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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: Under Moonlight

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Date Posted: 19:43:26 08/05/02 Mon

The great bear ran fast over the land, the cold wind catching his thick black fur and blowing it backward. There were constant thuds where his paws hit the ground, causing the stone-hard earth beneath them to tremour. The bear had seen no-one other than birds or beasts for many years, when the Istari Radagast had come to bid him goodbye was he returned to Valinor. The bear lived alone, taking company from other animal, particually his ponies, who he valued as children.

The light that streamed down from the silver moon reflected in the fast flowing stream. Even if he was a long way from his house, the bear knew these lands well. Lowering his snout into the ice water he drank deep, quenching his thirst. A few droplets remained hanging on his whiskers.

It was only the dripping whispers and then the wet beard which gave any clue as to who the man was who got up from the banks of the stream and began to make his way home. He was Beorn.
Subject: In Though

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Date Posted: 21:59:38 08/07/02 Wed

She was asleep. Now Celeborn wandered under the trees in the darkness. He felt, not old, but as if his time was coming to an end. As if, he could feel the last few grains of the hourglass trickling through. He was only staying for her sake. When her time was over, he too would leave.

He had promised her brothers that. As long as he could, he would make sure that she was alright. It was not that Elladan and Elrohir had not trusted Aragorn, he had been a brother to them, but Arwen was difficult. She could be emotional, then defensive, and then angry. Even now, Celeborn would not be so foolish as to say a single word against Elessar for the sharpness of her tongue.

Ever loyal. And he admired her for that.
Subject: Speech

Aragorn and Faramir
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Date Posted: 22:13:45 08/07/02 Wed

It was Faramir who seemed to be the first to recover from the news. With Aragorn telling them, it made it all so much more real. War? It just didn't make sense. It just couldn't... His head told him one thing, his heart quite another. It could be happening. It was. Gently moving Eowyn out the way, he walked over the where the king stood, alone with his back up against the tree. He kept his voice low as he spoke, but the silence in the room was deadly, and at whatever volume he chose, everyone would have been able to here him. "Aragorn, this is the time where you come up with an inspirational speach, or a battle plan. Something. These people need you."

Aragorn looked at Faramir in dismay but inside he understood the steward's position. His citizens needed to hear something positive after what they had just witnessed; they didn't need to see a king who was falling apart. He gripped Faramir's arm briefly in reassurance and turned to face his people.

"My dear friends, you have been here through that most surprising of announcements so there is no point in lying to you. The enemy has returned. His armies multiply even as we stand here. With the elves and Mithrandir across the seas we have very few allies, we have very little chance of victory. But," his eyes glowed as he looked out over the assembled crowd, "as long as there is that possibily I shall continue to fight. No matter how bleak the battle may appear it can always be turned, no matter how bad the situation we will triumph" he insisted ferverantly. "We must triumph," he said quietly but firmly.
"Ladies and Gentlemen the time of the elves is over, it is time for men to rise. There is not one person in here I would not give up my life for. However I shall not win this battle on my own. I need the aid of the free peoples. I need you all. Together we can beat Sauron, together we can free Middle-earth from his oppression once an for all. If you are with me."
Subject: Love/Hate

Faeriex and Aralias
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Date Posted: 16:03:01 08/08/02 Thu

The speed of her departure surprised him and so it was some time before Aralias nudged Elemmiire into a canter. “Fae!” he called after her rapidly retreating form. “Fae, stop! This is stupid.” She did not answer him as the swiftness of her mount increased.
He bent low over his horse’s neck. “Now’s your moment Lemi. Gallop.”
He felt Elemmiire’s muscles bunching beneath him as the animal hurled himself into the chase. They were nearing the forest edge.
“Faeirex! This isn’t amusing. You can’t run forever.”
She continued into the dense undergrowth and he sighed and rode after her. Once inside the forest he lost sight of Carenina’s white coat.

Closing his eyes against the distractions of the visible world Aralias focused on his sister's essence.

She had finally halted about half a mile from his current location.

He dismounted and walked over to where she was crying quietly. "There was nothing more you could do. Don't blame yourself for their reactions" he said softly his hand on her shoulder. "You knew it would be like this. It always is.”
She flinched and pushed him away. Startled by the sudden movement, Carenina darted sideways, 'accidentally' stepping on Lia's foot as she moved.

He stumbled backwards cursing as he went. "How would you like to fed to my hounds?!” he shouted at the frightened animal. Still muttering "stupid horse" he advanced cautiously back towards Faeirex. "Don't cut me out Fae. I'm probably the only one left on Middle Earth who understands what you're going through. But you have to talk to me first."
"I don't want to talk. I don't want to be understood. I just want to get away from here."
"We are away," he pointed out un-helpfully. "And you may not want to be understood but it's hardly you concern if I want to understand you."
"Stop being facetious." she muttered. "You got what you wanted. I told them, didn't I? And you were right about Legolas as well. But now he thinks I'm a cold-hearted murderer, and I can never go back there again. So you can have fun gloating, but don't expect me to join the party."
He shook his head solemnly. "Fae, I don't gloat when it's important and I think we can safely say that the return of Sauron is one of the more important things that going to happen this age. And as for Legolas I don’t want to say “I told you so” but I did warn you about him. We’re lucky we left when we did. He's better off back there without you. Wonderboy survived the War of the Rings; he can survive this."
"I know he's better off without me, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt." She let him see the tears that still shimmered in her eyes. "I liked him Lia, I really liked him. If he dies, it'll be my fault."
He lost even the semblance of patience. “For gods sake grow up Fae! How long are you going to sit here crying about how awful your life is this time? You are Faeirex of the Valedhel. You should be stronger than this. And yet every time we seem to go through the same agonising struggle. Enough is enough. This isn’t your fault. Sauron’s returning; even if you hadn’t arrived there’s a good chance he would’ve perished. Your warning gave them the time to prepare that they desperately need; you’ve given him the only chance at salvation he has. Be thankful for that and stop crying before I go back and kill him myself.”

The tears stopped.

One half of him was happy to have achieved his objective the other registered that he’d just alienated one of the only people he had ever loved.

He tried to keep his voice calm: “Much better. Now let’s leave. The horses are fresh; the night is young. We can make it halfway out of this forest tonight and then it’s on to Lothlorien.”
“Lorien?” she looked up at him and he caught a flicker of some new emotion in her face.
“Yes. I thought we might be able to stay there in relative security while the war rages around us. It’s practically unoccupied now the Lord Celeborn has departed.”

She stood up before him, her eye level just below his own.
“How dare you,” she hissed.
“What?” he whispered aghast.
“You think after 5000 years you can show up and dictate how I should live my life?”
“I’m not!”
“Understand this Aralias, you are the last person who could ever induce me to do anything against my will.”
“Fae I…”
“And as for Legolas if you even knew anything about him what you’ve just said would only be appalling. As it is…”
There was nothing he could think of to say.
“To think I even believed you’d changed.” She was crying again, the tears falling thick and fast. “How could I have been so stupid? You’ll never change I know that now. You’re still the same arrogant, irritating, condescending pig you’ve always been.”
She stepped up close as the palm of her hand smacked against his cheek. He reached up to touch the inflamed skin and opened his mouth to utter a blistering retort. But nothing came.
“I hate you,” the words came from her, soft but full of passionate rage.
“You can’t,” he breathed.
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t feel Aralias. You don’t have any idea.” She leapt into Carenina’s saddle and kicked her horse into a run.

Lia tried to follow her but his feet wouldn’t move. Looking down he saw that the plants around his feet had grown thin tendrils, which were wrapping themselves deliberately around his lower legs.
“Faeirex!” he screamed desperately into the darkening night.
Subject: I'm with you

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Date Posted: 11:40:57 08/09/02 Fri

At the back of the room Sircyn started clapping. It was like a dam had broken and applause rang around the previously silent room.

Pushing himself off the chair with his left hand he remembered too late that it was crippled and winced in pain. He continued to rise nevertheless, walked over to the king and knelt at his feet, sword across his knees.
"You have my support your majesty. It's good to have you back."
Subject: War?

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Date Posted: 13:41:54 08/09/02 Fri

Aryante joined the ripple of applause that spread from the back of the room. She would not leave anyone to die, as a healer, heal she must. War was going to be hard and she knew it. Being so young during the war of the ring meant that she had never experienced the pain and hatred that was surely to come. Crossing the room, she left and retured to her bed chamber. As soon as she entered, a strange tiredness came over her. Falling asleep might shake her troubles away. Her heavy lids drooped and dhe took rest.
Subject: If You Need my Help

Alator & Faramir
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Date Posted: 14:23:19 08/10/02 Sat

Elessar's address was enough to lift anyone's spirits. Although had been shocked by the news, to Alator, it had been likey for months. He had not journeyed from the east just to humour himself. Battles and wars were never as simple as sword against sword. There would be magic in play. And if Alator could help it, on both sides.

"Your majesty, although we are not long aquainted, I will stand by you through it all. I am with you." The old man moved out of the crowds, leading with staff. "I only hope I can be of service."

Faramir surveyed the scene, suddenly snapping out of thought. He hated pubic speaking- Boromir would always do that. What would he have done now? But of course, he wasn't here to do it.

Faramir turned to face Aragorn. "I will not let this fail. I will not let my brother and my father have died in vain. I'm with you."
Subject: Voluntering

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Date Posted: 03:04:30 08/11/02 Sun

Omiril stepped up to Aragorn. " I have just arrived in Minas Tirith but Sauron is not liked by my people. Any enemy to Sauron is an ally to my kind there for I will also help you. Besides I think that I can help you solve the riddle of who it is that has been causing trouble with out you knowing it."
Subject: don't deny my help

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Date Posted: 10:50:38 08/11/02 Sun

Sam listened to all everyone was saying. But it couldn't be true. He just couldn't register it. Frodo and given up his life to vanquish this Sauron. Yet he had come back, all Fodo's sacrafices were in vain. What was the point.
But he had to be strong. This war was upon them and he has a family to think of now. He must make preperations to get Ryna home so he can speak to Aragorn about his part in this. He moved forwards so he could be seen.
"I am with you too and I expect Merry and Pippin are with me. I feel it is our duty, Frodo's sacrafices will not have been done in vain. I will do all I can. Please don't turn me away."
Subject: new romance?

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Date Posted: 21:30:10 08/11/02 Sun

Everyone in the shire was at a party. It was Rosie's Dad's 80th birthday and she had thrown him a party in his honour. She had got some of the musicians to form a band to dance to and everyone was on the dance floor having the time of their lives.

"Can I have this dance?"
Lily turned to find a young man standing in front of her. He looked a few years older than she was yet still seemed to tower over her.
He had brown hair and dreamy blue eyes. Eyes to die for, she thought.
"Excuse me," the boy looked at her concerned. "Are you okay? I asked if you would like to dance."
Lily jolted her mind back to the present and smiled at him. "Sorry, yes I'm fine. I would love to dance."
The boy gave her a smile that made her heart skip a few beats and took her hand.
The boy pulled Lily up to the band and brought her into his arms. Gently Lily rested her head on his shoulder. She was going to stop him but he was comfortable.
“My name is Rob by the way, Rob Starsly.”
Lily looked up into his eyes and started to drown. They were the bluest eyes she had ever seen. Realising she had to reply before he got worried again, she managed to just whisper “Lily” before her throat closed up again.
“Lily, that’s a pretty name. I haven’t seen you around here before, otherwise I’m sure I would have noticed.” Lily blushed, “Are you new around?”
Lily nodded and got out “I have been here quite some time but I haven’t been out. I was poorly when I arrived. I’m staying at Sam’s house. That is why I’m here. Rosie asked me to help.”
“And I’m very glad she did.” Lily blushed again.
He cupped her face and lowered his head to brush his lips against hers. His touch was gentle, tender, as if unsure whether she would want his kiss.
Fire rushed through her; he had an intoxicating presence. His breath fanned her face. There were no longer anybody around them. The only person that mattered was Rob.
Suddenly Lily brought her mind back to reality. What was she doing? This can’t happen again. She wouldn’t let it. She pulled sharply away. “I…I can’t. I’m sorry…I…I have to go.” Lily twisted out of his arms and ran. Leaving a shocked Rob standing there.
Subject: A long awaited conversation... hehehe...

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Date Posted: 22:28:14 08/11/02 Sun

Aragorn tried to convey how touched he was but all that came out was a quiet "thankyou." He beamed at his audience through blurred eyesight. "Thank-you everyone, you don't know what your support means to me. Sam, of course I shan't refuse your aid, no one will ever forget the strength of the halflings again."

Laeriel stood quietly next to Rhylin in the corner of the throne room. She was waiting for Sahrien to return, she had been gone for far too long. She had told her she would not speak with Elessar until she returned, but time was fleeting, and her patience was wearing thin. I shall have to do this myself, then, she thought, squeezing Rhylin's hand before she stepped foward.
"Elessar," she said, her voice rising above the crowd. The room fell silent, "King Elessar, I desire to speak with you. I have important news, reguarding your allies, and your wife."

He recognised her vaguely but it took him a little while to connect the dehydrated youngster with the new arrival. "You have recovered well," he commented politely, choosing to ignore the mention of Arwen. "What news do you bring me of my allies? In this dark time I need every ally I can sway to my cause."

Laeriel narrowed her eyes, how did he know her? "You have recovered well"? She didn't have time to try to figure it out. She didn't like the way he seemed to ignore the fact that she had news about his wife. She turned around to look at Rhylin, her eyes pleading for any sort of encoragement or help. He only smiled, but one smile from him made her feel as if she could move mountains. She turned to face the King, "Perhaps this is news best delivered in closed chamberes, not in a public meeting. I-we- need to speak with you in private," she turned to look towards Rhylin again, then back to the King.

Aragorn shook his head briefly, "I think I need to be with my people at a time like this. I know I have no right to ask for this but please can you deliver your message in here?"

"Very well, I understand your concern for your people," Laeriel walked towards Aragorn. She stopped just feet away from him, and lowered her voice so the rest of the room could not hear, "But tell me this, Elessar, why do you not ask me for news of your wife? Your Elven bride needs you more than you know."

"I don't want to hear about Arwen" he muttered in a voice that was barely audible. "I don't want to hear about how this is my fault..." he looked straight at her and for a moment Laeriel glimpsed the desparation that was gnawing on his soul. "I...can't....I can't hear about Arwen. Do you understand?" He saw that she didn't and changed the subject before she could bring it up again. "You bring me news of allies? Please, tell me that instead."

His fault? He knew not how desperate Arwen's situation was. It went far deeper than who was at fault. "By mother earth herself," Laeriel wispered, "Men truly are blind." She straighted up, "As you wish, Elessar. I shall tell you why my people sent me, and who my people are. I am a Faery, a very old race. As old as Middle-earth herself, and I come because one of my people had a vision; a vision that spoke of death and destruction. I come to you because we are tired of hiding in the forests, I take this opportunity to offer our hand in friendship. We will help you fight this enemy, whatever it may take." The throne room fell silent. Laeriel turned to look at Rhylin, "I have here with me," she said, "The Faery who had the vision. I know not the details of it, so I will call on Rhylin to explain what he saw."

Rhylin found himself stuttering in horror. "Well...your m-majesty, it was about three months ago..." he looked imploringly at Laeriel; she could tell this just as well as he. No help seemed to be arriving however so he looked back at the king and continued to speak. His voice growing firmer. "3 months ago I had the first in a series of vision that have haunted me whether sleeping or awake. I eventually confided in King Cellius who dispatched his daughter Laeriel to alert you of the on coming threat. I fear we are too late for this message to be much use. What I can tell you is when the armies of darkness will strike; 2 moon cycles from today. That is when you must be ready for the Dark Lord will not wait."

"I have to admit I believed your race was legend...two months? It could be worse...it could be better too. I thankyou for bringing even this most gloomy of news. You're help is also greatly appriciated."

Laeriel oppened her mouth to answer, but the words stopped in her throat. She could no longer stand it. The way he dismissed her when she spoke of Arwen made her remember the pain that Arwen was experiencing at this very momment. Somewhere, far from home, Aragorn's son was to be born, and he seemed to care little of it. Instead, he was caught up in his own emotions, thinking about how Arwen had hurt him. Laeriel had had enough. She stood firmly in front of the King, "Enough! Please, enough with this self pity and this childish pride! You are greatful for our help, yet when I offer you news of your wife you ignore me! Have you no love left for her in your heart? If not for her, then for your unborn son? She's dying, Aragorn, and your son may die with her."

"There's nothing more I can do for her...
If I go to her she'll die, if I stay she'll die. So you tell me what I should do. Which course of action is most useful?"

"Elessar," Laeriel said, lowering her voice, "She loves you, she always has, and she will forever. That's all you need to know. Just remember that, because once upon a time you loved her too." She finished, cleared her throat, and said, "I have nothing more to say to you. If you decide you want our help, you can find me in my chambers. I do not wish to be disturbed tonight, seek me in the morning." She gave Rhylin a meaningful glance and walked quietly out of the throne room.
Subject: A call to arms

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Date Posted: 12:53:24 08/12/02 Mon

At this point pippin who had been quite content to remain silent and listen, decided it was time to speak.

"I dont believe this Strider, War" pippin was in complete agreement with sam these people had completly forgotton Frodos' sacrafice.
He knew that he owned his allegiance to the king but he could not decide what to do to ride into battle as he had once done, or to warn the shire. But he was sure sam or ryna could do that. It even seemed possible that he could ask the ents for help. That was what he decided to do.
"I'm off to Isengard
Subject: a doom encircles

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Date Posted: 11:28:32 08/13/02 Tue

"Well if pippin's goin' i'm going to" cried merry from his position behind sam.
"he cant do it all on himself, he would have to travel the gap of rohan, and we all know that the riders of rohan cannot protect all their lands, it is too vast and there could be many orcs"
"Fine" said pippin "we will go, but there must be no one else, the ents do not like strangers in their lands, not since the days of sauraman have they been able to accept men or dwarves"
At this point all seemed aggreed after all these two hobbits had avoided orcs before together. But then Merry collapsed, his brow was burning and he was feverish he was muttering in an ancient language no one could understand what had happened
Subject: Gimli

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Date Posted: 11:30:50 08/13/02 Tue

Rhylin did not follow Laeriel out of the room immediately; there was something yet to say.
"Your majesty?" he asked uncertainly, interupting the king's silent thought.
"Yes?" Elessar mumbled dejectedly.
"The vision I have just spoken of was not the only one I recieved recently that concerns you and your friends..."

Blood trickles down a corse cheek, split by a rusty knife. A grinning face, sadistically taking pleasure in the anguish it is causing.

"Are you alright?" The king's voice broke through to Rhylin as he wavered.
"I'm fine. It was only a memory, not a vision. I would be far worse off it it had been." He tried briefly to clear his head before proceeding.
"Your majesty, when was the last time you saw Gimli son of Gloin?"
"Some time ago. Why do you ask?"
Rhylin ignored the question and asked his own instead. "Do you have any idea where he might be at the present time?"
The king stared at him for some time and Rhylin started to feel distinctly uncomfortable.
"He never returned with Legolas," Elessar realised. "Did he even leave with Legolas?" he asked in bewilderment.
"He did not."
"Then where is he?"
An evil cackle revererates around the cavern. The dwarf glares defiently, half his beard missing.
"He is being held by the enemy who saught to capture the prince of Mirkwood. What their design is I do not know. I can only tell you that the son of Gloin is in great peril." He stood awardly for a while before clearing his throat. "I'm afraid that after delivering such news I must depart. Before I leave however I must stress the urgency of the dwarf's situation. I believe the orcs have been ordered not to kill him but their patience grows thin and they lust for his blood."

He bowed curtly and left as quickly as it was in his power to do so.
Subject: Ents

Aragorn and Pippin
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Date Posted: 12:39:29 08/13/02 Tue

Pippin stared in amazement "What's happened" he quized

As Aragorn watched Merry he felt dispair grasp him firmly around the heart. Was it possible anything else could go wrong? He watched Sircyn signal a warrior to pick up the stricken hobbit but it was as if through water. He shook his head to try and clear his vision. "Can you take him to the healing houses, my friend?"
"Of course," the soldier nodded briskly and exited carrying Merry.

"Strider, do something, you are the healer aren't you"
Aragorn looked at Pippin who seemed to be hovering in indecision. "I am Peregrin but there are those more competant than me. And what of you? Do you still mean to collect the ents? We desparately need their aid Pippin, but I understand if you wish to remain with Merry."
"I can do it if you need me too but, Strider, Merry and I do every thing I dont think I can go if I am worried about him"
"He will be alright. That young hobbit has suffered worse than a fainting fit. It is of course your decision. I have rarely if ever seen you and Merry separate but I promise you he will recover soon."
"Thank you, Strider. Then I know what I must do." Pippin was determined now more then ever to get the ents, Merry would have wanted it. "If I stay I can do no good but if I go it could change the course of the next battle." Pippin resolved that he had no choice. "Promise me Strider you will help him. I guess I must now go alone, Strider this is important this could fail if the ents dont trust us"

A faint smile touched the king's lips but quickly faded again. "I will do my best Master Took. But you shall not go alone; Fangorn is far from the White City and with war declared it is hardly safe for one hobbit to travel alone. I agree that it would not be safe for your companion to enter the forest with you, but would it not be acceptable if they mearly escorted you to the Entwash?"
"But if this person is spotted at the edge of their terrtory, what would happen then"
"I am willing to take that risk. You shall not travel alone. The ents are far more likly to recieve another into their forest than a party of orcs are to leave you alive. Why not take someone you know? Your friend Bergil would probably welcome the trip. He is a brave youngster if a little over enthusatic."
"Fine, I will agree to this but he must return to Minas Tirith as soon as the tallest tree is spotted"
"Whatever you feel is best. You wish to leave tonight?" Pippin nodded and Aragorn cast his gaze out of one of the nearby windows onto which the rain lashed with frightening force. "I advise you to wait. Stay with your friend tonight, set out in better weather. If you can find one small enough please take any pony in my stables to carry you. I'll alert Bergil and he'll meet you at the gates at day break."
"I will see Merry now if you dont mind Strider I will need rest before this journey.
"Of course," Aragorn agreed.

As Pippin left to speak to his friend Aragorn sank down against the tree again; weariness overcoming him.
Subject: reactions

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Date Posted: 20:38:38 08/13/02 Tue

It was the day after the party and Lily was sitting under a tree lost in thought (actually it was the very same tree that Sam had sat under that day). She had run off after Rob had kissed her. “Did I react wrongly?” she questioned the silence. As she expected she got no answer. “But even if I had, I couldn’t have reacted any other way. It has been that way ever since Peredo.”
She leant back against the tree and shut her eyes before snapping them open again. “It won’t happen again!” she said fiercely. “I won’t let it happen. I can’t let it happen. He was lovely and I don’t think he meant anything by it. I felt so comfortable with him and he made me feel better than i ever had before. He’ll think me silly for taking it so seriously. Oh dear,” she sighed, “I shouldn’t have thought of it as anything more. And running away!” Lily eyes glazed over and when she closed her eyes tears fell down her cheeks. “Never mind it is probable I will never see him again anyway.”
Lily lifted herself off the ground, brushed herself down and headed back to the house.

Walking through the front door Lily called out. “Rosie, I’m back is there anything you want me to…” Lily stopped mid sentence shocked. Before her stood Rob with his hands in his pockets looking at her with apology in his eyes.
Subject: Empty of stars

Legolas (and about 2 lines from Aragorn)
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Date Posted: 22:39:08 08/13/02 Tue

The solid stone wall took the weight of his back, lifting the burden from legs which suddenly seemed too weak to carry him. Leaning his head back lethargically, Legolas stared dully through the window opposite him, at the plants that came from nowhere, and the storm that appeared in a clear sky. For some reason they didn’t surprise him. He scarcely even registered them through his tangled web of thoughts. What was he supposed to do now? Nothing he had ever come across, in nearly three thousand years, could have prepared him for such a sudden turn of events.

How long he stood there, he didn’t know. The soft dusk of the sky turned to pure night, lit by occasional flashes of lightning. The stars, the constant companions of the elves, for what else is there that never changes during an eternity, were blanketed by a thick black cloak that not even the brightest could penetrate. He had never felt so alone, and so helpless.

Aragorn- Aragorn must know. What to do now was not Legolas’ decision to make. Would the king wish to take vengeance on her for the death of his kin? It was his right to declare blood feud, by the custom of his people. And what of Sauron? Elessar had ruled here a scant eight years, and had come to a position he had not been reared for, nor wished to take, but knew he must do so out of duty. Royalty was in his blood, but in his mind were doubts. He would need the support of his friends at this time and nobody, not even Lómódë, could be allowed to come between them.

Aragorn looked up at the sound of the throne room door swinging open.
"If it's bad news I don't want to hear it, Legolas."

At the sight of the expression on his friend's face, he nearly turned and left. Perhaps he shouldn't hear any more bad news now. Would he be able to cope with it?
He banished the thought instantly. This was no mere spoiled prince, this was Aragorn, son of Arathorn. Of the line of Numenor. A king amongst men, and exceptional amongst kings. Named Estel for hope, and hope was what he stood for. Aragorn would never fall.

He crossed the room swiftly to reach his side. "You may not want to, but you need to," he told him in a low voice. He nodded a head towards the assembled masses. "But you're right, in a way. They don't. Is there something you can do?"

Elessar nodded grimly and raised himself to his feet. "My friends, I thank you all for you support. The days exertions have taken their tole on me however and I feel I must rest soon or collapse.If you'll excuse me..." he looked back at Legolas. "You can tell me all in my chambers, lets just get out of here."
Subject: Night Messenger

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Date Posted: 21:29:18 08/15/02 Thu

Night fell as Brooke watched the storm in which Minas Tirith was now incased in from a tree branch.
Whitemoon lifted his nose to the air and then stood up. " I smell orc." Not long after he said this an orc came into view under the tree in wich they rested. He carried a black pack with him and a sword at his other side. " Who send you?" she asked. The orc raised his head up to where her voice had come from.
" The Great Dark Lord Sauron has send me. He wishes to know if the Feairalev Brooke is doing her job as agreed."
" I am doing what I was hired to do. The training grounds of Minas Tirith are now covered in ashes, so are buildings around the city. I have planted the Nightmare Rose that should take affect this night. Every one in the city, exept for children, will fall into a deep sleep want or not. They shall have the worst of nightmares. And they will not wake until the first rays of the sun appear in the horizon tommorow. I have set the armory on fire, all their weapons shall melt and be nothing but puddles by morning. The palace with many inside is sourrounded by a forest, and the white city itself is encased in a furious storm. I think that should please your master, Minas Tirith is ripe for the taking."
" Very good." said the orc. " Now Lord Sauron wishes for you to attempt something else."
Brooke narrowed her eyes. " What exacly does he wish for me to attempt?"
The orc looked around as if making sure no one else listened. " He wishes for you to kill the king."
Brooke landed infront of the orc. He stumbled back in surprise. " I do not kill anyone! I was hired to cause trouble and to distract the city and its inhabitants!
Not to kill anyone! I have never killed anyone and I will not start now! Besides killing the king would mean i'm on your side, i do not take sides! Tell your Master that the agreement was that I would destract Minas Tirith until his armies came to take it! After that the deal is of!"
" Sauron thought you would say that so he has given me this pack with treasures that ones belonged to Nymphs, The High Elves, and some of them even once belonged to Istari."
He handed the pack to her.
Brooke opened the pack to reveal many objects of magic.
" In exchange Sauron wishes you to help in the battle that will come soon. The objects are for you, given freely, they belong to you as soon as you agree to help. Even if you do not kill the king."
Brooke smiled. " Very well tell Sauron I shall help in the coming war."
" Very well." the orc said and dissapeared into the darkness. There was silence for a few minutes. Then Whitemoon Growled. " What do you think you are doing Brooke this puts us on their side!"
Brooke smiled wider. " Come on Whitemoon did you not hear what the orc said. He said that as long as I agree to help. He did not say that I have to help their side. He only said to help in the upcoming war. That means I can help eighter them or the people of the white city."
Whitemoon stopped growling. " Do you mean to say that you will help Minas Tirith?"
Brooke frowned " Not as far as i'm concerned at the moment but we shall see."
"Let's go find a better place to camp. I don't think I would like to rest where moments ago an orc stood." Whitemoon said. " You and me both." Brooke said following Whitemoon.
Subject: in the house of healing

pipin, amrilia
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Date Posted: 22:20:45 08/15/02 Thu

Inside the house of healing nurse Amriala was feeling more and more pessimistic about the recovery of one 'meriadoc brandybuck'. Amriala was one of the most promising new nurses in Minas Tirith she was small and timid and once lived in the plains of Rohan. Like most girls from rohan she had been trained to ride a horse, not that she was especially gifted at riding she had been too clumsy and she had also been more interested in medicine as a child.

“I ain’t too sure ab’at this halflin’, miss” spoke amriala in a deep country accent “ he ain’t lookin’ too proper”

The matron sighed, Amriala may not know about spoken English but she was an excellent nurse, which is why she had been assigned to investigating this strange illness that had befallen the kings friend. The poor hobbit was beyond all help from the healers of Gondor they had no herb or method to heal this deep a fever. Yet Merry was not finished he still had some strength in him. Unfortunatly all the nurse could do was try to keep him comfortable, she held little hope for his recovery.

“Nurse, how is he” asked pippin. Obviously a companion of the halfling. Amriala knew of no way to break the news. She tried to change the subject.

“’E ‘as spoken much in ‘is fever m’ lord, I ‘as wroten what ‘e ‘as said” she pulled out a pad which she had had on her person. On it were written a few scrawly notes.

“Na it don’ make much sense sir, but I’ll tell ya anyhow” she listed a few of merrys’ blubbering’s.
“Ay oh bombadilo” she said
“’Is songs ‘e bellows and ‘is friends ‘e follows”
“The ‘ills rr ali….”
“What!!!!, I don’t understand this doesn’t make any sense, why would merry mention Bombadil we haven’t seen him in nearly a decade”
“Well I dunno, I aint got a clue who this bombadilo is”
“He’s an old friend,” thought Pippin out loud “Perhaps Sam knows something about this or maybe Strider”
“Well you ‘urry back sir, ‘ees not looking to good an’ oos this Strider chap”
Pippin turned without answering, which Amriala though was un-thoughtful she restrained from calling after because she understood his distress.
Subject: Old friends....

Pippin, Sam
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Date Posted: 20:40:35 08/17/02 Sat

Sam had left the throne room and was on his way to Merry in the house of healing. He was very worried about him, he had just collapsed suddenly. He needed to get there quicker.

"SAM, is that you" pippin squinted against the sun to see if it was sam, then again he was only 3 foot tall so it must be Sam
Sam looked up when he heard Pippins call. "Pippin!" he cried excitedly, forgetting for a few seconds that Merry was ill. He became subdued once more. "How is he"
"I'm not sure the, nurse is not very hobbit friendly" pippin reminded himself of the new nurse he had just seen "But i discovered something strange, it appears that merry has been talking in his sleep, and you'll never guess who he was talking about"
"Guess" pippin realized that it might be hopless to expect sam to guess "OK it was Bombadil"
"Bombadil? Why would Merry be talking about him in his sleep? We haven't seen him in years"
"That's what i thought, maybe you should ask the nurse and see if you can get any information, i just couldnt stay in there any longer i hate hospitals" pippin turned around and gazed at the old marble building and knew he couldn't go back and expect himself to leave merry and tear himself away from Minas Tirith.
"Yeah, I no. I will go in and see him. There must be something else she isn't telling us. I take it he isn't concious. Oh dear, our poor friend." Sam looks at Pippin sadly, turns and walks into the hospital.
Subject: dinner

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Date Posted: 20:46:47 08/17/02 Sat

“I’ll leave you two alone.”
The voice seemed to come from no where. Again she had the feeling that they were the only two in the world. And those eyes…
“Lily,” Rob speaking brought her out of her thoughts. “Lily I am so sorry. I can’t apologise enough.” Rob laid out his hands pleading. “I was way out of line.”
“It’s okay” whispered Lily
“No it’s not,” he replied fiercely, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I’m never like that normally. I…I feel different when I’m with you. I know it sounds silly as I’ve only known you one night but…” Rob started to look embarrassed at his own confession. “Look, I only wanted a dance and I promise I will never touch you in that way again.”
“Stop! Please stop. You have apologised and I have accepted your apology. There is no need for anymore. I over-reacted” she smiled weakly. “Maybe I should apologise.”
“No don’t do that. I feel guilty as it is. I came to apologise and to make it up to you.” All of the colour in Lily’s face left. “Nothing big! I would like to make you dinner. Please say you’ll come. It means a lot to me.” Rob looked at her with gorgeous puppy dog eyes and that smile she witnessed last night.
She felt herself wavering. He didn’t seem all that bad and dinner did sound tempting. One evening wouldn’t hurt.
“Okay then. I will have dinner with you.”
“Dinner with me? I was going to make you dinner on your own. I didn’t mention together.”
Lily was about to snap back when she saw the spark of laughter in his eyes and his lopsided grin. She laughed - she couldn’t help it. He joined in “that’s better. I love to see people laugh. Especially at me.” He wiggled his eyebrows, making her laugh even more.
“Go on, off with you before I hurt you.”
“Okay then. Half six okay for you? I’ll come and pick you up.”
“Half six” and with that he walked out of the house.
Dinner should be interesting.
Subject: Magic

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Date Posted: 20:49:08 08/19/02 Mon

With the King’s departure, the room descended into the loud buzz of hundreds of voices all talking at once. Alator seemed alone, despite the swirling crowds around him. But then it was not his job to fit in. He would never gain all of their trust. He had been absent too long, with too many unanswerable questions. But he could try. It was, after all, his entire purpose for being the only one of him kind left.

He could at least start with the foliage. It was not Elvish magic that had brought them into being, instead something far older, with languages never heard spoken in hundreds of years.

Words twisted under his breath, summoning enough power to counter anything that was there. The was a blinding flash of sapphire light which radiated from the blue stone trapped in the top of his staff. Then with a merry chuckle he said, “My apologies to any gardens, I never was a keen horticulturist!”

Now for the second, far more complex spell. Nothing like this had been tried since Melian dwelt in Beleriand- but if you knew how. A binding spell would conceal the city from anyone who the King did not wish to enter it. And in it also, all bearers of evil magic would find themselves outside the city walls. All of them.

Alator had the forces of Eru on his side.
Subject: getting dark...

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Date Posted: 21:18:25 08/19/02 Mon

“Hey! It wasn’t my fault” pleaded Rob
“Yeah,” Lily tried to stifle more giggles. “None of that was your fault, it was all mine.”
“Now you’re mocking me” Rob tried to go for a hurt pout but it didn’t work.
Lily burst into laughter again.
“I give up” he raised his hands in defeat. “Would you like a drink before I walk you home?”
Was it that time already? Lily had been having so much fun that she hadn’t kept an eye on the time. She found that she didn’t want to leave. But it wasn’t clever – staying. She had to go.
“I think I’ll pass on the drinks and thank you for the lovely meal. Who would have known you were such a great cook?”
“Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. Come on. I’d better walk you home before it gets too dark.
Subject: At the End of a Long Day and The Library

Faramir & Alator
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Date Posted: 10:21:33 08/20/02 Tue

The two flashes of light which came from the Istar's staff nearly blinded Faramir, who was standing right next to him. Now they had passed, all he could see were bright colours, obscuring anything else in the room. He turned to Alator,
"Sir, obviously you are new to the city. Do you need anywhere to stay tonight? I'm sure we can find you somewhere."

The wizard smiled, but shook his head.
"Your offer is a generous one, and may take it up later, but tonight I will not rest- I have much to do and consider. We knew that this was coming, but not how, or when. It will be a test for us all. And we'll need all the sleep we can get." The placed his hand on Faramir's shoulder, "I suggest you follow the example of your King- tommorrow will be a long day." With those final words of advise he left the Steward, and seemed to disappear as he merged in with the exiting crowds of people.

The room was empty now. His footsteps echoed around as he made for a door. Faramir turned then, surveying one of his least favourite places in the whole castle. Too many memories of his father sitting there. Boromir too. And then him, the son who didn't like fighting, had no desire for power. His father's disapointment at him, when his father chose to spoke to him. He only found sanctuary in one place.

It was that same place that he found his feet carrying him now. The tiny room which smelt of musty parchment. Sitting down at the same desk he used all those years ago, he buried his head in his arms, trying to shut out the world. But it was not the announcement which brought upon his misery. It was the memories.
Subject: The 3rd go & am presently ignoring C@'s post.

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Date Posted: 12:32:36 08/20/02 Tue

The kings weary body slumped back onto the throne, his downcast eyes gleaming with tears between straggled ends of hair saturated with the Mellorn's thick blood.

Around the room. applause rang out. A hundred or more souls clapping should've brightened the loneliest of hearts.

But Anawiel knew what he saw in the palantir and her heart cried silently.

There was so much hurt that he was yet to know and more suffering than she believed any mortal heart could stand.

The High Elf was now gone, her torment overwhelming her soul like a torrent of burning flames, wrapping around her heart keeping all others from it. As much as the witch disliked Faeirex, she couldn't keep herself from knowing that feeling and sharing it - even if no one but herself, not even Faeirex, knew it.

Slowly people left the throne room to plan and prepare for the coming war. With them went the king himself and Legolas of Mirkwood. She remembered the last time she had seen them together. At least this time she did not have to deal with the High Elf looking into her soul.

She stood up quickly and followed the two towards the kings apartments. Anawiel waited a while after they had gone in before tapping firmly on the door.

An irritated "Come in then" came from the room beyond and she opened the door slowly, inclining her head, touching her forehead, towards both elf and man as she entered. She would at least show proper respect after her inturruption.

Elessar was sat on the window seat, looking out as rain tumbled over the battlements of Minas Tirith from the ever-darkening sky, his mind somewhere else. Legolas sat nearer the fire with a frown darkening his fair face.

Again Anawiel felt Elessar's anguish, a thousand "what if...?'s" and "if only...'s" running through his mind, eating away at him from inside out.

"It's not your fault," she whispered causing his face to soften slightly and be replaced with a small sign of confusion, "I can assure you, Estel. None of this is your doing." She swallowed away the pity she felt, concealing her emotions once again behind a wall of cold. "Please, I must talk now and do not desire any inturuption, Your Majesty, your Highness." Anawiel now spoke directly to Aragorn.

"Of course the High Elf: Lomode, or whatever she calls herself here whether it be true or not, is right. Sauron has returned, you saw for yourself in the palantir. The Nine have again come to his aid for those rings remain in exsistence. He will come and you cannot stop him, nor can any soul in Middle-Earth. Neither is it your place to do so.

"I do not desire to order you around, Your Majesty. But the Dark Lord had other means of life put in place long ago and he is a likely to be defeated by the descruction of the one ring as you are, as anyone in your court is. He is immortal, yet without breathe or feeling as the elves are. He cannot be killed by emotions, for he possesses none, nor any weapon forged by the hand of a soul that resides within Middle-Earth.

"But that is not the point of course and neither should I be disheartening you with tales of no hope. For there is hope, as there is always. There is a prophecy among the witches from before the time of Middle-Earth.

It is of three beings created by the Fates to hold off the end of this world. Mere children in the eyes of the Valar, yet who hold more power between them then Eru himself. And they will be vessels to the Fates who shall come forth and walk the plains of the world once again.

"One is pure and good, the second dark.Two opposing forces that create a circle of war, that can only be won on the descion of the last.

"The last of the Three shall swing the balance - being neither right nor wrong, brave nor cowardly,good nor evil. Until, that is, one triumphs.

"I cannot stress to you the importance of finding the Three. And as the others back in the throne room I pledge my power and knowledge to you to provide whatever aid I may. But before that you must find
something else,"
Anawiel looked straight into the kings weary eyes without blinking, for he already knew, in one way or other, what she was about to tell him.

"You must find Arwen, Elessar. Bring her home, make her certain of your mistake and of the true desire within your heart. Your son must be born and he must be born here. If Arwen remains without you for much longer then she and your child will perish. Already the onset of death draws closer to her as a vulture to it's prey, for that it what she has become. Without you she is as helpless as the child she carries. She is dying, she will die if you procrastinate any longer. And then there will be nothing left for you to fight for."
Subject: Nightmares

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Date Posted: 15:54:10 08/21/02 Wed

Eowyn walked slowly through the castle corridors, dragging her feet on the stone. Face bent towards the floor, she let her thoughts guide her along the familiar path, running the words through in her mind - He is coming, and he will not rest until he sees you destroyed.

It didn't make sense, but what did anymore? All they could do was accept it. The world was a haze - the only clear point was her feet leading her.

She was grateful to be able to collapse on to her bed and fall into a deep sleep. But sleep was something she could not control.

The battlefield was dark and silent. Defeat was in the air, and in the still, lifeless hearts of empty bodies. Bodies void of thought, feeling.

The black, charred grass crunched underfoot. Everything was lifeless. She was over-whelmed with weariness and pain, and let herself fall to the ground. The world moved in slow motion and she shut her eyes, just listening to the silence.

Opening up to realtiy again, she looked into the eyes of the man lying next to her. Eyes so familiar and so sad. Rivulets of dark, congealed blood covered his face, mingled with strands of limp hair.

His hand rested beneath his face. A deep, dark line flew across his fist like a tattooed band imprinted on the skin. She focused on this scar, and started coughing and spluttering, choking on her own breath.

She shuffled backwards, pushing out with her hands and trying to get away. Away from her dead husband, away from knowing it was him. Turning onto her other side, she came face to face with her lifeless brother. She scrambled to her feet, crystal tears leaving silver tracks through the dirt on her face.

Her father, her mother, her uncle, her nephew - everyone she had ever known surrounded her, staring at her with un-seeing eyes.

She tripped and screamed out. The darkness enveloped her as she fell to the ground. Just it was no longer hard and cold.

Eowyn buryed her face in the soft white pillows and let her tears try to wash away the nightmare. But she couldn't lose the image of those eyes. They pleaded with her silently, haunting her and filling every inch of her body with fear.

She rolled off the bed and walked to the window. The moon cast shadows over a white blanket which coated the castle grounds. Snowflakes fell delicately, blown gently by the light wind. It was a beautiful night, but still she could not shake the image.

Over-come with sleep once again, she sank into the chair infront of the window. Death and distruction filled her mind once again as ice filled the air outside, smothering the last days of autumn and giving birth to a new winter.
Subject: Ripples

Aragorn and Legolas
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Date Posted: 19:00:22 08/21/02 Wed

Aragorn closed the door and slumped onto the bed. Motioning that Legolas should sit in one of the nearby chairs gazed at his friend intently. "So, what is the latest disaster. It's got a lot of competition so make it good."
Wearily, he ran a hand through his long blonde hair and sat down, staring unhappily at the floor. "I think the she-elf is in the pay of the dark lord" he managed finally.

Aragorn looked at Legolas with what would've been disbelief that morning but was now simply desperation. "And why," he asked, his voice tired, "do you suspect that. More importantly what effect will this have on our mobilisation?"
"I don't know what she might do- I didn't get the impression she would do anything at all, if she could help it. And as for why I suspect her..." As briefly as possible, he explained what had happened when he'd followed her out of the throne room, skirting round the truth of his feelings for her wherever possible.

"I'm sorry, Aragorn." he said finally, looking up. "I didn't expect anything like this. If I'd known what she'd done..."
"Don't be sorry," the king muttered. "How could you have known." He shook his head to clear it again. "What difference would it have made if you had guessed sooner? We now know that Sauron is preparing for war. In that respect at least she has aided us. Do not blame yourself for something you had no control over."
"But I can't help thinking- what if he wanted us to know? What if he wants us pinned down here, so we can't come to the defence of anywhere else? What if it's a trap?"
"If it is a trap the he has achieved his purpose. I cannot afford to believe it is only a trap," Aragorn told his despairing friend wearily. "My people depend on my decisions, so I have made this decision for them. We will prepare for war, whether it is right thing to do as far as the war is concerned matters not; It is the right thing to do."

Legolas smiled weakly. "Nothing ever shakes your resolve, does it? No matter what, you'll be here waiting for them." He looked down. "I wish I had your courage."
"I don't know what you're talking about Legolas. Was it another elf who journeyed across middle earth with me in an attempt to defeat Sauron? I know few people braver than you. Besides," he brushed the sleep, that threatened to take hold of him, away from his eyes "I am taking these actions because I am a coward. The return of the Dark Lord has scared me more than you can possibly imagine. Indeed I believe it is only this confounded weariness that keeps me from fleeing in terror. It was so much easier when I was one alone, Strider the ranger. I had people under my command but they could take care of themselves. Now suddenly I have grown up and there are thousands who may live or die because of my choices today. You can only really imagine true fear when the lives of others depend
onyou." He lapsed into silence before voicing what he feared most of all: "What if I make the wrong choice. How many will die for my mistakes?"
"There are no right and wrong choices Aragorn, I thought you had learnt that by now. They are merely different. Every pebble sends ripples flowing out in all directions. A large stone may cause big ripples, a smaller stone very few. Perhaps one will be large enough to overturn the leaf, but can you control it? Try as you might, you can never stop the ripples."

His voice trailed off into memories of an elven song he had loved as a child. Softly, he hummed a few bars, resisting the temptation to sing them out loud. Now was not the time for songs. Turning to look at Aragorn, he realised that the King appeared to have drifted off into his own world as well. "Aragorn? You seem a little...distracted."
Aragorn looked up. From a reality where he reigned in peace with Arwen by his side rapidly disintegrated into the cold cruel one that was reality. "I suppose I am. It has been a long day and not particularly cheerful in any respect." He managed to pull away from the fantasy and focus back on the elf. "Speaking of distracted you seem to be over occupied yourself. There is something you haven't told me...something more personal...something to with the she elf." He saw Legolas re-act almost imperceptibly and knew that he had guessed correctly. "If you want to keep your own council I will not press you."

The elf buried his beautiful face in his hands as if he could not bear to face his friend. "She offered to take me with her...she said she could protect me from him," he whispered.
"To be honest you should've taken her up on that offer. But" he said locking his gaze with that of his friend, "I am glad you decided to stay."
"How could I leave all the people I care about behind? But the point is, for a moment, I considered it. I'm not staying here because of bravery, my friend. I'm staying here because I'm scared of losing all of you. I'm no more than a coward."
"It's almost like listening to myself," Aragorn commented with a forced grin. "This must be why we have been friends for so long; for all our differences we are so alike." He looked down at his hands, which were still shaking from his encounter with the palantir. "But," he observed, "unless I am much mistaken not everyone you care about resides in this palace. At least she doesn't any more."

He looked up quickly; his head moving so fast the golden hair whipped round over his face before settling back on his shoulders. His lips framed a question he couldn't quite voice. "You...?"
"…know? Of course. My dear Legolas I have known you for eight years. I would be an incredibly poor friend if I had not noticed the change in you."
"And a change not for the better." he added grimly. "I was stupid to allow myself to get so caught up in her I didn't pay attention to what was going on around me. Maybe if I had been more perceptive, we would not find ourselves in this mess now."
The king almost laughed at the expression his friend wore. "You cannot be so arrogant that you assume that by merely your watching the situation you could have averted this disaster?" He stifled another giggle that threatened to escape, knowing he was merely becoming hysterical as an escape from the situation at hand. Sobering up fast he said solemnly, "Legolas, you cannot stop love. You cannot control it." He smiled the first smile of the day that had not been panic-driven or completely false and said simply: "If you could it wouldn't be love."

"I will stop love. I refuse to become a mere puppet to be played with as if I were no more than a toy." Knowing it to be untrue, he added bitterly "She's probably been laughing at me since we first met. That's all I am- a distraction. Something to keep her occupied while she plotted our deaths. Don't tell me I'm arrogant by believing I could have stopped this. It is what we do, is it not?
At every disaster we will search for blame. 'If only I had...', 'Maybe I could...', It is in our natures.”
“Then change. If you do not wish to be but a puppet break the habit. Rather hold yourself lucky for you have experienced something that few of your kind will ever enjoy:
Love is worth it.” More to himself than the lost soul across from him he repeated softly, “Love is always worth it.”
Subject: The pub, part 3 (yes, long tiome since the last update. Think the last part is in archive 2 by now)

Madjael and Namün
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Date Posted: 14:09:32 08/23/02 Fri

"I'll manage." Madjael whispered with a small hint of laughter, if only a feeble one.
"And so will you, because you're strong. There are moments that change your life and you can't stop that. No one can, it happens. But the change isn't important. It's what you do with it that counts. That's what makes you the way you are. Namo already knows what is going to come for us and when, so just let whatever is going to happen, happen. And don't fight it. It's doesn't work."

"You say that like it's so simple, but it's not. All my life I've had to fight, just to stay alive. I don't know what I'd do if I just gave in.
Besides, maybe I'm not as strong as I thought I was."

"Is that not always the case? You believe you are something and that something means everything to you and then you discover that it is nothing. Merely a mirage." Madajel let his trail of thought follow through, savouring his words, as if he said few so often. "Maybe you need to give in. Let something else be your conscience for once. Try trusting your real feelings more."

With these words, Madjael stretched his arms gently detaching Namün from his shoulder. He stood up slowly, testing his numb limbs and brushing old ash from his clothes. He offered his hand to Namün to pull her up.
She gingerly took it and allowed him to help her to her feet, with all the gentle care of a lover, then sniffed and wiped her eyes.
"Exactly what are you asking from me, Madjael?" she asked quietly. "Because I'm not quite sure that I understand, and I don't know if you do either."

"What I am saying is that maybe you should, I don't know," He sighed, trying to think of the words, "Throw caution to the wind. Isn't that what people say? Let your heart rule your head. What I am asking from you is for a chance."
Madjael gulped as his raised his eyes to look directly at Namün's face.
"Just one last chance. To prove that I can give you the care you deserve, that you need. To prove that I would do anything and everything to have you love me the way I love you. One chance - that's all I'll ever ask of you, Namün."

She knew it had been coming, but didn't know how to answer. Part of her couldn't help wondering what it would be like to be in a relationship that wasn't doomed from the start, and might actually have a future.
"And if I were to give you that chance? What then?"

He raised his eyebrows. "Oh, I think you know what comes next Namün." he lowered his voice, leaving the edge of promise in it, "But it's up to you, if truth be told. I don't want to force you to do something, but I may have to." Madjael gently touched her powder soft cheek, smoothing a lock of hair behind her ear. "So? What's it going to be?"

For no possible reason that she could think of, she found herself leaning into his touch. Encouraged by her lack of resistance he grew bolder and shifted the hand round to the back of her head to tangle her fingers in his hair.
"That's the first time I've heard you give a girl a choice in the matter." she said archly. "You must be very confident your charms are going to work."
"Are you sure I'm giving you a choice?" He smoothed the skin on the side of her neck and across to her shoulder, "Or could I know more about you than you think?"
Subject: Events in diferent places

Omiril, Brooke, Whitemoon, Arcon, Aldarion, and Dormallen
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Date Posted: 04:25:53 08/25/02 Sun

Omiril made her way out of the forest that now sourrounded the palace and came face to face with two elves. " If you wish to speak to the King I believe you must wait it seems like he is in a metting." she said to them. " Not at all we were only wondering how a forest appeared. And what is a Nymph doing in a city instead in the forest." The green eyed Elf asked. " I have my reasons." " Then I will not ask. I am Aldarion my companion is Arcon and what is your name?" " I am Omiril and I was on my way out of this city there is a stench of black magic being played this night. And I am not only refering to the forest and this unnatural storm so if you excuse me." she walked past them.
Brooke was going to far this time.

She made her way into the woods.

Aldarion watched the Nymph leave. " I say we follow her." he said. " You must be more patient. Remember she is a Nymph she can speak to the earth it will tell her she is being followed." Aldarion looked back at the palace. " I do not care any more. I will kill that Feairalev." He took of. " Aldarion remember that the Dark Lord is counting on her assistance in defeating Minas Tirith. If we kill her now we will be hunted down by his servants." Aldarion stopped walking and turned back. " Very well what you say is true. But if I ever see her again she will die. Now let us go find an Inn I do not like standing in this rain." Both left for the nearest Inn.

Omiril found Brooke and Whitemoon in aclearing far from the one they had been camping in. The trees told her that an orc had been there. She stepped into the light of the fire. " What bussines do you have with an orc?" she asked.
Brooke shrugged. " He was send by the Dark Lord to take my report on how my job is going. I am happy to say that beside being interupted by the likes of you and the witch pretty well Or have they not noticed that everything in the armory is now puddles of liquid iron?" Brooke smiled when she saw the Nymphs face go pale. " How could you such a thing! Those people need their weapons to be able to battle Sauron! Whitemoon how could you not stop her?"
The white wolf looked away. " I have kept her from doing far worse things be happy with that." Omiril stood quiet for a minute before she turned away. " I will be helping the people of the White City fight Sauron." She walked away.

Dormallen knocked on the door of Arwen's chamber when no one answered he opened the door. The room was dark and on a bed there sleept Arwen his younger sister. Only instead of being full of life she looked somewhat aged. It seemed that she was becoming weak and would die soon perhaps not even wake from the sleep she had fallen into.
This made him angry for he knew that Aragorn had caused this. He walked out of the room quietly closing the door.
Another reason he had stayed was to make sure Arwen would be happy. It did not look like she was happy and he knew exacly what to do.
He packed his traveling things took food for the trip, went to the stable and let his horse out. He mounted him and spoke in Elvish to the Stallion. With the ability of an Elven horse he took of into the night. Dormallen was headed to Minas Tirith and if he had too he would tie up and drag Aragorn to Rivendell and make him apologise for what he had put Arwen through.

Omiril stepped into the corridor and headed in the direction of the Throne room. Even if she didn't like being the bearer of bad news she had to tell the king about the armory.
Subject: unwanted companion

Sam and Amriala
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Date Posted: 19:57:21 08/27/02 Tue

Amriala turned round, no sooner had the halfling left then he came back in "Er what you doin' back, m' patients needs 'is rest."
"I am not Pippin. My name is Sam and I have come to see how my friend is. How is he doing nurse?"
"Well likes I says to this Pippin thing, “’e ain't too good I could of told 'im some more but he jus' left wivout a word." Amriala stared hard at the hobbit she couldn't even tell them apart she swore they must have been twins but then again all her friends had told her that all hobbits look alike.
"I was also wondering whether you could tell me anything more about what he has been saying in his sleep. Pippin told me he had been talking of Bombadil in his sleep. Has he said any more than that? I just don't understand it.”
"Now look I've already said to your friend that I ain't got no idea who this Bombadilo is," she thought about it and was reminded of matrons comments that she should be more friendly and warm to relatives. "Fine," she muttered under her breath and got out the handbook.
"I'm sorry. I know this must be very tiring for you but I need to know as many details as I can. It would help me greatly." Thats it Sam be polite.
“K 'old on" looking at the list she realised she should have taken more care when she was writing because she couldn't make out what she had written. "'ang on I think it says eiver 'e'll ‘elp me or ‘e’ll ’elt me”.
“Elt me?”
“Ya know when ya ‘eat it up real good an’ in goes all gooey”
“Oh, melt. Melt me” a pause "MELT ME?"
“Look ‘e said it, eyes didn’t say it ‘e dids. So you can do summat abut it na’ can’t ya”.
What is it with this woman’s speech? How can anyone understand her? Sam had to keep repeating to himself be nice she can help. Just listen carefully, you will understand her. You are almost gone. “Well thanks anyway. I guess I’ll go see what Aragorn has to say about it.”
“’k then, do ya needs m’ to go aswell like”
“You can if you think it would help” Sam replied hesitantly, hoping she wouldn’t.
Subject: Hope and knowledge

Aragorn and Legolas
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Date Posted: 21:10:15 08/29/02 Thu

"Ah, but you contradict yourself Aragorn," Legolas informed him lightly. "First you tell me that I cannot stop love, and then you turn and tell me to break the habit. It seems that love is as big a mystery to you as it is to me."
"Love is a mystery, contradiction is its language." He watched his friend intently. "If you acknowledge that it cannot be halted you admit something to yourself; you admit that you are in love."
"I admitted that part already. Unfortunately, it was not reciprocated. In fact, she couldn't leave the palace fast enough."

Aragorn sat silently hating himself for introducing such a painful subject at such a delicate time. "I'm sorry Legolas. I don't know what else to say."
"There isn't really anything else to say." Legolas sighed. "Except, of course, for what I actually came to tell you, and have sat here for the past several minutes avoiding."
The king eyed his friend suspiciously. "What did you come to tell me?"
All semblance of levity vanished from his face, to be replaced by a mixture of misery and apology. "She was more than, well, upset when I finally..." the words trailed off into the territory of things that were still too painful to dwell on. "Indeed, she seemed, more...scared."
"Scared? What do you mean? Surely that's a good thing if she is, as you fear, on the side of darkness."
"Perhaps. But possibly she had good reason. Maybe she wasn't as scared of me, more of...you. Of what you might do to her."
"Afraid of me?" Aragorn asked incredulously. "What I might do to her? I'm afraid I must've missed something for I do not understand."
"My fault again I'm afraid. We Elves have a tendency to speak in riddles when bearing bad news. It gives us time to get away before the recipient works out what we've just said."
"Then stop talking in riddles!" he almost shouted, growing irriated even through the stupour that engulfed him. "Legolas," he tried again firmly, "tell me what you came to say."

"She killed Isildur." he burst out finally. "There you go Aragorn. I really know how to pick them, dont I? Not only did I have to go for an ally of the Dark Lord, I managed to choose the murderer of two of your ancestors."

"Oh yes. She said she was responsible for the death of Elendil as well. Oh- and Gil-Galad. Lómódë aims high."
He tried to temper his voice slightly, angry at himself now as well for letting too much of his own feeling come through.
"I'm sorry, Aragorn. I didn't know. I'm sure it's not something you want to hear right now, but I thought you had the right to know." A pause, and then,
"What are you going to do? Do you want me to send some men after her? Nobody would blame you if you had her killed."

"Nobody would blame me?" he repeated. "No of course they wouldn't. What do they know of her?" He focused on Legolas again. "Is this how elves deal with love? Sometimes I feel as if I don't know you at all; at this moment I wish I didn't." He rose and moved over to the window and gazed out into the night. "You're asking me to destroy the woman you claim you love, maybe in her death you would find peace, but ask it not of me."
His thoughts flew again to the woman he loved; her eyes glinting with the thousand lights of the White City and with betrayal.
Arwen, I'm...sorry.
It still wasn't enough.

He grew angry. "You think I want her dead? I am not that coldhearted. How could I wish something so beautiful to be destroyed? No, I would have her well away from here, and safe as she can be at this present time. But it is not my decision to make. Do Men not believe in the blood feud, in the right of their ancestors to vengeance? I can not go against that."

"Some men may," he said listlessly still staring out side, "I cannot claim to be one of them. My ancestors are dead; I cannot bring them back especially not with more
He focused on the female elf: he had seen her before this night.
With Arwen.
No. Not with Arwen.
She wasn't with Arwen, but she had talked with him about Arwen. She had told him to leave his wife in Rivendell; that Arwen was better off without him.
If what Legolas had said was true...
"What have I done?" he whispered miserably.

Legolas broke
away from his melancholy to peer at Aragorn in
puzzlement. "Well, many things, probably. Would
you care to be more specific?"
"I've sentanced my wife to death, he thought but it did not reach his lips; Legolas already suffered under guilt's strain. The change in his friend still astonished
him and he related as much to the other.
"I'm sorry," Legolas apologised, contrition coming to him as
quickly as anger had earlier. "That wasn't necessary."
"No, it wasn't," Aragorn sat himself down on the window seat before his legs gave out on him. "However it has been a long day and none of us are at our best. The day has
been especially trying for you I fear."
"No more so than your own." Removing an arrow from his quiver he turned it over and over in slender hands, running a finger along it's sharp point.
"Did you really manage to get yourself locked in the dungeon?"
"Oh yes," he laughed bleakly. "You would not have thought it possible. But then I wouldn't have believed there
was a place worse than Minas Morgal below my own castle. Things can surprise you."
"Indeed." Legolas agreed, sinking back into his own thoughts.

For a moment the two sat in silence. Aragorn felt his eyes being continually drawn back to the open window as if
by merely looking for her he could bring his wife back from Rivendell. In frustration he drew the curtains and turned back to the elf. "Do you want to talk about her?"
He smiled sadly. "What's there to say?" After a few more
moments though, he sighed and looked up. "It was as if..." he began, and then stopped, searching for the right image. "It was as if I were Beren and she Lúthien, and I was caught in her spell, without even realising it. Almost like her own light was so bright, and so dazzling, I forgot to tend to my own. And now she's not here and everything's
dark again. Can you understand that?"
What a question. He nodded and barely discernable came the words "Yes, I believe I can understand that."

With a flash of perception, Legolas realised how close the words came to the king's own life. Casting the arrow down on the floor he stood up and stretched like a cat, moving nearer to the warmth of the fire.
"But enough of this dreary subject. I have become but a shadow of my former self, but I refuse to stay in this sorry condition for long. What would my people say if they could see the proud prince of Mirkwood now?" he asked, changing the subject neatly. "This is no way for men of our stature to behave. We should be drinking and singing at
this hour, not shut away feeling sorry for ourselves."
"Perhaps we should," the king managed. "But I cannot think of a time more ill suited to merry making."
"Let Sauron
come." he challenged, intent on lightening the burden his friend carried if possible. "We will be ready for him!"

"Will we? I cannot hope for that Legolas. My army consists of untrained boys, the generals who fought Sauron are dead,
the elves have gone. Away from the throne room I can finally admit: we haven't a hope."
"Do you truly think that? Because if you really do, then
you're right. We have no hope at all. It isn't enough just to be able to play the part, Aragorn. You should know that by now. You have to believe."
"What is there to believe in anymore" Aragorn replied despondantly.
"In the stars, and in the sunrise. In the opening of a flower. In the feel of the grass under your feet, and the rain on your face, and the wind in your hair. In life."
"How can I look to life for comfort when every observation I take tells me that Sauron will overcome us, destroying the world's light and our way of life in one minor stroke? The dewy grass will not avail me against the weapons of Mordor, the deliciate petals of elanor will not protect my people from their anger."
Legolas shook his head wryly. "You really have no romance in your soul whatsoever, do you? You will believe only in what you can touch, what you can feel." He waited a few seconds for impact, as Aragorn glared at him. Then with a sigh, he continued. "Very well, I will give you something real.
Maybe Minas Tirith was not strong enough to stand against Lord Sauron's armies eight years ago, but things have changed since then. Your engineers know its weak spots. They have strengthened them. We will not be caught out again; this time, the city shall remain indefensible. Not even the first wall will fall. I have seen your warriors, I have trained with them. Young they may be, but they lack neither in talent, nor in courage. They will do you proud. Added to them, you have the men of your city. And even they have combat experience, for most of them fought in the siege. Do not doubt their hearts, for they will defend you until the end. Added to them, we have the Istari. And it seems the faeries have now decided to take a stand as well. My people have been fighting against Sauron for thousands of years, we do not intend to give up the fight now. And what of the Dwarves, and the hobbits? Gondor is not alone here. All the free peoples are allied with you. Is that not something to believe in?"

"You speak well" Aragorn acknowledged. "If words were weapons we could turn against our foes we would have no cause for worry. I am trying hard to believe you, I... want to believe you but... Oh I don't know; I am not sure of anything any more." He lent against the window, his unshaven cheek resting on the cool, solid glass that offered a sense of reality in this all too complicated world. "This morning I could've told you that Sauron had gone forever, he'd been defeated for the last time, we'd won. The evil force that has threatened my ancestors since the beginning of days had finally been vanquished and it was possible for us to live in peace. This morning I knew that there really was no need for my armies train for anything more complicated than a state parade. This morning I knew many things..." he trailed off and stared futiley from the window once more. He let out a long, steady breath as if dispelling all these thoughts from himself with the air and turned back to his friend. "Maybe you are right and I am just too tired to see it. Maybe tomorrow's morn will bring new knowledge. Maybe."
"There is no maybe. There is truth. And yes, when you are ready, you too will see it. And it will sing in you." Legolas promised him. "And as for me, well, I think I have been apart from my dearest companion for too long. On the morrow I will ride to the Glittering Caves and retrieve our dwarven friend from the clutches of his relatives. Mayhap I will be able to bring back a party of warriors for you as well. Would that hearten you?"
"It might had I the knowledge of this morning and not than of the evening; I do not. It has been brought to my attention that Gimli never reached the Glittering Caves, infact I find it very unlikly he was ever bound for that destination." A brief flicker of anguish passed over his face. "It seems he followed you as you ran from Minas Tirith. He did not find you, neither did the orcs who lay in
wait for the Prince of Mirkwood. How they knew of your flight I know not but i know that the orcs and the dwarf found each other and that Gimli now resides in their custody as they wait for you."
Legolas stared at Aragorn for a few moments in utter incomprehnsion, all colour draining from his face. "Why didn't you tell me this before?" he whispered huskily.
"I did not know myself till minutes before your own arrival in the Throne Room."
"And no one ever suspected anything...I just assumed he'd gone to visit his own people, he's done so so many times before..." he said slowly, before standing up abruptly and making for the door.
"We can sit here an concoct excuses until Sauron invades yet it will not avail him. You have given me your consil and in return take mine. The faery that spoke of this informed me that the orcs have been ordered not to slay Gimli but that they grow increasingly restless. So now that we know of his situation we must do something, we must rescue him and soon. I know I do not really need to ask it of you but you intend to fetch him do you not? Even knowing the reason for his imprisonment?"
"Of course." he muttered, already reaching for the door. "It's my fault he's in this position. I can't leave him there a moment longer."
"Sit down Legolas. It is not your fault just as Lomode's identity was not. You will not help Gimli if you rush out alone and get yourself killed in this storm. Wait till the morning and then set out with a small company; I cannot afford to loose you as well."
"But I can't just leave him there!" he repeated in frustration.
"Then do not. Merely wait until the morrow to search for him."
Legolas didn't answer, but stared down at the doorhandle he held, as if somehow it could hold the answers to his predicament. Eventually his shoulders slumped in defeat and he returned to his chair. "I know that you speak the best course of action. It's just that my heart tears to think I must follow it."
There was a gap and then Aragorn spoke again. "Sometimes we must make the decision that hurts ourselves if it aids another. In your heart you know it is only the guilty soul that will be helped by your setting out tonight. Leaving in a storm without plans or companions will not help Gimli. You know that."
"Aye, " he sighed, "I do. I may not like it, but I have to conceed that you are right. Very well, tomorrow then. Do you know where I should look for him?"
"No, I do not."

A red eye

He shuddered involentarily.
"I can however consult the palantir but not yet... I am so tired."
"Tomorrow then. You will need to keep your warriors here- who should I take with me?"
"Have you met Aryante yet?"
"I believe so, although it must have been a couple of months ago."
"Then I suggest you take her. I doubt I shall be needing a personal healer in the weeks to come."
"You think I'm going to need a healer?" he asked sharply, growing alarmed. "Aragorn, what exactly did that faery tell you?"
"Not enough," the king answered. "But though you may not need a healer it was made quite clear than Gimli would. Besides she has elven blood and will probably prove a valuable ally should you meet with any orcs."
"I should think that a meeting with orcs is a fair certanity."
"Then you will need all the help you can muster. Perhaps Aryante will not be enough but I can think of no one else."
"Agreed." Legolas opened his mouth to add more, but was stopped by the sound of knocking on the door.
Subject: Sellioore [sister spirit]

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Date Posted: 14:39:50 09/01/02 Sun

The moon rose regally till her white face appeared in the sky above the clearing to smile coldly down on him. Aralias watched its path lazily, his head resting gently on Elemmiire's flank

The sun had set some time ago but the air was still streaked with the reds and pinks of the departing monarch. Far off in the distance he could hear the claps of thunder that spoke of the storm that raged over Minas Tirith but the magic that had caused it had no power so far from the city; leaving him to enjoy the night.

He breathed in deeply, inhaling the wholesome smells of the woodland: the deep musky scent of the earth, the clinging pine. His elven ears picked up the sounds of the nocturnal animals scurrying around, happy in their ignorence of the great events that were happening around them. Oblivious.

Lemi nickered softly in his ear.
"You're not still angry with me are you?" the elf asked. "I'm sorry we couldn't stay; we never can."
The horse had apparently forgiven him and Aralias reached up to carress one of the sable ears.
"Just the two of us again, eh? "


"You miss Carenina. I'm sorry you had to leave your sellioore." A small sigh escaped him before he had time to supress the emotion.

"Why won't you tell me?"
"Because then it wouldn't be surprise." His face broke into a mischievious smile that she couldn't see.
"Don't laugh at me Aralias. You are. I can tell."
"Would I do something like that," he laughed.
She reached out a hand to hit him, but she was giggling too. "Are we almost there?"
"Almost..." he beconed slightly with one hand.
"Lia!" she exclaimed impatiently.
"Alright. You can look now."

She removed the blindfold and gasped in delight.
"Do you like her?" he found himself asking in embarressment as his sister examined the white mare.
"She's beautiful!"
"I trained her myself. I thought...well, it's your hundreth birthday so it should be something special and...you don't really have a horse of your own." He grinned foolishly as she hugged him.
"What's she called?"
"I thought I'd leave that to you."
He watched with amusement as she frowned in concentration, lines appearing in her forehead.
"Don't scowl like that. You don't want to develop wrinkles. Soon you'll start looking your age," he joked.
"Oh shut up!" she stamped her foot playfully. "I'm only forgiving you this time because you've just given me Carenina."
"Carenina? The faery city?"
"You don't like it?"
He grinned at her lopsidedly. "You haven't even heard the best part yet."
Faeirex looked up from where she had been kneeling by her horse's nose. "Oh?"
"Well it occured to me that you'll out live Carenina."
"How long did it take you to figure that one out brother dear?"
He ignored her. "So instead each new generation I will train one of Carenina's line to bear you."
He found himself being hugged furiously again. "I take it you like my present then."
"I love her." She beamed at him.
"An interesting choice Aralias" came a different voice from somewhere behind him.

Lia disengaged himself from Fae and turned to face the other. But I've done something right, he tried to tell himself. It won't happen today. But he couldn't believe it.
"Yes, very interesting. A difficult promise to live up to." His father walked over the the white horse and stroked its neck. "I don't suppose you realise this Aralias but you have just promised to spend most of your life training your sister's mounts. Don't you ever think before you act?" His attention shifted from his son to his daughter and he smiled warmly. "Happy Birthday Faeirex."
Lia felt his fists clenching but Faeirex didn't notice and abandoned him to joyfully greet her father.
"Happy birthday, Fae," he murmered as he walked away, leaving them together.

He felt Elemmiire nudge him out of his memories.
"It's alright Lemi, I'm back. Just...remembering."

His gaze was drawn once more to the beautiful visage of the moon.
"I miss you, sellioore," he said quietly.
Subject: Moving

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Date Posted: 23:10:20 09/01/02 Sun

Large pale eyes glowed in the darkness. The company of orcs travelled quickly, night covered their tracks and made the job easier.
Olzag tugged on the rope binding his prisoner, cruelly rubbing his skin. The dwarf could hardly stand, let alone walk. He was being dragged along the pathway, stumbling at every step.

The forest ended abruptly. They were standing on a cliff overlooking a valley. The pale moonlight illuminated the river gorging its way through the rock. Olzag smiled slowly as he saw his destination in the distance.
Subject: Faramir's Dream [hint, hint everyone else...]

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Date Posted: 21:18:00 09/02/02 Mon

It is the heat of battle. War cries and screams of pain hang in the skies, leaving the air so full it is near impossible to breathe.

He's having enough trouble defending himself. Orcs are coming thick and fast, and he knows he can't carry on like this forever. And he's watching.

Watching for someone he doesn't know.

Only he knows he can't afford to let them be hurt. But he doesn't know why. Only that it's him- the man over there, in the full face helmet. Hang on...isn't that Faramir's helmet?

The thought leaves his head and he swings to block another attempt on hs life. But the it's too late. The other person has fallen, the one person he must protect. The arrow protrudes fom their chest, taunting him. He doesn't know why, but Faramir finds himself crying. As if the very world had ended.
Subject: in the house of healing or is it....

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Date Posted: 10:56:12 09/03/02 Tue

Amriala grew weary, all night long hobbits had been coming in and asking her questions about their friend Merry. Merry still lay there but now he was completly motionless, he had ceased talking ever since she last gave him a sedative. She had become fed up of his mutterings and unlike the hobbits felt they held no cure to his return to health. She had seen many fevers such as this back in her village of rohan. The cause of it was never discovered and no cure was known. Many of them laid in comas for years. Most people gave up on them. And so had Amriala, almost, at the present she was more concerned with making room in the house for people who could be cured. First rule of medical triage is to help those in greater need and then move on to the rest. Although Merry was in great need, there was nothing that could be done. She knew that war was brewing. And she also knew that the house of healing at minas Tirith would be the front line as far as medicine was concerned. She had friends in Rivendell who had more experience with fever and could possible help merry and Amriala was torn between her desire to help Merry by taking him to Rivendell, where she could also catch up with her friends, or to stay and help the more needy warriors and foot soldiers of the kings army. She felt that if she left now she could arrive in rivendell before the start of battle and return to minas tirith in time to help the first flood of victims. She decided that she would have to consult a person more able to make command decisions a person who had nobility, strenght and was also a brave warrior. And so off she went to find Matron.
"Ol' battle ax 'l sort it" muttered Amriala
Subject: Belief

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Date Posted: 12:06:47 09/03/02 Tue

"And why should I believe you?" he said, his voice full of as much distain as he could muster. He looked at the red headed girl opposide him.
"We have spoken before about Arwen, but, I think if you cast your mind back you'll remember that last time the message you brought had a slightly different purpose. Infact if I recall correctly you told me she was never coming back; that I had done something hideous and she would never again return to Minas Tirith."

She didn't reply.

"Is that not what you said?" he demanded.

He watched her struggled with this for a moment before speaking again. "Our last meeting was equally unpleasant. My neck has since healed but though the skin may forget I cannot."

A loud bang signaled the door swinging open. The occupants of the room turned to face it as Vomyr rushed in, followed shortly by girl neither he, nor the elf recognised.

"Your majesty," panted the valet, "the armouries are on fire!"
"The armouries... on fire... was told to tell you."
Aragorn looked across at Legolas who was already rising to his feet. "Let's go."

As the others left the king turned back to Anawiel. "Do not think this meeting is over. We will talk again tomorrow. Be in my study at ten o' clock with an answer." With that he followed the other three down to his flaming armouries.
Subject: Nightmare (finally)

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Date Posted: 20:16:36 09/04/02 Wed

They were coming.
The warning calls of birds, soaring out of their forest nests to shriek at the invaders was enough warning. The dreaded sound of running footsteps. Heavy hobnailed boots
and clanging chainmail could be heard as they approached closer and closer.

The family, gathering up the few belongings available, fleeing to the hidden shelter.
Harion was running, gathering up Seema whose podgy little legs could not move as fast. Crouching in the darkness, the family waited. Raids were becoming too frequent now, Taking everything and burning the remains. The orcs cared for no one.

His mother’s face. Anger etched in every groove. Helplessness.
Sit back and watch whilst the orcs destroy the farm.
This time was different. She wouldn’t stay. She argued, pleaded, shouted, and finally broke free of her husbands restraining arms and ran back towards the house and out of

Harion glanced at Lirna, who was cradling little Seema, rocking gently to and fro. Lirna’s eyes were large and moist. Only a year younger, she also knew the risks of facing the raiders.

He could hear his mother’s voice. Shouting far, far away. The words indistinguishable, yet frustration and anger obvious.
Then came the scream.
A long, shrill, scream. Filled with pain and fear.
The scream that would haunt him for many years to come.
The scream that would always remain in his memory.

Subject: What is it that you fear?

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Date Posted: 21:39:11 09/04/02 Wed

"What is it that you fear?"

The voice whispered in her head. A voice of fear and sorrow, yet so terrible it shook Anawiel to the soul.

"Listen to me Chaendra. Listen child."

As if a spell had been cast upon her, Anawiel found herself slumping against the wall of the king's room. The inset of sleep closing in on her, enfolding her with a touch so delicate, the witch could not resist.

She stood in a stone passageway lined with fine tapestries shining as if they were spun out of a pure mithril cord. A woman sat at a loom clasping some of the precious thread in her hand. She was beautiful. More so than any creature that had ever walked the plains of Middle-Earth.

"Why do you stand away from me Chaendra? We have met before." The woman spoke, looking with piercing eyes at Anawiel.
"I no longer go by that name, Vaire. You are the first to have called me that in a long while."
The Valari looked steadily into the young sorceresses eyes.

"Do you even know why you are here child?"
“I am no mere child!" Anawiel snapped and glared at Vaire.
“To me you are Chaendra, and always will be. But there is more important things to talk about other than your status under me.
“You know why you are here. It has happened before when you conceal your inner most feelings from the Nightmare Rose. Last time you were here you were Chaendra and your fear was easy to find. Galaril was with you, remember?”

Anawiel turned away at the name, studying the tapestries in an attempt to stop the memories Vaire had brought upon her. She remembered that nightmare, as if it had happened to her last week – not in a previous life. Her skin felt cold and it prickled with a soft magic from the Valari’s power.

“Of course I remember,” she said bluntly, “how could I forget? The Valar will not let my mind or heart rest at ease. I see the same every waking hour of everyday. You torment me with it, but I no longer fear it.” The hatred in her voice growing stronger with everyword.

“Then answer my question and tell me, Chaendra! Then this can be over! Don’t you see?” Vaire stood up and grasped Anawiel at the shoulders, “You must know what is to come. How else will you defeat it? Unless…” The woman shuddered away from red-head, “Unless you intend not to?”

The sorceress merely looked steadily towards Vaire. “The thing that I fear, Vaire? I fear nothing. There is no one in this world left whom I care about to fear for. You and your servants saw to that. You destroyed the only family I have ever had. I can never forgive you of that. And there is nothing left in this world that I can fear.

“Apart from myself.” She whispered the last words.

Anawiel walked over to an ornate mirror, the only other thing on the walls other than the weavings of time. She touched one pale finger to it and three images appeared, one after another. A dark-haired woman, an older man and a younger man who resembled the other two in many ways. The last image remained. Before fading away to show a room. A banqueting hall, deserted save two figures talking near the wall. One was Anawiel, the other the young man.

“We could be great…Imagine what we could have …Joined with me and my bloodline, nothing could stop us…The whole of Middle-Earth would be yours to command! Not even your father could stand in the way – don’t you see it?” The mirror Anawiel smiled at Lia, “I would be your queen”…

The scene faded and was quickly replaced by another, again with Anawiel speaking to a man. The king. She was holding a knife to his throat. “I am sorry Elessar, but He has spoken and I am but His vessel.” The blade cut into the king’s flesh as old blood from his veins flowed out over the wooden floor ; The mirror Anawiel licked the scarlet blade, smiling down at the dying king…

More scenes came, flashing by the true Anawiel staring with Vaire at her side:

Anawiel riding a black stallion, dressed in Mordor armour, into the gates of Barad-dur. She lead nine others, cloaked in black, on horseback. The fiery flag of her red hair streaming out behind her into the grey mist.

Anawiel reaching out and touching The Eye, flames licking over her porcelain skin as she let out a high laugh, cold as Arctic wind and darker than the midnight sky. A roaring voice filled the air, the world in the mirror tremouring, as it spoke only two words; “My daughter…”

Dressed in a mantle and dress of black, Anawiel looked out from the top of Barad-dur. “They are ready Father,” she spoke to a tall figure behind her, though not turning her head. A figure clad from head to toe in armour and full face mask as it stepped from the shadows.
“I have a present for you Chaendra,” came a man’s voice from behind the mask. His hand extended towards Anawiel. In the palm lay a golden ring, circled with flowing writing, shining through the darkness of Mordor…

An army of orcs on the slopes of Mount Doom, scarlet blood falling from their mouths as their hisses filled the air. On the opposite slope was an army of men and what few elves there remained. The sorceress stepped forward, the newly forged ring on a finger. She raised her hand to the sky crying out to Morgoth - “Thanga yassen templa. Yala onna en' naur bragollach tel'llach!” A huge fireball formed in her hands, rippling in anticipation. Then she flung it at the Humans. Fire fell all around them and as Anawiel heard their screams for mercy and forgiveness, a smile played on her dark red lips…

The mirror became clear again and Anawiel saw her reflection clearly once more. Her face was pale and she was shaking all over in fear. Yet her eyes shone in delight and malice, greedy for more. Vaire’s hall faded away from her mind.

She stirred in her sleep as she lay curled up on the wooden floor of the Royal apartments. Before she fell into deeper sleep a single word escaped her mouth. “Father.”
Subject: sleep

Amriala and Merry
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Date Posted: 11:27:25 09/05/02 Thu

Claxons were ringing in the white city. Not that it was white anymore. The entire city was a blaze. Far more destructive were the race of orcs that encircled the outer walls. She remembered the assault during the war of the ring. She had been but a child but the memory pierced her in the cold darkness of the house of healing. Darkness except for the flames, licking over solid stone and wooden houses alike. Arrows set a blaze were shooting over the castle ramnants, soldiers bravely defending the walls were shot down and their bodies burst into flames. The stench of rotting and gangrenous bodies filled the hospital. She could not cope. Amriala could never make any decisions. Especially when faced with choices such as this. Wounded soldiers and dying civillians flooded the house of healing. Who would she treat and who would she let die? She could not treat all of them. The orcs could be heard in the distance smashing through defence after defence. She knew they were not far off now any time soon they would have her and the battle of Minas Tirith would be lost. Nurses were being killed at their posts arrows shot through the small windows from captured battlements were finding their targets. Amriala was the last nurse left. In the rage and indescision she collapsed. A small boy had entered the house and all of her attention were upon him. In the far corner Merry lay still. But he was talking again. But this time he was not distant he was speaking to her.
"Nurse Help, help I must reach Rivendell"
"These are my wishes Please, you have to help me only you can help me, please"
"But what about the sick they need me"
"They're not real none of this is except me and you, in my fever i have seen many of peoples nightmares, I don't know why but i have fulfilled what i set out to accomplish"
"Naaaa yous talkin' nonsense"
"Nurse please you have to help if you wake up now ill be lost please get me to Rivendell, I HAVE DISCOVERED SOMETHING OF GREAT IMPORTANE, the shire must be warned" Just then as if to be silenced an arrow found its target and pierced Merry in the stomach. He was dead. And she was alone again
Amriala woke with a start her hand was apon Merrys forhead and she had slept there.
"Oh god" shouted the matron. "Did you do that"
Amriala gazed down and there Merry lay with blood pouring out of his stomach.
Subject: Elemmiire

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Date Posted: 13:25:34 09/05/02 Thu

"Do you see that one? Now that one's called Eärendil's star and it's the most beloved of the elves."

He lay looking up at the now dark sky, dotted with sparkling stars and laughed lightly.

"I'm afraid no one ever thought to name one after me. I've always quite liked the idea though. How about that one? The star of Aralias, a nice ring to it, don't you agree?"
The horse snorted.

"You don't like it?" the elf raised his eyebrows. "Well I guess it'll have to keep the name it already has. Still I think that given the choice it'd probably choose to be named after one of the great high elves," he could almost hear Lemi laughing, "than an arrogant horse who doesn't even respect his own master."

He gazed up at the star, Elemmiire then back to his horse.
"So, the crux of the matter is, you get a star and I don't. Great. Bested by a dumb animal with a white mark on his forehead." He grinned in the darkness again before remarking distractedly, "I wonder what people would think, people I used to know, if they saw me now. Stranded in a forest and talking to a horse." Lemi whined slightly and Lia stroked him while focusing on something else. "Alright alright, an incredibly wonderful horse, but it has to be said, still a horse."

He shut his eyes trying to block out the answer than had surfaced, that they wouldn't care.
Subject: an early start

Merimac Brandybuck
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Date Posted: 21:14:39 09/05/02 Thu

Merrimac was startled in his sleep, he hated camping. But he was the only Hobbit willing to take his grandchildren on a trip around the shire. With him was his older son Berilac. Berilac was the same age as his cousin Merriadoc. He had three children two sons Doderic and Ilberic and one daughter Celandine. Each of them were very young in hobbit reckoning. They were 16 ,14 and 8 but they loved exploring. Originally they were content to explore the lands of Brandybuck hall. But these gardens were just not big enough anymore. And so Merrimac and his son Berilac had been dragged around the shire. Merrimac was proud of his family, but he just wished he didnt have to go camping because of them. He hated lying on the floor. He turned over and noticed his grandchildren lying asleep in the tent. He also noticed that his son was awake.
"Where do they get their inquisitive nature from Berilac" questioned the old Mac.
"Who knows but they allways loved cousins Merrys stories, lets just hope they dont take off like he does" Merimac agreed but was beginning to suspect that at least one of them would take off. They were camping along the Brandwine not far from the old forest. Merimac was dreading having to explore that area. And so back to his startling awakening. Macky couldn't remember what his dream had been of but it had been startled something was wrong and he knew it was about his nephew Merry. Merry had left the shire well over a month ago and Merimac could sense that something was wrong and for somereason he though it concerned the old forest. Merry had never mentioned were he was going to but he had always told people of a strange man named Bombadil who lived in the old forest. Maybe this had something to do with him, though Merimac.
Subject: The armoury

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Date Posted: 18:58:02 09/10/02 Tue

Vomyr let out a minute gasp as he surveyed the armouries.

They were immaculate.

"Vomyr, what is going on?" the king asked in confusion.
"I...I don't know," he had to answer. He hadn't been able to get within ten meters of the armouries earlier due to the immence heat but there had quite clearly been an extreamly hot and rampageous fire burning quite happily in Gondor's weapon store, the swords themselves melting into shining rivers that ran, criss crossing over the marble floor, the wooden shafts of a multitude of arrows crumbling to ash. Yet as he gazed around the room it was hard to believe there had ever been a fire at all.

"I can't pretend to understand what's happened here," Elessar declared quietly, "but I'm glad the armouries are alright. We would've had a hard time facing Sauron weaponless." He turned and paced from the room. The elf looked suspciously at Vomyr before following his friend.

You're surprised.
"You!" he hissed, conscious the girl hadn't left yet. "You did this." It wasn't a question.
Half of it. As always the voice carried with it a sense of sly amusement. Guess which part.
"I don't need to guess," he snapped loudly before reconsidering and adding more quietly. "Who foiled you this time?"
So bitter Vomyr the watcher remarked. But you guessed wrong. No, the fire wasn't my work. I thought it slightly unfair to pit Elessar against the Dark Lord completely unarmed.
"You expect me to believe that?"
Perhaps you're right. No paticularly credible I admit. I shall keep my real reasons to myself though.
Do whatever you like. Why don't you just stay away from me?
Vomyr thought back furiously, finally abandoning speech. It's not like I even help you anymore.
You could though. I'm keeping you in reserve.
Forget it.

Then as quickly as it had come the unwelcome presence in his mind was gone. Vomyr shuddered involentarily, each confrontation, however indirect, seemed to take something from him. The sense of helplessness always threatening to overpower him.

Maybe this time I've won, he thought hopefully. Don't count on it the more sensible part of his brain commented.
Subject: Effect

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Date Posted: 00:59:16 09/11/02 Wed

Omiril had reached the armouries when everyone seemed to be leaving. ' I guess they still have more armouries.' she sighted in relief. ' That's one more thing of my back.' she turned away and left. She had to talk to the Wizard if there was going to be aby chance of stopping Brooke at all.
Though she was worried on how she would keep Whitemoon from interfereing. As she went down the corridor she could feel the Nightmare Rose starting its work. Soon everyone but those who had magic to resist it would be asleep, and even those with magic couldn't with stand this until dawn came. Omiril was already starting to feel sleepy. She needed something to keep her awake.
Subject: The Pub, part 4 (nearly done now I hope)

Madjael and Namün
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Date Posted: 16:27:54 09/11/02 Wed

Awareness dawned with a flash, like the sudden unveiling of a candle. She was flirting with him! Why was she flirting with him!?! From any other man, his comments would already have earned him a slap, if not something worse. What was she thinking of? She jumped back as if he'd hit her, cheeks already beginning to flame a brilliant red, and trying to ignore the feeling his light touch had sent through her.
I left him. I left him. There were reasons for that. Madjael is not the type of man I need to be with. He's not the type of man any girl needs to be with...
Frantically, she tried to remind herself of why she had walked out on him, but unfortunately, her treacherous mind kept adding the other reasons, the ones she had tried to forget about.

I don't love him.
You're scared of the way he can make you feel.
He's selfish, arrogant and self absorbed. He cares about himself far more than he cares about anyone else.
When he's around, you lose control.
He chases after anything in a skirt.
He knows how to get straight through your defences and persuade you to do what he wants.
He wants to control me.
You're scared he might succeed.

She became aware that he was looking at her oddly, a half smile still on his face as if he knew what was going on in her head. How had she been so taken in? For a few minutes, it had seemed that he had acquired some sensitivity, almost overnight. But now he was just his old self again, using his natural charm to convince her that yes, he was the right one. Except he wasn't. He was the same person he'd always been, the same person she'd found herself running from.
And gods, he was attractive.

"Just...don't, please." she said falteringly. "Don't look at me like that. Don't make me do this. I don't want to have to make this choice right now. How can I even be thinking of leaving the man I love, all for...
And the last word trailed off into a whisper, to the man who had come back to turn her head upside down again.

Madjael's smile left his face. So she is in love with him.
"Why Namün? Why do you love him?" again he felt himself get angry. Aragorn had a wife, Aragorn also had Namün. Just because he was king didn't mean he could have them both.
On impulse Madjael grabbed Namün's shoulders and shook her, "How can you love him? 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!" he spat the last two words out and seeing the terrified expression on Namün's face let go of her shoulders, turning away from her so she couldn't glimpse the tears coursing down his face.

"And I do. I am the one who is in love with you and it's killing me that you can't see that. I'm trying so hard here, trying to show you, but I can't unless you let me. Namün?" Madjael turned back, looking her straight in her eyes. "I don't know what I can say to make you love me the way I love you. But believe me once, just once Namün. I truly, deeply love you."

Slowly, she nodded. "I believe you. I still think you're wrong, but I believe you."
The sight of the tears on his cheeks made him seem much younger, and more vulnerable, as if he were more an overgrown boy than a Captain in the army. Maybe he couldn't be a tough man all the time. This was a side of himself that he was letting her see for the first time- a deeper side perhaps, although it was strange to think of him as having any depths whatsoever. She took a deep breath.
"I need time, ok? I need to go away and think things through- try to decide what I want." Gently, she added, "And maybe you should too. This isn't one of your passing amusements here. This is love you're talking about and, forgive me, but you've never exactly been big on commitments before. Do you really think the way you feel right now is going to last forever?"
Subject: unending

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Date Posted: 21:15:23 09/11/02 Wed

Sam was in the middle of one horrible night. It was the worst he had ever had. Nightmares about everything and anything, it was so scary how real it felt.
Flashes of images, some longer than others. Images and events that had been, events that are, and Sam hoped, events that would never be.

He was drowning, the light above was growing darker and his mind was clouding up. He was blacking out, losing oxygen fast.
He couldn’t swim! He couldn’t stay above the water! This was it, the end.
No oxygen. No air to breathe. His lungs felt like they were being squeezed, compressed.
Where was Frodo? Surely he would help. He wouldn’t just leave him to drown. Would he?
It was getting darker. He couldn’t see a thing.
Sam reached up into the lighter water and tried valiantly to pull himself upwards.
One last try.
All hope lost.
Sam felt himself lose all his energy and he blacked out.

“I’m leaving you Sam…”

“Ryna? Where are you?”
Sam stood in a field, the colour of blood red. There was a vast emptiness around him. Nothing could be seen in any direction.
“Ryna? I can’t see you. Where are you? What is happening?”
“Dad! Why aren’t you saving me?”
“I’m trying! I am” Tears ran down Sam’s cheeks. What was happening? Why was Ryna in trouble? Where was she? There was nothing around. Her voice seemed to come out of no where yet everywhere at the same time.
Ryna’s screams filled the air. High petrified screams that were endless.
“RYNAAAAAA!!! Ryna” Sam began to sob “Ryna! Where are you? Please”
Ryna’s screams were suddenly cut off and there was silence. Sam felt a part of himself rip out of him as Ryna’s presence was felt no more. Sam felt nothing. He fell to the ground.

“…It isn’t working…”

There were five tall figures, three advancing. In their faces burned keen and merciless eyes, in their hands were swords of steel. Their eyes fell on him and pierced him, as they rushed towards him. Desperate, he drew his own sword. Two of the figures halted. The third was taller than the others: his hair was long and gleaming and on his helm was a crown. In one hand he held a long sword, and in the other a knife. He sprang forward and bore down on Frodo.

“This is Frodo’s nightmare” murmured Sam before rolling over and falling back into his fitful sleep.

At that moment Frodo threw himself forward on the ground. At the same time he struck at the feet of his enemy. A shrill cry rang out in the night and he felt a pain like dart of poisoned ice pierce his left shoulder. Even as he swooned he caught, as though a swirling mist, a glimpse of Strider leaping out of the darkness with a flaming brand of wood in either hand.

“…I can’t bear it anymore…”

All he could see were hobbits, all in a long line that went on forever. It was dark, the sky was cloudy and grey and everywhere was a sense of defeat and sadness. They had been defeated, the shire and all of middle earth had been taken over and ruled by Sauron. They were all slaves. All the people he cared about were either dead or just about. Sam was starving and exhausted. He was one of the last in his group. The rest of the fellowship was gone. Not that it mattered. There was nothing else to live for.

“There is nothing else here for us and you won’t leave. Our children are gone and there is no food left. I’m sorry.”

Sam jolted awake; he had been having a bad night. Ryna was crying in the next room. She was obviously was going through the same thing. He had the feeling everyone was. No one got reoccurring nightmares like that naturally. And he and Ryna both? It didn’t make sense. He had the feeling this was going to go on all-night and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Subject: a trip to Mordor

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Date Posted: 18:56:30 09/13/02 Fri

Radagast lay face down in the mud. His face was covered with dirt, as was his brown tunic. His long beard was knotted and rotten. The days of the Istar were numbered in the mind of the bumbling wizard. Gandalf had left for the grey havens and Saruman had been struck down, the last remaining wizards were scattered across middle earth. Radagast had not seen Alator since before the war of the ring and assumed he was killed during the last resistance on Middle Earth. For ten years Radagast had been trapped on the southern borders of Mordor. For centuries this forgotten region had been a desolate wasteland. It was not his fault, or so he thought, that he was trapped here but Radagast was too trusting in his animal companions and was unaware of the evil spread of Saurons servants. Now this story began when Radagast last met up with Ganadalf. Many years seemed to have passed in his isolation since that fate-deciding day. Radagast had been tricked and manipulated into delivering Gandalf to Saruman the white. This had almost failed the war of the ring in its first days but fortunately luck prevailed. Radagast on the other hand was not so lucky. It was during the incarceration of Gandalf that it became the aim of Sauron to destroy the Istar once and for all. For Radagast this became his doom. Of course he was the only wizard who was foolish enough to be captured by a bird who asked him to follow, but that was his lot in life. Saruman was left as a servant of Sauron and Gandalf was his prisoner. Pallando had been tortured by Sauron before his downfall. Radagast knew none of this, in his new home he received no news, there were no animals to talk to, he simply thought that all the other Istari had been slain, even Saruman who he still believed was serving the side of the good. Radagast had believed for years that the fellowship of the ring had failed and that Sauron dominated middle earth. Until now. In his dreams he was visited by a figure that he once knew but whose face he could not place. This mysterious figure told him little news but enough to know that the war of the ring had indeed succeeded and although Sauron had returned, there was still a chance. Radagast now travelled northwards. His movement was slow and clumsy and thrice he had stumbled. At this point Radagast began to fell that Saruman had been right and that he was a bumbling fool. But he was determined, he must reach Isengard. The figure had told him of one surviving wizard and knowing that Saruman lived in a fortified palace, convinced him that Saruman must have indeed survived. Travelling on foot was taking a very long time, Radagast had been travelling for three months. In the dark he could not even tell if he was travelling in the right direction. His sense told him that he was. Radagast had not yet though what he would do once he reached Mordor. He hoped he would pass unnoticed.
Subject: New Notice

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Date Posted: 20:25:36 09/13/02 Fri

Cirad gazed up at the new declaration moodily. He was tired, been training all day and was desperate to go to bed. Apparantly, this was now impossible.
The paper curled at the edges, the royal seal was stamped firmly below the King’s signature. Cirad stared at the signature which held so much authority. The king could
do as he liked. Could order people to do whatever he pleased. It was no problem for him to deprieve a man of sleep.

He was not the only person unhappy with the news. A small group of warriors had gathered around the notice, frustration obvious on their faces.
“Guard duty?” one young man read from the document, he looked almost livid. “He wants to put us trained warriors on the same boring task as the palace guards. A baby could do that and leave us to do our duties.”
“Due to unforseen circumstances and increasing danger..” another continued to read
“What danger. Have we been left out on fresh tidings? Who would dare to attack this city? Why on earth do we need more people boring themselves to death on the freezing cold walls?”

Cirad knew better. These warriors were young, they hadn’t fought in the last battle they didn’t know the danger that could envelop a land in darkness. Surely it wasn’t happening again. People would know if it was. Even secret information for the kings ears only, gradually worked its way down the grapevine. Serving girls had vast memories when it came to gossip.

Still orders were orders and had to be obeyed, however unwillingly. He turned to the second piece of paper, the new rota. He was down for second watch. It could have been much worse, at least he’d still get some sleep before morning approached.
He leaned closer to read the name of the person he was posted with. At least let it be someone he could have a laugh with. His spirits fell. He was with Madjael. Of all people, it would be him. That lazy, drunken lout who spent more time with the barmaids at the tavern than training. He
probably hadn’t even seen this new notice.

Cirad turned back to the warriors gathered around the notice.
“Anyone seen Madjael?” Most shrugged in reply,
“The Tavern” one replied bitterly. He obviously fancied an evening off too.
What a surprise. Fine, if he had to suffer the extra hours, he would make sure that Madjael did too. Cirad turned and angrily strode off towards the tavern.
Subject: The pub, part 5 (sorry about my (Becca's) part in this. Is truly terrible, but was kinda stuck)

Madjael and Namün
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Date Posted: 16:52:03 09/14/02 Sat

Madjael rubbed his sore eyes with the back of his sleeve, the rough fabric doing little to ease any pain he felt. He tried to focus properly on Namün, but everytime he tried, his vision blurred again. Wishing he could read her mind, Madjael tried to fathom out what she meant. He knew what he wanted. He'd known ever since he'd first seen it and it had all seemed so simple. Like that was how things were supposed to be and always would be.

"Strange isn't it?" he said it quietly - not sure if he meant it to Namün or himself. "One day you feel like you're going to live forever and the next......" he trailed off and shrugged. Where exactly he intending going with this, Madjael was unsure. But he felt he had to say it.

"And the next, you see the most amazing thing you've ever laid eyes on. And, in a way, you want to die because that is what heaven would be like. Namün, do you not think that I have already thought about what I feel for you? It's all I've done since you've left. Even when...I wasn't true to what I felt, I've known.

"Though if you want me to think again, then I will. If you ask it of me, I'll do anything. But, thank you. For believing me and for saying you'll think about what I said."

He paused, wondering if she would react. Her lightly drawn together brows suggested confusion more than anything else- she was still having trouble coming to turns with this in him. And perhaps a little uncomfortable as well, at these sentiments she had no way of returning. Regretfully, he concluded he was pushing her too far.
"I should be getting back to the palace now. I'm not supposed to be here as it is. Goodnight, Namün."

Unexpectedly, she suddenly broke the atmosphere with a light giggle.
"What?" he asked aggrievedly, becoming defensive. Surely she wasn't as callous as to brush aside his feelings so easily?
"You're not supposed to be here?!? Your mother thinks I've spent the past few hours in the royal bedrooms! Can you imagine the scene there's going to be when she realises I'm not!"

For a moment it looked as if the mention of Aragorn was going to cause another scene, but the sight of her looking impishly up at him forced his features to relax first into a smile, then something approaching laughter.
"You shouldn't tell my mother such things. She'll have you locked up in a nunnery if you aren't careful. An asylum if she can manage it!"
"That's better." she smiled, glad of the change of mood. "You're far easier to handle when you're like this.
Well, goodnight then," she added quietly, reaching up to plant a goodbye kiss on his cheek.

The familiar touch caused Madjael to shiver inwardly. He kissed her cheek in return, knowing that it would probably be the last whatever answer Namün gave him. It was well known among the soldiers that war was on it's way, though the opposition was as of yet, unknown to them.
I bet she doesn't even suspect it his mind wandering back to Namün, I wonder what should become of her?

In the few seconds of these thoughts, Namün had turned and was nearly at the door. On sheer impulse Madjael reached out, grabbing her and turning her gently around.

"Namün," he began awkwardly. She looked inquiringly up at him.
"Namün, I'm going to count to 3 and then I'm going to kiss you. If you want, you can stop me.
Subject: Fitful sleep

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Date Posted: 19:45:37 09/14/02 Sat

The cogs inside the lock clicked. He pocketed the tiny silver key and lent against the door for a moment his fingers drumming lightly on the mahogany surface. His left hand slid to the handle and the door creaked open into the room that had not seen the light of day for two months.

In his own chambers Anawiel slumbered, her auburn hair spread around her head like a halo over his pillows. The stately velvet curtains twitched like small children in the evening winds that swept in through the window he had opened, feeling the immense heat radiating from her body as he lifted her from her position against the wall into his bed. Next to her in his spidery script: ‘I’ll see you in the morning. Be in my study. This changes nothing.’

Arwen’s room was just as he remembered it, a layer of dust coating familiar possessions, the bed sheets pristine from so long ago; at his first meeting with Namün. He tried not to think of her. This morning seemed a lifetime ago.

Not stopping to undress he climbed into his wife’s bed, closed his eyes and slept fitfully.
Subject: Morning

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Date Posted: 20:26:12 09/14/02 Sat

Brooke looked up at the city. " Hmm. The storm spell should be stopping in about five seconds." As she counted the winds ceased, the clouds quickly parted, and the storm itself seaced to exist. " Well if that dosen't surprise them I don't know what will." It would almost be dawn and the Nightmare Rose spell would be wearing off.
She clapped her hands. " Alright, since you have not been bothering me so much on what I've done, Whitemoon, I'm going to do a good deed today. Beside that I'm in a good mood."
Whitemoon turned his head towards Brooke in surprise. " That's strange of you to do." ' Then again her view of a good deed isn't exacly something I don't think I'd like to see.' he thought looking wearily at Brooke.
" I've been bending towards the bad side for sometime now. I'm suppose to be neutral. Therefore I'm going to do something nice , although the thought dosen't exacly thrill me, for a change." Brooke flew off towards the city, Whitemoon not far behind.

~Four hours later~

Whitemoon looked at Brooke who sat beside him on top of a building. " Brooke you haven't done one good deed and the sun has already risen." Whitemoon said. Brooke looked at Whitemoon. " Well this is the first time I'm doing a good deed so I thought you were thinking something for me to do." Whitemoon looked at brooke with surprise written all over his face. " You've been waiting for four hours for ME to come up with something?" Brooke nodded. " I usually don't have to do this. Actually I haven't done anything like this since I helped that Hobbit we encountered that was drowning a couple of years ago." Whitemoon sighted. " Well I suppose your right, but whatever I tell you to do you'll do it alright?" Brooke nodded. Whitemoon looked at the city under them. Now that he had his chance to make Brooke do something nice for achange he really didn't have any ideas. He looked from the city to brooke. A glint of something Brooke was wearing around her neck caught his attention.
Whitemoon looked at Brooke as she took out the many items in the bag. Shetook something out and went to the fire so that she could see it better. " Hey I've heard tales about this. It's suppose to be the Windrode this was given to grandfather by your people." That perked up Whitemoon's interest and he joined Brooke in looking at the small object. There were five rods in existence. The element rods were made by his people's magical skills to create things from the elements. The fifth was the Chaos Rod that had been created by someone unknown to them but definetly evil.
The rods looked like ornaments at first sight since they were so small, each with their own colors and markings of their elements, but once the magical words were spoken someone who was strong and willing could use them to his/her advantage. " I wonder if the others are in the bag."
Brooke put the necklace around her neck and went back to look at the contents of the bag.

~End Flashback~

' The King of this city could use the rod to his advantage. But it was a gift from my kindred to Brooke's people I cant expect her to give up an heirloom of her people when she has just found it.'Whitemoon argued with himself for the next five minutes finally coming to aconclusion he looked at Brooke. " I want you to give the Wind rod to the King."
Brooke looked at Whitemon in surprise. " No way I'm going to do that!" " Listen to me will you?" Whitemoon said,
" It will only be until the war is finished. Wether they win or loose it matters not for you will be able to get it back. I gave it your father so long ago when your people had just stepped on the shores of Middle-Earth, the necklace has a summoning word that was designed for the use of your grandfather's line only. If it is lost to us you can summon it again for it will not be far this time."
Brooke thought for a minute, then sighted. " Very well you win." she got up and spread her wings taking to the sky, followed by Whitemoon. ' Now exacly where can I find the King?' she tought.
Subject: Disturbance in the night

Harion, Cirad
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Date Posted: 18:28:23 09/15/02 Sun

The smoke swirled around the yard. Acrid, choking smoke that made eyes water and sting. Harion cautiously made his way across the rough ground. Clothes and personal belongings ripped and strewn across the grass.
Orcs loved to destroy.
The smoke grew thicker as he approached the house. Black wisps curled from the charred, black shell of the house. Burnt almost to the ground.

He was searching, desperately searching. He was going to see it again. He couldn’t help it. He tried to turn away, but it was impossible. The smoke, he couldn’t see anything. Tripped. Looked at the ground.
Oh no, not again. There it was. On the floor, lying for him to trip over. He felt sick. The familiar wave of nausea as he saw it again.
The arm. His mother’s arm. Ripped off at the stump, blood covered, pulpy mess.

Then the body, next to the house. Black, burnt shape, hardly recognisable.

Harion jerked awake and sat up, panting heavily. He gazed wildly around the dim little room attempting to calm his breathing. It was two years since the orcs had killed
his mother, why had he had such a vivid nightmare tonight?
He wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead as he thought about the dream. It was so real. Almost as if he was actually there again. Was it telling him something? Had it
happened again? The thought of Lirna on her own was terrifying. Would she be able to get everyone to safety? Since finding his wife’s body, Harion’s father had become
more childlike than Seema, he would be no help.
Harion felt so helpless. There was nothing he could do to help them. Except earn money. Pay off the huge debt and go home. As soon as possible.

Harion’s breathing returned to normal. He could hear mutterings coming from the room next door, the sounds of someone tossing and turning. Was everyone having nightmares tonight? There was something strange about the dream. Something not quite right.

Suddenly, the entire side of the building vibrated slightly, he could hear someone pounding heavily on the front door. Someone out there, at this time?
Harion pulled on some clothes and hurried downstairs. The door was practically caving in under the battering it was receiving. A voice was shouting loudly, the words muffled through the wood.

Harion opened the door cautiously, only enough to see who was out there. A warrior stepped back slightly, shaking brown unruly hair from his face.
“Is Madjael there?” Cirad asked.
Harion decided to play ignorance until he knew more.
“Madjael. Come on you must know him. He spends most of his time here.”
“Sorry, I’m new. Haven’t learnt all the names yet.” Harion was watching the warrior closely. He was obviously annoyed about something, his mannerisms were taut and strained.
“For goodness sake, how many lazy, drunken layabouts do you have here?” Cirad was getting worked up again.
“More than you’d think.” Harion decided to humour him. “besides, the one I think you mean isn’t that bad.”
“Whatever” Cirad was losing patience. “Is he here?”
Harion pointed to a door at the back of the tavern.
“I last saw him go in there with some girl. That was hours ago. He’d have left by now.” Harion made to close the door.
“Wait.” Cirad used all his strength to force the door open. He stormed into the tavern
“Hey” Harion cried indignantly. Cirad ignored him.
“Madjael, are you in here?” he bellowed. There was no reply.
Cirad stormed over to the little door and pounded on the smooth wooden surface.
“Madjael, answer me. Come out!”
Subject: Disturbance in the night

Harion and Cirad
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Date Posted: 18:59:20 09/15/02 Sun

The smoke swirled around the yard. Acrid, choking smoke that made eyes water and sting. Harion cautiously made his way across the rough ground. Clothes and personal belongings ripped and strewn across the grass.
Orcs loved to destroy.
The smoke grew thicker as he approached the house. Black wisps curled from the charred, black shell of the house. Burnt almost to the ground.

He was searching, desperately searching. He was going to see it again. He couldn’t help it. He tried to turn away, but it was impossible. The smoke, he couldn’t see anything. Tripped. Looked at the ground.
Oh no, not again. There it was. On the floor, lying for him to trip over. He felt sick. The familiar wave of nausea as he saw it again.
The arm. His mother’s arm. Ripped off at the stump, blood covered, pulpy mess.

Then the body, next to the house. Black, burnt shape, hardly recognisable.

Harion jerked awake and sat up, panting heavily. He gazed wildly around the dim little room attempting to calm his breathing. It was two years since the orcs had killed
his mother, why had he had such a vivid nightmare tonight?
He wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead as he thought about the dream. It was so real. Almost as if he was actually there again. Was it telling him something? Had it
happened again? The thought of Lirna on her own was terrifying. Would she be able to get everyone to safety? Since finding his wife’s body, Harion’s father had become
more childlike than Seema, he would be no help.
Harion felt so helpless. There was nothing he could do to help them. Except earn money. Pay off the huge debt and go home. As soon as possible.

Harion’s breathing returned to normal. He could hear mutterings coming from the room next door, the sounds of someone tossing and turning. Was everyone having nightmares tonight? There was something strange about the dream. Something not quite right.

Suddenly, the entire side of the building vibrated slightly, he could hear someone pounding heavily on the front door. Someone out there, at this time?
Harion pulled on some clothes and hurried downstairs. The door was practically caving in under the battering it was receiving. A voice was shouting loudly, the words muffled through the wood.

Harion opened the door cautiously, only enough to see who was out there. A warrior stepped back slightly, shaking brown unruly hair from his face.
“Is Madjael there?” Cirad asked.
Harion decided to play ignorance until he knew more.
“Madjael. Come on you must know him. He spends most of his time here.”
“Sorry, I’m new. Haven’t learnt all the names yet.” Harion was watching the warrior closely. He was obviously annoyed about something, his mannerisms were taut and strained.
“For goodness sake, how many lazy, drunken layabouts do you have here?” Cirad was getting worked up again.
“More than you’d think.” Harion decided to humour him. “besides, the one I think you mean isn’t that bad.”
“Whatever” Cirad was losing patience. “Is he here?”
Harion pointed to a door at the back of the tavern.
“I last saw him go in there with some girl. That was hours ago. He’d have left by now.” Harion made to close the door.
“Wait.” Cirad used all his strength to force the door open. He stormed into the tavern
“Hey” Harion cried indignantly. Cirad ignored him.
“Madjael, are you in here?” he bellowed. There was no reply.
Cirad stormed over to the little door and pounded on the smooth wooden surface.
“Madjael, answer me. Come out!”
Subject: Rising

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Date Posted: 17:43:26 09/16/02 Mon

The sun filtered in through the heavy and unfamiliar curtains. The light pooled across her face and pierced the darkness behind her closed eyelids. Anawiel shook herself.

The dream seemed to have remained fixed in her mind as she pushed herself into a sitting position. Every blink caused another part of it to come rushing back to her, a stormy tide of freezing salt water that shook her to the bone.

As if it was a new thing to her, Anawiel noted she was on a bed. She could not remember going back to her room at all. She looked around, bewildered, as she took in the fine draperies and tapestry that hung from the stone walls; the soft thick rugs that lay on the floor; the velvet eiderdown beneath her crumpled green dress. To her side was a piece of parchment, scrunched up where she had obviously lain on it at some time during the night:

I’ll see you in the morning. Be in my study. This changes nothing.

The last three words almost scared her. She hadn't meant to fall asleep in his room, she hadn't meant to get him angry, she hadn't meant for any of this to happen. If she had known this a while ago she would've let the orc raiders kill her, then maybe none of this would be happening. But that was wrong and she knew it deep down. Anawiel had not yet made the fatal mistake of surrendering and she wasn't going to do that now. Whether or not she could make the king understand, she was right. He couldn't take that away from her.

Getting up she discovered the time was now 9 O'Clock, only an hour until she had to meet with Elessar again. Hurriedly she got up and pulled the bedclothes straight, smoothing them down with rough fingertips.


Anawiel had washed her hair - something she admitted to herself, she did not do often enough, judging from the dirty brown water now filling the basin on her table. She had even had a bath. Her pink skin now felt rough and sore from the forciful scrubbing of the maides who appeared out of nowhere whenever you ordered something in the palace.

She had never liked being treated above her station by people her own age. Looking in the large mirror she studied herself, crictically taking in her apperance.

What she saw was a pale skinned girl with an overwhelming flag of deep red hair that threatened to over-power her face. She wore a borrowed sea-blue dress in made in the elven style with long tapering sleeves reaching over her hands. It was perhaps a little small for her as it hugged her body tightly showing her disgustingly bony figure. She had lost a lot of weight since her arrival. Her eyes were soft green emeralds surrounded with thick dark lashes - a strange mix from her ruby hair - and small red lines pierced the milky whites of her eyes, leaving them bloodshot as though she had been crying.

After sighing deeply and re-arranging her hair yet again, Anawiel set off to find Aragorn.
Subject: The prophecy

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Date Posted: 21:33:05 09/16/02 Mon

He lay still; the night's wind washing gently over his face, his eyelids closed. Behind them a war raged.

The halfling's hand extended towards him.

"Would you destroy it?"

For a moment he wavered. What would he become? His smile didn't falter as his fingers closed around the one ring.

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.

Aragorn watched the scene play before his eyes calmly; it wasn't real. Oddly he felt no emotion at the destruction of his childhood home. A slight noise. His head twitched involentarily.

He stood in his own room. He looked back towards where his nightmare still carried on without him in the large mirror opposite the window.

He wasn't alone. The woman turned towards him, the folds of her dove coloured dress swishing noiselessly, her face effortlessly lovely.

He felt nothing in this place. Somehow he knew that what appeared to be his room, wasn't. And so no emotion stirred in his heart. It was a reflex action that made him breathe her name. "Arwen?"

The image of his wife shook her head, her long tresses shining in the dim candle light. "I take the form closest to your thoughts," she answered. "I have none of my own."
Emotionless, his next question came. "If you are not Arwen who are you?"
"I have no name," she replied crytically. "Not one you need to know. Think of me as Undomiel if it makes you feel less uncomfortable."
"I feel nothing."
Arwen smiled ruefully, "one of the disadvantages of my realm is that I am continually denied intelligent conversation. But enough of that, you have been summoned here to recieve instructions and a warning."
He stared at her blankly.
"Your warning concerns your wife and your son," her expression became serious. "He must be born within the walls of Minas Tirith. If this does not happen the consequences will be disasterous."
"Your wife will die in childbirth and your son will grow up to become a powerful tool of the darkness."

The magic that surrounded and penetrated the room prevented him from feeling the dispair the statement would've induced normally but a sharp sensation of fear prickled at the base of his neck.
"And the instructions?"
"They concern your meeting tomorrow. Though you will remember nothing in the morning you must know your part in this."
"If I'm going to forget all this, why am I here?"
"The knowledge will surface when it is needed."

For hours he listened to her until through the windows of the enchanted room the sky turned pink, the sun bathing the room in its warm glow.
"I must leave you now," Arwen said, swinging to face the rising orb. He remained silent as he had throughout their meeting. She turned back and walked quickly towards him. "You will do well Elessar," she smiled and he bent his head as she kissed his forehead gently.

His eyes snapped open. His wifes room. His mind tried desparately to hold onto the dream. Nothing. He concentrated. Nothing. Nothing save five whispered words:
"You will do well Elessar."
Subject: The Morning After

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Date Posted: 17:05:22 09/17/02 Tue

Eowyn opened her eyes. Her face was sore with the dust of dried up tears and the cold light stung. Her hair was damp with sweat and the blankets of her bed had been flung so that they were piled in an unruly heap on the floor.

Eyes so familiar and so sad.

She shivered and picked up the blankets, wrapping then tightly around her. Moving over to the window, she looked down at the courtyard. The sun was high and it reflected off the clean snow which smothered everything. The White City was completely camoflaged by ice.

Any other time she would think this morning beautiful and enjoy the freshness of winter, but now it just seemed harsh, cold and dead.

Everyone she had ever known surrounded her, staring at her with un-seeing eyes.

She shook herself roughly and tried to fall back into her usual morning routine of washing and dressing. Pull yourself together. It was just a dream. But as much as she reassured herself, she couldn't shake the images, nor the fear they had produced.

Giving in, she went to Faramir's rooms to calm her nerves. Knocking timidly on the door, she didn't wait for a response and pushed it open. The room was empty. His bed was neatly made and the sheets were crisp and clean. His familiar and inviting smell lingered only slightly in the airy room. Obviously he had not slept here last night.

A panic rose up in her throat but she calmed herself. Surely there were plenty of logical reasons why her husband would not return to his quarters at night...

But then, yesterday had been a perplexing day. She thought back to stories he had told her of when he was younger. Where would he go if he wanted to be alone to think? Certainly not his rooms where he would be easily found and plagued with servants, messages and paperwork all day.

She set off. The library was quite a way - a small room on the floor below and to the east. She had never understood why he liked it there. Everything was covered in dust and there was barely enough room for the old desk, where the legs were uneven and the draws often stuck. It smelt stale and the air was heavy. The grand library was far preferable - spacious and resourceful.

It took her almost ten minutes to reach this room at the far end of the corridor. She opened the door carefully. The hinges creaked and it knocked into the bookcase on the opposite wall. But Faramir, sitting with his head on the desk, did not stir.

His chest rose and fell gently and his eyelids flickered slightly. She noticed how his brow was damp and his skin pale. Taking the blanket which was still wrapped around her, she covered his shoulders with it.

Closing the door, Eowyn returned to her rooms and picked up a warm white cloak. Not caring for breakfast, she went straight outside into the cold to try and clear her head.
Subject: Plans

Legolas and Aryante
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Date Posted: 21:32:26 09/19/02 Thu

The goings-on made his mind hurt. In just one evening, Legolas' world had been turned upside down. Aragorn, Gimli, Vomyr, Arwen, faeries, nymphs, Istari, Sauron, war, fires...Lómódë, they had all come at once. Just trying to sort through the tangled mess of threads made his head spin. And suddenly, for some reason, he was incredibly tired. A fog seemed to be blanketing his thoughts, making it nigh on impossible. Fighting away waves of sleep, he tried to steel his weary body for one last task. On steps that seemed heavier than usual, he headed to the chambers of the healer, Aryante.

Aryante heard a knock from the depths of her sleep and as she shook the weariness from her shoulders she called to the door, unconsciously reverting to Sindarin Elvish.
"*Who is it?*"

It felt so strange to hear his own tongue spoken by another after so long in the company of Men. Indeed, Legolas had to pause for a second to recall that yes, the girl was of Elven heritage. Gladly using his own tongue, he answered,
"*It's Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood. I believe we have spoken before. May I come in; there is something I need to ask of you.*"
"*Of course.*" she replied. "*The door isn't locked.*"
He pushed it open and entered, surprised when she rose to curtsey.
"*There's really no need to do that.*" he informed her. "*Nobody really bothers with it any more. Besides, with your agreement, we shall become comrades before long, and there can be no formalities there.*"
"*Your meaning being?*"
She sat, gesturing for him to be seated as well. Hurriedly, he told her of the continued absence of the dwarf Gimli, and of his plans to search for him as soon as dawn broke.
"Aragorn suggested you may be of help to me in this quest." he finished finally. "Your skills as a healer may prove invaluble."
She opened her mouth to reply, but he silenced her.
"Before you agree though, you must think about the perils of the situation. With the dangers from Mordor, Elessar can not spare any warriors to aid us. We will be alone in this, and I cannot guarantee your safety. The hazards are great, and I don't even know that we will succeed. Knowing this, would you still be willing to join me?"
"If I can be of service to you, then of course. I am not afraid. It would be my great pleasure to help."

He gave one of his first genuinely heartfelt smiles of the evening.
"I'm glad. I could certainly use your assistance."
He stood, walking towards the door. "I wish to leave as soon as possible come the morn, so please come to my chambers when you're ready. Are you going to need anything?"
"I can assemble what I need myself." Aryante asserted.
"You're sure?"
She nodded.
"Well, in that case, I will leave everything in your capable hands. Take anything you feel necessary, and tell them that it's on the authority of the King. I need a few hours rest before we set out. Goodnight."
"Goodnight." she told him, watching the weary blonde elf leave her rooms. Right now, her healers instinct told her that what he needed more than anything was sleep. Unless he was rested and alert, they would be sure to fail in their hunt.
Tomorrow, we shall see she thought to herself, beginning to pack.
Subject: It's back and this time it's in blueeeeeeeeeee!

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Date Posted: 21:57:38 09/19/02 Thu

Tiredness swam through the elf's head and for a while Aryante lay dizzy. Everytime she closed her eyes a movie seemed to play inside her head. A horrible, stomach churning screen of images that provided no ounce of comfort to her.

Another casualty, Aryante had been called once again to the aid of a brave soldier of Gondor. The men, not as strong as the former race of elves were struggling to stand against Sauron's army.

Her eyes snapped open. This was the pain to come, and she knew it, deep down. Though the city was calm, Aryante felt on edge. The people had not been told of the coming war. Drifting slowly back to slumber the movie began to play the taunting dream.

The wounded were drowning her and the Healing Houses, Aryante could not cope with the men who were coming in, limbless and helpless. Yet she knew more would arrive soon, covered in the blood of both their enemies and comrades. Soon she began to slow, to stop. Aryante found herself slumped, dead around the dying, helpless among those she should help. Falling further away from the light. Aryante had taken a splinter of morgul blade to her thumb...

She awoke again, cold and sweating. She would not sleep again this night. Aryante made her way to her desk where she began to draw the thigns that pleased her, only they were different. The picture was etched in her mind now, flowers among graves, sunlight over the mounds raised for lost leaders, the wake of the storm.
Subject: In the halls of Minas Tirith

Amriala, Pippin, Merry
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Date Posted: 20:58:20 09/20/02 Fri

Something startled Pippin as he slept. It took him a while to fully waken before he realized that there was someone frantically pounding on his door. Pippin had failed in his quest to seek out Aragorn and had given up. He had planned to seek advise from his old friend. But it appeared that Aragorn just had no time for Hobbits anymore. Currently the pounding on the door was still continuing. Pippin rushed to answer it and found a woman soaked through. Evidently it had been raining outside.
"At last, I's bin bangin' on this door for 'alf an hour."
Pippin squinted in the darkness. That stupid nurse had found out where he lived.
"What are you doing here?"
"Tis your fren' sir hes feverish"
"I know that's why he's in hospital"
"Don ya care what I 'as to say, look ya fren is in fits and is burnin' na basicaly im here coz i has got no way of helpin' 'im withat gettin' tut rivendell and basically i can' get to his majesty for lov nor money, ya'd think that he would care about 'is frens, anyway basicly i needs your permission to take im tut rivendell, im guessin' thats you is 'is next of kin 'coz you 'is one of three other short peoples that I've met here, and that sam fellow was much more annoyin than ya"
Subject: Snowy Dawn

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Date Posted: 21:02:44 09/25/02 Wed

He smiled as the blanket slipped from his shoulers. Her fragrance filled the room, and Faramir could tell that his wife had known what today meant to him. Today was the day his elder brother would have celebrated having spent another year complete on earth.

But Boromir was not there for his birthday. It was this day, and this day alone each year Faramir allowed himself to feel the pain of his loss. A great brother, and a best friend.

The memories of hs dreams were blow away by the icy wind which caught his hair as he crossed the courtyard to their suites of rooms. His footprnts stained the fresh snow, his boots crushing the soft flakes into ice. He let his mind wander- so the events following were most unexpected.
Subject: Sickness

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Date Posted: 21:43:04 09/25/02 Wed

She rolled over. The night had been nothing. But this morning was everything- and more.

Again she emptied the contents of her stomach. It was nothing unusual- but for five months she had tried her best to find plausable reasons for her vomiting, and occasional collapsing around court. If anything, her lies had been a little too convincing. Despite her desperation to cover up the fact she was with child, she almost wanted somone to question her, for Estel to hear about it, for him to ask her if everything was alright. But he hadn't.

Reguardless of how long her husband had known she was carrying his child, it made no difference- although, his presense around her might have made the sickness and pain more bearable. No-one had told her child bearing was so hard. And because the baby was a mix of Edain and Elven blood it was even more work. As for the birth, they were expected to be at the very least twelve hours long.

Arwen raked back her hair from her face and broke the knots with her fingers. She no longer planned ahead- what was th point if you ddn't even know if you could survive until tommorow? I'm dying. It's really happening. And my blood will be on his hands. It will be his fault. That scared her.

Would Estel really be responsible for her death? Could she let him be?

But her thoughts were broken as another ripple of nausea coursed through her body, and her mind returned to the present, the definate, the things she could rely upon. However unpleasant.
Subject: Magical Morning

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Date Posted: 22:05:11 09/25/02 Wed

The light blue smoke blew in a soft stream. The winter morning chilled you to the bone, but nothing pipe wed couldn't help. It helped Alator concentrate- and now was major thinking time. Around the palace, the nobles were beginning to rise- all of them disgusing the previous evenings events. Let them talk- for if they knew the real danger they were under, they would not be so keen to gossip.

Evil had stirred. Now it was up to someone to stop it. The someone was not him, but Alator was there to help whoever it was. It was this quest against evil which bound him to Middle- Earth.

No- one could vanquish evil forever, for nothing is evil in the beginnng. This was just one situation, at one time. There would always be other Saurons, other Sarumans. There would always be people who would risk their lives to defend others. Last night, in the throne room, just a few of those type had stepped forward. There would be many more.

There would always be evil in the world- but Alator would be there to help fight it when it came. And that fight started today.
Subject: Let the freshness of Winter wash away your fears

Eowyn and Faramir
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Date Posted: 16:32:21 09/26/02 Thu

The snowy path beneath his feet was barely noticed by Faramir, as he made his way through one of the many courtyards in the citadel. The ice underfoot crunched as he stepped on it, but Faramir was miles away.

Yet something brought him back to earth. And it was a cold, wet something that hit him on the side of the head. It was shortly followed by a small giggle, to which the prince span round. It came from behind one of the bare trees, and was lead to by a trail of footprints.

"Eowyn..." There was laughter in his voice and he rounded the trunk, a ball of fresh snow in his hand.

Eowyn ducked the flying ice and scooped some more into her palm. Not dodging fast enough, a second cold white bullet hit her shoulder. She let the frosty spray wash away her anxieties as winter's tears ran down her face.

They could not change the past. They could not wield the future. Fate toyed with them, spinning out twists in life's sticky and complex web. Battles would rage, and they would fight. Death would come, and they would mourn. But until then, they would laugh. They would play, they would dance. They would enjoy and they would be grateful - grateful for the time they had.
Time enough.

Looking into his eyes, Eowyn saw the world, eternity. There was no war. No hate, no anger, no limits. Only love.
She laughed again and freed the snow from her grip. It arced, a wisp of cloud flashing against the blue sky, and landed several feet from it's designated target.

He scowled and narrowed his eyes, humouring her attempt to hit him. Snow filled the air, with thier laughter ringing. Eowyn shrieked as another snowball flew into her hair, and Faramir lost his balance laughing, falling back into the snow.

She giggled, pelting him before he had time to stand.
"No fair!" he yelled in protest. Scraping ice into his hands, he put all his force into it. She dissapeared in a white cloud.

Gasping for breath, Eowyn realised he was closing in on her. Snow was disguarded and Faramir chased her through the courtyard, both breathless with laughter.

He caught her. Spinning her around to face him, they kissed - gently and delicately. He leaned forward and whispered softly into her ear.
"I love you, Eowyn."

Eowyn's hand rose up, smashing a snowball upon the crown of his head. She pulled back and giggled as he glared and spluttered, shaking the ice from his hair. Without warning. battle recommenced.

"Honestly!" Faramir called out. "I'm a prince, you really should have more respect!" That made Eowyn laugh even harder and the next blow even more forceful.
Subject: joining in (hopefully)

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Date Posted: 16:11:43 09/27/02 Fri

Ryna went outside to get a breath of fresh air.
She started running across the snowy ground. Quoth flying behind her.
Ryna laughed up into the sky feeling much better after the horrible night last night. Some of the images she just couldnt get out of her mind and hearing her father yell wasnt nice. It was kinda scary, she relied on him for everything and last night he was as weak as herself.
Ryna was about to run towards the forest when she heard some laughter from the other direction. Spinning around she ran the other way.
Ahead of her she saw two people having a snowball fight and looking at them saw they were having lots of fun. She had never really had a snowball fight before so she moved closer.
Ryna picked up a ball of snow and threw it, she missed completely and it landed in the snow between them.
She looked up and giggled, eyes sparkling with mischief and delight.
Subject: Snow balls from the past

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Date Posted: 22:16:53 10/03/02 Thu

Quoth perched himself down on a nearby branch and settled himself down to watch. She was having so much fun. Quoth was really happy that she was happy and couldn't have wished for a better mistress than she was.
If only he remembered what had happened before she found him. What happened in the rest of his life? Quoth sighed deeply.
His eyes moved over to the couple she was playing with. They looked so exhilarated, their faces filled with smiles and laughter. He was reminded of another couple.
The snow. What was it with the snow? Something was there. He tried to grab it and pull it out of his mind. There was something there. Something.

A girl was laughing, her face filled with happiness. She was looking straight at him. "Riel?” she enquired with mock seriousness. He turned towards her and a big ball of snow hit him in the face. He gasped and…

A real ball of snow hit Quoth at that moment and knocked him off his perch. He landed upside down in the snow squawking pitifully. He looked hilarious in the white snow with just a black feathered tail sticking out.
Ryna skipped over to him laughed sympathetically and apologised. Picking him up, she popped him back on his perch and waved as she ran off once more to the fight.
Quoth stared after her, lingering over his memories.
Subject: in the past...

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Date Posted: 21:05:00 10/07/02 Mon

Rob and Lily walked up to her house in silence. Lily was lost in thought, back in the past.

“I’ll walk you home Lily.”
“Oh, thank you Peredo, that’s very kind. Mum would go nuts if I walked home on my own.”
“We can’t let that happen, can we,” and he smiled.

Just one smile from him and Lily went weak at the knees. Now she was repulsed by it, now she had nightmares about it. She shivered.
“Lily? Are you cold? Here have my coat.” Rob draped his coat over Lily’s shoulders.
“Thank you.” Lily smiled. Rob smiled back and then quickly looked away again.

“Let’s stop on this bridge a minute.”
“Oh, it looks so lovely in the moonlight.”
“Not as lovely as you.”
Lily stood staring at the ground. Peredo Leatherleaf, the Peredo Leatherleaf, the best looking boy around had noticed her! Her of all people. And even said she was lovely! All her wildest dreams had come true.
“Lily, I’ve watched you from a distance for ages and I think you’re one of the best girls around.”
Lily glanced up and met Peredo’s eyes. He moved closer and…

“Lily, we’re here.”
“Oh I’m sorry. Lost in my own thoughts. I should’ve paid more attention to you.”It’s okay, I wasn’t very talkative either.”
“Thank you so much for the dinner it was lovely. I had a great time.”
“I’m glad.” They stood there for some time in silence, just looking anywhere but at each other. “Well…sleep well Lily,” Rob finally said. “See you around. Night.”
“Night,” she whispered as he walked away and only then did she notice.
She was still clutching onto his coat.
Subject: radagast does something without ommision

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Date Posted: 21:42:34 10/07/02 Mon

Radagat had reached the border of his prison when he discovered a clue to his direction and location. Below him was a small stream which flowed northwards. Radagast had heard that no rivers, streams or any water flowed into Mordor. This meant he was travelling in the wrong direction. He decided that he would have yto turn round and head deep into the depths of Mordor if he had any hope of reaching Sauraman. How Radagast was going to reach the other side had not been though of yet. But he decided to croos that bridge when he came to it.
Subject: The pub, part million-and-something

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Date Posted: 22:19:37 10/07/02 Mon

Oh dear, I see Phil has discovered how to do marquees. Unfortunately, he hasn't learnt to slow them down so people can actually read them yet. Sorry about the people watching that post go round again and again and again so that you can read it. Incidentally, isn't my marquee far cooler?

Her eyes were shadowed, clearly going through some sort of internal struggle. This was something she couldn't run away from, or put off. She would have to reject him here and now, for good, or else accept him, and the troubles that came with him. His mouth opened to voice the final number, but she stilled him with a gentle finger over his lips, coming to a decision.
"I'm not staying here," she told him quietly. "I go back to the palace tonight- to Aragorn. You have to accept that."
He remained silent, scarcely breathing. "Do you accept that?" she pressed.
Slowly, keeping his eyes fixed on her, he nodded.
"Good." she smiled. Her hands dropped to her sides and she stepped forwards, bringing her body within the circle of his arms. Face turned upwards to his she said slowly and deliberately,

He lowered his head, trying to control his breathing. Her scent overwhelmed him. A mixture of sweet honey and cinnamon, always with a lingering impression of fresh-cut herbs that came from working in the kitchens. He slipped his arms around her, pulling Namün closer to him, feeling her soft puffs of breath on his cheek. It was intoxicating. Slowly Madjael turned her face towards him. Manwe of Arda, she's beautiful he thought to himself. He swallowed away his nervous feelings and leaned in, gently brushing his lips across her lower jaw bone. Just touching her skin caused him to gasp inwardly before he moved his mouth slightly, wanting to feel every inch of her face. Then he moved towards her lips, and he felt her warm mouth touch his.

The fingers that had slipped around his waist tightened apprehensively, and he pulled back a little.
"I'm not going to hurt you, you know." he murmured. "Just relax."
She inclined her head in the smallest of nods and he felt, rather than saw, her tension dissipate and the lithe body come to rest closer against him.

"Madjael! In the name of Arda - I know you're here!"
Subject: The prophecy

Aragorn and Anawiel [alternately yet not by character]
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Date Posted: 19:15:31 10/13/02 Sun

She tapped a rapid succession of knocks on the old wooden door and stepped fluidly into the room. It had a highly vaulted ceiling and at the far end, behind an ebony desk, sat Elessar, head in hands.

"You wanted to see me?" Suddenley Anawiel felt extremeley timid speaking to the king. The fact she had thrown him against a wall during the early part of her stay was forgotten.

"Yes," Aragorn's voice sounded rough and tired, "I need you to explain. Properly this time, about yourprophecy."
"It is not mine," she commented meekly.
"Explain it to me anyway." He raised his eyes and looked into hers briefly and to his surprise saw fear
lurking in their green depths. What is she afraid of? he wondered as she had made it clear in thepast that she certainly wasn't afraid of him. She's afraid of the future. Of what you have not yet achieved, came the answer.

In the chair opposite him she sat, twisting her dressbetween her fingers, watching intently as the material turned and folded under her hands.
"Stop that," he reprimanded gently. "Please talk to
me. Tell me everything."
She answered blankly: "I do not know everything."
He did not need to answer.

"The prophecy was formed a time after the beginning ofdays. The dark lord was then but a servant of agreater evil. There were those who saw this and triedeven then to take steps against his rising to power.Each one of them failed. And yet even then they didnot give up hope for they could foresee a time when he might fall. That time is upon us."

He sat entranced as the rehearsed words fell softly into the morning light. Slowly she began to recite.

In Earth's darkest hour the three shall rise,
The first shines in virtue's semblence,
The second's Destiny of midnight lies,
And the third will swing the balance.

From thereon and aft' the beginning of the end,
One being with hell's halo shall call,
Be wary of them or Gorthaur will ascend,
And if Hope should fail Middle-earth will fall.

They sat in silence then; The king and the thin girl
with the flaming hair.
Eventually Aragorn spoke, "so what does it mean?"
"I have told you all I know. My part of the task is over and yours begins. There is little I can do to aid you, Aragorn. This is not my battle.
It is for the free peoples of Middle-Earth, and I am not one of them.
"My mother taught me of the prophecy and there is a...an old manuscript - I do not know the accurate translation in the Common Tongue but I read it as Havskiqu almenti yittiru-abeth. It is written in the Black
The closest it comes to in this language is Codex of the Lost Days".
"It was written by," Anawiel broke off and whispered the name, "Morgoth."
But the king barely winced at the name. He looked at the ceiling for the moment, his mouth moving in barely perceptible words of thought.

" Anawiel, it is isn't it?" The young witch noddedhurriedly.

"Anawiel, can you read the Black Tongue?" Again Anawiel nodded. The tone the king was speaking in worried her even more.
"Then I would assume, and correct me if I'm wrong, you would then be able to tell me what the 'Codex' says. Is that right?"

She hesitated. Anawiel could read the Black Speech. She could speak it fluently, though she did not know how. If she told the king she could tell him what the Codex said, she would have to tell him about who she was.

About what she was. Anawiel blinked and felt the sting of tears in her eyes. She tried to say something, but no sound came out.

He would know who I was. What I would have to do. I can't lie to him. He'll kill me. I'll be hung. And then no one would stand a chance against Sauron. No one. I'd be labelled a freak. I would be a freak and an outcast. And
that would make me angry and I cannot be angry. Anger leads to hatred and hatred leads to evil.

"I can't tell you." she whispered, her voice breaking in despair as the tears began to push against her eyes painfully. "I can't."
Subject: A return to Moria

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Date Posted: 21:51:38 10/15/02 Tue

It is dark, so dark. A stone tomb, leeching the life from his veins and shrouding his senses. He can’t hear the trees here, or see the stars. Everything that reminds him that he is alive is gone, to be replaced by damp, stale air and the constant drip, drip, drip of stagnant water from far-off caves. Silent as the dead themselves, the Fellowship travel the rocky passes that have become the final resting place of the Dwarf’s kin. It has been days now.

He is dangerously close to cracking. Despite the mask of ice he wears to shield the terror from the others, his burning fear rages inside. Already, he is beginning to lose control. The normally smooth voice is brittle, the delicate elven hands that clutch his bow white at the knuckles. He doesn’t know why. He can remember doing this journey before; he can remember how much he hated being underground. But this, this is new. Last time he overcame his fears; this time, it seems they will conquer him.

There are nine of them still, unchanged, yet changed. It is no longer the heavy tread of Boromir he hears beside him, but that of his brother. And ahead, Sam, Merry and Pippin cluster protectively around Gondor’s weary queen. Arwen. It is for her that they are here, Legolas recalls. It is she they must protect. She carries something of great importance, although his heart knows not what. Aragorn fears for her. The ever-increasing lines of care on his face are furrowed, and he watches her apprehensively, a part of his soul seeming to die if she so much as stumbles on a loose rock. No longer is he the stern, alert ranger, and this worries Legolas even further, for without him, all hope is lost.

Far, far to the rear, his sharp Elven ears catch the faintest of sounds. He turns and his eyes pick out a shadowy figure lurking far back in the gloom. Vomyr. He has been following them for days now, a malevolent shadow. Legolas has tried to warn the others that he cannot be trusted, but they will not listen.
Finally, his eyes come to rest on the head of their company, at the one who lights the way and leads them forward into territory darker than night. The wisest of them all, the one they all trust without question. Lómódë.
Deep inside him, something stirs. A warning. He ignores it. Lómódë knows what she is doing. She will keep them safe…

… “They are coming!”
The shout rings out, piercing over the steady drum beat that rings from the bowels of the earth. They are coming! They are coming, and there will be no escape! They will be overpowered, and he will die here, away from his family, in the dark, where not even the trees can sing his departure. He is afraid.

Faramir barricades the door, then falls back to stand with him and Aragorn. Legolas readies his bow as they begin to tear at the wood. He can remember this- any moment now, one of the goblins will tear a hole in the door, and he will loose an arrow through into its heart. But it’s different this time. His hands are shaking, and the arrow goes wide. They break through.

Aragorn kills the first. His sword takes the creature low in the abdomen, yet as the blow strikes home, Legolas sees something else. A girl with wild black hair and golden skin crumples under the blade, her dark eyes opened wide in fear and confusion. He tries to call out to Aragorn and stop him, but it is too late. She’s dead.

And then the battle rage takes him. He takes his fear, and channels it, releasing it the only way he can- through violence. The elven bow sings it’s distorted cry as arrow after arrow leaves it, sped to their mark on a killing wing. He is out of control. Foe after foe falls to the ground. From the corner of his eye he sees one of the creatures bear down on Faramir and he looses a shot after it. But at the last moment, the Steward of Gondor makes a blow that spins his opponent from it’s path, and Faramir takes the arrow in its place. He falls to the ground, lashing out with a final, desparate stroke at his enemy.

The troll bursts in, its wild club smashing a path towards Arwen. She is backed into a corner, unable to flee. They all rush to her defence. It is one of Legolas’ own arrows that finally makes the killing blow, and the redheaded witch-girl falls lifeless to the ground.


When it is over, the battle madness lifts from his mind. And with it comes the illusion- no longer do his eyes see enemies. Slumped over Faramir’s body is Eowyn, bound to her husband even in this semblance of death. Aryante lies where Gimli’s axe felled her, and her eyes are glassy. There are so many bodies- Laeriel, Rhylin, Arracus and Derrion amongst them. The beautiful faeries were not suited for war, he reflects. They are creatures of light and happiness, much like the elves.
He recognises warriors; comrades of his. Their general, pierced in the side by a spear, lies by the battered body of Keth, while Madjael is curled near the cold form of Namün. There are people here he has never seen before- commoners, women, even children. People who should never have to fight. He has killed them, and he could not see.

Grief-stricken, he turns to Lómódë. Her features are near as cold as the dead- still and unfeeling as a marble statue. He reaches out a hand for her, and she turns away. She does not care. Sam weeps over the body of his child, and his friends for those they cared for who have been lost, but she remains impassive, and brushes him aside.

And she does not even move when Vomyr appears behind Aragorn and slits his throat. The king falls wordlessly to the floor, as the she-elf passes him by, walking through her halls of the dead.
Subject: The pub part, umm, 6? 7?

Madjael, Namün, Cirad, Harion
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Date Posted: 17:16:31 10/24/02 Thu

"Madjael! In the name of Arda - I know you're here!"

Madjael felt Namün begin to break away at the man's call, but he pulled her gently back to him, trying to make the moment stretch. He couldn't get over the fact she hadn't stopped him. It was hard not to read to deeply into things sometimes and this was definately one of those times. But he knew that Namün would never feel exactly the same. She'd always want more than he could offer her.

"MADJAEL!" he heard the man shout again, anger clearly evident in his voice. A familiar voice. Of course, thought Madjael, It's Cirad. Always had a habit of turning up when you want just a few more moments.....

He pulled away from Namün gently, studying her face intently as she slowly opened her eyes. Gods, her eyes. The thought passed in and out of Madjael's mind so fast he couldn't stop it. He loved those eyes.

Without taking his eyes from her face, Madjael finally replied to Cirad's shouts.
"I'll be out in a minute Cirad. Please - patience is a virtue." And I want it now he thought dryly, the same reply he'd said to his mother whenever she'd said that to him as a child.

He leaned down and kissed Namün on each cheek. "Goodbye fair lady," he grinned shyly as he always did when imitating high society, "Until next we meet."

She nodded gravely, understanding in her face. "Take your own advice Madjael- patience."
Without warning, she reached up and pulled his face down to hers, pressing her lips against his in a firm kiss. Was that a promise, or a goodbye? she wondered briefly to herself, inwardly smiling at the stunned expression on his face. She pulled away wordlessly before either of them had time to change their minds. That was far enough for tonight.
Unfortunately though, her exit was hindered. On pulling open the door she immediately found herself face to, well, shoulder, with a man she vaguely recognised from the couple of tournaments she had attended. He looked down at her, then across at Madjael with an easily recognisable look on his face.
Oh no Namün thought, a blush mounting over her bronzed cheeks at his rosy glance.

"Ahem," Madjael raised a highly annoyed eyebrow towards Cirad, "Namün, this is Cirad. Cirad, this is Namün. You were supposed to wait for me outside." He stressed the last word, trying to get Cirad to understand that what he was seeing was, a - not what it looked like, though very close, and b - none of his business.

"We were just leaving. Namün, shall I walk you back?"

She glanced again at Cirad, then back to Madjael. "Are you sure that's a good idea?" she demurred, although frankly, the idea of walking home alone through the darkened alleys terrified her.
"Don't bother" Cirad remained expressionless. "We've been ordered to report for Guard Duty on the city walls." Madjael shot him a glance of pure scorn. "Guard Duty? But I'm a captain! Why should I do such a meaningless chore?"
Cirad shrugged "King's orders." He glanced curiously at Namün, wondering how true the rumours were.

"Besides" he continued. "If I've got to do it, then I'm not letting you skive out of it."
Madjael pulled himself up straight. "Technically Cirad, I outrank you. Therefore I see no reason why you should be able to force me to follow orders that I don't wish to do."

Cirad felt his anger welling up again. This was one of the reasons he had always disliked Madjael, he was so infuriating.
"The difference in rank is so slight that only you would mention it." he burst out. "Anyway, the only reason is because you were careless enough to let your Captain die in the last skirmish. I managed to keep mine alive!"

Madjael didn't seem to have a ready reply for this arguement. He turned to Namün,
"It seems I'm stuck with it" he said bitterly. "I don't want you walking by yourself though."

"Don't worry about it." she attempted to reassure him, trying to push the images of men lurking in shady corners from her mind. She smiled weakly. "I'll be fine."
Madjael wasn't fooled. He turned to Harion still standing near the door.
"Could you walk her up to the palace?" he asked.

Harion sighed and reluctantly put thoughts of returning to bed out of his mind. "If it means that you'll all get out of here." he said at last. "Do you know what time it is?"

"That's settled then." Cirad started to herd Namün and Madjael towards the door.

"Wait." she hesitated, catching hold of his sleeve. "Why are they putting warriors on guard duty? I thought the common soldiers normally did that. Is something wrong?"
The glances that the two men exchanged over her head did not go unnoticed.
"What aren't you telling me?" Namün asked sharply. "Cirad?"
He ignored her. "Madjael..." she appealed.
Madjael paused, not sure what to say to Namün. There had been talk of war recently, perhaps something had happened in his absence from the castle. He should really be getting back. There was only so much time a man can spend being sentimental in one day, after all.

He shook his head towards Namün. "It's nothing to worry about just yet. Um, Harion?" He addressed the blonde young man, "I'm sure the lady will graciously accept your offer to accompany her home. If she doesn't then I accept for her. Cirad," he beckoned, "let's go."

And with that Madjael walked out of the small room, pausing only for a second to glimpse Namün as he strode out of the tavern.
Subject: WARNING: This is a flashback. Do not be confused

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Date Posted: 19:25:31 10/26/02 Sat

The rope in his hands tightened as the horse circled him. Blocking out everything else, Lia focused on the young animal’s movement as it ran. A slight flick of his hand sent a signal down the rope, the mare picked up her speed. Another flick. She was running now and he spun fast in order to follow.

The shout distracted him, the rope slipping from his fingers, its kiss running over his hands like fire in a forest of dead trees. Quickly he grabbed at its trailing end and bellowed “stop!”
The chestnut skidded to a halt and he moved quickly over to it, stroking its silky nose in reassurance but the animal’s sides still quivered and its eyes darted nervously.
“Its OK” he whispered, ignoring the one who had broken his concentration.

“Aralias!” Erlian’s voice cracked out like a whip and grudgingly his son turned from the horse.
Disapproval was written all over the hard face. “Your mother wants to see you.”
He tried to disguise how unwelcome his father’s visit was and failed. “Later,” he tried moving back to the chestnut.
“Now.” So it was not a request.
“It is over then?”
“If what you refer to is the birth of your sister,” Lia scowled, “then yes, it is over.” His father’s face softened as it always would in the future whenever he talked of his daughter. “She’s beautiful.”
“Lucky her,” Lia said, aware that he sounded like a sulky child.
Sharply that soft look was gone. “Don’t you want to meet your sister?”
Aralias pondered the idea of replying “not particularly,” but dismissed it just as swiftly, the risks far outweighed the pleasures of seeing his father livid with rage. Instead he answered “oh course,” took the horse’s reign and walked it back to its stable before following his father into their home.
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