, in his mind, the blow he delivered which rendered Hengist unconscious was entirely justified.

No one flinched (much) as he heaved Hengist's large frame over his shoulder and carried him outside, where he spied a stable. "For a warrior, you carry far too much weight." he muttered as he carried his burden to the far end of a row of stalls. There he unceremoniously depositted Hengist upon a large pile of straw and sat down to wait.
 

Miss Insanity

The Flame Goddess
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Location
Underwater
"No need to apologise" said Taetho to the new horse. "I understand far better than you may believe the situation you are in. I have longed for freedom for many years now, my new friend. My name is Taetho-Ernil, and this is my acquaintance, Anthrax. I will not bother introducing these others, as they refuse to speak in my presence. Please, what is your name, brother?"
 

YayGollum

Conscience of TTF
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
Rogane relaxed a bit, happy to see that not all horses were endlessly pleased with their lots in life. He glanced at the others, who weren't such unimpressive specimens of Rohan sorts of horses. "Why are they afraid of you? Ah, well, I am Rogane, tied to Eorache the Valiant, who wishes to be the xenocide for all evil." A shudder of remembered fear. "He doesn't need me for that! Actually, you look strong, Taetho. If you wanted to, you could just break out of here. I saw a caravan of foreigners coming in on my way here. They would snatch us all up easily!" A shudder of eagerness, this time. He noticed that the other horses had been shocked out of their timidity and aloofness. He figured that they might try to warn his master in some way and sunk his head down glumly. "But it probably wouldn't work. Oh, uh, I'm sorry. Were you talking before I got here?"
 

Daranavo

Hopeless Romantic
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Messages
578
Reaction score
0
Location
Michigan
A large dark brown gelding listened as the two spoke. Gaiden snorted and bobbed his head as to the unpleasent tone of the two horses that stood just two stalls away from his own. He did not much care for how they looked down at his brethren though he really did not know them well. Still their talk did leave a sour taste in his mouth and he decided to address them. "What would make you leave your master, has his heart grown dark?" He looked over at Taetho crossly. "I am honored to be my masters gait. He is a good man like many who are here. Why do you say such things?" He asked none to politely.
 

YayGollum

Conscience of TTF
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
Rogane slumped even more. Anthrax perked up and nodded encouragingly, merely looking for some interesting conversation. Rogane, speaking to the floor ---> "I'm just not cut out for adventures, I guess. Maybe if they were less often. Most of the horses that have told me stories patrol the border. They are in a lot less danger than I am. I'm sorry. I know that I should be more loyal. I've tried for so long, though! I've found myself hoping that some Orc would eventually kill him! I know, I am horrible. He doesn't seem to know that I am discontent. He is a good man. He would sell me, if he knew, I am sure." Anthrax did mumble something sympathetic-sounding but was also a bit put off by a horse from Rohan hating his master so much.
 

Daranavo

Hopeless Romantic
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Messages
578
Reaction score
0
Location
Michigan
Gaiden snorted again and pounded upon the wooden floor with his left front hoof. He was a very sturdy and quick horse. In fact he and his master had won the great harvest race two years in a row. However he was a humble horse and though winning had brought him much pleasures it was only that he had made his master happy that was at all important to him. This year though he would not be running and this did sadden him. Gaiden shook his head briskly and forced the sad thoughts from his mind. “Take heart my friend for it was you and you alone that bore him from such dangers that you speak of. We all have dreams from before we knew anything of tack and saddle. Serve him well and one day you shall know those times once again for I have seen such happen and to those horses I shall miss them greatly.”
 

Miss Insanity

The Flame Goddess
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Location
Underwater
"Please, brothers, listen to what I have to say!" interrupted Taetho quite loudly. He had stood again, and now towered over the other horses, his black eyes piercing. "No horse should be tethered against his will, nor should any horse be obligated to follow his rider or call him 'master'. If truly they think on us as equals, why are we to be locked away in stables. Should not we run free, as they may if they so choose?" Taetho kicked his stall door heavily. It did not break, but the lock bent noticeably far out of shape and splinters flew from the wood. Suddenly he stopped and hung his head low. "Now I shall explain all... I have not always felt this way. I once, like many other young Mearas, enjoyed being pampered and taught to speak, as if I too were a man. We were raised to envy men, and we did. We trained to live with them, to fight with them, and," he looked to Rogane, "to die with them."

"But what they never taught us was how to deal with grief, or shame, or love. My rider, my greatest friend... is dead. And it is my own fault. I failed in my duty to protect him, and I pay the price. But that is not what angers me. I have come to realize that we horses are little more than slaves. We are expected to do brave, difficult, and heroic deeds with no compensation except grain and a roof over our heads! All horses are equal to each other and to man! It is for this reason that I have chosen to leave now. To throw off my shame and my grief and run free... to see the ocean before I die. When the Harvest Fair ends... I shall be gone."

He sat down in the straw again, and leaned his head against the corner of his stall. From the pub, up the street, a dim sound of violins could be heard playing an upbeat melody as the men stomped on the tables.
 

Daranavo

Hopeless Romantic
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Messages
578
Reaction score
0
Location
Michigan
The large gelding glared at the beautiful Mearas and stomped once again. “Why do you apply despair where it does not belong? It is the choice of each of us to obey our masters. We are true, noble, giving creatures. To take for ourselves lowers us!” Gaiden snorted angrily and whipped his long, silky, black tail. He looked over at Rogane and then to Anthrax. He lightly snorted a sigh and he too lowered his head and his voice to a gentle calm. “Brothers, it saddens me greatly that your hearts have grown dark. What you speak of goes against all that we are or hope to be. The cage in which you must escape is within yourselves. I will pray that you purge your hearts of this darkness but you shame us with such words and I shall speak to you no longer.” With that Gaiden turned and faced toward another of his brothers that stood in the stall next to his.
 

Miss Insanity

The Flame Goddess
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Location
Underwater
"I have no reason for despair," said Taetho, now angrily turning once more to the gelding. "My only friend is dead because of my error and I have no need for sorrow?! It was these men that you seem so desperate to blindly follow that sent him to his death, and I could not save him. I believe that warrants some anger and some grief. I wish to take nothing except myself and my freedom. If you believe that it is our place to do the bidding of man without second thought then so be it. But I will not be held by bonds of ignorance. I have no more place here. Now, please, all of you, leave me alone." He kicked the stall door again, and it shattered into pieces. As he walked out through the stable door, he surveyed the damage with a smirk.

The sounds of music and merriment got louder as he approached the pub. Where was he to go now? He noticed an empty stable to his left and trotted inside, the old wooden boards creaked. Suddenly, he noticed at the end of the row of stalls... a man!
 

chrysophalax

Dragon of Note
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
4
Location
Prowling the Withered Heath
A sound of slow hoofbeats made Haluin turn. His jaw dropped at the sight before him. He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry. One of the Mearas, here? Alone? Haluin loved horses and to have one of the stallions of legend standing before him nearly struck him dumb with awe. With a quick glance at Hengist, he inclined his head in reverence, then spoke to the stallion softly. "I am Haluin of Mirkwood, one of the First-born. My people honour all living things, but one of the Mearas...forgive me, I hardly feel worthy, Lord. May I approach?"

The stallion snorted, pawing at the floorboards with a powerful foreleg. He tossed his head, then slowly extended his muzzle toward Haluin, the large nostrils flaring as he smelled the stranger's scent. After a moment, he took one step, then waited. Haluin put out his hand. lightly stroking the strong, glossy neck. "Great One, tell me your name. I can understand you, if you will share it with me." He held his breath, waiting to see if he had been accepted.
 

Miss Insanity

The Flame Goddess
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Location
Underwater
"My name, gentle friend, is Taetho-Ernil in the language of your people. I would bid you look upon me as you would on any other horse of all kinds. I may, by birth, be a lord of horses, but I do not feel that lordship in my bones." Taetho let the Elf stroke his mane, and rested his head on the Elf's shoulder in as a sign of permission. He whinnied softly, and turned his head slightly. Suddenly he lifted his head and took a step past the Elf, who looked rather put out. "Worry not, friend. You have done nothing wrong. But who..." he looked at the unconscious man lying on the floor, "is this?"
 

Turgon

Ghost-King of Gondolin
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
1,341
Reaction score
7
Location
Manchester, England.
'By the Horn of Araw.' Muttered Hengist as he slowly came to. 'What happened?' Glancing up he saw Haluin, standing next to one of the most beautiful horses he had ever layed eyes on. Strangely though, the elf seemed to be speaking to himself, and stranger still was the note of awe in his voice. Hengist knew the elf thought highly of himself, but this seemed to be taking it a little too far. As he put his arms down and tried to raise himself to a more comfortable position, the horse took a few graceful steps forward, glancing down at the Rohirrim with a curious light in his eyes. Suddenly several things clicked in Hengist's head. The memory of Haluin's stunning blow in the feast-hall, the confrontation with the gatewardens outside the city, and the sinking realization that he need to speak to somebody who could help him out of this predicament. Then something else flashed into his head, something that made it spin. The horse, it was a Mearas surely? The old man had only ever seen once such creature in all his years, and to find one here in a common stable in the outskirts of the city? Sinking back into the straw Hengist let out a long, drawn out sigh. A final realization dawning upon him; he was still dreaming.
 
Last edited:

chrysophalax

Dragon of Note
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
4
Location
Prowling the Withered Heath
"That, my Lor-er, Taetho, is my erstwhile friend, Hengist. He is much the worse for drink just now, but were he with us entirely, I am more than certain he would honour you as well. He is one of Rohan's most illustrious warriors after all, though, it seems not all here seem to remember that." he added bitterly. Haluin was still angered by the cold reception the guards had given them. All he had ever known of the Rohirrim, he had gathered through his friendship with the grizzled warrior, therefore, he had assumed that Hengist was the rule, rather than the exception.

The rustle of straw caught his attention as Hengist sat up, blearily looked around, then focussed on the horse only a few feet in front of him. A puzzled look became one of surprise, then acceptance as he settled back into his makeshift bed. Haluin was having none of it. A bucket with a wooden ladle hanging beside it bespoke a solution to the problem. Without another thought, he eased past the stallion, peered into the bucket and grinned. Perfect!

A heartbeat later and Hengist was spluttering words fit to curdle milk. Haluin was now wisely standing just outside the entrance to the stalls, in plain sight, in case he needed witnesses to a possible homicide. Hood shadowing his face, the elf permitted himself to feel pleased. He had met one of the Mearas and thus far, had escaped bodily harm. He also knew that the day was young...
 

YayGollum

Conscience of TTF
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
Rogane only released a few helpless noises as Taetho broke out and left them. He wanted to ask him to set him free as well. That desire was burning pretty hotly in his brain, as usual, but Gaiden's disapproval shamed him too much. The Mearas were above reproach, he figured. Gaiden was the sort that he knew he was supposed to emulate, the sort that his master had always assumed him to be, for some reason. Any reminder of Eorache the Valiant later, "Come back! Let me out!"

Anthrax had been settling in, immensely pleased with the opportunity to observe a good argument, instead of taking part in one, but when Taetho left and Gaiden looked determined to ignore him, his thoughts turned to Truor. "Ack! He would have hated to miss this!"

Inside, Truor glared at Eorache the Valiant, sure merely by the sight of the guy that he was correct to abhor his aura. Eorache the Valiant's gaze barely flickered over the Beorning. After a quick evaluation of, "Foreigner. Filthy. Strong but unfamiliar with his own weapon." he took a seat at the opposite side of the bar and ordered a drink. They both rushed back to the stables when they heard an urgent horse's neigh.

Truor ---> "Anthrax! What? I just missed a Mearas? What's a Mearas? Don't look at me like that! Huh? He went that way? What do I care? Oh, he's fun. Okay. Argh! They had some good mead in there, you know!"

Eorache the Valiant ---> "Rogane? What is it? Have the bandits returned?" About to do an inventory check, to make sure that nothing had been stolen or that his horse hadn't been damaged, he noticed the broken door, heard Truor say something about the Mearas, and shot him a reproachful glare. "You think of drink before this? Have you no sense of worth, foreigner?" He then forgot all about his horse and started sniffing around for a more impressive specimen.
 

elfgirl

Elfyevai Avari
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
302
Reaction score
0
Location
In a magical land of pixies and fairy dust and can
Eteri looked up at the stars, tracing patterns to the moon. He wasn't exactly sure why he stared at them, he just knew that there was something else out there, something more than him. And somehow, it hit him harder than any other blow. When next I utter the word 'mellon', I will be old and gray, I think. And they will not. They will be just as youthful and carefree as when I next saw them, as blonde and beautiful and ever-green. And I will be fifty, if I live that long. He was nothing. Insignificant in lifespan and influence in comparison to his first-born friends. Insignificant. Yes, that summed it up. Suddenly, he felt a breeze, and realized the coldness of the water on his skin. Quickly scrubbing the rest of the blood off of his body, he dried off and dressed. Mayhaps I need some friendly faces. Someone to make me feel... significant. He hardly had to think about it; his feet carried him assuredly to the closest inn. He had to admit; he was not at all good with drinks. He always amused the odd creatures he met with his drunkenness off of just a glass or so of mead - something which would have been nothing to an elf, or a dwarf, or even, he heard, a halfling. Yet after a glass, his speech was only slightly slurred; just enough to take out the faint accent he'd gained from Lorien, that smooth edge to his voice, and regain the native rough edge of his Rohirric tongue. The inn was crowded with whores and fighters, the fighters all horrid and sickening, the whores all scantily clad and made-up, and not many good-looking. Besides, some of them already seemed to be choosing favorites and moving toward them. Yet suddenly, one of the women in the bar caught his attention. She was blonde, blue eyes, and her hair was down. She was not nearly as attractive as some he had seen, yet a good find among humans, although she carried herself oddly, and suddenly he realized why. She was not so much thin as lean; not so much well-shaped as strong. She carried herself like a warrior, and her hair had that trade-mark curl from being tied back, and away from her face. And somehow, this made her more beautiful to him than anyone else in the bar. Later, he would realize why; she was a fellow outcast; a fellow insignificance in the world.

"So," she said in that horrible, imitation-sweet tone, "I guess you're a warrior, come to Rohan for the Spring Festival." She smiled, trying desperately to be charming, and he felt her liking for her wane.

"Yes." He decided that perhaps it was best if she left, so he smiled, and said as charmingly as he could, "-and don't worry. You don't have to feign any interest in me. I'm not interested." Her mouth opened, eyes widened, face locked. He just smiled. It was rather sad, yet fitting... for two so unimportant as they.

"I'm not a whore." He tried to look surprised, while in his mind, laughing. "My name's Avari, and I could probably beat you blind in a swordfight, so I wouldn't be so smug if I were you." He couldn't help it - he laughed, tossed his hair back. Now, this was interesting. Her, beating him. Who knew? Maybe she could. He'd seen odder things. Yet, the mead he was consuming was starting to go to his head.

"You? Really?" He laughed a little more, and took a sip from his drink, looked her up and down, running his eyes over every curve and muscle. "I take it back." She smiled, smug, and he leaned a little closer, whispering, "I am interested." She blushed and he saw anger rising in her... again. She has not had nearly enough to drink for this time of night. "It's okay darling, don't be angry." He reached over and patted her hand kindly. "I'm sure you know your way around a fight." He smiled as kindly as he could, and finally saw her start to calm down, and even smile a little. And suddenly, he realized; like it or not... he was interested.

"So..." Unfortunately, she interrupted his thoughts. "I suppose you've traveled a lot... or, you're from a distant town. Your accent isn't familiar to me." He couldn't help but laugh a little. He had thought the mead had removed it all.

"Ah, of course. I came from Southern Rohan, and ventured into Gondor when I was young. Yet my accent comes from my years of travel. I've spent more than a decade exploring Middle Earth, and as far beyond as I could get." Suddenly, she seemed to be paying much more attention.

"So... you've met elves, I expect?" Despite the alcohol, he hesitated. Or, rather, because of the alcohol, he hesitated. Normally, he wouldn't tell anyone for fear of being kicked out of the inn, yet he was getting much nearer to drunk than he was half an hour ago, and he for some reason, he wanted very badly to keep her around.

"...Yes, yet-"

"Really? Like from Rivendell?" Her tone was curious; his increasingly sluggish.

"Yes, actually... I spent two years in Rivendell... and three in Mirkwood, and Lorien." Her smiled broadly, though whether the source was her company or alcohol was questionable. "Why," he slurred sweetly, with genuine interest in her, "any questions for me?" She laughed, melodically, sweetly, and suddenly she was much more attractive than he'd noticed before. Much, much more attractive...

"Thousands." He smiled broadly. At least he wouldn't be alone all night. Now, if only he could answer the questions straightly. He motioned at her to drink more; maybe she wouldn't notice so much if she was equally drunk.

By the end of the night, though, he was rather disappointed. Even that odd, blonde man got more attention than him.

*****

Allea watched the people around her with careful interest. She'd loved this, as a child; just sitting and watching people. There was so much you came to learn. Watching passers in the street that night was especially interesting. She'd seen a Beorning, along with the normal slew of Rohirrim. One very attractive yet rather odd-acting man... mayhaps he had eaten the wrong berries... And a Maeras... a Maeras! Being led away to a stable. And she could've sworn she saw one man with the lithe figure of an elf, yet he was totally cloaked, so perhaps he was just a very graceful man. Another man who seemed quite... lightfooted, yet definitely human. Quite too drunk to be anything but human...

"Well, hello, sweetheart." A drunken soldier swayed up to her. She laughed as kindly as she possibly could, while still laughing in his face.

"Not if I was old and blind and drunk as I could be." And she placed her palm firmly against his face, shoving with as much force as she could muster and sending him tumbling drunk into the mud. The people seemed to be getting less and less interesting as the night went on, and finally, she gave up finding any amusement in the now-deserted streets, and decided on finding a place where she could stay the night. Unfortunately, she found herself in an inn with the drunken lightfooded man, saying something about some person called 'Legolas'. Allea's lip curled. Sounded like elven magic-speak to her. Foreign, at least. Dangerously foreign. Although they were interesting, she couldn't get past their dangerousness. Other than that, there were few people left, and she resigned herself to drinking the rest of the night.
 

Turgon

Ghost-King of Gondolin
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
1,341
Reaction score
7
Location
Manchester, England.
Dawn came to Edoras, blushing behind a gauzy veil of cloud. It promised to be a fine day, the few clouds that were in the sky were little more than wisps and would no doubt flee as the sun made her sultry progress across the sky. The streets were already buzzing as stallholders set out their wares for the day. A myriad of entertainers were heading from their lodgings to the various corners and squares scattered around the city, some dressed like poppinjays, some dressed in smart, well fitting costumes, and some dressed in clothes so outlandish that the various goodwives already about their business couldn't help but stiffle giggles as they passed. All of them, it must be said, were oblivious to the strange events unfolding in the stables.

Even the guards seemed to be in a cheerful mood, the most comely of them having flowers placed on their helms by several boisterous maidens who were running amock through the streets, bundles of freshly picked blossoms clasped tightly in their arms. Eófric, a handsome, good-natured fellow, was one of these guards, and he made his way through the streets with a wide grin on his face, glad that sour-faced Kjartan would not be keeping watch with him today. Kjartan would be taking part in the wrestling tourney, which was taking place this very evening and Eófric couldn't help but hope that he would face Hengist again on the field.

Soon it seemed as if the whole city was out and about, people haggling in the marketplace, at the stalls, and even for the price of a meal in the feast-halls. The noise increased steadily, as the various minstrels, jugglers and tricksters completed with each other in increasingly splendid performances. It was a tradition in Edoras that the best of the entertainers perform before the King, in Meduseld itself, on the final evening of the fair; and the King was known to be a generous patron. The majority of the Rohirrim in Edoras had no idea about the troubles brewing on the border, and that is as it should be. The High Summer Fair, was a celebration of all that was good in Rohan. A time of happiness and hope. The various martial contests held outside the doors of the Golden Hall, were the highlight of the Rohirrim year, with bets changing hands, huge crowds cheering for their favourites, and a year of fame and honour for those who won glory. There were four events in these contests, wrestling, swordsmanship, archery, and finally, and it must be said, most importantly, the race. This took place on the final day of the fair, and all the best riders in Rohan took part. It took places over three laps, the course winding around the very hill that Edoras stood on.

Hengist was the favourite again for the wrestling. Even though he was long in years, he was still strong, and had a lifetime of experience behind him, and having won the prize five times already, there were few who would bet against him. Daranavo was a strong favourite for the swordsmanship tourney, he had narrowly missed out in the final the previous year, but had won on two previous occasions. Rumour had it that Eorache the Valiant had been spotted in the city too, and he could be counted upon to put up a good show. The archery contest, as always, was anybody's. Goodwine was a contender though, or at least that's who the smart money was on. As for the race, it would be as always, impossible to call. Indeed betting was forbidden at this event, being somewhat sacred to the horse loving Rohirrim.

All in all it promised to be a splendid few days.
 

Ghorim

A Dwarf
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
346
Reaction score
0
Location
On the roam
Sir Astoundo was not a knight, nor was he a nobleman. Then again, everyone knew that. Riding in to Edoras at the head of his train of carriages, he looked like a scrawny farmer bringing livestock to market. That was deliberate. Astoundo wanted to scout his competition inconspicuously. Only at the gate did he state his true purpose. He had arranged this date well in advance, knowing the distrust of the Rohirrim rather intimately from past experience. He gave the flower-laden guards at the East Gate the full dose of his charm, and they let him pass.

Adjusting his straw hat as he urged his team of mules forward, Astoundo surveyed the fairgrounds from his perch atop the lead carriage. The early morning had settled in, and the main square was already filling up fast. There they were, staking out every corner: the garishly dressed jesters, the two-bit jugglers, and the tiresome bards, warbling the same old songs about love and heroism. Astoundo smirked, continuing to chew on a long blade of grass that rested in the left corner of his mouth. He used to be like them – a sad little solo act, prepared to undergo any sort of humiliation for a handful of coppers from the leering crowd.

Astoundo had never possessed much talent. On a good day, he could juggle four objects at once. He could carry a tune within a limited range, but his fingers were too clumsy to wield a stringed instrument properly. Yet Astoundo always knew what people wanted in a performance. They wanted variety, surprises, and spectacle. They wanted to feel afraid but safe at the same time. In truth, they wanted to watch the very things that they despised rendered harmless.

That’s where the Astonishing Assortment of Associates came in.

He had picked each of them up along the way like spare parts. They were all castoffs, lost somewhere in the shadows. The blind acrobat twins were orphaned and begging for alms in Gondor. A village in Arnor had chased off the bearded lady as a sorceress. And who knew where Ollie came from… the giant certainly didn’t remember, or at least he wasn’t letting on. Each one Astoundo seduced with ease, for they had no one else to turn to. At night Astoundo would count the proceeds and remind himself that he was a hero. He alone could fashion these broken souls into something of use.

How could Astoundo forget the pitiful sight of Jokim when he first discovered the dwarf, slouched over that grimy bar in Dale, gazing listlessly ahead?

And look at him now, thought Astoundo, my star performer…

After a few unsuccessful attempts, Astoundo brought the mules to a halt at the far north end of the fairgrounds and hopped down from his seat. Producing his keys, he unlocked the second carriage, letting loose the swordsman and the snake wrangler to help him construct the group’s stage for the evening. He also freed the contortionist to ensure that no one came too close to the carriages. Astoundo didn’t want some curious urchin stumbling upon the evening’s biggest attractions and spreading gossip. Surprise, after all, was essential in this line of work…

---

“Eleven… twelve… thirteen…”

Jokim never asked Ollie to count his pushups. It was a complimentary service. The dwarf had propped himself up almost completely vertically against the carriage wall, putting all of his body’s weight onto his arms. The blood rushed up into his head, blurring his vision and making him dizzy. But he continued his reps with a mechanical efficiency, making it easy for Ollie to count along. Sometimes Jokim thought that this was all that his fifty-odd years in the army had gifted him – the addiction to physical exertion. The salary certainly hadn’t lasted…

“Eighteen… nineteen… twwww…”

The dwarf paused before the last one, craning his neck to grin at Ollie as he drew the last rep out. The giant held his tongue and waited patiently.

Jokim bent his arms slowly, feeling the familiar burning strain before he pushed back up to full extension.

“Twwwwenty!”

After holding his stance for a few moments longer, Jokim walked forward on his hands and climbed down the wall with his feet. The dwarf let out his breath in a huge gust, and plopped down upon his pile of straw as he shook out his arms. He felt healthy, more so than he had in a long while. Had Jokim attempted that exercise only a year ago he would have fainted dead away. Now he could almost envision himself as he once was – someone respected, someone useful.

Jokim could say what he would about his career as a performer, but he could not deny that it had allowed him to recover his old physical form. Even as his pride rankled at the indignities that Astoundo subjected him to, at least he had a sense of pride now. It hadn’t been so when they first met…

By Durin, had he been drunk! At first he mistook Astoundo for a hallucination – this squirrelly stringbean man with his peach fuzz mustache and sunken eyes couldn’t be real. But there he was, an arm on Jokim’s shoulder, talking to him like an equal. The dwarf hadn’t heard a sympathetic voice in weeks. He fell under Astoundo’s spell. Yes, he needed the work. Yes, he’d sign a contract. Twenty-five performances, complete loyalty to Astoundo, and no drinking while on tour. Illiterate as he was, Jokim could only nod along to the terms as Astoundo read them off. The dwarf applied a sickly-looking “X” to the bottom of the contract with a quill that Astoundo seemed to grab out of the air.

The festival in Edoras marked Jokim’s twenty-fifth performance. After this business, he was done. Jokim thrilled at the prospect of a fresh start, maybe in the Iron Hills or the Ered Luin. He only wished he hadn’t told Ollie earlier…

“You should stay with us,” the giant said, appealing to Jokim with the eyes of a child.

“I cannot,” said Jokim, reclining with his hands clasped over his chest. “Not a moment more of this…”

“You don’t like it?” Ollie leaned forward, seeming determined to press the matter.

Jokim bit his lip and considered his words carefully. “I have enjoyed working with you, Ollie, and the others. But I must move on. The road calls to me, and I cannot ignore her.”

Ollie lowered his gaze, looking thoughtfully at the floor. “I’ll miss you.”

Jokim suppressed a shudder. He couldn’t stand to hear this mighty form sounding so pathetic. “You do not need me, Ollie.” He paused as Ollie looked up at him questioningly. “Do you realize what you are capable of, a fellow as large and as strong as you?”

Ollie shook his head, and Jokim nodded back sharply.

“You could do a lot of good, build a lot of things for people. You could be more than someone else’s entertainment. Do not forget that.”

The giant was silent. Jokim stared at him. The sounds of the festival crowd milling about filtered in from outside the carriage. They were in for a long wait before Astoundo let them out…
 

Narya

~He-he-he~
Joined
Apr 22, 2002
Messages
1,286
Reaction score
21
Location
Somewhere in Asia
I warned you never to make contact with me while I'm here. I cannot risk being identified with you—not until I have it! It is here. I've seen it. He has it. He keeps it along with all the petty treasures of his house, which, if we play our cards right, will not last long. If we play it right!
I have not plotted my way into his bed and endure the torture of his company every night only to loose it in the end because of your stupidity! Gold will be sent to you soon. If you must send word, use the well, but use it sparingly.
Again, may this be the last, or I will not hesitate to send something else to make sure you never write again.
With all my love.



The morning was quite warm, and though the countryside still swayed with thick green, Seranis knew that soon it will turn golden brown. She unclasped the necklace and placed it back into the box then took another, one with an emerald pendant as large as pebble dangling in the middle.

“I think this looks better, don't you agree?”

“Yes, my lady,” agreed the young woman beside her. “It looks exquisite round your neck, your majesty!”

Seranis smiled at her flattery then sent her away along with the other maidens that waited on her. She slowly stood and placed the crown of silver and pearls upon her head, in front of a thick braid of golden hair that had been circled around twice and fastened at the back with a pin made of rubies and gold.

The doors of her chamber opened with a soft chime and as she walked down the corridor, Knights saluted her while servants bowed their heads. Soon, she was in the throne room where the King had been waiting for her. The Festival was about to begin.

Beside the King, and after he had kissed her hand and she had acknowledged his crown, Seranis smiled sweetly and said, “This shall be a day of celebration, my king. A day that will be remembered in Edoras.”

“It will be remembered because of your beauty, Seranis my love,” the King replied. His eyes gleamed with so much love for her.

“Then let us not keep them waiting,” she replied.

They stood and walked towards the doors of the great hall escorted by the finest riders of the Rohirrim.
 
Last edited:

YayGollum

Conscience of TTF
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
Eorache the Valiant easily found the escapee. Several frantically interested parties bumped into him on the way, spouting that the thing's last rider had been killed and that its future was most probably in the direction of their familes. He quickly bowed out of any confrontations that would have been meaningless to him. As he approached the stable that he had been directed to, he avoided some snappily dressed someone, who had no problem with standing in the way and paying little attention to traffic, it seemed. He sniffed as he passed but focused on the horse when he saw it inside. He didn't speak as he took the reins and attempted to lead the horse. A few grunts and encouraging noises later, he stood, perplexed, and finally noticed Hengist, who didn't look to be in an especially helpful mood. He scanned around for someone else but only found the snappy dresser, who he narrowed his eyes at briefly. Was he a noble, come to retrieve the horse? No, he didn't look like a native, which would be another good reason to take the horse away. "Hm. I can't leave it here, and it can't be kept in the stables..."

Truor, on top of a different hoof, announced to Anthrax that he was too tired to go running off just to talk to some horse from Rohan, no matter how famous his breed. He drifted back inside to finish his drink, shared a few stories, then came back to speak with Anthrax before he went to sleep. Apparently, he had chosen a good time to visit. He talked with Anthrax and Rogane for a bit and found a great reason to ask around about the upcoming events. With the humans, he asked about how to join. With the animals, he asked around about the whereabouts of the latest addition to the Mearas population in town. He woke up late, planning on surprising several by talking that horse into winning the race for him, then merely to keep running.
 
Last edited:

Thread suggestions

Top