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The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend... for now

yhwh1st

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The woman saw one of the two figures slip off to the side. Why did they think she wouldn’t see? The other person, a woman, responded in a shaky voice.

So, she’s afraid of me. I can use this, she thought, as she moved towards the other woman. I’ll threaten her and, if I’m reading her right, she’ll run first chance she gets.

“We? What exactly were we hunting, now?” She barely heard the response, her attention was focused on her surroundings. Was that noise the other one coming from behind? She neatly stepped to the side and watched in surprise as a man barreled right by her and into a nearby tree.

Lily turned her attention back to the woman before her, now backed up against a tree. “Draw your weapon and fight. I do not slaughter my opponents.” Lily saw a flicker of motion through her peripheral vision, and the other woman’s eyes turned in the same direction.

The next moment she was on her back. The man did not have a very good grip and she slipped out, reaching for the sword that had flown from her grasp. But the man was quicker than she anticipated and she abruptly found herself flat on her face, knee pressed hard against her spine and right arm was held painfully high behind her back.

The pain in her elbow and shoulder was so intense that her vision started to blur, and she had trouble concentrating on the question growled above her head. “Now it’s your turn to answer some questions. Who are you and why are you here?” She didn’t answer and feeling her arm being pulled higher, she let out a slight gasp in pain. “You intrude on me in this clearing and attack me for no apparent reason,” she grunted, “then you demand answers to questions of which you have no right to ask.” The man brought the arm down a bit but didn’t loosen his grip. She complied. “I am a woman of Rohan. My business is my own. I shall only say this: that I do not pursue, but am pursued.” There was no immediate response. The man seemed to be thinking.
 
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Seregon

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He couldn't understand why all of this upset her so much. Most of the people in the camp thought the opposite; they would have easily - and probably at least slightly correctly - argued that he was not on the side of good. Yet tears were filling her eyes.

"Sometimes... Sometimes... things aren't as clear as good and evil." Oh, Eru. I thought I showed her I am not what I used to be. I am not an elven hero like those of old; I'm a pathetic half-easterling. Then suddenly he realized; he had shown her. The others only thought he was not good because they did not know the full story. Yet Alana... And suddenly, it dawned on him. He opened his mouth to ask her, yet the words caught - and for a good reason. He cursed himself. He should've been suspicious when she warmed up to him so quickly. Yet now... now, he had the upper hand. Better to not let on; better to stand back and watch. He had to find out who's side she was on, truthfully. Yet could she really be trusted? What if she not only deceived him, but everyone else? What if there was a side to this he had not seen before? She lied to him, why not everyone else also? Suddenly, he realized - he should say something. Or do something. He reached out awkwardly and pulled her to him, trying his best to be comforting. She didn't protest; just buried her face in his shoulder.

"So..." He glanced down at her, or tried to. "Your common enemy... with the- the- orcs..." There was a long pause. "Is it the easterlings?" Her voice was slightly muffled, yet they both knew he understood it. There was no point dancing around the question.

"Yes; the easterlings don't like them any more than you or I," Well... maybe not you... "It's pointless to be fighting two enemies when you could be fighting one." Curses; why did I say that?! Now maybe they will ally. This was becoming more difficult. He had to think about what he said more than usual. "It was very difficult to get even a meager, temporary neutrality out of them, yet I don't regret it." I don't? ...No; I suppose I don't... There was silence from Alana. After a couple more awkward moments, she pulled back and stood straight. It was only then, when Orion saw her red, blurred eyes, that he realized she had been crying. He still wasn't sure how much of this was an act; whose side she was on; what she wasn't telling him and exactly how much she knew, yet he wasn't entirely sure it mattered. Either way... she knows too much. He smiled softly.

"We ought to be getting back. ...Why don't you lead?" As they walked back through the forest and her eyes cleared up, he thought of his strategy, picked a spot. When he got to it, he reached out toward her back, one hand nearing his dagger. Suddenly, she turned around, and wrapped her arms around his chest, pressing their bodies close, and resting her head on his shoulder. He sneered, disgusted and shocked for a moment, before collecting himself, hugging her back, and wondering if this was coincidence. What if she has no side? Perhaps she can read minds. And with this thought, he realized; if it were true, her lies might be out of necessity rather than deception. And killing her would weigh on his conscience. With that, he also wondered; could he have done it? Surely, sliding the dagger into her stomach and up through her heart would be extremely easy for someone of his size, yet she was... what? Sweet... kind... she's... I... my friend... Once more his lip curled in disgust. How could he let himself be befriended by some elf? Some elf like I was... only full-blooded; no corruption. Kind and pure... And he hated her, suddenly, at the same time as they were friends. He hated her for what she was; what he should have been. He hated her with all his heart.

*****

Rhea watched over both Graeme and Straag for a while, yet found herself focusing on Graeme. He was in a more dangerous position at the moment; perched precariously between life and death. Luinwe had become her best asset; the elf helped her in everything, and was very obedient and quick to accomplish things. Though not the most intelligent, and with very little creativity, she knew exactly what was wanted - and expected - from her.

Consequently, Rhea found her exceedingly useful, though slightly impersonal, and quickly they found common ground - dislike of Orion, and confusion as to why Alana had become his little lap-dog servant so quickly; making her instantly untrustworthy. There was no way that Orion was good; after a bit of conversation they still weren't even sure he was against the easterlings. Yet curiosity staid Rhea's hand; she had not yet told Luinwe that she had tattooed on her wrist the same emblem that was on Orion's medallion, nor that her sword hilt had the same burning power of his medallion. And she wouldn't; she really wanted more than anything to deny it; to make it untrue. They had nothing in common; they could not have something so distinct alike. Thankfully, Luinwe had not asked her about the symbols being the same, and they both knew she would not, simply because Rhea did not want her to, and Luinwe was always one to follow orders. Soon she won't even question them. Rhea smiled at that thought. She'll be completely obedient... Perfect.

*****

From evil comes good; a child born for unity; one for division. The heavens and the earth will fall; the balance frail; for these will bring an epic war. And with them, the result - unity, and peace.

-----

"Not everything is written in stone, Orion." He seemed dangerously depressed; sitting on the edge of a steep embankment.

"And how would you know?" He snapped at her, glaring. She knew that no matter what he said, she had hurt him.

"Because it was my family that made the prophecy." His eyes narrowed, and he looked her over carefully. "It was my family that made that medallion… We had one elven ancestor hundreds of years ago, and we’ve never managed to fully live the legacy down. And neither will your family." She paused, wishing she hadn’t mentioned families, and they didn’t speak for a long while.
 

Seregon

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"Yes; luckily, we managed to escape from that horrible caravan." Theo smiled kindly at the hobbit, a few strands of her dark hair falling in her eyes. She barely noticed, and didn’t bother reaching up to move it. "We should travel together; we stand a better chance if we’re in a group." She signaled Tark to come, yet for some reason, he stayed where he was, so she didn’t push him, and focused instead on the hobbit and his fair companion.

Tark watched carefully, keeping his eye on both Aleth and Theo. The hobbit was not a part of the plan, so he chose to ignore the smaller being unless there was something immediate happening that needed his attention. That would be a rarity; the future’s the only thing that matters now. He shifted on his branch, watching the unfolding scene carefully. Aleth seemed anxious to get moving, and it wasn’t surprising. A fair one in the land of the easterlings… A smile crossed his face. Not as rare as it used to be.
 

Majimaune

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Straag waited to give his reply, making the woman question her safety with the two strangers that showed up, unexpectedly, even though he'd already made his decision when he had her pinned down.

"Get up," he said a little savagely while taking his weight off the woman and releasing her. "You would do well to come with us. We are a group also being pursued or at least we think we are. Safety in numbers I always say."

"What? Your going to let this person come along with us to our camp?" said Laia, questioning his logic.

Who does she think she is? I know what I'm doing.

Straag replied to Laia in a low quiet voice so that the woman couldn't overhear and to control his annoyance. "Better with us where I can watch her then having to keep awake all night listening for the thief that comes for our supplies...or us."

"Point taken." she replied to him, then turned to the stranger. "You, woman, whats your name?"
 

elfgirl

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"Sometimes... Sometimes... things aren't as clear as good and evil." No kidding. He tried to look sympathetic - not easy for him, by far. Then an odd look passed over his face, one she was not expecting. She searched through her mind for a word, for some understanding... and found nothing. She felt panic edge through her mind. He opened his mouth, closed it again, and then looked at her, seemed to have a moment of confusion, and awkwardly pulled her closer. She wrapped her arms tightly around him, and felt tears in her eyes again.

"So... Your common enemy... with the- the- orcs... ...Is it the easterlings?" There was a little pause; a hesitation. This isn't good. Just when he starts to open up, he goes back again. She briefly wondered if that was the look, but something told her that no, it wasn't. At this rate he'll never fully trust me.

"Yes; the easterlings don't like them any more than you or I. It's pointless to be fighting two enemies when you could be fighting one. It was very difficult to get even a meager, temporary neutrality out of them, yet I don't regret it." Another bit of hesitation, just a moment delayed. It's getting worse. After a few awkward moments, she pulled away, and they looked each other in the eyes. Once more, she felt fear start to ebb across her mind. It's genuine softness, kindness... caring. He trusts me less by the minute. He smiled softly. "We ought to be getting back. ...Why don't you lead?" There was something in his eyes that she'd seen before, but she couldn't put her finger on it. She thought and thought, as they made their way back, then, suddenly, it hit her. She stopped, suddenly, turned on her heel, and wrapped her arms around him. One arm had been reaching for her. Just in time. Her heart was in her throat again, as she kept her arms wrapped around him, her head buried in his shoulder, his body pulling away from her. No. If you kill me, kill me like this. Put the dagger in my back. He collected himself, and returned the embrace.

-----

"Is he alright?" Rhea looked up at her from where she sat next to Graeme.

"Time will tell." She moved her posture as little as possible. "I see you went off into the forest again with Orion." Alana paused. She knew what Rhea thought of the both of them, and didn't like it one bit. We're far from lovers, Rhea... so very, very far.

"We had to hunt down an orc." Rhea gave her a look that seemed to scream "I'm humoring you" and a slight smile.

"I don't understand what you like so much about him. He's a traitor to the good name of his species." Alana couldn't help but smile. You're the only other of his species, dear. And from the look in your eyes, he's exactly what he should be.

"He's sweet inside, he's just had a rough time in life." Rhea held back a laugh. "As have you, I presume. At least from the hilt of your sword." Her hand flew to her sword, wrapped around the hilt. Alana leaned down, to get their faces closer. "And you don't even know why it burns them, what it does, why it was created." Her face grew pale, and Alana knew it was all she had to say. With a quick, bitter smile, she turned and walked away.

*****

She sighed. He should be here, soon. He'll want to know what I've been doing, how everything is coming along. There was a metallic 'shling' as she sharpened her sword, making sure the edge was always razor sharp. I'll need it, soon. The thought disturbed her, yet it was a feeling she was getting used to. They didn't tell me it would be like this. They didn't tell me I would like these people. And as she looked across the campsite, she realized: she did like them. Victims of crime and circumstance, victims of their own will to live. What ever did they do? Yet circumstance must turn us all. You're born, you turn, and you die. Isn't that what we always said? In the temples and steeples, in the kitchens and streets, as we watched the naysayers and steadfast people march to their death. They turned before they died; it was all we could hope. That their last bitter taste of life was tainted with the edge of what was to come. Yet was it right? Some here have lived centuries, and not yet turned. Is it such a crime to live that through your death? She bit her lip, her brows knotted. And for some reason, her mind turned to that face he'd given, in the forest. She still couldn't pin it, and now it disrupted her thoughts. What was that look? She couldn't put it aside; she had to know...
 

yhwh1st

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Ok. more like the "or so' than an hour, but here it is.

The hobbit sent a sidelong glance toward the man called Tark. He seemed to be weighing the people and situation, for what reason, he did not know. Perhaps he is only being cautious.


They traveled for several days, stopping only once to hunt and to sleep at night. On the second night, Tark left the camp and returned later dragging the carcass of a small bear. “This should last us a few days”, he said as he began skinning the animal.

Aleth didn’t seem very pleased with the delay, but said nothing. He always had the last watch, so every morning he roused everyone and pushed them to move onward, “to get as far away from them as possible”, he said.



Toward the evening of the fifth day the hobbit heard distant noises ahead. “Do you hear that?” he asked. They all stopped to listen. “You must be hearing things,” Theo stated, after listening. The hobbit said nothing and they continued on. No one seemed to notice as he slowly drifted to the rear of the group. There was some noise and confusion as Figwitt’s group blundered into the clearing. He watched the progress of the others for some time, when he suddenly felt himself hauled up into the air by the back of his shirt and roughly thrown into the clearing. “Well, well, well. What do we have here?”
 

yhwh1st

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As soon as she was released, the woman quickly got to her feet and seized her sword, but did not raise it. She simply stood there holding it.

“I am called Lily, by some” she said in response to the question, so rudely thrown her way. She then leveled the man and woman with a slight glare. After a couple of minutes of awkward silence, they got the hint and stated their names.

“I am Straag.”

“And I am Laia.”

Lily stood and scrutinized the two for several minutes. Laia seemed to grow nervous under her gaze, and shifted from one foot to the other. Finally, she said; “Alright, I will join your group for a short time. I do not know how long I will be with you.” She saw a strange flicker in Straag’s eye and took note. I will have to keep my wits around that one.
 

Majimaune

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“Alright, I will join your group for a short time. I do not know how long I will be with you.”

Good. That keeps her in sight and possible safety for now.

"Oi Laia, you lead, I'll take the back and cover our tracks. Don't forget we came to get food so see anything and kill it if its good eating." This way this woman, Lily she says her name is, is in between us so its easier to keep an eye on her. Straag was generally suspicious of people and in current circumstances he wasn't taking any chances.
 

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