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Thread: Another Story: The Quest for the Straight Road

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Allyssa began this thread with the following post.

Quote:
Murmurs quickly silenced and voices abruptly hushed. Elrond had entered the room.

Everyone had thought that the end of the War of the Ring would bring the Lord of Rivendel some peace.

They were wrong.

The Elven Lord looked as tired and careworn as ever - possibly more so.

After a tense pause, someone plucked up enough courage to ask: "How fare your sons, My Lord?"

Elrond turned to the speaker. "As well as can be expected, under the cicumstances, Allyssa," he said. "But there is only one cure for orc poison, as we know too well. I can keep them alive, but for a true cure, they must go to the Undying Lands."

There was a shuffling and low talking for a moment, until Elrond continued: "But alas, the last of our Gems of Eldamar has been discovered to be exhausted. Our ships cannot find the Straight Road without such a gem. The last of the exiles are doomed to remain in Middle Earth without them, therefore we must take up a quest to recover one of the other lost gems. Who will take up this quest?"

"I will! I will!" came numerous replys.

Elrond held up a hand.

"This is a difficult and possibly dangerous quest. Since my sons' unfortunate injuries, orcs are now swarming over the western lands. Trolls patrol the mountain passes. And other nameless things that were hidden in the darkness, have now awakened.

"We have no knowledge of the current whereabouts of any of the other three Gems of Eldamar. My only hope lies in the Mirror of Galadriel. Mayhap it can show us where to find the last of the Gems."

The mood of the Hall of Fire suddenly altered. Everyone feared the Passes over the Mountains...

"I ask again," Elrond said, a note of desperation in his voice that they had never heard before. "Who will take up this Quest?"


Valedhelgwath replied

Apart from the shuffle of feet and the crackle of the fire, the room was silent. Their faces torn with indecision, the love they held for their Lord and his sons caused several to take a faltering step forward, only to stop. The silky hand of more than one Elven maiden held back her love, should he go and never return. As their Lord said, the mountains were now a hazardous place.

"The mountains I know well," one suddenly spoke from the shadows behind a tall pillar.

The others turned to face the voice, moving aside as Valedhelgwath stepped forward. He had been a rare visitor to his rooms in the Last Homely House, prefering the wild outdoors and the company of his mountain cats to that of his own kind and the singing of Imladris. Of late, however, he had been seen more often, either eating alone or wrestling with his aged lions on the manicured lawns. Few knew him well, though many muttered at his passing that he used Elrond's hospitality only when it suited him. Come war or need, never could he be found.

"I will not go beyond the point that I can look back and see the lands of the West," he said clearly, "but I know these mountains better than any here. I know many a secret path." He paused to look around the room. "Should any choose to venture on this quest to fair Lothlorien, I will gladly guide them on the first leg of their journey." He looked Elrond in the face and bowed slightly. "The road is indeed perilous now, my Lord, but for your sons I shall step upon it."

"Brave words my lord" replied Roland of Osgiliath as he wove his way through the crowd, he accidently bumped into a tall woman near the front, she blushed and looked down at her feet when he mumbled a quick apoligy.
"Brave indeed, and i'll not let you attend to this quest alone, I know nothing of mountains, but my sword has cleaved many an orcs skull, i shall join you"
As he stepped up beside Val, his leg became tangled in his scabbed, he tripped, fell and landed in a heap beside Val, who pulled him to his feet, dusted him off, then sighed inwardly, Ro was a good man, but a terrible cluts, how he ever managed to use that sword of his without cutting his own leg off was beyond him.
But he would be glad of the company, he gave Ro a hearty clap on the shoulder, then turned back to the crowd.

[Edited on 1/11/2003 by Rhodry*of*Aberwyn]
But then unexpectedly, King Aragorn Elessar Telcontar of Gondor entered the room.
"I am very sorry to hear of my brothers-in-law. I too will aid those who choose to go on the quest."
"Very well, Lord Aragorn,"said Elrond," You too shall go."
"I am deeply honoured to be given this chance. With my life or my death if I can protect my questmates, I will!"

[Edited on 31/10/2003 by Allyssa]
Amarië had just come from looking after the twins, she snuck into the room during Aragorns speach and went to her friend who stood in the back. "Aragorn was in too see the twins, I didn't know the news had travelled so fast!" she said as the room filled with surpriced voices after Arargorns had spoken. "Why are Val and Roland up there with him?" "Catboy and Clumsy where the first to offer their services." answerd her friend. "Oh please stop calling them that. You know Roland is quite nice to talk to when he isn't spilling his drink on you, and Val, well, anyone who can acceive the respect of the proud mountain cats has my respect too."

Her friend laughed. " Oh you have always cared for stray cats and lost puppies, bless your heart. And you are right, Rhodry is a good man. Catb.. Valedhelgwath does know the mountains, and if he decides to go back,King Aragorn will lead the rest of the way. I feel this mission has better hope of success now than for just a few minutes ago."

Amarië drew her breath.
"So you think I have a chance to make it to Lothlorien if they let me go with them? More will join now that Aragron is here don't you think?"

Her friend bit her lip and looked sad and worried.
"Oh Ama, I was afraid you would say that. But I know this is what you want.." She burst into tears and huged Amarië tight. "Just be carefull ok?"

Amarië wiped away her tears and steped forward. The chatting stopped and all eyes turned to her.

She cleared her throat. "I.. I am Amarië, daugther of Authon who fell in the War of the Ring, my mother was one of Lady Celebrians maidens and she went to Valinor with her Lady. The ones I loved the most have gone to Valinor either through death or by boat. I have served the House of Elrond my whole life. I can use my bow pretty well, my father taught me.. I would give my life to find the Gem to help Elladan and Elrohir. If you'll let me come with you that is.. At least to Lothlorien, the kin I have left is there. I feel so useless here."

The speach hadn't been as good as she had hoped it would be. She loverd her head and closed her eyes, awaiting her judgement.

[Redigert den 2/11/2003 av Amarië]
"Hmmm.... I will vouch for Amarie!"said Lord Aragorn,"My heart tells me that in the quest we will need a sharpshooter to aid us!"

"Very well,"said Elrond,"If you vouch for her, I have no qualms in letting her join the quest."

"Thank you, MyLord!" gushed Amarie,"I will remember the Last Homely Hose and its Lord for ever."
"Good," Valedhelgwath muttered, the faintest of smiles crossing his lips. He frowned as Rhodry's helm crashed to the floor as the warrior bowed his head to King Ellessar. "I must make preparations. I shall await you by the ford when you are ready to leave." He glanced at the three who had dared to join this fool's mission. With Aragorn they stood a chance, but he doubted Rhodry would cross the mountains without first breaking his neck. "You will need more warriors," he stated matter-of-factly. "The passes are well guarded, and I fear we may need to punch our way through rather than rely on stealth alone."

Not stopping to see if others would come forward, he stepped to the fire where a deer was being roasted on a spit. Drawing his dagger, he carved off a huge chunk of prime venison from one of its haunches, enough to feed half a dozen men.

"Can we trust him?" someone asked after he had left the room. "He'll cut and run at the first sign of trouble."

"But he has volunteered while you have not," Rhodry pointed out. "And he does all but live in those mountains."

Aragorn remained silent, but the slightest flicker of concern crossed his face when he heard Rhodry proclaim those last words. Why was Valedhelgwath so ready to lead a company into the mountains? He hoped he was wrong but he had his suspicions.
Also in the room was a man of fair face and dark, neck-long hair.

"Well, the beautiful Amarie is going with them too!,"thought the man," I have been trying to impress her during all my stay in Rivendell but I believe this is my last chance. Its now or never."

"Allow me, my lord!" spoke the man,"I too shall volunteer for this quest."

"You too Arkantos!", said Elrond.

"Yes my Lord. Elladan and Elrohir were my good friends and were like my brothers. I still remember the day when they freed me from the orcs. I believe that this quest will help me to repay them and also to prove my worth and my love for them (and for Amarie, of course). I am a good fighter and know the lands east to the misty mountains well as I was born and raised in those parts. I will be glad and honored to be in the same company as Lord Aragorn."

"In that case, You can join the quest too."said Elrond.

"Yay! it will be a fair 'Fellowship of the Gem'," said Arkantos!

"Hmmmm....catchy title", muttered Elrond.

In the meantime noone noticed Aragorn slipping out of the room behind Valedhelgwath.

Keeping to the shadows Aragorn slipped out after Valedhelgwath, acutely aware he was stalking an elf. Ahead, Valedhelgwath crossed the lawn, his light feet leaving barely a mark on the grass. Disappearing down a steep bank, to where a fast flowing stream cascaded between the roots of a small copse, by the time Aragorn had reached the top of the rise, the elf was gone.

He waited awhile, and then among the rocks littering the edge of the valley he heard the greeting calls of a pair of mountain lions. Both of them nuzzled the legs of the elf, running their flanks against his knees. The elf stroked their ears and then knealt down between them, offering them the meat he had taken from Elrond's hall.

Formidable beasts in their prime, as he watched them play together, Aragorn became aware that these two cats were now old. Seeing how one of them limped badly, either from athritus or some past wound, he wondered just how many of their meals the elf now had to provide for them?

It was a warm night, and the gardens of Rivendell were fragrant in the moonlight. Rather than hurrying back he settled himself against a tree and watched the elf. He rolled and wrestled with the two cats for a while, before all three eventually came still. One by one the three of them turned to look east, their heads cocked to stare into the distant mountains.
But back at the Last Homily House...

Amarie was relived to se Arkantos wanting to join them, she had feared her presens would scare others away more than the quest itself, thinking they had to guard the little girl or something. She smiled a quick smile to Arkentos as he joined them, he smiled back radiently.

The rooms became still once again. Amarie had butterflys the size of bats in her stomach, but she took a deep breath and straightend up. She had done what she knew her father would have done if he was there, and she would make him proud. Her fathers sword had been deliverd to her with the postBody of his death. It would now once again be carried in Elronds service.

[Edited on 4/11/2003 by Allyssa]
Outside, as Aragorn watched with ranger-keen eyes...

Minnet settled down on the grass next to Val. She stetched out her long claws, and yawn, her cat teeth gleaming in the starlight.
She had known Val for a very long time, since she was born maybe. She could trust him, even in her old age she knew that he would be there for her, as he was now.
A root snapped from behind them, and Minnet was at her feet, glaring in the direction of the noise. Aragorn stepped from the shadows.
"Good night for a walk, isn't it Aragorn?" Val said calmly, stroking Minnet's back. She settled back down protectively over her friend...

[Edited on 4/11/2003 by Allyssa]
Meanwhile in Elrond's hall.

"OK then it is settled that the company will consist of Valedhelgwath, Roland, Amarie, Aragorn and Arkantos. We have wasted too much time already. The company shall leave tomorrow at dawn. Members of the company, rest tonight and make preparations for disembarkation. Assembly dismissed!" said Elrond.

Everyone bowed to Elrond ( Roland was holding his helm this time) and prepared to leave the hall. Roland took a step back and jumped at the loud sqeal. He looked down and saw a cat coming out of the rug obviously hurt.

"Oh! Blackie!" Gasped Amarie and rushed to her cat's aid. Roland mumbled a quick apology and went out of the hall.
Amarie eventually found her cat hiding under a table in the hall and took her outside to calm her down. She went trough a check-list in her head to see if she had forgotten to pack something, while explaining to the cat she had to go away for a while. Soft voices sang from the halls and the night was beautiful.

Growling from Vals mountains lion caught her attention and she walked towards the egde of the lawn. Blackie became squirmish and she let her run back inside. Quickly she crossed the stream and reached the top hoping to see the awsome wild cats, they rarely came this close to the houses. As she saw Aragron and Val there too she figured she was safe and went down, hoping she didn't interupt something, though they seemed to just stand there.

The cats caught her sent and squinted their eyes at her as she came near, making her feel a bit uneasy. "Umm.. I don't meant to interupt anything, but I haven't seen you two in the house all night, you do know we are leaving at dawn? You should at least come and eat."
"No problem, Amarie. Valedhelgwath and I were just having a nice little chat." said Aragorn,"Now if you both will excuse me, I will prepare for the journey tomorrow."

"I will be glad to see Lothlorien once again,"thought Aragorn.

The next day, whole Rivendell was out to see the company set off. Valedhelgwath's cat's were nowhere to be seen.

Elrond said,"Farewell, questmates. You will always be remembered in Rivendell as those who volunterred to help its Lord. I will send out postBodys to all the elves and good people on the way to help you in yor task in whatever way they can. Farewell."

The company set off towards the east. The faces of its members were grim anticipating the road ahead. Aragorn was deep in thoughts remembering the last time he set off towards the Misty Mountains. How fare and glad was the Fellowship of the Ring! I miss Legolas, Gimli and Gandalf the most of all and hobbits not the least.

The company went straight east and reached Hollin easily without any adventures( except saving Roland when he had lost his footing on the banks of Bruinen and had fallen in). The company decided to rest in Hollin for a while.


Valedhelgwath and Aragorn were long in debate while the others rested themselves on the grassy foothills of Hollin. Already there was disagreement among the party.

"You take us too far south, Dunedain," Valedhelgwath whispered in quiet, but animated tones. "Why do you lead us south into Hollin? Surely you do not intend crossing the Hithaeglir by the Redhorn Pass. Moria is still an evil place."

"And by which route would you have us take, Elf?" Aragorn demanded.

"Straight east across High Pass," Valedhelgwath answered. "The route of Thorin's company. You then follow the Anduin south to Lorien... Even a human could not fail to find his way with such a marker to lead him."

"You think High Pass is safer to travel than the Redhorn Pass?" Aragorn argued. "So close to Goblin-town?"

Valedhelgwath just smiled. "You think the enemy who poisoned the twins will not be expecting such a quest? Which route will he be expecting you take? From what I have heard, the Redhorn Pass has proved your trap on an occasion once before, my Lord."

Speaking the latter words with derision, the elf strolled a short distance away from the rest of the group, his two cats following close on his heels. "If we cannot get them to follow, we must do this alone," he whispered to them once he was well out of earshot of the party.
Amarie, Arkentos and Roland lay flat on their backs looking up at the clouds passing by. "Great," Amarie thought. "We have barly left home and already there is arguing among us, very promising for the rest of the quest." She sat up and turned to Arkantos who sat beside her chewing on a straw. "Arkentos, you know the mountains as well, what do you think?" Arkentos truned his head, "Hmm?". Obviously he had been lost in a daydream. Roland also raised his head. "Yes you are a skilled ranger too, I don't know these mountains. Would you take the High Pass or the Redhorn Pass? Or is there another way?"
"Well, I m not very sure of the lands west of these mountains, but I know every nook and corner of the lands east." said Arkantos,"But yes while travelling to Rivendell I came over a secret passageway that I m not supposed to speak of to anybody who is not of our clan."
Amarie lit up. "Go to King Elessar and tell of this passage, he is your King and this secret is far to important for you to keep for yourself at this time. If not for Lord Elrond your clan would have no safe haven to rest, and the Dunedain would be scatterd and lost."
Meanwhile, Aragorn was lost in thoughts about the last time he had taken the road he wanted to take now. Everything came flooding back. The failed climb on Caradhras, the attack by the wolves and the disastros pass through the Mines of Moria. Yes, it was still an evil place. The trolls and the orcs may still be present in Moria. Maybe, he thought, he had again made a mistake in choosing the right path. Maybe, Valedhelgwath is right. Should they now take the road back to the High-pass and gamble with time or just go ahead. If so, then he will be responsible for any death( God forbid! ).

[Edited on 7/11/2003 by lord_aragorn86]
"seven days I have travelled and still no sign of them." growlled Roth as he wandered through the hills of Hollin.
"They could not have gone far."
As he walked the wind cut into his cracked face, the years had not been fair on him. But then in the distance he saw a small flickering light...." it must be them....no other soul would be foolish enough to travel these lands alone" he then stopped and laughed to himself " a fool indeed....but you never can be sure." So he grabbed readyed his axe and approached the fire.
Suddenly Amarië became aware of the sound of walking feet approching. That was definatly not elf-feet or cat paws. She jumped up aming her arrow towards the sound.

"Who goes there?" she shouted. "Are you friend of foe?"

Arkentos came running back with Aragorn right behind, both with weapons in hand. Roland tripped only once as he got up and reached for his sword. Not a word was spoken as the stranger appeared through the bushes.
From the cover of a bushy holly thicket, Valedhelgwath watched the figure stalk towards the camp.

"Shhhh..." he whispered quietly to one of his cats as a low growl issued from its throat.

"Who goes there?" he heard Amarie shout. Arkentos and Aragorn were running towards the figure, weapons drawn.

They all stopped less than fifty paces from where the elf stood concealed, almost invisible. They appeared to recognise each other but Valedhelgwath kept his bowstring taut, an arrow beaded at the stranger's throat.
Shadows flickered over Roths face and the moon glinted off his axe.Valedhelgwath and Aragorn rose to their feet and stood before the shadowy figure. Aragorns hand slowly moved to the hilt of his sword..."Aragorn do not be foolish.." spoke Valedhelgwath "We know not if he is friend or enemy."
Aragorn fired a glance at Valedhelgwath and both men spoke silent words. Aragorn let his sword fall and slowly Roland moved down the side of the hill and slowly crept up behind Roth.
"What is your business here stranger...we are on important business and have no time for wanderers." asked Aragorn
"My name is Roth and I hail from the town of Calembel and I offer you my services in your quest. I may look old in my years but I a sure you none wield a axe quite like me."
And as he spoke a smile came upon him..."and tell your friend that he'll need ta do better. It takes more than that ta sneek up on me."
Aragorn was just about to ask Roth his business in the quest when came a whooshing noise and an arrow struck Roth's throat.

Suddenly, noises were heard from towrds the Misty Mountains and seemed to be getting closer. They turned and saw dark shadows moving towards them. As they came into the light.......

"Orcs!"

"SWORDS!" shouted Aragorn. As he unsheathed Anduril, a flame lit up in his eyes. "Tonight my sword shall taste blood again"

"CHARGE!" shouted Aragorn and charged along with Arkantos and Roland while Amarie covered them. Three orcs came forward to meet them. But Amarie quickly fitted three arrows to her bow and loosed them at the same time killing the orcs. While charging Aragorn heard a laughter on his right and realised that it was Roland!

"Anything wrong?"asked Aragorn.

"Nope! I m as fine as a warrior can be. Only I hate orcs. they drive me crazy."replied Roland.

As they met with the ranks of orcs, the sword swept and three orc heads fell to the ground. Amarie was shooting rapidly. A small orc company broke off from the main company and approached the archers. But Valedhelgwath's cats were ready for them. They pounced on the orcsscattering them and killing a few. The rest were soon laid to rest by the archers. Meanwhile, the sordsmen were doing good having killed 20 orcs already.rrIn a distance, they heard a few shouts. "It might be more orcs. We are outnumbered." thought Aragorn. But then they heard a deep shout,"Here are the orcs! We have found them!"

Then they realised that it was a small company of dwarves geared p for battle. Swiftly they attacked the orcs from the left flank and the orcs were easily defeated.

"Thank you for the timely help."said Arkantos,"We were outnumbered."

"No problem,"said a dwarf," I am Broda from the realm of late Dain."

"You are from the Lonely Mountain!"said Aragorn,"How come you here?"

"We decided to regain Moria after the defeat of the Enemy and the killing of Durin's Bane. We have succeded in or task. Moria is now free. These orcs were the remnents and we were sent to finish them off."answered Broda.

"Moria is free!,"exclaimed Aragorn,"This is glad news."

[Edited on 13/11/2003 by Allyssa]
From his place of concealment, where he aimed an arrow at the stanger's throat, Valedhelgwath suddenly found himself lowering his bow and stepping from his place of hiding. He tried to resist, tried to stop his feet from moving, but the stranger had a hold on his mind. Again he tried to raise his bow, but his arms would not work.

"Kill him, he's a sorceror!" he tried to scream, but the words that came from his lips were not those that he wished to speak...."Aragorn do not be foolish.." he heard himself say... "We know not if he is friend or enemy."

With the exception of Roland, who appeared to be sneaking around the back of the enemy, the others appeared to lowering their guard too. As the others began speak with him, the elf focused his mind on breaking the hold the stranger had over him. Suddenly, as the stranger concentrated his efforts on the approaching Roland, Valedhelgwath felt the hold on his own mind weaken. Seizing the opportunity, he turned and ran. He sensed his cats were following him, but he did not turn to look until he was sure he was out of spell range.

Eventually pausing, he peered back at the distant pin prick of light that was the fire. He felt he should return to assist the others, but against a wizard he could do nothing. He would keep watch from down here he decided, and make a decision on the morrow.

Amarië greeted the dwarves and thanked them. "This is good news for the Dwarves, and for all of Middle-Earth. Though I fear the orcs won't let Moria go and will strike back."

Broda laughed "Oh no need to worry, my lovely lady. Your aim is as deadly as your heart is fair. We are many and we are strong. And we have our beloved Moria!" To this the dwarves cheered and chanted while hitting their shields with their axes. "Khazad dûm! Khazad dûm! Khazad dûm!"

"Shhh my friends!" laughed Aragorn, "we don't want to attracht more orcs just yet."

Broda signaled his men to be silent. "As you wish great king of Men. But these bodies will soon get their attention for sure. Will you and you friends join us for a feast in the Halls of Moria? I can assure you that you will find more pleasant company there now than you did the last time you came as well as a comfortable bed and peacefull rest."
As the fellowship prepared to leave with Broda, a figure lying in a pool of blood stirred...

"They shot me, they shot me in neck. I should kill em, kill every last one. Well its true what the say * weak of heart weak of mind*" thought Roth as he lay on the ground the blood gushing from his neck.

As the others celebrated the victory Roth stood to his feet and pulled the arrow from his neck and walked over to Valedhelgwath.

"Why did you do that?" asked Roth as he tapped Valedhelgwath on the shoulder.

[Edited on 13/11/2003 by Allyssa]
"I didn't realise I had," replied Valedhelgwath apologetically. "The last thing I knew, I had fled several miles down the valley after you did the mind trick thing on me. Even my bow wouldn't have reached that far. If I were you, I'd blame it on the orcs."

Slinking back into the shadows, he looked a last time at the party about to head south to Moria, and with long graceful strides began to head North towards the High Pass. Sensing the direction they were headed, and knowing the reason they were going there, his cats bounded back and forth alongside him, a renewed spring in their steps.

The elf had raised them from kittens and had never let harm befall them. They trusted that with or without help, the elf would rescue their captured kitten from those who held her. Impatiently, they bounded ahead, nudging the back of the elf's legs to hurry him along.

[Edited on 13/11/2003 by Allyssa]
Amarië was gathering her arrows from the fight as she noticed Roland stood away from the others looking into the dark. "Oh no" she thought "I should have seen it comming." She went over to Roland. "Val left didn't he?"

Roland noded. "He went north, taking the North Pass I suppose. Not his style to party with the dwarves, or with anyboby else for that matter. Especially not underground."

Amarië smiled sadly. "I know. He didn't give us a choice to follow. We'd probably just slow him down anyway. Maybe splitting up gives us a better chance to get the postBody to Lothlorien and Lady Galadriel. If that is where he is going."

"He wouldn't betray Lord Elladan and Lord Elrohir, that's all I know."

As they where about to return to the others, Roth stumbled towards them, very pale from the blood loss. "Who... shot me if not.. the.. cat man? Why? Don't understand." Amarie looked at him with surprice. "Roland, go get my bag will you? And tell Aragron to come. We should at least keep this guy alive untill he explains who in Erus name he is!"
Roth felt dizzy as he stood beside the others." why did you shoot me....anyone want to tell me. I come and offers my services and next thing ye know you get shot in the neck with a arrow. Where's the hospitality at these days."
Amarie took the bloody arrow still clutched in Roth's hand. She examined it closely.

"Yes, as I suspected, an orc arrow. See the short shaft and the black fletchings? Nasty. Lucky it wasn't poisoned. That was quite a miraculous survival, Roth. How did you do it?"

Roth smiled wryly.

"A little of my magic, Lady Amarie. But I could still do with a bit of your healing! My magic is a bit depleted right now. I had to make sure none of ye would kill me before I had a chance to explain meself..."
After they had been rested and tended, they prepared to depart.

"I guess that since Valedhelgwath has left us all, I should take over as the leader of this Quest."said Aragorn.

"We have no other choice."replied Amarie.

"Very well then,"continued Aragorn,"We shall now leave for Moria along with these dwarves. We can rest there and maybe even lend them a hand in its restoration."

The company then set off towards Moria. Aragorn was leading the company along with Broda, the dwarf.

"How shall we enter Moria?"enquired Aragorn.

"From the West gate,"replied Broda.

"But isn't that barred?"

"Yes it was. But we worked hard and long to remove the rocks that had fallen in front of it and thus clear the gate."

"And the watcher in the water?"

"Ah! We killed it! It took 20 arrows in to itself before dying!"





[Edited on 14/11/2003 by lord_aragorn86]

[Edited on 15/11/2003 by lord_aragorn86]
Roth and Amarië follwed close behind Arargon and Broda, but Roland signaled for Arkentos to slow down till they finally where the last in the groupe, he had something on his mind.

"Lend them a hand in its restoration?" he wipered. "We are on a quest, we have no time to play handy-men, what is going on?"

"I think Aragorn wants to deal with Roth in a controlled environment till he explains himself. He has still not completly recovered, but he will soon. He controlled us like puppets back there, dwarves are more resistant to spells like that and will react if we start acting strange."

Roland noded. It made sense.

Arkentos sendt dark glanses at the two elves walking in front. Amarië had barly left Roths side since he came back. Injury or no injury, Arkentos didn't like it at all.
Without any further adventures, the company reached the Hollin gate. But the site was now different. There was no pool in front of the gate. The two trees that had stood before it were now gone. The gate had scratches over it but no serious damage had been done. Broda went up to the gate and said "mellon". the gates opened and the company entered Moria!
"something isn't right here" sniffed Roth
" something sinister has dwelt here recently.....ready yer blades my friend"
But as they entered the darkened chamber beyond the portal nothing untoward happened. All was silent... No gibbering Orcs or a Dwarven welcome committee... Just a deep, oppressive silence.

Arkentos took a torch from a sconce near the door and lit it. The flickering flame was almost swallowed by the darkness which the feeble light was unable to dispel. Amarie moved closer to Roth. More used to the beautiful valley of Imladris or life beneath the trees, she did not like this claustrophobic gloom. She wished once more that they had taken the High Pass with Valedhelgwath.

The Dwarves, too, seemed disturbed by something, muttering between themselves in their strange tongue. Suddenly Roland spotted something.

"Look!" he shouted, drawing his sword.

There in the shadows, something moved on the edge of the light.
Arkantos moved the torch in the direction of the movement! There was a hissing noise in the dark! Arkentos warily stepped forward with the sword in his right hand and the torch in his left. But whatever that was had disappeared. The company moved forward. There was nothing. Still it moved forward slowly.

They climbed up the stairs. Still nothing!

"Do you have any idea what that could be?"asked Aragorn to Broda.

"Well, there have been many creatures in Moria since we came here. Most of them we had never seen before in our lives!"answered Broda.

"HALT!"Arkantos shouted suddenly!

The company stopped and readied their weapons.

"I just caught a glint of the creature. And I think I know what
it is...........a Wedjat!"said Arkantos.

"A what?"asked Aragorn.

"A wedjat. They are like snakes but are long(around 7ft). They are very deadly. They can spit venom upto 15 ft! And their venom is acidic! Even if one drop touches your body.....You are as good as dead!"

"How did you know about them?"enquired Aragorn."I've never heard of them before."

"I’ve seen then in Mirkwood. They live in the holes in the mountains of Dol Guldur.”

“So what do we do now?”asked Amarie.

“Well, we stick together and hope that these Wedjats do not decide to attack us”answered Arkantos.

So they moved on, looking cautiously from one side to the other. Moria was dark and very silent.

“Where is everybody?”muttered Broda anxiously.

As if as an answer a shout went up in the dark. The company approached the direction of the shout and saw two flickering torches approaching. Soon its bearers came to light. They were dwarves.

“Hello there! Finally glad to see some dwarves”,said a relieved Broda.”Where are the rest?”

“We were put up for a fight.”answered one of the dwarves. ”It seems orcs were still present in Moria. They launched an assalt on us and we were forced to take shelter in the halls below. But in the end we killed them all. We were returning back to or post on the West gate. Who do you have with you Broda?”

“These are our friends. They were ambushed by an orc party. They need some rest. So I brought them here.”said Broda. To the company he said,”Lets go to the Halls then. The other dwarves will be there.”

The company took the right hand passage into the halls. But they halted in the tunnel.
Ahead of them was a swarm of Wedjats.

“Looks like they have been disturbed by the dwarves we met there. They are likely to strike. Be careful.”

The company carefully crossed the swarm taking care not to step on any of the Wedjats. But then…..

“AAAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!”

They turned back to see Roland on the ground.

“You fool! You must have stepped on the Wedjat. Get up fast before they strike you!”yelled Arkantos.

But obviously the Wedjats had been disturbed. One of them raised its fangs to strike…..

“Whooooosh!” struck an arrow to its throat(shot by Amarie). Before dying it let out a loud hiss and the rest started advancing towards the company. The dwarves shot 3 more. One of them spat its venom towards Aragorn, who immediately leant back parallel to the ground and the spit narrowly missed him.(Sorry folks cldn’t resist a tribute to The Matrix!) Amarie quickly silenced it.

But then Amarie screeched. A Wedjat had jumped on her. Amarie fell to the ground. The Wedjat raised its fangs to strike.....

Then from nowhere Arkantos jumped over Amarie, grabbed the Wedjat in his hands and dived away. The Wedjat drooled venom onto his hands. He felt a pain searing through his hands. He strangled the Wedjat to death but not before it had spat on him. Arkantos looked at his hands. Blisters had come up and blood was oozing out of them. Aragorn took a step towards Arkantos.

"No, Don't Aragorn! The venom's still on me. If you touch it it will affect you too."said Arkantos.

None of the company could do anything. They watched helplessly at Arkantos.

Arkantos was looking at each company member for the last time. His vision was becoming foggy.He fell down on his knees obviosly in pain but he didn'y show it. He looked at Amarie standing wide-eyed watching him.He had done the best he could. He had saved Amarie. What if they could not be together? He knew that Amarie will always remember him. Thinking this, he gave a weak smile and took a deep breath and then............darkness.

Arkantos had sacrificed his life.



[Edited on 20/11/2003 by lord_aragorn86]
The fellowship stood helpless and shocked watching Arkentos fade away. Some wedjats had been cut of and where now beeing cut to pieces by sharp dwaven axes, the rest crept silently away and dissapeared as if they had completed their task, their hissing sounded like cruel, silent laughter. One by one the dwarves came and gathered around Arkentos' lifeless body, removing their helmets in repect, a low murmur could be heard as they saw how mutilated he was. Protected by their armor they had recieved little injury themselves.

Broda was the first to speak. "I invited you here to eat and drink and rest as friends, but there will be no feast tonight. Our finest craftsmen will prepare a reasting place for him besides our brothers and Lords."

Aragorn noded silently, it was a great honour Arkentos was shown. "No." said Amarië firmly. Her voice had a strange ring to it and her once bright eyes shone darkly. "He was a ranger and the mountains where his home. His resting place should not be in the cold, damp dark where creatures of evil creap and crawl. It should be where Anor will watch him by day and Elbereths stars will shine upon him by night. To far and risky it would be to send him home to his kin. But I will not leave him in the darkness. He gave his life for me. I could not save him, but he will not go unavenged."


[Redigert den 22/11/2003 av Amarië]
Minnet, Val's faithful cat lay sleeping at his side. Her mate, Sonnet sat beside Val, staring into the stars.
As she slept, Minnet dreamed. Dreams of her child, of Val, of her home in the moutains...
Slowly her dreams turned to nightmares, of snake-like creatures in the dark, of Arkentos falling before Amarie...
She awoke with a start. Her heart felt like a piercing dagger each timed it beated. She looked over to Val.
He was her best friend. He had always been, and forever would be. He could read her thoughts without words, and understood her every movement.
Val nodded sadly. "I saw it too Minnet. Arkentos has come to pass..." looking as if to say more, Minnet sat up to listen, but in vain, as Val only continued to stare into the starry sky.
The pass they had chosen to take seemed right. But Minnet feared it, for it would pass through her homeland, the place where her kind were taken. Kept as pets for the needs of humans, slaves. The place where her kitten was taken...
She nestled closer to Sonnet, and soon fell into a deep slumber.
Val checked the shafts of each of his arrows as he placed them slowly in his quiver. He could not afford for any of them to miss their intended target. He tightened his swordbelt and checked his dagger was still hidden in the sheath about his calf.

"Come," he whispered to each of his cats, rubbing a hand down the backs of each.

Lightly climbing the rocks, he looked down into the valley where the young cat lay tethered to the single stunted tree. Even from this distance he could see its fur appeared maungy and its ribs protruded from its starved body.

A lone Orc patrolled the valley, concealed from the single path which led into the basin. From their noise and stink, however, he could tell that others were close by. He looked carefully around, but he could see no trace of the troll.

He would have prefered to have waited until dawn, but if the troll was away hunting, its absence would lend him better advantage against the Orcs than daylight would should it return. This beast was a mountain troll, and though it would not turn to stone in sunlight like its lesser cousins, it would certainly return to the shadows before sunrise.

Again he wished he had managed to lead the others here. Maybe if he had asked them outright, but there was no time for regrets now. The kitten needed saving. These three were the last of the Chetmig in the Misty Mountains. He looked at his two faithful friends, eager to rescue their last kitten. Should they succeed tonight, he would return to the White Mountains. A few of the majestic animals still roamed wild in those snowy peaks. They were almost exstinct now, having been hunted by the Dunlendings and Gondorians alike for taking sheep.

Hopefully he could find a mate for the kitten, after which he would take them to the Blue Mountains. They would be safe there.

The Orc fell silently to the ground, its fingers clutching the arrow protruding from its throat. Before it was dead, the Elf's light footsteps had ran by.

Valedhelgwath cut at the leather leash with his dagger, trying to keep the excited kitten quiet. It reminded him of its parents when they had been kittens all those years ago, and the trouble their playfulness had got him into back then. Nothing had changed it seemed. Just as they had drawn the attention of the Dunlending warriors on him back then, so did the Kitten now. With angry shouts, a group of Orcs charged towards him.

He raised his bow and fired. Five never made it to him, but the four that did would be more than a match for him. He threw his dagger at the nearest, giving himself time to draw his sword, but he knew he was no swordsman.

He managed to wound the first to strike at him, but he took a cut to his arm in doing so. Leering, they spread out around him, trying to get behind him. And then he was no longer alone. Both cats pounced silently together, their weight, claws and fangs killing their foes in seconds. The remaining two Orcs did not wait for their turn. They ran for the caves at the far side of the basin. Both fell with arrows in their backs.

The three cats nuzzled and rubbed against each other, but Valedhelgwath hurried them along. Waiting not even to regain his arrows, he began to sprint for the path. He found it blocked, however. The troll had returned.

The cats stiffened and raised their heckles, ready for a fight, but the Elf shouted at them to flee. As the troll bounded over towards him, the female did as he had bidden. She had always been the sensible one. Besides, she now had her kitten to care for. As Val's first arrow flew into the troll's throat, she disappeared down the path, her kitten herded before her.

Val shot off three more arrows in quick succession, but the troll wiped them from its hide as though they had been nothing more than mosquitos. The male cat came to his aid as he again drew his sword, leaping from a rock onto the troll's shouders. It sank its fangs deep into the troll's neck while clawing at its face. For a moment it was able to forget its athritus and again feel young, but it was just a fleeting moment.

With huge hands, the troll plucked the lion from its back and flung it against the rock face, where it fell to the ground limp, its back broken. Val used the momentary distraction, and leaping forward himself, used his weight and momentum to bury his sword to its hilt in the creature's side. Cruely, with both arms he twisted the blade right around causing black blood to spurt over him.

It was a mortal wound, and the troll squealed in agony. It was not sufficient to kill it quickly, however, and as the elf pulled the blade free for another thrust, it crushed him with a savage blow from its huge stone club. His whole chest caved in from the impact, and his heart and lungs pierced by his broken ribs, the last sight he ever saw was his beloved stars in the heavens above him as the troll fell to ground beside him.

**********************************************

When the she cat and her kitten returned to Rivendell alone the following morning, it was seen as an ill omen by Elrond and his advisors. If his sons were to be saved, they would have to send more warriors.
Meanwhile, the fellowship sat in the Great Dining Hall of Moria, picking distractedly at their overloaded plates. Arkentos' death had hit them heavily and they were in no mood for a feast.

The dwarves seemed a little dissapointed, but were able to understand their grief. Finally, Broda stood up and cleared his throat.

"My friends, dwarven hearts go out to you in your grief. We will assist you with the burial of your friend, if that is what is usual with his kind. Two of my best warriors have already volunteered to carry his casket for you. They are also willing to accompany you to the Golden Wood, to visit the Elf-Witch. We will also supply you with whatever you need."

Two burly dwarves armed with great battle axes stepped forward. Amarie frowned, not wanting dwarves for company, especially where they were going. Aragorn looked uncomfortable. He could not think of any way to refuse this offer without offending Broda. Roland dropped his fork with a loud clatter. He picked it up, glad that he had an excuse not to meet the dwarf's eyes for a moment. Roth smiled mockingly. This was getting better by the minute.

The two new members of the company introduced themselves...
The two dwarves bowed deeply for Aragorn. "Great king of Men, my name is Moori Bladeswinger" the first one said. "And mine is Dorin Mighty-Axe" the second one continued. "We will be honoured to assist you and your men (and lovely lady) on your quest." Aragorn smiled politely and thanked them and the others tried to look like they thought it was a very good idea. Moori left to help prepare Arkentos' casket. Dorin lingerd behind a few seconds watching Moori walking away. "Ay.." he sighed dreamingly. "Ain't she a beauty? Surely she's the finest Khazad who ever lived under the mountains!" Amarië nearly choked om her wine, Roland lost his fork again and Aragorn lost all speach. Luckily Dorin didn't seem to expect an answer and strolled away humming without even looking at them.

The four immediately leaned over the table towards each other to discuss this, hardly beliving their eyes and ears. A female dwarf !?
"One has fallen already...how many more will fall on this journey.." thought Roth as he leaned against a pillar.
'the time is growing short and soon...they will come from across the sea. Do they have the will to stop them. All hope has but left this land and the strength that is left fades everyday.....' and Roth walks into the shadows..'I have come to late' as he wanders through the caverns.
He walked slowly retracing paths of friends long gone..."I am to far away. How I long to upon Echoriath again and stand upon Amon Gwareth.' he thought to himself.
"Welcome to our company, Moori Bladeswinger and Dorin Mighty-Axe. It is an honour to have you with us." Aragorn hoped that he did not look too displeased, as the light from the West Gate of Kazad-dum bathed them in eerie light.

Moori and Dorin bowed then to the wonder of all the fellowship, not only shouldered enormous packs, but lifted Arkantos' casket between them and started through the great doorway.

Aragorn looked at the others, shrugged and followed. Remembering a previous experience, he fretted silently over their anticipated reception in Lorien. Perhaps, if luck was with them, Haldir would be on other business...

After saying goodbye to their hosts the fellowship made their way towards Lorien. Aragorn was leading the way and the two dwarves, carrying Arkentos' casket, where following close behind. Roth was feeling abit uncomfortable, getting out of the caves had lifted his mood a bit, but the heart of the others where still grieving for their friend and not a word was spoken. Amarië was walking besides Roth and Roland was the last one, his eyes where searching the mountains and wood for signs of his friend Val, making him trip on roots and stones on the path.

One root made him fall on his face with a big "ooof" and Aragorn took this as a sign that they should take a break.

After Amarië had patched up Rolands bruised knees, and everyone was getting a bite to eat, Roland expressed out loud what he had been thinking about. "Do you think Val will be waiting for us at Lorien? I have seen no trace of him so far, I'm sure he would have looked for us at the West Gate, but elves and cats don't exactly leave much trace.. "
Meanwhile back in Rivendell Minnet nestled close to Elrond. Her kitten Tennor slept soundly by the fire. Elrond was deep in thought.

I still do not know the fate of the fellowship, and I do not wish to risk my finest men just yet. Yet my sons lives are at risk. This quest has proven dangerous thus far, the cats' returning to me was a sure sign of my dear friend Valedhelgwath's death. Hours passed and Minnet dozed off next to her kitten.

"Minnet," Elrond asked the cat. Minnet glanced up at him, her eyes intently staring into Elrond's. "I don't know what to do..." he rubbed his forehead with his thumb and forefinger.
Minnet nudged his hand. We can do it Minnet thought to herself.

That night they left. Minnet and Tennor set off into the darkness. They would round up the remains of their kind, the Chetmig, from the Misty Mountains and travel on to Lorien to find the beautiful lady with the golden hair. They could not remember her name, only that she was a good friend of Val's, and that that was where they must go. They were well aware of the men that followed, but could not be slowed down to wait for them to catch up.

Elrond looked down to the cats as they ran, soon disapearing in the distance. He smiled, he knew what they were doing. But to be sure, he had sent along 3 of his trusted friends and warriors, Belethcrist, Firedhel, and Gorisil. He could see the outline of their horses riding after the cats.

Good luck, and ride safe







[Edited on 4/12/2003 by Allyssa]
When King Thranduil got the news from Rivendell about the exhausted Gems of Eldamar and the twins illness, he wanted to lend a hand. Legolas had spoken highly of twins and of Lord Elrond, and Thranduil was sure Legolas would have gone himself if he had been there.

Belethcrist, Firedhel, and Gorisil had always stuck togheter like brothers. They where brave and skilled warriors as most of Thranduils men, but the stories they had heard about all Legolas had seen and encounterd had awoken their sense of adventure. For this reason Thranduil saw them as the most likely to volunteer for such a mission. Most wood-elves had no desire to go to the Undying Lands, and risking their lives to find a Gem which they probably would never use, seemed pointless. But Belethcrist, Firedhel, and Gorisil excepted the quest as a challenge and as a service to their King.

So it was that five days befor the cats came back to Rivendell, three Mirkwood elves stood on Elronds doorstep, eager and ready for action, offering their services to the Lord of Imladris.

The last days they had been filled in on the situation, and where now enjoying the fine wine, food and company of Rivendell, but their bags where packed and everything was ready for a quick departure. The elves and men in Rivendell welcomed them with open arms, especially as their arrival ment no more from Rivendell would have to volunteer.

When Minnet and Tennor, both now well fed and feeling better from Elronds care, took of towards the mountains, it took only minutes befor the trio where on their way. With them they carried a bottle of Miruvor, Elronds graitude and a sense that though they had come here just looking for an adventure, this quest was of great importance to the people here, and they didn't want to fail them.
And so the troop travelled forth to Lorien. A renewed strength had entered them..but still they felt empty with the loss of one so soon.
As the travellers walked along Roth crouched down and felt the path....
"This path has been walked upon recently my friends, and by such who shouldn't walk this land. Ready your baldes my friends and pray to whatever gods you seek."
A bead of sweat of sweat ran down Roths cheek.....
"I'm gettin' to old for this!!!"
Not long after a clearing opened up. It was empty, but the trace of orcs were so obvious that a blind man could see them from afar. Aragorn signaled them to stop and be still, as he snuck ahead to see if the orc were close. The others formed a sircle around Arkentos' casket with their weapons drawn.

"Indeed many have walked here, too many." Roland wispered.
"Some tracks are older, some quite new. Could it be they have a lair here?"

"This close to Lothlorien?" Dorin wondered. "Why haven't they been seen and removed? They say the witch er Lady of Lights eyes reach far. Oh Mori, there is a twig in your braid, let me remove it for you."
Mori slapped his hand. "Focus, Mighty-Axe, focus! And keep your hands of my braids or my axe will make you!"

"Hush you two! Aragorn is comming back!"
Roth spotted some broken twigs a few feet from where he stood. He left the others to argue amongst themselves........"these our fresh, from the last hour or less and by these tracks and this......."
As Roth touches a leaf a greyish powder stains his gloves....."whats this!!!!!!"
as he sniffs the strange substance a memory comes back to him of a time best forgotten and the screams and torment of those he watched being tormented in the depths of Mordor.
"I had tried to forget for so long and now it comes back to haunt me after all these years."
He grabs his axes and roars like a man possessed and swings at a rotting tree........
"Why do you torment me fiend after all these years....was my innocence not enough for you . Do you now wish my soul....well it will never be yours do you hear me..NEVER BE YOURS!!!!!!!"
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