🧙 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 ;)

The Hells of Iron

chrysophalax

Dragon of Note
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
4
Location
Prowling the Withered Heath
There lay a darkness beneath the stars this night, a different darkness, more a feeling of anticipation and dread than a change in the night itself.

An elf returning home from a prosperous hunt, his pouch filled with rabbit and roots, when he heard a faint niose deep in the wood. It raised the fine hairs on the back of his neck, for it was the sound of someone in pain, a bone-deep groaning that made him wince in sympathy.

Listening carefully, he made his way toward the fading sounds, afraid now that he might come too late. "Is there anyone there?" he called out, knife in hand. "Are you injured?"

"Help me..." came the faint reply and he rushed forward, supper not even a memory now as he heard someone stumbling weakly toward him through the bracken and patches of undergrowth.

He reached a small, starlit clearing and there he beheld a sight which nearly made him gag. Standing before him, braced against a tree was an elf, at least...it resembled one. Drawing a deep, ragged breath, it spoke once more. "Help me, I beg you..." Pitifully, it reached out toward him and he found himself moving before he could stop.

"What-what happened to you, friend? An animal?"

The wounded elf threw back his head and laughed. "An animal, say you? Yes, yes, it might have been. An animal, a beast, a creature...I know not."

No more could he get from the stranger except incoherent mumblings. In time, they came to the elf's dwelling, where he and three others lived, at the wood's edge.

Handing over his night's foraging, the rescuer set about seeing to the stranger's wounds, cleaning and binding them as best he could, though he feared the wounds had grown so foul there would be no surviving for this one.

They tried to get him to eat, but everything came back up except a little water. He began to talk, wildly at first, then with gathering strength. He spoke of his brother Bragol and how they and many others had been captured by a fearsome presence who had taken them, bound and bleeding, to a fortress surrounded by tall, forbidding mountains. There, monstrous beings had tormented them, using all manner of devices and twisted magicks on them, turning those who survived into creatures so foul he could barely speak for retching.

As they listened, the elf who had found him began to write frantically. "This story must be told!" he said in earnest. "We must tell all whom we meet of this atrocity. Come, friend, what is your name?"

He looked at them, his eyes wild from the many terrors he had endured , browing knitted as he tried to recall so simple a thing. "Sereg?" he replied carefully, as if he were fearful of giving an incorrect answer. "Sereg, yes. What of my brother? Have you seen him? He tried to escape with me...have you seen him? His name is Bragol...Bragol..."

The dying elf lived but a few more days, fading in and out of consciousness the while. Each time he was awake, he told them more of his captivity and torment, more of the abominations he called orcs.

This is how they came to be...
 

YayGollum

Conscience of TTF
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
Bragol, To Be Read With A Storyteller's Exaggerations.

Sensing some swift movement, I was startled out of my reverie. Nothing. I had been resting, dreaming, as I often did, about what Valinor would be like. But what was that? Probably just a bird, I decided. Everyone had been on edge, and I admit that it was starting to make me nervous. Whole troops of elves had been disappearing regularly, over several months. Of course, I just liked to think that they went off to explore and were too engrossed to return. Lots of us wandered off and came back to tell of some new wonder. Perhaps they had gotten lost?

What made me nervous was the rumor that something was abducting them. One elf told me this story about a friend who has since disappeared: They had just been walking and talking. They were only a sprint away from the group. They could still only smell elf, which is why they were very surprised when a dark shape leapt from the shadows. It tossed his companions about with little effort and pinned him to the ground with its claws. He only avoided capture because the thing looked up and saw them all scattering, clubbed him on the head, and must have intercepted the others.

There were similar stories being spread. Many called it the Hunter or the Rider. Some were very vocal about denouncing Orome, so I was sure that those stories were false. The other one only sounded like an animal, but the elf had been made certain by his friend that the thing was intelligent. I have been to some of the sights of these stories, but any evidence of a struggle has been swept away or was never there. I am not sure, but I do take note of which direction the wind is blowing now.

After a bit of searching, I found a bird, gave another suspicious look into the darkness, and made my way closer to the others. When would Orome return with the lucky three chosen to see Valinor?
 

Blerdie

Registered User
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Location
Where my computer also resides
Annoiel's musings.

I let my mind drift from the meal that I was preparing, and instead reached out, once again, to try and touch the once close thoughts of my sister. Nothing but darkness impenetrable could be found. Frustrated I turned back to the preperation.

It was not unusual for Aweniel to wander long, yet the fact that none of her companions had returned also, and no message had been sent through the whispering trees or the small birds that my sister herself was named after, as was her custom, encouraged the gnawing sense of anxiety to strengthen daily.

There had been reports of more of our kindred disappearing than had been usual, but as we were a wandering folk this had not truly worried me. Yet there was also the menacing darkness on our earth that none dared to name...perhaps...

No good would come of such dark musings, not unless others openly shared them. I would wait, until Aweniel returned, because of course she was returning, eventually.



Wasn't she?
 

Firawyn

Verbatim et litteratim.
Joined
Mar 18, 2003
Messages
2,319
Reaction score
25
Location
Pennsylvania
"How did I come to be here?" Valek wondered to himself, as he sat perched on a rock above a dusty path.

Valek could not even name what kind of creature he was. He had heard mutterings of village folk, ones whose fellow's blood he had drank, call him a 'vampire'. Perhaps that was what he was.

Valek chucked to himself, thinking of how, after only a few decades of life, he could not go anywhere without screams following in his wake. Folk, especially the elf folks, could talk so fair, yet when screaming they all sounded as horrid as they claimed him to be. He started to play with a strand of his hair - black and greasy as it was. His cloths were much the same, he did not bath. Valek hated water. When he was thirsty, he drank blood.

Speaking of thirsty...Valek looked up to see an elf trodding in the undergrowth on the oppisite side of the road from his rock. The elf looked wild with fear, as if he was escaping from some horror. He would be an easy meal.

Valek leaped off the rock, and swooped upon the elf. The elf put up far more of a struggle than Valek had expected, and before long the elf was bloody from the stuggle. Besides the injuries Valek had given him from both nails and teeth, the elf was torn by thorns in the brush.

Having had enough of this game, Valek pulled out his knife and stabbed the weakened elf, and within moments, the elf was dead. Valek grabbed his prey, and took flight, carrying his dinner back to the cave he called home.
 
Last edited:

Narya

~He-he-he~
Joined
Apr 22, 2002
Messages
1,286
Reaction score
21
Location
Somewhere in Asia
The sound of the waters woke me and then I felt its tender touch upon my feet. Like gentle persuasion, the waves patted my toes, caressing it with such mildness it was almost like a whisper. I let the water touch me freely, filling every inch of my body with such wonderful sensations.

Then I took my first breath. As the air filled my lungs, inflating it with life, my eyes fluttered open and I gasped when I saw the stars. Bein! Beautiful! I uttered, and it was beauty that I beheld, gazing at the heavens that sparkled with dazzling light! The swirling clouds of splendid colours danced upon a mantel of matte black canvass, and there beyond Orocarni a song was sung—Telperion the mighty and Laurelin the golden—their light filled my heart with such music. I knew then that beauty shall enslaved my soul forever and soon words shall flow from my mouth freely, uttering odes to the heavens, one after another. The love for all things beautiful filled me in those few hours of my first breath.



***



I have been walking the shores long before she opened her eyes, and even before she spoke, I knew that something was eternally wrong with me. I watched her as the water played upon her skin of silken white, more delicate than the light of the stars above us. Her golden hair that complimented her eyes of silver-blue cascaded down her slender back as she sat upon that beach, reveling in the light of Cuiviénen.

Then she looked at me and I knew then that there was nothing more beautiful in this world than her, and that I, Arkanea, will relinquish all that I own to have her as my bride.



***



He was Orocarni in many ways— terrible and beautiful all at once—, he was my brother, and I call him Arkanea. We were among the first of our kind to have awoken. He led me from the shores of the sea to the mountain, closer to the Trees.

“So that their light will fall upon you, my sister,” he said, “and all the world shall see the beauty that is Draeren.”

His was a mouth so deceptively smooth. He praises me day and night yet speaks of nothing else save my beauty. Nothing of the world that surprises me with its vastness or the expanse above that shimmers with diamonds would pass his lips. It was always about me.
 
Last edited:

chrysophalax

Dragon of Note
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
4
Location
Prowling the Withered Heath
At first, it seemed as though my people had awakened in a place of surpassing beauty, a world lit by starlight alone. silent and filled with peace. At first, many of us clung together in small bands, not fearful exactly, but for comfort, for closeness, for wonder of it all. At first...

It was not long however, before there came among us shadows of doubt, whisperers telling us of a Rider that would part us, one from another, tearing our fledgeling idyll to shreds before we had barely had time to savour its many wonders.

I attempted to be the voice of reason, soothing those closest to me, reminding them gently but firmly of the gracious spirits that had come to greet us and invite us to live among them in peace. Some, such as Bragol, listened to me and his fears were eased somehwat. Others went in fear of Orome's return and I grieved for them. Surely those that named themselves Valar and we, the Firstborn, had no reason to do us harm?

****

There has been much fear among us of late, as Annoiel's sister has vanished and she is distraught. We have looked for the youngling, but there has been no trace as yet of her. Annoiel is wise and rather than give in to despair, she has pledged to be patient and await her sister's return. I find myself admiring her strength, as is befitting one of the Eldar.

As ever, Samarkan has gone out in the forests, his bright spirit driving him always forward. It is he that has led every foray in search of Aweniel and each time he returns empty-handed his mood darkens further. Few among us dare approach him during these times except myself, for I am not the least brave among my people and he is my friend. He tells me of dark beasts within the wood that flee when challenged and of trees that seem to watch them as they seek for Aweniel and others that have gone missing. I can only offer my encouragement, for those that remain have need of a leader, someone to help them remember the promises of the Valar. It seems that, for now at least, I am that leader.
 
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
Bragol, Two Seconds After His Last Entry.

I had never seen Orome, but I was told that he said that the Valar had been searching for us and were very eager to help us. They wouldn't leave us alone for so long. And if there was as much danger lurking in the shadows as some elves said, they would have left a guard. I reasoned that the Hunter and Rider rumors were started by those who were nervous about Orome, and that anyone else must have been attacked by animals or had left of their own accord.

Having calmed myself down enough to remove the flush from my face, I happily came upon my friend Sirluin. I smiled as I swaggered towards him, barely acknowledging the others nearby. "Hello, Sirluin! I met that Rider that has everyone so excited. Yes, it seems that he has a taste for elf flesh, unfortunately. But I have saved us! I was gone for so long, teaching him how to fish and cook. Phew! Now, we can wait for Orome in peace!"

Just as I lowered my hand that had been raised in greeting, a shriek pierced the air. I froze, as did several others, but many immediately rushed in the direction it came from, where I had just been. I sighed with relief that I had come back, then wondered what story she might have to tell. It sounded like a young girl. After seeing that everyone else who chose to remain behind were only waiting nervously, I called myself a coward and carefully followed after the last that I could see running into the distance.

I found many elves gathered around a prone figure on the lake's edge, Sirluin among them, looking sad and angry. I hoped that it wasn't because I should have come sooner.
 

Narya

~He-he-he~
Joined
Apr 22, 2002
Messages
1,286
Reaction score
21
Location
Somewhere in Asia
Fear diminishes delight; as rumors of a Hunter and Rider prowled Cuiviénen, Arkanea and I decided to join the larger groups of elves that waited for Orome. I reasoned that alone we placed ourselves in greater danger, and Arkanea saw that it was logical and he followed me. However, he disliked the company of some who, in his opinion, sought mastery over us all. He claimed that these elves were inciting fear in the hearts of many to prevent them from seeing the truth: they wanted power.

Of course, I did not see things the same way as my brother did. To me, Sereg and the others whom we now called Elders did us all a service by watching over us protectively.

However, vigilant as they were, more elves disappeared, and soon, the fear that groped us in the early hours of our awakening, was now embedded into our hearts. Something kept taking them—regarding their fate, no one had the heart to guess. Mourning the missing became a regular activity for us and I became involved in the healing process for many elves that have lost loved ones to this invisible menace. I am happy to have been given this opportunity to serve, and I would often express my gratitude towards the Elders, most especially Sereg, for their trust in my abilities.

Arkanea was not pleased with my dealings with the Elders and oftentimes rebuked me for the uselessness of my efforts.

So I asked him, “What would you rather have me do, then, Arkanea? What would be a better action to take, if not comforting those who are weary with their loss?”

He replied, “Find the one taking the younglings and destroy them!”

“We do not know who or what is taking our younglings, Arkanea,” I rebutted. “If we knew—”

“Set a trap!” he snapped. “Choose one as bait and set a trap for whatever it is that takes them!”

The suggestion troubled me not because it involved sacrificing the life of another elf, but because my own brother had such an atrocious thought in his mind. How long he contemplated on this, I am not aware, but I rejected it immediately much to his anger.

“You have been swayed by the Elders, Draeren! Your will is no longer your own!” he snarled.

“Arkanea, you cannot sacrifice life in pursuit of this threat that none of us have any knowledge of!” I said to him. “You do not know what we face!”

“And we will never know unless we draw it out into the open!”

“No! The threat may be more powerful than all of us, Arkanea,” I pleaded. “If the one who takes our people proves to be more powerful than us, what then?” He glared at me. "The Elders will not agree with you."

“They are weak, Draeren!” he said, cutting me off, and holding a balled fist against my face, and for a moment I actually thought he would hurt me. But he withdrew his hand and, after getting the better of his temper, he turned to me again and added, “and you have become weak like them.” Then he turned and began walking away.

“Arkanea!” I called. “Arkanea!”

He never looked back.
 

chrysophalax

Dragon of Note
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
4
Location
Prowling the Withered Heath
Two younglings had been tusselling, covering each other in mud which, under the circumstances made me more gruff with them than was my usual wont. Pulling them apart, I growled, "Enough! Is there not enough anxiety among us without the two of you screaming and fighting like creatures in the forest?"

The young elf and elfess looked up at me through mud-streaked hair with contrition in their eyes. I had not scolded them too harshly, for I was well aware that some of the elves in their band had been amongst those that had disappeared. Gently, I laid my hands on their shoulders and told them once again to be mindful of making too much noise and drawing too much attention to themselves. "I have no desire to see either of you taken from us as well, so have a care how you go!"

Solemnly, they nodded and ran off in search of what remained of their band. Turning, I saw Bragol close behind. "Our numbers are steadily decreasing, brother. What are we to do? Perhaps we should hold a council to discuss whether we should take Orome at his word and go West, or remain here for now. For myself, it is my belief that we should take the protection he and those he has named the Valar have offered. They are far greater than we and most likely know where our fellows have been taken."

Before he could answer me, the tall proud elf calling himself Arkanea stalked past, his face pale with anger. He paused to look at us, then made a sound of disgust and kept going into the forest.

I looked at Bragol, who shrugged. "I do not trust that one, Bragol. Have you seen his sister? She follows after him as though she were his servant. He seems cruel to me and I like it not." Within myself, I thought, "Why cannot he be taken, rather than so many others that have been? It was wrong of me, I knew this and yet, I thought it still. I simply could not abide that prideful manner of his.

"Come, brother. We must find as many of the others as possible and speak with them of Orome's offer, before it is too late."
 

Narya

~He-he-he~
Joined
Apr 22, 2002
Messages
1,286
Reaction score
21
Location
Somewhere in Asia
As the Elders held council regarding our plight, I allowed my thoughts to sway towards Arkanea and his failing relationship with the rest of our kind. I can see disdain in their eyes when they look upon him, and I can fully understand their attitude, for he has alienated himself. He has even alienated himself from me these past few days. I cannot bear the thought of losing him, as we have lost so many of our young ones, but my heart is telling me that soon he will depart… perhaps, not as a victim.

Suilaid, Draeren!”

Suilaid, Daeron.”

Manen nalyë?”

Im maer, Daeron.”

“You do not look well, Draeren.”

I touched his round cheeks and caressed it as I smiled at him. Daeron was among the first product of our unions and though he has yet to live a life as long as mine, his eyes were very clear to have seen through my pretense.

Goheno nin, Daeron,” I whispered. “I did not wish to burden you. I am just weary of the troubles that we face.”

No ce ammaer ab lû thent,” he said to me, kissing my cheek as he walked past me.

“Daeron!” I called, not wanting to let him go without my gratitude. “Hantale! No in elenath hîlar nan hâd gîn!” He smiled back, waving at me with his little hand as he walked alongside his mother, Elliniel.

“Take care, dear one,” I found myself saying long after he had disappeared from my sight. For a while, he had taken my mind off Arkanea, but now my anxiety returns and I set out to look for him in the woods.

But I was stopped by Sereg.
 

YayGollum

Conscience of TTF
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
Bragol, Great elf Or The Greatest elf?

The children had run off, I had shown Sereg a sympathetic smile for them, and we were about to return when an angry-looking elf passed us with a rude greeting. I gave him a sarcastic bow and answered Sereg loudly enough to be heard. "Ah, so those two aren't the only children that need looking after! Perhaps his older sister needs some help."

When he had slipped out of my sight and just as easily my mind, I chuckled and considered Sereg's idea. "I think that it would be best to stay here. Many have wandered far, and we wouldn't want to lose them, when Orome returns. If there really is anything taking people, we would do better if we stayed in familiar lands and kept watch. Who was supposed to be watching our two mud-slingers?"

I stayed back when Sereg approached a worried-looking she-elf. I looked back and wondered if she was the sister that he had been talking about. I sighed and searched the heavens, as if for answers. "The children are growing so fast. They have good throwing arms. It is unfortunate that some adults have yet to learn good manners, though."
 

chrysophalax

Dragon of Note
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
4
Location
Prowling the Withered Heath
Draeren looked distraught as she stood, shivering like a leaf in the wind. I called to her and her eyes brightened a little as Bragol and I came closer. I had listened to his suggestion that we remain where we were and defend ourselves until such time as Orome came for us. It seemed a sound plan, so I decided to act upon it immediately.

"Draeren, I need your help. Take Bragol here and gather as many of our kin as you can find. Bring them here, by the lake and I shall speak to them of what needs to happen in order to protect those that remain."

She looked at me doubtfully and I noticed that tears had gathered in her eyes. I then recalled Arkanea and his eyes full of malice and frowned. "What did he say to you, mellon-nin?" She drew away from me, not answering. Too many times had I seen her react thusly when either myself or Samarkan approached her and it angered me.

"Will you help us, Draeren? It cannot wait if we are to save ourselves!"

Fool that I was. I actually believed we could protect ourselves, that the Valar would save us all. Fool!
 

Narya

~He-he-he~
Joined
Apr 22, 2002
Messages
1,286
Reaction score
21
Location
Somewhere in Asia
Sereg had asked me a simple task however I was too distracted to even acknowledge his request. I was worried for Arkanea; my heart tells me that if I don't try to find him now, I may never find him. Then again, I have a responsibility to my people, especially to the younglings--to Daeron and his friends, who need me more than Arkanea.

I tried to fight off the tears that rimmed my eyes, but one of them escaped, and it cascaded down my cheek; I wiped it quickly, not wanting the elders to see my weakness.

"Forgive me, Sereg," I said. "I will do as you requested." I bowed my head and looked at Bragol and nodded and said to him, "I will go towards the eastern shores and gather as many of our people as I can find. Will you take the western side?"
 

YayGollum

Conscience of TTF
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
The Hells Of Iron Meet Bragol! Mo' Like Hells Of Slag! The Slaggish Hells?

I smiled and bowed deeply to the lady. "Consider it done." As I sped off to give the message, I wondered why this Draeren had sent me off alone, when Sereg asked her to take me along. She must have heard my denouncement of her brother and was being cold with me. I shrugged my shoulders, both in answer to the question, "How long are we to wait for Orome?" and when I decided that it was just faster to spread the message this way.

They were an interesting story, though. Sereg had said that she seemed unhappily devoted to her brother, and he had just stormed off, away from the group. The more hot-tempered elves were always an inspiration for gossip, but Draeren looked so distraught, and her brother did look cruel. I whirled in front another group of elves when the import of where he had been headed struck me, but I berated myself when I figured that Draeren would have gone after him, first. If not, Sereg would have retrieved him and would be extracting his story already. I turned back to the confused group and laughed, "I forgot where I was told to direct you!"

After sending a few more off to help gather, he strolled back and caught a few stragglers. On their way, he spoke with an older-looking elf. "There are so many other ideas to explore! Why is everyone so worried over a few rumors?"

He glared with frustration. "You haven't lost anyone to this menace, have you? The Rider has taken two friends from me already!"

I blinked with surprise at yet another report of this Rider. "Oh? Tell me about it."

He glanced guiltily away, then gave a resigned sigh. "Well, I didn't see them get taken, but they have been gone for months, and they trusted Orome."

I gave an admonishing laugh and a mischievous grin. "Have you looked for them? Why, I've thought of scaring Sereg by running off for a while, but I think that I am more useful calming people down."
 

Narya

~He-he-he~
Joined
Apr 22, 2002
Messages
1,286
Reaction score
21
Location
Somewhere in Asia
I had hoped they would not detect how I deceivingly maneuvered things so that I ended up searching in the same direction that Arkanea had gone. Why should I hide my affection for him? He is my brother. The fact that he disagrees with the elders should not affect our kinship.

I had moved quickly into the forest, gathering as many as I could away from the thickening woods. I told them to go to the centre where the elders had congregated everyone and forbade them from following me as I went inside, deeper into the trees.

I didn't need to search long for my brother. I found him sitting under a very large tree with golden leaves. Mallorn we have named them and they were abundant in Cuivienen. The young ones loved to play in them and us—we loved the coolness of the wind when it passes through the golden leaves.

"Arkanea," I called. He barely opened his eyes. "The elders want us to gather in the middle of Cuivienen, where we can watch over the younglings and keep everyone safe."

"He doesn’t even know who you are protecting everyone from," he said. "How sure are they that keeping everyone within view of each other will help them from disappearing?"

"The ones that are missing were alone when they were taken," I replied. "Whatever or whoever has taken them attacks in shadow."

Arkanea laughed. "Attacks in shadow. Do you fear the darkness now, my sister?"

"I do not fear the darkness," I replied. "But it is a fact that in the darkness many things are bound to happen, especially if there are no witnesses."

He stood and walked closer to me. "What things, Draeren?"

"Foul things," I said.

"What foul things?" he said, running his hands down the skin of my arm. His touch made me shiver and I had to move away from him. He didn’t like how I reacted and grabbed my arm tightly, pulling me towards him.

"Draeren!"

I whirled at the sound of the voice. It was Bragol and he looked at us as if we had committed a crime.

"Bragol!" I cried, relieving myself from Arkanea’s hold gently. "I—I—"

"You were supposed to be gathering the others to the center of Cuivienen," he said sternly.

I bowed my head, shameful of my disobedience. "I have come to get my brother," I said, avoiding Bragol’s eyes.

"What about you, Bragol," said Arkanea, "why are you here?"

"I was concerned for your sister,” Bragol said, “but I see that our enemies would have to be strong indeed to take her from you. You'll have to forgive me. We met in passing just a moment ago, and you seemed angry. I thought that she would come after you, and I wouldn't want your temper to get the best of you." He waved his hand in a placating gesture. "I have disagreed with the elders, too, but you will admit that staying together is a sound precaution." Then his eyes lit up with a sudden thought. "Unless you know something about the abductions?"

"How dare you accuse me?" Arkanea said, his dark eyes squinted with anger.

"Arkanea!" I cried, placing myself between them. Bragol stepped back when Arkanea became enraged, observing him intently.

"I dare if I hear cause, of course,” Bragol said. “If you know something, you should tell us, and we may be able to stop it! You care little for the guidance of the elders. You want to walk your own path. I can understand that, but it is foolish to ignore the wisdom of others."

I saw a shadow of malice pass through Arkanea's face as he looked at Bragol and smiled. He was changing, right there, right before my eyes, as if something was taking over him, controlling him. I knew that Bragol meant no harm in his inquiry, however, more often than not, kind words are lost on my brother, so it was not surprising to see him react in such a manner to a simple question. Arkanea turned his back to us and it was then that I decided to speak to Bragol in his behalf, hoping to end the tension between them.

"Bragol," I said softly, turning to face him. "We—my brother and I—are both in need of guidance; just like everyone else."

"I do not need guidance," Arkanea contradicted.

I turned around, closing my eyes in exasperation. "Arkanea..."

"And neither do you."

"I beseech you, Arkanea; you cannot continue on this path of self-reliance. The elders are there because we need them. We need their wisdom."

Arkanea growled. "Wisdom?! When they hide their cowardice behind a curtain of pretentious mockery of the Valar that is not wisdom, Draeren, that is foolishness! And you," he marched towards me, "you blindly follow them, calling this act of deceitfulness wisdom!"

For a moment the thought that he'd hurt me crossed my mind, and I recoiled from him, moving back until I ended up in Bragol's arms. He pushed me behind him, coming in between me and my brother.

"What is this?" Arkanea asked. "What is the meaning of this, Bragol?"

"Arkanea!" I cried, afraid that he'd do something we would all regret.

Bragol jumped between us, looking confused at first. Arkanea stopped, surprised by his action. Bragol glared up at him. "Don't touch her! You wouldn't harm her. And why would the elders wish to?"

Arkanea looked at Bragol as if he were an insect to be squashed. He looked at Sereg the same way, and I know what goes on in his thoughts, having been together for so long. Then a smile formed on his face and I knew it wasn't meant to be a friendly gesture.

"So are you her protector now, Bragol?" he asked.

"Arkanea," I said, having decided I've had enough of his foolishness, "Bragol and I have been assigned by the Elders to take every one to safer ground."

Bragol sighed with relief, at the help in calming Arkanea down. He remained stiff and awkward, though, unsure of what he'd do if things degraded into violence.

"Safer ground," my brother replied, chuckling deviously.

"Would you come with us?" Bragol asked.

"What safer ground?" he asked sardonically.

"Arkanea," I said, "please come with us."

"What is Bragol to you, dear sister?" he snarled. "Does he now claim you as his own?"

Shocked by the suggestion, I looked at Bragol worriedly and said, "Desist from this foolishness, Arkanea!"

Bragol took another step back, still shielding me, but he seemed to have realized how dangerous Arkanea could be. After taking a calming breath, he said, "If you won't come with us, it would be best for you to leave."

"Leave?" Arkanea echoed. "Yes, you would want that, wouldn't you?"

"Arkanea, please!"

"You think I'm a fool not to know anything, Bragol?" Arkanea said, stepping forward so that I had to pull Bragol back.

With a nervous wave of the hands, Bragol tried to pacify my brother’s anger. "No, no! I know that you only want to learn on your own. You don't want anyone telling you what to do. Draeren and I are still gathering wisdom from others. You must have enough of that. I understand!"

Like a gust of wind, Arkanea swung his arm at Bragol and the two of them locked in a fiery brawl.
Bragol fought with an indignant anger at Arkanea's stubbornness. He was holding his own until he heard Draeren's cry, which made him look back with a concerned look that said, "Now would be a great time for a monster to show up!"

Arkanea kept on swinging, even when Bragol had outmaneuvered him, and more than once he'd fall to the ground. It hurt me to see him in anguish and I knew that though Bragol avoided hurting him physically, he won't be able to hold even his own temper for long.

Suddenly, I heard something come from within the thick trees--the sound of hooves galloping towards us.

"Bragol!" I cried. Bragol looked up; he had Arkanea locked with both hands in a tight grip behind his back. "Something moves within the forest!"

Bragol quickly let go of my brother and he grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the trees.

"Wait!" I cried. "Arka—!"

"Leave him!" he cried. "If he wants to follow, let him do so in his own accord."

"But--"

"Draeren—do not let your brother's stubbornness become your own! He is no fool--he will come when the rider gets near," he said. "If he doesn't, then there is nothing more we could have done for him."

The hooves were getting closer and Arkanea never followed. We fled towards the gathered elves. The trees were beginning to thin when the sound of hooves died away. They rushed in the opposite direction, and I fought to free myself from Bragol's grasp.

"It will take Arkanea now! Let me go!"

Bragol slowed and looked back but pinched my arm even harder, afraid that I would break free. "No. It's too dangerous. He has a head start, at least. Perhaps fear can overcome pride."

"I won't abandon my brother! You can stay here, if you're afraid!"

Bragol frowned and wavered, searching through the trees for any signs of pursuit or flight, but finally, he shook his head resolutely. "Would he come after you? He misjudges you, if he takes you to be his servant. Draeren, this force has taken more than would help him. We were lucky that so many have gathered here. He knows all of this and should follow."

But that was it; Arkanea has a mind all his own and he has a reasoning that goes beyond even my own comprehension. Will he really follow us or perhaps flee elsewhere? What happens to him if he gets captured?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

chrysophalax

Dragon of Note
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
4
Location
Prowling the Withered Heath
Thus were we separated not only in thought, but in deeds. Those of us who sought to learn more of the wondrous world into which we had awoken seemed destined to be held back by those too frightened or too suspicious to listen to reason.

It has been said that are things that listen to wishes made in secret, hidden spirits that do not necessarily to grant said wishes in quite the way the wsiher meant for them to be. So it was with us.

Many wished to be protected from Orome, for they were fearful, while others hoped to see other lands beyond the envirions of Cuivinen. Both wishes were granted, to our ruin and despair.

It happened on a night as we watched the stars wheel above us. I grieved that my friend Lindor was not with us, for I knew he would have told us the names he loved to devise for nearly everything and I felt certain he would have names for many that rode the arc of darkness. Even Arkanea deigned to join us, having once more fought with me and, cursing me roundly, had agreed to stay with us at least another star-turning, if only for his sister's sake.

I feel the weight even now of that night, when all our hopes turned to ash.

Some of the younglings began to whisper among themsleves, glancing toward the woods, only to be shushed by their elders. After a time, I, too, began to hear what sounded like to my ears like a coarse singing coming from the woods.

"Bragol, do you hear that? Are any of us in among the trees just now?" He looked at me oddly, then turned, his eyes searching the faces of those sitting at the lake's edge. "Nay, Sereg. There are none missing that I can see. What is it you hear?"

"I am...not certain. Wait here." I murmured, then stood and began to walk toward the tall trees growing but a short distance from where we sat together. As always, it was not but a moment and I heard him follow after me. Grinning, I shook my head, for my brother was ever consumed by curiousity.

As we walked beneath the dark canopy, green smells surrounded us, soothing our nerves. Trees were ever my favourite of all Eru's creations, feeling as I did the life running beneath the bark, active and intelligent, as are all living things.

Suddenly there came a sound I had never heard before and it chilled me to the heart. A heartbeat-like noise and a tree screamed in my mind. I have no other words for it! "Go, Bragol! Run! Tell the warriors to arm adn the rest to hide a sbest they can. There is something wicked among the trees!"

He turned, his face white and eyes enormous in the starlight, then he ran like a wild deer toward the lake.

It was all in vain. Even as he fled from me, I heard the cry of elven voices and the crash of heavy steps behind me. We were trapped and there was nothing I could do, except fight.
 

Illuin

Fire On The Mountain
Joined
May 7, 2008
Messages
1,016
Reaction score
4
Soft, low voices seemed to emanate from a particular area in the forest, in perfect harmony. It was not the harmony of music, or song; but a new, almost detached form of communication unknown to the Elves. The Elves are known for their gift of language and were already masters in the art of music; so this intrigued the Elves, and their fears were transformed into wonder and curiosity. The voices spoke: ‘Do not be frightened; I did not realize there were still those of your kind with no knowledge of we Forest Shepherd‘s. We have been among many Elves; do you not recognize your own speech?' The two approached the voices and noticed what appeared to be two dimly lit eyes on the side of a tree; though it was too dark to make out any other features. The Elves also realized that it had been one tree that was speaking, and one voice; but the one voice sounded like a chorus of low voices in perfect harmony, yet not anything resembling music as it is known. The woods themselves were still, and every twig that was walked upon echoed throughout the forest; yet there was no echo when the voice spoke; and the skittish critters of the forest that scurried off at the slightest rustle of leaves seemed oblivious to the sound of the speaking tree. ‘We call ourselves Ents, and we are here to protect the forest from the Horseman that you fear. This very night, the Horseman has been following you through the forest, and he was almost upon you before I shrieked into the trees of the forest and scared him off. The shores of this Sea are not safe for the Elves; the Horseman wishes to take all of you away to a far off land beyond the Great Sea and have his way with you. I will keep you safe tonight; but you must warn others of your kindred that they are in danger; and they should not remain in this place. He has taken many already to his realm in the far West; and if it were not for me this very night; you would have been taken down that same dark path beyond the Great Sea. I can not protect you from the Horseman forever; I startled him tonight, that is all; but there is someone who will always keep you safe from the Horseman; if you and your kindred would be willing to march into the North.'
 
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
Bragol Versus A Creepy Mutant Named Inghash.

I had been thinking about how I could help Draeren and Arkanea when Sereg interrupted me. I blinked, taking a minute to remember what had been asked. "Bragol, do you hear that? Are any of us in among the trees just now?" The crowd had spread after our warnings, but none had wandered that far yet. I waved my eyes around for his benefit. "Nay, Sereg. There are none missing that I can see. What is it you hear?"

He murmured an, "I am...not certain. Wait here." He headed into the nearby trees, and I stood and listened for a beat. Hearing nothing strange, I shrugged my shoulders and followed, wondering if Sereg had gotten nervous from listening to the others. My last glimpse of my old home was just a quick glance over my shoulder, making sure that no one was following us. I have perhaps embellished the image in my mind, over the years, but it has seldom failed to calm me.

I was just trying to think of something reassuring, when he tightened with fear. We both froze. He must have seen something, but I was only stunned by his face. Sereg had never shown fear before, only caution, you see. I hesitated at his command to run, due to the many images of nightmarish things ready to devour us that were running through my head, but I was soon off.

Unfortunately, I was just as soon halted by a gruesome figure. My first thought was, ridiculously, that it was an elf covered in mud. It stood there, almost a head higher than me, teeth and claws gleaming, eyes gleefully and rather maniacally picturing them put to use, and a dagger at the ready. I was less afraid of being ripped to shreds by this thing than I was by its face. It snarled with a voice full of hate when I tried to dodge past it. I saw more of the things running towards us, some holding elves or dragging them. I turned to see if Sereg could get away. He was facing something larger and more monstrous, though, and I couldn't help congratulating myself on thinking that what was capturing elves probably looked a lot like that.
 

Thread suggestions

Top