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The Quest Continues...
Frodo and Sam have destroyed the ring, Sauron is defeated, evil has been overcome. Right?
Perhaps. That however, is beside the point. Aragorn, Legolas and co. are coming back for the sequel, and this time, we're in charge. Please feel free to read and participate. (Note-the beginnings of the story are actually in the archives. It's reverse order- archive 1 is the most recent. Confusing, I know.)

To join, please visit the Quest website, where all necessary details can be found. From here you can also access the rules and character lists, view the story so far, and much, much more. (Ok, a little bit more).
N.B. The rules etc. are being constantly updated, so you should check back every now and again.

To skip straight to the bottom of the page, click here.

To talk with other writers, visit The Quest Soapbox. Alternatively, go read The Extended Adventures of Gimli for an, errrm, less serious spoof.

Important announcement: On August 3rd, Quest was picked up by Gamejag, a gaming and writings group. We can now be found on www.gamejag.com, in the Middle Earth forum.

This site is a member of WebRing. To browse visit here.

Subject: Snowballs

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Date Posted: 21:31:15 10/30/02 Wed

Another ball of snow hit the back of Faramir's head. His face twisted in confusion, the other combatants were standing infront of him giggling. Slowly he turned to see the king striding towards him, the snowy resisdue of his snowball still clinging to thick winter gloves.

"Nice to see you working so hard Faramir," he remarked with amusement. "I can't stay," he added quickly as the steward raised his right hand, ice in hand. "Enjoy yourselves," his face clouded slightly. "It may be the last chance you get for a long time." He was not entirely surprised when Faramir's snow ball caught him on his left shoulder. Quickly he brushed it off and continued. They could stay and play.

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Subject: Grief and Sorrow

Eowyn and Faramir
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Date Posted: 13:13:19 11/01/02 Fri

Faramir threw himself to the ground as the siege continued. Perhaps the situations around them make the whole affair more enjoyable - he did not know. As he lay there, a wave of guilt swept through him. He was laughing. Today wasn't a day for that kind of thing - today was a day for his brother. With a pang of bitterness, Faramir realised - his wife probably hadn't even remembered.

Eowyn stood up and brushed herself down. She scanned the courtyard, expecting another attack coming from behind a tree or the like. For a moment she couldn't see where Faramir was, but then she spotted him lying on his back in the snow. The smile and laughter had fallen from his face, to be replaced by an upset frown.
She sighed compassionately and walked over. He had been distracted for a while, but she couldn't have hoped for him to forget altogether. On this day, she usually just left him to himself. Words were lost to him.
Eowyn lay down beside him. It felt like she had plunged herself into a pool of ice - she shivered and bit her teeth together. Grey clouds were slowly rolling across the blue sky and the moon was shining even now - an elucidated sliver against the impending gloominess. It was ironic how much the environment could change with their moods. Or was it that their moods changed with the environment?
No matter, she rolled over and kissed him lightly on the cheek.
“Look at the trees,” she said softly. “They’re dead and withered. The branches writhe and whip each other in silenced pain. The leaves are brown and wrinkled, buried beneath a mountain of snow. They symbolize nothing but a cold, hopeless, dying future.
“But the future won’t be like that. In a few months, the trees will be alive again. They will be fresh and revived, green and beautiful. The birds will sing sweet songs of happiness from their branches, and we will breathe in their beauty and tranquility.
“Everything and everyone goes through a time of pain. We have to fight to overcome it, and sometimes it may seem like the pain will never end. But it will. Believe it and the path becomes clearer. You have to be strong through your winter, and when you have succeeded it, the spring will seem warmer and sunnier then ever before. It can’t be easy - but life is a struggle. And the biggest struggle is living through it, still holding your head high and loving the world around you.”

"Loving the world around me?" There was an irritation in Faramir’s voice, "How can I love it when I know it could be destroyed in moments? The world is cruel. It shows us nothing but bitterness and pain, except the few moments between, when we might be able to find some respite." He got up angrily shaking the snow off his clothes, almost disbelieving the inappropriateness of his earlier actions. He turned to face his wife - her golden braids spread across the purity of the snow, "There is being idealist Eowyn, and there is ignoring the facts. Maybe it's time I opened my eyes and saw the real world for once. My brother is dead - I have to accept that. I will avenge him Eowyn, in this life or the next."

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Subject: Making an entrance

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Date Posted: 01:22:57 11/02/02 Sat

Brooke and Whitemoon followed the King as he walked away. "I don't think we should let him see us." Brooke said. "Then put an illusion over us." Whitemoon said. Brooke nodded. She landed and made herself look like an elf with blue eyes and blond hair, and whitemoon look like a normal wolf. Cheking her illusion to make sure it was firmly in place she walked up to the King, standing in front of him. She threw the Windrod at his feet, and looked away. "It's a gift from someone who wishes you well on the upcoming battle." when she said this she glanced at Whitemoon. "This rod is no ordinary rod, it is called the Windrod and can be used by anyone with a strong will. Though I must warn you to use it wisely or you will pay with your life." she turned and walked away, bringing up her invisibility spell, she took to the air followed by Whitemoon. "Not exacly good but not bad either, for a first time." Whitemoon said. Brooke kept quiet.

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Subject: a change of character

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Date Posted: 19:31:28 11/05/02 Tue

“Will you come to the dance with me Lily?” Peredo asked her one night.
There had become a ritual of Peredo and Lily to meet on Sunny Hill every evening. The hill happened to be between both their houses, so was perfect. Tonight was no exception.
“Are you sure you want to take me to the dance? You’ve never wanted us seen in public before.” Peredo turned to look at her. “Oh, I’m sorry that was inconsiderate of me. I know the problem with your mother. I do understand.”

Problem with his mother, what a lie that had been and she had fallen for it. Oh, she would have believed anything he would have told her. Lily had been devoted to him entirely and would have done anything he had asked of her.

Lily placed a reassuring hand on his.
“You’re too good for me my darling Lily.” Peredo leaned over her and gave a thorough kiss. Things got more heated as the kiss went on and Peredo’s hands started to wander. Lily stopped him. A breath of frustration burst from an annoyed Peredo.
“I’m sorry, I…I’m just not ready for…for anything…yet…”
Peredo started to get angry. “You do this every time. We have been going out for some time now. I won’t hurt you for gods sake.” Lily started backing away in fear. “I wonder why I’m going out with you sometimes. I really do. Other girls were never like this with me!” He turned to see the fear in her eyes and immediately calmed down. “Lily, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. You know that right; I was just a little frustrated. You have to trust me. Come here.” Peredo pulled her forcibly close to him and started stroking her hair. “Say you’ll come to the dance with me Lily, please.”
“Yes okay,” and she smiled up at him.

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Subject: The Waterfall

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Date Posted: 20:57:08 11/06/02 Wed

For all her life, Arwen had depended on someone, or something. Now it was her grandfather. He was the only thing that stopped her from leaving, his powers desperately binding her to this world while he still could. Binding her with love and obligation.

Yet that can only last for so long. Now the first fingers of death, and real fear were clawing at the edges of her mind one thing was emerging as, almost, sensible.

Arwen had to go to the waterfall. About two miles north of Rivendell, the Bruinen has a falls. She'd played there as a child, the whole place was etched into her memory. She knew what she had to do.


She stood, below her a swirling mist of the water drowned all other sounds. Deadly but beautiful. How she longed for the mist to envelope her, loose her, keep her safe from the world outside. Yet she felt detached, and alone. Lost. Not just in her mind, but in her very purpose.

"I should be dead."

Her words echoed a little, but were eaten up by the roaring torrent of the water. Arwen was exhausted from the effort it had taken to get her here, and she steadied herself again her horse, Nahar, drinking in the scene.

Minutes passed, as she tried to justify waht she was about to do. Words were tossed under her breath, as the first tear fell.

"I wish I could bring it all back- change what happened. But I can't

I can't."

The rocks below raged against the water. She let herself go... Hair streaming out like ribbons behind her. She was falling.

Falling for eternity.

And from the mists rose a single white dove, which soared upward, towards the heavens.

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Subject: nightmares

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Date Posted: 21:56:29 11/14/02 Thu

A terrified scream filled the Gamgee house in the dead of night.
“Lily, Lily, it’s okay, it’s okay.”
Rosie sat on Lily’s bed with her arms enfolding her, soothing her. “Same nightmare? When are you going to tell me about this Lily? You’re getting these nightmares because you are keeping it all bottled up.
“I…I can’t, not yet, I’m…I’m not ready.” She burst into tears.
“Oh Lily dear. Everything is going to be alright. I promise.”

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Subject: Namün and Harion finally catch up with the rest of the plot

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Date Posted: 19:18:53 11/20/02 Wed

Namün glared after Madjael's retreating figure. Back in her life for just a few hours, and already he was trying to control her. She was right- what sort of a relationship could they possibly have? Admittedly, she was attracted to him, but she didn't love him. Not even when they'd kissed had she felt the same tug at her heart that she did when Aragorn touched her. But even her time with Aragorn was doomed- he still loved his wife.
He cares nothing for you, he's using you! Why can't you see that? You're just keeping the bed warm until his wife returns. He doesn't want you or need you or love you!

Madjael's words echoed hollowly in her head. He was probably right, but even so, could she turn her back on this? With every action, the tangled skein of her relationships pulled tighter, fusing itself into an impossible knot that she didn't know how to undo. And, judging by the expression she had seen on Cirad's face, it was about to get worse.
Apologetically, she turned to Harion, still waiting by the door. "Don't feel you have to walk me home, you know. I wouldn't want you to put yourself out."

Harion regarded her curiously. She seemed to change so quickly; a few minutes earlier she had looked terrified at the prospect of walking home by herself. Now her expression gave no emotions away. She was obviously a strong character, a survivor, dominating perhaps?
"I'm already up now... lets get it over with." he waited for her to walk out and closed the door behind them. The icy wind howled down the dark alleyway. The first few snowflakes clung to clothes and hair. They fought against the wind towards the palace. Namün 's face was set in an expression of grim determination. Her long black hair whipped in strands around her face. She was shivering, her eyes not focusing properly on anything; her mind was obviously occupied with something important. At first Harion ignored her. All he had to do was make sure that she got safely to the palace and go home. He had enough problems of his own, without adding someone else’s.
They walked in silence; occasionally Harion glanced at her to check she was alright. Her expression never changed. Finally he could stand it no longer. He stopped and turned to her, touching her arm to grab her attention.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
The corner of her mouth lifted slightly in a sardonic smile. "You've been dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and made to trek half way across this cursed city in the snow, and you're asking me what's wrong?"
"Well...yes. Since you've already covered what's wrong with me."
She shook her head slightly and walked on, head bent down into the wind. They continued in silence for a few paces before she replied, "What if I was to tell you I'm afraid of the dark?"
"I'd want to know why. You don't look to me like the sort of person who has irrational fears."

She looked at him sharply. "Maybe you're right. Maybe you're not. But, rational or irrational, we're not going to be talking about my fears this evening. I'd rather they were buried- under all this snow perhaps."
Harion shrugged. "If you like."
A few minutes later, more for something to say than out of any real interest, he added, "But if you don't want to talk about it, why did you even mention it?"
This time it was her who stopped. "You know, you're brighter than you look." she paused, considering her answer. "You asked. Most people in this city don't really care about anybody but themselves. You're obviously new here- you haven't learnt that yet. Right now, you still care."
"Natural instinct I suppose." Harion thought quickly, trying to put his views into words. "There are always enough people out there to hate and despise for real reasons. Maybe things they've done to me, or threatening my family. I don't see the point in cutting myself off from people who have done me no harm. And if there's anything I can do..." he tailed off. It sounded stupid telling someone else, especially as her expression gave nothing away. He shivered and forced his hands deeper inside his cloak. He was getting colder. Soon he wouldn't care whether or not she said anything as long as they reached shelter quickly. He started up the pace slightly as the palace slowly loomed up above the houses. Harion glanced quickly at her again.
"Try to hold on to that Harion," she told him quietly "It's rare. I used to think I could change the world. But it seems the world doesn't really want to be changed. Ara-" she started to say Aragorn, before cutting off- "My lover says it takes time. But how much time do we really have? Even the things we love we have no hold over. They can be taken away in an instant, in the time it takes for you to take a single breath."
She paused, having come as close as possible to mentioning the source of her problems. It seemed so silly- to be talking to a complete stranger about this. But on the other hand, that was the one thing Harion had above everyone else. He didn't know her, and he hadn't judged her. Not yet, anyway. And his advice could prove helpful. She decided to take the chance.
"That man you saw me with earlier, what did you think of him?"

"As what" Harion decided to tread carefully. "As a person? a soldier? a friend? - I wouldn't know. I've only just met him"
as a lover? he wanted to add, but decided against it. Something in her voice made him assume that the lover she had mentioned earlier was not the man in the bar. Yet there was definitely something between them, he was sure of it.
"Just...first impressions then. What did you think?" Namün insisted
Harion sighed. "I don't know. He's got a lot of confidence and he's a smooth talker. It could be hard to tell what’s for real, and what is a cover hiding the real person beneath. He seems nice enough...but you might want to consider something with a deeper foundation than first impressions." Harion tried to picture how Madjael had behaved with Namün.
"He obviously cares for you though."
"You think so?" Namün tried not to sound too interested.
"Yes. The way he looked at you, and wanted to make sure that you'd be safe."
Harion decided to stop there. He was telling the truth, but didn't want to alter the facts by exaggerating or leaving anything out by accident. It was her decision and he had promised to be unbiased, yet he wondered if she knew about the barmaids.

Namün was silent again for a while, obviously thinking. Finally, she shook her head with a bitter laugh.
"I'm a fool."
She hesitated. "I don't want you to judge me here. You're the first person in a long time who hasn't looked at me as if I'm a whore. Just...listen. Hear me out- please?"
"I promise."
"Thank-you," she took a deep breath then continued, "I'm having an affair- with a married man. The problem is, he still loves his wife. Always has. I knew that, but I let myself do it anyway. And, stupidly, I fell for him. We've got no future- nothing. It's only a matter of time before he realizes he can't lie to himself any more, and ends things. And it hurts, but I can't bring myself to do the right thing and let him go. And today...
Madjael, he- he says he's in love with me. And I don't know what to do."

Harion was silent for a moment. This was outside his field of experience; first hand information wouldn't help him here. "I suppose my stereotypical reply would be to ask you if you love him. However, the fact that you're telling me suggests that you don't know. Am I right?"
Namün nodded slowly.
"You've already told me what you have to do with your lover. You know he loves his wife and nothing will change that." Namün's eyes pricked slightly
"It doesn't make it any easier" she whispered.
"I know. But life is hard. I know that, you know that. If it continues, you'll only end up getting more hurt. At least you've made the first step by admitting to yourself what needs to be done. Things will get better. This won't knock you down for ever."
He smiled at her encouragingly. "You have to decide what to do, I can't help you there."
"I know." Namün's voice remained quiet. "But what about Madjael?"
Harion stared across the courtyard, watching the snowflakes build up into large drifts.
"You want my honest opinion?" he asked. "I'd say wait for a while. Let yourself recover fully first. Taking the pain from this relationship into the next would cause extra strain between you. If he does really love you...as he says, then he'll wait for you for as long as need be."
He turned to look back at her. "Of course, you don't need to take my advice. I just hope talking about it might have helped."

"Thank-you," she smiled at him weakly. "It's not often someone takes the time to listen. They could learn that from you- both of them."
She sighed. "It all depends on how much I'm willing to sacrifice really, doesn't it? I can't let things continue like this."
Harion waited patiently, not wanting to interrupt her train of thought, but the harsh cold was fast penetrating his bones, and he shivered in spite of himself. She looked up, pulling herself out of a shadowy reverie.
"You'd better come inside and warm up. You can't go walking back in this."
He would have protested, but by then his teeth were chattering, and he allowed himself to be led past guards who stepped aside without a word at the sight of his diminutive companion. He glanced at Namün in surprise, but she took no notice and offered no explanation for the courtesy. They came to a halt in a vast kitchen, deserted but for a dying fire flickering in the hearth. He looked around nervously. "Should we be in here?"
"Mirwan will be in bed by now, and there's no one else who'll protest. Don't worry, I'm not going to get you into trouble. Sit down and get warm."
Taking a chair, he watched as she threw another log into the fireplace, then disappeared briefly, returning with a flagon of mead which she pushed into his numb hands.
"It'll help you heat up."
He sipped it gratefully, noticing however that she took none herself. She was sitting on the stone floor now, as close to the open firepit as she could get, with her chin resting on knees huddled up to her body. She stared into the depths of the blaze, ignoring the soft sound of melted snow dripping to the ground. Her hair was heavy with damp, clinging to cold skin, and sodden clothing, and cheeks that were flushed red from the bite of the weather outside, and the sting of the heat from the fire. She shook, partly from cold, but more from relief. The walk back from the tavern had scared her more than she'd been willing to let on, as well as having to put her trust in a complete stranger.


Aryante trod quietly through the palace, listening to the sounds of restless sleep. She herself was wide-awake; her Elven blood left her needing less rest than pureblood humans. Her preparations were nearly done now- clothes packed, as well as her supply of medicines, and food supplied by a helpful, and wakeful, servant. All she really needed now were some more herbs from the kitchens to replenish her dwindling supply, and they would be ready to set out. The only thing that concerned her was their lack of men- she and Legolas would hardly be enough to fight off a band of orcs, as well as dealing with a possibly injured dwarf. And who would lead and care for the packhorses, and fetch water, and do all the other chores that she was used to servants doing? It was doubtful that the royal prince would be accustomed to the task, and she herself traveled rarely, certainly never alone. It was a potential problem.

As the healer neared the kitchens, she saw the flickering light of a fire through one of the open doorways. When she entered the room, her gaze was caught by the sight of the two huddled near the blaze. Elessar's mistress- what was her name? Namün?- and a young man she didn't recognize, both soaked to the skin and shivering.
"What are you two doing in here?"

The boy spun around almost guiltily, as if warming himself was a contraband act. Namün herself stood and curtsied with a murmured, "Lady Aryante."
Straightening up, she explained, "I forgot the time and got caught in the Rusty Chain after dark. Harion here was kind enough to walk me home." With a gesture to her clothes, she added, "It was snowing, you might have noticed."
"It was a foolish thing to do, with no coat." Aryante told her crisply. "By the state of you, you'll both get chills. You'd better come with me while I fix something for you. You too," she added over her shoulder to Harion, heading for the pantry.

She gathered together the herbs she needed for her journey, then set some others to boiling over the hearth. As she worked, she talked. "Your accent isn't from around here," she noted to Harion, "Where do you come from?"
"A farm, miles up North, milady," he replied shyly. "Lived there all my life, until I came here looking for work."
"A farm?" Aryante asked, an idea forming in her head. "Do you have any skill with horses?"
"Yes'm. Well, when we had them, until about a year ago."
"You said you were looking for work. Did you find any?"

Harion looked slightly puzzled, she was obviously heading somewhere with her questioning.
"Yes'm. I've got a job at the Rusty Chain."
"Oh" Aryante looked a little disappointed as leaned over to prod the herbs above the fire. So much for that idea. Still, she may as well continue the conversation.
"So why did you decide to come to Minas Tirith?" she asked curiously. Harion thought for a moment.
"We needed the money" he stated honestly "There is none to be found where I live. The raids and high rents meant that no one has any spare. My sister had heard about the city, where it would be possible to earn a fortune... Well,
enough to pay the debts anyway, so I decided to come."
Aryante nodded sympathetically. She knew a little about the corrupt landlords extorting money.
However... another thought entered her head. Perhaps all was not lost. One thing she could easily get hold of was money.
"Do they pay you well in the tavern?" she asked trying not to appear rude.
"More than I've ever earned before ma'am" Harion replied cautiously.
Aryante decided to explain her motives.
"The thing is, I need someone like you to go on a mission. Someone young and strong who can manage horses. I'd pay you well, twice what you'd earn at the tavern."
Harion sat there gobsmacked. Twice as much as the tavern? It was extremely tempting.
"Tell me more about the mission." He said suspiciously. There had to be a catch somewhere.
Aryante smiled.
"Prince Legolas is searching for his friend Gimli the Dwarf. We know that he was captured by Orcs at some point several months ago. We will find him and bring him home."
Harion shuddered slightly at the mention of orcs. Common sense had always told him to hide and wait till they had gone. The idea of searching them out seemed like suicide. Thoughts flashed to his mother. However, double pay...
"I would come..." he said slowly. "But I've only just got my job. I don't want to back out so soon, I'd be letting them down."
Aryante smiled. That at least was easily settled, her position in court would help here.
"I'll write the landlord of the tavern a note,” she said briskly. "I'm sure he won't mind. At least, I'll persuade him not to." Her bossy tone made her smile even more. Still, if it meant gaining a worker.
Harion stared into the flickering flames for a few moments.
"I'll come then,” he said at last.


"It's done," the healer told them, removing the strong-smelling mixture from the heat. I know it doesn't taste too pleasant, but it should keep you from getting sick."
Sternly, she watched them drink it, smiling inwardly at their disgusted faces.
"I'll see you in the morning," she told Harion. "Dawn if possible. Prince Legolas won't like being kept waiting. We'll have food supplies, but you might want to pack enough clothes for several weeks on the road. I don't know how long it'll take to find the dwarf. Legolas will find you a horse when you arrive, and I should think he'll give you a weapon as well. You might have to fight. Try to rest well tonight."
Next, she turned to Namün. Despite the medicine she'd drunk, the girl still looked flushed and shaky. Worried, Aryante took a closer look at her, sending a small vein of her power to hunt for the source of the problem. She drew back startled.
"Go to bed," she ordered her. "Try to keep warm. Your body's weak, and it won't fight off illness well. You need to rest it. Come to see me tomorrow before I leave. There's things we need to talk about."
Namün opened her mouth to protest, but Aryante stopped her. She turned her around gently and propelled her towards the door.
"Bed. Now."

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Subject: Walking (in something that could be called a Winter Wonderland)

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Date Posted: 17:55:59 11/21/02 Thu

It was freezing outside. A layer of crystalline white frost covered the grounds, suffocating the gardens.

Once the king had left her, Anawiel had felt sort of out of place, and unsure of what to do next. She had done what she was required, hadn't she? And Elessar would call if he needed her, but that still left her almost hanging as if above a wide crevass. She didn't know what to do, and even if she had she couldn't have done it without falling, as it were. All she could do was wait for help.

Sort of a stupid thing for her to hope for really. The only people she really knew in the city where either running away with their husband's first born or constantly doing stupid things like seducing her. And of course, there was Brooke. But she wasn't exactly a friend.

For a while, Anawiel wondered aimlessly around the courtyards of Minas Tirith, breathing in the cold air that clung to her blueing fingers. In the main forum of the city stalls and market stands were already up.

Merchants from across Middle-Earth had come to bargain in the White city, haggling for a higher price with each sale.
It felt so safe and cosy and normal. Everyone just doing what they had done for years, and Anawiel's heart lay heavy in her chest as she thought of how soon that would all change here.

She thought of all the mothers here who would lose their sons, all the girls who would lose their fathers, all the lovers who would never see their wedding day. Just standing there thinking it brought a lump to her throat and those stupid tears to her eyes.

Anawiel pulled her cape tighter around her and trudged onwards.

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Subject: Winter Day

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Date Posted: 05:35:16 11/23/02 Sat

Brooke flew in circles around the city enjoying the snow. "I always did like snow." she said, as she twirled.
"I know that Brooke, I've been your guardian since you were born." Brooke stopped and rolled her eyes.
"Well, now that I've done what you wanted I should get back to work, don't you think?" she said, looking side ways at Whitemoon.
Whitemoon sighted, "Could you just take one day off and let this people rest?" he asked.
Brooke looked down at the city streets. It seemed like every one had gotten over the strange occurences of the past days and began their normal lifes once more.
It annoyed her a little, but she supposed Whitemoon had the right of it. "Very well you win. I will let them be for a day."
She turned around and flew off. 'Now I have an entire day and nothing to do, this is going to be boring.' she thought. She stopped when she saw a hooded figure.
Curious she flew down. "Where are you going Brooke?" Whitemoon asked. "There's something about that person that's familiar." she said.
She landed in front of the person. "I knew it!" she said, letting her illusion fade. "It's you, what's your name again? I think it was Anawiel, also known to me as a witch. You don't seem very happy. Having second thoughts about that favor I owe you? Unfortunetly it still stands." Whitemoon joined her. "Should you not be inside? Your hands are turning blue, this is no weather for someone such as you to be outside." Whitemoon said, with some concern. Brooke shook her head. 'He verely knows her and he's acting like her guardian.'

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Subject: Setting Off

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Date Posted: 21:02:21 11/24/02 Sun

The small attic window looked across the rooftops towards the city walls. The sky was growing lighter, streaks of early dawn just beginning to appear. Harion checked around the dim, grey room once more. He was leaving it as he found it. Bed made, floor swept. It was as if he had never arrived. Less than 24 hours, a pretty bad record. Still, at least he wasn’t being fired. That would look even worse.

Harion silently closed the bedroom door behind him and crept noiselessly downstairs. Something to eat before he left sounded sensible. He opened the kitchen door.
The Innkeeper was sitting alone at the table with a drink. He smiled as Harion came in.
“You woke up early too?” he asked. He looked at Harion’s clothes.
“You’re going out?” Harion sighed. There was no easy way to put this. How do you tell your employer that you’re walking out, less than 24 hours after being hired.
“I’ve got to go” he said simply and handed the Innkeeper Aryante’s letter. The Innkeeper took the letter cautiously and opened the wax seal. Some gold coins fell out and tinkled on the table. Harion’s eyes opened wide. The coins were worth a lot of money. The Innkeeper read the letter slowly. His lips moving as he struggled over some of the harder words. Harion envied him. He’d never learnt to read. It was something he’d always longed to be able to do.

When he’d finished, the Innkeeper looked up over the letter.
“Your assistance is requested by the elven Prince?” he asked incredulously.
“How on earth did you manage that?” he looked back at the letter again. Harion stood at the end of the table twisting his fingers, anxiously awaiting a reply. The realisation
of the task struck him. Hired by an elf. An Elf! Before he’d arrived here, they had only been tales of childhood fairy stories. He wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. In the stories he used to love, elves could run forever without tiring, live without ever needing to sleep and some could kill an enemy simply by staring at them. In some stories they could turn stones into gold nuggets and make themselves invisible. Of course, most of these were obviously not true. He was too old for such fancies. But then, he’d only half believed in elves existing before reaching the city.

“...Signed by the King’s royal healer.” The Innkeeper murmured, bringing Harion back to the present. “You do have some important friends.” He sighed and folded up the letter.
“You’re a good worker Harion, It’ll be a shame to lose you. Perhaps you’ll come back here when you return?” Harion looked up sharply.
“Would I still be welcome?” he asked in surprise.
“Your job will be waiting here.” The Innkeeper replied “I’ll persuade my wife to agree.” He smiled wryly. Harion thanked him and hacked a chunk of bread off the loaf on the table. He turned to go out the door.
“Good luck, take care of yourself” the Innkeeper called after him. Harion turned.
“I will...will you explain to Drea?” The Innkeeper nodded.
“She’ll miss you, as will we all. Come back soon.” Harion smiled and left the kitchen. He walked through the deserted bar and let himself out into the street. The snow had stopped falling and nestled on the streets. It glistened a pure white as dawn approached. Harion crunched up the street towards the palace, hastily eating his bread. He couldn’t help feeling a little apprehensive. What had he let himself in for?

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Subject: Freedom

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Date Posted: 21:58:12 11/28/02 Thu

He slipped silently through the shadows that bathed the dusky castle. After the events of the evening very few people were still awake and those that were were out freezing on the battlements at the Lord Faramir's orders.

Vomyr was on no such mission. His head throbbed, the signiture of the king's escape, as he ran lightly down the stairs and out into the courtyard. It was deserted.
"Where are you?" he yelled into the ebony sky. The laughs of the guards and their innane comments followed him as he pushed through the main door. "Where are you?" he screamed again.
I am here, Vomyr the watcher greeted him silently, as always his words were laced with dry amusement at the valet's expence. You really didn't need to embarress yourself, the shouts were not necessary you know. But I'm flattered you wanted to speak to me so badly. His chuckle passed through the mind link. Don't worry Vomyr, I know you're not really pleased to hear from me. But you will be.
"I find it unlikly," the valet spat. "There has not been a moment since I met you when I have not regretted that day."
Then you will not oblige me a small favour?
"Never!" The snow had begun to fall again, the soft, pure crystals settling in his dark hair.
What if I were to offer you something, something you couldn't refuse.
"There is nothing. I don't know why I even came out here!" He turned furiously, intending to walk back into the palace but the watchers voice called him back.
What if I were to offer you your freedom?

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Subject: Re: Winter Day

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Date Posted: 19:32:24 11/29/02 Fri

The girl and her wolf once again stood before her. Anawiel sighed mentally and quickly snapped her fingers into a fist to stop Brooke staring at their blue state.

"Brooke, I have told you before. There is nothing you can offer me. Keep the favour, look upon it as a present or something. I have no time for desires."

The faeirlev looked quite disgruntled at Anawiel's dry retort, and the sorceress felt a bit sorry for her.

"Come on," Anawiel beckoned, "We'll go in if it'll make the old wolf happy." She turned without a backwards glance, she knew Brooke would follow her.

Anawiel led the two others towards a small house in the far corner of the forum. Pulling a rusted key from inside her cape, the witch unlocked the dark wood door, pushing it open and lithly stepping inside so as to keep the snow out. She lit the lamps along the walls and the stove was heated immediately with a mutter.

She pulled off her outdoor cloak and hung it on a brass peg, wordlessly taking one of Brooke's own and hanging it along side.

"Sit down," she said indicating rounded back chairs near the fireplace. "It is so long since I have been here," she mused softly to herself, "Such a long time."

The cottage was comfortable enough, the downstairs was all one room with a rough flagstone floor broken only by one threadbare rug, that might have once been a deep russet, and a single small window framed with similar curtains looking out onto the main square. Copper saucepans and a kettle hung on the far wall above terrecota plates and mugs on a neat wooden rack. The blackened stove was large in the small room with all number of interesting looking catches and 'doors' as it were to various ovens. There was a table with two chairs, a little two-seater and a couple of the rounded back chairs, one in which now sat Brooke looking quizzically around the room.

"Welcome to my home. My home in Minas Tirith." Anawiel stood near the stove warming her hands that had begun to tingle at the tips as warmth flooded back into them. "I have many homes."

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Subject: RE: Winter Day

Brooke, Whitemoon
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Date Posted: 00:29:21 12/01/02 Sun

Brooke looked around the room in which she now found herself. She looked back at Anawiel when she said she had many homes. Brooke snorted, "It's much better not to have any home at all, like that if anyone comes and burns it down it won't matter to you."
Whitemoon made a noise in his throat and looked at Brooke. Brooke rolled her eyes. "Pardon my charge, she is young and the world has not been kind to her."
"I don't need the world to be kind to me." she looked back at Anawiel, "As for the favor; Sorry but rules are rules, I can't take back the favor as anything. Acording to my peoples rules I am bound to that until you ask for something, whatever it may be." she sighted, "I might not like them and I might seem the kind of person who doesn't care about rules at all, Which I am, but I keep my peoples rules, and another thing: If you don't know already, which I think you already do, Saurons' forces are coming this way and plan on taking Minas Tirith down. In the state the city along with the pitiful humans you call soldiers are I doubt it will be hard for them to take it. I've already given your king something that might help but that's were my help ends." Whitemoon shook his head, "If I may make a sugestion perhaps you should use that favor when you find yourself in trouble, and perhaps you should heed Brookes' warning and leaveMinas Tirith while you can, it won't be long till the armies arrive."

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Subject: Yes, it's still a winter day...

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Date Posted: 14:09:48 12/01/02 Sun

"I cannot leave Minas Tirith. And I also suggest that you stop talking of things of which you know very little dearest Brooke."

Anawiel drew her long white pipe from an inside pocket of her cloak on the wall. She lit the end, twirled it through her fingers and turned to Whitemoon.

"There are other things in this world which play a part in the coming war, you should know that old wolf. She's a tough pupil, I see. Are you sure you can handle her?" The witch smirked impishly before continuing.

"Brooke, you are obviously very unaware of what is really happening with your employer, you could say. Sauron's forces will not attack Minas Tirith whilst I am still within it's walls. And," Anawiel drew in from her pipe, letting the smoke then ripple into the cold air, "if I cannot get rid of this 'favour' that seems to have be-fallen me, then I wish my favour to be no more. That shall then be my favour from you to me. As I said - I have not need nor desire for them."

Anawiel sat down, smoothing her dress over her lap and the small room was quiet again as the three figures sat in silence. Candle light flickered on the bare walls while a snow storm began to rage stronger outside. Ice flew against the outer walls, causing the lone window pane to rattle and the door to creak.

"Still," the witch spoke again, almost to herself, "we can at least be civil to one another. I know you will probably decline this offer, Brooke, but while you remain within the city do not hesitate to use this accomodation as you will. Although what you say is true, a home allows you to blend in with more ease. Hence the reason for having many of them."

Anawiel smiled at the small girl's frown etched deep into her forehead, "We are a lot closer than you may think Brooke. There is very little I do not know about to do with you, yet quite a lot you don't know about me. All in good time I suppose." she added as if it was an afterthought, "All in good time."

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Subject: RE: Winter Day

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Date Posted: 04:44:05 12/02/02 Mon

Brooke smirked and snapped her fingers. dim lights in the fashion of shackles appeared around her wrists that ran to Anawiel, then they shatered and dissapeared. "As you wish." Brooke said, smirking, "Although I must say that was a very dumb thing to do, as long as I was bound to you by this unpaid favor ,you just wasted, I could not hurt you. While my employer is in fact Sauron I am not bound to him because he did not catch me. I do not have to follow his rules and he knows it very well. So it matters to me not that Sauron will not attack this city while you still are here. I have objects of power, or I myself could destroy you if I wished. As for being a lot closer than I think: Please don't flatter yourself how could I a Feairalev be close to someone that is not only a human but also a witch and has no elven or dragon blood. Sorry but I think you have me confused with someone else. As for being able to use this place; thankyou but no thanks. You say that you know much about me, I doubt you do because if you did you'd know that feairalevs as well as Windwalkers hate being inside a small place for a long time. We prefer the outdoors or homes that are build upon trees, we do not live in cabins or whatever it is you call this 'home' of yours."

Whitemoon shook his head, "Do not pay attention to her, and yes she is a tough pupil but I've been taking care of her for a couple of hundred years and have been doing fine. As for her destroying you: altough she could ,if she wished to, I doubt she will do it." he glared at her.
Brooke turned away from the wolf. "He is right, you're strange. Stranger than any human or witch I've ever encountered; for one you do not seem to be wanting to catch me (although you did) secondly you just wasted a favor and gev me back my freedom to do anything I wished. So in light of this really strange event why don't we call a truce?" Brooke smiled (actually smiled) and extended her hand to Anawiel.

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Subject: Looking futher than the facts

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Date Posted: 16:37:47 12/10/02 Tue

The snow was no longer white and pure, but hard, cold and dirty. The sun was no longer inquisitively welcoming, but was swamped by angry clouds. The breeze was no longer gentle and caressing, but strong and piercing.

Her eyes were closed, frozen tears clinging to the lashes. Her breathing was heavy and raspy as her lungs fought for co-operation with the icy air. But her mind would not be deterred. What life is there without dreams?

The further you take my hopes away, the faster I will run.

Standing up, she crossed the courtyard and entered the castle, oblivious to the cold and her soaked clothes, to seek counsel from her brother.

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Subject: Stupidly long, unavoidable post necessary in order to introduce characters, but not for much else.

Elladan and Elrohir
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Date Posted: 21:33:51 12/22/02 Sun

The twin sons of Elrond drew their horses to a halt at a discreet distance, careful to stay out of the sights of their sister. There had been no words when they had seen her ride out; no need for them. Arwen was their seler’ai, they would protect her with their lives if necessary. Through the past few months they had felt caged and useless, lacking the skills their grandfather commanded to hold a fragile life within its fluttering cage, but they had never given up hope. She was the last one left to them- first their mother, then their father and grandmother had sailed from the Grey Havens to the everlasting sanctity of Aman, but that choice was yet before them. Neither elf nor man, immortal nor human, they stood between the worlds, neither ready to take the final step. They had come close once before, in the months of loss when their father’s ageless face had ceased to preside over Rivendell, but that venture had died on the shores of Beleriand when the thought of all that they would leave behind had flared back to life. It may come to pass that they too would die on this earth and become one with its soul, or perhaps, when those that they held dear were gone, they too would take the ship to Valinor, neither yet knew.
Both were tall, dark-haired and grey eyed as was Elrond before them, of a height with, yet more robustly built, than their Lorien cousins. Elven blood gave them speed, agility and wisdom, while their human ancestry gave them strength and fury. This fury had been checked whilst they were younger, and there had been a time when Lord Elrond had hoped they would follow him in the art of healing, or perhaps pursue the inner calm and wisdom of their grandfather and sister. Those dreams had come to dust however, when their mother Celebrian was taken and captured by orcs. The now fully adult twins had pursued and butchered the enemy, rescuing their mother, but the shock of the capture had forever changed here, and it was less than a year before she left for the sanctuary of the Undying Lands. Elladan and Elrohir were forever changed also; a hatred of orcs and the need for blood was seared into their hearts and they became warriors instead, frequently riding with the Dúnedain in an unspoken quest to destroy their foe. It had been while riding in battle with them that Arathorn, the father of Aragorn, had been killed, and his young son brought to Rivendell, to become a brother to them. They had taught him themselves, given him his first sword, and been alongside him when he killed his first enemy. And now…
Now everything had changed. Arwen, their beautiful, gentle sister was in pain, and it was Estel who had caused it. They could only watch as she gradually became weaker and weaker; fragile, lost and alone. She didn’t deserve this. She should never have to suffer.

Ahead of them, unaware, Arwen stumbled on a pebble, nearly falling. Elladan’s arm snaked outwards smoothly; he knew without turning his head that Elrohir would already be moving to help her. Knew with a certanity that they should not. Whatever she was here for, she had intended to be alone- she would not thank them for following. But at the same time, deep misgivings in his heart forbade him to let her have the solitude she desired. His brother twitched impatiently against the restraint, submitting reluctantly. Elrohir was the more impulsive of the two- it was even reflected by his name. Elladan meant wise man of the stars, or star-crafter, but Elrohir meant star-rider and star-knight. Whatever Elrond may have wished, the fates had always intended him to fight.

He was watching her now, blood boiling. Why couldn’t he help? With hands, sword or bow, either twin could more than match many a man or elf. But this was something he couldn’t hold back by force, and not through love either. It wasn’t his love that Arwen desired to keep her in this world, however freely it was offered. They were of her blood and kin, beloved brothers. But Estel was in her soul.

And she in his, they had always thought. They had seen him grow from boy to man, moulded his character themselves. Whatever his faults, the boy they’d known would never intentionally have harmed her. And even if they had grown apart, his honour would have compelled him to stand by her. Arwen hadn’t told them what it was that had caused the separation, nor had they pressed for an answer after the first questions had been rejected, but Celeborn knew. He knew the twins as well- realised how torn they were between sister and the man who was both a comrade and a brother. They would of course put Arwen first every time, but the loss of Estel as a friend grieved them both. Over this matter of two stubborn hearts, Celeborn kept his own counsel, and prayed for the miracle that would save them both.


Something was wrong, and they could both sense it. Let alone the fact that Arwen was risking the life of her child to come here, when she was clearly almost too weak to stand. It was the expression on her face- amidst all the pain and anguish there was something else, something that came dangerously close to resignation, defeat. The seconds ticked by, and a cold knot of dread began to grow in Elladan’s heart. Part of him knew what she was about to do, but he couldn’t believe that it could happen. Didn’t want to admit to himself that Arwen could do such a thing. She wouldn’t- she wouldn’t do that to them. To the baby. To Aragorn…

But she did. The moment seemed to last forever as she fell. And then Elrohir was running, flying, curving downwards in a sweeping dive that broke the surface of the water, swimming to where his sister’s form churned under the foam, unresisting. And Elladan was beside him as always, knowing what he would do, and what was needed of him. Together they pulled her unconscious body out of the water and onto sunbathed rocks, fearful that it was already to late.
“Arwen,” asked Elladan softly, brushing dark, clinging strands away from her face, “Can you hear me?”

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Subject: Morning

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Date Posted: 22:26:05 12/27/02 Fri

As the day drew on, Cirad eventually began to stir.
He stretched and began to grope for his clothes, shivering in the chilly air. Last night’s watch had been almost unbearable. The icy wind had penetrated through all layers of clothing and the snow had made it difficult to see. There had been little point of anyone watching at all last night. A vast army of Orcs could easily have crept up to the city without being seen.

Cirad moved over to look out of the window. He stepped carefully over the piles of clothing and weapons dumped randomly in the limited floor space. He really should think about moving them at some point, but not now. Couldn’t be bothered.
The snow lay in thick drifts across the courtyard. Footprints had already marred the fresh layer, scooped hollows and splattered remains suggested a snowball fight had taken place earlier.

Still, things couldn’t just come to a halt because of a few inches of snow. Where would the king be if his warriors didn’t train daily? Cirad pulled on a few more layers and buckled his sword around his waist. He stepped out of the door and locked it behind him. Finally he adjusted the dial on the door so that it pointed to “Training Ground.” He took pride in the fact that his men always knew where to find him. That was the reason why he kept his room in the soldiers quarters.

The training ground was full of warriors throwing snowballs, building snowmen and thrusting snow down each others necks. Cirad watched in disgust for a moment. These were the king’s fighting force. Brave, strong and ready for battle.... as long as there was no snow around obviously. He sighed heavily. It would take more than one man to resume proper training. Besides, although he disapproved, he knew not to risk losing his popularity amongst the men by destroying their fun. Training would obviously recommence tomorrow.
Cirad stood alone on the edge, deep in thought. What could he do now? He could return to his room and train alone. Or he could go home.
He felt a slight twinge of guilt when he realised his last trip home was almost a fortnight ago. He returned to his room to replace his sword and adjust the dial on the door. Then he started out into the city.

It didn’t take him long to find his way through the dirty streets. His house was on a narrow street, the tall buildings looming up on either side. He opened his front door and stepped inside.
Iorleth looked up from the bread she was kneading, a smile spread over her face.
“Cirad” she exclaimed joyfully. “So you decided to grace us with your presence!”
Cirad smiled wryly as he removed his cloak. He decided not to give his wife time to start another barrage of complaint and swept her into his arms instead.
“Good to see you again” she whispered into his shoulder. She turned her face to the little girl playing with a rag doll next to the fire.
“Briora, have you got a kiss for your Daddy?” she asked.
The toddler shook her solemn face vigorously, backing hastily away towards the bedrooms.
“She’s scared of you!” Iorleth laughed breaking away from her husband’s embrace.

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Subject: Truce?

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Date Posted: 21:43:22 01/02/03 Thu

Brooke extended her one hand towards her. Anawiel tilted her head to one side, as if in deep thought.

"A truce? How...quaint. But very kind of you to offer all the same. I shall except - for now - though as a truce requires some mutual agreement I must warn you that you are really very stupid to talk of Sauron, whether you are bound to him or not, in that manner. You forget Brooke - some are bound to him and his purpose. They do not take kindly to such seemingly offhand, egotistical remarks on your part."

Anawiel shook the faerilev's hand and then frowned before taking a long drag from her pipe. There was, she thought, very little more she could say to Brooke on the subject of the Dark Lord. There are only so many warnings and hints you can give a person and the witch wished to keep whatever amount of anonimity she still had in the city.

The windwalker was alright, though, and Brooke definately needed a constant level-head nearby her, it seemed.

"Remember that the offer of my lodgings are always open to you, and in the face of this snowstorm I insist you both stay for the night - not matter how much you dislike small spaces. I can always give you something to releave any claustriphobia."

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Subject: Re: Truce?

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Date Posted: 07:18:19 01/03/03 Fri

"I think best we accept her offer Brooke." Whitemoon said, turning to Brooke. Brooke wrinkled her nose, "I've been in snow storms before, Whitemoon but if it's to your liking very well we'll stay. As for talking lightly about the Darklord, it does not matter to me, the only person who could come close to doing something about isn't around here and besides we're both serving the same person for now and Sauron has given orders not to harm me. Now if were staying here I'd prefer if the windows were open this place needs air."

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Subject: Note: TTT- Aragorn comes off a waterfall! I was here first!!!

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Date Posted: 11:32:38 01/03/03 Fri

"Arwen, can you hear me?"

How did I know you'd turn up. It was an odd thought to have really, when only moments before she had been ready to face death.

A world span out infront of her. The hills and tree she had never seen before, stretched for miles. Yet she would face death alone. This world was empty, void of love, laughter or any emotion. So when she felt the gentle voice from no-where call to her again, she answered it.

"Arwen, can you hear me?"
She coughed, the breath she needed to stay alive. Slowly opening her eyes, and seeing her brothers faces watching her, she began to cry.

Tears pouring freely from her face, she tried to sit up, resting her hands on the rock behind her.
"I think we should probably go home now."

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Subject: More things to say that I hope will b better than this, but u guys wont read if its longer will you?

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Date Posted: 17:18:18 01/03/03 Fri

Namün was tired. Maybe not cold anymore, but still tired. And guilty as well. No matter what situation their relationship was in, and even she wasn’t sure of exactly what it was, she had still betrayed him.
I have to tell him, she thought. I have to find him, and apologise. And even if he finishes it- at least I won’t be lying to him. And things can’t get any worse than they are already.
Harion was right about that. And he was right about something else as well. I have to stay away from Madjael. For now at least. He just complicates things. For both of us. It’s better off if I don’t try to find him.

The door to Aragorn’s room was open slightly, and a breeze stirred inside. Normally, that meant he was still awake, working. However late it was, time seemed to have no meaning for the king. He would stay up as long as it took to fulfil his duty, even while she slept in the bed next door. She smiled to herself at memories of stirring in the middle of the night when he pulled her into his arms, trying not to wake her from her dreams. Even if he didn’t love her, he had treated her as well as he could. He deserved her apology.

"Aragorn, I’m…"

But the words died on her lips. The room was empty. Empty but for the girl lying asleep in the bed. She stared at her, black eyes showing no emotion, before turning and running from the room. Back to the servants quarters, where she belonged. Where she would always belong.


The oppressive heat of summer hung in the air, tainting everything with a feeling of lethargy. Namün was barefoot, the warmth of the earth caressing her toes, even where the sun no longer touched the ground. As a soft twilight began to blanket the city, she turned into an alley, treading carefully to avoid hurting her soles on sharp cobblestones.

Three men appeared, surrounded her. Looking up into the unshaven face of the tallest, she felt the first pangs of fear. She stepped back, tried to run, but he grabbed and threw her back into a wall. She hit her head. Sharp pain shot through her body and she lay still for a moment, spots on her vision.

Before she could rise again, someone was behind her, pinning her to the ground. In the dim light, she could see another man blocking the entrance to the alley. She screamed, but no one answered.
Another man stood over her. Terrified now, and knowing what was to come, she hit out with her legs, kicking every part of him that she could reach. The force of it stung her bare soles, but they were like flies dashing against his powerful body. He grasped both her ankles, holding them down.

"That’s enough now, little girl," he told her with a grin, "Just hold still and it won’t hurt- much anyway."
His smile was cruel, and as soon as he released her, she lashed out again, desparately.
"I said that was enough!" he growled. A knife flashed down and across her chest before she had time to blink. She gasped, numb.

But only numb for a moment. And then the pain was there, fiercer than anything she could have imagined. Blood welled immediately from the gash and stained her clothes crimson. It burned. Stones dug sharply into her back, and her head throbbed insistently, in time with the fevered drumming of her heart. She was going to die…


…she woke up, breathing heavily. It had felt so real, too real. There had been nightmares before of course, but none so vivid. It had almost been as if she had been there again, seeing, hearing, feeling.
But it’s ok, I’m safe. It was only a dream. None of it was real.

So why does it feel like it ?

Over in the other bed, Kirya suddenly gave a tiny scream, thrashing wildly against the sheets. Namün leapt up and ran to her, gently shaking her awake.
"Kirya, it’s just a dream. Wake up. Wake up!"
Her friend stared at her in fear, then slowly relaxed as the tension drained from her and her sobs lessenned.
"You too?" she asked, touching Namün’s cheek with a hand that was still shaking. Her fingers came away wet. Until then, Namün hadn’t even noticed that she’d been crying. She nodded confirmation.
"Was it… ?"
"Yes. Can we not talk about it."
"If you like."
Kirya rose and went to the window, peering outside. Her gloom seemed to have passed already. Kirya was like that- she seemed to push all emotions aside with ease. It could be very disconcerting.
"We’re late. It’ll be dawn soon."
"Late? But it’s still dark."
"Winter you see," the maid turned to look at her in amusement. "Are you telling me you haven’t been up before first light at all this winter? He’s spoiling you."
Namün looked down to hide new tears that threatened, but Kirya breezed on without noticing.
"Anyway, are you going to get up. There’s snow outside- had you noticed? We’ll have lots to do today."
"Yes, I had noticed the snow," she said dryly, thinking back to last night. It reminded her of something else. "And no, I can’t. I’m supposed to see Lady Aryante about something."

About what? What’s so important it can’t wait, or be done by somebody else?

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Subject: Cont.

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Date Posted: 21:38:31 01/03/03 Fri

The witch thought very carefully for the moment. It seemed the young girl was set on irritating her, despite all Anawiel's futile attempts to be civil.

"I'm sorry," Anawiel said shortly, "But if I was to open a window all the snow would come in and I do not fancy wasting either my magic or my time on cleaning this room come the morning. Now, please follow me and I shall show you to your quarters."

The redhead stood, stubbing out her pipe in the hearth before turning to climb the narrow wooden staircase. The steps were steep and creaked under foot while each of foot, or paws, set a light puff of dust off into the air.

Upstairs, the house seemed to be almost twice the size as the downstairs with a short corridor lined with five doors all shut and fixed with battered locks.

Without hesitation Anawiel turned to the first door she came to on her left. She drew out a thick brass key from some unknown pocket and unlocked the door smoothly, despite the squeek and clank of metal from inside the lock.

Stepping lithly into the room she opened the drawn curtains letting light in to display a large room with simple pale wood furniture and two identical single beds covered in bright white sheets.

"I trust this room is too your liking and will serve you both the night. If you require anything please do not hesitate to ask," Anawiel spoke quickly and to the point, "Brooke, Wolf," she inclined her head to them both, "Goodnight."

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Subject: Hunting

The Wolf Pack
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Date Posted: 21:52:21 01/03/03 Fri

Leon dug his spurs into his horse's side again and felt the rush that accompanied the burst of speed and the animal's whinney of pain. They had been riding for about four hours now and at last the sun was up and he could gaze over the mangey heads of the rest of The Pack. They were disgusting. Greasy hair from months cooped up in the dungeons bellow Minas Tirith, clothes ragged and stained with human waste. Even The Wolf himself looked worse for wear after his years imprisonment. Now however they were free and things would change.
Curse the king, Leon though angrily. Curse him to Mordor!

"We stop here," The Wolf called, each of the pack reined in their horses and they slowed to a jagged halt.
Leon swung from his horse, tied the exhausted beast to a tree near the lake and moved to sit by the camp fire his brother was starting.

Marak grinned up at him, showing a mouth half full of blackened teeth. "You took your time, hog-face."
"I had to water my horse. I notice you didn't bother again. That animal is going to keel over any day now."
"If it does I'll steal another," Marak replied easily and fished around his pack for the sausages they had lifted from some old biddy's kitchen that morning. The sizzle of real food started Leon drooling and he reached towards the pan full of half cooked sausages greedily. "Ouch!" he exclaimed as Marak slapped the flat of the blade he was using to turn the food onto his outstretched hand. "You son of a whore! What did you do that for?"
"As ugly as you are I don't want you to die from uncooked food like Gorick did last year."
"That's very touching," Leon grimaced.
"It is isn't it?" His half brother's face wrinkled into another smile, the dirt between the cracks making him seem even more hideous in the early dawn light. His cooking knife brushed against Leon's thoat and his eyes became agates. "Now take back what you said about my mother."

Silence then..."I take it back!"
The knife was withdrawn and Leon let out the breath he had been holding onto.
"Food's done," Marak grunted after a while.
Around them the rest of The Pack had set up fires of their own in the tiny groups of people they could almost trust. Like Leon and Marak however each group had an uneasy truce. The Pack had learned early on that it was unwise to form friendships.
Leon tried to glare at his brother but the sheer bordom of not talking forced him to comment idly, "so what d'ya think of this mission?"
Marak took another bite of his sausage before answering. "Its a mission now is it? A holy mission from the all mighty gods perhaps?"
He snapped, "forget it."
The silence between them grew once more.
"Its interesting," Marak replied thoughtfully after a moment.
"How so?"
"Well, this guy lets us out of the dungeons five years too early and sends us to do something that the palace guards could do easier and faster."
Marak sighed. "You really do have the brains of a goat don't you brother. Obviously the man is not to be trusted."
"So? Neither are we."
"Precisly." His brother nodded and gestured with his knife. "I hope The Wolf knows what he's doing this time."

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Subject: News

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Date Posted: 21:59:19 01/03/03 Fri

“Lady Aryante?”
“Namün, how nice to see you. Please sit down.”
The girl followed her nervously past bustling servants busily preparing for the departure, into Aryante’s own personal rooms. The door closed behind them.
“I trust you had a restful night? Although to look at you, I would think you hadn’t slept at all. I thought I told you to rest.”
“I tried, but…” Namün trailed off uneasily.
“Don’t look so scared girl, I’m not going to hurt you,” Aryante assured her. “Now, do you want to talk about it?”
“I-” she began, before suddenly breaking down into tears. “I’m sorry,” she sniffed, “It’s just…there’s been a lot going on lately. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
“Well I do,” Aryante said seriously. “Namün, you’re pregnant.”

“Pregnant?” the girl broke in, staring at her in shock. She shook her head furiously. “I can’t be.”
“I assure you, you are. About 6 weeks, by my judgement.”
“There’s no question about it.” She looked at Namün closely, trying to comprehend the reason for her apparent fear. “I take it Elessar is the father?”
She nodded, then looked at her urgently. “He can’t know! This is going to spoil everything! Promise me you won’t tell him.”
Aryante moved away. “I can’t do that. He’s my king, he has a right to know. Whether you like it or not, you are carrying his child. What you’re asking me to do is commit treason.”
She looked at her sympathetically, “You’re not going to be able to keep this quiet forever. He will find out. But it’s better that you should tell him.”
“I’m not ready- I need time to think things through.”
She sighed. “I’m leaving in about an hour, and I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. I won’t tell him today, but if he doesn’t know by the time I return, I’ll have to say something. There’s your time.”
“You should know I’m not happy about this. But I suppose-
in the meantime, you’re going to have to look after yourself. You need to rest more, and eat more as well. You’re too thin, and you’re not getting all the nutrients you need. Remember, it’s the welfare of a child at stake as well now.”
Again the girl nodded passively. “I…have to go. I need to think.”
“I understand. Take care of yourself child.”
“I’ll try,” she whispered.

Safe behind the door of her room, she began to tremble. What do I do now? How can I leave him when he’s the father of my baby?

And yet- how can I stay? How can I trap him when I know he doesn’t love me?

I don’t think I can do this on my own.

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Subject: Sitting in deep thought

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Date Posted: 11:14:22 01/04/03 Sat

Madjael was tired.

Tired beyond all belief.

He sat on his own in the corner of the barracks, smoking like a chimmney as he always did when he wanted to be left alone. His face to look at, was pale, the skin stretched tight and gaunt marred only by a thin deep red cut that crossed his left cheek and a thin spattering of blood across his forehead.

There was no one else in the barracks to see him like this. They had all, including Cirad, returned home, to wives and children after the attack the previous night. But Madjael had close to nowhere to go, just to his mother's quarters where he knew he would not receive a warm reception.

He drew his knees up to his bare, blackened chest resting his weary head upon them. The blood on his forehead dripped down onto the brown leather of his trousers, as did the old sweat still in his dirty blond hair. (AN - have forgotten what colour his hair is. Am going with blond cos we need a blond guy who is most definately male. Unlike Legolas...)

Madjael wondered if Namun had got back to the palace the night he'd left her with the young man at the tavern. Was she okay? Would she think at all about what he'd said to her? Would she believe him?

He sighed and then winced from a sharp pain in his ribs. Targan had told him in the early hours that Madjael had probabaly broken a least two ribs.

Guess I should go to the healing houses, he thought to himself rising slowly to his feet doing his best to ignore the pain that covered his body. Grabbing a long leather coat he stepped out into the cold air.

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Subject: The beginning of the end [again i might add]

Aragorn and Namun
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Date Posted: 18:03:02 01/04/03 Sat

The warmth of the castle wormed its way into his numb fingers as Minas Tirith’s king pushed the outside door closed, locking the world of innocent snowball fights firmly outside. He reached his study without attracting the attention of too many servants, his robes discarded on his wife’s bedroom floor. It was as if he was no longer the same person. King Elessar had vanished to be replaced with Strider the ranger. His old hide coat still smelt of the empty moors. It carried memories.

While attention was drawn to him as the king it seemed to veer away from him as Strider. Outside his study door he waited until Cannyc’s familiar figure appeared. The servant ignored him until Aragorn caught hold of his arm.
“Please could you ask Arainamün Girion to join me in my study?”
It took a moment for Cannyc to associate the wandering vagrant with his king, but once the connection was made he rushed off.


A knock. “Come in, Namün.” Aragorn looked up as the door swung open but the person who walked through it was not Namün.
“She’s not in the kitchen, your majesty.”
Aragorn raised his eyebrows. “Then go and find her.”
"The kitchen staff say she, er, hasn't been there since yesterday afternoon," the man said uncomfortably. "They assumed she was with you."
"Obviously she isn't," he snapped irritably. Cannyc flinched and Aragorn sighed. "Please, Cannyc. It's very important that I see Namün as quickly as possible."


Namün lay on her bed, her eyes tracing the cracks in the ceiling. The fingers that twisted anxiously together came to an abrupt halt as a soft knocking at the door echoed into the draughty chamber. She sat up and swung to the floor, brushing errant strands of hair from eyes that were both crowded with worry and flashing from irritation at being disturbed.
"What is it?"
"His Majesty asks if you would please attend upon him at your earliest convenience. It's very important."
As important as the future of your child? she wondered silently, but managed to keep her voice relatively calm to reply.
"I'm sorry, but it's not a good time. Will you please make your excuses to Elessar for me?"
"He's not going to be happy," the servant warned her.
"Well he'll have to live with it. Maybe His Majesty should realise that we don't exist just for his pleasure!" she snapped, falling back to her pillow. Cannyc waited for a few moments, and then came the sound of a door closing resignedly.


"She won't come?" he asked again, the shock still lingering in his voice.
Cannyc shifted uneasily under his monarch’s steely gaze. "No, your majesty."
"Did she say why?"
"She did not."
The flicker of emotions that played over his face assured Aragorn that the man was with-holding something but Cannyc was obviously uncomfortable enough already. He rose from his chair and paced to the window, each muscle tense. "Perhaps if you tell her I am planning on leaving the city by noon she will reconsider." He stared out across the snowy courtyard, one hand resting on the window frame, the other clasping the Evenstar tightly. "I have to speak to her before I go," he said turning back. "Please bring her here, it important."


“Please Arainamün, King Elessar is planning on leaving the city by noon! You have to go to him," Cannyc pleaded with her.
"I said no." Namün remained immovable.
Losing his temper, Cannyc near shouted "I insist you come with me!"
“Insist? Insist!" Namün’s eyes narrowed dangerously as she lost her fragile control on her fraught temper. "What will you do?" Abruptly she held out her shaking wrists. "Will you drag me to him? Bring me there unwilling? Treat me as the whore you believe me to be?" Only the slightest quaver in her voice let slip the fact that she hovered too near tears. Cannyc observed her indecisively. "No," he admitted, defeated, "I won't. What should I tell him?"
She turned and stalked away, composing her face. "You can tell Aragorn that I am not his lap dog! I do not come on his command, nor will I sit, stay, beg or roll over.” Slamming the door shut, and realising that by now she was playing with fire, she added furiously, “I’m not a toy!”


Swiftly he moved through the corridors, Cannyc running after him, desperately trying to halt his progress. Heads turned as the two passed by but no one spoke. The palace was deathly silent.
Outside her room Aragorn stopped, one gloved hand reached for the doorknob.
"Sire, I don't think it would be wise-" Cannyc managed before the latch clicked open and Aragorn had disappeared inside.

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Subject: Lacerations in the family

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Date Posted: 21:57:03 01/04/03 Sat

Cirad gazed into the fireplace. Flames had always fascinated him. He could sit still and stare for hours without getting bored. Well... he could if he let himself.
Discipline. That was what had got him this far in his career. That was what would take him further.

Iorleth entered the room quietly after putting Briora to bed. She collected up the plates and headed for the sink.
"Have you had enough to eat?" she asked with concern "I'm sure they don't feed you enough at the barracks"
Cirad laughed
"If I ate as much everyday as you've fed me, I wouldn't be able to move." He got up and clasped his wife round the waist.
"Leave this lot" he indicated the plates. "you can do that when I've gone." Iorleth looked at the floor for a few seconds miserably.
"You're... you're not staying?" she asked, not trusting herself to face him properly. Cirad sighed, this happened every time he came home.

"You know I can't" he said gently, lifting her chin till he met her eyes. "We've been through this before" he kissed her softly. Iorleth rested her head against his shoulder.
"I still miss you" she murmured. Cirad stroked her hair gently.
"I know... but that's why we had Briora, to keep you company." Iorleth felt tears prick in her eyes. Was he really that stupid? Was this the man she loved?
"A child needs her father." she whispered bitterly through clenched teeth. Cirad broke away slightly.
"Now you're being stupid" he said. "We agreed about this ages ago. Besides, I'm no good with children. You said yourself that she was scared of me."
"That's because she doesn't know you." Iorleth let her voice rise. "She's jealous because she normally has me to herself. If she saw you every day, she'd soon love
"That's enough!" Cirad shouted. He strode over to the fireplace and leant over, resting his hands on the chimney.

Silence reigned in the room. The crackling fire was the only sound. Iorleth stood alone by the sink, her face turned away, eyes closed as if trying to keep the pain inside.
"I love you Cirad" she said at last. Cirad turned to face her slowly.
"I love you too" he admitted honestly.
"There must be a way..." she continued, Cirad waited for her to finish.
"Perhaps if you asked them properly, at the right time... they'd let you stay at home?"

Cirad turned away again. Like a dog with a bone, she was so persistent. He grimaced as he remembered he'd never told her that he'd recently been offered the chance to do
just that. He had refused, offering to stay at the barracks instead. They had respected him for that decision. Putting his king before his family. That was when they offered
him his last promotion.

"I have to stay at the barracks" he spoke into the fire. "I have a lot of responsibility, men look up to me, they need to see me and know where to find me at any time."
"But they could come here!" Iorleth burst out desperately.
"We don't live far from the barracks, I would rather have men knocking at the door and taking you away all through the night... If it meant you could live with me."

"I said, that's enough!" Cirad bellowed.
A child's whimpering cries came from the next room.
"Now you've made me wake her up" he sighed with exasperation. "It always ends like this, every time. And you wonder why I don't come home frequently!"
Iorleth's eyes opened wide,
"I thought you came home rarely because you were so busy" she whispered slowly, as if listening to the reason for the first time. She had accepted all his excuses without a
flinch. But when you thought about it, being 'busy' wasn't exactly a convincing reason.

She stared at the floor, ignoring her daughter's cries.
"Is it another woman?" she asked, her voice bitter and dark. Cirad stared at her in surprise
"Of course not. I only love you, you know that... It's my job. You appreciate the money I earn, you just can't accept the job description. You can't have your cake and eat it."
"I care nothing for the money!" Iorleth screamed. "Just as you care nothing for us. Like you said, you can't have both Cirad. What do you want, your career or your
family?" she stamped her foot in frustrated anger.

Cirad turned, collected his cloak from the peg and opened the door.
"My king" he said simply, and left. The door slammed shut.
Iorleth raced across the room and tore it open, tears streaming down her face.
"Cirad!" she cried. "Please, come back, I didn't mean it... Cirad?" She couldn't see him.
Iorleth ran along the street, the snow had nearly gone, but the air was still bitterly cold and she was only wearing a short sleeved dress. She reached the junction and looked
both ways. He was nowhere in sight. She shivered violently, tears still falling. She ignored the stares of passers by.
"I love you Cirad!" she yelled as loud as she could, burning her throat and lungs in her effort to let him hear her.
He still didn't return, she sank to her knees, her apron blending in with the remains of dirty snow.

"Come on, let's get you home" a friendly voice called. Iorleth looked up hopefully, but it wasn't Cirad pulling her to her feet. It was one of her neighbours, a nice man, but
not who she wanted to see. He supported her with a strong arm under her shoulders and escorted her back to her house. Briora was standing in the doorway crying. Iorleth stirred herself and scooped her daughter into her arms.
"Thank you." she whispered to her neighbour, he nodded.
"No problem, shall I drop in tomorrow to check you're alright?" he asked. Iorleth nodded wearily, she didn't really care.

She closed the door behind her and carried Briora over towards the fire. The tears had stopped, but it felt as if there was a huge aching hole inside of her.
"Has Daddy gone?" Briora asked. Iorleth nodded slowly, closing her eyes as they began to prick again. She felt her daughters fingers caress her cheek gently.
"Don't cry mummy." Briora said cheerfully. "Now it's just us."

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Subject: Re: Cont

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Date Posted: 06:19:52 01/09/03 Thu

Brooke coughed to cover her laugher when Anawiel called Whitemoon a wolf. Whitemoon glared at her then turned back to Anawiel. "My name is Whitemoon, please refrain from calling me wolf. I have not heard anyone call me that some hundred years." He looked back at Brooke who was now sitting on the bed, her shoulders shaking with supressed laughter. "And please excuse my pupil this is the first time she hears someone call me that and thinks it funny."

Brooke finally took control of her laugher and looked at Anawiel. "At least you know how to make someone laugh, and by the way you do realize I will still have to do my job?"
Whitemoon shook his head, walked to a corner and layed down.

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Subject: Job?

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Date Posted: 20:25:30 01/10/03 Fri

Anawiel had been trying to leave as soon as possible. It wasn't as though she didn't have anything to do - no, quite the opposite. There was much that needed to be arranged.

"I beg your pardon, Whitemoon. I did not realize the Windwalker's now found that term inappropriate. I have only known one other of your kind and that was how I refered to him - but then again, that was a long time ago and things have changed here in Middle-Earth. I apologise most profusely."

She turned her head frowning towards Brooke, "As for you," Anawiel lowered her eyebrows, "Your job does not yet concern me. You may do it if you will. Goodnight."

The witch turned out of the door for the second time closing it decidedly behind her.

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Subject: The morning after...

Sircyn [long time no see]
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Date Posted: 21:26:04 01/25/03 Sat

The hard crunch of the last night's snow crackled under the general's standard army issue boots. He wore no gloves as they would be nothing but a hinderance in battle and the cold gnawed at icy fingers, his crippled hand aching acutely as he strode along the outer wall. Bleak faced soldiers still sat up here though the order to return home had come in the early hours of the morning. Like Sircyn they stayed because they either had no homes to go to or because they did not want to surrender the wall after the night's events.

In the general's case it was a mixture of the two. His gazed passed briefly over the dishelved men spotting the members his own legion. He inclined his head by manner of a greeting but the sharp movement sent his mind reeling and he stumbled, almost falling. Immediately he was surrounded by the worried figures of his soldiers each offering his seat around the fire. Dropping even the appearance of vitality Sircyn drooped wearily.

"Have you slept tonight?" Merriam inquired.
Sircyn raised his head again. "Have you?"
"I didn't loose as much blood as you," his sergeant replied briskly his eyes flickering to the crimson stained material knotted tightly around the general's upper arm.
"I'm fine." He tried to stand up, his eyes widening slightly as he caught sight of Falden pushed his way purposefully towards him but Merriam pushed him back down gently.
Kneeling beside Sircyn Falden pulled a needle from one of his numerous extra pockets he had sewed onto his uniform to accommodate his medical supplies and started threading a length of undyed thread through its eye.
"Why didn't you go to the healing houses, sir?" he asked concern in his dark eyes.
"Can't stand that place," Sircyn growled as the makeshift bandage was removed and the blood started flowing freely from the deep gash once more. Bowls of boiling water were brought quickly for the men had suspected their general's unwillingness to attend the healers, having encountered it many times before and dispite his grunts of pain the wound was soon closed and bandaged cleanly. A mug of what was Sircyn could only suppose to be tea was placed in his good hand as Falden cleaned his instruments.

"Thanks," he said as the young soldier prepared to leave to get his own breakfast. "Can't stand those prissy healers."
Falden smiled. "It was my pleasure sir."
Sircyn held out the hand not holding the mug which the medic shock firmly causing the general to wince in pain.
A frown crossed the youth's dark face. "You really should've had that hand seen to earlier, sir."
"I know, Falden. You say that everytime."
"It's still true, sir."
"Our medic was killed early on in the War of the Ring. My patrol did what they could. That I can still use the hand is a credit to Riante especially." He looked up at the group of men gathered around the flickering camp fire. "Where is the old rascal anyway? He's usually the one who stiches me up after this kind of thing."
"He was injured during the fighting last night," Falden sighed. "I'm afraid he died just before dawn."

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Subject: Fire and Water

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Date Posted: 22:43:20 01/25/03 Sat

The sound of the hoofbeats thudding rhythmically to the ground filled her ears, calming her with their solid regularity. As Carenina cantered smoothly away from Minas Tirith, Faeirex’s tears had dried on her cheeks and her anger had faded, flowing away from her and being trampled beneath pounding hooves. The sun had long since risen and now chill rays penetrated the lattice of leaves above to scatter a speckled light along the forest floor, highlighting the glitter of morning frost.
The horse was perfect; responding to every touch and change of her mood. Like every Carenina before her she had been trained especially to match Faeirex and although it was the first time she had ridden this particular horse, they blended together seamlessly. The thought caused her to draw up and slow the pace to a walk.

“Each new generation I will raise one of Carenina’s line to bear you.”

How long had it been since she had last ridden a horse of this blood? Yet five thousand years later, it continued. Aralias had never forgotten, not even in the millennia when they hadn’t spoken, and she had tried to forget his very existance.
How could I say those things to him?

I’m sorry, Lia, she thought, even if I’ll never say it to your face. You’d never let me forget it, would you? Why can we never meet without fighting?

She looked down, “Do you know, Carenina? Why do I always fight with my brother?”
Carenina snorted and she gave a sudden silvery laugh which sounded alien in the frosty silence, “Because he’s cool and smooth like water, but I’m bright and changing like the fire. The two don’t mix, you know.”
She sobered up suddenly. “But water always wins over fire in the end. Fire destroys, but it only takes a little water to quench it.
Is that going to happen to us?”

Again, no response but a brief shake of a mane. On impulse, Faeirex leant down to embrace the snowy white neck that heaved from the night’s exertions. Straightening up, she noticed that Carenina was favoring her right foreleg. Instantly, she dismounted.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
The leg was slightly swollen.
“I’m sorry,” she apologised, overcome with contrition, “I shouldn’t have ridden you so far, or so fast.”
Carenina swung her head and nosed at her shoulder gently, taking a purposeful step towards the gently flowing river.
“That’s right, go drink. We’ll stay here for the rest of the day, until your leg’s healed enough to move again.”
She followed her horse to the river bank, enticed by the dancing rays of light and the way the water was clear enough to see the water-smoothed pebbles on the bottom. Silver fish flashed in the depths, but the warmth of the scene was belied by the way delicate fingers of ice stretched out hungrily from the bank, ensnaring russet leaves in their frozen touch. Squatting, she tested the temperature with slim fingers. It was icy.
All the same, she was overcome with an undeniable urge to bathe, and wash away the dust, the pain and the memory of the King of Gondor. While her skin was clear and unsullied, the touch of his eyes had left her feeling dirty inside, somewhere she couldn’t reach.

She undressed swiftly, folding the windblown gown and placing it gently inside her saddlebag. It would probably never be worn again, but something so beautiful could not just be discarded. Besides, it was yet another mark of how much Lia really did care, even if he could never say so in words. And that was something far too precious to be lost.

The water was cold against her skin, but not unbearably so. Elves were far more resistant to cold than humans. It did something else though, freezing emotions inside of her. For the first time in months, Faeirex was totally calm and dispassionate. The future was ahead, and she could not hold it back. She could only wait. The fight would come, eventually. It was only a matter of time…

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Subject: The last night's attack

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Date Posted: 21:04:09 01/27/03 Mon

Sircyn swore under his breath and blinked back the unmanly tears that peeked out at the mention of his oldest friend's death. Life was tough, Riante's death while a personal tragedy would not cause the world to stop spinning.

"He died peacefully," Falden lied gently, blocking out memories of the man's agonised screams as they had yanked the spear head from his calf muscle.
"I didn't even notice."
"Few people notice anything in a heated battle," Merriam interjected.
Sircyn nodded slowly in agreement as his own words flowed from the younger man's mouth. He had trained these men well, they all knew and knew well that there was no room for over sentimentalism in war.
Last night had not been war though. No, last night had been a massacre. Whoever had released the prisoners from their cells had apparently no intention of them actually killing any of the king's soldiers. Infact, as Sircyn looked around, it soon became clear that only Riante and Madjeal were missing from his men. He crossed to the edge of the wall and looked over its edge. From this height he could see the group of soldiers, now armed with shovels, who had been given the odious task of burying the dead ememy. The pile of bodies was emormous. Exhausted from their life in the dark and hunger stricken, they had been in no condition to fight and they had died for it.

The general's mind started to race. If they were just going to die what was the purpose of freeing them unless, Sircyn's brain whirled, "unless," he murmered outloud "they were but a distraction."
"My thoughts exactly," Merriam agreed joining the general by the wall. "But a distraction for what?"
"I don't know," Sircyn confessed. In the distance the men with the shovels had stopped digging and had started picking up the bodies and dumping them in the new hole.

And suddenley he knew.
"Stop!" he yelled at the top of his voice.
The men on the wall stared in astonishment; down on the ground however the work continued, his words had not reached them. He started running, taking the steps two at a time. People stared in astonishment as the elderly general flashed past, iron grey hair streaming behind him.

Finally he reached them and bellowed the order again.
They stopped and he managed to gasp, "how... many dead?"
"Are you alright?"
Frantically Sircyn waved aside their concerns. "How many are dead?" he demanded of the nearest soldier.
"I don't know," the man stammered adding a hurried "sir" as Sircyn glared at him.
"Find out then."

Minutes passed. Sircyn stood and watched as they hauled the dead from the pit and lined them up for counting. It was fortunate, the general reflected, that the day was so cold or the stench would've been unbareable.
"Fifty six, sir," the captain reported after about an hour had passed.
"Thankyou," he replied before dashing off again to the dungeons. If his suspcions were correct...well, there would be time to worry about that later.

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Subject: The breakup (finally)

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Date Posted: 22:24:28 01/27/03 Mon

The sobbing form of Namün clung to the coarse sheets of her bed. Each cry racked her slight body and for a moment he wanted to go to her, to hold her.
The moment passed.
That time had passed.

“Namün,” she looked up, cheeks streaked with tears. “I don’t think of you as my lap dog.” He tried for a grin but it died on his face.
“I don’t want to talk about this right now,” she said flatly.
"We don't always get what we want," he reminded her, seating himself on the bed. "In fact I might even go so far as to say we almost never get what we want. In this case you don't want to talk to me, the situation is however unavoidable. I am here and we are having a conversation." He scanned her face in a vain effort to deduce anything from her expression.
There was nothing. Nothing but pain.
The guilt over whelmed him and he stood and moved away. "Cannyc informs me he has told you I plan to leave the city as soon as is feasible."
He broke off struggling for the words that refused to come at his call. "I do not know how long I shall be gone. I didn't want to go without seeing you first." Without saying goodbye

"You shouldn't have bothered," she muttered shakily, "It's not as if it will make a difference. I don't exist, remember?"
"Your words, not mine!" he sparked back, rounding on her, forgetting momentarily the reason for his visit. "If you insist on behaving like a child can you honestly blame me for occasionally treating you as one?"
"When have I ever behaved like a child? Tell me that, Elessar. If you seek for the infant, look to your own door. It holds a mirror to your face!" she spat at him, finally raising a face to his that flashed an angry challenge.
"You're calling me a child?" he bellowed, incensed. "I came down here to have a civilised conversation with you, apparently that was too high an expectation. Instead I find you having a temper tantrum!" He tried to collect himself and failed. "Look again in that mirror Namün. Who's the child?"
"The one who hides who he really is!" she screamed back, all rational thoughts long since abandoned. "The one who locks himself behind honour, and tradition, and duty, and allows himself to be smothered because he lacks the courage to go against the masses! The one who hides me away like a guilty secret, yet urges others to stand up and take responsibility for their actions! If we stand here like this today, it is not because I didn't try. You hold my heart, yet it has no more worth to you than the clothes I stand in. It truly is a case of out of sight, out of mind. Is my body not enough for you, that I must return to find another woman in your bed?"
"I have no idea what you are talking about," he growled. "And let me assure you, I wish that it were a case of out of sight, out of mind. If I thought it were, I would have made my exit some time ago and you would be but a distant memory. As it is you mean enough for me to remain in the humiliating situation a while longer. But beware, madam, you can push me little further."

"And so the wise and noble king resorts to threats now, does he? "Do you think I fear your wrath?!"
His hand moved like lightening, flashing round and catching her wrist in an iron grip. He leant in close to her so she could not miss the message in his eyes and hissed, "You should."
Their eyes locked, his angry, threatening, yet sorrowful; hers aflame with a wild fury that beat itself vainly against his stony exterior. Slowly, the anger drained from her face.
“Don’t what?”
“Don’t make me do this now. You don’t understand.”
“Then why don’t you try to explain it to me?”
“I can’t.”
“Then don’t expect me to understand!” he yelled.
Namün tried to ignore a wince of pain as his fingers tightened on her arm. “I don’t,” she whispered. “I’m sorry.”
She looked down, swallowed, then looked up again tentatively. "I didn't mean what I said- any of it. I was just angry.
I didn't realise what I was saying."

"You did and both you and I know you meant it." He released her arm, dismayed to see the prints of his fingers burning red around her wrist. Traitorous eyes moved her shoulder where the mark of those who took what they wanted from life was still visible through the gauze of her shirt.

"This is what happens without you," he murmured distraught, and moved quickly away from the girl who was not Arwen. "I am nothing."

“Aragorn-“ she began hesitantly, then stopped. This was it. The two of them trembled on the brink of an abyss, and she could pull them back, and face the consequences of what followed, or let them fall.
All she had to do was say the words. Two words, and that would be it, their lives would be inextricably linked. Not, perhaps, as lovers; they had gone too far for that already. But they would be bound. Yes, she loved him, but how long before the bonds became shackles? How could they be anything but, when he loved another?
Yet to stay silent- she would lose not only him, but her life. She would have to leave the city, find a place where nobody knew her, begin again. Alone. And can I do it? Am I strong enough to bring up a child on my own, and never let anybody know the truth?

I don’t think so.

But then he turned, and she saw his face, and knew everything. Knew what he was about to tell her. Knew that he could never know the truth, and what she had to do. What she had to say.
“This isn’t working, is it?”
And she was falling…
“You’re leaving.” More of a statement than a question. The answer was written too plainly. “To find your wife?”
Slowly, agonisingly, he nodded.
“I…” he swallowed. “I am so sorry.”
He couldn’t look at her, at her face carefully blank to hide the pain he knew she must be feeling. “She’s dying…” he looked back at Namün, knowing she deserved to hear what came next. Her lower lip trembled and he swallowed the words: I love her. “I have to go to her.”

“I know,” she told him, feeling numb. “You- you need her. I am not so blinded that I cannot see how you die without her.”
There was nothing he could say. He could not deny what the both knew to be true; it was too late now. “I expected…”
“You expected what? That I would weep and wail?” She looked away, the effort of self-control vast. “I won’t say it isn’t on my mind. But you won’t see me cry again Aragorn, I can promise you that.”
“I should probably go,” the warrior king found himself muttering.

She sat down on the bed and stared at her hands, trying to put thoughts into words. “I was only twelve when I first saw you, you know. The city was under siege, and the people were so sure that everything was lost, and we would die that day. And I was frightened, because I had seen so little, and I didn’t want to die. But I was angry too, because they were invading my home and there was nothing I could do about it except wait. And then you came with your army, and the star on your brow and the banner of kings, and you pushed them back and we were saved. The people were shouting that the line of Elendil had returned, and you would bring glory back to Gondor. I didn’t think you looked any different from any other man at first. But then the Lady Undomiel arrived, and you looked different. You looked so strong, and as if nothing could ever defeat you, or stop you from doing what was right, or bringing peace and happiness to her. That’s what true love is, isn’t it?”
“I doubt I am a good judge of that any more.”
“Don’t be so sure.”
Namün looked up through where the tumbled curtain of her hair framed her face. She was young…too young. “How long will you be gone?”
“I can’t be sure.”
She nodded, “I’ll be gone by the time you get back.”
“You don’t have to leave.”
"Of course I do. Do you really think your wife will accept me here? If things are to work for you I have to be away from here altogether. There isn't any other way."
Neither spoke for a moment. "I'm so sorry. This wasn't how it was supposed to be."
“What did you expect?”
His face grew wistful but no words followed. The real answer would only cause her additional pain. "Let’s just say, something different."
"You still have time. Maybe you can still find it."
"Thankyou." A grateful smile emerged. "Sometimes I forget what a wonderful person you are Namün. You deserve better than an aging monarch with a heart of stone."
"Myself, I think the reverse. But what we deserve is often very different from what we get. And I wouldn't have chosen any different, you know."
He grinned boyishly, forgetting for a moment what they were discussing and the terrible circumstances that faced him. "You made a bad decision my dear. Perhaps you aren't perfect after all."
He leaned in to kiss her cheek but thought better of it and withdrew. "I have to go." He opened the door and was almost out of it before he remembered something and turned back again. "Please don't leave the city entirely. The hospital should be finished in a months time and I'm sure they'll appreciate it if their head-nurse paid a visit occasionally. Good luck Namün. You deserve it."
The door closed.

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Subject: Awakening

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Date Posted: 21:57:47 01/28/03 Tue

The glassy look drained from Legolas’ open eyes with the slow awakening of day, turning them from the almost-grey of the dawn sky to the brilliant blue of a clear day. Try as he might though, he could not shake the images that had haunted his rest. Elves walked a narrow path between life and dreams, crossing over the boundaries at will, but this time they had become a little blurred. So many deaths, so many faces. But the most lingering memories were of his closest friends; Aragorn, his endless strength chained, shackled, wrested from him with the silver kiss of a knife. And Gimli, forgotten. He had seen him fall, seen the curved knife that pierced the hair thin chinks in his armour. But he had done nothing; turned his head.

In a world of shadows, Gimli was dead. The world of hope and of light however, was different. Gimli was yet alive, and could be saved. That was, now that he had been remembered. This morning’s awakening was irrelevant; the true awakening had come last night. The path lay clear. More than comradeship, more than friendship. Fellowship. Until the end.

If that was what was needed. Heart settled, face set, Legolas left his chambers to find Aragorn and begin his search.

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Subject: Revelations

Sircyn [again][yes i'm bored of him too]
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Date Posted: 22:38:41 01/28/03 Tue

The boy was dead.

He had known this from outside yet the general had felt the complusion to enter the cell and check his pulse. Nothing beat below the dirty skin. Sircyn swore softly below his breath and closed the boys staring eyes before raising his voice:
"Take him and the others who died within the prison walls and bury them in separate graves." He looked back at the lifeless child. "Give them a respectable burial, Merriam."
Merriam inclined his head, "of course sir." The sergeant left, passing another man as he exited the tiny cell. Sircyn wiped his hands roughly over his face, further smearing his already filthy features .

"His name was Derek," a soft voice commented from somewhere behind him. Sircyn looked up, then pushed himself roughly to his feet and executed a rough bow, "Your majesty."
The king waved aside the formalities. "Derek didn't deserve to die here. I meant to... but it's too late now."

"What happened here?" the king asked eventually.
"Someone released the prisoners and set them on the guards. They got slaughted. Except for those like Derek who died down here and..."
"And what?"
"And a missing group of around twenty who remain unaccounted for."
"Then the rest of them were only set free to allow that twenty to escape," Elessar mused. Suddenley the king's voice became stronger. "Do you have any idea where they might be or to what purpose they were freed?"
"Nothing substantial," Sircyn apologised. "But the records suggest that the missing twenty were of one group, known as the Wolf Pack."
"Is that bad?"
"Very. The Pack were ruthlessless murderers and hunters, that's why they were locked away." Sircyn watched as the kings eyes moved to the dead child by his knee. "If I could be allowed to offer a suggestion?"
"Of course."
"Someone set The Pack free to find someone in paticular, to hunt them down and then kill them. That's what The Pack specialise in: mayhem."
He allowed a moment for his words to soak in before asking, "do you have any idea who they might be hunting?"

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Subject: Elladan and Elrohir finally reply to Arwen

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Date Posted: 21:47:57 01/29/03 Wed

"I think we should probably go home now."
"Well I don't," Elladan told her firmly. "You're in no condition to ride right now. I don't know what you were thinking of coming out here in the first place.”
“I don’t know what you were thinking at all,” snapped Elrohir to follow. The faint trembling of his hands showed that he was not quite over the shock she had given them. “What are you playing at Arwen? This is your child you just risked, not just your own life. The baby you carry is heir to the throne of Gondor, and that is something that can not be changed on the turn of a knife or the fall of a seed. Estel is still your husband. And you loved him; that can not wither easily. What has he done that is so bad that you would traitor yourself by killing not only yourself, but his child. It would destroy him. Is that what you really want?”
Elladan remained apprehensively silent, but the set of his face showed that he too, though he may not speak it aloud, was in agreement with his twin.

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Subject: The Tavern (yep, life goes on!)

Drea, Savinia
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Date Posted: 12:22:02 01/31/03 Fri

“Drea, can you pass me a large pot from the bottom cupboard?” Savinia’s voice filtered from the bar into the kitchen.
There was no reply. Savinia stuck her head around the door. Drea was sitting alone at the table, her head buried in her hands.
“Drea, did you hear me? I need a large...”
“Get it yourself!” a muffled reply came from the huddle at the table.
“Drea?” Savinia was profoundly shocked. “What did you say? Are you alright?” In all the years she had been working at the tavern, she’d never heard Drea speak like that before.
“I’m fine!” Drea said loudly, sitting up and banging her hands down on the table.
“One pot coming up” There was a hint of sarcasm in her voice. Drea & sarcasm. The words just didn’t go together.
Drea knelt by the large cupboard and groped inside, trying to remember exactly where she had placed the mousetraps. She roughly pulled out a large pot, set it on the floor with a clatter and slammed the cupboard door shut. She tucked her knees up under her chin and rocked slightly backwards and forwards, her eyes lifelessly staring into nothing as usual.

Savinia watched for a few moments, then tucking up her skirts she booted the large pot out of the way and sat down on the cold, stone floor next to Drea.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Nothing” came the instant reply.
“I don’t believe you.” Savinia sighed. “I know you’re growing up now and are more entitled to grouch occasionally. But the Drea I know wouldn’t change so dramatically without reason. So what’s bothering you?”
Drea’s rocking slowed down and eventually stopped. She buried her head in her knees again.
“Nothing...” the muffled reply was quieter and more hesitant. “It..it was just something stupid...something I was thinking about. I’m sorry for being rude. I’ll be fine in a moment.”
Savinia smiled and put her arm around Drea’s shoulders, drawing the girl closer to her.
“We can all be rude sometimes” she whispered into Drea’s pale blonde hair. “And it is perfectly alright to get into a bad temper over a stupid reason once in a while. Why,
the other day, I was in a foul mood. And all because I couldn’t find my favourite pair of socks that were tucked down the side of the bed.”
Drea shifted slightly and rested her head against the older girl.
“That’s not true. You’re always complaining about how you hate your socks.”
Savinia laughed.
“There’s no fooling you is there!... Well the real reason was equally as silly, so don’t worry about it.”

“So come on,” Savinia tried again. “I want to know what was bothering you.” Drea sighed in resignation.
“Harion left this morning” was all she said.
“Yes, I know, and...” Savinia probed. There was no reply. “ahh...I see” she concluded.
“Well, come on Drea, you had only just met him, and he was a bit old for you.”
Drea lifted her head and the briefest of brief smiles fluttered across her lips.
“It wasn’t that” she said. “It just made me think....”
“about what...” Savinia prompted.
“Well....it’s not fair.” Drea said miserably.
“What’s not fair?” Savinia replied convinced they were finally getting to the problem.
“Everything.” Drea said softly. “Harion gets to go off on an adventure with royalty. People get to come and go and do as they please. Even you have freedom..... And I’m stuck in my dark little world in the kitchen. All by myself.”
She lowered her voice so that there was no way that anyone but Savinia could hear.
“Sometimes I wish I could still see. At least then I might have a future to look forward to.”
Savinia’s face fell, she hadn’t expected that to be the problem. She didn’t have an answer.
“I see” She said at last. “And you can’t tell your parents, because they already feel so guilty about your sight that they’d give you their own eyes if they could.”
Drea nodded slowly.
“Do you often think about your eyesight?” Savinia asked.
“Sometimes...” Drea muttered.
“Which means a lot” Savinia added for her. “It was a long time ago now. How much can you remember about being able to see?”
“A bit.” Drea replied. “Images, colours...and faces. Faces I miss most of all.” She traced her own face with a finger as she said this.
“It would have been easier if I’d been born blind” she said at last. “At least then I wouldn’t have known anything else.”

Savinia was silent for a while, thinking.
“It could be worse” she said at last. “At least you will inherit the Tavern. You won’t have to worry about finding work.”
“That’s true, I won’t starve and I won’t need to beg.” Drea admitted. “But there’s more to life than being stuck in the kitchen for ever. I used to dream of a husband. But who would marry a blind girl unless they had their greedy eyes on the Tavern.
I wanted to do something with my life Savinia. I want some people to remember me fondly when I’ve gone, because I’ve done something. I’ve been somebody.
Oh Savinia....I want to live.”

What reply could be given to that? Nothing Savinia could think of. After a while, Drea rose to her feet.
“I’ve got stuff to do” she said simply and made her way to the other end of the kitchen.
Savinia watched her go, her eyes slightly moist. Drea was right, It wasn’t fair. Nothing was fair. If the public healers hadn’t been so greedy, then the family might have been able to afford to take Drea when the fever first struck. Things could have been so different...

Savinia rose to her feet slowly and picked up the large pot. Did anyone have a good life? she wondered. Perhaps the king did, and his courtiers in that huge stone palace. How could you not be happy with that much money?
She looked back at Drea, working quietly in the kitchen. Surely there could be something she could do. No matter how small. Just something to convince her that there was more to life than the kitchen.

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Subject: Departure

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Date Posted: 15:27:32 02/02/03 Sun

Aragorn slipped into the huge vaulted chamber. As he had expected the throne room was completely deserted as it always was before noon. Some thoughtful person had placed an ornate chair next to the tree that had previously been his throne but Aragorn did not sit in it. In his hands he clasped the palantír, its midnight mists swirling. Bending his will upon it the king hoped ferverantly that what he was going to do was going to work rather than just make him look like a fool. There were records from antiquity that described the seeing stones being used in this way, what worried Aragorn was whether he would have the strength of mind to ultilise the forgotten powers of the Palantíri.

He felt it yeild and pushed the stone quickly into his pocket before exiting and making for the stairs up the tower of Ecthelion. At its summit he stopped and removed the seeing stone once more.
He took a deep breath and was about to speak when a mild voice commented "it won't work you know," from behind him.
He spun rapidly, scanning the top of the tower he had thought deserted. Sitting, his back to the king, was an old man staring out over the city, white hair glinting in the late morning sun. The man took another drag on his pipe, turned around and smiled at the baffled monarch.
"It cannot be," Aragorn breathed. "You cannot return twice."
The old man's kindly face creased in mirth.
"Elessar, I'm not Mithrandir." Blue smoke billowed from the lit pipe, the same colour as his robes which swished as he rose and moved closer to the king. "My name is Alator," he explained. "We met last night." Birds feet appeared around his eyes as he laughed, "don't worry I don't begrudge you for not remembering me. The meeting was brief and you appeared a bit, shall we say, preoccupied."
"Times are troubled," Aragorn muttered by way of apology, hope dying in his heart; at every time of crisis Gandalf had appeared, but not now. Even after they had all thought him dead the wizard had appeared to save them once more, was it so unreasonable to hope that this would be no different.
Alator had obviously sensed this change in his mood and inclined his head toward the palantir in the king's hands. "I know what you're planning, it won't work. No one beyond the first tier of the city will hear your proclamation."
"How do you..." Aragorn started before interupting himself "why won't it work?"
"Your soul is no longer complete," the elderly gentleman answered simply.

Whatever Elessar had been expecting it was not this. "My soul isn't complete?" he asked incredulously.
"The other half awaits you in Imladris."
The wizard's face grew serious. "In every moment you remain part of you dies. It is the same for her except she dies faster, her fragile elven spirit crushed by your rejection of the love she gave everything to share."
He sighed. "That is the reason the Althelas failed to save Deollyn and it is why as sound as the theory behind it is, your voice will never reach the whole city."

Aragorn's face assumed an expression of desparation. "But I have to leave," he enthused.
"Indeed you do, which is why I'm here." The king reguarded him quizzically. "I may not be as powerful as Gandalf the White," the istari explained "but I can certainly amplify your voice enough for this." His eyes closed in concentration before opening them again and nodding encouragment to the king. "Just speak normally."

Aragorn looked uncertainly at the palantir in his hands then back out over his city and began to speak.
"People of Minas Tirith, please listen to me."
From high in the White Tower he could see peoples heads turn down in the city's streets. "I realise that my timing is unfortunate but I must leave the city immediately. I realise that by now everyone must have heard the threat of war will soon be upon us but there can be no delaying my absense. Though they do not know it yet I leave the care of Minas Tirith in the capeable hands of the Lord Faramir and Master Samwise of the Shire. Respect them in the way you treat me for their word is now law."

Alator broke off the amplification. "Everything is taken care of," he said quietly. "And now you have to go, Estel."

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Subject: Faramir Is A Git (Again)(Cat is not here to argue over my choice of subject. Serves her right.)

Eowyn and Faramir
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Date Posted: 16:54:28 02/02/03 Sun

Eowyn pulled the hood of her cloak over her golden braids and fastened the ruby clasp. Her brother had not been available to talk to her - something to do with being tired after the previous day's events the servant had said. She figured he had probably just overslept though.

Stepping out into the snow once more, she headed to the stables. The soft neighing brought a smile to her face. Mellon pushed his head into her hand as she gently stroked his chestnut coat. Behind her she could hear the cantering of hooves, slowing down to a trot as they approached.

"Excuse me, would you mind moving? Only my horse needs stabling, and you're standing in the way." His voice was neutral, emotionless, as if he were speaking to anyone. "Eowyn- please." She turned to look at him- almost desperation in his eyes. She opened her mouth to speak-"Eowyn, not now. Sorry." He led the horse in the stable, out of sight, into the shadows.

The winter sunlight danced across the wooden walls of the stable until it was swallowed by the darkness in which they both now stood. She watched the back of Faramir's head for a moment as he fussed over the tack, but he didn't turn.
"The king is leaving" she said with a faint trace of sadness in her voice. "You have far greater responsibilities here now. You won't be able to just take off when you fancy it. Elessar has named that you will assume his duties while he is away, along with Samwise the Hobbit."

Faramir span round, a look of anger on his face.

"Well if I now have all these responsibilties, then I ask you to leave me alone!" he spat bitterly, pushing past her and striding to the castle.

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Subject: Closing in

The Wolf Pack
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Date Posted: 20:23:13 02/04/03 Tue

The Wolf raised his hand. The Pack stopped. Their leader jumped lightly from his gasping horse to survey the remains of a small campfire. Bending down he caressed the ash with his index fingers.
"We're close," Marak whisphered across to Leon who nodded gleefully. So far they had seen little of their prey, tantalising hints but nothing more, until this fire.
"Its still warm," the Wolf called softly. "She's not far off."

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Subject: concentration

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Date Posted: 21:31:18 02/04/03 Tue

"Daddy! Did you hear that? The King has made you King!"
"The King has just said that he is giving the place to you while he is away."
"Don't be silly Ryna, the King has more important things to do here due to the coming war. He is not going anywhere." Sam was about to turn away before he turned back and continued, "And, even if Aragorn was going away he wouldn't leave the place to me, he would give it to someone more..." Sam stopped as he was trying to find the word, "...Suitable!"
"You so are suitable! You are mayor of the shire, have been for years!"
"Ryna I don't want to hear anymore about it, go and do something useful."
Ryna obviously annoyed at the dismissal for no reason and the fact that he insinuated SHE was a liar, stomped off out of the room and into the palace corridors.
Sam sat in his chair completely oblivious to Ryna's departure completely emmersed in his own thought. Sam was missing Rosie, badly. Of course he missed his children as well, but Rosie was always on his mind nowadays. Sam knew now that as there was a coming war. he wouldn't be able to get away from the city to see her. He would be bogged down here. Sam would never leave his friends at a time like this. He never had done before and he won't do now. Nothing has changed. Sam was always there for Frodo and he will always be here for his other friends as well. Aragorn needed him. He might have many more abled people around him, people that can fight, wizards, Sam scowled, people big enough to fight and help in some way. But he could be there for ideas and plans or even if he wrote things down. Hobbits aren't useless. Sam felt he had to shout it to the world "HOBBITS AREN'T USELESS!" Why would no one understand that?
Suddenly Sam was pulled out of his own thoughts by a black ball whizzing past him and slamming into a wall. As he started he realised what it was.
"stupid bird"
Quoth got up, steadied himself and awkwardly flew to the perch that Sam had made him.
He looked at Sam and a look of concentration came over his face as he started to talk hesitantly.
"What...was all the...shouting for?"
"Are you feeling ok Quoth?" replied Sam worried remembering the reason they called him Quoth
"Oh, yes sir. Ryna has been...teaching me how to speak like her." Sam got even worried after that. "But what was all the shouting for?" Understanding came over his face. "Are you shouting because you are...happy...over getting the charge of the place while the King is away?"
Guilt racked through Sam as he recalled what Ryna had tried to tell him. He turned around. "Ryna, I'm sor...where is Ryna?"
"She is not within this place sir. Oh i mean. She here is not!" Sam didn't bother correcting him.
"I have to find her." He rushed out of the room

Quoth didn't answer as he fell off his perch.
He hadn't moved hour later.

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Subject: Still Winter Day, and the doings of others.

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Date Posted: 04:16:07 02/17/03 Mon

Aldarion looked out the window to the streets and scolded at all the snow. "You realize this is the Faeralev's fault." he said, turning away from the window.
Arcon nodded.
Aldarion sighted. They've been here for longer than he had planned and he did not like winter. "I think it is time we finish her. She has done enough trouble I doubt Sauron will mind, especially since she could betray him at any moment."
Arcon got up and paced. "But where would we find her? I doubt she will be in the woods and this city is not small. Beside that she has the Windwalker with her."

"We will find a way, let us not waste any more time in waiting for her to reveal herself." Aldarion said and walked out of the room and towards the stairs. Arcon followed, shutting the door behind him.


Omiril shivered as she looked at all the snow. She had never been fond of snow since it covered the green plants.
She walked around the city trying to find Brooke. She had to make that girl see that it was time for her to leave this place. Omiril had already promised that she would do her best to help the King win this war and she contacted the rest of her kin with the help of the earth.
They had not been happy with what she had done especially since they were only waiting for her to return so that they could leave Middle Earth. Many had already left, now there were only four of them left waiting for her. They would come, but if they could make it in time was another matter. She sighted and looked around. 'Where could she be?' she thought.

Brooke sat on the bed and tried not to throw the window open and fly off, she hated being in close spaces no matter how dry and out of the snow they were. She stood up and finally threw the window open and took her pack. "Where are you going?" Whitemoon asked her.
"Where does it look like?" she asked, turning to look at him. "I was hired for a reason, it does not matter if we do have a truce with the witch..I mean Anawiel. It is still my job and remember she said that my job does not concern her." she took off into the air. Whitemooon followed her, she might be doing something he did not like but he prefered going with her than staying inside.

Somewhere else

Dormallen mounted his horse and once again took off. It would not be long before he reached Minas Tirith and then he would drag Aragorn to Rivendell if that is what he had to do.

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Subject: Telling Elladan and Elrohir what they need to post something about Aragorn.

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Date Posted: 21:13:43 02/19/03 Wed

"How can you say that?" If anything, she was more angry than upset, and more at herself than anyone else. "You have no idea what happened, no idea how things are." She shivered, still dripping wet. "Estel has changed- you can feel it. Men change, men are tempted, men fall. What can I do to stop that?" She paused biting her lip, unable to speak. "I'm sorry. Sorry you had to see this, sorry I have to be here. And it's not your place to lecture me on what you do not know." She steadied herself to her feet, resting against the soft velvet of her brothers horse.

"Can you help me do this all alone?" And from her eyes, you could read that the 'this' meant simply staying alive. She sighed, slipping back down to the ground. "I suppose I should tell you what's been going on...

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Subject: Comings

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Date Posted: 21:19:04 03/01/03 Sat

Faeirex wandered along the riverbank, Carenina at her side. The sense of frenetic energy that had accompanied her flight had been replaced by a pensive inertia more redolent of the ageless grace of the Eldar than the simmering vitality she usually displayed beneath a more composed exterior. Softly, she hummed an ancient elvish tune, a deep, haunting melody that carried through the still air and lingered amongst the trees.

She was aware of the coming of horses long before they even came within earshot, feeling the tremors in the earth created by pounding hooves. It was a long moment before the strangeness of it hit her and she paused, the last note of the tune hanging on in the air with a lonely, unfinished sound. Who would travel through the forest at this time of year, and in such a crowd? There were no trails near here that one would logically follow, only dense trees creating a barrier to any who tried to ride through in a group. While the river looked deceptively shallow and may have appeared crossable, it would have made more sense to do so many miles further downstream where a rudimentary track led to a roughly built ford. Rather crude, but generally enough for the precious few travellers who needed to pass in this desolated place. In winter, and with the river half frozen? A man would have to be a fool…or up to no good. With Carenina’s leg still lame, there was no way she could outride them. She would have to simply continue the way she was going and hope that they passed her by.

All the same, she extracted a long-bladed dagger from her pack and slipped it into the top of her boot. There was no use taking chances this late in the game.

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Subject: Closing in

The Wolf Pack
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Date Posted: 21:20:58 03/01/03 Sat

The Wolf stopped, the others dragging their labouring mounts to a halt a fraction of a second after him. He turned and surveyed his men, beckoning to one who then forced his gasping horse closer.
Jayon looked speculatively around him getting his bearings. Finally he ran a hand through the dark hair that had already begun to streak with grey and turned back.
“Bend in the river up ahead. She’ll not get far.”
“And the horse injured,” he mused. “Alright, get those beasts moving. Spread out and cut her off. There’ll be a pretty reward for this one.
“If we don’t get our necks wrung,” somebody muttered.
Wolf grinned. It was like watching a warg try to smile – all teeth and no humour. “Ah, but that’s the beauty of it. We’ve a powerful employer this time lads. Someone who could...shall we say…turn a blind eye.”
“You trust him?”
“About as much as I trust you. No, I’ll put my faith in my blade. I think you’ll find a man with a cut throat will turn a blind eye to just about anything. After we get the money of course.” He turned away, signalling an end to the conversation and kicked his horse viciously on. The others followed, spreading out to cover as wide an area as possible. Wolf’s mouth twisted into an almost-smile. The best part had just begun – the hunt.

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Subject: One final duty

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Date Posted: 14:00:01 03/02/03 Sun

The stables were quiet as Aragorn entered, his newly filled saddlebags over his shoulder. Ringbearer whinnied softly as the king pulled open the stiff iron latch with a grunt. The stable boys had neglected to oil it once more, when he returned he would have to speak to them about it. A ghost of a smile touched him. War was upon them. When he returned there would be more important things to worry about than rusty door hinges.
Swiftly, proffesionally he saddled his horse and lept into the saddle, the old worked leather of the reigns as soft as a youth's hand under his corse fingertips. His heels touched flank lightly and Ringbearer sensing his need to be off cantered from the stable. Iron shod hooves clacked against the flag stones of the courtyard and Aragorn nudged his horse into a gallop.

"Aragorn, wait!"

The horse's ears pricked at this familiar voice and Ringbearer brought himself to a hault to the king's frustration. He turned but did not dismount as Legolas drew closer. In his hurry to leave he had forgotten that the elf too was leaving the city in search of somebody; Gimli had to be rescued just as Arwen did. Guilt nagged at him over this forgetfulness but he had no time for it. Instead he brought the palantir from his pocket.

The dwarf's bruised face stares up at him through the glassy stone. Behind him are the walls of a cave and at least a battalion of orcs. Through the caves mouth lies a broken city surrounded by trees and dominating the horizon a black tower stands over seeing the chaos.

"He is being held in one of the caves near Dol Guldur."
The elf's face betrayed his shock. "Mirkwood?"
"So it would seem," Aragorn replied distantly as if they were perhaps discussing the weather.
"Then, who guards him?"
"The palantir reveals only orcs but the tower of the Necromancer still stands and with war so close at hand I do not know what else may be out there."
Legolas looked as if he were about to comment but Aragorn merely whisphered, "quel marth" before turning Ringbearer's head and galloping through the city gates.

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Subject: More being noble and nice about Aragorn

Elladan, Elrohir and the Blue Bears
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Date Posted: 21:18:20 03/02/03 Sun

"Ed' i'ear ar' elenea," Elrohir breathed, shaking his head, "Amin n'nowaya ta deanam.* Arwen," he added, reaching out to touch her face, "Don't lose hope. The ties that bind you together are too strong to be broken by an angry word or a foolish deed from either of you. Your pride keeps you here, just as his has made him stay away."
"Few men will react well when they feel they have been betrayed." Elladan reminded her. "He is just a man, he can not be blamed for falling victim to temptation. They say best men are moulded out of faults you know but whatever his faults Aragorn does love you, and always has. No, Estel is not the man to lose you to pride. The boy I knew would return here."
"I would watch for him." Elrohir said softly. "Caeldur*."

"Come," said his brother, rising and offering Arwen a helping hand, "You're cold. We'll help you home before Grandfather sends out a search."

*By the sea and the stars, I would not have thought it possible.
*Have faith.

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Subject: The end of the trail

The Wolf Pack
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Date Posted: 17:14:15 03/03/03 Mon

A twig cracked. A sharp, dry sound in the abiss.

"Shut up," Marak hissed loudly.
"Shut up yourself," Leon whisphered back.
"I didn't step on the stick, you moron."
"That wasn't..." A knife blade touched his throat.
"Be silent," the Wolf commanded quietly, the menace dripping from his voice. His noise twitched in disgust, "and take a bloody bath."
The knife withdrawn Leon pulled himself roughly from his leader's grip. "You don't spell too good yourself," he muttered.
The Wolf's hand flew back to his scabbard. "What did you say?" he asked, adder-like.
"Nothing," Leon mumbled sullenly.
"See that you keep it that way."

And he was gone, melting back into the undergrowth after the rest of the pack leaving the brothers together once more.
Leon began to speak again but thought better of it and followed Marak down the leaf lined trail. Soon the song of a river reached his ears and Marak motioned for Leon to join him in the bush that was hiding him from their quarry.

Across from them in a clearing stood a woman and a white horse. Gently the woman lead the horse into the deeper water where the cool, fast current washed over its obviously swollen foot. She turned her head and Leon heard his brother's gasp before realising that he too held his breath. The sunlight glinted of a million ripples in the river's sufface, reflecting and dappling the face that seemed in this quiet grove after five years imprisonment to be lovlier than life itself.

"I want her," Marak murmered.
"We'll have her soon enough," Leon answered softly. "The Wolf said nothing about our benifactor wanting the victim unspoiled." His face cracked into a leer. "I can't wait for night."
Marak turned to his brother, as an idea spawned in his brain. "Why should we? Without her horse she'll be helpless. One woman against the pack. We can take her before its even lunchtime."
"Marak, no..." Leon mouthed desparately but the arrow was in the bow.

The startled horse whinnied desparately as the shaft passed its ear and the woman turned blue eyes piercing, looking through the foliage into the spot where they were concealed. A second passed before she mounted her still panicking horse and swung off into the forest.

"Which idiot did that?" the Wolf roared. "Everyone back to the horses. She's getting away."

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Subject: I know this was supposed 2 finish things off, but I got bored. Will carry on later.

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Date Posted: 22:32:03 03/03/03 Mon

Faeirex's hair whipped sharply back behind her and the wind stung a chill on her cheeks. She scrabbled in a pack for arrows with one hand, whilst trying to listen to hoofbeats and work out how many men were chasing her. Fifteen, sixteen...nearly a score, by a rough count. She was all to aware of the limp that jarred Carenina's normally flowing stride, and realised with a twinge of fear that she could not keep up this pace for long. The horse would falter, and then they would be upon her.

Now was the moment, while she was out of their sight. She slowed her mount and slid off, slipping a full quiver over her shoulder and taking up the carved bow.
"Go," she whispered to the horse, "Make for-" she paused. Too late, it occurred to her that there was nobody she could trust except Aralias, and she didn't know where he was. Nobody else...
She sighed, time was running out and there was only one choice. “Make for Minas Tirith. Find the faery named Rhylin. He’ll care for you.”
Carenina flashed her understanding and vanished, gone in a mass of whirling white mane and tail. Faeirex glanced back towards where the shouts came from then around sharply looking for an escape. There was none where they would not catch her up in a matter of minutes. Her eyes lighted on a gnarled oak, thick with branches. She slung the bow over her shoulder and swung lightly up, crouched low on the branch and holding perfectly still. Not a twig quivered at the intrusion. Slowly, ever so slowly, her hand crept to the knife in her boot and drew it out. With luck they would carry on without even noticing she was there but if not, she would have to fight. She kept her eyes on the trees, berating herself for the lapse in attention that had allowed them to get so close.

They were almost past her when a man in the lead held up his hand and they drew to a halt. Her breathing became shallower in anticipation as he scanned the ground, then laughed dryly.
“Clever, very clever,” he gestured at the horse’s tracks. She stared them – they meant nothing to her. Her own feet had left no mark on the ground. “She paused here,” he continued, “and then the prints get lighter, and further apart. This horse started travelling faster.” He looked around. “She’s here somewhere. On foot. Find her.”
They spread out immediately, drawing swords and covering the ground. One passed underneath her and she couldn’t help wrinkling her nose in distaste when his sour smell reached her. Did mortal men never wash? This bunch truly was a foul example of their race.
Caught with little choice, she wavered. It would be so easy to extinguish them all at once and rid the world of their filth. She had sworn to have no more blood on her hands, but this was different. These would deserve the death they got. She began to reach down into her power for the spark of darkness that would at once both free and chain her…

And stopped. Recoiled, shaking from the wave of pure terror that had overtaken her as soon as she touched the source of her power. Confused, she tried again, only to meet with the same result. This time, she could not stop the involuntary gasp that forced itself from between her lips. It was only a small sound, but it carried and mingled with the rattling of the twigs of the tree that had picked up the tremors of her trembling body. The man below looked up, and met her eyes. He smiled.

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Subject: Flash back!!!

Quoth, Aralias, Aniond and Cadrieldur
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Date Posted: 22:20:01 03/04/03 Tue

Sam ran out of the room in a hurry to find Ryna. Quoth turned and spread his wings to follow, when suddenly he was hit with a force so strong it hit him off his perch to the floor where he lay twitching with the force of a flashback from his past.

Lia laughed, the rich, warm sound echoing round the valley. Still stifling giggles he beamed at the others opposite him. Tall and imposing Aniond wore a rare grin, pleased that his friends were laughing at one of his few jests. Next to him the shorter Cadrieldur was also chuckling, more quietly though it had to be said than Aralias.
"It's good to hear your laugh again," Aniond remarked as Lia wiped tears of mirth from his eyes. "I barely seen you crack a smile since the birth of your sister."
Riel looked sharply at Aniond for a second before looking down silently. He was a little sensitive on the subject of Fair and her brother. You think he could at least try to be nice to her, the elf thought angrily, but he would never say this out loud. He kept his opinions to himself.

The laughing stopped and Aniond cursed himself. What a great way to break the good mood. "I'm sorry. I've done it again haven't I?"
Lia smiled but without the humour of before. He reached over to squeeze Aniond's shoulder. "Don't worry about it, I should be less sensitive." He tried to laugh again, to create the same air of well being as before, to forget that Aniond had mentioned Faeirex but it was too late. The grin became fixed. "It doesn't matter. After all it doesn't matter who our father likes better, really."
Riel looked up at that. Of all the...
"I'm sure he doesn't like her better," Aniond tried.
Lia raised his eyebrows: Oh really?
"You just see things from a single point of view," Aniond offered. "I'm sure she feels the opposite way."
"Is this an insight you've gained through all your visions?" Aralias asked mockingly. Aniond wilted.
“No… Lia, I didn’t mean it like that…”
"There is no need to pick at Nio, Lia." Riél intercepted, forseeing an argument, a one sided one anyway. "He's just trying to make up for his slip of the tongue. I didn't think a father could like one of his children better but," seeing Aralias about to interupt, "lets not argue about it now."
"Not on my sister's birthday anyway," Lia grimaced.
"Did you get her anything?" Aniond asked nervously, wary now his friend's temper was already raised.
"Of course." His face relaxed. "It's not just my father who loves her.”
Riél started, eyes wide. Did he just hear that correctly?
Aniond's dark face brightened; his mistake forgotten. "What is it?"
"I trained a horse for her. A mare, as white as her fingers."
Softly: "Perfect."

Quoth slowly opened his eyes and looked about the room. He shuddered, pain still vibrating throughout his body. What was all that about?

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Subject: First death

random thug
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Date Posted: 21:02:46 03/05/03 Wed

The man on the ground’s grin widened, showing yellowed teeth.
“Well, well, aren’t you the pretty one. Why don’t you get yourself on down here and save us all a bit of trouble? All we want is for you to…accompany us somewhere.”
The woman-girl in the tree kept her eyes on him, scarcely moving. The delicate blade in her hand trembled slightly and he switched his gaze to it, aware of the potential dangers if she should strike suddenly. Slowly it lowered and Sifer relaxed back. She was going to come quietly.

But then her stasis was broken all too suddenly. Blue eyes flicked to the side, and then the knife had plunged downwards to rest in her boot again and she was in the air even as his first warning shout ripped out, coming to land in the next tree with feline grace.
“Stop her!”

Movement broke out in a flurry. The Wolf was roaring orders, and the woman skimmed from branch to branch as easily as if she was on the ground while arrows whistled past. Finally, between one jump and the next, a roughly made and badly fletched arrow grazed past her leg, tearing through cloth and skin as it went. It was enough to throw her off balance and she slipped, pitching to the ground at his feet. He drew his sword and moved in – the glory of catching the prey would go to him, and no other.

She recovered quickly, rolling back and catching up her knife. Before the cold steel touched her neck she looked up at him. Her eyes had gone cold, and all softness about her face had gone. Her hand whipped out, and dagger met sword with a clash as she stood. Another second and the naked blade slid into his chest. As he died, the last thing Sifer saw was his blood splashing over dead leaves.

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Subject: Am being forced to write to break up Fae posts... sigh

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Date Posted: 22:37:28 03/05/03 Wed

Free from the dungeons musty gloom Sircyn rejoined his soldiers up on the wall. It was frustrating to have been ordered to stay in the city when he knew the Wolf Pack roamed free but the general was forced to admit that the city's need was greater than that of the unknown prey.

The identity of the pack's quarry still nagged at the corner of his mind; but as neither he nor the king had managed to even produce an educated guess he had resigned himself to confinment within the walls of the white city. The idle conversation of the men drifted on the wind and his thoughts fled to the person the pack hunted:
Runhe thought desparately. Run, for your life depends on it.

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Subject: Final fight

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Date Posted: 23:28:41 03/05/03 Wed

Three men lay dead, but there were too many more left. Another minute and she would be surrounded, with no escape. She slashed at the next man but then was pulled back suddenly by a vicious strength. Thrown to the ground, somebody stamped hard on her wrist, forcing her fingers open. The dagger was kicked away as an angry red print blossomed on her pale limb, quickly assuming the purple of bruised muscle. A startled hiss of pain broke from between her clenched teeth but she refused to cry out. Devoid of a weapon, and with her attackers closing in, her scrabbling left hand pulled an arrow from its quiver on her back and made one final desparate lunge. It’s point tore into the hunter’s throat and Faeirex seized the oppurtunity his dying thrashes afforded her to break from what had threatened to become a fatal skirmish and flee.

Her arrows were running low, and her injured wrist throbbed painfully. She wasn’t sure if he had broken it or not, but there was time to neither stop and check it nor rest it. Painful as it may be, she still had to use it to fire her bow and try to thin down their numbers as much as she could. The thick trees had helped to slow the mounted men down a little, but they had also proved obstacles to her shooting. Many arrows had missed their mark. More had hit however, and there were fewer chasing than before. She darted through a break in the trees and stopped suddenly. The vast expanse of river stretched out before her, leaving nowhere to run to. They had her trapped. As they came crashing through the undergrowth to surround her she readied another arrow and spun around to face them.

Four arrows left. It wasn’t enough. She glanced around quickly, counting how many men were left. Five on horseback still, plus at least two on the ground that she could see. Not even an elf could kill seven men with four arrows. A twig cracked somewhere to the side of her. Make that eight.
The arrow was notched and the string drawn as she span round and put it straight through the youth who had been trying to sneak up on her. He fell to the ground with a strangled gurgle, the sword dropping from his hand to lie innocuously amongst the leaves. She tried to judge the distance between them; was it close enough for her to be able to get to the weapon in time?
As if reading her mind their leader signalled to one of the other men, who moved his horse forwards to block the escape route. Drawing his own sword he grinned broadly, daring her to come any closer. Faeirex cursed softly.
An arrow thudded into the ground beside her and she swang back, killing the unsuccessful archer before he could try again. While he was still falling to the ground the second arrow took flight; towards the ringleader this time. He was faster off the mark though – his sword knocked the shaft off-course before it could reach him. He watched it hit the ground before turning back to her.
“Well girly, you gave us a good run for our money. There’s nowhere left to go now though,” he said conversationally. She glared at him furiously, still refusing to give in. Out of the corner of her eye she saw another man start to move forwards. Killed him.
"You bitc..."
"Leave it Leon."
“That was her last arrow. It seems your brother managed to achieve something with his death, though he was a useless lump in life.

The conversation went on over her head; she ignored it. One, two men had arrows levelled at her head and chest. Another held a sword at her back. The younger one, he held only a dagger, but was looking at her with blood-lust in his eyes. They didn’t matter. Only the older one did, the one who now dismounted and approached. She raised her eyes up to meet his defiantly.
“You have killed many of my men.”

She didn’t respond, didn’t need to. The bodies in the forest were testament to that. Is mine going to join them?
The blow when it came snapped her head back and her teeth pierced her lip. The blood had a copper tang in her mouth. I won’t give in to you.

“So brave? Wait till night.”

She suppressed a shudder. If anything, she would make them kill her before allowing them to touch her. You disgust me. The message was clear in her eyes, and the man couldn’t fail to see it. If anything though, he seemed amused. He knew his power over her.
“Leon, bind her hands.”
The youth moved in, but she didn’t look at him. Her eyes remained steadily on his leader, unmoving, until the dagger pierced her body. Only then did she turn her eyes to him and only he saw the sudden fear and bewilderment that flashed through them before they turned glassy and she fell to the floor.

“I loved my brother, useless as he was.”

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Subject: In the hands of...

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Date Posted: 17:44:52 03/19/03 Wed

The girl is mine. She will not die.

will die. Already her heart slows.

This was not fated. He has swerved from his path to cause this to happen. It has not been written, it can be changed. Give her to me.

There will be others. Ones who are more worthy.

Do you go back on our agreement now? It must be her. I will accept no other. She must perform her task. There is worth in her, if you will look.

She does not deserve my mercy. She does not deserve life. I will not consent it.


It can be undone.

She must live.

She must die.

I am the third, you must hear my voice now. She will not die. Nor may she live. The agreement was that three we deemed worthy would meet, and it should be decided. Therefore the question is- is she worthy?

You are the third. You must say.

You cannot ask me to do this now, the time is too near. It must be another.

Who would you trust? All beings, mortal or immortal, can be swayed. Who can make an impartial decision?

There is one we do not control. He makes his own fate. Let it be him.

You would ask me to stake on a mortal?

You know there can be no other.

Very well. If I agree to this, you will not try to trick him?

If you will not.

Then it is decided. But I would still have blood.

As you wish. The man Elessar shall make the choice. If he will have it so, she shall wake, and you shall take the life of the man who struck the blow in payment. Will this appease you?

It shall.

Then let it be so.

But what if he chooses against her?

Then she shall pay for her crimes with her life, and you must find another. If he would have her die, we will make it so. This is agreed?

It is agreed.

It is agreed.

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Subject: The post... again only right this time cat grrrrrrrrrr

Cadrieldur, Arwen and measly amounts of Celeborn
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Date Posted: 15:42:30 03/20/03 Thu

Imladris loomed on the horizon. The journey had taken them two weeks, his clothes were creased and his back was sore after nights spent on the cold forest floor. He had forgotten what it felt like to travel for such long burst of time. A warm bath and real food suddenly seemed immeasurably attractive.

"The Last Homely House," he informed his horse. The animal tossed his head and promptly informed him back that he knew very well where they were. "Alright," the elf laughed. "Let's go meet Arwen."

* * *

When scores of elves had inhabited Imladris, the hall of fire would still stand empty. Perhaps that was why when she sat there now, almost nothing felt out of place. There were the obvious differences, such as the tiny child inside her, and the knowledge that the only one of her family who would burst through the doors would be her grandfather. There was something reflective about this place- the resurgence of memories that hit you each time you entered it. Arwen let her sight drift towards the flames, studying the flickering tongues. Then there were footsteps behind her. Strong confident footsteps that sounded from ages past. Twisting around she gasped, "Cadrieldur, is that really you?"
"Undomiel, you look as beautiful as ever." He took her hand gently and bent over it, breathing in the scent of the past, of what could've been. "It has been a long time." He smiled warmly, "I'm surprised you remember me."
She raised an eyebrow at him; a cynical smile flickered across her lips. "Still gifted with the same charm- although- forgettable, certainly not. However, I believe on my part, it is for all the wrong reasons."
His lips twitched. "I could hardly forget someone who runs out on the day before our wedding," he acknowledged. Sighing he collapsed into a nearby chair. "I've had a long journey on horse back forgive my discourtesy," he apologized briefly. He looked up at her through half closed lids. "I cannot apologize enough for the hideous thing I must've done to induce you to flee like you did though if you asked me to name it I'm afraid I could not."
She paused, "How...direct. Mind, you are male, so some things are instantly forgiven. I do not enter marriage lightly, as you may have assumed. However, all things considered at this current moment, perhaps I was at fault in my departure. Yet, maybe not. But please, sir- do you merely inquire upon this subject for conversation, or is your real reason simply wishing to understand why I left you at the altar?"
"If I remember correctly we didn't even make it to the altar." At her expression his laugh rang out through out the chamber, "do you think I would do anything as callous as journey all the way here just to satisfy my pride?" She still looked faintly disapproving so he smiled gently. "When most of our kin left for the undying lands I took to wandering Middle Earth. I want to see everything before I abandon it forever. Beauty appears in the most isolated of places; living out here on the edge of the Misty Mountains you yourself are a jewel it would have been easy to pass by. I wish to miss nothing. It happened that I was in Gondor last month." He leaned forward in his chair, fixing her with an intent gaze. "You on the other hand were not."

Arwen broke off the eye contact, and the smile ceased.
"Perhaps we'll save that for another time Cadrieldur."
After a few moments rather uncomfortable silence, the conversation resumed and the laughter was heard ringing down the halls of Rivendell.

* * *

Celeborn relaxed outside the door. It was not that he was spying on his grandaughter, but while she remained in the suicidal stupor of the past few weeks it was wise not to leave her unattended. After all, he thought bitterly, that was how his son had died.

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Subject: Threats

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Date Posted: 17:12:36 03/20/03 Thu

You wanted to know when we’d almost arrived.
I did indeed. Well done Vomyr.
The voice lost its calm assurance and the valet detected an edge of nervousness as the watcher asked eagerly. Is she with you?
She is but…
There’s something you need to know…
but the voice inside his mind was gone. Vomyr cursed under his breath and his eyes darted to the unmoving form of Lómódë next to him. The gaping wound under her ribcage had almost healed but she had not awakened since he had arrived fully a week ago, barely in time to stop them raping her. An involuntarily shudder coursed over his body at the memory and that of the suggestive looks some of the pack had given him during the nightmare week’s ride.
Prison does unholy things to a man.
Across the camp a man with three missing teeth grinned at him invitingly and the youth suppressed the urge to be violently sick. People this foul were not mutated in prison, he corrected himself. People like these were born repulsive. He looked away from the smile that promised so much that he hated and back to the beautiful but vacant face of the elf he had unleashed these demons to retrieve. He had learned early on that it was unwise to let her out of his sight for more than a moment.
The valet looked up as the Wolf sat down.
“The pack are restless.”
“Why don’t they go out and kill something then?” the valet mumbled.
Wolf acted as if he hadn’t heard and perhaps Vomyr reflected bitterly, he simply had not. In this world of infamy and filth the valet’s voice was a small one and one that was generally dismissed as worthless.
“I cannot keep them away from her much longer,” Wolf continued. “I rule with fear Vomyr. Fear and the knowledge that life wouldn’t be better without me, it would just be a hell of a lot worse. If that knowledge dies Vomyr all I have left is fear and as stupid as they are it doesn’t take a genius to realise that I am just one man. One against twenty…” he sniffed and recalculated gesturing at Lómódë, “fifteen after that bitch shot five of ‘em. That’s still very good odds in their favour.” He leaned in closer so Vomyr could see the dirt ingrained in his very pores. “Know this Vomyr, I’m not going to loose everything over some elvish slut. If it’s her purity or my life I’m going to give her to them and I’ll give them you too, if that’s what it takes. Have I made myself clear?”
“What do you want me to do?” he asked hoarsely.
“Tell me we’re nearly there and mean it.”
“We’re nearly there.”
Wolf scratched the scar that ran through the middle of his mangy beard. “We better be.” He rose. “We’re gonna be paid well for this?”
Vomyr swallowed and lied, “yes” and the Wolf left. He gazed briefly at the chalk white face of the woman he had believed himself in love with. Let the watcher deal with them. Once they reached their destination he would be long gone.

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Subject: a bet

lily/bry/tiny bit of rob
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Date Posted: 13:37:44 03/23/03 Sun

Elobrylla Newbuck, Lily’s best friend since Lily joined the Gamgee family, was running as fast as she could up the hill towards her, up to Bag End.
“Lily!” Elobrylla gasped. She bent over with her hands on her knees dragging in ragged breaths as if she had run for miles.
Lily looked at her concerned and put her arms round her shoulders. “Bry! What is it?”
Bry put up her hands indicating her to stop until she had her breath back. So Lily gently moved her into the house and sat her down.
Bry looked up into her friend’s eyes with a look of sympathy in her eyes; she reached up and clasped Lily’s hands together in her own.
“Lily, I have just heard that you have been seeing Robéthe Noakes”
“Rob? Yes. 2 weeks now” a dreamy look passed over her face. Bry felt she had never looked so happy over the whole time she had known her. “He is so charming Bry. He is the sweetest guy I’ve ever known, he’s funny and he may not be the best looking guy in the shire but he is still cute.”
“And such a gentleman!”
“When I stand, he stands and when I sit on a chair he is there to pull it out for me. Things that I had thought had grown old and disappeared long ago.”
“Lily, you know I’m friends with his best friend Minto Bramble?”
“Yes? What of it.”
“Well I was with them today in The Green Dragon and they did get rather drunk. You know what they are like when they are drunk,” Lily did, “they say things that they wouldn’t normally say and…”
Lily got concerned, they didn’t normally say anything this bad, she really looked uncomfortable and like she didn’t want to tell her. “Bry? What is it?”
“They accidentally told me that Rob was only going out with you for a dare. They said that they dared him to kiss you at the party ages ago and when you ran off they all laughed at him. He apparently got all uptight and said that he could get a date with you if he wanted to…so they dared him.” Bry shrugged, “I’m sure…”
“Thanks Bry,” all the colour from Lily’s face had gone.
“Are you okay? Lily I…”
“It’s okay, thank you. I’ll see you later.” Lily got up and slowly started to walk towards the door as if in a trance.
Lily just went on walking not even reacting to the sound of Bry’s voice, when suddenly another voice came floating through the open door.
“Lily? Hey beautiful! How are you? I…”
“A bet? I’m a bet?” Lily’s voice grew hysterical; “I’m just a stupid bet?”
Rob looked confused before he suddenly realised what she was talking about, his face dropped, “Oh, Lily! Lily I…”
“Don’t bother! I should’ve known that all men are the same. Never trust them, they always hurt you in the end. Why didn’t I listen to my first instincts?”
She burst into tears and ran away.

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Subject: Departure

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Date Posted: 21:00:38 03/29/03 Sat

Harion's pace slowed to a shuffle as he entered the palace stableyard. Suddenly, this didn't seem like such a good idea. The yard was nearly deserted except for a few horses standing patiently by the stable entrance. They were pack animals, fully loaded, breathing out clouds of steam in the crisp, wintery air. The palace loomed tall and grey against the sparkling white snow. Nature's way of proving that the "White" city was not so perfect after all. Harion gazed around for Lady Aryante, hoping she'd suddenly emerge from the stables and reassure him that he should be here. No such luck. The only person to emerge was a tall man with long blonde hair. Harion watched as he adjusted a few straps, then stood quietly petting the nearest horse tenderly, his eyes fixed on the door to the palace.
Harion glanced behind him, back towards the main city. He could still run, this wasn't compulsary. But running wouldn't solve anything. It certainly wouldn't give his family anything to eat. He took a deep breath and started forward towards the horses, desperately trying to control the churning in his stomach.
The man heard him coming and turned gracefully. For the first time, Harion noticed his ears and a new wave of unease washed over him. This must be the elven prince. Now he not only had to explain his presence to a stranger, but to royalty, and to an elf!, a fairytale being. Could things get any worse?

Legolas looked at him keenly, approving of what he saw. The young man seemed in awe of his surroundings, nervous even, but possessed about him an air of resolute determination that would stand him in good stead on the journey. Calloused hands and the subtle swelling of muscle under his shirt showed that he was used to hard work. He stood a mere couple of fingerlengths shorter than himself, but was built a little stockier whilst still retaining the slenderness of youth. Still, the boy approached him as if fearing to be shot down for daring to enter his presence. Legolas hastened to put him at his ease."It is a fair morning is it not?" he said lightly, "Good weather for riding. We should make good ground today.I would not be mistaken in assuming that you are the one Lady Aryante tells me to accompany us? Forgive me, but I do not recall your name. My mind has been somewhat occupied with...other subjects. I am Legolas."

"H..Harion" he stammered. "My name.. I mean..." He gulped, took a deep breath and tried again.
"I'm Harion, pleased to meet you, Sir." Legolas smiled, trying not to show his amusement too much. The lad would probably be more at ease if he felt he was doing something useful.
"Would you mind checking the packs on these animals?" Legolas asked, gesturing towards the horses. "I wouldn't want them to be under too much strain, or for anything to fall off."
It was unnecessary, He had already checked them earlier. But Harion wouldn't know that and it might break the ice slightly.
Harion moved greatfully over to the nearest horse, pleased to be able to hide his flaming face against the horses smooth flank. He passed nimble fingers over the tack and reigns, checking it was neither too loose, nor too tight. The horse was a beautiful animal, a much better breed than the scraggy bag of bones they'd had at home. Harion moved cheerfully onto the next horse, his fears practically forgotten. Legolas stood carefully out of his way, one eye still glued on the door to the palace, the other watching, satisfied. He did seem to know quite a lot about horses. This arrangement would probably work quite well.

Harion stood in front of one of the horses, quietly making friends, stroking its velvety nose.
"Do they have names?" he asked, trying to make up for his first blunders by starting a conversation.

The elf smiled easily. "Mine is Alalme - the elm. He has its spirit. The bay over there is ridden by Lady Aryante and I believe his name is Telkontar. The mare..." his eyes unfocused briefly "...she says she answers to Seima. It means she is gentle. The pack horses are unnamed, but you may change that if you wish. They are yours to care for." As an afterthought, he asked, "Do you shoot a bow?"

Harion didn't answer for a second, he was too busy allowing the last sentence to sink in. The elf could talk to the animals? The mare had told him her name? as if she had the right to choose what she was called? as if she was a free spirit?
He stepped back from the horse, almost in awe. As far as he was concerned, horses were useful, but dumb animals. The idea that they had intelligent thoughts and opinions unnerved him slightly. Then again, he had known that this trip was going to be full of new experiences, not all of them to his liking.
He turned his attention back to the last question.
"Err, no. Not really, not enough to rely on. I mean... I can normally hit a deer accurately enough to bring it down, but I can't kill it. The only weapon I'm really comfortable with is a staff... or a knife. Even my sword skills are rusty, I haven't needed to use one for a long time." He paused, realizing that this made him sound like a liability, especially next to the elf, stories of his fighting had seeped down to the tavern.
"I'd really like to learn... if someone could teach me."
"There will be plenty of time for that on the journey. We have a long way to travel. In the meantime..." Legolas paused, selecting first a short-bladed dagger from a pack and handing it to the still startled boy, then holding up several swords against him until he found one that seemed satisfactory. "Crossbow or long?" A smile quirked at the corner of his mouth. "And you can stop looking at the horses like that as well. They don't understand."
"Uh... longbow please." Harion took the previously offered sword, whilst he waited for the bow, and felt its weight carefully. It felt strange to hold one properly again. It had been many years since he had last fought in battle. This was different though. There would always be a difference when you had the freedom to choose to fight, with your choice of master, against your choice of enemy. Very different.
"Is the Lady Aryante joining us?" he asked at last.
"She should be here shortly. There are a few hard-to-find herbs that she would have before we left. She said she would not be long." Arrows and a quiver were found and handed over whilst he watched the young man's handling of the weapon. "Let me see you fire it." Harion fitted an arrow onto the string and gently tested the tension on the string. "What shall I aim for?" he asked
"The tree?" Legolas suggested, gesturing towards a tree near the palace wall. The circumference was about the same as a mans waist. He watched the lad's positioning. Very primitive, certainly not using the bow to its best advantage. Harion pulled back the arrow fetch until it was level with his cheek. The strain was terrific, his arms were aching after a few seconds. He released the arrow and watched it shoot across the courtyard, just grazing the tree before hitting the wall behind. He lowered the bow and tried to control his embarrassment.
"If the Orcs are fat, I'll be alright" he tried to joke. He didn't feel like laughing. He had just proved his inability to use a bow in front of one of the best archers ever.
"It'll take practise" was all Legolas replied. Silence fell between them again.
One of the horses snorted and stamped impatiently. Harion looked at it cautiously. Was it laughing at his abysmal archery as well? Perhaps it later would share conversations with the elf behind his back. It was no good, he had to know for certain. He turned back to the elf.
"The horses... They can't really talk...can they?"
"Not as you do, no. They do not communicate in words as such, more in images and feelings. If you speak to them they will not understand the words, but they can grasp your meaning through your tone of voice and the emotions that they perceive in you. For elves it is different - we think half in this way ourselves, so the link is more readily available. When she tells me her name, she is actually conveying an image of her personality. That is what makes her who she is, not any label bestowed upon her. Does that answer your question?"He smiled suddenly. "Right now, they wonder why you have so much stone-stillness in you. You need flow-of-water."
"Stone? Water?"
"Your body is rigid like stone. It is why the arrow missed. When you learn to move your limbs fluidly, like water, the arrow will flow too. It is all connected. Clear your mind, and relax. When you have mastered that, we can begin to work on your technique." A movement by the door caught his eye and he broke off. "Lady Aryante."The elf crossed to her and bowed gracefully, taking the pack she carried from her hands. "You have everything you need?"
"Yes." He nodded and went to one of the ponies, deftly stowing the new provisions amongst its packs.
The lady herself turned to the boy and smiled. "Harion, welcome. How do you fare this morning?"
"Very well thank you Ma'am" he nodded a reply. He was still busy thinking about water and stone. The more he thought about it, the more it made sense. He was probably too rigid, it was just the idea of horses suggesting tips that made him uncomfortable.
"I'm glad to hear it" Aryante smiled. "Are we ready to set off?" she glanced over the waiting horses
"It seems that everything is in order" She turned and mounted her horse gracefully. "Shall we start?"
Legolas' jaw tightened and he nodded shortly. "One moment."
He ran swiftly with light steps over to the tree and stooped to retrieve the arrow, returning it to Harion. "Always collect them. You never know when the extra arrow will make the difference between life or death. No chances where we're going." Harion took the arrow and placed it back in the quiver. He could sense the slight rebuke in Legolas' voice. Or perhaps it was apprehension?
"And where is that?" Aryante asked Legolas quietly.
He looked down suddenly and swallowed. "Mirkwood."
"Oh Legolas..." she murmured in sympathy.
Harion kept silent, but stored up the information. Mirkwood was a hazy name in his memory. He knew that it lay further north than home. Perhaps they would pass through familiar territory. However, Mirkwood obviously meant a lot more to the elf.

With a shake of his blonde hair Legolas seemed to recover himself. "'Tis probably nothing. If there were trouble, my father would have sent for me. But I do not like to think of such foes in my homeland. A shadow may now be upon the woods, but they are still my home. They should be free." Resolution entered his eyes. "They will be free."

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Subject: First reunion

My characters + Arwen whom I've kinda "borrowed" for a bit
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Date Posted: 21:13:12 04/07/03 Mon

"Your grandfather's gone again," the elf known as Cadrieldur commented, mildly amused. "Does he always watch you or just when you're with me? This is the second time today I've felt his presence outside the door."
"It's not you," Arwen's face clouded over and the elf found himself feeling almost sorry that he had asked the question. "He's watched me since the waterfall incident, never openly but he's always there, just in case."
"In case of what?" he asked eagerly before his brain had time to consider the question carefully. "Sorry," he apologised swiftly. "Please forget I asked it."

They sat in silence for a moment. The easy atmospher from moments before had fled, like a dream in the morning. "I apologise. It's not my place to inquire about that which you have expressly forbidden me access to."
She looked up, blue pools of ocean mist meeting the icey blue of his own eyes. "Ask me anything but that. I don't want to talk about it."
The wolfish grin was back. "That's probably why I find it so fasinating." His eyes sparkled. "I've always been a bit of an annoying fellow and an insatisiable curiousity is by no means my greatest flaw."
We're here.
"You've brought the girl?"

He snapped back roughly at the sound of his name, obviously he had spoken aloud. How careless after all these years, he fumed inwardly but only for a moment, this didn't really matter. She was here.
"Arwen... I'm sorry... please excuse me." Without a second glance or an explanation of any kind he rushed from the room.
Meet me in the southern most garden, he thought as he ran.
There's something you need to know.
Tell me when we get there. I must see her.
It's important.
I don't want to know.
He almost laughed. Vomyr, you must have learnt by now through our time together, that nothing you say is important to me. Do we understand each other?
To the gardens then.

The valet was already there when he arrived. The run from the upstairs hall where had sat with Arwen to the garden had been a substantial one but there was no evidence of it except the ends of stray hair that drifted from one braid which had fallen loose during his flight. He did not stop to redo it, the midnight strands whipping across his face in the afternoon breeze.
"Where is she?"
"She's not here," the valet replied nervously.
The elf's face darkened like the sky before a storm and Vomyr began to wish he had stayed with the Pack; the thought was a novelty but not one he would treasure.
Then slowly, dripping with menace the elf Rivendell knew as Cadrieldur spoke. "I hope for your sake you have a good reason for this."
"I did try to tell you," the youth answered miserably. "She's unconcious."
"She's what?!" Aralias bellowed.

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Subject: Introducing new names to confuse you all!!

Savinia, Falen, Noryn
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Date Posted: 19:47:52 04/19/03 Sat

Savinia paused at the back door, hitched her basket further up her arm and pulled out more strands of flaxen hair to cover the side of her face. She wasn’t taking any chances. There could be someone other than Drea in the kitchen. The basket was cutting into her arm by now, she moved its position again and hammered on the door. The paint was peeling, revealing the wooden boards beneath, Yet another job that needed seeing to at some point.

The door opened. Savinia stepped past Drea with a greeting and dumped the basket on the table. She carefully piled the change next to the basket and turned to go upstairs.
“Did you manage to get fresh meat this time?” The Innkeepers wife called from the other end of the kitchen. Savinia paused undecidedly.
“Yes” she replied, hoping Falen would leave it there.
“I hope you complained about the maggots we found last time. Totally disgraceful.”
Savinia hovered uneasily in the kitchen, it seemed rude not to face Falen when speaking to her, on the other hand, she had to keep her face hidden.
“I threatened to tell the authorities if he sold us rotten meat again” she replied, her back still facing Falen.
“Good... Is there anything wrong?” Falen’s voice took on a mother’s tone.
“No” Savinia replied, perhaps a little too hurridly. She stretched out her arms and yawned.
“I’m a bit tired, I think I’ll sleep for a bit.” She continued towards the door, hoping Falen wouldn’t think her behaviour was too strange. Hopefully she’d manage to get upstairs before anyone noticed. She had nearly reached the door when Noryn the other barmaid came through carrying an empty jug. Noryn took one look at Savina and gasped.
“What happened to your face?”

“Face?” Falen sounded concerned. “What do you mean, Savinia turn around.” Savinia grimaced in annoyance, then scowled at Noryn. Noryn instantly realised her mistake and tried to cover up.
“I... mean... You look so tired. You’d better sleep it off or no one will want you tonight.”
Falen was not so easily fooled. As mistress of the Tavern she prided herself on the well-being of her girls. Besides, her parental instincts could tell that there was something wrong. She crossed the kitchen, placed a corse hand on Savinia’s shoulder and spun her around. Savinia bowed her head, the loose strands of blonde hair covered the eye. Falen forced Savinia’s chin up until she met her eyes. She brushed back the escaped hair and her lips tightened as she regarded the swelling.
It was a nasty black eye. The eyelid was drooping slightly, the red tinged with early purple streaks.

“Alright... What happened?” Falen folded her arms briskly and waited for an explaination.
“Oh...that” Savinia tried to laugh. “It was so stupid really. I was fighting for the fresh bread and this man shoved me out of the way... He was really sorry about it, kept on applogising. I didn’t want to worry you about it.” She tried to keep her breathing steady, hoping Falen wouldn’t notice the lie. Falen pursued her lips and raised one eyebrow slightly.
“Really?” she asked.
“Yes” Savinia responded determinedly. She juted her jaw out slightly as if daring anyone to challenge her story. Falen decided not to push it any further.
“Very well.” Go see if you can cover it up for the evening.”
Savinia smiled and hurried upstairs to her room.

She was inspecting the bruise in the mirror, when she heard the faint knocking at the door. Noryn peered around cautiously, then entered, closing the door behind her.
“Sorry I gave you away” she muttered. Appologising didn’t come naturally to her.
“It’s alright” Savinia replied, rummaging through a drawer for some makeup. Noryn stood silently for a moment, her arms folded impatiently.
“It wasn’t a man buying bread was it. And she didn’t applogise.” It was more of a statement than a question. Savinia sighed.
“No” she admitted quietly. “It was a woman who flew at me, trying to pull my hair out. When they pulled her off me, she screamed that I was a dirty whore who had stolen her husband. The whole street was on her side, they spat and jeered at me. I was lucky just to get away with this.”
“You should have fought back. I would have” Noryn replied
“Well I’m not you am I” Savinia snapped. Her hand holding the eye shadow was trembling.
“Come here” Noryn sighed. She took the shadow and started to apply it over the tender swelling. “It’s not worth getting upset about.”

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Subject: Almost at Rivendell...

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Date Posted: 21:22:49 04/24/03 Thu

After weeks on the road he could almost smell the air of Rivendell. They were so close.
"Everybody hault!" a loud voice commanded and Aragorn once more suppressed the urge to scream with frustration. Once more he brought Ringbearer to a gentle stop, tied him to nearby branch and wandered through the crowds of milling soldiers towards the owner of the voice.

Sircyn was not hard to find as he was still yelling orders as if he were in the middle of a heated battle rather than in the middle of a mostly deserted, calmly beautiful field.
"What is it this time?" Aragorn asked morosely.
"Falden's horse stepped on a thorn of some kind."
The king sighed melodramatically. "Why did I let you and your crowd of inept buffoon's tag along with me in the first place?"
Sircyn grinned. "Because we followed you."
"Ah yes, I remember now. Against my express wishes wasn't it?"
Sircyn's smile widened. "I believe so."
"I should have put you all to death as traitors. I would've done if I'd known you would've been this much trouble."
"Which is why I'm glad we have such a compromising monarch," the general laughed. "Besides its only treason if I disobey orders, you only advised me to remain in the palace, trusting that I would realise it was for the best that I supported the Lord Faramir in his stewardship."
Aragorn chuckled. "Bad decision?"
"Don't you know me at all?"

"The thorn's out sir," Falden called from across the hastily erected campsite.
"Is she ready to travel yet," Sircyn shouted back.
"Give her another hour or so." The general nodded his agreement and turned back to his companion. "Besides I really couldn't let my king go wandering around the countryside unescorted, no matter if he used to be a ranger."
"Used to be?" Aragorn raised his eyebrows.
"Well I didn't want to mention it but you've kind of lost your touch."
"Oh really?"
"Its lucky we turned up really or you'd be somewhere in Mordor right now wondering if the Lord Elrond had decided to change the style of decoration."
Briefly he wondered if sticking his tongue out at the smirking general would be too immature even for this conversation and decided it would be.

"Aragorn you know I'm sorry we're taking such a long time to get to Rivendell but with such a large group we really can't go any faster. I know you want to see your wife again."
"I hear what you're saying," his fingers pushed wayward hair back from his face and the king sighed. "It's just frustrating to know she might be dying and I can't be there. I can't save her."

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Subject: Ice cold

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Date Posted: 22:37:59 04/29/03 Tue

He followed the valet out of Rivendell's grounds and into the forest beyond. After his initial outburst his face had resumed its usual mask of uncaring distain. It was not seemly to show emotion infront of Vomyr, it would give his servant to much of a hold over him. Even so a mix of fiery anger and icy panic filled his veins. He was not in control of this situation and it scared him. It was a strange and altogether unpleasent sensation. Why was it whenever he encountered his sister things slipped away from him?
Perhaps its because you care about her and about nothing else.
It was a sobering thought and one that distracted him from the immediated situation with which he was now faced.

Even lost in his thoughts Lia's elven ears picked up the slight displacement of autumn's leaves under careful foot. He smiled slightly as his senses told him at least half a dozen men hid in the trees, probably holding weapons aimed at his head. It would be an amusing distraction to watch them try and attack him but one at the moment he couldn't afford. The surface of his very skin tingled and every part of him told Aralias she was here somewhere, very close. Closing his eyes to block out the physical world Lia focused on the men around him. As his soul touched theirs he shuddered. These men were fouler that he could ever have imagined, one of them had murdered his own mother for five silver coins, another had abused countless children, another... he pulled away repulsed. They deserved the death he gave them. He felt no guilt at extinguishing their life forces and even managed to grin cheerfully at Vomyr as the noise of falling bodies reached the valet's frightened ears.
"Friends of yours?"
Vomyr could only shake his head in stupified silence.

The smile vanished as quickly as it had come until his face matched the cold in his eyes. "My sister, Vomyr. Where is she?"
The reply emerged as a squeak. "She's your sister?"
"I believe we've just covered that. What you seem to have neglected is her location. Now Vomyr, where is she?"

Faeirex's body lady within a clearing, surrounded by a thicket. She was dressed as he had seen her last, her face peaceful in contrast to the anger that had flamed from it then and it seemed as if she could be sleeping were it not for the blood that stained one side of her tunic, deep vermillion against the green. As he pushed through the brambles desparately towards her a half sob of anguish escaped him. He broke into the clearing and then into a run until he could kneel by his sister's still form. Tentativly he reached out a hand to touch the skin that was as pale as morning and as cold as his heart. The silky down of her cheek met his fingers and once more the sob of rage and sorrow emerged. He didn't try to surpress it. Gently he traced the line of her hair down towards her neck. The pulse was so faint that even as an elf he would've ignored it if he had not possessed powers beyond those of mere elves. She was alive if only barely.

Scooping her into his arms Aralias rose. Her head rested against his chest, like a trusting child.
A dead child.
The leafy scent of her hair just served to remind him of how long ago it was since he had held her last. She was but a hundred, he recalled. Vomyr was still watching them and now he was joined by the remainer of the villians who had not been part of the ambush. They had seen his outburst logically they would die for this outrage and yet with Fae cradled in his arms Aralias could not bring himself to just wipe them out as he had their comrades.
"Just get out of here," he hissed.
"Aren't you going to pay us?" one of the uglier and apparently stupider men asked.
"I have given you your life, surely that is worth more to you than silver or gold. Now leave this place before I change my mind."

* * *

Faeirex lay on the large wooden table in his room. Kneeling by it, head buried in his hands Aralias wept. No longer was it the catch in his voice from the forest. Now it was the heartbroken cry of one who has lost everything. The last three hours had been spent feverently applying every spell he had even learnt to his sister's inanimate form. And yet still she lay peacefully dreaming as his soul was torn apart.

One last desparate plan remained. Three hours ago it was unthinkable, now with Fae in his arms Aralias hurried through the halls of Imladris towards the rooms of the Lord Celeborn. Gently he laid his sister down on Celeborn's bed and with a desparate tone he had never heard himself use before beseeched the blonde elf with all the sincerity he could find within himself. "Help her. Please."

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Subject: A moment in time

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Date Posted: 21:18:31 05/01/03 Thu

How long ago it was since he had held her last…


The Tathren Elves could frequently be seen along the banks of the Sirion, and in its waters too, as they easily piloted small craft through its swirling eddies – mostly for transport in their small, efficient community, but often simply for the joys of it as well. It was an experience that Aralias found strange, used as he was to a more solemn community, but an exhilarating one nonetheless. Its effect could clearly be seen on Faeirex’s laughing face as she scrambled from the water on to the sand bar, pushing soaking hair back and turning to check that he was with her. The look irritated him – she hadn’t wanted to come on this doomed expedition - he had bullied her into it - but already she seemed to have forgiven and forgotten it; the reality of their situation was not lost on Aralias however. Already today his pride had been spectacularly wounded by his failed efforts. At the beginning of the day he had cherished the hope of recreating and building one of his own little boats but that hope had been dashed along with the craft as they entered the canyon forcing its pair of passengers to make for the nearest dry land in the treacherous currents. That Fae didn’t even seem to have taken notice of his failure should’ve been reassuring, instead it merely rubbed salt in an already open wound. A wound that gaped further when he pushed himself from the damp sand and glanced around, realising where they were and the only way out.

Fae had noticed at the same time as him, and her face paled when she saw what he was thinking. “No Lia, I can’t go in there. Don’t make me. I’ll stay here.”
“Don’t be a fool,” he snapped at her, trying to keep his own private anguish from entering his voice. “You saw how rough the river was back there, without the boat we’ll have to swim to land.”
“Then I’ll swim,” she said obstinately, starting back towards the rushing water. Panic made him run after her and pull her back more sharply than he had intended.
“It’s too dangerous! You’ll drown! Promise me you won’t go back in there.” She made no move, and his grip tightened. “Promise me!”
The seconds stretched out but she gave in first, as he had known he would.
He released her; the mark of his grip did not. “Good girl.” He said, drawing her in close for a relieved hug. “Fae, you know we have to do it. There’s no other way.” If I have to go through this, you are too.
She was shaking when he let go of her, but allowed herself to be led towards the open mouth of the cave.


The caverns beneath Nan-Tathren, that had once been wandered through so freely, were now a treacherous place of fallen rock and jagged holes. After the fall they had been closed off, and it was easy to see why. In some places the gaps that had once been great caves were so small they had to wriggle through, and in others the heights were so big that he could barely scramble up them. Faeirex, so much smaller, couldn’t make the climb at all and had to be helped up. It was too dark to see much but whenever he did, he could see her frenetic clenching and re-clenching of fists, and her rapid, nervous breathing sounded loud in the silence. He kept outwardly calm, knowing once he panicked they were lost and his own pain unable to find an outlet formed a small hard knot inside of him, coated itself over with layers of anger. Behind him Fae whimpered slightly and he grimaced. This is your fault, he thought furiously in her direction as he walked, I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re hurting.
It wasn’t true of course, and the cruel twist of fate that gave enough light for him to see her frightened face at that very moment only made him hate himself for thinking it and hate her for making him hate himself.

”Sometimes I can’t stand it!” he burst forth to Riel finally. “She’s so good, and sweet, and wonderful all the time. It’s not natural. Sometimes I’m sure she’s doing it to spite me!”
“Don’t me ridiculous,” Cadrieldur replied, a funny look in his eyes, “Even I know that Fair hasn’t a spiteful bone in her body. Besides, she absolutely adores you, anybody can see that. I’m not sure why, but she does. Maybe you should try appreciating her for once.”

The trip had been an attempt to prove to Riel and himself that he appreciated his beautiful, talented, exasperating sister. And didn’t it turn out brilliantly, Aralias? his own voice sounded inside his head; so much like his fathers. A perfect failure, as always. He wanted to cry but knew he couldn’t. Behind him he could hear Faeirex’s tears. He stomped forwards, furious and frightened.


Daylight was visible up above, so real and warm it stung. So close, yet so far away. The steep rocky walls hemmed it in and held it back, so only shadows made it down to where they stood. The only way up was a haphazard tumble of rocks where the roof had fallen in years ago, leaving a scar in the hillside above wide enough to take a large tree. Somewhere on the other side of the fall the mouth of the caves opened onto fresh air, but it was as unreachable as the stars. Lia tested the bottom of the pile carefully, feeling it rock under even his slight weight.
“Get back,” he warned Faeirex, taking no notice of his own advice. “It’s unstable.”
She did as she was told, but unwillingly. “Lia, don’t go up there.” The telling crack in her voice told him she was on the verge of hysteria.
He ignored it and started to climb towards the light, the unstable mass shaking under him all the while. He was nearly at the top when stones started to slide beneath him. Cursing, he lunged for solid rock and grasped it as boulders crashed below. Hearing Fae’s scream behind him he struggled up the rest of the way, then turned to check on her. She was crying now, quietly, but the tears still shining wherever there was enough light to reflect them.
“I’m going to get help,” he assured her guiltily. “Just wait here and I’ll be back before you know it.”
She was protesting but he ignored it and moved towards the warmth he could feel on his wind-chilled face. “Lia!” she screamed. He looked back at her, her slight figure so small and fragile down there among the rocks that had killed their mother. “Don’t follow, it’s not safe. I’ll be back, I promise.”
She whispered brokenly, “don’t leave me down here…” The desperate plea reached his ears but he couldn’t allow himself to hear it, so instead he smiled reassuringly and disappeared out into freedom.
He waited for a while outside the cave mouth, the noise of Fae’s cries muffled by the wall of rock that stood between them. He should stay with her of course. He should stay, and talk to her, and try to help her deal with her demons whilst he waited for someone to pass. But deep inside, part of him was bitterly aware that it was all her fault the parent that had loved him was dead. Part of him wanted to lash out, to hurt her, to restore some of his injured pride. A large part of him.

He walked away.


“You did what?” his father shouted furiously. “You left her there!?! She’s a child, Aralias! A child! She’s frightened and upset, and you left her down there in the dark. I promise you, if anything happens to her I will never forgive you."


She had tried to climb up, as part of him had known she would. Alone, with only her own fears for company, and fury that yet again her brother had gone ahead of her and left her behind, she had braved the dangers and had fallen.
They were lucky she hadn’t been crushed, somebody told him when they’d pulled the rocks away from her unconscious body. He’d barely heard. When he carefully picked her up and cradled her against him, all he could think of was her falling away from him. Had she lost consciousness immediately, he wondered? Or had she had to lie there in the dark, unable to move, until the shadows claimed her?

What had he done?

And then his father was there, white with anger, taking her away from him. Holding her and talking to her lovingly, until her eyelids flickered and finally opened. He waited until she looked at him, putting as much apology and entreaty into his eyes as he knew how. But there was nothing of forgiveness in her face this time. A look of profound hurt and disappointment flashed across it, then was gone returning to blankness. He started to speak but she had turned away from him and hid her face against her father’s shoulder. Erliân held his only daughter close and caught his son’s gaze. I promise you, if anything happens to her I will never forgive you.

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Subject: Journey

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Date Posted: 21:29:08 05/01/03 Thu

note: If you haven't read the post before this (everybody setting out), please scroll up until you find it. It's kinda purple).

The road winds ever on and on...
Harion couldn't remember where he'd heard that, but it fitted the situation perfectly.
The track stretched ahead, the end far out of sight. They rode through a calm, green tunnel of trees, the filigree of leaves intertwining overhead. They allowed only glimpses of the pale winter sunlight to shine through, casting dancing shadows on the track and the figures passing by.
The gentle breeze ruffled Harion's hair and stirred Seima's mane. She shook her head and snorted, rattling her reins. The steady clip clop of horses hooves echoed through the trees and blended in with the birds singing overhead.
A week had passed since they'd left Minas Tirith. 7 days of solid riding, broken only by the occasional stop to water the horses and serve food. The landscape was growing familiar, they would soon be entering land belonging to neighbouring farms. Harion couldn't help wishing he was be able to stop off home for a moment. However, he knew it was impossible.

Harion sat up straight on the horse, wriggled his shoulders and stretched his arms out trying to relieve the stiffness. He wasn't used to riding for this long - but there was no way he'd ever complain. He'd realized by now that there was no way he could beat his companions in hardships or physical stamina. It was impossible - he was human. But he was not going to appear weaker than he could help. And that meant keeping his mouth shut.
His archery was improving very slightly. He had managed to hit a few similar trees, but most of his arrows had sped past the target. He tried to clear his mind and relax, the image of movement-of-water kept reoccurring. However, it was impossible not to tense up when Legolas was watching. He could feel his muscles contracting as Legolas turned to watch, then saw the arrow speed into the undergrowth. Legolas would turn away then, without saying anything. Later he might murmur something to Lady Aryante - sometimes in elvish, never audible. She would look at him, smile encouragingly, then continue with her previous task. Harion would stomp through the foliage, red faced, searching for the lost arrow and vowing to himself that he would not give up until he could hit the target every time.

Up ahead, Legolas shifted his position to glance back at the others. Lady Aryante met his eyes wearily, whilst the boy fidgeted uncomfortably in his saddle. The packhorses heads drooped and occasionally a hoof scuffed the dirt where a foot hadn't been picked up properly. His brows drew together in a frown. Much as he would wish to keep moving, it was becoming clear that they would have to stop soon to rest, or they would not be able to keep going at all.

The light was already beginning to dim when the trees began to thin and the path to widen into a clearing large enough to be used by travellers. Alalme whickered softly and drew to a halt.
"We'll stop here for the night." Unable to conceal his surprise and relief, Harion blurted out
"The night?" The elf's eyes were inscrutable.
"The horses are tired. Lady Aryante is tired. You're tired, and you need to rest. We stay here." He dropped his eyes and nodded, angry that his failings had been noticed. He could feel Legolas' eyes on him still, but couldn't make himself look up.When Lady Aryante murmured something about finding somewhere to bathe he wanted to ask her not to go, not to leave him alone with this strange creature, but he didn't dare. Aryante may have elven blood, but she was mostly human, and behaved like one. The Prince of Mirkwood was still an enigma. At least the piercing blue eyes had left him now though, to speak to the healer instead.

"Be careful, I don't know what's in these woods. If you hear or see anything, call for me at once. I will not risk hurt to you."
Another smile - she had spoken very little so far, to either of them - and she was gone, leaving the two of them alone together. He immediately busied himself with starting a fire. Legolas sat down on a nearby log and undid his hair, combing it through with long fingers before deftly replaiting the golden strands. Harion watched curiously, while trying not to seem to be. When the elf had finished and reached for his bow he quickly looked down again, concentrating on the food he was cooking.

Legolas examined the weapon carefully, checking it for any weaknesses that may have worked their way into the wood. There were none of course - the bows of the Galadhrim were made to last for centuries. It was ready to be fired at any moment because, unlike normal longbows, those of the elves were strung with their own hair. It would not slacken over time, so it could be kept strung. Satisfied that it would not fail him, he laid it aside and watched the human at his work. Sensing his gaze, Harion shifted awkwardly, but did not look up. Fervently, he wished he would stop. There was something unnerving about a person who's face gave nothing away about what they were thinking.
"What is it about me that makes you so uncomfortable?

Harion looked up, startled.
"Your highness?" Legolas pressed on.
"It is hard not to see it. You do not wish to speak to me, or look at me, and you grow nervous when I am near. Yet at other times you stare, and think I do not notice. Have I offended you in some way?"

"No...no of course not." Harion ducked his head hurridly. Was he that transparent?
"Then what is it?" Legolas continued. "We cannot continue like this. Whatever the problem is, get it out in the open. Why can you not rest around me?"
Harion glanced nervously behind, hoping Aryante would suddenly appear and stop this questioning. He gazed intently down at the food, as if believing Legolas would go away if he wished hard enough.
"Nothing...really...your majesty" he mumbled. Legolas' sharp ears caught the slight difference in tone
"It is my title, is it not?" he asked with a hint of triumph. Harion couldn't help jerking slightly in surprise. Was the elf a mind reader as well

"Well?" Legolas was still waiting for an answer. Harion sighed and nodded slightly, his cheeks beginning to burn again.
"You are uncomfortable because I am royalty. Is there anything else? Tell me now, do not let it fester and grow." Legolas' piercing gaze caught Harion's eye and refused to break contact. Harion flushed an ever brighter red and bit his lip until it bled. He took a deep breath and wondered how best to phrase this.

"I had never seen an elf before I came to the city" he gabbled in a rush. "I believed them only to be figments of childish stories. I'm sorry, I don't know.... anything.." he tailed off. He stole a glance at Legolas who was sitting calmly. His face gave nothing away as usual. Harion longed for a hole to open in the ground and swallow him up. Why was the elf still silent? Had he mortally offended him
"These stories" Legolas said slowly at last. "Tell me about them. I'll tell you how much is true." Harion kept his eyes on the floor, thankful for the cool breeze on his burning cheeks.
"Some say elves can fly, others say they can become invisible" Harion started reluctantly.
"Neither are true." Legolas replied. "If we wish to we can blend ourselves in with the natural foliage, but we cannot make ourselves disappear. What else have you heard?" His face was still unreadable.
"Some say you can turn stones into gold nuggets" Harion continued "Or that you never need to sleep." Legolas picked up a stone from the ground next to him, closed his fingers around it and squeezed tightly. He held his hand out and opened his fingers.

"Does that look like gold to you?" he asked.
"No" Harion admitted shamefully.
"Nor me" Legolas continued thoughtfully. "Much as it might come in useful, that story is also untrue. As for sleep, we can relax our minds and rest whilst still moving, we can pass many hours before collapsing from exhaustion, but all living things need to sleep eventually. Was there anything else worrying you?"
Harion swallowed. There was one more, the only one he'd ever really wondered whether it was true. Legolas' eyes were still on him. If this rumour was true, he was probably about to die.

"In one story, the elf could kill people... Just by staring at them..."

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Subject: Celeborn Gets Mean. No-one ever said he was a nice guy...

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Date Posted: 12:23:10 05/05/03 Mon

Celeborn watched the girl, barely alive in her brothers arms. Perhaps a whisper of breath passed her lips and nothing more. With no help, she would die.

"Cadrieldur. Look at me."

Celeborn knew he had little time. "Cadrieldur, very little in this would is what it seems, as I'm sure you know. And 'Cadrieldur', I am rather inclined to believe this is true about you. So tell me, what exactly is a Vanyar elf doing in Middle Earth? I seem to remember your kind shunded the kinslaying all those years ago. Not one of your kind should have crossed the borders into this land."

The Teleri elf began to pase.

"So I though upon this matter. Each solution becoming wildy more hair raising than the last. However, one did have some ring of truth to it. Outlaws. Banished from Valinor for some reason or another. Perhaps at the time of the kinslaying, another bloodthirsty wretch who shed a little Teleri blood? Blood of my kindred? And now you would expect me to heal your beloved?

"My family was killed in the kinslaying. All of them murdered my Noldorian butchers. I do not hold the Noldor dear to my heart- despite my blood ties with them- which are minimal. Yet the Vanyar, your kindred would never lower themselves to answer the requests for aid at that battle.

"I was the messenger dispatched to ride to Mount Teleperon- begging for aid. I was turned away- 'a Teleri dares ask us!' So I left Valinor disillusioned with the Valar, and the world."

The old elf was seething. Years of old grudges were pouring out.

"Anyhow. That was my last involvement with the Vanyar, until you appeared. You and your trouble, Cadrieldur. You told me you knew my son, you said you had been on the shore watching him leave. Yet Amroth should never have left- should he? My son was persuaded to leave by one particular elf, who convinved him, Nimrodel was not coming. Amroth died Cadrieldur. He killed himself in pain and doubt.

"Then, you appear later. This time for my grandaughter. Fortunately she had to good sense to see through you in time. Despite her good nature, no matrimony took place. Yet that caused much pain.

"And now, as we once again stand on the brink of darkness, you re-appear. Sweetness and laughter. But I do not like you, Vanyar. You have caused the ones I love much pain, and your kind is responsible for much in my eyes.

"My grandaughter is dying. If you think I would waste the power I hold on some wrench you have become obessed with, then you are very wrong. I am not Lord Elrond. Go Vanyar, and take your whore with you. You will find no aid with me."

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Subject: AGHH!!!!! Stupid Clear button why do we even have it!!!!!!????

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Date Posted: 08:35:10 05/06/03 Tue

His fist cracked out creating a thin line of blood across the pale, unforgiving cheek bone.
"How dare you," he hissed.
Celeborn did not move, did not seem to notice the bruise forming under his left eye or the salty tang of his own blood as it trickled over thin, pale lips. For some reason this only served to infuriate Aralias further and his hand lashed out again forming another cut, the twin of the first across the Elven Lord's face. He did not even flinch.
Incensed Aralias repressed the urge to strike out again and again; the part of his mind that remained rational even after the discovery his sister's paralysis and Celeborn's refusal knowing that the outcome of such an event would be nothing. Celeborn might die, beaten and bloody but he would not be broken. Death was no punishment for one who wished it upon himself.

So painstakingly he held back the urge to strike out once more. Inside the anger seethed but outside his words flowed smoothly and calmly. "You have insulted me in every way imaginable. You have insulted my race, you have insulted my family and you have insulted me." He was shouting now." You even have the audacity to suggest that the woman I brought to you was no more than a bed mate!" With a desparate urgence he quelled the anger from his voice. "The most insulting thing of all is that I know that for you to have any idea about my identity you must have searched my mind this meeting, the only time I can ever recall letting my guard down for more than a moment. And if you searched my mine you must have searched hers too." The last pathetic hold on his anger melted away. "Am I to conclude you believe I am sleeping with my own sister?!"
The circle of his vision was rapidly decreasing until it was all he could do to see the other elf through the fiery circle of his own anger.
And then the flames were real, crackling and licking joyfully over Celeborn's ornate furniture. The fire in his eyes was gone and Aralias was able to smile at last at the elven lord.

"You are right Lord Celeborn, you are not Elrond for if you were Vilya would protect Imladris from the flames that are to destroy it. Do not fear for you granddaughter for I shall do for you what you could not do for me and cure the one you love." His lips curled up into a sneer. "She is infested with the spawn of man, a disease which the flames will happily rid her of. They also take her wretched life, something I believe she has tried to dispose of already.

"As for you yourself I advise you to think more carefully over your next meeting with the Vanyar, the consequences are always terrible and unexpected. It's unfortunate you won't be able to carry out my advice personally but I offer it anyway."

He bowed once, a short mocking bow and scooped up his sister's fragile body. "Good day to you Lord Celeborn."


Throughout Rivendell doors slammed and locked themselves submitting to Aralias' will. The fire he had brought to life spread quickly throughout its halls, consuming all it touched easily for the wooden structure was old and dry and no longer protected by the elven ring.

In his chambers Celeborn sank to his bed as the blaze grew stronger. "Unexpected? Oh Cadrieldur how predictable you are."

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Subject: Sorry, post is getting depressing now. Is necessary background info, I promise.

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Date Posted: 15:29:34 05/06/03 Tue

Thranduil's son stared at him for a long moment, unblinkingly. Then abruptly he stood and paced across the clearing, turning his head towards the trees but with downcast eyes. His fists opened and reclenched rapidly; the nearest to a display of emotion Harion had seen from him so far. "Truly my people have been apart from the world of men for too long," he muttered, "Elves are many things, but we are not evil."

When he turned back to Harion, he was obviously distressed.
"Elves are creatures of the light. We do not dwell in shadows. We wish for nothing more than to dwell here in peace, yet that cannot be. My people dwindle; they leave these shores. Soon there will be none of us left, and the world will have forgotten that we ever existed. Only in the stories will we live on, in memory. But you craft false memory. Not in all my life have I ever killed an innocent, or an unarmed man, yet your people fear me. They call us monsters, and that is how we will be remembered. No elf has ever killed a man by looking at them Harion, not even those who embraced the darkness. But that will not matter, will it? It is what the people say, so it must be true," he finished sadly.

Harion stared at the ground even more intently.
"I..I'm sorry" he whispered at last. "I..I didn't know."
Legolas paced back across the clearing and sat next to the fire, his rigid back turned towards Harion. His outburst had even surprised himself slightly. All those things had been building up for a long time, but it showed a lack of self control to express them in a torrent like that. And self control was one of the things he prided himself with.

Harion picked up a stick and scratched a hole viciously in the ground. His anger was also beginning to build up. What right did Legolas have to speak to him thus? He hadn't started the stories, they'd been passed down for generations.
"If you don't want stories told, why do you live in such secretive, enclosed groups?" he asked briskly. "No one knows anything about elves because they never see any. If you were more friendly, we might understand and not imagine what goes on in those hidden away forests." His voice was rising until he was almost shouting. "You think that you're so much better than we are. Well, maybe you can do some things that we cannot, but we're not mind readers. We cannot understand how elves are if they are too high-and-mighty to talk to us mere mortals."

He threw the stick angrily across the clearing and turned his back on Legolas. Already the anger was fading into horror. Had he really said that? - to a prince? he dropped his face into his hands and tried to curl himself into a smaller ball. The clearing remained silent. Neither wanted to be the first to speak.
"No human has been welcome in the Mirkwood for nigh on three thousand years." The voice belonged to Legolas. "And now you will go there. You will walk beneath it's trees, but my people will not welcome you. My father least of all. Such stories will not help matters. So you will forgive me if I try to disabuse you of them now. I am one, but they are many. And I can find it in my heart to forgive. Many of them cannot. 'Tis better you should be prepared for what you will find there."

Harion smiled wryly.
"Luckily I'm not used to warm welcomes, I suppose I should thank you for breaking me in now. At least I know which topics of conversation to avoid!" He picked another twig from the ground and started peeling off the bark in long twisted coils.
"Three thousand years..." he repeated incredulously. "I cannot even comprehend such a long time." He watched the flecks of bark nestle on the grass.
"Did your people quarrel with us?" he asked suddenly. "Is that why you never mix with humans?"
"In a way," Legolas replied distantly. He sighed. "It is as well that I should tell you. Half a story leaves shadows. But I would thank you not to repeat this." Harion nodded.

"Very well." He raised his eyes to the moon that had begun to glow softly in the half-light. "My mother was a Lorien elf, a ward of the Lady Galadriel I believe. She was very beautiful to look at, silver haired and blue eyed. My father loved her deeply. He was less stern of mind then - the elves of the Greenwood wear the sun not just in their hair, but in their hearts. My mother was the moon.
We were friends with the elves of Lothlorien then, and Imladris too. Men lived in the woods then, and visited with us often. But the shadows began to grow beneath the trees and my kindred found their sunshine sullied by dark, evil creatures. The summer we thought we had bought with the destruction of the abhorred one drew to autumn, and we had to fight again. I was just a child then. We fought well though - the elves of Lorien may be wiser, and those of Rivendell more skilled, but none will beat an elf of the Greenwood when it comes to matters of the sword or bow. We held the shadows back.

I do not know when the darkness began to turn men against us, but their hearts were swift to change. They had begun to blame us for their losses - my father should have aided them more when they needed it, or held the creatures back. Men soon forget their ties when it suits them, it seems to me. They were not as strong as we were, and less able to withstand the evil. Finally, they became desparate. While my father was away from home driving off the spiders, Men came to my home - men we had trusted. They took my mother. They were so bitter - they called us monsters. They called her a monster. Then they took her away from us and as they fled, the creatures killed them. Her as well.

My father was consumed with a rage I have never seen before. He drove all humans from our lands, vowing never to let them return. Her death chased all the sunshine from him. Lothlorien turned against us - her loss hurt them deeply as well. It was never said, but I know they blamed my father. If he had protected her better, she would have been safe. I think he blames himself as well. It has been so long, but the wounds those men caused have not yet been healed. Do you see now why my people are hostile?

"I see" Harion agreed quietly. "And I understand... I understand many things. Not only does your story explain why you keep yourselves hidden away. But also that you're not as different from us as I believed." He picked up one of the coils of bark and twisted it tightly around his finger.
"Two years ago, my mother was murdered during an Orc raid. My father has never forgiven himself... It affected his mind, now he lies ill in bed and needs more attention than my little sister. I understand how the loss of a loved one can affect many lives. The only difference... is that my father will not live 3,000 years to watch the bitterness grow." Harion turned his face away sharply.
"In fact he will not live long at all."

Legolas looked at him in sympathy. "I cannot even pretend to understand what that would feel like. I have never had to experienced illness myself, let alone death. They pass me by, with no more effect than the changing wind.
Yet at the same time, I know almost exactly what you feel. I was about one hundred when my mother died - nearly an elf full grown. I can remember a time when mortals were our friends, and the world did not seem nearly so difficult. When I grew older, my father sent me oft as an envoy to other kingdoms. I met Men there but, in what to me was scarce a moment, I saw them grow old and die. So many. It may help you to know that immortality is not the gift that it may appear. Elves were born for sorrow. The grief of humans will fade as the years pass, and it will grow old and die. But elves - we outlive everything on this earth, and watch it wither with the seasons. We will sing, and we will laugh and dance, but we will never shed the sense of loss for a world that we cannot hold on to. In a way, death is a precious gift given to humans. It allows an ending." The corner of his mouth twitched into a smile at the irony. "So says the elf who will never experience it."

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Subject: Death of A Sweetheart

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Date Posted: 19:20:38 05/06/03 Tue


The smoke deep swirling. Grey and endless like the shadows between worlds. Places of ethics, morals and spirits. She laughed. A white ivory shimmering laugh.

Fire, steel and grief. Arwen had tried steel, even water. Yet fire was coming. Who would be there to see the irony? Fire. She had tried to give herself death. Someone was doing it for her.

Laughing, almost blinded, she rose in the smoke. The knife...

Raising it slowly to her head. In two swift movements she was done. The knife end blunt, and her locks of raven hair tangled upon the floor.

Only a few more moments... it was almost over...

*Authors Note* Yes- more than rather odd. Still, maybe I shouldn't have been listening to the White Strips at the same time!
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Subject: One last errand

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Date Posted: 07:25:22 05/07/03 Wed

By now the fire had enveloped Imladris completely, filling the beautiful corridors with billowing smoke and proud flames. His eyes still stung through the strip of cloth he had wound around them but without the agonising pain of before. Closing them completely he ran, stretching out his senses to feel what he could not see. Eventually he reached her room, the door obediently swinging open before him.

His senses informed him the room was empty.
"Arwen?!" he shouted nervously.
Whatever answer might have come was instantly drowned out as he started coughing violently, the smoke having entered his mouth for the moment it was open. As he stopped coughing after what seem like an eternity he heard a low whimper somewhere over the other side of the room. She was alive in here, but so close to death he couldn't feel her.
"Arwen?" he tried again and immediately regretted it. Cursing internally, careful not to open his mouth again, Aralias removed his blindfold.

It was all he could do to see through the smoke and his own tears. Frantic he cast around the room for her. Moving painfully slow against the heat he reached her. Arwen's once beautiful hair had been savagely hacked off and the butchered locks lay but meters from her outstretched hand and a gleaming knife. He wasted seconds trying to understand what madness had compelled her to multilate herself until Arwen moaned slightly and he remembered she needed all the time he could give her.

Resecuring his blindfold he picked her up as gently as he had his sister and ran stumblingly through the halls. A large beam fell, its body afire, bringing with it large amounts of the ceiling it had supported in another life. He felt the panic rise. He had started this fire but it was now well beyond his control, this might be his final resting place.


The thought was angry and assured but it did not quieten the fear growing swiftly inside him. The debry caused by the beam's deparature finally ceased to fall and he ran again, faster than before over the rubble that had been Rivendell.

Finally they were out into the sooty air of the courtyard and he could remove his blindfold once more. Arwen had not moved since he had taken her from her quarters and though he could see the fire eager to engulf this place of santuary Aralias laid her down upon a bench and used the last of his magical strength to hold it back. He had to flee from this place and quickly but with two unconcious women that was impossible. If Arwen did not wake before his hold on the fire weakened then he would leave her here to die, Faeirex had to get out while the chance she might live still remained.

Hurridly he dipped inside one of the pockets on his dublet and produced a tiny vial. It's scent sweet, tangy and alive wafted through the small courtyard making him gag slightly. Quickly he waved it under Arwen's nose. Let this work. Her eyelids fluttered, she started coughing violently, removing as much of the ash from her system as possible. It would not be enough though, he managed to think before she rolled to her side and threw up over the side of the bench.
"Better?" he asked stroking her hair gently.
She managed to nod weakly and he produced another bottle from another pocket. "Drink this."
"What is it?"
He smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring way. "You shouldn't question the man who saves your life. Please drink it."

After a moments pause she did and he breathed a silent sigh of relief and his tone changed. "Alright lets get out of here."
Arwen started to rise. "But what about my grandfather? Elladan? Elro..."
"They are dead," he snapped. "Forget them."
And taking her her hand he fled.

A little way off from the burning remains of what had once been the last homely house stood two horses, their eyes blindfolded so they couldn't see the fire and bolt. Next to them the form of a woman.

"Mount up," he ordered briskly and Arwen after some difficulty and confusion seated herself atop a chesnut mare he had stolen from Rivendell's stables earlier. Carefully he placed Faeirex in the sadle and lept up easily behind her. Once again her head found its way comfortably into the crook of his shoulder and once again Aralias wondered why she could never see that they were like two pieces in a puzzle, fitting together perfectly. One hand reached up to stroke that raven hair the other held Lemi's reign tightly, while the horse couldn't see he would have to choose the direction. Gently his heels struck Elemiire's side and he moved into an easy trot.
"Follow me," he called sharply back to Arwen and they disappeared into Trollshaws. Elessar would arrive soon, he was sure of it, but he would not find his wife waiting for him.

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Subject: Little Acorns

Celeborn (not dead!)
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Date Posted: 17:18:46 05/07/03 Wed

The timber fell. Crackles and sparks flew from the burning inferno. Celeborn watched as part of his life was destroyed in front of him.

Here was the place Celebrian had been most happy, images flashed through his head. The day of her marriage to Lord Elrond

"Ada! I've nothing I've ever done has felt this right!" She had laughed so much that day. He remembered how Elrond was so different around her- no longer the quite one. They brought out the best in each other. They always would.

For a fleeting moment, Celeborn's hear went out to his son-in-law. This was Elrond's dream that was being destroyed, not his.

The twins were playing in the grass. They must have been a few years old, arguing over who was Elrond and Gil-Galad as they battled with two sturdy sticks.

It had always been a place for families. Yet for so many years, no young elflings had played under the branched, and no infant laughter had rung from the valley. The End had been nearing.

So it seemed fitting, now the elves were gone, that so should their homes be. Bending to the ground, he saw a few shoots poking from the soil. Little acorns. One day, they would grow to giant oaks, aided by the rich earth. The elves were fading. Yet whatever fire or destruction was thrown at Imladris, this valley would always be a place of protection, of beauty, and of love.

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Subject: Awww, poor Harion

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Date Posted: 21:03:49 05/07/03 Wed

Harion was silent for a moment, reflecting. What must it be like to experience that? To see the people you cared about die, and know that you would never follow them?

The silence was broken as Aryante broke quickly through the undergrowth. She was panting slightly, concern in her eyes.
"There's someone coming," she called softly as soon as she was within hearing distance. Legolas was on his feet in an instant. Alert. Listening.
Aryante entered the clearing properly and tried to catch her breath. She glanced through the trees, just beginning to glow with an orange sunset. "Of course, it may just be a local person." she commented. "But I thought it best to give advanced warning, just in case."
Harion rose to his feet and caught his horse by the reins. He stood silently, listening to the evening song of birds. He couldn't hear anything else. He looked towards Legolas for guidance.

Legolas fingered his bow uneasily. Part of him wanted to clear the signs of the camp and lie in wait. The rest told him he was being more cautious than necessary. They were still many miles from Mirkwood, it was unlikely that the same danger would have spread this far south.
His sharp ears caught a noise and he held up a hand in warning, eyes were fixed on the bend in the long path they had journeyed down. The others held their breath as he listened for a few moments, then relaxed.
"The hooves are too heavy to be a swift runner. It must be a farmer heading home for the night. 'Tis little to worry about. He will not trouble us." The tone of his voice showed very clearly what would happen if he did.

Harion gazed down the long road, as far as he could see. He still couldn't hear anything, yet Legolas had already identified them. He smiled slightly and started to remove the horses bridle. The creature deserved some freedom overnight.

The atmosphere within the camp remained tense until the horses hooves became loud enough for even Harion to hear. At last, the heavy farm horse clomped around the bend, the cart was full of local produce, and the farmer walked by its side, tugging the reins when necessary.
Harion's face lit up when he saw the farmer.
"He's local" he commented. "I know him, he owns a farm a few miles from us. On the border of these woods, if I remember rightly." He chewed his lip thoughtfully. "Shall I go and greet him?" he asked. Legolas' face tensed but he nodded slightly and stepped back, allowing Harion to head down the track.

"Harion!" The old farmer gave a toothless grin and clapped his arm around him. "How are you lad? Getting rich yet? My wife was talking to your sister the other day. Told us all about your adventures." Harion smiled
"I'm fine, how are things here."
"Oh not good lad, not good." He pointed at the laden cart. "Prices are worse than ever. That's the stuff I couldn't sell today. And there's been another raid - over by Greenwater." Harion shuddered. Greenwater was too close to home for comfort.
"and...my family?" he asked at last. The farmer stopped walking and gave Harion a puzzled look.
"Aren't you going to them now? they could tell you better than I can." Harion shook his head.
"I can't see them now. I've got...another mission to see to first.... Are they alright?"

The farmer took off his hat and scratched his head awkardly.
"My missus said things were not good." he said at last. Harion swallowed. If the public view of events looked bleak, then the truth would be even worse.
"Tell me" he managed to croak.
"Well, your father has taken a turn for the worse, he's got a fever apparantly. And Lord Dernam sent his soldiers there a few days ago. He won't wait any longer for the rent. He wants it now in cash... or other things."

Harion turned his head away sharply, aware of the stinging in his eye. He'd been dreading this final demand for months. Lord Dernam's private army was totally illegal, but there was no one who cared with enough authority to stop him. He had squeezed every last penny out of his tennents, those who couldn't pay were often discovered barely breathing at the side of the road. Harion had only seen him once. He and Lirna had gone to beg for more time to gather the money, to no avail. Lord Dernam had sat in his throne-like chair, surrounded by his solidiers. He was a small fat, little man, whose eyes glittered darkly in the huge, sweaty mounds of flesh. He had laughed in Harion's face, oggling Lirna all the time. They had left in a hurry with the soldiers on their tail, when Harion turned down Lord Dernam's offer. To cancel the debt - in return for Lirna as a mistress. It didn't take much imagination to work out the terms of payment labled as "other things"

Harion choked a farewell and made his way back to the camp. He tried to keep his face hidden as he strode over to the pack horses.
"I'm going to water..." he trailed off and started to lead them towards the stream. He needed time to think. Alone.

Legolas and Aryante watched him go. "He is troubled," Aryante commented gently. "But...less so about you than he was before, I think. Did you speak to him?"
"Uma," nodded the elf, "Though I know not yet what good it will have done. I did not wish to tell him, but it is more important than he realises that this rift is healed. 'Tis hard enough to do battle as it is, more so if there is mistrust amongst allies."
"So what more will you do now."
"The only thing I can. Place my trust in him. On the morrow I shall begin to train him to fight properly. We shall see where that leads us." He smiled. "Mayhap I shall make him so tired, he will not have the strength to grieve."

Aryante looked at him sharply. She laughed lightly, shaking her head. "You are a wicked creature, Legolas."
The elf laughed, showing a rare display of mirth. "Not you too, Aryante. Not when I have just had to work so hard to convince the poor boy I do not plan to kill him in his sleep. You will undo all my good work..."

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Subject: Reality

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Date Posted: 22:07:37 05/08/03 Thu

He had left the cares and the noise of the soldiers behind anxious to speak with Arwen alone. He should be feeling happy, either that or he should be feeling worried about her reaction to the choice he had made a lifetime ago, but he wasn't. As Ringbearer climbed the last hill towards Rivendell Aragorn tried to pinpoint exactly what he was feeling.

A great sense of forboding; something was not right.

The choking scent of smoke reached his nostrils.
No. It can't be...

Ringbearer had also caught that scent and tried to turn away from the top of the hill. Impatient Aragorn dug his spurs into the frightened animal's side harder than he had intended but the horse refused to move further than the summet.
Rivendell burned fiercely.

He sat atop a midnight steed, dragging on the reins he turned his horse away from the sight of Imaldris as it became engulfed by the flames that licked at its walls. A cold smirk settled over his lips; the golden band around his index finger glinted.

A barely remembered dream flickered back and he glanced uneasily down to his hands. They remained unadorned. That part of the memory was fantasy then but the destruction of his childhood home was very real.
Arwen might still be in there!
He tried once more to push Ringbearer into some kind of forward progress but the horse remained firmly where it was, eyes wide with terror. Desparate he leapt from the saddle and ran the last part of his journey.

As he neared the burning ruin of Imladris the heat became gradually more and more unbearable until he was forced to stop about ten yards from its carcass. The fire spat spitefully at him, knowing he would not brave its burning depths.

He cast around for something, anything to destroy its hunger. The Ford lay close of course, Arwen or Elrond could've called a wave to flood the halls of Rivendell but Elrond was gone and Arwen had possibly taken her last breath. There was no elven mage to summon the water this time.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself and use the tools you already possess.

The strange voice was gone as quickly as it had arrived leaving no more clues. Its identity no more confusing than the message it had offered. The tools he already possessed?

His hands ran lightly over his sword, various daggers and food sacks. Was it possible the voice wanted him to use one of them to quench the fire? No, that was just rediculous.

His fingers continued to search through disused pockets and eventually touched on the carved wooden surface of a thin rod. Tentativly he drew it out. The wind rod gleamed in his hand, its shiny surface reflecting the fire's glow.

This was stupid. He didn't know how to work this thing. He didn't even know if it worked at all.
Trying not to think about how foolish he looked the king of Gondor waved the pole in the direction of the Ford. The wind rushed to attention. Leaves swirled around him eagerly as the eddies in air tore towards the water. Rigidly he jerked the rod back up and to his immense surprise and delight the wind now carried with it masses of water droplets.

The pole swung towards the burning remains of the last homely house and the unsceduled rain showever fell gleefully over the blackened building.

Breathing heavily he managed to put the rod back away in his jacket. The fire was out.
He broke into a run, calling her name though he knew she would never hear it.


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Subject: pointless... part of bet

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Date Posted: 21:38:49 05/12/03 Mon

He watched them disappear back into the undergrowth. It was only after the foliage had stopped russling that he realised what exactly was happening. There was no where he could run. It was over.

Trying to move without attracting the attention of the Pack he shuffled backwards through the leaves. More than half of their number where dead. They had gone through excruicating agony only to be rewarded with the news that there was no silver or gold waiting for them at the end of their journey. Just a powerful elf whose anger was larger and more dangerous than Mordor. Vaguely he wandered how he could have ever believed he could escape from this situation unscathed, his right foot moved a step backwards slowly. Fortunately the Pack seemed to still be in stunned by the watcher's passage. Left foot edged backwards.


He tried not to wince. They could not have missed that.
They had not.

"You promised us gold," Leon hissed from his left. "My brother is dead. You'd better produce it or I'll be sending you down to meet him."
Vomyr cowered under their gaze. "I'm so sorry..." he replied wetly.
But as he said it he knew it was not good. They would not accept his apology. This was truely the end. Shaking he withdrew his rapier and held it infront of him watching it quiver within his grip.
"Guess we'll have to take our payment from your flesh," Wolf grinned.

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Subject: Oy! That was my home!

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Date Posted: 21:42:10 05/12/03 Mon

The clearing smoke showed movement amongst the buildings, but it was not the person Aragorn wanted to see. Elrohir appeared, smoke blackened and distraught. Not even the rain could conceal the tears cutting tracks through the soot on his face.
He embraced him as he had his young foster brother many times throughout his childhood, but this time, Aragorn realised, it was not he who was being comforted.
“I knew you would come,” Elrohir was saying, “I promised Arwen you would.” His voice shook with a mixture of shock and blinding rage, “Arwen…she must be in there. We took out a hunting party. When we came back…The fire was too strong.” He turned away blindly, confused and unable to deal with the sudden upheaval and loss of the only home he had ever known. “I have to find them…”
“She’s not in there Estel.” Elladan’s voice cut over his twin’s as he emerged from a still-cooling building, nursing a burn to his arm. “I looked in her quarters – there’s no one there. No…no bodies.”
He joined them and placed a steadying hand on his brother’s shoulder. “This was deliberate. Rivendell would not burn.” His deadly quiet voice was filled with pure white-hot fury. “I swear, by the sky and stars, I will kill whoever did this.”

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Subject: Rest

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Date Posted: 21:37:59 05/14/03 Wed

"This was no accident then."
It wasn't a question. The tear trails and and the fury had already answered before he could ask.
"You said Arwen was not in her chambers. She must be with the person who did this." Elladan released his arm and Aragorn moved back towards the hill. "We've got to go after her."
He managed to make another step before his legs collapsed underneath him and he stumbled, falling onto his knees. Breathing heavily he tried to rise but the same nausea over came him and he sank onto the singed grass. He managed to lift one hand level with his face and saw that it trembled violently. Clearly the wind rod had effects his mysterious benifactor had not warned him off.

"I can't," he managed eventually. "No strength. Wait for army, here soon." A coughing fit wracked his already aching body and he passed out.

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Subject: Aralias reveals part of his evil plan because after all Arwen can't possibly escape... right?

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Date Posted: 21:25:15 05/18/03 Sun

The small camp fire he had finally managed to build flickered in between them, a constant reminder of the other he had built with the help of the power that was now sapped from his body. Faeirex's head rested gently on his lap and occasionally his hand strayed unconsciously to her hair, stroking the soft ebony, willing her to awaken.

Across the fire he could feel Arwen's eyes boring into him. After several hours it had begun to wear on his patience and he snapped angrily, "speak."
"Why can't I move?" she demanded.
"Because I had not told you to. For a while you may speak as this oppressive silence is annoying me."
"What did you do?"
"The potion you drank, my dear. What did you think it was? It was rather too easy. Fortunate for both of us that it was. If you had not trusted me you might still be inside the burning husk of your home and I fear that would not profit anybody."
"Obviously I gain my life in this exchange." He nodded in accordance. "What may I ask do you receive?"
"You may ask it but only because it temporily amuses me. Please understand that you have no rights at all, for the moment you are completely in my power so do not give me any occasion to exercise that power any more fully than I have already done." Her face remained like ice and the faintest hint of a smile melted his. "You noted earlier that you gained your life, well I have gained a life too. Though it is not yours or mine or even that of my sister."
She did not reply and he felt the faint stab of irriation that genius feels when it is denied an audience. "The life of which I speak is that of your unborn child." What colour remained in her crystal cheeks fled and her long fingers twitched towards her swolen belly. So she was listening after all. "What do you want with him?"
"Only what he is destined to become."
"And what is that?"
"Now that depends on you and your dear husband. If he is born within the Walls of Minas Tirith then you future will be as you forsee it. Eldarion, for that is the name written in the stars, will become a king whose greatness will rival that of his father. Or rather the greatness of the man his father used to be."
"And if he isn't?"
"I think you can guess."
"Never," she breathed.
"Oh come on Arwen. Never is a very long time and not a word to through around lightly. If you give birth to your child out here he will ultimately destroy everything you have ever worked for. That is the truth no matter how many nevers you can hiss at me."

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Subject: Yes... finally Katy

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Date Posted: 17:33:52 05/27/03 Tue

"Perhaps." Arwen smiled sadly. "But maybe not. Wherever I can see the stars, or know they shine, I will never let darkness claim my heart. And I learnt long ago, that even when the clouds cover the earth, and when even the bright light of my Grandfather's ship cannot penetrate, there is still light.

"I know not for what price you sold your soul, or in who's name you threaten my son's existence. Whatever you think however, he is my son- and it is amazing the influence a mother can have. Maternal love can change one person's destiny, even path from good to evil. Even in death."

She found herself silenced. Unable to speak. Only to let her mind scream the words, hoping by some unknown power, she had the skill of her Grandmother.

Remember Aredhel!

And she needed to show him she was more that just his puppet, whom he could command to speak on a whim. Valar permitting, she would show him she was not powerless aginst him.

The ragged ends of her hair, corsely cut in uneven strands tangled in the winds. This was a skill she had discovered by accident- another reminder of the ever present link with Luthien. She had been very young, and an incident with her braiding and a necklace had resulted in huge knots. Despite Arwen's pleas, Celebrian had no choice but to cut the offending instrument out. Arwen had wept herself to sleep that evening- a neat, edain style bob around her face.

Yet in the morning when she rose, down her back fell a jet coloured river of hair, longer than she had ever seen it before. It seemed she had been given another of the gifts of Luthien.

Now, she struggled against the bonds on her physically, she focused on her spirit, which he could not control, and used her gift once more.

Well, it would certainly cause a stir...

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Subject: Gloating [thankyou cat]

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Date Posted: 11:15:39 05/29/03 Thu

He watched with wry amusement as the black tresses around her face lengthened. "A bit on the dramatic side my dear," he drawled. “But one has to wonder why you bothered to cut it in the first place if you were simply going to grow it back to spite me.” Gently he moved Faeirex's head from his lap and walked round to the other side of the fire where Arwen sat her chin raised in a challenge and knelt beside her. "I find that gestures of defiance are always so much more moving when the end is inevitable," he commented fingering one of her raven curls. "Do you believe in destiny, Undómiel? Answer quickly, a simple yes or no will suffice."
She struggled against the command briefly before hissing a short "yes."
"Good girl. Don't try and fight the potion’s influence any more please its so irritating. So," he continued, "if you believe in destiny and yet still believe you can change your son's fate you must hope I am lying." He leaned closer, his lips brushing the lobe of her ear as he whispered "I wouldn't do that to you again.”

She winced slightly and he smiled into her hair. “But then again if I am lying, if by some miracle you are right and the prophecies that provide the foundation for our way of life are incorrect you will not mind staying here with me when your fool of a husband eventually manages to recover consciousness and tries to rescue you. Your thoughts on this please.”
“Aragorn’s coming?”
“Yes, I believe at this moment he’s lying just outside Rivendell with one of your brothers watching over him. The other is about to walk past us again.”
“They’ll find you,” she spat.
“Oh I hope so.”
“And when they do they’ll destroy you for what you’ve done today.”
“No," he laughed. "I don’t think they will,” he drew back from her so she could see his face. “And do you know why?” She didn’t answer. “Because you’re going to tell them I saved your life.”
“I won’t.”
“It does seem highly improbable doesn’t it? But then who could’ve believed that Imladris would burn or that the charming and gentle Cadrieldur would be the one to destroy it? It seems we live in a time of miracles. Fortunate for me but not, I fear, for you.”
“You’re not Cadrieldur.”
“An excellent point and one I must concede to, I am not, though it makes little difference to you as you never met Riel. Take my word for it he was an insufferable bore, you are better off not knowing him. Nobody’s seen hide nor hair of him in over five thousand years,” he grinned “although perhaps that was just because they were looking for the wrong thing. I gather he’s rather enjoying life as a bird but then I wouldn’t know.”

He heard the slight rustling that signalled the step of an elf several furlongs away and stopped talking; they wouldn’t be able to penetrate his barrier this night but it was better to be safe than sorry. The whisper passed and he breathed a silent sigh of relief. “You may as well sleep now,” he informed Arwen moving back away from her. “They will not find us till tomorrow.”

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Subject: confessions (last part 8 from top)

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Date Posted: 14:34:50 06/05/03 Thu

Lily ran further and further into the thick of the trees, like she had never ran before. Her throat and nose were clogged up from all her crying, yet the tears wouldn’t stop, not yet. The pain was too great. The wound that Rob had helped heal unknowingly had once again opened wide and she couldn’t stop the pain of all of her past memories coming back to haunt her. Every leaf that brushed her, every twig that got caught in her hair heightened the feel of the nightmare. She had let it happen again, this was too familiar. It wouldn’t go away, everything around her were reminders of something that happened long ago that she wanted to forget, so badly. The pain of that time had placed her into a trance for months, no one knew the real reason why, they thought they did and made their own assumptions yet she hadn’t told anyone but her mother, and even then had to make her mum promise not to say anything. She knew deep down at the time that her mum would never do that but the need for silence had overcome all logic. She couldn’t let it get out. Everyone was so sympathetic thinking it hurt her, but it didn’t hurt, she didn’t grieve. In some way she was glad and relieved, yes that is what she felt – relief.
Finally Lily stopped, she had come to a clearing in the middle of a circle of tall trees blocking out most of the bright sun above. It was almost noon, she must have been running for hours it was only just morning when Bry had ran up to the house to tell her the news.
Lily dropped to the ground and put her hands over her eyes. She would never trust a man again. She’d learnt that before, why didn’t she listen to her instinct? Her mum had told her not to let one bad experience cloud her judgement of every man but that was so difficult and she had found it hard. Then she had finally started to trust again but it was snatched from her once more. The pain was unbearable how can she have been hurt so badly twice? It wasn’t fair, but it would never happen again. “Never” she shouted vehemently.
“Never what?” a voice behind her said quietly.
Squealing Lily spun around to see Rob standing at the edge of the clearing, he wore an expression of utter misery and his eyes pleaded with her to understand, to forgive
“Leave me alone,” she whispered without feeling. “I don’t want to talk to you, why are you here?”
“I love you,” he said simply. She gasped in shock and opened her mouth to deny it. “No, before you say anything, or try to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about listen to me. I love you, I think I have done since I danced with you at the party, I just didn’t realise it. I wasn’t myself when I made that bet and I didn’t know you before it either. It may have started out as one but it soon changed when I got to know you better. I’ve never felt this about anyone before and now I have found you I don’t plan on losing you over something so small. I can’t tell you how sorry I am over the pain I have caused you and all I want to do is erase it and see your smile again. Your smile brightens up my day, Lily it haunts me. You haunt me – always in my thoughts, invading my sleep. Your image is ever with me – day and night. I can’t live without you. Please don’t ask me to. So, I am going to ask you this,” he paused looking over to her and gazing into her eyes. “Will you marry me?”

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Subject: have redone this post. is hopefully better

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Date Posted: 14:18:45 06/19/03 Thu

He ran his hands down the horse's ankle and was relieved to see that at last, the swelling had died down. It had been two weeks since Caranina arrived in the courtyard trembling and exhausted her white coat a mud grey and a with severely swollen foot. She sought him out through the crowds of nobles who shrank away from the disgustingly beast and laid her head against his shoulder. He had not questioned where she had arrived from or who had owned her previously for he already knew, he merely lent her as much of his strength as he had left and hoped fervently that her mistress had escaped the fate that Hfäinién had promised her; knowing that she had not.

Now, weeks later he finally allowed himself to probe her mind gently and watched as the scenes of hatred flashed before their combined eyes, wincing in pain as the arrow struck horse and faery alike, feeling the agony of an endless gallop back towards the White City. He pulled away from the animal and his knees buckled beneath him. Carenina, startled at the collapse of her new friend stepped forward slightly but Rhylin shook his head firmly and she retreated back into her stall.

He was running out of time.

By the time Laeriel had arrived he had managed to pull himself up and was leaning on a gate, her eyes questioned but her mouth did not. Not any more. It was his final gift. She wouldn't know until it was too late.

"Are you coming?"
It wasn't what she wanted to ask but are you all right? sounded too obvious and why won't you tell me what's wrong? too desperate. He grinned and walked over to where she stood, circling her waist with an arm that still shook slightly though he tried to still it. "Is it over?"
She shook her head. "They're beginning the ceremony now. The Lord Faramir and Samwise the Hobbit still haven't arrived so if we hurry we can get there before them.”
"Alright then, lets go."

The new hospital gleamed in the midday sun.

Things were changing.

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Subject: Mirkwood

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Date Posted: 20:36:03 06/26/03 Thu

“Walk quietly,” Legolas warned them as they entered the forest, “and stay on the path. There are evil beings in these woods that I would not wish to fight if possible. You must tread carefully.”
Warily, they followed his orders. The elf kept an arrow notched against his bowstring at all times, although his arms were relaxed. Watchful eyes scanned the forest ahead of them and to the side, looking for signs of movement.

It seemed as if they had been walking for hours when an elvish voice cut sharply through the sounds of hoof on earth and wind in leaves, communicating a question the mortal could not understand. Though there was no movement to be seen, Harion was in no doubt that someone, somewhere had an arrow levelled at his chest. He swallowed nervously.
Slightly ahead of him, Legolas murmured “Daro,” and held out his hand for them to halt. “’Tis about time,” he said almost to himself, before addressing their unknown advocate with a flow of elvish. Trees parted and a pale haired elf emerged, unarmed.
A short distance away from their group he stopped and bowed his head with a soft “Tarenamin.*” Legolas smiled and dismounted swiftly, embracing the stranger warmly.
“Tyulusse, it is good to see you.”
“And you also,” the elf replied, but the smile quickly died on his lips and his eyes slid coldly over Aryante and Harion. He voiced a low, angry question in elvish, and Legolas clasped his forearm and drew him away, the two conversing rapidly. Tyulusse looked back over once or twice, faint hostility still in his gaze. When Legolas returned, only a slight tightening of his lips suggested that he might have been anything other than calm.
“They will accompany us to my father’s home,” he informed his companions with an almost undetectable edge of anger. “I apologise for my kinsman’s incivility, but I cannot very well refuse their ‘escort’.”
Understanding, Harion glanced back towards the undergrowth. Legolas noticed his look. “Call them out.”
Tyulusse looked to be about to refuse, but something in his prince’s face made him change his mind and he made a sharp gesture. Several more elves appeared, all carrying notched bows. “Tarenamin, lle yamen’…” one began.
“These people are my guests, and you will please do them the courtesy of speaking in a tongue they can understand,” Legolas cut him off. This elf at least simply bowed his head in acquiescence and continued.
“My prince, your place is at our head. Will you ride at the front?”

There was a long pause whilst the son of Thranduil stared at him, considering. “Nay, I think not,” he said finally. “There are things that my companions and I must discuss.” He sighed. “Very well, let us be onward. I hope to arrive by nightfall.”

*My Prince

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Subject: Separation

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Date Posted: 19:35:37 06/27/03 Fri

Elladan was at his side instantly trying to rouse his foster-brother, but to no avail. Elrohir paced restlessly, desparate to search for his sister but knowing he couldn’t leave whilst things were like this. When Elladan rejoined him, the same look was in his eyes as it dawned on both of them that in the absence of Celeborn they were the Lords of Rivendell, and all their people had. They were going to have to take responsibility, whether they were ready for it or not.
“You go,” Elladan finally said quietly, “I’ll stay here and organise things.”
Elrohir embraced him mutely, knowing how much it must have cost his twin to agree to remain here, powerless. Wordlessly he communicated his thanks, then signalled to a few of their best warriors to accompany him on the search. “The others will be of better use here.”
Stooping to Aragorn’s motionless figure, he settled his folded cloak under his head and carefully brushed hair off his face. “He’ll want to follow, won’t he? Tell him I’ll leave signs for him – and not to worry about her. I won’t let anyone hurt her.” Grimly he added, “Don’t let him do anything stupid Elladan. That’s my prerogative.”

Elladan watched his brother leave, and turned back with an aching heart to what remained of his home. Although the flames had been fierce, several of the buildings appeared to have survived. “Spread out,” he ordered the group of elves who remained. “See if there’s anyone still alive. Bring out those who aren’t; they must be buried.”
He moved to help himself, pausing only to wrap a rough bandage around his burnt arm. After a scarce few minutes, a call rang out.
“We’ve found Lord Celeborn!”

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Subject: Closer

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Date Posted: 15:37:06 06/28/03 Sat

The thick parchment crackled beneath her pale and bony fingers, slowly turning page after page. After each turn she would skim a long nail down the page, muttering in a twisted and forgotten tongue, eyes darting back and forth feverishly despite her calm appearance.

This was how Anawiel spent most of her time. Searching, searching. Endless quests in heavy leather-clad volumes that smelt of knowledge and pipe smoke and ageing dust.

She never quite knew what it was she was looking for or what she would do when she found it. All Anawiel wanted, was an answer. A reason why she was there or a purpose for her in this life. A justification of her punishment. It was on this lonely night that she finally sat back and slammed the book shut.

When she had began this endless, almost mindless, sifting through volumes, the witch had discovered many things of her peoples history, of the great power that resided on Earth and of ways to better herself – become faster, stronger, wiser. But as the tiresome years drifted on Anawiel began to only read the same pathetic whisperings of knowledge over and over and over again, and, to put it plainly, it bored her.

For all these years she’d had to wait and now she was waiting once more. Filling her days with a fruitless search whilst she waited for news from her master. And for the elf.

He was far away now, but getting nearer each time the sun rose and set. She could almost taste his blood in her mouth, dark and rich and bursting with ancient magic and knowledge beyond all creatures. The witch could feel it, closer, closer, closer. And when he arrived, she would be waiting.

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Subject: Awake/Asleep

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Date Posted: 07:53:39 07/08/03 Tue

It was morning now, the harsh light steeling over the hill, the cool morning's dew fresh on his face. After the events of last night nobody had felt like lighting a camp fire so the night had become gradually colder, the warmth seeping from his body into the icy ground and as it did it washed away the torrential emotions that whirled inside him. Elladan had visited each hour as the watch was relieved: When are you going to realise that I can tell when you're awake Estel? I can hear it - I always have, remember? How are you feeling?" But his foster brother had received no answer and now he rose as if he had slept the night through and had not heard his whispered name in the night. Around the campsite Sircyn and his soldiers were already awake and mobile, with no fire to cook upon most of them were nibbling apprehensively at Lembas or brushing down horses.
Elladan was trying to catch his eye but Aragorn strode past him to where the general was saddling his horse. Sircyn turned abruptly as he heard the sound of footfalls that were not elvish. He managed a slight smile. “So you’re awake at last, your majesty. I was beginning to think you’d sleep through the summer.”
“When will we be ready to leave?”
The smile faded from the other’s face. “In about an hour, I reckon.”
“Can you make it a half?”
“I suppose but - ”
“Give the order then.” He had taken three steps before he turned back. “Please Sircyn. Half an hour.”

They were ready in twenty minutes. What he had done during those hours Aragorn was not entirely sure but after what seemed like centuries he had mounted Ringbearer and the company were embarking slowly into Trollshaws where Elrohir, Arwen and some one with unknown power and strength waited for them. Every muscle in his body shivered, exhausted. He knew he was not well enough to ride, but then he was not well enough to wait in a sick bed while other people rescued his wife, which would drive him to madness. While other people might die to rescue his wife, he corrected grimly, for they had no idea what lurked beneath the treetops. He had still not talked to Elladan, had still not looked into the unfathomable depths of the eyes that never accused, merely questioned why? knowing everything he should be feeling would roar back up as soon as the connection was made.
He felt his brother’s horse, soundless muffled hooves walking over dead leaves, moving towards him and kicked Ringbearer’s sides gently, urging him into a trot until they were at the head of the group. It was not yet time to talk.
He was still asleep.

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Subject: Family Matters

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Date Posted: 19:07:41 07/08/03 Tue

After a few minutes of riding, Legolas drew his horse closer to Aryante and Harion. "How do you both fare?" he asked quietly. Harion smiled grimly
"You did warn us that your people would not be friendly" he commented. "But I have to admit that I found having an arrow pointed at my head a little uncomfortable" Aryante laughed, but it sounded cold and lacking real mirth.
"Most people find it uncomfortable, even if it is not for the first time," she replied calmly.
They rode in silence for a few moments. The tangible hostility of the elves seemed to swallow up all sound.
"Is it far?" Harion asked to try and break the silence.

"About a half days ride from here," Legolas replied. He hesitated. "I had not anticipated that they would react this strongly. I do not make exceptions for them, but believe me that not all my kin are like this." He swallowed, "I should have prepared you further."
"Then tell me now" Harion turned to face him, strands of blonde hair falling across his concerned eyes. "What should I expect when we meet your father, and the rest of your kin. What should I say? What should I do? How can I cause the least irritation?" He looked out into the deep green depths of the forest, wondering for a moment whether the monsters living in the shadows were more frightening than the people he would have to face soon.
"Just tell me what to do..."

"There is little you can do," Legolas informed him bluntly, but he relented at the boy's desparate expression. "Very well. You remember what I told you about my mother?" Harion nodded. "When they look upon you, most of my people will remember that. It is nothing against you yourself, but that will not matter. I cannot change their hearts; all I can counsel you to do is be yourself. Many will know if they are lied to, so you must prove that you are not like the traitors they remember. Always be honest, even if you risk causing offense. I believe that not all are still mistrustful. They may not like you but they will abuse my hospitality if they try to cause trouble.

My family...they are a different matter. My brother Celeblindir is my father's heir; he and I are both old enough to remember a time when Men were our friends. I do not think he will be unkind. My younger sister and brother however, you must be wary of. Lissarne takes after my mother, she is as fair as the moon itself. With just one look, my cousin tells me she can turn hearts to water, but her own is like ice. Do not let your eyes dwell on her for too long. Telumindel - he hates also but where hers is cold, his is fire. He is but young, and he will make trouble for you if he can. Whatever he says to you do not let it enrage you; it will be his aim. If he manages to find a reason to cry grievance against you, my father will not support you."

Harion nodded, he hadn't expected any better. At least now he knew something of Legolas' family, and who to avoid if at all possible. He gave a brief smile of thanks and returned to the silence of the journey. Not long now, just a few more hours ride...

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Subject: And you thought Aralias was a psycho BEFORE this...

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Date Posted: 18:58:02 08/04/03 Mon

He yawned and stretched, cat like, the tips of his fingers brushing Faeirex’s hair. Aralias allowed himself a small grin of triumph before shading his eyes and peering into the murky morning. Fae had not moved but then he had not expected her to have done so and Arwen was breathing gently, a look of pain etched across her features, from where he had woken her continuously through the night detailing his plan. He smiled again now that it was clear no one could see, rolled onto his back and pulled himself into a sitting position. He glanced quickly at the sun and then back at the sleeping women. If his calculations were correct, and they usually were, Arwen would not regain control of herself for another eight hours. A faint step to his left informed him the elven search party were still moving softly through the forest. It was time.
“Wake up Arwen.”
Still within the potion’s trawl her eyes snapped open and he saw they were full of hatred. “Now that won’t do,” he chided gently, the mocking grin growing over his face. “Stand up.” She did so and he rose to stand opposite her. “What are you feeling?”
“Hatred. Despair.”
“Mmm, I thought you might be.” He reached out a slender finger and caressed the side of her face. “As I said Arwen, that will not do. Remember we were almost husband and wife.” He smiled again and ran his finger over her lips. “Do you ever think about it?”
“No.” The truth.
He scowled, removed his hand from her mouth then realised that she didn’t matter and his good humour returned. “No, neither do I.” He leaned forward and brought his lips to hers, crushing them against her, deepening the kiss. He brought his hands to her head and buried them in her hair; still she stood there, unmoving. Drawing back slightly he murmured, “come on Arwen respond.”
She pulled away.
He looked at her wordlessly for a moment then brought his hand up to his stinging cheek. She was a meter away, trembling with anger that he would not allow her to express. “Don’t…. touchm-” He stared in open amazement as she swallowed and tried again. Nobody had ever managed to fight it off before. “Don’t… touch meagain.”
Still fingering the bruise that was almost certainly forming over his cheekbone he raised his eyebrows, then lowered them again as his brow furrowed in concentration. “I must admit I’m impressed, my dear.” She was still shaking. “Yes,” he muttered moving back over to his packs. “Very impressed.”
He rummaged through the various vials before finding another identical to the one he had offered her yesterday. “Drink this.” Her hand stretched towards it though it was clear she was struggling against it. And winning, he realised in astonishment. He did not have eight hours, even with the second draught, which she was now finally taking. She handed the empty bottle back to him silently and Aralias pocketed it. “Alright. I’m going to lower the barrier now,” he explained needlessly. “When that happens your brothers and your husband will almost certainly find us within the hour. When that happens you must do as I have instructed or your child will never see the light of day. Understand?”
“You need him,” she hissed.
“Not as much as I value my own, preferably continued existence. Play your part well and Eldarion will live to a ripe old age.” There was no need for an if not, they both knew what would happen if she failed. “Ready for the family reunion?”
She nodded once.
“Good girl. Mount up.”
He moved to the other side of the fire and gathered Faeirex into his arms, placing her in Lemi’s saddle then climbing easily up behind her. He tugged the reins lightly and they moved away. “Oh and Arwen,” he turned back to face her. “Never hit me again, understand?”

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Subject: Following

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Date Posted: 20:52:16 08/19/03 Tue

Brooke watched Aragorn and his army leave. "If oyu ask me, using the Windrod for such unworhty business was pure idiocy." she said. "Many people would have died if he had not done so." Whitemoon said. Brooke shrugged. "People are going to die in this war, they always do so I believe he should have waited for a more worthy moment to use the Windrod." Whitemoon shook his head. "He had loved ones living in that place." Brooke shook her head, could Whitemoon not see what she meant? "Whitemoon, look at the foolish man! The Windrod sapped his strenght without him even fighting it! he as no will, without it the Windrod will sap his strenght everytime he tries to use it. The Windrod will use him instead of him using the Windrod. If his will does not increase next time he uses the Windrod it will cost him more than it did this time." Whitemoon looked at her. "Then you are concerned for his health?" he asked, knowing full well that Brooke would never show concern for anyone but himself. Brooke snorted. "I show concern for no one I do not deem worthy of it, and he." she said, pointing at Aragorn. "Is not worthy, look at him! I really cannot see how he will be able to defeat Sauron, if he cannot wield the Windrod." Whitemoon looked down at Aragorn, he knew she was right, he did seem like he did not have much self will much less the will to command the Windrod.
"Then go down there and tell him so." he told Brooke. Brooke shook her head. "He will either learn or he will perish, either way it is no concern of mine. I only followed because of the Windrod. I will not let him loose it right afetr I found it."

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Subject: Darkness pierces the light

The Black Riders
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Date Posted: 16:59:31 08/28/03 Thu

The village smouldered. Life crumbled into ash. The flames licked wood into submission and brought shrieking hush to the people. And through the blaze rode the night. Hooves rode over demise, life was held in an armoured hand, and crushed in a fist of hunger and desire. Darkness pierces the light.

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Subject: Barmaids

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Date Posted: 20:12:24 09/23/03 Tue

Savinia took one last sweeping glance around the kitchen, before taking up her cloak and heading for the back door.
"Back in a bit" she called as she opened the latch. There was no reply. Savinia sighed in frustration and quickly peeped back into the main tavern. Noryn the other barmaid was scrubbing angrily at a large ale stain that had soaked deep into the grains of a wooden table.
"Noryn!" She called sharply.
The dark haired girl looked up from her job and fixed her eyes on Savinia.
"I'm just going out to fetch some fresh bread" Savinia explained. Noryn nodded sullenly and returned to her task. Savinia sighed again and left before she found Noryn's moodiness contagious. She'd been in a foul mood all morning.

The tavern was almost empty - it always was in the middle of the afternoon. A couple of older men sat at the bar, stubbornly drinking back their entire wages. The tavern wouldn’t get busy until later.
Noryn gave a gasp of frustration and hooked her leg onto the table to get a better position. No matter how hard she scrubbed - the stain wasn’t shifting. At last she sat back on her heels and angrily threw the cloth against the wall. It was obviously going to be one of those days. Nothing seemed to be going right at all.

Suddenly a gnarled hand grasped her by the wrist. She turned sharply to see one of the cloaked drinkers staring up at her with glittering dark eyes.
“I’m not on duty until this evening” she snapped, trying to twist her hand out of his grip. For an older man, he hung on very tightly, refusing to let her go.
“You look like a girl that’s not easily scared” he commented thoughtfully. “How would you like to earn some extra money?”
Noryn tossed her dark hair back over her shoulder.
“How much?” she asked casually, giving her wrist a sudden yank and breaking free. She swung her legs back down to the floor and quickly crossed the tavern. He hobbled quickly behind her, his mouth close to her ear.
“More than you’d earn sitting about here all afternoon” he whispered. “I’d pay you in gold... Real gold”

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Subject: Mission

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Date Posted: 20:47:29 09/25/03 Thu

She raised an eyebrow sceptically.
“If you say so” she answered before turning to tidy the tankards on the shelf.
“This gold...” he continued, she could hear a clinking noise. She was staring at his hand before she could stop herself. Her eyes almost as round as the gold pieces that
clinked out onto his palm.
“What do I have to do?” she asked, trying not to sound too interested.
“Just deliver a message” he croaked calmly.
“A message?” she checked in disbelief. “Why can’t you do it? what’s the catch?”
“Ahhh.. well, I’m not exactly on speaking terms with the recipient” the old man chuckled.
“In other words, he wants you dead?” she asked calmly, taking up a cloth to polish some glasses.
“But he wouldn’t harm a pretty little thing like you.” the man replied. He clinked the gold once more. “Easy money.”
“If I don’t get killed” Noryn replied
“5 pieces” the man said and waited.

She kept her face down as she polished the glass thoughtfully. 5 gold pieces was a lot of money. More than she’d earn in several sessions in the bedroom. If this man was so willing to give it away, then it was probably stolen anyway. And the message? If the recipient wanted this old man dead - what would stop him from killing her? All
common sense told her to drop the offer and leave the man well alone.
But she was bored... and frustrated. It would be great to leave the tavern for a while. Strole somewhere, innocently deliver a message and return to 5 pieces of gold. A
tempting deal. Besides, as Savinia always said, she could talk her way out of anything - she could probably handle delivering a message.
Her mind made up, she leant forward on her folded arms on the counter.
“Give me the message” she said casually “who do I deliver it to?”
The old man reached inside his cloak and brought out a piece of rolled parchment.
“It’s written down?” Noryn asked in amazement. This was going to be even easier than she expected. She could just thrust the parchment in his hands and run.

The old man took out two gold coins and placed them in her palm.
“You’ll get the others when you return” he said simply. “I’ll be waiting here. By the way...” his hand shot out from under his cloak and twisted her wrist painfully.
“I’ll know if the message has been safely delivered. Don’t think you can cheat me girl. Remember - I visit this tavern often. I know exactly where you live. He pulled a sharp knife slightly out of its sheaf so that she could see it glitter in the dim light.
“Don’t fail me” he muttered menacingly, then he dropped her wrist and turned back to his ale. Noryn rubbed her wrist angrily, furious that he was threatening her. She glared at him through narrowed eyes, tempted to throw the message and his ale back in his face. But then he’d just think she was scared, and it took a lot more than a threat to frighten her. With a sudden burst of determination, she swept her cloak from a hook at the entrance to the kitchen and headed straight out off the door - abandonning the bar to its drunken occupants.

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Subject: The Underworld

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Date Posted: 20:25:21 09/30/03 Tue

Her burst of determination faded quickly as she began to approach the part of town the address called for. The streets grew dirtier and narrower, twisting deeper into the underworld of Minas Tirith. It was a part of town that everyone avoided - unless you had no choice. The uneasy feeling grew as she walked past withered bundles of old
women sitting in filth on the doorsteps. She could feel their glittering eyes burning into her as she passed through. No one could pretend that her day dress was richly
made - but she could feel envious eyes on her even still. Ragged children ran bare footed through the filth, screaming and jostling her. She thought she saw one of them
carrying a knife.

She raised her chin proudly, and forced herself to keep walking. The stench rose around her in invisable clouds. But then who was going to venture down here just to clear out the drains? This place was ruled by the gang lords, not the city authorities. Everyone she saw must belong to some gang or other, they’d have to for their own protection. This was were the pickpockets and theives lived when they were not
roaming the streets. This was also the place were murders took place with no one turning an eye.

At last she reached the correct street and scanned her eyes along the dim line of dirty doorways. There was no numbering or labels, how was she supposed to find the right one?
“Excuse me” Noryn asked a woman sitting on a nearby doorstep, “I’m looking for the...” she glanced at the address on the message, “...the Shadow Place?...Palace?...” She couldn’t quite read the handwriting. The woman stared up at her without speaking, Her eyes vacant and bloodshot. She didn’t answer.

“It’s the one with the green door, down there.”
Noryn turned to see a toothless man leering at her.
“Thank you” she replied calmly and started along the street.
“Aren’t you going to repay me for my trouble?” the man asked, his hand reaching out to grope her.
“No” Noryn answered, slapping him sharply across the face. She added a few choice words and tripped him over. He was so drunk, that he just lay there staring at the filthy cobbles as if he didn’t realise what had just happened.

The green door looked just like the others, but Noryn rapped on it firmly before she could change her mind.
“What d'ya want?”
The door was opened by a huge man, so tall that Noryn found herself craning back to look him in the face. So wide, that there was no way she could pass him.
“Is this the Shadow Palace?...Place?” she asked, still unsure of the name.
“Could be...” he replied, slowly cracking his knuckles one by one. “What’s it to you?”
Noryn refused to be intimidated, she prided herself on her cold, almost aloof outer shell. She was certainly not going to show fear.
“I have a message for someone called...” she checked the parchment again “...Tyram”
There was a long pause
“You’d better come in then” the doorman answered at last, and stepped aside to let her past.

Noryn found herself in a narrow, dark corridor, lit only by a small burning lamp in one corner. The doorman closed the door and slid several bolts and chains across it.
Noryn tried to keep her face steady as her only route of escape was closed off.
“Hand over your weapons” The doorman droned mechanically as he turned.
“I don’t have any” she replied honestly. The doorman laughed,
“You expect me to believe that a little thing like you wanders through the streets of the Underworld without weapons? You must think I’m stupid.”
“I haven’t got anything” she kept her voice calm, “Search me if you must.”
The doorman scrutinised her face.
“Very well” he replied, and started running his hands over her body, patting the tight fabric of her dress. Noryn kept her face proud and stared straight ahead. She was sure
he was taking too long searching certain parts of her body, but at last he rose satisfied.
“Obviously you’re the stupid one” he commented. “Come with me”
She ducked under the tattered filthy curtain that hung as a separator at the entrance, and followed him down the narrow, dark corridor.

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Subject: Prince of Shadows

Noryn, Tyram
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Date Posted: 21:54:36 10/01/03 Wed

They emerged at last in a large room, like a great hall compared to the cramped passageway. The room was lit by burning oil lamps, there were no windows. Little huddles of men and women were scattered across the room. Some talking, others gambling with cards or dice. Their faces looked yellow in the dim light and Noryn
noticed that many sported scars or broken noses.
The doorman pushed his way through the people until he came to a throne-like chair on a raised platform at the opposite side of the room. Noryn waited patiently behind him, whilst he explained to someone she couldn’t see about her coming with a message. At last the doorman stepped aside, and nudged her forward.

There was a man sprawled lazily in the chair, his booted feet draped over one elaborately carved armrest. His eyes watched her intently as she approached nearer the throne. They glittered darkly in his tanned, weather-beaten face.
A woman with masses of red curls was perched on the other chair arm with her arms wrapped loosely around his neck. Noryn saw her whisper something in the man’s ear.
He glanced from the red headed girl back to her, and a grin spread over his face.

If there was one thing Noryn couldn’t stand, then it was people making fun of her.
“Is something funny?” she asked icily, carefully ignoring the sinking feeling in her stomach. The man grinned at her in amusement, kissed the red-haired woman on the cheek and rose to his feet. He casually strode down the low steps to the ground floor and folded his arms across his chest.
“I’m Tyram” he drawled, “Also known as the Prince of Shadows... I believe you have a message for me?”
Noryn scanned his face quickly, he carried souvenirs from old fights... a slightly misshapen nose, and a vivid scar down his right cheek. But he was handsome, and his whole attitude showed that he used it to his advantage.
“Here” Noryn held out the parchment and waited for him to take it.
He scrutinised her as he reached out his hand. Their eyes met, and locked.
‘He’s trying to stare me out’ Noryn realised, and tilted her chin coldly, refusing to be the first to break eye contact. The seconds stretched into minutes as they stood there, frozen. Dark eyes locked with dark eyes in a private battle.

At last he relaxed into a roguish smile.
“You win” he graciously relented as he broke open the seal on the letter.
‘Only because you let me’ Noryn thought as she turned away, heading towards the exit.
“Are you leaving so soon?” he asked, a slight hint of suspicion in his voice.
“I have delivered the message” Noryn replied, “I have no reason to stay, they’ll be sending out a search party if I don’t return now.”
“We wouldn’t want that, would we?” Tyram laughed, beckoning over one of his men and handing over the letter. “Deal with it” he muttered, before striding across the room to stand before Noryn again.
“Am I at least able to learn the name of this beautiful messenger?” he asked, catching hold of her hand and raising her fingers to his lips.
“Noryn” she replied coldly, snatching her hand from his kiss, turning sharply and storming back through the dark passageway. He watched her go with a laugh,
“Stay away from the fire, you might thaw... and accidentally smile!” he called after her disappearing figure before returning casually to his throne.
Noryn hurried back through the dark streets of the Underworld, relief flooding through her body as she broke out into the light, open area of the marketplace. She
shuddered slightly as the images of the claustrophobic streets cleared from her mind, and smiled as she thought of the gold coins waiting for her when she returned to the Tavern.

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Subject: A problem shared...

Noryn & Savinia
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Date Posted: 21:19:36 10/02/03 Thu

"Savinia, can I talk to you?" Noryn asked hesitantly, hanging casually around the doorframe.
"Can it wait a second?" Savina was trying to serve three drinks at once, each customer demanding her full attention.
"It doesn't matter" Noryn replied hurridly, "I didn't realise you were so busy... it can wait... actually, don't worry about it at all."
Something in her voice made Savinia look up and scrutinize her face intently.
"It can't wait" she replied instantly, thrusting the drinks across the counter and turning away from the crowd demanding more ale at the bar. "Just make it quick." She grabbed Noryn by the arm and checking to ensure that Falen wouldn't see her leaving her duties, dragged her into the kitchen.

"What's wrong?" she asked in concern. "You were in a foul mood all morning, then you've been unnaturally quiet all evening."
"I just got out of bed the wrong side this morning" Noryn explained quickly, "But this evening..." she looked down at the floor and took a deep breath. "This afternoon I delivered... a message."
"Is that all?" Savinia looked over her shoulder at the crowded bar, the noise level steadily rising. It wouldn't be long before the Innkeeper or Falen turned up to find out what was happening.
"No...I.." Noryn couldn't find the words. How could she explain that she had ventured down into the underworld by herself to deliver a message to the leader of a gang of cut-throats and thieves.
The noise at the bar was increasing in volume.
"It really doesn't matter" she finished. "You'd better go back to those customers."
"If you're sure" Savina smiled and gave her a hug. "Catch me later if you want to talk about anything else." She hurried back to the bar to the sound of drunken cheering.

Noryn stood alone in the kitchen, her arms folded across her chest as if protecting herself. Savinia had been her closest friend for the last 5 years, why hadn't she been able to tell her the truth? She shivered slightly as if a cold draught had snaked its way down her back. She had the strangest feeling, almost like a premonition. Was this slight break down in communication the first of many? Was something about to threaten peaceful everyday life and her relationships with her friends?
'Pull yourself together' she ordered herself. 'You're a strong person, not someone to be frightend by stupid imaginings. Besides, it won't happen again, Remember? You promised yourself that you'd never venture down there again.'

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Subject: Never say never...

Noryn (and old man... who hasn't got name yet!)
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Date Posted: 21:24:27 10/02/03 Thu

Three days later, the old man hobbled into the tavern, and perched himself precariously on a stool. Noryn was sweeping the floor and paused, resting her chin on the broom handle when he tugged on her arm.
“I hear he liked you” he chuckled. “I’m glad... one of my last messengers got his throat slit before he could even deliver the message.”
“Got what?” Noryn cried, “...and you just let me walk in there totally unprepared!”
“I know Tyram well” the old man chuckled again. “If the messenger is wearing skirts, then they’ll be unharmed. If they’ve got a pretty face as well... well then...I assume he was as charming as ever?”

Noryn refused to answer. She continued sweeping the tavern floor, furious that he had allowed her to walk into such danger. And even more furious with herself for being stupid enough to accept the mission.
“I’ve got another message” the old man continued.
“Forget it.” Noryn continued sweeping, her face determinedly staring at the floor.
“I’ll pay you 6 gold coins...”
“Alright... 7. That’s my final offer.”
Noryn paused in her sweeping again.
“Will this letter make him angry?” she asked cautiously. 7 gold coins was too much to throw away lightly.
“Not with you” the old man chuckled once more. “Just give him a flash of that dazzling smile of yours, and he’ll be eating out of your hand.” Noryn ignored his compliments and thought long and hard. Common sense was screaming at her to refuse. ‘You were lucky enough to get out alive last time. Don’t risk it again.’

“I’ll take it” she sighed at last, and held out her hand. The old man beamed and handed her the sealed parchment.
“I’ll pay you next time I see you” he called over his shoulder as he hobbled out of the Tavern. Noryn pocketed the letter and wondered if she should tell Savinia or Falen.
She decided against it eventually. Savinia was known for making mountains out of molehills, she would only panic unnecessarily. Falen, the mistress of the tavern would only want to come with her, and if what the old man had said about a pretty face was true, then she’d be better off going alone.

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Subject: Thaw?

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Date Posted: 20:26:53 10/05/03 Sun

“You again?” the doorman looked vaguely surprised, then a little impressed. “I wouldn’t have thought a lady like you would venture in these parts more than once.”
Noryn smiled at him briefly as she stepped under his arm through the door. She wondered if he would still think she was a lady if he knew what her evening occupation was. Probably no different from the dirty, squawking women he continuously let in and out of this place.
“Do you have a password?” the doorman asked as he closed the door and replaced all the bolts and chains.
“No, do I need one?” she asked, slightly confused. “I didn’t need one last time.”
“It just means that the Prince trusts you enough to let you pass easily.” He looked at her blank face. “It means I don’t have to search or escort you.”
“Oh” Noryn understood instantly, she shook her head and held her arms out. “Get it over with.”

The main hall hadn’t changed much from last time. There were still groups of people sitting round filthy tables, piles of coins, purses and gold watches changing hands over the table. She heard a clatter and a roar as a man angrily turned a table over, sending alcohol, cards and coins crashing to the floor. He swung his fist wildly at the pale, slimy looking man who had obviously just won all of his money, still sitting where the table used to be. The man was so drunk, that his blow never hit the target. His body just kept spinning and he tripped over his own feet, crashing his head on the table and knocking himself unconscious. The pale man heaved the table back into place and started shuffling a different pack of cards.
“Anyone else?” he asked with a smile.
Noryn glanced around the room and noticed that no one else had taken any notice of that little disturbance. It was obviously a common event here.

Tyram was sitting up straight on his throne, eagerly talking with some of his men. He halted and looked up when the doorman approached. His glance slid across to Noryn, and a charming smile played across his lips.
“I’ll be with you in a moment” he promised, then returned to his conversation.
The doorman returned to his post and left Noryn standing alone in the middle of the Hall. She glanced from person to person, keeping her face expressionless. Most were so engrossed in their business, they didn’t even notice. Then she caught the eyes of someone watching her.
Instantly, Noryn lifted her head straight and a cold, hostile look fastened over her features. There was a movement in the shadows, and the girl moved out into the dim lamplight, her eyes still fixed rigidly on Noryn. It was the red headed woman that had been draped over Tyram on her last visit. Noryn recognised the mass of auburn curls, and the same dark roots just beginning to show on top. She was smoking, holding the pipe with dainty painted fingernails, slowly blowing out clouds of bluish smoke, her eyes never leaving Noryn’s face.

“Can I help you”
The voice by her ear took her by surprise, but she refused to let herself jump.
“Another message?” Tyram continued with a grin, “Or did cold, hostile Noryn from the Tavern want something else?”
“Tavern?” she asked puzzled, trying to make it sound like a foreign word to her. How did he know... or was it coincidence?
“The Rusty Chain” Tyram grinned as he watched the concern in her eyes. She could hide her emotions on her face quite well, but reading her eyes revealed a different story. “Name: Noryn, Habitation: The Rusty Chain Tavern for the last 5 years, Work: Barmaid by day, but by night...” he grinned some more.
“How do you know this?” Noryn burst out before she could stop herself.
“I have my sources” Tyram laughed, “You were obviously so relieved to get out of the Underworld, that you didn’t notice my man following you.” He saw the suspicion in her eyes start to change towards concern.
“Of course I had to check you out” he answered her unspoken question “I can’t have strangers wandering through my domain at will. You could have been a spy from one of my rival gangs. How did I know you weren’t going to return with an army to assassinate me?”
She could see the sense behind this logic, but still didn’t like the idea of people following her.

“The message” she remembered, handing it over and effectively changing the subject. “I’d better go”
“Returning to anything nice?” Tyram murmured, his eyes scanning quickly over the parchment. Noryn laughed, picturing the mountain of washing up that would be waiting for her return.
Tyram raised an eyebrow as he folded the letter.
“So you do have a human side? I was beginning to wonder if you’d been carved out of ice.”
“I have to protect myself” she argued, her arms folded in front of her.
“Indeed... from me?”
‘Yes’ she thought secretly, but decided not to voice it.
“From everyone... I don’t really fit in around here.”
He glanced her over quickly
“I suppose not” he murmured, pocketing the letter and turning on his heel. “Perhaps I’ll see you again” he called as he headed back to his throne.
“Alright” she replied as she made her way towards the door. ‘...and perhaps not’ a voice in her head added.
He turned thoughtfully as he mounted the platform,
“Next time, tell the doorman ‘If it rains any more, you’ll start floating.’”
“What?” Noryn had to fight in order to keep the baffled expression from flooding over her face.
“Unless of course you like being searched on every visit?” Tyram winked before turning to speak to one of his men.

“That’s it now” Noryn muttered to herself as she wandered slowly home through the narrow, grimy streets, constantly checking over her shoulder for a stalker. “I’m not risking my life again, not for any amount of gold. Forget it.”

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Subject: Dance

Noryn, Tyram
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Date Posted: 21:19:03 10/07/03 Tue

Noryn removed her cloaked hood and smiled nervously at the doorman.
“If it rains any more, I’ll start floating” she said, feeling stupid. He grinned and let her in straight away.
“He’s in the main hall somewhere” he replied as he struggled with the bolts on the door.
Noryn ducked under the tattered curtain that led into the long dark corridor and stopped, puzzled. Loud, energetic music could be heard pouring from the main hall.
She shrugged to herself and started towards it. ‘What are you doing here again’ a voice inside her head screamed at her. ‘You promised yourself never again. Do you have a death wish or are you just stupid?’
“Stupid” she whispered to herself. “...and greedy... Risking my life, just for gold coins.” She clutched the new message closely under her cloak as she headed towards the doorway.

The hall was full of dancing partners whirling about, women’s skirts swirling across the room. The stamping of feet, jeering whistles and laughter competed with the small group of musicians in the corner. The smell of smoke and cheap alcohol hung heavily in the air, making her choke a little until she grew used to it.
“Noryn - how lovely to see you” a voice called from behind. She turned sharply, unsure if it was sarcastic or not, and relaxed slightly when she saw Tyram striding towards her.
“Another message” she called, taking it out of her cloak and holding it out almost as if it was an invitation or an excuse to be there. Tyram grimaced and took it from her, broke the seal and scanned the contents quickly.
“Problem?” Noryn asked, seeing his face darken. He shook his head and stuffed the letter into his pocket.
“Not one I’m going to deal with tonight. Drink?” He scooped up a small glass containing an orange liquid from a nearby table. Noryn gave it a few seconds thought, then accepted the glass and threw it back. The alcohol was so strong that she nearly choked. She tried to blink back the tears and keep her face straight. Tyram watched her and laughed.

“A girl who can handle her drink - that’s my sort of woman” he grinned, taking her by the arm. “I refuse to let you go back to your dark little tavern without a dance first.”
Noryn shook her head violently and pulled away as he tried to remove her heavy cloak.
“You can’t dance in that” he replied. “It would only trip you up - no I’m sorry, refusing to dance is not an option. Not in my kingdom.”
“kingdom?” she asked in surprise, temporarily halting attempting to stop him take her cloak.
“I am the prince of shadows am I not?” he replied with a grin, “This is my domain, that makes it my kingdom, and.... well look what we have here.” He had finally managed to unclasp her cloak and peeled it away from her shoulders. Noryn blushed slightly as he gazed over her bare shoulders and low cleavage.
“I’d unwrap more presents if they turned out like this” he smirked, roughly folding the cloak and shoving it in a corner. “Is this outfit specially for me?”
“For your information, I was about to go on duty upstairs” she retorted angrily, her cheeks redder than the rouge applied earlier. “Then your ‘correspondent’ decides that you have to get that message this evening - it couldn’t wait. So if you’ll excuse me...” she tried to push past him to get to her cloak and the door. “...I’ll return to my customer.”

“I’ve told you. You’re not going anywhere until you’ve danced with me” Tyram grasped her firmly around her slender waist and whisked her into the middle of the moving mass. She gave a cry of rage and struggled fiercely. Unfortunately, he was a lot stronger than she was, and hardly seemed to notice her frustrated attempts to escape.
“I said I didn’t want to dance” she insisted, stamping hard on his foot. Tyram suddenly whirled her around so quickly, that she missed her breath, dizzily. She stumbled and clung to him to prevent herself falling beneath the crush of moving feet.
“I thought you didn’t want me?” he grinned, laughing at her furious face and spinning her round again. Noryn gave a sigh of frustration and gave in. He was a good dancer, full of energy and fun. There wasn’t really much point in fighting any longer, but she’d definitely leave as soon as that particular dance finished. Besides, she might as well enjoy the experience. It was rare that she was held so closely by a man so stunningly handsome.

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Subject: a post not written by rachel... weird. [not sure how to write lia any more]

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Date Posted: 21:39:12 10/15/03 Wed

They were close, almost within the same breath.
"Help!" he screamed, working as much desparation into his voice as centuries worth of victims, bargining with their life. "Is anybody out there?"
It was a foolish question really; the elves in the party must already know he was there, with or without the desparate pleas.

Sure enough a moment passed, a loud crashing to his left and a group of men and elves surrounded them.
One of the elves near the back leapt nimbly from the saddle and ran to his sister. "Thank the gods; you're not hurt?"
"No, I'm fine. Cadrieldur pulled me out of the fire-"
Elladan's face stiffened. "He's here?"
Lia suppressed the urge to roll his eyes and tried to remember how Riel had smiled: wide and open.
"Laddy! I can't tell you how pleased I am that you remembered me."

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Subject: Everyone FINALLY arrives in Mirkwood

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Date Posted: 21:03:52 10/16/03 Thu

Dusk was falling as it always fell. Yet beneath the shadows of the trees it seemed to fall much darker than usual. The procession made their way along the narrow track through the woods, huge trees looming up on either side. The pale radiance of the torches illuminated the path, bathing the way in a glow like moonlight. Every so often, more elves had silently peeled away from their hiding places in the leafy foliage to join them on the steady trek towards the palace. Harion found it disconcerting to suddenly find yet another strange elf had appeared, walking at his side without him realising. These elves moved so silently, they walked steadily, their faces set in grim determination. Their eyes glittering sternly in the dimming light. He was aware that they could kill him instantly, no noise, no warning, no trouble. If he had wandered in here by himself, he might already be dead. He shuddered and inched ever so slightly closer to Legolas. It seemed ironic that the person he had feared so bitterly just a few days ago was now his comfort, the only thing keeping those hostile arrows from silently striking him in the back.

As the woods grew darker, Harion picked up a slight feeling of unease. The elves seemed to bunch closer together, all alert, turning instantly at the slightest noise in the foliage. At one point, Harion swore he could see faint green eyes glimmering in the darkness. A couple of elves stepped up to Legolas, laid a hand on his arm and conversed quietly in elvish. Legolas glanced quickly into the shadows and nodded. The strange elves slipped quietly off the path and into the shadows. The company kept walking, as if nothing had happened. There were a few minutes of silence, then an unearthly shriek pierced the trees and was suddenly cut off.
"What was that?" Harion cried before he could contain himself. A couple of nearby elves glanced at him in scorn, then returned to coldly ignoring him.
Legolas was silent for a moment, staring straight ahead down the dim track.
"We are not the only things to live in these woods." he replied at last. "The creatures of the dark ever grow in confidence. We must be wary." The two elves emerged out from the shadows, one replacing his bow, the other wiping a dark purplish smear from his knife.

"Quick, overhead!" the cry came from an elf somewhere in the crowd. Harion jerked his head upwards to see a dark hairy shape scuttling across the branches that enclosed the path. Several arrows whistled instantly through the air, and Harion heard the soft thuds as they met animal flesh, followed by the same unearthly screech. The black shape fell to the path below, and shuddered for a moment, legs jerking about in spasm before it lay still. Harion swallowed hard as he looked upon the largest spider he had ever seen. He smiled grimly to himself, imagining his sister's reaction if she could see it. There was no way he would have removed that one from the ceiling at home. The elves carefully walked around the hairy, still body and continued on their way. Harion couldn't help scanning the dark shadows himself for any further glimpse of faintly glowing green eyes.

Harion looked up as the procession slowed to see a beautifully carved wooden bridge span across a dark gorge in the side of the hill. He could hear the rushing roar of a swift, strong river running far below. The bridge led into the mouth of a huge cavern in the side of the cliff. The flickering torch light reflected brightly off the great beech trees clung tightly to the slope, dipping their roots in the rapid river, their huge branches shielding the entrance to the cave. The elves led the way over the bridge and into the cavern without hesitation. Harion looked back to watch the elaborately carved gates being closed behind them. He swallowed nervously as the last faint glimmers of the outside world disappeared. He was trapped, there was no way out. He felt a hand squeeze his shoulder in encouragement, and looked up to see Aryante smile, carefully hiding her own apprehension. The elves started to move down the underground passages lit with red torchlight. The paths were shallow and carved from light sandstone. They twisted and crossed through the hillside, the echoes moving through the clean, ventilated air.

At last they entered a great hall, hewn out of the rock. The torchlight banished the shadows to flutter in the far corners. There were many elves waiting as they entered. All eyes were on them, searching, expectant. Then the first shades of unease and scorn as they sought out Harion. It was hard to ignore the burning of so many pairs of eyes, Harion allowed himself to be roughly grasped by the shoulder and thrust forward towards the elaborately carved wooden throne. The king of the woodland realm watched coldly as the first human to cross his borders for many years was pressurised into kneeling before him. Harion caught only a glimpse of him, before someone bent his head down to stare at the floor respectfully.

Legolas walked calmly past where Harion and Aryante knelt in forced reverence on the floor to the very foot of the dais where his father sat and sank to one knee. He dropped his head and murmured respectfully “Atar,”, making no move to rise.
Thranduil regarded him in silence before extending an arm gravely. “Tula sinome utinamin,”
Legolas stood gracefully and moved to the throne, where his father stood and embraced him. “Nae an’ luume’”
Thranduil agreed. “Ellera ai’quenen.” He turned his gaze to the assembled elves and ordered, “Lemb’lye.”
They filed out silently, save for the guards who still hovered threateningly over the mortals. Legolas regarded them through solemn eyes, then stepped back from his father and bowed formally. “Father, I present to you Lady Aryante, a distant cousin of the Numenorean Line, and Harion of Minas Tirith.
“Humans are not welcome in my realm,” the king said, eyeing them coldly again.
“They are welcome here as my guests,” his son insisted. “I would be grateful for your hospitality, father. I would not have brought them if it was not important.”
Thranduil looked at him sternly. “No, you would not.” He sighed, “You would have me grant them my protection?”
“Your word that they shall not be harmed would be enough.”
The elven king was silent, considering. Finally he gestured to the two before him. “Stand.”
They complied nervously and waited. “You are not welcome here. However, I am reminded that it is my duty to extend my hand to those my kin call friend. None shall harm you whilst you are under my roof, so long as you do not cause trouble. Be gone now, all of you. I am displeased.”
Legolas motioned to them and they bowed low, backing away quickly before he could change his mind. The prince himself did likewise. “Thank you, Atar.”
His father’s gaze was grim and troubled. “We shall speak of this later.”

*Thranduil and Legolas conversation goes as thus:
“Come here my son”
“It has been a long time.”
“Too long. There is much to speak of…Leave us.”

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Subject: Remembrance

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Date Posted: 21:33:35 10/16/03 Thu

*the night before*

Elrohir paced through the forest, feeling more and more frustrated with every passing moment at the something that was trespassing in his lands. There would be time for grief later, but now anger and worry took up almost equal shares of his emotional capacity. Anger was winning slightly. Arwen was out there, he knew it – there was no way they could have left Imladris’ boundaries unseen. However, his scouts had failed to pick up any traces save for tracks that ended inexplicably, and crushed leaves. There was sorcery at work…had to be. Elrond’s sons had tracked with the Dunedain, and there were few elves to beat their skills. No, these tracks had not been lost. These tracks had vanished, a final insult to very great victory. As he circled again, still alert for even the slightest sound, he swore the most painful death he could bring about for the unknown assailant – destroyer of his home and family, and abductor of his sister.


For the sixth time that night, Elladan took his place at the centre of his people and began the lament for his grandfather. Fourteen would be sung in all before the night was through. The haunting melody drifted through the trees and valleys, piercing enough to carry right to Rivendell’s borders. All would know that night of their loss, and all would weep. No grave had been dug for Celeborn, but at dawn he would be borne to the Bruinen, and from there sent downriver and out to sea. Elladan hoped that somehow his body would find its way to Aman, where his soul must now rest. His grandparents would be reunited again, but the loss still cut deep. As his voice cut through the darkness he couldn’t help but wonder, who would he next be singing for? These were dark times, when not even the last homely house could be called safe. And, he reflected, darker times yet were coming, Would be upon them, if Elrohir or Estel could not find Arwen. He turned to his foster brother, hoping vainly that this time he would join them in the lament. Still he continued to pretend to sleep. With a flash of premonition, Elladan wondered if one, at least, hadn’t already been lost.

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Subject: Challenge...

Noryn and Tyram
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Date Posted: 21:41:16 10/17/03 Fri

The rapid dance eventually came to an end and the musicians transformed into a slower piece to allow dancers to get their breath back. Noryn was exhausted, she willingly leaned against Tyram, her arms still clasped around his body. She concentrated on breathing, trying to ignore the fact that he was watching her heaving cleavage. She was a prostitute, she shouldn’t be ashamed of showing too much flesh - but she couldn’t keep the embarrassed flush from her cheeks. Suddenly, Tyram leaned forward and kissed her gently on her forehead. She felt a tingle go down her spine and jerked away slightly, looking up at him. Then he lowered his head and kissed her properly. She instinctively closed her eyes and melted into the kiss, her hands going up behind his neck and fingering his dark hair tightly scraped back into a ponytail.

At last he broke away and looked down at her large dark eyes with a smile.
“I’ve wanted to do that since the first time you came here” he said softly, moving her gently to the music. She kept eye contact, unsure of what to say or do.
“I must go back” she said at last, attempting to break free from his embrace.
“The customer waiting for you...” he asked, “Is he young?” Noryn pulled a face
“Late 40s” she replied, her eyes searching the room for the abandoned cloak. There was no way she was going to wander the dark streets of the underworld dressed like this. Tyram pulled her closer towards him.
“How about I pay you twice as much to serve me instead?” he murmured in her ear. Noryn turned to him instantly
“Twice as much? Why would you part with your money when you can have any girl here for free?” He was still rocking her gently to the music, moving slowly across the room so no one could overhear.
“Because I want you?” he whispered almost as a question, sending shivers down her spine. “And... let’s just say I got... another present... just before you arrived. I’ve got
to spend it somehow” he laughed, one hand playing with strands of her long dark hair.
Noryn looked at the floor. Falen would not be happy if she didn’t return, and Savinia would have to take over for her... as well as her own customers. Still, perhaps twice as
much pay would pacify them both. Besides, if she was to choose between the two customers, then Tyram’s rugged dark beauty would win any day.

“Alright” she whispered, tracing a finger softly down the scar on his face. “You win”
A slow smile of satisfaction spread over his face as he gently led her out of the throng of dancers. It was a confident smile of one who knew he’d win from the beginning,
but enjoyed her feeble attempts to resist.
But what does it matter? Noryn thought to herself. One paying customer is as good as another - especially if the price increases. She caught a brief glance of the red headed
girl she had seen at before. The one at Tyram’s side the first time she visited this place, and who watched her from the shadows on the second. The girl’s eyes were burning with anger towards Noryn, as Tyram led her from the main hall. Noryn shrugged to herself and hoped he knew what he was doing if he was going to have to face a jealous woman in the morning. It was none of her business, she certainly hadn’t
suggested this arrangement.

Tyram led her down a dark narrow corridor and unlocked a small room with a key he kept on a chain around his neck. He drew her inside and shut the door, locking it noiselessly. The loud cacophony of the main hall instantly fell in volume. He draped the key over a small wooden table and took a purse from his pocket. He counted out several coins, piling them up on top of each other. Noryn’s eyes widened as the value increased over the agreed amount.
“That’s more than enough” she frowned, unsure what game he was playing now. Tyram grinned and put the purse next to the pile.
“We’ll see shall we” he murmured, his hands moving straight to the fastenings on the back of her dress. “I can always take back the change if I’m not satisfied.”
She jerked her head up to make eye contact again. He was daring her - she could tell.
A challenge.
The grin spread all over his face.
“Where were we?” he asked, the fastenings open down the back, almost to her waist.
“About here” she replied, placing her arms around his neck and drawing him deep into the kiss.
I take on the challenge

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Subject: is there anybody in there?

anawiel (my god i remembered!)
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Date Posted: 15:07:39 12/20/04 Mon

hello charlotte? look at this fabulous post!

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