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Gobblemoss



Joined: 22 Apr 2006
Posts: 975

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:33 am    Post subject: Sohay Reply with quote

OOC: apologies for the length, but here is the backstory for new Dae Noss member Sohay. I will also re-post a story addition that came from Bashel's thread so they are all in one place. Other parts of the story were related to Oseara when she met Sohay and have been followed up on by a letter Sohay mailed to Oseara. So perhaps Oseara can post some here as well. Any others of course welcome to the RP thread!

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SOHAY

As the agents of Sauron spread throughout the world, they found the men of the far eastern lands easy prey. The light of the West had never come to these regions, nor had the Istari been able to fully prevent their enslavement by the Dark Lord. War-hardened rivals of the Dunedain, these "Easterlings" became staunch allies of Sauron. In return, He promised them vengeance and lordship over the fallen West. In far Khand, the nomadic Variags, mounted bowmen of the steppes, also fell under His sway. The Variags were united into a great empire by Sauron during the Second Age under his fell servant the great Khagan Uvatha II. In time, nearly all the tribes of Khand came to engage in Sauronic worship and their language soon bore the strong influence of the Black Speech of Mordor.

After the breaking of Barad-Dur and the victory of the armies of the Last Alliance, there was the Long Peace. During this time, enterprising folk of Isildur’s southern fiefs penetrated deep into the eastern lands seeking new trade routes. The men of the great port city of Pelargir in particular proved themselves adept explorers and caravan masters.

Over time, commerce of a sort grew between the men of Gondor and the Easterlings, and in particular the dark-skinned Variags of Khand. One tribe especially developed close trade ties with the southern Dunedain Kingdom. These were the Agha-Zhaa, which in the Variag tongue means "Dusk Walkers." One of the largest tribes in Upper Khand, the Agha-Zhaa came to dominate the tribes of that region after the death of Uvatha II. The Beg of the Agha-Zhaa even came to be regarded as the new Khagan, although the title remained symbolic in nature. The Agha-Zhaa capital was the trading city of Ubesesh.

The growing association between Gondor and the Agha-Zhaa may have rested on more than commerce. For the Agha-Zhaa were notable for their unique form of nature worship. Alone among the Variags, they worshipped the constellation called Arawe - "The Hunter." Their rituals centered on a legendary visit at the beginning of the Third Age by an aged wise man with a long grey beard and blue robes. The ancient wanderer taught them to venerate the Hunter and that they should kneel to no one "until the trumpets sound and The Hunter comes down to rule his own." The name "Dusk Walkers" was bestowed on the Agha-Zhaa by the other Variag tribes because they performed their religious ceremonies under the light of the stars. The scholars of the White Tower of Gondor suspected the hand of a wizard in this. Legend held that two “Blue Wizards" roamed the far eastern lands and that they encouraged worship of the Valar. The worship of the “Hunter,” these scholars suspected, was in fact likely an ancient cult of the Vala Orome.

Yet, although the Agha-Zhaa dealt goods with the Westrons, as they called them, they remained a proud people apart. The Variag culture stressed loyalty to kin and clan above all. They tolerated, rather than loved, their neighbors across Anduin. And yet, given time men of west and east may slowly have begun to bury the hatreds of the past.

That time was not to be granted. For late in the Third Age the Long Peace came to an end. Sauron's power manifested itself again and He was eager to harness the men of the East in his armies once more. Yet it would not prove easy for the Dark Lord to bring the Easterlings back under his sway. Boastful and bloodthirsty, the Variags in particular had enjoyed their independence during Sauron's long absence.

And so, when the heralds of Sauron came to demand the submission of the Agha-Zhaa, they met with stony refusal. By their faith, the Agha-Zhaa proclaimed, they could submit to no one. When the heralds returned to report this rebuke, the Dark Lord was enraged and vowed not to let this defiance stand unpunished.

By this time most of the other tribes of Upper Khand had renewed their fealty to Mordor, some bribed, others through fear, and yet others by lust for power. Only the “Dusk Walkers” remained unbowed.

And so a plan was set. Knowing the scant chance the Agha-Zhaa would submit willingly, and sensing the hand of an Istari in aspects of their religion, Sauron decided to make an example of them. He would provoke the Dusk Walkers to war, destroy them utterly, and thus cow any others who would dare resist the Lidless Eye.

At this time, there lived in Ubesesh a small colony of traders from the western lands. Among them was a young man of Gondor named Bergon. Dark-haired, tall and fair skinned with grey-blue eyes after the manner of his folk, he was the second son of a prominent merchant family in Pelargir. Bergon, with the careless joy of those who are young, chose this dire time to fall in love. But not with a woman of Gondor – indeed none were nigh. Instead he became enamored of that which was forbidden. For Bergon fell in love with raven-tressed Izmej, the dusky beauty who was daughter of the High Priestess of Arawe herself.

And Izmej, bewitched despite herself by the light of the stars in Bergon's eyes, returned his ardor. In secret they plighted their troth, for death indeed would be Bergon's fate should the brothers of Izmej learn that a Westron dared lay hand on a daughter of Khand. They consoled themselves with trysts beside secluded desert oasis with none but the moon and nightingales as witness. Bergon wanted to depart and make a new life anywhere they could, for he could not bear the thought of being without her. But Izmej cared deeply for her family and hesitated.

Alas, the love of Bergon and Izmej was of no consequence in the greater events that now moved swiftly to overtake them, as the roaring river sweeps all in its path.

For the trap laid by Sauron for the Agha-Zhaa was now sprung. The next herald sent by Sauron had been commanded to insult the Agha-Zhaa council in words that would provoke them to rashness. Unaware of this strategem, the Agha-Zhaa were enraged by the insults of the Dark Lord's minion and the headless body of the unfortunate lackey was sent to Mordor strapped across the back of a bullock.

At this, the signal long-arranged was given. The lesser tribes of Khand, led by the Beg of the powerful Ito tribe, old rivals of the Dusk Walkers, made a surprise assault on the Agha-Zhaa. In this, they were aided by Haradrim mercenaries secretly gathered under the dread eye of the Nazgul called Khamul the Easterling. Bloody civil war broke out across the steppes.

The Agha-Zhaa were at first victorious. But then a numberless host of orcs of the Eye came down from Mordor. To the horror and astonishment of the Agha-Zhaa, the orcs were led by Uvatha, who had not died but had accepted a great ring of power and was now a Nazgul.

Overmatched, the Dusk Walker armies were annihilated. Those who did not flee were enslaved or tortured to death. The victorious hosts of Mordor moved swiftly to lay siege to Ubesesh and complete the conquest.

Trapped in the city, Bergon and Izmej could only watch in horror as the world around them seemed to collapse. Yet fate also decreed their sorrows would be mixed with joy unlooked-for. For by now Izmej was with child.

As the armies of Sauron ringed Ubesesh, a small band of the fiercest and most skilled Agha-Zhaa gathered to fight their way free, determined never to submit so long as they had breath. Among them were the brothers of Izmej. Unknowing of her condition, they bade Izmej accompany them. Bergon they would not suffer, for he was a Westron.

Heavy was the parting of Bergon and Izmej. Heedless of the angry looks of her brothers, Bergon went to the side of Izmej and whispered to her. “It is but for awhile. Our love is too strong. I will come to you again though all the hosts of Mordor lie between us,” Bergon promised. Taking a brooch made of fine gold enameled with the likeness of a white stag off his cloak, he pinned it on Izmej. The girl could only gaze back tearfully, mute with emotion.

But Savank, eldest of the brothers of Izmej, was enraged at this. Drawing sword, he stepped forward and roughly pulled Izmej away from Bergon’s embrace. Then he seized and tore off the white stag brooch Bergon had pinned on Izmej.

It would have gone ill with Bergon then, but Pavam, the youngest of Izmej’s brothers and her favorite playmate as a child, stepped forward to stay his brother's hand. Savank shrugged him off, but slowly lowered his sword. “Know this Westron,” Savank said in a deadly voice. “Be glad we must swiftly away. But we shall not suffer you to dishonor our kin. Go! But if my eyes mark you again it shall be your death,” said Savank.

At that moment, there was a tremendous roar of fell voices. The Mordor armies had finally broken the gates of Ubesesh.

Izmej looked despairingly into the eyes of Bergon one last time. Then her brothers yanked the reins of her horse. Her last sight of her love was as Bergon turned, deathly pale and sword in hand, to face the oncoming rush of the enemy.

Through skill of arms and desperation, the band of Variags managed to break out from the burning city. Riding their horses to death, they crossed the plains of Khand into Near Harad. Pursued westwards by the Haradrim, they came thence to Anduin above Cair Andros and crossed into Rhovanion. Seeing this, their pursuers laughed and called off the chase, deeming these remnants no longer worthy of attention.

Meanwhile Sauron completed his victory. The last Khagan of the Agha-Zhaa was taken to the dungeons of Barad-Dur never to be seen again. Those few captives left alive, mostly young boys and girls, were sent to the slave-farms around the Sea of Nurnen to live out their miserable lives under the lash of the orcs. Uvatha the Nazgul set about forging the surviving Khand tribes into the armies that would be needed for the greater wars to come.

The brothers of Izmej managed to gather a number of other Variag stragglers into their small band. All in the group save Izmej were men. She did not discomfit their progress, for among the Variags both men and women are hardy and enduring. Determined to make their way to lands where they could find peace, the Exiles (as they now began to call themselves) made their way north into the Dale-lands.

However, the long history of strife between Dale-men and Easterlings played against them. They were met with fear and hatred and King Brand raised an army to destroy them. Bitterly, the Exiles gathered on a small hill above the plain to sell their lives dearly. However, at the last moment, a mysterious emissary arrived from the realm of the Wood-King. Riding furiously to the side of King Brand, the elf whispered into his ear. The Lord of Dale listened, then nodded. Slowly he rode out to the encircled Variags, palm upraised in parley. "I have tale of why you are here," shouted the King. "Know that you shall be spared. But you cannot stay. The hearts of my people are too hot against you. You shall have safe passage to parts west. There, perhaps, you will find those who will tolerate you," said King Brand.

Accompanied by the mysterious emissary, the Exiles passed southwest, skirting the eaves of Mirkwood, until they came into the east of the realm of Rohan. There, patrolling Riders of the Mark under the King's son Theodred met them with a welcome only a little less frosty than they had in Dale. The Rohirrim indeed had great cause to hate the descendants of the same Wainriders who in earlier times pillaged their fair fields. The Exiles were hemmed in and made to wait many days while word was sent to seek the judgement of King Theoden. But when at last orders arrived, they were written in the hand of the King's counselor Grima: "The Easterlings shall have passage, but not the elf. Take them under guard to the Gap of Isengard. Thence and only thence. See to it on pain of death." Theodred scowled as he read these words, for he had little love for Grima. And he wondered. For Theodred had supposed the Variags would instead be sent south for Gondor to deal with. But Theodred heeded the command. The Riders escorted the Exiles westwards across the Mark. The elven emissary was forced to return north, protesting.

Delivered to the Gap of Isengard and left to fend for themselves, the Exiles passed a restless night beside the eaves of Fangorn Forest. Not knowing these lands, they debated what their next step should be. As they lay resting under the stars, they were surprised to suddenly see the figure of an old man with a staff dressed all in white appear before their campfire.

The old man spoke soothingly to them, seeming to know much of their past and who they were. "So my friends," said the old man. "You have arrived at last. I know whereof you come. Much have you suffered. But your valor is great and should find a place where it will be valued...and rewarded." So beguilingly did the old man speak, so fair were his words, that almost the Exiles pledged fealty to him then and there, for as a lord of might and wisdom he seemed to them.

And yet, at the last the memory of all they had suffered to hold true came back to them. Savank, who was now hetman of the Exiles, stood forth when the old man in white had finished. "Stranger. Your words are fair. We thank you, for they are the first such we have heard since crossing the great river. But we are the Agha-Zhaa, the Dusk Walkers. Our faith commands we bow to none save Arawe, until the horns blow and the Hunter returns to claim his own," said Savank respectfully.

At this, the aspect of the old man changed in an instant. Gone were the beguiling smile and kindly eyes, replaced by a hideous mask of hatred and contempt. "Ragged fools!" he hissed in a cracked voice. "You lack the wit to know what you have just cast away! Know then that your suffering has only begun!" The spell broken, the Exiles angrily drew sword and leaped at the old man. But the greybeard raised his staff and there was a blinding flash. When the Exiles could see again, the old man in white was gone.

The next morning, spurred by a feeling of dread, the Exiles packed quickly and headed north to get as far away as they could from the Gap of Isengard. Packs of strange wolf-like beasts, yet greater and more evil than any wolves they had seen before, now pursued them. From the shadows they felt eyes following them and, at night when they camped, the keen-eared among them swore they heard the voices of orcs, far off, calling to one another.

By this time, the condition of Izmej had become such that travel was becoming hard. And her pregnancy was becoming difficult to conceal. Aided by the long skirted traditional clothing of the Variags and the fact she was the only woman among the Exiles, she had kept her secret thus far. Even so, she lived in deadly fear of discovery, for she doubted not Savank would slay her if he knew.

With increasing desperation, the Exiles headed west and north, seeking to outdistance their pursuers. But to no avail. For while they were hungry and weary, the orcs and wolf-things were fresh and fell.

Ever the packs would draw nigh to the Exiles and threaten to overwhelm them. Ever two or three of the warriors would drop back and engage in hopeless struggle, seeking to buy time for the remaining survivors to win free. But the Exiles numbers were steadily diminished thereby. And the waste land seeming to stretch on endlessly.

At the last, only three were left: Savank, Pavam and Izmej. They stopped by a large pool of water under some rocks to refresh themselves. By now, Izmej felt she could go no further. Feeling death was nigh, Izmej felt she must unburden her heart at to her brothers. All their lives they had loved and protected her, and she felt she could not leave this world with deceit on her conscience.

Izmej knelt before Savank and Pavam. “My brothers, I fear we have little time. I cannot leave you and this world carrying the burden in my heart,” said Izmej. She looked up with tears in her eyes at Savank. “Eldest,” she cried, “forgive me. For I carry within me the child of Bergon of Gondor.” Izmej bowed her head in despair.

There was silence a long moment. Then Izmej felt a hand gently raise her chin. Surprised, she looked wonderingly into the weary eyes of Savank. “Sister,” said the fierce warrior in a voice gentler than any she had ever heard him use. “We have suspected this since leaving the plain,” said Savank. He looked at Pavam. The brothers gazed at each other, seeming to struggle for words.

Just then orc cries broke out nearby and a loud baying was heard. The enemy was upon them again.

Savank pulled Izmej to her feet. Holding her by the shoulders, he looked deeply into her eyes, then kissed her forehead. Reaching into a pocket of his cloak, he pulled out a brooch. Izmej gasped. It was the golden brooch of the white stag given her long ago by Bergon. Izmej thought Savank had cast it away. Savank placed the brooch in Izmej's hand. "It is from you, sister, that I should beg forgiveness," said Savank. She looked up at her elder brother with a feeling of wonder. Then she hugged him tightly.

Savank returned her embrace, seeming overcome with emotion. Then he held her away from him. “Pavam,” Savank said in a commanding voice. “Take her north and do not stop.” Pavam nodded. Embracing his brother, Pavam took Izmej by the hand and led her into the trees.

They looked back one last time. Savank stood beside the pool, sword in hand, as a throng of orcs emerged from the woods.

They headed north as Savank commanded. Out of food and exhausted, not knowing where they were, suddenly they were amazed to come out of the trees and see in the distance what appeared to be farmlands. Pavam turned to his sister and hugged her close.

Though they could not know it, beyond hope they had come to the southernmost fields of the Bree-lands. But the reach of the Dark Lord had become long. Or else fate had one last cruel stroke to play.

Night was falling. They would need to camp before continuing towards the enticing vision ahead. Pavam helped Izmej to find a place to rest beside the hollows of a tree. A little distance away was a deep and swift-moving stream. They lay for awhile in the darkness, listening to the comforting rush of water.

Pavam heard footsteps nearby. Thinking the enemy was once again upon them, Pavam drew his sword and crept out.

Instead they heard the voices of men.

One of the men, spotting Pavam, shouted, “Bandit! Shoot before he gets away!”

There was a whizzing of arrows. Izmej watched Pavam sway and then fall onto some rocks in the middle of the stream.

Two men splashed cautiously over to the slain Variag and inspected him. One of the men, the taller one, stood up with a troubled look on his face. “I don’t know about this, Hob Thistledown. This fellow don’t look like one of them - he's as dark as coal,” said the man, biting his lip with concern. The smaller one nodded and sighed. “You’re right, Rory” he said. “We’ve made a terrible mistake.”

Just then they heard a muffled sob from the darkness nearby. Climbing out of the stream bed, they advanced cautiously until they came upon Izmej crying. As the realization of what they had done sank in, the two men tried to comfort the woman. They were amazed at her strange clothing and could not understand the tongue she was speaking. But taking counsel among themselves, they decided to carry Izmej, who now appeared to be in great pain, to the nearby farm of Luella Sandheaver.

Luella and her husband Longo had just finished supper when they heard the knock on the door. Cautiously, for the bandit troubles had all of south Bree a-tizzy, the two hobbits cracked the door open. “Let us in Luella! Its Hob and Rory! We have a strange lady and she is sick!” said Hob. Quickly, they carried Izmej inside the house.

Luella took one look at Izmej and scowled at the two Bree-men. ”Sometimes I think you Big Folk have brains no bigger than a squirrel!” scolded Luella. “This lady is not sick! She is about to have a baby! Take her into the bedroom. Hob - go fetch Widow Heathertoes – she is a midwife. You, Rory and Longo, move your old bones and make yourselves useful! Boil some water and get me the extra linens!” said Luella in a voice that brooked no disagreement.

By now, Izmej was fading in and out of consciousness. The toll of grief and the desperate journey had sapped her last reserves of will. But that inner, unfathomable, strength that comes to women who are about to give birth now sustained her. Luella worriedly clasped Izmej’s hand. “Hang on dear! I can't understand a word you're saying. But we are with you now and will help,” said the hobbit.

Widow Heathertoes arrived. Gathering the supplies from Longo and Rory, she and Luella pushed the men outside the bedroom and closed the door.

The Bree-men paced worriedly. After some prying by Longo - who sensed there was something the two had held back - the men told the hobbit all that had happened. “I tell you Longo,” said Rory, “we didn’t know! It was dark as pitch and with all the bandit-doings, we thought it was one of them." he said. "And our eyesight ain't what it was," Hob nodded sadly. The hobbit tried to comfort the two distraught old men. “You did what you thought right,” said Longo.

Then, from behind the door came the sound of a baby crying. The men exchanged anxious looks. The door opened. Widow Heathertoes stepped out. She carried a swaddled bundle in her arms. “It’s a girl” she said with a half-smile. “But the mother is in a bad way.”

They stepped into the room. Luella sat beside Izmej rubbing her hands and mopping her brow. But the dark-tressed woman was deathly pale, her breath shallow, and her eyes closed.

The baby gave a mewl. Izmej opened her eyes and made a motion to Widow Heathertoes. The midwife laid the baby across Izmej’s chest. Izmej made as if to sit up, but she didn’t have the strength. Instead, she clutched the baby to her and closed her eyes again. All was quiet for a long while.

Izmej opened her eyes once more, but now they were bright and fevered. She made as to hand the baby to Luella. The hobbit woman hesitated, then took the child from her.

Izmej pointed at the baby. “Sohay,” she whispered. Izmej reached across and squeezed Luella’s hand. Luella, blinking back tears, nodded.

The Bree-folk buried Izmej in a quiet glade deep in the woods. When Rory and Hob went back to the stream bed to collect the body of Pavam, they found nothing - the swift current had carried it away. Rory and Hob begged the hobbits not to speak of the events of that night, for they were ashamed and afraid. Luella resisted, but Longo persuaded her and in the end they all agreed that the tale would be that Sohay was a foundling left on the Sandheavers doorstep.

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Sohay grew into a typical Bree-girl, lovely and with laughing eyes, heedless of the wider world. "Aunt" Luella and "Uncle" Longo, who were old and had no children of their own, were good parents - although raising a child of the "Big Folk" was quite the challenge for them. But "Uncles" Rory and Hob were always around and as helpful and caring as any niece could wish. They gave young Sohay the nickname "Apple" because she liked them so much. When Rory and Hob came to visit they would always bring a bag of them for her.

When she was old enough, the hobbits told Sohay she was an orphan, and related to her the tale of a foundling left on a doorstep. Sohay had gotten too big to believe any longer she was a hobbit and was starting to ask questions. But in all other respects Sohay had as good an upbringing as could be.

While Luella and Longo made sure Sohay learned to read and write, she didn't receive much more in the way of formal education. The Sandheavers were a farming family, with plum and pear trees, as well as lettuce and tomato fields. There was enough to keep everyone busy and Sohay, like all the children of the farms, went to work as soon as she was able. She didn't mix much with the other children of the town, except on Sundays when the Sandheavers would go into Bree to sell their produce and buy things they needed. Luella taught Sohay how to sew and the girl proved so apt that soon enough they didn't need to send clothes out for mending since Sohay would do quite well with them herself.

As she got older, though, Sohay began to notice how the other children would treat her differently. She was darker and her name was not like the other Bree names. The others, especially the Big Folk girls, would tease her and call her "Southron." And when they played games like "rangers and brigand" she would always be chosen as the "brigand."

Sohay came home one day in tears from a market trip to Bree with Longo. The girls had teased her a little harder than usual. Luella comforted her. "Pay no heed to them dearest! They are just jealous you are so lovely," said the hobbit. "Now sit," commanded Luella. And Luella would take out a brush and comb Sohay's hair until she felt better. Sohay would sometimes ask why she was different. But Luella would just shake her head and shush her. "None of that talk Apple! Everyone comes in different shapes, sizes and colors! Why look at me!" said Luella. And the hobbit would climb onto a large chair they had bought for Sohay's use as she grew and would dangle her short legs until the girl laughed.

The years went by. Widow Heathertoes, Uncles Rory and Hob, in the fullness of years, passed on. Then Longo a few years later. They mourned them all.

Sohay, by this time sixteen, now spent much of her time helping elderly Luella around the hobbit hole. Luella fussed about "not needing nurse-maiding" but Sohay knew her aunt was comforted greatly by having her as helpmate.

Late one evening, after the day's work was done and they had finished supper, Luella took Sohay by the arm and sat her down in the large dining room.

"Dearest," said Luella. "I love you very much, you know that." Sohay smiled and nodded. "I know Lu. And I love you too," she replied.

Taking her cane, Luella rose from her chair and began to pace. Sohay watched with a growing sense of unease. Her normally flinty and self-assured aunt was in a way Sohay had never seen her before.

Luella stopped and looked at Sohay. "Dearest," said the hobbit. "The time comes near when you will have your own choices to make. You can't stay here always - my goodness, you shall have a stoop!" And they both laughed, for Sohay had now become almost too tall for the hobbit hole.

Luella was suddenly serious again. "Sohay. Sometimes we do things because they seem the right thing at the time. But later, we understand maybe they weren't. And that it's not too late to remedy some at least of what was done," said Luella.

"Aunt, what are you saying," said the girl. But Luella bit her lip and seemed stricken and unable to speak.

"I can tell you," came a voice from the darkness in the corner of the room. There was the sound of a match striking. A lamp was lit and its light revealed two tall figures seated on low stools.

Sohay gaped in surprise at the newcomers. One was a leathery-faced man with flecks of gray in his dark hair and wearing stained and worn traveling clothes. The other was cloaked in a grey silvery mantle, hooded so that she could not see his face in the gloom. The man took out a pipe, lit it, and began to smoke.

“Who are you,” asked Sohay in a nervous voice. “Aunt,” she said, turning to Luella, “who are they?” The hobbit hesitated, then laid a hand on Sohay’s arm to calm her. “Friends,” said Luella. “I asked them to come here tonight.”

“Indeed,” said the man. “I am sorry we startled you. Forgive my manners.” And at this he half-rose (for the ceiling of the hobbit hole forbade him to draw to his full height) and bowed.

“I am Baradiir, son of Barathorn. I am a Dunedain – one of those you call rangers,” said he.

Sohay nodded slowly, the startled look in her eyes fading into intense curiosity. A ranger! Right here in their dining room!

Seeing her expression, Baradiir laughed. “Yes,” he said. “We do exist. And more, for we keep patrol on these lands, though few know it. And thus did the thread of your life cross mine many suns ago,” said the ranger.

“Aunt,” said Sohay questioningly to Luella. “What is he saying?”

Then Luella told her the full tale of that night long ago. Of a terrible accident in the dark. Of a woman dressed in strange clothes speaking a tongue they did not understand who was with child. And of a pact of silence, kept for many years, until now.

“Oh, Apple, I am so sorry!” cried Luella tearfully. “We did what we thought right. And Longo and I, we loved you from the first sight of you. Your coming was a sadness but a blessing too. We only wanted what was best! You have to believe that! Oh, don’t look at me that way!” pleaded the hobbit.

For as Luella spoke, Sohay grew deathly pale. She felt a coldness spread through her limbs. All she knew, all she trusted, seemed be crashing down around her. A blackness came before her eyes and she felt as though she would swoon.

There was a long silence, broken only by the sobs of the hobbit. Finally Baradir spoke.

“The truth is oft a blade that cuts deep,” sighed the ranger. “Yet evil purpose did not drive deed that night. Men – and hobbits – make the choices we deem best with the wisdom that is given to us, accepting what comes to pass, for good or ill.” said Baradiir.

Sohay closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then she opened them and looked towards Luella, who was holding her head in her hands. She went and knelt beside her, then put her arms around the hobbit. “Oh, Lu,” said Sohay. The two women embraced. “I can’t blame you,” murmured Sohay. “It’s just…it so much for me to understand. And there are so many questions.” She turned back towards Baradir.

“But what did you have to do with all this?” Sohay asked the ranger.

“I shall continue the tale then, for the part I played began that night,” said the Dunedain. And he told of the watch kept by the Rangers of the North. How they ever strove against the fell creatures that roamed the wild lands round about. Sohay’s eyes widened as she listened, and Luella’s too, for tale of these things was only dimly known to the common folk of the Bree-lands.

“Eighteen years ago, although I recall it like yesterday,” said Baradiir. “Winter was nigh when we received word that a company of men was fleeing north closely pursued by orcs and wolves. And a woman traveled with them. Quickly we gathered what strength we had and marched to aid them,” said Baradiir. He sighed. “Alas! We were too late. By the time we reached the southern woods, nigh all had been slain. That night we laid ambush to the enemy and destroyed them or drove them off. We searched but marked the tracks of two survivors only, heading into the farmlands,” continued Baradiir. “By the signs, one was a man and one a woman. The tracks of the man ended at a stream, where there was sign of two other men. And fresh blood on the rocks,” sighed Baradiir. “Then the tracks of the newcomers and the woman went north together.”

“While my kinsmen continued their hunt for any more of the enemy, I followed the trail alone. It led to a hobbit farmhouse,” said Baradiir. “The next afternoon, I paid a visit in secret to the mistress of that house to learn all I could,” he said. And here he inclined his head towards Luella. “I sensed then that what I was told was not the whole tale,” said the ranger wryly.

“Oh forgive me!” cried Luella then to Baradiir. “My heart felt wrong, but I had sworn to Hob and Rory…may they rest in peace. And I am trying to set things a-right now,” said the hobbit.

“Indeed,” said Baradiir. “Plead not, for all is forgiven. And in truth hobbits are poor liars, so I suspected there was more to the story,” the Dunedain smiled. At this Luella blushed.

“Some weeks passed as we pondered the mystery,” said Baradiir. “Who were these men? And why did the orcs pursue them?” said the ranger.

“Here I can continue the tale, if I may,” said the cloaked figure beside Baradiir. And lo! He cast his hood aside and he was fair to the eyes and golden was his hair. An elf! And he bowed to Sohay and Luella.

“Mavros of the wood-realm am I,” said the elf. “And I shall tell what I know.”

And they listened again in wonder. For he spoke of a war far, far away, in a place called Khand, between an evil lord and men who would not to submit to him. Of fire and ruin and bitter defeat. And of the desperate flight of a few men and one woman. It was a grim tale and Sohay and Luella clutched each other tightly as they listened.

“I cannot speak fully as to how this was known to us,” said Mavros. “But be comforted there are those among the Good and Wise who have power to see what passes, even though it be far to the east. And so word came to the realm of Thranduil of the survivors. And that an emissary should be sent to aid them and, if possible, bring them to safety. For their enemy is the enemy of all,” said the wood-elf.

“What enemy?” said Sohay, who could contain herself no more. “Who are you talking about?”

Mavros and Baradiir exchanged glances. “We shall not speak of such things now,” said Baradiir. “In time you shall learn more. Know only these folk fled a great evil that concerns us all, man, hobbit and elf,” said the ranger gravely. Sohay looked troubled at this.

Mavros continued. He told of how the band of eastern men passed west across the wide plains. How they met cold welcome from other men because of ancient hatreds. And how they passed on until they came to the southern gap of the great mountains.

“Alas,” said Mavros. “Here our knowledge ends. We know not what happened from then until they reached here. We may only guess,” said the elf.

Sohay spoke up again. “Forgive me, Mavros, but how is it you know so much of these folk and their journey?” said the Bree-girl.

“Did I not say?” said the elf. “What I know comes from my own eyes. For I was that emissary that accompanied them.”

Sohay and Luella both gasped in wonder.

Mavros looked back at Baradiir.

“And that is the tale, so far as we know,” said the ranger. “Sohay,” said Baradiir. “These folk to the east are known as Variags and their land is Khand.” He looked at Sohay closely. “Their blood flows in your veins and their features are yours,” said the Dunedain.

"Except in one thing," he continued, a sound of puzzlement in his voice. "Your eyes are grey-blue, which is unheard of among that kindred," said Baradiir.

Sohay nodded slowly. Inwardly, she was surprised she did not feel more shocked. But the pieces seemed to fit. She had always felt apart somehow. Absent-mindedly, she caressed the golden brooch enameled with a white stag that fastened her cloak.

Baradiir’s eyes were drawn to her gesture and a look of surprise came over him. “From whence came that?” he asked, pointing at the brooch.

Luella told of how they found the brooch clutched in her mother's hand on the night of Sohay’s birth. Of how Luella had kept it safe over the many years. When Sohay came of age, she had given it to her. But she had never told her from whence it came.

Baradiir nodded. “There is a mystery here. For unless I am deceived, that brooch was not fashioned in the east. It is Gondor-made. How did it come to her? For they did not go that way,” mused the Dunedain. Baradiir thought again of Sohay's eyes, then stopped himself from speaking aloud what was in his mind.

Sohay looked with new wonder at the brooch now.

Baradiir laid a friendly hand on her shoulder. “We have spoken long and I see you are weary now,” said the ranger. “You will want time. We shall go now. But know that you have friends who will help you, if you would ask. Your life here, I deem may become difficult because of who you are. There are changes afoot in the wider world. Some may pass through Bree and bring with them the hatreds of the realms they left behind,” said Baradiir.

Sohay did not fully understand these words, but she nodded. Then she looked towards Mavros. She was quiet then for a moment.

“What was her name?” she suddenly asked.

Mavros looked at her with eyes full of warmth and understanding.

“They called her Izmej,” said the elf. “Your mother was named Izmej.”

Luella gripped Sohay gently by the hand. “I can take you to see her now, if you like,” she murmured. Sohay nodded.

They bade Baradiir and Mavros farewell.

The moon was full by the time they reached the secluded glade. It took them longer because Luella had to rest on her cane from time to time. Sohay held her by the arm and helped her over the larger rocks for the path was rough.

There, in the light of the moon was a small cleared area. A small tablet of clean white stone gleamed amidst a bed of wild grass. A small patch of daffodils grew beside it. Luella went and knelt beside the stone and brushed some leaves from the top of it.

“I would come here when I could,” said the hobbit. “I made sure the stone was clean and put some flowers.”

Sohay knelt beside her. The two of them sat for a long while. The only sound was the night-wind gently rustling the branches of the trees above.

Sohay closed her eyes and bowed her head. Then, she reached out her hand and, caressing the white stone, prayed to herself.

Mother, your arms held me but a little while.
But I feel them around me now.
Your love brought me here and gave me life.
I shall use the gift you gave me as best I can.

As she said these words, Sohay felt a new strength and purpose fill her limbs. She looked up at the starlit skies.

Far above wheeled the constellation they call The Hunter. Sohay traced the stars that etched his graceful bow, and the three bright ones that, like jewels, made his belt.

Sohay rose and took Luella by the hand.

“Come on, Lu,” said Sohay with a warm smile. “Let’s go home.”

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

Sohay took good care of Luella over the next two years. Closer than ever before, they would take long walks together while the elderly hobbit was still able. And when the time came when she could not, Sohay sat beside her at the fireside and made sure she had warm blankets and was comfortable.

When Aunt Luella passed on, Sohay was left as sole mistress of the hobbit hole for Luella and Longo had no descendants. When she had finished her grieving, Sohay realized that she could stay in a hobbit hole no longer. For by now she was tall and strong, twenty summers of age. She procrastinated as long as she could, not wanting to leave the warm memories of the only home she knew. But eventually, she made arrangements and the hole was sold. With the proceeds, she bought a small lodging in Bree-town. She had friends from her schooldays who lived nearby and she thought that in time she could start a business for herself as a seamstress.

The Bree-folk, large and small, knew Sohay and welcomed her. Gone were the days of remarks about looks or name. In fact, not a few of the Big Folk boys now cast glances of a different nature at Sohay, for she had grown into an attractive young woman with a winsome smile.

In a short time, Sohay began to feel at home again. She made arrangements with a company of dwarf traders from the Blue Mountains to darn and repair their clothes and was soon happily busy.

But Bree was no longer a sleepy little town. Great events were afoot in the wider world. Brigands once more became a problem and a watch was placed on the gates. The Prancing Pony Inn, which was just down the street from where Sohay lived, was full now most nights with travelers. So many that some camped in the open fields when there were no beds to be had. People from far away places known before only by name now were commonplace sights, and the speech of Rohan, Dale and even Gondor was spoken in the streets.

Sohay was working late one evening. It was a rush order from the dwarves. They had a shipment to load in the morning and needed their burlap sacks patched. Sohay had worked feverishly to finish the repairs, but had them done now. It was dark outside, but the dwarves shop was not far away in Combe.

She gathered up the sacks in her arms and wrapped them into a bundle. Then she set out down the east road to Combe.

It was a beautiful cool night. Sohay began to hum to herself, thinking of the relief it would be to brew some tea and fall into her soft bed once she delivered the order.

There was a campfire lit by the roadside ahead and Sohay could see a large group of men around it warming their hands. This was not unusual these days and she thought nothing of it.

As she drew closer, she could see these men were rather grim-looking. Their hair was unkept and their beards long and untended. They wore the garments of soldiers and their shields were piled together on the ground.

They saw her coming along the road and called to her. Thinking they had a question, she drew nearer. As she came into the firelight however, they looked closely at her face. Suddenly, they began to scowl. One of them, the shortest, stepped forward and grabbed her roughly by the arm. His face was a mask of suspicion.

“So!” said the man. “What have we here? A spy I wager!” he hissed.

Sohay was suddenly very frightened. She did not understand what was happening. The men crowded around her.

Another man stepped forward. He was more richly dressed, albeit his tabard was rent with holes. He seemed to be the captain. He looked sternly at Sohay, then put his hand on her face and traced the shape of her eyes.

“Aye, Hurlin,” said the Captain. “She has the eyes of a kin-slayer and the color too,” he said, his mouth grimacing. “Did we travel this many leagues from Lebenin to find eastern scum here before us?”

“But,” pleaded Sohay, beginning to understand. “I am from Bree. Why are you…”

The hard slap almost spun her around and brought tears to her eyes. Her parcel of sacks fell from her hands into the mud.

“Silence filth!” snarled the Captain. “We ask the questions. Who sent you here?” When Sohay did not answer, he slapped her again. She began to cry.

One of the other men stepped forward. Although as battered in appearance as the others, he had a gentler look and seemed distressed by what he was witnessing.

“Captain,” said the gentle-seeming one. “Maybe she is telling the truth."

“Think you so, Angmir?” said the Captain sarcastically. “The Easterling is past master at treachery. Have you forgotten that village in Anfalas?” he demanded. “They trusted - and paid with their lives for it." The Captain stepped closer to Angmir, his lip curled in a sneer. "Still acting the petty noble, eh?" he smirked. "But Denethor hangs deserters. Your neck will stretch as good as mine," he taunted.

Angmir hesitated. Another man stepped forward, with wild eyes and a strange smile. He spat on the ground and looked intensely at Sohay.

“What are we waiting for, comrades?” said the man in a low deadly voice. “The blood of my slain kindred cries to me. Here stands one of the accursed ones." He drew a long wicked-looking knife from his belt.

Angmir stepped forward. “Stay!” he cried. “Tis true we fight now for coin, not the White Tree. But we are still men of Gondor! Have the wars turned us into beasts?” said Angmir. He gestured at Sohay. “Does she look like an enemy?” he asked.

The wild-eyed man nodded, the unnatural smile still on his face. “Aye,” he said. “She is no true Easterling. She lacks the tribal scars. I shall remedy that,” he cackled.

Before any could react, the wild-eyed man yanked Sohay’s head back by the hair and slashed her left cheek with his knife. Sohay screamed.

The men of Gondor stood stunned a moment. Then several of them grabbed the wild-eyed man by both arms. Others took away his knife.

The Captain, now pale and sweating, whirled on the wild-eyed man. “Turlin, you fool,” he snarled. “I give the orders here. Now you’ve done for it. Trouble will come of this,” said the Captain.

Hurlin stepped forward and gestured at Sohay, who had fallen to her knees and was clutching her cheek. “Not if there are no witnesses,” he said with a shrug.

There was a ring of a sword being drawn. Angmir strode to Hurlin and shoved him to the ground. He held his sword point against the fallen man’s chest and his face was flushed red with anger.

“If any lay hand on her, I will kill them,” said Angmir. Several men nodded agreement and drew their own swords. But some others murmured in support of Hurlin. It seemed a fight would break out at any moment. Sohay, through the fog of her pain, listened but did not dare to move.

“Enough!” roared the Captain. “Hold! As long as I lead, you shall obey me,” he barked. He looked around the camp. “So much for our quiet stay. There will be no work for us here now. Pack up! We will put as many leagues as we can between us and this miserable hole before the dawn,” said the Captain. He pointed at Turlin. “Tie his arms and bring him along. I will think of how to deal with him later,” ordered the Captain.

“What about her?” said Hurlin from where he lay. Angmir scowled at this and raised his sword.

“Enough, I said!” cried the Captain. “Leave her and move out!”

Sohay lay on the road until the sounds had ceased and the tramp of marching boots echoed into the distance. Even then, she was so stricken with fear that it was only with great effort she was able to rise.

She ran as fast as she could to the shop of the dwarves in Combe. The dwarves were seated around a table outside in the twilight, drinking and smoking, but their contented looks vanished when they saw Sohay stagger bleeding into the light. They fairly roared with anger as she told them what happened. She begged them not to go, but they quickly seized their axes and donned armor and went to look for the party of men that assailed her. While they were gone, several other dwarves remained behind to tend Sohay’s wound. They put healing poultices on it, then bound and dressed it. They gave Sohay a drink of cordial and tried to calm her.

At length the other dwarves returned. “They are long gone,” growled the dwarf leader. “I am sorry lass, we cannot avenge you. The cowards!”

He went over to Sohay. “How is she Dorgin?” he asked one of the dwarves that tended her. The dwarf shrugged. “She will have a nasty scar, Kali. But she is else-wise unharmed,” said the dwarf. Kali nodded. He took a bound package of burlap sacks from one of the other dwarves. “We saved your needlework at least, lass,” said the dwarf. Sohay gave a weak smile despite herself, though her wound still smarted too much for laughter.

They escorted Sohay back to her home. Despite her protests that she was all right now, the dwarves insisted on keeping guard the rest of the evening. In the morning, they called the Bree Sheriff.

The Sheriff listened to Sohay’s account of what had happened and also heard from the dwarves. “We shall try and find these rascals,” he said when they had finished. “But I am afraid from what you have said the trail is now cold. Many desperate men come through nowadays. I fear they swell the ranks of the Blackwolds,” said the Sheriff. “We are sore beset and short-handed,” he continued. “I wish I could say better, but that is the way of it,” he ended sadly.

He looked toward Sohay. “Young lady, is there anything more I can do for you?” said the Sheriff.

“Nay,” said Sohay. “I am better now,” she said. She inclined her head gratefully toward the dwarves. “Kali, son of Galin – I am in the debt of your house,” said Sohay.

But Kali shook his head. “Nay, lass, we did what we could. I wish we could have caught those scoundrels. We are just glad you are well now.” The dwarf smiled with a light in his eyes. “We would hate to lose the services of such a fine seamstress!” And despite it all they laughed.

All through that day, having heard what happened, many of Sohay’s friends came by to check on her. All of them, Big Folk and Small Folk, expressed shock at such a thing. It was a great comfort to Sohay. One of her hobbit friends, Cornelia Underhill offered to cook her supper and stay with her that night, but Sohay said that wasn’t necessary.

But when all had left, and she was alone once more in her house, Sohay wished she hadn’t tried to seem so brave. Her cheek ached and the night now held a fear for her it had not before. She was unable to sleep. She sat up instead before the fire, feeding it, her mind in dark places.

There was a knock on the front door. Her heart leaped into her throat. In her panic, she could think only one thing: they had come back to finish her. She looked wildly about like a trapped animal.

“Sohay,” came a quiet voice through the door.

Fighting back her terror, she felt a strange familiarity. The voice called again.

It was Baradiir.

She let him in. As Baradiir passed the threshold, she could not help herself and threw her arms around the ranger and hugged him in relief.

The normally stolid ranger seemed taken aback a moment, but then returned the embrace. “Fear not,” he whispered. “You are safe now.”

“Oh Baradir,” breathed Sohay. ‘It was horrible.”

Baradiir said nothing, but sat her down on a chair by the fire. He put a comforter around her, then unbandaged and examined her cheek. After a moment, he left and went over to her stove. He boiled some water, and then, taking a pouch of what looked like dried leaves from his pocket, crumbled some of them into the water. Almost immediately, a wholesome smell filled the room. Sohay breathed in the aroma and felt the pain of her wound lessen. Baradiir then dressed the wound again. Once he finished, he let out a deep breath and sat down beside her.

“I heard something happened. Tell me, Sohay,” said the ranger. And she told him about the camp along the road.

Baradiir listened, a grave look on his face. Then he sighed and shook his head.

“Alas, I feared this would happen. Yet grievous though your hurt it could have gone far worse,” said the Dunedain.

Sohay nodded, her eyes focused on something in her mind. “Some of them wanted to kill me, Baradiir,” she said in a far-away voice. Baradiir laid an arm across her shoulder until she calmed again.

Then he stood and began to slowly pace around the room. He stopped finally and looked into the fire.

“It has begun,” said Baradiir. “Far away, but like a distant storm the gusts reach even to here.”

He turned to Sohay. The ranger seemed deep in thought. Finally, it seemed he had come to a decision.

“It is time, I think,” said Baradiir. He turned to Sohay and looked into her eyes.

“Sohay, you may not know it yet, but there is strength in you as yet untapped,” said Baradir. “How you came here so many years ago seems like pure fate. But I think there is more to it than that,” said Baradir. He gestured outside the window into the night.

“It is the way of the enemy to pit his foes against each other. To stir up hatreds so that men do His work for Him,” said the ranger. “How it would irk him to know that here, in the heart of the sleeping West, is a maiden in whose veins runs the blood of the East-folk who would not yield,” said the Dunedain. "Sohay, by your example you can help mend the hatreds that enslave men," said the ranger.

“But Baradir,” said Sohay, “how can I do that? I was terrified the other night. And I am just a seamstress,” she said plaintively.

Baradir shook his head. “You don’t understand. It is not what you do. It is who you are,” said the ranger. “By standing unbowed outside the shadow, you give the lie to the Enemy. He would have men hate one another because they are from different lands, speak a different tongue, are of a different hue. He fears one thing above all – that folk would put aside these hates and unite against Him,” said the Dunedain.

The ranger looked closely at Sohay. “You stand at the beginning of a journey. I know that fear as well. But think of she who brought you here. Her blood runs in you. You have that strength too,” said Baradir.

“Mother,” whispered Sohay. She closed her eyes. There was silence for a long while. Then she lifted her head and nodded.

“I will try, Baradiir. I am afraid, but I will try,” she said at last.

Baradiir placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “You will not be alone on this journey. My folk will have word of you and will aid you as they may.” Baradir looked out the window into the night. “And there are others,” he said, as if to himself.

“You must rest now,” said Baradiir. “I am sorry we don’t have more time, but things are beginning to move. In a week, you must journey to Archet. Have a care upon the road. A friend of mine will meet you once you arrive. You will know him when you see him,” said the ranger.

“The ever-mysterious Dunedain,” smiled Sohay. “Can’t you just explain everything plainly?” she teased.

The older man looked back at her in mock seriousness. “Where would be the fun in that?” he asked.

“Will I see you again?” she asked, the words coming out unbidden in a tone that surprised her.

Baradiir gave her a look, but then smiled. “When you least expect it, of course,” said the ranger.

Sohay watched him go, the sound of his soft footfalls blending into the noises of the night. Then she yawned.

Best to get some sleep now, she thought to herself. You have a big day tomorrow.



Last edited by Gobblemoss on Sat Apr 19, 2008 7:34 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Gobblemoss



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:36 am    Post subject: Sohay Reply with quote

Here is a posting from Bashel's RP thread:

http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?t=131598

****

From the mouth of her den overlooking the gates of Gramsfoot, Gobblemoss cocked an eye cluster at the familiar form of Bashel skittering out the gates. The wraith-spider was hungry again. Normally she would accompany her brood-sister on the evening hunt. But this night she had other business to attend to.

Crawling sidewise, she headed down the ramp towards one of the entrances to the hidden paths. In the gloom, she almost ran into an orc imp blocking her path. Gobblemoss hissed in irritation. The imp squeaked in surprise and fear. With a smooth swipe of her claw, the great spider expertly decapitated the imp and the small corpse dropped like a stone into the mud of the path. A quick examination revealed a small badge on a rough string around its neck. One of Yargax whelps. She thought to take a moment to carve a G rune in the imp's chest, but decided it was not necessary. Yargax would know who it was. She did not care - her feud with the orc warlord was legend around the fortress. A balance of terror kept the peace. And in any case she owed Yargax for the hatchling he had so clumsily stepped on.

Shaking her head to clear it of such trivialities, Gobblemoss headed into the secret path that would bring her out near the keep of Dar-Gazag.

Emerging an while later, she headed for a secluded spot hidden deep amidst the rock outcroppings. There, atop a large flat stone that lay, throne-like, on the floor of the gully, she waited. A full moon was now risen and her bone-white carapace gleamed in its light. It would not be long now. She sniffed the still night air.

There. A slender shape appeared out of the darkness. The form of a young human woman, clad in the tight-fitting leathers of a huntress. The girl edged fearfully to the foot of the stone atop which Gobblemoss sprawled, then knelt, and raised her palms upward in supplication.

"My mistress. I have come," said the girl. "I am yours to command."

"Be at peace, my child," hissed Gobblemoss in a creaking voice. The great spider reached a claw out and passed it soothingly over the woman's shoulder, chittering in satisfaction as the girl involuntarily shuddered. Such a young thing, Gobblemoss thought to herself. Tender and sweet. Gobblemoss slavered.

"I was worried about you my dear," creaked Gobblemoss. "I had a feeling something was troubling you. Am I wrong?"

The girl gulped. Then, without meeting the baleful stare of the spider, she ventured in a small voice:

"It wasn't me. Sohay talked. To one of the rat-things. She talked alot," whispered the girl.

The great spider trembled with rage. She let out a loud hiss. Her eye clusters gleamed with a greenish light. Gobblemoss raised a claw as if to strike the girl and the young huntress fell down into the dust in terror. The razor-sharp edge of the claw hovered for a long moment over the girl's bare neck. The moonlight illumed what seemed to be the tattoo of a spider web on her skin. Then the spider seemed to catch itself.

The wheedling tone came back.

"It is not your fault, my child," said Gobblemoss soothingly. "But this must not happen again. The Great Eye has plans for you," said the great spider. Gobblemoss sighed. "I had feared something like this might happen. I have just the remedy," said Gobblemoss.

"Come closer, little one," commanded Gobblemoss. Fearfully, the girl raised her head and edged closer. "Look into my eyes now," said the spider. The girl met the spider's gaze and was held by them. The huntress seemed to fall into a trance as the spider murmured soft words in a harsh language she did not understand. Then it was over and the girl collapsed again into the dust, her hands over her face.

"There, there now!" creaked Gobblemoss. "No tears! That didn't hurt did it? But it had to be done. Lets not have any more crying! Be a big girl!" said the arachnid.

Wiping her eyes, the girl sniffled and nodded. The spider seemed satisfied.

"Now then, off you go. Back to Bree with you. And the next time she talks, you'll have an answer for her, won't you?" said Gobblemoss.

The girl nodded slowly. Then she rose, bowed deeply, and disappeared back into the night.

Gobblemoss waited until her thrall was gone, then hissed to herself. The business of the Eye was sometimes distasteful. She preferred that things be kept simple.

She hopped off the stone. Her feelers began to wave furiously. Then she went swiftly off in the direction of the wood camp. She hoped Bashel was still out hunting.


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Bashel



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most excellent story!

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Zrug'Pug



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*shudders* spiddies skari!

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Kurghaash



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think someone needs to give serious consideration to writing for a living! I was very entertained! Even though I got an advanced viewing (and the ability to roleplay the rat in Gobblemoss' story!), the story was a wonderful second reading, full of detail and action. I guess I need to get going on my part...

Ose


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Falast



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bravo!
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Kurghaash



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oseara's Story

Oseara had returned to Rivendell from a wood gathering trip to the Misty Mountains with a large load of black ash to prepare for the elf’s use. “THE Elf”, she chuckled to herself, “needed to get his rear-end moving on making some more bows for the Clan.” It had been a while since she had prepared wood for Carwe so she could not fault him too much. She knew he dreamed a lot lately and found little joy in exploring the wonders of Middle Earth but he was a dedicated weaponsmith and woodworker for the Clan and he would appreciate the materials. As she was getting into the rhythm of treating the wood and smoothing it to just the right consistency, a soft touch on her arm brought her attention to a young lady, a “Bigun” as the hobbits of Bree say. Her skin was dark, darker than any shade brought on by exposure to the sun. And her eyes, piercing Oseara to the core with their intensity, were blue-grey. Her clothing was well worn but well made and kept up. “My name is Sohay and I beg your pardon at the interruption but may I speak with you?” Perplexed but intrigued by the young woman’s intent look, Oseara nodded her assent and said “Let me finish with a few things and I’ll be glad to speak with you. Would you meet me by the post box when I am done here?” Sohay bowed her consent and left the hobbit to her chore.

Oseara finished up her work, bundled off the prepared wood to ship to Carwe and had a new edge put on her wood chopping axe. She picked up some more dry rations for her journeys and went to meet this strange woman. She didn’t seem threatening but you never could tell with Biguns, reasoned Oseara. She had made her fair share of enemies, both within and without The Shire. But hobbits just did not send a Bigun to deal with their outcasts, no matter what they may have done. So that ruled out that possibility. The only other one could have been interested enough in her to send an agent … but that couldn’t be! She had not been to Angmar nor the Ettenmoors in many long months! Surely the Angmarim leaders would not want to recruit her again since she last rebuffed their overtures with harsh words and harsher arrows. But you never could tell with Biguns…

Oseara went to the post box where she had told the young woman she would meet her. There she stood, placidly looking at the magnificence that was Rivendell with wide eyes. But there was a tenseness about her, as Oseara could see her hands were tightly clenched together. Oseara noted that the girl was clanless, bearing no mark of any established group save a small cloak clasp of curious design. “Yes? What is it I can do for you?” she asked Sohay. “Is there someplace, more out of the way, where we cannot be overheard, where we can speak?”, replied the girl. Oseara fingered her dagger as she looked at Sohay. She didn’t look too dangerous, more nervous than having any evil intent in her request. “Come with me lass, I know a place.” Oseara took Sohay to the Homely House of Elrond, around the backside, beneath the balcony by the pool. The vines were in bloom and the scent of them filled the air. “Here we should have privacy if your words are for my ears only.”

Sohay looked about and visibly relaxed. “Here will do.” she replied. “I saw you walking through this peaceful place and a feeling came over me that you were one such that I could entrust my sad story and perhaps help me!” she said as intense emotion caused her voice to quiver. Sohay began pouring out her story in a rush of words, explaining that she was a seamstress, residing in Bree that did a good, brisk business with a clan of dwarves that passed through regularly. One day she was asked to deliver her goods to the dwarf, Durgi at a place called Glen Vraig rather than holding the order for when he passed through Bree again. Oseara shuddered slightly at the thought of this child travelling to that horrid place on the front lines of the fight against the revitalized forces of Angmar. Sohay continued with her tale, never noticing Oseara’s involuntary reaction. The way was long and hard but she managed to arrive there safely. The dwarf was very happy that she had managed to make her delivery and insisted on showing her around the Ettenmoors. Despite her fear of the deadly reputation of the place, she felt that the dwarf would certainly not take her anyplace dangerous on purpose. They journeyed out to see the sights, the dwarf pointing out various landmarks and the keeps visible on the horizon. As she gazed out at the keep she could see in the distance, the dwarf disappeared from view and a horrible flash of pain in the back of her neck sent her to the ground, stunned and then unconcious. She vaugely remembered being moved around and then snippets of dwarvish voices speaking. The word spider and another word muttered in hushed tones she could not make out. She finally regained conciousness in a bed in Glen Vraig, tended by the solicitous band of very apologetic dwarves. They tended her until she was fit to travel again and she returned to her home in Bree. Then the nightmares began, horrible visions of a temple wherein a creaking voice spoke indecipherable words but with awful intent. The dreams grew stronger as the moon waxed fuller. Then, during a dream on the night of the full moon, she saw the owner of the voice, a great spider, whose words she could now make out or at least thought she could. Sitting atop an alter of stone, the great beast called Sohay her child and that great things were planned for her. She awoke with a start of terror and sought to find aid in explaining the meanings of these horrid dreams. Sohay's search brought her to Rivendell to seek aid in determining what these dreams meant.

At that point Sohay stopped speaking, her eyes finding a spider web amongst the vines growing over the balcony and along the wall. She became transfixed upon the web and its occupant, a small spider. Her eyes glazed but with a strange luminousity, a smile upon her lips, she approached the wall. Reaching out to the web, she took the spider, calmy accepting the woman's touch, into her hand. She coo'ed to it sweetly. Oseara's face blanched and she stepped back. What had happened to this poor girl? Or was she not as she seemed, much like the Angmarim beast-masters who could summon a spider to fight beside them? Sohay returned the spider to its web then looked as if she were coming back out of a dream. As her eyes returned to normal, she continued where she had left off as if nothing had interrupted her tale. She told Oseara that the only thing she had as proof of the events she had described was the mark upon the back of her neck. She pulled her hair aside and bent over to show Oseara the spider web marking her neck. She never knew how close she came to a swift and hideous death at Oseara's hand. Gasping in horror and retaining her hold on her dagger, Oseara examined the mark, a perfectly shaped spider web. Knowing that no servant of Angmar would have placed themselves at the mercy of another in such a manner caused Oseara to pause and consider the situation rather than give in to her instinct to strike hard and swift to obliterate the abomination before her. The girl was obviously ignorant of the meaning of the marking. But how could a great spider of the Ettenmoors place such a mark of claiming upon a human? Oseara did not know of any spider that could work such magic. But plainly that was what had happened here. She felt pity for the girl. When Sohay looked at her, with such a pleading look in her eyes, she could not back away from this and go on with her life. She knew what it meant to be marked as such, outcast to her society and kind. This girl was facing something that would make her outcast and a terror to her whole world.

Oseara told Sohay that she did not know what had happened to her but that she would be willing to help her in any way she could. In fact, her whole Clan would do so. Sohay's eyes teared up in relief. Noting that she was without a clan to protect and aid her, Oseara offered her a place within her own Clan, Dae Noss. "The better to keep my eye upon you, dear child of the spider" thought Oseara, "and perhaps have to kill you myself to save you from a horrid fate." Sohay gratefully accepted her offer with thanks. "I'll have to look into this matter with the dwarf, Durgi, and explore the Moors for any evidence of this spider and the place which haunts your dreams. Perhaps you should consult with Elrond, the wise master of this place, about what he may know of this matter?" Sohay agreed that the elves may be able to help her understand her dreams. Oseara took her leave of Sohay to ponder the task before her and her Clan. "Oreena must be brought into this, she's the sneakiest git in the family, she ought to be able to search the Moors for this spider, and if she were to die in the attempt, no real lose to the Clan, or at least the Oddnobs" thought Oseara. And she knew just how to convince her to take on the task. A nasty smile flickered across the small hobbit's face, yes, this just might be a winning proposition after all! Then she quickly frowned, perhaps losing another Oddnob after Odobras's disappearance would not be a good thing for the family. Especially if the matter with Sohay escalated to something more than just her own personal horror. "No, we can't afford that" thought Oseara, she could not sacrifice another Oddnob no matter how much she detested her half-sister. She sighed and mounted her pony and rode off to Glen Vraig to begin the search for the spider. "Sometimes it just does not pay to come in from the wild" she thought, savagely kicking her pony to make more speed toward her destination.


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Kurghaash



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oreena's Story

Oreena sighed in exasperation again, for the second time that day, as she searched the bodies of the defeated around the rally point southwest of Tirith Rhaw. The pattern on the great spider Bashel was not what she was looking for. She had been searching the Ettenmoors at the behest of her half-sister Oseara for a spider with a very specific pattern on its thorax. This spider had something to do with the haunting dreams of their newest member of the clan, Sohay, and Oseara was determined to find out what. She liked their new “cousin” despite feeling uneasy about the task Oseara had asked her to help with. Everyone knew, spiders loved to eat hobbits! Just talk to the poor hobbits of Hoarhollow! Oseara had not appreciated her reluctance to risk her hide and had reminded Oreena of her duties to kith and kinfolk to get her to agree to go to the Moors. This, along with a threat to notify the guardians in Bree just who had been making off with the bakers profits, got her sufficiently motivated.

While dodging wargs and numerous orcs, Oreena had only seen the common type of large spiders that inhabit this cesspit. Oseara had informed her that on an earlier excursion she had checked Bloodbourne’s carapace and found nothing resembling the perfectly shaped web pattern that was marked on the back of Sohay’s neck. “Nothing but bug muck and blood” she muttered to herself as she threaded her way through the fens by Tol Ascarnin in search of more spiders to check. A battle had been raging between the Free Peoples and the horde of Angmar for most of the day and into the night. The Free People were holding on to Tirith Rhaw with all of their might, throwing back assault after assault by the vile tide of orcs. Spiders aplenty were present in that horde but none of the truly great ones. Only one of those could fit the description given by Sohay of the thing that infested her dreams.

Having no luck with finding the spider bearing the mark described by Oseara, Oreena decided to check some of the web coated lairs she knew were present on the west side of the Moors. On her way past the keep of Lugazag, she spied the form of an eight legged monstrosity in the distance, up the hill! Alas, it was only a common spider she observed as it ran past her in search of prey. “Probably going to kill a few rats or small birds, about all it could handle by itself”, Oreena thought to herself. She almost struck out at it as it passed, mostly due to the frustration of having her search prove fruitless than in hatred, but she held her hand back. Another form was approaching from the direction of the keep. It was a huge uruk, obviously a leader of some kind. Oreena had an idea, a ruse she hated to use, but that had worked in the past. She would kill this thing and see what responded, hopefully a great spider, to its cries for help. They always screamed for help…

The uruk proved to be a hard kill for Oreena, as she had to pursue it into the enemy claimed rally point south of Lugazag before finishing it off. At first it tried to fight her while screaming its rage and hate! But then something in its dull mind must have determined that it could not survive against this lone, determined little hobbit. So it ran down the hill, bellowing in fear and dread. As the guards responded to its cries for help, Oreena went into her side step shuffle as she liked to refer to it. Dancing around her foe she drove her blades into its legs, gut and torso countless times, bleeding out its life, while dodging blows and arrows from the guardian orcs. As it slipped to the ground she moved behind a tree to avoid the arrows and ran off up the slope away from the infuriated orcs. A leader had been slain and must be avenged they cried! Just then a warg pup ran down the hill by her and tried to bite her as she passed! Her heart pounded in her chest as she ran for dear life! But the cowardly creature did not pursue her as the orcs were called back to their posts and it obviously did not relish a fight with her on even terms. Oreena ran till she could no longer sense pursuit then swiftly entered the shadows, the comforting concealing shadows. Munching on some lembas made by her cousin Cob, she calmed herself, bound her wounds so they would not bleed anymore and prepared to scout out the response to her daring attack.

As Oreena ventured back down the hill from Lugazag, she almost stepped on a warg within the shadows! Her heart in her throat, she circled around the huge beast, surveying its markings and scars. This was not a puny thing like the other warg, this was a monster! She quickly slinked away to the south, covering her tracks as she went, hoping to avoid a fight while she was looking for a spider to respond to the assassination of the orc warleader. Time went on but only the warg was there, sniffing about and heading up the hill, following the blood trail that she had left in that direction. She lost track of him in the distance and waited still for a spider to show. Nothing. “CONFOUND IT!”, she muttered. “What does a hobbit have to do to get a spider dangling on its webbing?” Fearing that the warg would return and perhaps pick up her trail, she moved westward toward Dar Gazag and the spider lairs. A quick search only revealed that the common Moors spider was present in numbers. None of the great spiders were in residence.

Resigned to her failure, Oreena mounted her pony and returned to Glen Vraig and hence to Rivendell to pass on the information to Oseara that the great spider afflicting Sohay had yet to be found. No doubt her "sister" would force her to return another day to continue the search. A mug of cider sounded good to her about now, she could report to Oseara later after she had relieved herself of the stress her excursion had caused.


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Bashel



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OOC:

I love how this plot is developing! Very Happy


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Kurghaash



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gobblemoss, I hope I got the pertinent parts in from our RP'd conversation. Did not want to give away anything right off... That dang dwarf must have heard I was looking for him and has gone into hiding! heehee! let me know if there are any particular parts I need to include in the next update from the rats point of view...

Ose


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Gobblemoss



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:56 pm    Post subject: Hiss Reply with quote

The rat-thing raced away. Even though momentarily stunned, Gobblemoss' eye clusters gleamed with a greenish light. But she resisted the temptation to chase and strike the creature down.

Something was afoot.

Gobblemoss let out a long slow hiss. The whispers had spread throughout the brood in the last days. There was unusual activity from the pest hole they called Glen Vraig. Several ratling scouts in particular. They seemed to be harassing the weavers, especially the larger and more powerful ones. Now this rat popping out of the shadows in the Eagle Pass, stunning her, and racing away. As if the rat-folk was searching for something - or someone. Gobblemoss had an idea who that might be.

Her eye clusters narrowed amidst a growing rage. This was the doing of her weak-minded thrall. She had talked. Although she knew very little about the greater plan, her blathering had apparently been enough to bring these ratlings. The girl could upset everything.

A cold chill ran through Gobblemoss' carapace. Not many things unnerved the great spider. But a winged one was due to visit in a few days. It would want a report. Gobblemoss shuddered.

The great spider gathered her wits. No need to panic. Yet. They still had not found the others. And clearly they did not know exactly who, or what, they were looking for.

Gobblemoss swiftly retraced her steps back to Gramsfoot and entered her lair. Once inside the dark cave, she rummaged amongst a pile of what looked like old junk. She found the small box she was looking for and opened it. A gleam of gold met her eyes and she hissed softly.

She held up a small golden token of a spider hanging from a silver worked chain. The eyes of the golden spider were fashioned of tiny rubies. Carefully, Gobblemoss hung the necklace over her neck.

She crept outside. Perfect. The full moon had arisen. But she needed some luck. The power of the necklace could not pierce the hated Albai magic. But Sohay was a huntress. Surely, she would soon wander from that accursed vale.

Gobblemoss hissed and focused all her concentration into the spider token....



Last edited by Gobblemoss on Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Gobblemoss



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:18 pm    Post subject: Sohay Reply with quote

The soft babble of water coursed through the evening air like a soothing balm. Sitting by this stream in Rivendell, Sohay could almost forget everything and think she was in another world. Almost.

She sighed. This WAS another world, she reminded herself. A refuge. But outside this valley, the lands were as full of danger as they ever were.

Her mind wandered in doubt. Why had she ever left Bree in the first place? What possessed her to think a mere seamstress could make a difference? Baradiir's words came back to her. It had been almost a year since the Ranger's words had set her on this path. Baradiir said she would be tested. But he also said she had it in her to overcome these challenges.

Sohay looked up at the sky. A full moon was rising. The young huntress pursed her lips. "What if Baradiir is wrong?" she murmured to herself. "I don't feel like a hero. I am just scared," she whispered. She thought of her Aunt Luella and her Uncle Longo and all the happy days past. She wished with all her heart she could bring them back. Even the simplest hobbit food in a loving home tasted better than the grandest Elvish fare served in silver plate.

"Now then Sohay," she chided herself. "You are being ungrateful. You have a lovely room and all you could ask for in comfort here. And a great lord like Master Elrond even took time to speak with you," she reminded.

Her mind wandered back to her meeting with Lord Elrond. She shook her head. How wise and sad he was! She would never understand Elves and their ways. But she instintively knew that she could trust Lord Elrond. She told him about her adventures, her fears, and of course her dreams. Oseara had given wonderful advice when she counseled Sohay to bring her questions before the great Lord of Rivendell. She had told him everything.

Well, almost everything.

Sohay's hand caressed the brooch on her cloak. The white stag embossed on gold gleamed back in the moonlight.

The meeting had calmed her greatly, but as she thought back she realized how little she still really knew.

"You dreams have stopped since you entered Imladris," Lord Elrond had said to her. "I deem this fact to be of great value, for it tells us that whatever is causing your visions comes from without these glades. And that its origins are likely of the Shadow," said the Half-Elf. Elrond comforted Sohay as she blanched. "Fear not, daughter of Man - such powers cannot enter this valley."

Elrond's finger traced the spider mark on her neck. "I cannot yet be certain, but I have my suspicions about this," said Elrond. "If it is what I believe it to be, it betokens something the Wise thought had passed from the world long, long ago." Elrond had turned to look out his window. He was silent for a long while. Then Elrond turned to Sohay. "The best course at present is for you to remain in the Vale of Imladris. At least until we know more about your affliction. Here you do not suffer the dreams. Remain here in peace. When I can say more I will send for you," said Elrond. And with that she was graciously shown out.

In peace. How could Sohay be at peace when she knew that outside this valley dangers lurked? That Bree itself was threatened? Everything she loved was at risk. She paced the shore of the stream.

She walked for a long while, her mind lost in doubt. After a bit she noticed she had been walking uphill for a long distance She laughed to herself. She was so wound up she had walked all the way to the gates of the valley itself.

Sohay peered out along the path leading to the High Moors. How she longed to be back out in the woodlands again! She didn't admit it often, even to herself, but she had grown to love the freedom of the huntress life. Her skills with bow and sword had grown tremendously and she had faced and overcome some real dangers.

"I need to stretch these legs abit," she said to herself. With a purposeful stride, Sohay set out beyond the gates of Rivendell. It would only be a short walk, she told herself. Elrond wouldn't have to know. What would be the harm?

She had only stepped a few feet outside the gates of the valley when she felt a tickle at the back of her mind...


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Bashel



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OOC: I am thoroughly enjoying this plot, both on the forums and within the game. Keep it up, and I will try to support your role-play on both Befwo and Bashel, if it is appropriate.

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Kurghaash



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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oreena's Story Part 2

"Oh I do hate this place so!" thought Oreena as she trundled off on her pony from Glen Vraig into the wilds of the Moors. Oseara had found her in her cozy little room in the Pony in Bree where she had been sleeping off her revelry. More than a little headsore from all the ale she had consumed, her head hurt worse from the buffet that Oseara had dealt her when she had at first refused to return to the search for the spider that had afflicted poor Sohay. "Didn't that witch know it was dangerous to go playing with spiders that big?" After sobering up with her second breakfast of the day, Oreena agreed to continue the search, moreso to avoid her half-sister's fist than anything else. She picked up some essential supplies (she mentally went over her list for the fifth time that day: poison cures, healing draughts, blackberry tarts, coney pies, ...) and departed for the Ettenmoors.

Arriving at the rally point southeast of the Grimwood Lumber camp, Oreena saw that it was currently held by the orcs, massive trolls stood by the large rocks that surrounded it. Slipping from her pony she dismissed the beast to return to Glen Vraig to await her call. She entered the shadows and slipped around the rally point to work her way back toward the keep of Tirith Rhaw. She knew that the spiders she sought had a habit of ambushing passerbys along this route. It seemed deserted of both spiders and Free Peoples. Still, she heard the din of battle as humans and elves with a few dwarves fought with the forces of the enemy as they defended an elf encampment south of the massive keep of Tol Ascarnin. Despite her desire to go see what was happening and maybe shed some orc blood to relieve the rage she was feeling at having been forced to once again enter this horrid place, she continued onward with her mission.

Nothing was to be found at the rally point west of Tirith Rhaw except the ever present trolls. Oreena held her nose as she passed by them. "GAH! what horrible smelly things they are, at least one always knows when they are about, just by the stench!" she thought. She turned north to see if any of the great spiders were possibly ambushing people north of the keep. Nothing! Not even a snuffeling warg or bandy legged orc met her gaze. Where was the enemy? It appeared that the place was berift of life, smelly or otherwise! Sighing to herself, she decided to check in on the Coldfells camp further to the east. Maybe an orc or warg would make an appearance and she could slay the filthy thing and draw attention to her presence, as well as sate her desire to kill something in her frustration.

The Coldfells camp was serene. The men making their rounds, preventing any enemy from passing through the area, the dwarves and elves at their watchfires ready to respond to any incursion. In fact, boring! Oreena cursed under her breath and continued on upwards into the cliffs around Ost Ringdyr, the easternmost outpost of the Free Peoples. She made her way to the south of the keep and past the door into the Delving of Fror. She shuddered as she passed it, remembering the one time she had traveled within and the evil that was still there. She hurried past and came to the fork in the trail. She could go right toward Tirith Rhaw or she could go left down intot he pass called Eagle Vally. Both ways had their advantages. There were friendly bears and Coldfells patrols toward Tirith Rhaw and she could certainly find out if there were enemy active in that area from the bodies such would certainly leave scattered about. Eagle Vally had a lot of eagles, who hated orcs more that she did and would attack any on sight. There were also a small Coldfells patrol that covered the northern part of the vally. She mentally flipped a coin and headed off left into Eagle Vally.

As she moved down the pass into the depths of the vally, almost past the large rocks in the mid-vally, she saw a flurry of eagles attacking an orc patrol coming up the vally. To her horror she spied what had to be the biggest, pale white great spider she had never hoped to see in her life! It was pale but wrapped in a deathly un-light of darkness that did not fully veil it. The spider was leading the pack of orcs north into the upper portions of the vally, fleeing the wrath of the eagles. Oreena froze in the tracks, her fear warring with her desire to finally accomplish the task that Oseara had driven her into the Moors to pursue. As the motley pack grew close, she made up her mind to get a good look at this spider and then sneak away. She had the skill to extend herself out of the shadows without fully leaving them, just to trip up an adversary and then strike or depart as the need took her. She had practised the move repeatedly until she could do it flawlessly. It did not fail her this time, but something else did.

As the spider (the word hardly does justice to the vileness she saw approaching her but to think otherwise was to fail to act) passed by Oreena, she struck! Sweeping her leg along the left side of the monstrosity, she brought it down hard to the ground! PAIN flashed through Oreena's body, colder than the darkest night in winter! She had just a moment to realize that she was standing fully exposed to the orcs, having been dragged out of the shadow by the darkness surrounding the pale spider! The spider began to recover from the blow and Oreena had to act fast! The eagles were still harrassing the orcs and she quickly looked over the thing, noting its markings were exactly like those described to her by Oseara. Oreena then did as any good burglar would do, she ran for her life! Putting some distance between herself and that spider was her main priority now. She hid behind some trees to avoid the arrows and webs that she was sure were being flung at her back by the vengeful pack. Oreena drew upon her knowledge of the shadow to return to it immediately instead of cautiously as she normally did. She looked over her shoulder as she continued to run down the vally and saw that none pursued her. The spider was searching for the little foe that had struck it down, the orcs fighting with the eagles and a warg striking out from the shadow at an eagle that was pecking at an orc with a bow. She shuddered at how close she had been to death for if the warg had not been focused on the eagles attacking the orcs, it could have easily laid her low. She had not detected it within the shadow nor had it sniffed she out either.

Oreena ran until she could see the towers of Glen Vraig and smell the woodsmoke from the fires of its outposts. She settled in next to a guard camp and warmed herself by the fire. What cursed thing had surrounded that ghostly spider and bit her when she had struck it? It had the power to drag her out of the shadow! She vowed to herself that she would NEVER again go near that spider! Having calmed herself, Oreena called for ther mount and rode off through Glen Vraig and back to Bree to report what she had found to Oseara. "She darn well better have some praise for me this time!"


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Kurghaash



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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oseara’s story part 2

Oseara was very puzzled. Cob had sent her a note that he had travelled with Sohay through the wilds east of Esteldin! She knew that Elrond of Rivendell had extended his hospitality to the girl and that she had been staying there. The dreams did not afflict her there and Elrond had promised to see to her problem after he had finished with some important council that he was holding. “Just like an Elf to put talking before doing” thought Oserara unkindly. She quickly regretted it, she knew he was very busy dealing with real and present dangers to his realm, his home. Oseara thoughts wondered, back to the Shire, the home she never had, to the farm her father worked, that she had watched from afar as he and his family lived their lives. “NO! I’ll not re-live those memories!” she cursed to herself. The crisis facing Sohay was the present danger that deserved all of her concentration. Cob’s missive had described some rather disturbing behavior on the part of Sohay, an attraction to and admiration of spiders. She had also stated that she did not know why she ever went to Rivendell in the first place and had no intention of cooping herself up there ever again. Oseara decided that she would have to track down the girl and force her to go back to see Elrond immediately!

Just then, Oreena burst through the door to Oseara’s room. She was very agitated though clearly sober. “I found the spider!” Oreena exclaimed. Oseara raised her eyebrows at her half-sister. “Oh you did, did you?” she said dismissively, “and in what taproom was this one haunting?” Oreena grew furious and through clenched teeth said “I went into the Moors as you demanded, sister dear, and did what you could not!” Sensing that Oreena was in a deadly mood, Oseara’s sneer departed from her face and she sat her down on the bed. “I’m sorry ‘Ree Ree” she said, “I’m just worried about Sohay, she has left the protection of Rivendell!” Hearing Oseara using her pet name for her brought Oreena up short. Her anger dissipated immediately. She quickly related the story of her trip to the Ettenmoors and how she had found the ghost spider and the markings upon it that matched those on Sohay. Oseara questioned Oreena about the markings, making her draw what she had seen. There was no doubt that these were the same. “Damnation!” Oseara cursed, “it would have to be THAT one wouldn’t it?” Oreena looked at her questioningly. “I’ve spoken with those that have been fighting the battles in the Ettenmoors and the only spider that they have seen matching the description you have given of the thing that has Sohay’s markings upon it is … Gobblemoss…” Oreena’s eyes grew wide with terror. “YOU MEAN YOU SENT ME OUT TO FIND THAT HOBBIT EATER, THE HORROR OF HOARHOLLOW, ALL BY MYSELF?!!!” Oreena screamed at her sister. She slumped down on the bed’s pillows. “I need a drink! AND some food!”

Later that evening in the common room of the Pony, the two hobbit lasses conferred over the third ale and second helping of supper. “Are you going to find Sohay and drag her back to Rivendell” Oreena asked, “Would you take well to someone hauling you off to a place, while pretty is just a prison?” Oseara seemed taken aback by her sister’s comment, for that was just what she was contemplating. She realized what she herself would do to someone trying to make her stay in one place for who knows how long. Sohay was a huntress, like herself and loved the exploration of the wild more than life itself. “Biscuits and bacon!” she thought, “it IS life itself, freedom to roam and explore were a part of her very soul, the heart of any true hunter.” Well that left her with only one recourse, to find this thing, this ghostly spider and defeat it! She knew that she would have to comb the Moors for this thing, perhaps fight it along with the pack of orcs and wargs it ran with, almost seemed to command. How those three races managed to work together without turning on or eating each other, she could not guess. Oseara had seen spiders out in the wilderness, typically loners except when first born, cannibalistic and not picky about their food. She had seen the Angmarim train some spiders to come at their summons and fight alongside them. But these were but poor copies of the things that roamed the Moors and fought with a malign intelligence.

Oseara returned to her room, leaving Oreena to drown her thoughts in ale and food. No doubt she would be returning to Rivendell to once again embarrass the Old Baggins with a hearty “POPPA I’M HOME!” and a hug and kiss to confuse the old codger even more. Oseara sighed. She would have to apologize to Elrond once again for her half-sister’s actions and make amends to again be allowed to visit there. She needed the knowledge stored in Rivendell, in its master and the books of lore to solve the puzzle that was Sohay. She would NOT track down the girl and force a return to Rivendell. Oseara feared that it would drive her to hide away from those who only desired to protect her. She would set Cob to watch for her and accompany her if possible. That is, if she could get him away from his table and cooking! Still, he did cook a mean blackberry tart! “Tomorrow” she thought, “I must go to Rivendell tomorrow and find out what I can about the haunting of Sohay by this Horror!”


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 1:36 pm    Post subject: Lost Reply with quote

The moment Sohay stepped beyond the gates of Rivendell, she felt a tickle at the back of her mind. Like something was scratching and scraping to get in. She heard a loud hiss and then everything went black....

***

The room was well-appointed. Two carved oaken chairs sat next to a small table made of dark reddish glass. A small stove sat in one corner. There was a set of cups and dishes on the table and platters of food. Fresh-smelling reeds were strewn on the floor. A pleasant fire crackling in the stone hearth was the only light. The walls were bare. She could see no door or window.

Sohay went and sat in the chair. It seemed the thing to do. She looked around.

"I guess something happened," she thought to herself. She wondered what it was. A passing wolfpack? Some orcs? Perhaps she had fallen down a cliff. Now she would never get to see how the rest of her life would have turned out. She bit her lip and blinked back a tear. Leaving the world was not so bad. But she wished she had not been alone when it happened. "So this is how it feels to be dead," she sighed.

A chuckle came from a dark corner of the room. Sohay started and whirled to look. But she could see nothing but the shadows. There was a low hiss...like the noise she heard before.

"Dead?" came a low rasping voice. It was She. Sohay shuddered at the familiar hiss.

"Not dead, my dear!" said the creaking voice. "I would not see you hurt!" She said. The voice seemed to come from the very darkness around Sohay. But the fire had begun to die down now and the girl could not see a thing.

"Do not fret," said the voice. "You are safe now...safe from those who would keep you from your destiny."

Sohay nibbled again at her lower lip. "I don't understand," she whispered to the darkness around her. "I never have. But I don't want to stay here. I am afraid," Sohay murmured.

"Don't you worry none Apple!" said a warm and friendly voice. "I will keep you company." She felt a small hand touch her shoulder. She turned and her jaw dropped.

Aunt Luella.

With a wink, the elderly hobbit walked over to the fire, stirred it with a metal poker, then threw another log on. In a moment the fire was crackling brightly again.

"Lu!" breathed Sohay when she could finally speak. "But...this isn't real is it? You aren't real...." said the girl.

Aunt Luella chuckled. "Don't be silly, Sohay!" she laughed. "Come give your auntie a hug." The hobbit held out her arms.

Hesitantly, Sohay reached across. She and Aunt Luella embraced. Sohay felt the familiar warmth of her foster mother and tears welled in her eyes.

"There, there," said Aunt Luella. "Don't you worry. Everything will be all right - you'll see," said the hobbit.

Sohay nodded, still so filled with wonder and joy that she could barely speak.

Luella busied herself boiling water for tea. In a blink, the table was set with food and plates. The hobbit smiled at Sohay.

"Supper is served!" said Luella. "You must be famished! Eat up! When you are finished I have a little surprise for you!" said the hobbit.

The hobbit stood watching Sohay tuck into the delicious meal she had prepared. Humming merrily, Luella wiped her hands on her apron and went back over to the stove. There was small alcove behind it. Inside the alcove was an object wrapped in black cloth. Luella took the object out of the alcove and, peering back to make sure Sohay wasn't looking, peeled back the cloth.

The razor sharp edges of the ceremonial dagger gleamed red in the firelight. Luella traced one finger along the intricate runes that ran the lenght of the blade.

"Oh Lu!" called Sohay from the table. "I don't know how you are here or why, but I don't care....I am just so glad to see you. There are so many questions I have!" said the girl.

"I know my dear!" said Luella, quickly re-wrapping the ornate dagger and slipping it back into the alcove. "But everything in its time! Finish eating. And then I can show you the surprise!" said the halfling.

***



Last edited by Gobblemoss on Tue May 06, 2008 11:15 am; edited 3 times in total

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Gobblemoss



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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:05 pm    Post subject: Late Night Visitor Reply with quote

There was a loud knock at Oseara's door. Before the groggy hobbit could get up to see what it was, there was a sliding sound. Blinking, Oseara saw that a large note had been passed under her door. There was the sound of soft receding footsteps outside. Opening the note, she was astonished to mmediately recognize it was in some of the fairest and most beautiful elven script she had ever seen. The message inside was another matter. She read:

***

To Oseara Oddnob of Bree, greetings:

Forgive the abrupt nature of this note. But I send tidings of the utmost urgency.

I am Erestor, Chancellor to Lord Elrond of Rivendell. I shall be brief for time is of the essence.

A child of man named Sohay of late took refuge in Imladris. We believe you know why. Whilst Lord Elrond could not discover the reason for her affliction, suspicion now rests on a possibility none dared imagine. Suffice to say there are things of this world that should have been laid to rest long ago. But we now fear this was a vain hope. I will say no more of this for now.

Sohay was counselled to stay within the veil of Imladris. Her affliction seemed to ease whilst in our vale. But a fortnight ago, for reasons we cannot understand, she went beyond the gates. She is now lost. Lord Elrond had placed a glamor upon the stag brooch she wore to help find her in need. But some power has blocked my Lord's vision in some way and we cannot use it to locate her until that power is lifted. Fearing the worst, we sent trackers. But all we could discover were rumors of sightings near Esteldin. Yet by the time our people got there the trail was cold. We do not know where she is now.

I fear there is little more now we can do. We are hard pressed. Things stir again in the east. We know of you by examining the things Sohay left behind in her room. I trust our messenger reaches you in time in Bree. For the search must now be taken up by you.

Lord Elrond has used the sense and sight given him and sends this word: the key to finding Sohay lies not in Esteldin, but further east in the ravaged realm named Ettenmoors. It is from there that we sense this darkness coming, this affliction. We thought - nay we pray - that Sohay may have told you something more. We hope this clue will aid you.

Would that we could do more. But though the sight of Lord Elrond is keen, there is a blackness here that cannot be pierced. In such times, small hands may do more than the labors of the Wise.

Yours, then, in haste from the Last Homely House.....Erestor of Imladris.

***



Last edited by Gobblemoss on Thu May 08, 2008 3:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Tor'Kak1



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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chomps popcorn

MORE MORE MORE!!!

Excellent read! Enjoying it thoroughly.


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Hiss Reply with quote

Gobblemoss scuttled rapidly across the moors. Far ahead loomed the spires of Tirith Rhaw. Above was the rising silvery disc of the moon

There was not much time. Gobblemoss quickened her pace.

Fortune favored the Great Eye. The little huntress had wandered and the trap was sprung. Seized the moment she stepped beyond the albai magicks. From there it was a simple matter to control her weak mind as she roamed the wilds, with a lie or two to throw her equally weak-minded friends off the trail. That snaga Grotz took long enough to catch up with her. But they had her now - safe in the cave where none could aid her.

Gobblemoss hissed, but this time there was a mixture of fear and rage in the sound. The hated magicks probing, poking....Gobblemoss had felt their fingers reach deep into her burrow in the heart of Gramsfoot. They knew now....the vile ones. Curse the albai!

A Shrieker was due in two days. It was time to clean up this mess. Once marked, Sohay could not be harmed using the amulet alone - it required the skull token Gobblemoss had buried behind Tirith Rhaw. But once united with the skull under the light of the full moon, the amulet would drain the mark's warding. The spider would give the signal and the little huntress could then be dealt with by Grotz - her corpse weighted and dropped into the deepest part of Evendim mere . Even that miserable snaga Grotz should be able to manage that. The girl would be helpless as a new lamb.

Skah! As Gobblemoss approached Tirith Rhaw the unwelcome sound of battle cries and the clash of metal pierced the air. Accursed tarks! They were attacking the keep! Why now, of all times?! Skah!

The moon was now full - she had only bare minutes! Gobblemoss rounded the corner of Tirith Rhaw and headed for the back wall where she had buried the token.

There was a hideous shriek. She dodged aside as the body of an orc came hurtling down from the battlements above to land with a thump. A tark chamption loomed out of the mist, blocking her path. He grunted in surprise as she charged into him, throwing him to the ground. Chittering in rage, she spat a full blast of toxin into his face and heard him scream in agony. No time for a kill...she had only moments now.

There! In a moment she would unearth the token. Then to complete the ritual.

Once rid of Sohay, they would wait awhile until the searchers grew weary and gave up. Then they would find a new subject - one as innocent and tender as that foolish girl - and begin anew. The Great Eye would not be happy with the delay. But they would not fail in the task.

Here it was! Gobblemoss began to claw at the earth. So intent was she that she did not notice a small form flit behind her....


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oseara's story continues...

Oseara was frustrated, flumoxed and just plain infuriated with herself! She thought back to her meeting with the dwarf, Durgi, the one that had tricked Sohay into coming to the Moors and taking her out to meet ... that thing. She found him within the Halls of the Longbeards in Ered Luin. He was very apologetic about the whole affair, insisting that he never knew that the girl may be in danger. He had been approched by a man in Bree, a dark man in worn warriors armor and cloak. He had offered the dwarf a lot of silver to get the girl to come out to the Moors where he said, an agent would meet with her. Durgi exclaimed over and over that he had no wish to harm Sohay and that he thought he was simply acting as a go-between to introduce her to the man and make some coin in the bargain. Oseara had threatened the dwarf with exposure to Dwalin and the Longbeard clan, who had regarded her with favor for some time now. He blanched and seemed to fear expulsion form the Halls more than he did Oseara's displeasure. He spun the entire tale out for her.

The dwarf related the meeting with the man, whom Durgi thought was of Gondor from his features and mannerisms, the convincing of Sohay to travel to the Ettenmoors with the dwarf and his company of merchants, and the long hard trip there. Durgi had been instructed to take Sohay a short distance out from the safety of Glen Vraig where the agent would meet with her and he would be rewarded. The entire company of Dwarves, six in number accompanied them, so Sohay felt safe despite the dangers of the Moors. When the troop reached the deignated meeting place, they were subjected to a vicious attack, the dwarves were either struck senseless by something that burrowed up from out of the ground or flung off into the thorn bushes by multiple flailing legs. Sohay had cried out then went silent. When the dwarves picked themselves up or pulled themselves out of the thorns, they discovered Sohay laying still in the grass. They bundled her up and ran to the safety of Glen Vraig where they had the healers there tend to her. A mark, like that of an spider bite on the back of her neck, was all that they could find to explain her state. As they tended her the healers seemed a bit nervous as they spoke quietly amongst themselves. A hushed word was said by one and the others froze in fear. They continued their ministrations and by the dawn Sohay had awakened and though feeble and sick, was able to take some food and water. The Master of Glen vraig came around later and questioned each dwarf and Sohay as to what happened. He was furious with the dwarves and banned the dwarves from ever doing business within Glen Vraig ever again. Once Sohay was sufficiently healed to travel, the troop returned to Bree and saw her safely to her home.

Oseara had threatened the dwarf with dire vengenace if she found out that he had told one un-truth in his tale. He seemed visibly shaken but more due to his shame for having any part in harming Sohay. Durgi then passed on the name of the man that had commissioned him to arrange the meeting with Sohay and the agent in the Moors. Malrador.

"Malrador" said Oseara under her breath, "I'm going to track you down and carve you up like apples for one of Cob's pies!". Oseara turned back to the letter that she had received and read it again. She snorted to herself when she read the part about the trackers being unable to find any hint of Sohay. "Better try to track the wind rather than a hunter that does not wish to be found" she thought. Sohay had wilderness skills that was for certain. She snorted even louder when she read the part about "small hands may do more than the labors of the Wise". "Leave it up to the Hobbits to deal with the matters the wise deem beneath them" she exclaimed, then instantly regretted it. Sohay was family now, a sister in all but blood. She was hers, well actually theirs, to defend. "If we can't protect one of our own, what good are we?" Oseara thought.

Oseara walked down to the common room to find Oreena enjoying her first breakfast of the day. The aroma of bacon, freshly cooked biscuits and eggs filled the air. Oreena looked up from her meal and the smile on her face fell as she saw the frown upon her sister's. "What is it this time Ose? Another trip to the Moors?" she said with some trepidation. "Not this time Ree Ree, I need you to find out about a man..." The two hobbits spoke quietly over the meal, summoning Barliman over to refill Oreena's plate and bring Oseara some too. When she was done with her meal, Oreena quietly got up and departed on the new task her sister had asked her to accomplish. Oseara finished up her breakfast and paid Barliman for the tab for the room and food. She slowly walked down the streets of Bree thinking about the task she had set for herself. She was going to go confront the Horror of Hoarhollow itself! "GOBBLEMOSS YOU VILE THING! I AM COMING FOR YOU! " she furiously thought to herself.


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Bashel



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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story is heating UP FOLKS!

WILLLL Gobblemoss find the token in time?

Who was the small form behind the great spider?

Will Oseara and Oreena succeed in finding the strange man?

And what about Sohay, captured, mentally and physically, in some dark, dank cave?

STAAYYYY TUUUUNED!


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Kurghaash



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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oseara's fight with the Horror

Oseara found herself within a gang of Biguns at the Free People's outpost of Glen Vraig in the Moors. She growled softly to herself at the delays in setting up their raiding party, it seemed that all the Biguns could do was talk and squabble about what they were there for. She asked all that she met if they had seen a spider, white in body color with luminous green eyes. Oreena had been very firm over breakfast about the description of the eyes, they filled her with such dread. She had almost let her eggs go cold while searching for the right way to decribe the THING she had encountered, almost but not having lost their warmth, she was an Oddnob after all! No one in Glen Vraig had seen any such spider during that day's round of raid and counter-raid, each side butchering the other with glee. Oseara sighed. "Perhaps such a large raiding party will surely draw that vile spider out of hiding" she thought, "then I'll have a shot at bringing it down." Finally the group was ready to move out. Their leader had decided on striking at the closest keep, Tirith Rhaw and was preening himself for his marvelous talent for grand strategy. Oseara rolled her eyes but kept her scathing comments to herself. "You are becoming the witch Orrena swears you are" she mumbled under her breath. The raiding party mounted up on their steeds and headed directly for the keep. No feints or diversions for this crew, they intended to bull straight forward to their goal!

Shortly thereafter, Oseara was simply amazed at their progress within the depths of the keep. It seemed as though the orcs were willing to give up Tirith Rhaw with little struggle, almost as if it were a trap. They had blazed their way into the main hallway and she had flinched when she saw the large kettle that usually held boiling oil over the entryway. But it was empty like most of the keep. The orcs they encountered fell rapidly with only the trolls of the keep putting up much resistance. These fell too. The race up the stairs and the slaughter of the enemy forces manning the defenses was soon completed. The keep was almost ours, only the last bastion of defiance remained, the keep's tyrant.

Oseara searched the keep grounds for some evidence of her quarry or one of the everpresent wargs that seemed to be her favorite foe. Stiffening in surprise, she sensed the presence of something... vile and evil. It was outside the keep! Just below, she heard a cry of pain and the hiss of a great spider. She ran to the edge where moments before an orc archer had stood guard. Looking below she saw the pale form of the Great Spider Gobblemoss! It was scrabbling at the dirt like a thing possessed, its eyes glowing with hellfire. Beside her lay the writhing body of one of the Biguns. Oseara was filled with a violent rage and leaped from the parapet, landing behind the spider. She quickly fired two arrows into the massive arachnid. Gobblemoss answered her challenge and reared up on her back legs, striking at the infuriated hobbit with fang and talon. Oseara answered her with stabs from her spear and dagger, trying to slow its mobility and prevent it from overwhelming her. Poison coursed through Oseara's veins and she quickly dissipated the venom with her wilderland knowledge. Again she struck at Gobblemoss, bringing her bow into play in a surprise move that allowed her to release a quick attack with her spear followed by a volly of arrows. The thing maneuvered around to her flank and bit her again, tearing at her with its forelegs. An arrow streaked in from out of the darkness, fleshing itself in Osear's thigh, slowing her movement. Feeling the poison taking hold on her, Oseara had to take time to drink a potion that she had bought from the merchants in Glen Vraig just for this purpose. She ignored the orc archer attempting to feather her from a distance in support of the spider's attacks and struck back at Gobblemoss fiercely! Just then she heard a shout from behind her!

The Bigun had recovered and was slashing about with his twin swords like a madman. Oseara danced away from the spider, dodging arrows and fangs and swords which it seemed equally threatened her life! Vile fluids spilled from the spider from the wounds inflicted upon it, nauseating Oseara, yet the spider hardly seemed affected by the grevious wounds it had suffered. The Bigun charged in bellowing his warcry and slashed madly at Gobblemoss. The spider had to turn aside from the small hunter and deal with the more immediate threat of the flashing blades. Arrows still rained in from the darkness but Oseara was adept at dodging ranged attacks and suffered no harm from them. She drew her bow back and sighted down the shaft of her arrow and fired into Gobblemoss' head! Shrieking like a teakettle the beast fled from the battle back into the darkness. Other members of the raiding party arrived around the corner of the keep and the orc archer fled rather than face many foes seeking its blood.

Oseara wiped the blood and gore out of her eyes and searched the area to make sure that the Great Spider was truly gone. The moonlight glinted on something in the freshly turned earth. Oseara prodded the ground with her dagger and found what appeared to be a piece of jewellry. It was a silver skull on a chain of the same material, or at least it seemed to be silver. She clasped the skull in her hand and gasped as horror afflicetd her very soul. This thing was horror incarnate. Something that just should not be. Oseara dropped the amulet in disgust. This was what Gobblemoss was searching for instead of joining the battle for the keep. It had to be important, too important to leave behind. So she gingerly picked up the charm with her spearpoint and deposited it into her beltpouch. She looked around at her gathered compatriots and rewarded them with a bright smile that she truly did not feel inside. They cheered their victory over the Great Beast and the Tyrant of Tirith Rhaw! Oseara felt empty inside none the less. She could not help feeling that she had somehow missed something important. She returned to Rivendell by devious paths known only to the friends of the elves. Oseara decided that Elrond simply MUST see her and explain the amulet's significance. Then she could chase down Oreena and find out what parts of Malrador still survived to be questioned...


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Gobblemoss



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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 6:43 pm    Post subject: Ritual Interrupted Reply with quote

Skree!

Just as Gobblemoss was halfway through the Charm of Unbinding she felt an arrow thud into her carapace. Then another.

She hissed and whirled. A ratling! The same one that had been chasing her before. Half-mad with fury, the spider struck, seeking to land a mortal blow with her fangs. The fe-rat danced aside, now prodding her with its spear. Gobblemoss reared up, her forelegs scything the air as she parried.

A sword bit deep into her flank. The tark she had felled earlier! The man was up now, near-blind from the toxin but swinging with all his might in her direction. Shouts and cries broke out nearby - tark and albai cries of victory interspersed with the terrified yells of fleeing orcs. The curs! They were running and leaving her! They would pay once she got back to Gramsfoot!

Another arrow wizzed by her head, narrowly missing an eye cluster. Bobbing to evade, Gobblemoss lost control of the amulet and skull and they fell into the mud.

Skah! The rebels were closing in now. She could not afford to be captured. Gobblemoss hissed and shot a stream of webbing at the nearest rebels. Chittering, she bounded past them and shot like a bolt westwards toward the keep of Tol Ascarnen. Leaving a trail of ichor, she sped off into the night, quickly outdistancing her pursuers.

Once safe in Tol Ascarnen, she crept into a storeroom, panting and catching her breath.

Curse the fe-rat! In a moment more Gobblemoss would have finished the ritual. It was up to that worthless snaga now. She could only hope the half-finished ritual was enough to give Grotz the opening he needed to finish the job.

Focused now, she coldly considered her options. The Shrieker was no fool. The story had to be good. Thankfully, Gobblemoss was a mistress of deceit as well as combat. The dark spirit of a daughter of Ungoliant was in her. Even a Shrieker would hesitate to gainsay that. But the story had to be good.

The lost amulet and skull were no matter. Drained now of their magicks, they were useless. Certainly the dull-witted fe-rat would have no idea of their purpose. And with Sohay dead, there would be no other witnesses.

Except for Them. Well, Gobblemoss would deal with Them as she had before. Once her wounds had healed. But first she had a tale to spin.


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Bashel



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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the story so far!

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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject: A Narrow Escape Reply with quote

Something was not right.

Sohay felt she was in a waking dream. Here she was in this warm and normal-seeming house with no memories of how she had got here. Then the voice of She, hissing comforting words that made no sense. And now Aunt Luella come to reassure her. Aunt Luella who had died years ago.

But the food and drink - they were real. The chair, the table, the warmth from the stove - all real. And when she had embraced Aunt Luella, she had felt her warm hug in return. And yet....

Her meal done, Sohay turned in her chair to see what Luella was up to. The hobbit had finished clearing the plates and seemed to be reaching for something behind the stove. Despite herself, Sohay could not repress the loving memories that came back, unbidden, just by seeing Aunt Luella again.

The old hobbit came toward her now, a warm smile on her pleasant, wrinkled face. Luella held one hand behind her back and with the other reached out and took Sohay's hand and squeezed it.

The hobbit paused and looked up towards the ceiling, her brow furrowed as if listening to something or someone. Then she smiled back again at Sohay. "Now dearest, time for the surprise!" said Luella beaming.

In an instant, Sohay felt a cold numbness spread through her limbs.

Luella's grasp on Sohay's wrist suddenly became a vise-like grip. The hobbit took her hand from behind her back and raised it high. The firelight gleamed off the edges of a wicked-looking dagger.

In terror, Sohay tried to escape, but found she could not. The cold feeling had spread through her and she was unable to move.

Luella cackled. Now sure that her prey was helpless, Luella released her grip on Sohay's wrist. Grabbing ahold of Sohay's hair, she pulled her head back so that Sohay's throat was exposed. Luella brought down the knife and held it against Sohay's throat.

"Relax," hissed the hobbit. "This will only take a moment!"

Sohay closed her eyes, resigned. At that same moment two things happened all at once.

The warmth suddenly returned to Sohay's limbs. She could move. And she heard a guttural muttered curse in a foul language she had heard before.

In shock, she saw that Luella had transformed. What was once the little hobbit of her fond memories was now a short, bow-legged, leering orc!

"Skah! Pushdug-mojo!" cursed the orc. He glared at Sohay and raised the knife again. "Grotz nub wurried! Grotz klomp latz aniway agh feed latz to wyrms!"

Instinct took over for Sohay in that moment - the instinct not of a timid seamtress from Bree, but of a huntress who in her young life had already experienced enough to know what to do next. And she did it!

Grotz howled in pain as Sohay brought her knee up and planted it where it would do the most good. The goblin staggered and Sohay took the opportunity to shove him off of her and wriggle out of the chair.

The orc's eyes gleamed red! Feinting with the knife, the creature came forward again, muttering more curses. Desperately Sohay looked around for a weapon, but then realized the cunning orc had taken all the cutlery away when he cleared the table.

"Lat die!" the orc howled as he leaped at her, knife slashing. Sohay dodged aside, tripping Grotz. The orc crashed over the chair and spun, landing with his back on the red-hot stove. He screeched and the smell of burning flesh wafted into the air.

Taking her opportunity, Sohay seized a chair. Before Grotz could recover his balance, she swung it with all her might. The chair crashed and broke against Grotz' head. With a grunt, the orc sagged back and then collapsed, the knife clattering onto the floor.

Panting, Sohay cautiously approached the fallen goblin. He was still alive, but definitely out for a while at least. Taking the knife, she managed to fashion some bindings out of the table cloth and soon had Grotz bound. She dragged him into a corner.

Her mind started to clear for the first time. She looked around.

The walls of the room were no longer there. Like the vision of Aunt Luella, they too were gone. Instead, she saw that she was now in some sort of cave. The granite walls reflected the light off some strange hierglyphs of a dull reddish color. Quickly she searched but could see no exits from the cave.

Free from the immediate threat, she suddenly felt very exhausted. Collapsing back into the chair, she sighed.

Absent-mindedly, Sohay's hand went to the white stag brooch pinnd to her cloak. She rubbed it, her mind elsewhere, not noticing the brooch seemed to momentarily flare with a golden light, then as quickly fade.

"Where am I!" Sohay said aloud to herself. "How did I get here?" She looked at Grotz' unconscious bound form. "I need to find that out. But in the meantime, from the looks of him, this is not a place I should stay."



Last edited by Gobblemoss on Thu May 08, 2008 8:29 pm; edited 5 times in total

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