Mythgard RP!

Discussion in 'Roleplaying Anyone?' started by ramz711, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. ramz711

    ramz711 New Member

    I've been woefully neglectful of this thread, but that's going to change. I've a ton of logs to post, and they'll be going up over the next few days as I get them edited.
  2. ramz711

    ramz711 New Member

    Chapter 9: A Chilly Reception

    Maegdin stirs the fire in the grey light of early dawn. He tosses another few branches on the fire before heating a skillet and beginning to cook a rasher of bacon for an early breakfast.
    Minabel spots the group at a campsite at the top of the ridge. "Ah, you are exactly where that Ranger Saeradan said you would be."
    Trumodir comes up to the campfire after checking her horse and sees Mina there. "Greetings!"
    Bialver opens his eyes as fire begins to crackle, sniffs the bacon, then digs three honeycakes out of the backpack which has served him as a pillow. He tosses the honeycakes to Trumodir, then levers himself up and goes to see to Utsending, his mare.
    Trumodir smells the bacon and quickly backs away from the fire.

    Minabel turns to Trumodir. "Greetings, Trumodir. Well wishes to you all. I am sorry that I became separated from you two days ago. I was in bed and that Ranger Saeradan told me where to find you.”
    Arasthel lays curled up on her bedroll, but as the gentle sounds of the others moving reaches her ears, she wakes, sitting up while rubbing her eyes. "Morning, all." She murmurs sleepily.
    Adaldag moves over to the fire and joins the others. He nods to the returned Minabel and then looks over the food being prepared.
    Maegdin raises a hand in welcome as Mina rejoins them. 'I'm just glad you were willing to come with us and that you're well. You're just in time for a meal, and then we'll be off on the road again. I hope to make Trestlebridge before the day is out.' He turns the bacon and pulls out his plate as it finishes cooking.

    Arasthel reaches for her hat, now dry after the rain drenched it, and pulls it onto her head, tucking all hair up underneath it.
    Bialver comes back to the fire, and nods a welcome to Mina.
    Minabel looks at the bacon and her mouth waters. "This all looks so good. I must admit that I missed you all, even if it felt good to sleep in a real bed for a couple of days and to have a nice hot bath."
    Trumodir nods at Bialver in thanks for the honeycakes he provided, thankful that there is something to eat besides burnt flesh.
    Maegdin smiles. 'I hope you enjoyed it, because it may be some days before we find hot baths again.'
    Arasthel smiles at Mina. "Welcome back." She says quietly.
    Minabel looks over the group. Thank you all."
    Adaldag helps himself to some bacon whenever it's ready.
    Bialver digs three honeycakes out of his pack for himself, and moves out of the smoke of the fire.

    Maegdin tests the bacon with his fork, and nods. He pulls a couple pieces off for himself and gestures to the others for plates. 'Come now, quickly. I'd like to be on our way before the sun is fully up. We've a long road yet today.'
    Trumodir calls to the others from some distance away from the fire, "Yes, best hurry, the sun will not tarry!"
    Minabel takes a few slabs of bacon. "Um, bacon is my favorite food."
    Adaldag quickly eats his bacon and then moves over to his pile of armour so that he can assemble himself.
    Arasthel smiles at Maegdin and thanks him, reaching for a plate of food. She eats quickly, but saves a portion for Birdie, who was currently up in the air.

    Minabel gets up from the log where she was sitting and straightens her dress with her hands. She grabs her bow and walks over to Maegdin. "I am ready to go."
    Trumodir replies, "Me too"
    Bialver finishes up his honeycakes, dusts off his hands, and goes to saddle Utsending, who is cropping grass not far away
    Maegdin finishes quickly and packs his few things. He walks to a nearby spring to clean his cooking gear, as well as fetch water to douse the fire. His few preparations completed, he saddles his horse and waits for the others to ready themselves.
    Adaldag moves over to his horse as well, waiting for the others to move before he mounts it.
    Trumodir leaps onto Marr's back and whispers, "Well, faithful friend, let's see what this day has in store for us."
    Bialver checks Utsending's tack one last time, leads her to the spring to drink, and refills his water bottle before he mounts up
    Arasthel rises, packing up the last of her things and moving to her horse to tie her pack to the saddle.
    Minabel unties her horse from a nearby bush. "Come Rosalyn". Let us be off.

    Bialver knees her gently over to where the others are gathered.
    Maegdin nods to the others and climbs onto his horse. 'Well, if we're ready...' He turns towards the north and leads the way along the crest of the hills till they come to a break where they can return to the lowlands and the Greenway.
    Adaldag climbs atop his horse and follows Maegdin.
    Bialver rides carefully, always trying to find the softest surface for his horse's feet, but the day is long and hot, and horse and rider both begin to flag.
    Trumodir throws her head back, allowing her hair to stream behind her, exulting in the ride.
    Minabel taps Brianne gently on her flank and she begins to trot gracefully.

    The journey north passes uneventfully. Though the day is somewhat hot for the season of the year, it is not unpleasantly so. In the afternoon, a light breeze kicks up, and clouds begin to stream up out of the West. The company eats a frugal lunch in the shadow of a few trees to the east of the Greenway, and then they continue on their way at a trot.

    As the Sun touches the tops of the hills to the west, they come to a long defile leading up into the first of the North Downs. Matt turns in the saddle and smiles. 'We've made good time. Trestlebridge is right at the top of this....' He trails off as the breeze blows the scent of smoke down towards them. His face darkens and he kicks his horse to a gallop, charging on up the hill.
    Adaldag kicks his horse into a gallop as well and follows closely behind Maegdin.
    Arasthel also urges her horse forward at a quickened pace, and at the amount of smoke, frowns.
    Trumodir senses the cause of the smoke and her face darkens in anger

    Maegdin draws Randir to a halt as they crest the hill and Trestlebridge comes into view. Wisps of smoke curl from within the town, more than would be expected from simple hearth-fires. The guards at the gate look warily at the company as they come up the road, but the town's wall seems to secure still.
    As they reach the gate, Utsending becomes restive at the smell of smoke...and less pleasant things. She shies and sidles while Bialver talks to her softly.
    Adaldag rushes forward toward the guards. "What happened?" he asks. It's possible the guards would recognize him, as he is no stranger to Trestlebridge and has family here.
    Minabel wrinkles her nose. "What is that awful smell?" What besides the town burned?" She takes out a handkerchief from her corset and covers her nose.

    The guards relax noticeably as Adaldag comes up. 'Well, looks like Tenderlarch finally decided to send someone. I'm glad it's you, Ada. We've had a rough time of it the last week or so. We've been dealing with some Orc raids out of the Downs! Never heard of them around here before, but we started gettin' refugees from the farms up in Kingsfell last Sunday, and then on Hevensday, we started getting Orcs attackin' the far end o' the Trestlespan!'

    The man continues. 'Things came to a head two days ago on Starsday: that fool Hinton fell asleep at his post, and next thing we knew, half the town was on fire and a dozen Orcs were runnin' through the streets! We had a couple folks killed dead, even!' The guard shakes his head. 'Hinton's lucky the Cap'n only drummed him out of the Watch and clapped him in the stocks. If it were up to me, I'd 'ave hucked his sorry carcass off the Trestlespan.'

    Maegdin rides up next to Adaldag. His eyes widen with surprise at the mention of Orcs. 'Orcs, you say? Here in the North Downs? But how can that be?'
    Minabel turns to Maegdin. "What are orcs?"
    Trumodir interject, "They are vile servants of the Enemy! I hate them more than anything! Just let me at them!"
    Arasthel frowns more at their report, then looks warily at the others. "How did orcs come so close to Bree without anyone noticing?"
    Bialver leans over Utsending's neck. ''Shhhh, girl....shhh...'' he says soothingly.

    Minabel turns to Trumodir. "Do you suppose they know Sharkey?"
    Trumodir says, "Who is Sharkey?"
    Minabel wrinkles her nose again. "Sharkey is some thug who hires men to attack the local farmers. He sent men to kill my parents. I suspect that it is a false name. No one seems to know who Sharkey really is."
    Trumodir adds, "I don't care who they know or don't know, they don't deserve to live and if I have a chance, I'll make sure they don't!"

    Adaldag pales as the watcher tells his story, but he nods. "Hinton always was a rather dull fellow." He looks at Maegdin, then back to the guard. "These folks with me are all friends and won't cause any problems. We'll do what we can to help around town." He peers into the gate. "Do you know if my brothers made it out alright? Garet and Henrick?"

    The guard nods at Ada. 'Yes, your kin are fine. A bit spooked, like all the rest of us, but none the worse for wear.' He looks over the others behind Ada, and his face hardens when he sees the Ranger. 'We'll certainly welcome you and your friends, Ada, but his kind's not welcome here.' He points an accusing finger at Matt. 'Them Rangers wander all about, north, south, and east, but they never bothered to give us any warnin' that this trouble was brewing. He can either turn around, or pass through town if he must, but he'll find neither bread nor rest here.'

    Bialver mutters to Trumodir ''And they see more than you'd think, while they wander...''
    Trumodir mutters back, "Everyone must prove himself to strangers"
    Maegdin sighs, as if unsurprised at this. He looks at Ada and the others. 'I don't want to cause any trouble,' he says softly. 'If you'll let me pass through and over the bridge, that will be enough.'
    Adaldag frowns at the guard. "He's as much a friend as the others, and he'd give his life for this town if he had to. You judge too harshly. Don't let anger at these orcs drive away allies, especially good ones like him." He jerks his head at Maegdin.
    Arasthel watches the others speaking with the guards as a cry from Birdie is heard. Her falcon descends to land on her saddlebag.

    The guard opens his mouth to protest and takes a step toward Matt, but the Ranger raises his hand. 'No,' he says firmly. 'I'll not be a cause of argument between you and yours. I've spent many a night sleeping on the road before. One more won't kill me. Take your rest here tonight, and if you will, I'll meet you on the Greenway a half-hour's ride north of the bridge tomorrow.' He nods to the guards and makes his way through the town and over the bridge, ignoring the dark looks and muttered insults as he goes. Just before he rides up the causeway onto the bridge, a clod of dirt strikes him in the side of the head. He simply brushes it out of his hair and off his shoulder before continuing on his way and making camp within sight of the bridge's end.

    Bialver exchanges a glance with Trumodir
    Trumodir interjects, "no reason for me to stay in this town tonight. I'll go along with you to keep you company" She follows behind the Ranger, growling at the folk as she passes
    Bialver smiles. "Well spoken, Dughter of the Knurrebjorner"
    Trumodir calls behind her, "Bialver, aren't you coming?"
    Bialver leans foward and whispers in his mare's ear, then knees her into a trot through the town and crosses the bridge. He shrugs and says to Trumodir as he trots up to her "She doesn't like the smell of the town..."

    Adaldag frowns at the townspeople as he brings his horse to the stables. He quickly hands it off to the stablehand and takes off at a run toward where his family house was. He calls out to the others as he runs, "I'll join you all in the morning! I must visit my family!"
    Minabel looks after Maegdin and Trumodir. "I hope you do not mind if I look for an inn in town? Smell aside, it beats another night outdoors."
    Arasthel is also frowning as she nudges her horse onwards to the stables. Once there, she dismounts and moves Birdie to her shoulder as she unties her pack. "I suppose now we must find a place to sleep..."

    Maegdin finds a spot overlooking the bridge and the Greenway to make camp, and busies himself for a few moments preparing a fire before settling in for the night. He nods companionably to Trumodir and Bialver, but says nothing.
    Trumodir sees to her horse, whispering in its ear and stroking its soft muzzle, then draws near to the fire.
    Bialver settles himself by the fire, elbows on knees, chin on hands
    Trumodir settles herself with an arm under her head and gazes up at the night sky; she smiles as she reflects on how she can see the same stars as fill the night at home in the Vales.

    Maegdin pulls an apple from his pack and takes a bite before saying softly, 'You did not have to come with me. The townsfolk here would certainly welcome you, especially if Adaldag vouches for you.'
    Trumodir responds, "Tru is my name and true I am; I won't stay where one of my group isn't welcome".
    Bialver shrugs "Stuffy little room that smells like panic, and the soot of no clean fire? I'll sleep sounder out here." He grins at Trumodir and adds "And what'd we do should harm came to you, Ranger? Sulk back to Bree and try to face we-know-not-what on our own?"

    Maegdin looks between the two of them and smiles slightly. 'Thank you for your concern, but I can handle myself. I've spent many a night sleeping in the wilds. I'm older than I look.' He finishes his apple and tosses the core in the fire. 'I thank you, though. It is good to be accepted on my own merits for once.'
    Trumodir shakes her head and murmurs, "People ought to get to know someone before they judge him."
    Bialver gestures vaguely at the downs stretching away north, and the hills rising to the east "Unchancy lands, Ranger."

    Maegdin looks over at Trumodir as he pulls a piece of cram from his pouch. 'Trust for strangers is rare in these parts, and you must admit that I have something of a rascally look about me, do I not?' He looks over at Bialver. 'Not for me. I've walked these hills for many a year, and know them like the back of my hand.' He takes a bite of the bread and begins chewing.
    Trumodir rolls over, her eyes heavy, and murmurs a good-night to the others
    Bialver fills his pipe. "Best we stick to you, then. rascally or no""

    Maegdin nods to Bialver. After a long while, he finally swallows. 'Take your rest. I want to set off as soon as the others arrive tomorrow morning. We still have some miles to go.'
    Bialver lights his pipe with a splinter of wood from the edge of the fire, and puffs contentedly for a time. Eventually, he knocks the dottle out of his pipe, nods a "goodnight" to Matt, and stretches out by the fire.
    Maegdin continues to sit next to the fire throughout the night. Finally, in the wee hours, he lies down and take a few hours' rest.
  3. ramz711

    ramz711 New Member

    Chapter 10: Unexpected Company

    Maegdin awakes as the first faint light of dawn begins to lighten the east. He stokes the fire and gathers his things to make the departure easier.
    Bialver stirs at the sound of the fire beginning to crackle, and lumbers off to find water
    Trumodir opens her eyes at the faintest hint of dawn; she rolls over and sees Matt at the fire.
    Maegdin raises a hand in greeting to Trumodir as she wakes, but says nothing. He sits in silence and puffs on his pipe as he waits for day to break.
    Trumodir sits up, and taking a small packet from her bag, unwraps it and eats the honey cake it contained.

    Bialver finds a pool east of the Greenway from their night's camp – an un-looked-for good fortune. He peels away his armour and his clothes and jumps in with a whoop. He climbs out after a thorough ducking, shakes himself dry, and comes back to the fire with his mail over his arm.
    Maegdin raises an eyebrow at Bialver, but remains silent. His gaze shifts between the eastern hills, beginning to glow in the light of dawn, and the Road, both north and south.

    Miriaden strode through the hills with the silent step expected of her people, her head turning at the sound of voices in the distance. Hesitating for a moment with a squint, she listens for a moment before heading in that direction to investigate.
    Trumodir follows Matt's gaze, keeping her thoughts to herself
    Bialver rummages in his pack for a slightly battered honeycake, and goes off munching to see to his mare.

    Maegdin smiles slightly at Trumodir. 'We'll not leave till the others arrive. Though perhaps I should quench the fire...' He stands and does so before burying the ashes and sitting back down.
    Miriaden pauses a little distance away, giving a curious look to the group camped there. She heads their direction, a warm smile on her face. "Hello!" She calls out to them, lifting her hand in a wave.
    Trumodir calls out, “Hello stranger! Who be you?”
    Maegdin stands as he catches sight of the newcomer. He smiles broadly as he recognises the voice. 'Is that you, Annie?' he calls. 'This is an unexpected surprise, but certain not unwelcome!'
    Trumodir glances at Matt. "You know her?" she asks.

    Miriaden smiles at Tru and was about to answer, but at hearing Maegdin's voice, she smiles widely and looks at him. "Matt?" She walks towards him as though greeting a long lost relative.
    Minabel looks the stranger up and down. "Are you a Ranger too?" she asks the stranger.
    Maegdin walks over to Annie and embraces her as a brother would. 'I did not think to find you here, cousin,' he says with joy plain to see. 'What brings you here to the north?'

    Miriaden smiles warmly to him, lifting her arms to give him a brief embrace. "I had thought you remained near Bree. I returned to the North, scouting the rise of..." she glances to the group for warily for a moment, then says, "Orcs."
    Bialver looks up sharply at the word
    Minabel sighs and says under her breath, "Great, another of those 'Rangers.' Welcome," she says to Miriaden. "Did you say your name was "Anne?"
    Trumodir growls fiercely, her fingers flexing as though they were claws
    Maegdin notices the unspoken words and nods. 'Much the same has led us here,' he says. 'We found some troubling news which needs shared. Do you have any news from the rest of our kith and kin?'

    Minabel turns to Bialver, "Do you suppose all of those 'Rangers' are somehow related to each other? They all seem to be each other's 'cousin.'”
    Bialver shrugs "Gladsome it is to meet kin unexpected"
    Miriaden 's expression grows grim as she looks up to Maegdin. "Orcs and men from Angmar making their way through our lands." She says vaguely.

    Maegdin 's face sets hard at the news. 'Then we must make all haste that we can,' he says. He looks at Minabel. 'Where are Adaldag and Arasthel? Have they chosen to stay in Trestlebridge? We can't wait for them any longer.'
    Minabel looks at Maegdin. "I do not know. I did not see them at the inn when I came to the main room this morning. Perhaps they stayed for breakfast. I hear they are serving boar steak and eggs with bread and honey."

    Miriaden turns her attention to the other members of the group, adopting a warm smile again, her usual desire to put others at ease returning.
    Bialver looks her over curiously, but smiles and makes a slight bow.
    Minabel decides that she may like this Ranger, particularly since she seems to have good taste in shoes.
    Trumodir smiles broadly, glad to know that this is Matt's cousin, which is a good enough recommendation to her

    Miriaden looks from the group back to Maegdin. "And what of your task?"
    Maegdin sighs and turns away from Trestlebridge. 'We can't wait for them any longer. Let's be on our way. They know we head north. I'll have to trust that they can catch us up if they wish to follow.' He mounts Randir and looks down at Annie. 'Can you come with us, or are you headed back to Bree-land?'
    Minabel mounts Brianna and follows Maegdin.
    Bialver goes to saddle Utsending, who is grazing nearby.
    Trumodir calls Marr to her side and mounts her swiftly.

    Miriaden nods to him. "I was returning to our refuge, but I could join you, though I have no horse." She says, looking at all of them on their steeds.
    Maegdin nods. 'However, without a horse, you would delay us. Climb up behind me. Randir can bear us both, at least until we reach our journey's end.'
    Miriaden nods up to him, crossing to Randir. "Thank you, Matt." She reaches a hand up to him for aid mounting.
    Maegdin nods to the others. 'Let's be off, then.' With that, he rides down the hill to the Greenway and sets off to the north at a steady pace.

    The trip north passes uneventfully. By the early afternoon, the hills to the east have fallen away from the road and a long broad land slopes up to the east. As the sun goes down and the shadows lengthen, the company comes to a crossroads. A cart track leads off into the eastern highlands, while the remains of the Greenway continue north into a dim, misty vale. Matt pauses by the crossing and looks back at the others. He points to the east. 'That is our path, but first, there is someone I need to speak with. From the signs I've seen, he's encamped to the north.'

    Trumodir peers north and shudders slightly at the sight of dead trees
    Miriaden glances toward Fornost, then around at their surroundings out of habit.
    Minabel looks at Fornost and shudders. "Look at that field with dead trees. How sad? No good hunting grounds?"
    Bialver squints out over the downs, muttering to himself
    Maegdin looks at the others, noticing the worry. 'With luck, we won't have to head out onto the downs,' he says. 'Let's find my friend. We can camp with him tonight.' With that, he heads up into the hills to the northwest.

    Maegdin leads the company over the ridges for perhaps half an hour before coming upon a ruined wall atop a cliff looking down into the downs before Deadman's Dike. He dismounts and calls out a halloo. A man clad in brown and grey walks around the wall, visibly relaxing when he sees Matt and Annie. 'Ah, welcome, friends,' he says. 'Make yourselves at home.' He waves them towards his fire with a slight smile.
    Maegdin walks up and grasps the man's arm in greeting. 'Hello again, Mincham,' he says with a slight smile. 'It's been some time. I hope you're well, though I wish we could have met in better circumstances than this.' He gives a wary glance off to the north, now quickly falling into dusk.

    Trumodir dismounts and leads her horse near where another is grazing, presumably the horse of the ranger sitting by the fire
    Miriaden dismounts before Maegdin, turning to greet their host with a smile.
    Bialver looks around for shelter for his mare, but, finding none, turns her loose to graze.
    Minabel dismounts from Brianna and ties her to a tree. She takes an apple out from the pockets in her dress and gives it to her. "Sorry that there is no sweet grass here, my dearest steed." She moves over to the fire and sits down next to the Ranger there.

    Mincham scowls slightly at the north and nods. 'I've grown used to it, it seems. I'm surprised to see you with companions, though, Maegdin. There must be some reason for it, which you can speak of later.'
    Maegdin nods and settles himself by the fire. 'Indeed, we shall.' He looks around at the others. 'For now, though, I think I speak for all of us when I say that a fire and something warm to eat would suffice. We won't impose on your hospitality for long.'
    Miriaden goes to stand next to Mincham, giving him a wry smile at her swift return. She only left here this morning. She takes a place at the fire as well, pulling out a few rations.

    Bialver sits and shrugs off his pack, stretching out his legs before the fire
    Minabel pulls out some boar jerky from her pocket and nibbles at it; a look of discomfort of looking forward to a hard night spreading on her face.
    Trumodir looks over at the ranger Mincham. "Would you happen to have any cream or cheese?" she asks
    Minabel looks at Mincham as well. "That would be lovely" she says
    Bialver sighs and digs in his pack for a couple of honeycakes
    Miriaden takes a bite of her small loaf of bread, looking around the group with a curious expression. She gives an amused smile at the question, shaking her head slightly.

    Mincham nods and settles himself by the fire, turning the coneys he has cooking as he does so. 'I'm afraid that I haven't,' he says in response to Trumodir. 'It's rather difficult to get anything besides game here, and not even that is all fit to eat. I'm afraid all I have are these coneys and some skins to keep you warm tonight. The north wind can bite deep here.'
    Bialver silently passes half the honeycakes to Trumodir
    Trumodir turns to Bialver with a look of thanks in her eyes
    Minabel shivers and turns to Mincham. "How can you bear this desolation and wind?"
    Mincham shrugs. 'You just get used to it,' he says simply. 'There's nothing else for it.'

    Minabel inquires of Mincham. "Is it true that a great battle was fought here years ago and that a king defeated an evil sorcerer? My father used to tell me stories of the North Downs beyond Bree.”

    Miriaden frowns a little at Mina's question, taking a bite of her bread as she pushes her hood from her head.
    Mincham sits silently for a few moments, testing the coneys. As he pulls them from the fire and cuts them up, he says, 'Yes, there was, but I don't think we should speak of it now.' He begins to pass around the meat to any who would take it.
    Minabel looks surprised at Mincham's response. "Why ever not, it all sounds so romantic and exciting. All those knights fighting." The Ranger does not answer her.
    Maegdin accepts the dinner gladly, and eats in silence, for the most part. The company engages in small talk for some time as the night closes in, until some of the party begin to nod off.

    Miriaden gives Maegdin a silent, questioning look as she eats, but doesn't ask now.
    Trumodir scoots back a bit from the fire, as usual when other are eating "burned flesh", as she calls it.
    Bialver dusts the crumbs off his hands, arranges his pack as a pillow, lays his club and bow within reach, and falls asleep without taking off his chainmail.
    Once the others have finished eating, Trumodir inches back toward the fire and putting her arm under her head, lies down and falls asleep.
    Maegdin sits up for some time, glancing between the fire and the downs to the north. As the others fall asleep, he moves over next to Mincham and speaks quietly and with some urgency.
    Miriaden finishes eating and rises, walking towards the edge of the camp in her usual vigil over the fields.
  4. ramz711

    ramz711 New Member

    Chapter 11: The North Downs

    Maegdin walks back to the campfire from his vigil over the camp as the sky begins to lighten. He gently shakes Mincham awake and leaves him to begin preparing the food. Matt goes back to looking out over the northern fields. The mists and fogs lie thick there, shrouding the distant gates of Fornost from their view, and a low roof of clouds has rolled in from the West overnight.

    Trumodir gets up and stretches. "What will this day bring, I wonder?" she says to herself
    Bialver rolls over and grumbles, looking for a blanket to pull over his head
    Miriaden stood at the far edge of the camp, eyes trained on the fields of Fornost. Her hand rested on the hilt of her dagger out of habit as she kept vigil.
    Minabel turns over in her sleeping bag and pulls the covers up to her chin. "Must we get up now? It is so cold and the fire is so weak". When she receives no response, Minabel reluctantly gets out of her bag and begins rolling it up. She then looks for a stream to wash her face, neck, and hands.
    Trumodir strides up to Maegdin and asks, "Is that where we're headed today?" nodding toward the north.
    Maegdin nods in response to Trumodir. 'Yes. I'll explain over breakfast. Go get warm by the fire.' He pulls his hood up against the chill.

    Finding no stream and feeling very sticky and uncomfortable with the humidity of the low lying mists, Minabel goes over to the fire and begins warming her hands.
    Trumodir strides back to where Bialver is lying and gives him a swift kick. "Wake up!" she says loudly.
    Minabel looks across the Fields of Fornost and begins to shudder. "Is it my imagination or are there ghosts walking around out there?"
    Bialver blearily opens his eyes and looks at his kinswoman. "Why are you kicking me?" he asks
    Trumodir replies, "Because you're lazy".
    Bialver snorts "And who stayed up all night at the Landvættr's?”
    Minabel looks away from the Fields and back at the fire. "I do not like the look of that field. When can we leave here?"

    Miriaden finally pulls her eyes from the darkened field and strides over to Maegdin. "I was through there not long ago."
    Maegdin looks over his shoulder at the others by the campfire, and then speaks in a soft voice to Miriaden. <S>'And what did you see out there, cousin? Mincham fears that Orcs have come down from the north and taken the ruins.'
    Bialver grunts and stands up, digging in his pack for a honeycake and his waterskin
    Miriaden nods, murmuring back to Maegdin. <S> "Orcs have filled Fornost and are beginning a patrol of the road. They have camps now set up outside the ruins also."
    Bialver investigates a tub of water near the camp's only tent, and carefully scoops some onto his head

    Maegdin sighs and shakes his head. <S>'That is ill news, and we must needs bear it to Esteldín. At least we no longer need to take the journey north Mincham asked of us, and we can depart in haste once we have broken our fast.'
    Minabel sees that Bialver has found a tub of water. Once everyone has moved away from the area, she gets in the tub full clothed and begins to scrub her arms and legs.
    Miriaden turns to look to Maegdin, then over her shoulder at the others. <S> "What comes next for your companions?"

    Mincham busies himself with making a quick meal. He boils a pot of water and makes porridge for the group, along with toasting a few slices of bread. He hums to himself as he does so.
    Bialver sniffs at the scent of porridge in the air, and puts the honeycake back in his pack.
    Minabel gets out of the tub and walks over to Mincham. "Do you have any coney for that porridge? I can hunt some. I know how to skin and boil a brace of coneys".
    Bialver mutters to Trumodir "We'll save the Honunghleifr for time of need"
    Trumodir nods silently. She says, "I'm glad it's porridge and not bacon"
    Bialver asks Mincham "is there water nearby, Ranger? I fear our friend has spoiled your supply"

    Maegdin turns his eyes away from the north and looks back at his fellows. <S>'I do not know. I told you yesternight of the news we bear from the Barrow-downs. I know not what Halbarad shall ask of me, but I know that these who come with me will not wish to stay behind.' He smiles slightly. <S>'I knew not that such courage could be found in Bree, but they have not disappointed. I only hope our roads do not lead into darkness.' He looks her in the face. <S>'Will you come with us to Esteldîn, cousin, or is your errand too urgent to delay?'
    Miriaden smiles gently at Maegdin and nods. <S> "My dealings with Breefolk have oft surprised me also...and I will join you as you journey to Esteldin. I am to check in with Halbarad for my next task."

    Mincham looks up at Bialver's words. 'Hrm? What's that? There's a spring down the hill to the north that's clean enough. It's probably rather cold this morning, though.' He looks over and catches sight of Mina and sighs.
    Bialver 's eyes follow Mincham's pointing finger, and he sets off down the slope to the east
    Bialver turns back at Mincham's sigh, and picks up the tub of water
    Minabel blushes. "I did not mean to spoil your drinking water. I though it was a bath tub. You do have a pavilion with a tub near here, do you not?"
    Bialver rolls his eyes to Trumodir, and sets off down the hill
    Bialver returns some minutes later with the tub now full of fresh water, and sts it down by the tent.
    Bialver bows ironically to Mina, points to the tub, and mimes drinking.

    Trumodir sighs and says heavily, "I wish Matt would stop whispering to Annie and come tell us what the plans are for the day."
    Bialver shrugs, and goes back down the hill for his own ablutions
    Trumodir scratches herself thoughtfully
    Minabel frowns at Bialver's jest and turn to Mincham. "Where is your army?" and then turns to Maegdin "What are you two Rangers talking about and what kind of language is that anyway?"

    Maegdin nods. <S>'Very well, then. Let us eat and be on our way.' With that he returns to the others and settles himself near the fire. 'Here, cousin. I'll take over with that. Annie has something she needs to tell you. In private,' he adds, looking at the others.
    Miriaden follows Matt to the fire, her steps nearly silent. She nods to Mincham and smiles.
    Bialver looks hopefully at the boiling pot of porridge
    Maegdin takes the spoon and continues to stir the porridge as Mincham turns to Annie and walks off. Matt looks up at Mina. 'What do you mean, army? There's been no army in these parts since the days of the kings.' He ladles a little bit of the porridge into his bowl and tries it. 'Yep. It's ready. Hand over your eating gear, and I'll get you set.'

    Bialver hands over his wooden bowl with alacrity
    Miriaden heads off with Mincham to speak privately.
    Bialver digs around in his pack and pulls out a wooden spoon, carved with with what could be bee-skeps
    Trumodir pulls her horn spoon out of a pocket

    Maegdin ladles out porridge into bowls as they're handed to him, as well as passing out pieces of toasted bread. Finally, he sets aside bowls for Annie and Mincham, and then serves himself. He settles down to eat quickly, paying no heed to the others for a few moments.
    Trumodir stares hard at Matt, waiting for him to speak
    Bialver tastes his porridge and nods to the Ranger.
    Bialver scrapes his bowl clean with his spoon, and bows towards the pot where it sits by the fire. He mutters, "a blezanarorð to the grautr in time of need"

    Miriaden murmurs her conversation with Mincham in hushed tones in Sindarin. They both occasionally look over towards Fornost before continuing their discussion. Finally they return to the group, taking their bowls. Annie smiles warmly at Maegdin and says. "Thank you for dishing up for us. I am grateful." She eats quickly.
    Maegdin looks up and smiles slightly as Annie and Mincham return. He finishes his breakfast and then looks around at the others. 'Once you're ready, friends, we'll be heading off. We've no cause to go north, it seems, and I'm as happy as you to hear that news. We'll make our way east into the Kingsfell today.

    Trumodir looks up at the sky and nods. "The day isn't getting any younger, and I expect you're taking us a fair distance".
    Minabel sighs "Lead on, Rangers. It cannot get any worse than this no matter where we go."
    Bialver puts his gear away, shoulders his pack and his bow, and goes to saddle Utsending
    Maegdin nods to Trumodir. 'We do have a good way to ride today. Once you're all ready, we'll get on our way.' With that, he stands up and packs up his few things. He walks over and speaks softly with Mincham before going to stand next to his horse and wait for the others.
    Bialver returns to the fire, Utsending ambling after him.

    Miriaden shovels the last of her porridge into her mouth, looking slightly less than ladylike about it, but then she was never one for dainty manners. Setting her empty bowl aside, she rises and dusts off her trousers, giving Mina a little look at her comment before grabbing her pack and heading to Maegdin's horse.
    Trumodir whistles to Marr, who comes near at the sound

    Minabel looks sideways at Miriden and wonders how someone can be so unladylike.
    Bialver leans comfortably against the mare's side, waiting for the party to get itself organized before he mounts
    Minabel calls Brianna over and climbs daintily onto her back.
    Maegdin nods to the others as he sees that they are ready. He climbs up on Randir, and then offers a hand to Annie to climb up behind him again.
    Miriaden grabs Matt's hand, accepting his help as she climbs up behind him. She murmurs a thank you.
    Bialver mounts up and knees Utsending over to Trumodir and her steed.

    Maegdin bows his head in farewell to Mincham. 'Be well, cousin.' With that, he leads the company back to the Greenway and then turns east, riding up into the hills and away from the chill that shrouds the fields of Fornost.
    Minabel rides after Maegdin, happy to leave behind this dreary cold place.
    Bialver clucks to his horse and follows the Ranger

    * * * * * * *

    The day dawns clear and cold over the small camp beside the stream. Maegdin leans against a ruined wall and looks out east over the Kingsfell, then back to the others just beginning to stir beside the embers of the fire. He knocks the dottle out of his pipe and sets about dousing and burying the ashes.
    Miriaden walks through the tall grasses, having been out scouting the last couple of hours. Looking over the group, then to Maegdin, she walks to the fire and sits, pulling out her rations to eat.
    Trumodir wakens with a loud yawn, leaps up, and stretches herself
    Bialver yawns and stretches, his eyes half closed, not really interested in being awake yet.

    Trumodir wanders over to the fire. "Where are we?" she asks Miriaden
    Bialver cracks an eye open, curious to hear the answer to Trumodir's question
    Miriaden gives Tru an easy smile and looks around. "This area is called the Kingsfell. There isn't much out here, though some farmers still own land here."
    Trumodir muses, "it's a pleasant enough place"
    Bialver decides he's awake whether he likes it or not, and rolls to his feet. His eyes light up when he notices the stream.

    Maegdin stamps out the final coals with his boot and starts to spread the ashes. He looks over at Trumodir. 'Aside from the farmers, there are few other folk,' he says. 'We're almost at the end of our trek, though. You can look forward to sleeping inside and having a decent meal tonight.' He smiles slightly and finishes filling in the fire pit.
    Trumodir replies, "sleeping outside never bothers me"
    Bialver carefully lays aside his clothes where they'll stay dry, gives a shout and runs towards the water, launcing himself from the bank with a loud whoop
    Trumodir adds, "I do hope they have honey there"
    Miriaden wraps up the remaining provisions before taking a drink from her flagon of water. She nods and puts her things back into her pack. "I look forward to sleeping on a real bed again. And a mug of ale will sit nicely." She chuckles a little.

    Bialver swims accross the stream and back, then climbs out and shakes himseld vigorously
    Maegdin looks down the hill at Bialver's antics and shakes his head, a smile on his face. He looks to Trumodir and shrugs. 'Do you know, I've never thought to ask when I've been there. I suppose we'll find out tonight.' He settles down and pulls some biscuits and cured meat from his pouch. 'Eat quickly. I'd like to leave soon.'
    Bialver rolls himself dry in the grass, and begins to dress.
    Trumodir takes a swig from her waterskin and nibbles on a honeycake she had in her pocket
    Miriaden lifts a brow, trying to suppress her smile at Bialver's antics.

    Bialver gestures towards the stream. ''That's mountain water',' he says, 'but it's come a long way''
    Maegdin smiles and nods at Bialver, but says nothing, being too busy eating.
    Trumodir paces impatiently. "The sun is rising higher in the sky; I don't know how far this place is that you're taking us to, but we'd best get going"
    Bialver frowns. "Too clean for the witch-kingdom, nor the taste of Forochel's ice floes." He looks to the Ranger. "What's north of here?"
    Maegdin swallows a mouthful of water from his skin and stands up. 'There are high hills to the north,' he says. 'The ice-lands are on the further side, but the streams that flow from them are fresh and clean. The ones further west feed Lake Evendim and the Brandywine.' He walks over to where his horse is picketed and begins saddling him for the day's journey.

    Bialver whistles for him mare, who has been calmly cropping grass nearby, and whispers against her ears before he saddles and bridles her.
    Trumodir follows suit, whistling for her horse.
    Trumodir leaps onto her horse and gives a cry of exaltation, glad to be journeying to a new place today.
    Bialver shoulders his pack and bow, loads Utsending's saddlebags, and hoists himself into the saddle.
    Maegdin cinches the final strap and climbs on his horse. He gives Miriaden a hand up and then looks around at the others before nodding and leading them at a steady pace across the bridge and into the fells.
    Miriaden takes Maegdin's hand and climbs up behind him.

    Trumodir starts singing an old beorning song about the beautiful morning.
    Bialver joins Trumodirs song in a slightly off-key basso profundo

    Maegdin smiles as he rides along, hearing the Easterners' voices rise on the morning breeze. As the sun climbs up the sky ahead of them, the day begins to grow warm, though a steady breeze from the northern hills keeps the company comfortable. They pass a number of small farmsteads set well back from the trail, but they can neither see nor hear any other voices. Nor are there any lines of smoke visible from the chimneys. Maegdin scowls slightly as he notices this and quickens his pace.
    Bialver rides contentedly along, but his nose ocassionally wrinkles as at an odd smell, and he looks around like someone trying to decide what's bothering him.
    Trumodir rides along, enjoying the breeze, the plants, the trees, the whole atmosphere of the place. "I would like to get to know this place better" she thinks

    In the middle afternoon, the company comes to a crossroads out on the fields. A path cuts across theirs, running north and south along a long ridge before the land dips down into a long depression before the feet of the eastern hills. Maegdin checks his horse as he draws near and turns to face the others. 'We're very close to the end of our journey, friends. No more than an hour, and perhaps less. However, I must do you a discourtesy here. No one who is not of my kin may see the path to the place I lead you to with open eyes. I would trust you to close them of your own accord, but there are others who may take it ill. I must bind your eyes, I am afraid.' He pulls several long bands of linen from his pouch with an apologetic look on his face.

    Bialver shrugs and knees Utsending next to the Ranger's hose
    Miriaden nods in agreement to Maegdin, then adds, "It will not be long you will be without sight, but it is important. Thank you for understanding."
    Trumodir grunts with disappointment; she doesn't want to forego the lovely view before her.
    ''If you meant me a mischief, you'd have done it without coming so far as this.'' Bialver says, leaning in so the blindfold can be wound around him head.
    Trumodir adds, "I suppose we'll be going in single file so our horses can follow yours".
    Bialver strokes Utsending's neck, and leans forward to whisper into her ears
    Maegdin nods to Trumodir as he ties the cloth over Bialver's eyes.
    Trumodir lets drop her reins, knowing that Marr is a wise horse and will follow the others.

    Maegdin looks over his shoulder. 'Annie, could you tie the horses' reins to the saddlebow of the one in front? I trust the horses, but they may stray or spook.'
    Miriaden nods, sliding off of Maegdin's horse, taking the reins of each horse and securing it to the saddle of the one who would go before it. Eventually there was a train of horses, ready to go. She could be heard murmuring to each beast, smiling as she worked.

    Maegdin also climbs off of Randir's back, walking to each member of the company in turn to bind their eyes, speaking apologetically to each one as he does. When all is ready, he climbs in the saddle and leads the company in several circles, going this way and that until any sense of direction the others may have is gone. He then sets off towards the eastern hills.

    Maegdin raises a hand in a silent greeting to the watchers who step out of the trees, leveling bows at the company in silence. They nod and withdraw, while the train of horses continues on. A wall of stone spans a narrow defile in front of them, and more archers watch their approach with interest. Maegdin waves a greeting to them and speaks over his shoulder to the others. 'We are here, friends. Only a few more moments, and you can remove your blindfolds.'

    With that, he leads the company into the refuge of Esteldin, passing through the first courtyard and into the second, calling greetings to his fellows as he passes. Finally, he climbs down and walks to each of the company, removing their bindings as he goes.
    Miriaden continually looks over her shoulder to ensure all the horses remained attached and followed, and that the blindfolds remained in place. Finally she turned her eyes ahead to the hills, smiling as they enter their refuge. Once Maegdin stopped and dsmounted, she followed suit, waving and greeting a few of her kin nearby.
    Maegdin smiles to the others. 'Welcome, friends, to the camp of Esteldin. You are as safe here as you are in any place in the North. If you will come with me, we can see to our horses and then to ourselves. As I promised, warm fires, hot food, and a wall against the night.'

    Bialver looks around him, some buildings half-tumbledown, some in good repair, but the place has the air of a camp more than a town.
    Trumodir looks around and asks, "Where is the person in charge of the food?"
    Bialver mutters to his kinswoman ''Those grasslands might nurture many hives, but it's only wild honey I'd look for here.''
    Maegdin waves his arm towards a building on the far side of the courtyard. 'The butteries and kitchens are over there,' he says. 'I'll take you there as soon as we see to our horses. I'll leave you to settle in while I go let the captain know we've come.' He looks at Miriaden. 'Can you tell them what they need to know while I'm away?'
    Miriaden chuckles softly at Tru, grinning. "We will certainly lead you to the mess hall, fear not." She nods to Maegdin. "Certainly."

    Trumodir adds, "I don't see any grassy places for the horses. Is there food for them here?"
    Bialver looks around for anything like a stable, but fails to see one.
    Maegdin smiles. 'There are hay and oats aplenty for them. Come, follow me.' He takes Randir's reins and leads the company to the pickets for the horses, where they set about making their mounts comfortable for their stay.
    Bialver looks apologetically at Utsending as he tethers her.
    Trumodir sees to her horse without comment, but with a resigned look on her face.

    Maegdin finishes caring for his horse and then turns to Miriaden. 'Can you show them to the mess, cousin? I imagine that Halbarad is getting anxious to have me report in, and I'd like to not keep him waiting.'
    Miriaden nods to Maegdin as she follows and says to the others as she motions for them to come with her. "As you may have already guessed, there is no going in and out of the refuge as a matter of our safety." She heads towards a building, delicious aromas of cooking food drifting out the door.
    Trumodir follows eagerly, her stomach growling, for she has had only a small piece of honeycake to last her all day.
    Bialver sniffs the air, and gives Trumodir a grin
    Trumodir growls to anyone who will listen, "I'm as hungry as a bear!"
  5. ramz711

    ramz711 New Member

    Chapter 12: An Appointed Task

    Minabel watches the others at breakfast with a far off look in her eyes. She is distracted
    Bialver looks down at his porridge and mutters something about always having been good with animals
    Maegdin nods to the others. 'It is good that you have rested. I fear we may have another journey ahead of us today.' He gestures to their plates. 'Eat quickly. The captain wishes to speak with us as soon as may be.'
    Trumodir gives a big sigh – why must they rush through the first big breakfast they've had in a long time?
    Miriaden scrapes the last of her breakfast from her plate and picks up her coffee, drinking it as quickly as she can without burning her mouth.

    Bialver takes a couple of corn cakes and slips them into his pack, finishes his porridge, pats the goat. and stands up
    Trumodir looks over at Maegden. "Do I have time for another cup of goat milk?" she asks.
    Maegdin smiles over the rim of his mug. 'There is no need for such haste, friends. Halbarad said soon, not instantly. But don't dawdle.'
    Trumodir looks longingly at the milk. It has been so long since she has been anywhere where goat milk was available; in fact, she hasn't had any since she left her beloved flock of goats in the Vale.
    Bialver looks wistfully at the porridge pot, but contents himself with refilling his tankard

    Miriaden is no longer in such a rush and sets her coffee to the side after sipping, then pulls her quiver into her lap to begin inspecting each arrow one by one. "Did he say what sort of journey?" She asks quietly.
    Trumodir takes a last swig, gets up from the table, and strides outside. She takes a deep breath and cocks her ear, listening to the lovely song of a bird somewhere nearby.
    Bialver scrapes his plate clean and looks around for where to put it. he ocks his eyebrow at the Rangers
    Maegdin finishes up his plate of eggs and toast and sits nursing his ale while he waits for the others to finish their meals. He shakes his head at Miriaden. 'No. He did not. However, our tidings from Fornost have fillen him with further concern, that much is plain.'

    Trumodir comes back to where the others are still finishing up and says loudly, "I thought we had to get going! What's keeping you all?"
    Bialver , not receiving an answer about what to do with his plate, licks it clean, leaves it on the table, and follows his kinswoman outside
    Miriaden gives a slow, silent nod and looks back to her arrows, squinting as she inspects them before carefully placing them back in her quiver. "I am ready." She slings her quiver onto her back, adjusting the straps.
    Bialver comes back into the Mess, retrieves the goat, who he puts on his shoulder, and returns to the courtyard.
    Minabel wrinkles up her nose and looks at the stinky goat. "Where is lavender oil when you need it?"
    Bialver harrumphs. ''She's a very *clean* goat.

    Maegdin chuckles slightly at Mina and drains his mug. He stands and heads out, leaving his plate on the table. 'Come with me, if we are all ready.' He looks at Bialver with a slight smile. 'But best leave the goat outside of the library.'
    Bialver looks baffled ''But what does she read, if she can't go into the library?''
    Trumodir pats the goat affectionately and a bit wistfully, thinking of all the animals she left behind when her father sent her away from the Vales.
    Miriaden rises to her feet and nods, ready to go.
    Maegdin shakes his head and sighs, but leads the company through the camp to the library.

    Bialver exchanges a sympathetic glance with Trumodir, but puts the goat down and shoulders his pack and weapons and trails after the others towards the library.
    Maegdin leads the way into and through the library, until they come to the room where Halbarad waits for them. Shelves of worn codices and ancient scrolls surround the tall Man, who turns his weatherbeaten face to them as they enter. 'Welcome, friends old and new,' he says gravely. 'I am glad that you could come. We have much to discuss, and but a little time in which to do so.'
    Trumodir shuffles uncomfortably, somewhat intimidated by all the books.
    Miriaden follows Maegdin to the library with her usual light step, knowing the way, though out of habit, took up the rear. She shuts the door behind the group once everyone is inside, and leans against the back wall, her grey eyes settling on her Captain.
    Bialver 's gaze strays to the shelves, but he forces it back to the rangers

    Maegdin settles himself in a chair and leans forward, meeting Halbarad's glance. 'What is it you wished of us, captain?' he says quietly. 'We are all resolved to assist in whatever way we may.'
    Halbarad looks all five of them in the eye for a long while before speaking. 'The news you have brought from Fornost is worrisome,' he finally says. 'That such a host should have been able to pass down from the North undetected and take a position of strength threatens all who dwell round about. The peoples of the North Downs must be called together for a council to deal with this threat. There is much for you to do, and I am glad to know that you are willing.'

    Trumodir glances quizzically at each of the others, wondering what they are thinking and aware that she is not as eager to face evil as Maegden had made it sound.
    Miriaden nodded to Halbarad, looking awfully comfortable with the idea of heading into such things. Her hand lowered to rest on the hilt of her sword out of habit, her thumbnail picking at it absently.
    Bialver catches Trumodir's eye again, and smiles encouragingly

    Halbarad continues. 'The task I have set for you is not perilous, friends, so you need not fear. We must call the folk of these lands together, and I have it in mind to send you to Trestlebridge to summon Mayor Boskins or her guard-captain to this camp. Other messengers have already been sent to the Dwarves and to the Elves.'
    Miriaden nods silently as the Captain speaks, looking at the others before turning her eyes back to Halbarad. "When must we depart on this errand?"
    Trumodir ponders Halbarad's words, a bit suspicious of why he would need five people to simply carry a message to someone. She wonders what he may not be saying.
    Minabel asks Halbarad "What type of lady is this Boskins?"
    Bialver sighs. "Back to Trestlebridge, is it?", he asks. "What's the southern route, through the hills, like?"

    Halbarad glances at Trumodir and looks her in the eyes. He smiles slightly. 'Of course, this message could easily have been borne by one or two, but since your company recently passed through the town, the residents may be more well-disposed towards you.' He looks at Miriaden. 'I would have you leave as soon as you may. The road is long, as you know, and time is short.'
    Miriaden nods in response. "I will head to the mess hall the moment we finish here and get supplies." She murmurs, surprisingly a little shy when it comes to speaking with the Captain.
    Trumodir receives Halbarad's with a new respect; how did he know what she was thinking? She resolves to trust him a bit more.
    Maegdin nods as Halbarad speaks, but remains silent for now. The captain continues, turning to Minabel. 'I do not know. I knew her father somewhat, but we received word only shortly before you arrived that he had been slain in the recent attack on the town. I fear that she will not be inclined to listen to us.' He looks over at Bialver. 'The southern route is impassible. Those hills have been overrun with Orcs of late.'

    Minabel continues, "Are not the people of the North Downs farmers like the people of Bree? Perhaps then they will respond to a daughter of a respectable gentleman. I will speak with this Boskins.” She turns to the others. "You others are a little more shall we say "exotic" and might not be as well received. How does she feel about Rangers?"
    \Halbarad smiles slightly and nods to Minabel. 'Very well, then. It is my hope that you can convince her to come. We must all band together against this threat, or the tide will surely overwhelm us separately.'
    Trumodir looks sideways at Minabel; although she is somewhat offended, she must admit that what Mina said rings true.

    Bialver gives Trumodir a sly smile at the word "exotic". It looks almost as though he's fighting back a giggle.
    Miriaden looks to Mina. "I doubt she would receive us well, though one of her own Bree-folk may well be our best hope." She looks to the others, her brow furrowing, then nods to Mina again.
    Minabel says, "Of course, first I must make myself presentable. Is there a dress shop in Trestlebridge?"
    Trumodir offers, "I will gladly go with you to Trestlebridge, but you are right; Mina should do the talking."

    Maegdin bows his head to Halbarad. 'As you wish, sir. If we have your leave, we should go prepare for the journey.' The Captain nods his head. 'Go, then,' he says. 'Return swiftly to aid us.' He raises a hand in farewell.
    Bialver murmurs to his kinswoman "Perhaps we could stay here and eat this good food, so as not to upset anyone"
    Miriaden bows her head shyly to Halbarad and murmurs. "Navaer." She turns to leave.
    Minabel smooths her hair and dress and prepares to depart.

    Maegdin turns and leads the company back out of the library. He says nothing until they are back out under the open sky. There, he lets out a large sigh and runs his hands through his hair. 'Well, that went well. Oft, when the captain calls you, there is no good news.'
    Miriaden eyes Maegdin and mutters. "Do not speak too soon, mellon nin."
    Bialver 's face bursts into a bright smile as the little goat come prancing up to him. Then he sighs.
    Minabel holds her nose as she realizes that Bialver's goat has joined them.
    Bialver looks the goat in the eye, and says seriously "Alas, haðna, I must go, and you must stay. But I will return to see you again"
    Trumodir considers Bialver's whispered comment about staying in Esteldin while the others go to Trestlebridge and wonders if they would take it amiss. She, like Bialver, is enjoying the rest and food here.

    Bialver coughs "If our good Mina, so wise in diplomacy, thinks we might distress the good townsfolk with our uncouth appearance, perhaps it were best not to take such a risk?" He looks hopefully at the Rangers
    Maegdin looks over at Trumodir and Bialver, a look of surprise on his face. 'It is your choice as to whether you wish to come with us or to stay here until we return. However, I suspect that Minabel was referring to Annie and me. Were you not?' He turns to look at Mina.
    Bialver look sideways and Trumodir and mutters "Valskr"
    Miriaden also looks at Tru and Bialver in surprise. "Why would you stay? I is your choice, of course, but...I think the larger the group, the more urgency she may see."
    Trumodir squares her shoulders and looks Maegdin in the eye. I joined this group to do my part in fighting the evil that is spreading across our land and I will not back away now."

    Minabel turns to each of her companions in turn. "Well, the Beornings are rather uncouth and the Rangers are well-spoken but not very put together in their appearance, so I think you are all in need of makeovers. This is why I think I should lead the group, since I am the most presentable.”
    Maegdin smiles slightly at Mina's words, but says nothing.
    Miriaden 's brow lifts slightly at Mina's words and her gaze slides down to inspect her coat. She didn't look /that/ rustic....did she?

    Maegdin smiles slightly. 'I doubt the good folk of Breeland would listen to me and my kin even if we turned up in silks. Given that, I think it best to let actions speak for us.' He looks around. 'I would have all of you come, but I will go regardless.' He turns away and heads towards his horse to prepare for the journey ahead.
    Miriaden nods in agreement. "I will head to the mess hall and get some rations and supplies before we go. I do hope you all come along, but it is your decision."
    Trumodir follows a bit slowly, wishing she could stay with the animals here in Esteldin and wondering why her father sent her instead of her brother.
    Minabel thinks about what she will need to bring to convince Boskins to help them.
    Miriaden gives the others an encouraging smile, then heads off towards the mess hall.
    Bialver smiles wryly and murmurs to Trumodir "It was a good try"
  6. ramz711

    ramz711 New Member

    Chapter 13: A Call to Men

    The company from Esteldín has an uneventful journey back over the Kingsfell and down the Greenway. By the afternoon of the second day out, they have drawn near the north end of the Trestlespan. No enemies have they sighted on their road, but the guards at the bridgehead still eye them nervously as they crest the last hill and cover the last stretch of road. Mat rides forward, hand raised in friendship. 'Good evening, friends!' he calls. 'We need to speak with Mayor Boskins! There's an urgent matter that needs discussing.'
    The men scowl at the Ranger, and one of them says, 'You can tell it to us, and we'll let her know if it's worth her time. She's no time to deal with ruffianly folk out of the wild like you.'
    Miriaden held the rear of the group, her hood pulled up, though she had been though town often enough that the bridge guards would know her. She watches Matt and the guards for a moment before she turns to look around the hills.
    Bialver mutters to Trumodir ''We should have stayed back at the ranger landnám."
    Trumodir growls softly to herself, something about people not recognizing their betters.

    Maegdin shakes his head at the guards and sighs. 'I've no time to waste, and I was instructed to speak only to the Mayor. Come, now. Be reasonable. What could I possibly do in the midst of a whole town filled with folks who mislike the very sight of me? If it'll make you feel better, I'll leave my weapons with you.'
    The guard gives the Ranger a black look, and furrows his brow as if thinking. Finally, he nods and says, 'I guess that's fair enough. You'll leave your horses on the far end of the bridge, though. Not going to let you have an easy time of getting away if you do any mischief.' Mat rolls his eyes slightly, but nods. He climbs down off his horse and looks at the others. 'Best leave your gear with the good guardsman as well,' he says.
    Trumodir snorts, "I hope Marr gives him a good kick when she has the opportunity"
    Minabel is not sure that she trusts these strangers enough to leave her bow with them.

    Maegdin unslings his bow from his back before unbuckling his sword-belt. He hands them both to the guard, and then pulls a knife from his boot and passes it over. He waits for the others to do the same.
    Bialver looks around carefully, as though noting possible routes of escape. He nods once, and leave all his visible weapons with the guards
    Miriaden does not look happy with the idea of leaving her weapons, but she removes her bow and quiver from her back, then her weapons-belt, carrying them to the guard. Then her daggers from her boots.
    Trumodir reluctantly hands over her axe since she can't hide it; she mutters to Maegdin, "I hope this turns out all right"
    Bialver murmurs ''We shall see what kind of friðgjafl this Ranger is, after all."
    Minabel moves to take the dagger hidden in her corset, but then pulls back her hand. She hesitates again, and then pulls it out and hands it to the guard.

    Maegdin takes his horse by the reins once all the company have handed over their gear and leads them across the bridge and into the town proper. He passes the reins off to another guardsman on the far end of the bridge, and then walks calmly through town, ignoring the dark looks and mutterings from the townsfolk. He stops outside the Mayor's house, where the captain of the guard glowers at him. 'What's this, now?' he asks gruffly. 'What's *two* of you folk doing back here, along with these other outlandish folk? What in blazes are my guards doing?'
    Miriaden gives the guards a friendly smile as she passes by them, pretending their dark looks didn't exist.

    Maegdin raises his hands to Trotter, showing that he's unarmed. 'I need to speak to the Mayor, Captain. There's troubling news from the north that she needs to know about. Feel free to join us, if you wish, but I'll not speak about it out in the open.' The guardsman gives him a look which speaks volumes, but he nods curtly and opens the door. 'I'll be watching you,' he says. 'Mayor!' he calls. 'Got some folk come to speak to you. They say it's urgent.' He waves the company in, giving all of them scowls while they pass him.
    Trumodir looks darkly at Captain Trotter as she passes him
    Minabel smiles at Captain Trotter is she goes past him, but he does not seem to notice.
    Miriaden moves past Captain Trotter, giving him a polite smile as she heads inside.
    Bialver stumps stolidly up the stairs, giving the Captain a polite nod as he passes
    Trumodir becomes a bit anxious once she's in the house. She murmurs to Bialver, “It's way too small for all of us to fit comfortably. I wish I could be back outside, somewhere in the open spaces north of this awful town and away from all this smoke.”

    Maegdin makes his way into the front room of the house, where the new Mayor is seated in a chair near the fire, looking over papers. She looks up at the newcomers, and scowls when she sees two of them are Rangers. 'What do you want?' she says. 'I've naught to say to the likes of you.' Mat gives her a smile which he hopes is disarming. 'Mayor, I wouldn't trouble you if it wasn't urgent. I've troubling news that you and your captain need to hear.'
    Nellie Boskins gives him a look of slight surprise before motioning to him to get on with it. 'Some friends of mine brought word that Deadman's Dike has been taken by Orcs. We worry that they may soon make a move on this town and on other places to the south.' The mayor sighs heavily. 'Why am I not surprised?' she mutters. 'I'm sure that's not all you came to say; otherwise, you wouldn't have bothered me.'
    The Ranger shakes his head. 'No, it is not. We've come to ask you to come back with us. All the folks of the North Downs are being called to a council.' Captain Trotter takes a step towards the man, but Nellie raises a hand to stop him.

    Miriaden watches Mayor Boskins with a compassionate look. "It is important that all who call this land home have a say in how to approach this threat, Mayor. Please do not dismiss it, this is vital."
    'You must think I'm some kind of fool, Ranger,' she says bitterly. 'What other folk are there in these hills besides the farmers out east? And all of them have fled here or to Stoneheight. If you and your folk want to get me out of town so you can rob and murder me, you'll have to try harder than that.'
    Mat opens his mouth to speak, but the Mayor slams her hand on the table as she stands to her feet. 'You be quiet as well!' she shouts, pointing at the other Ranger. 'If you Rangers truly cared about the threats facing Trestlebridge, you would help us here with these Orcs. We would not have had to suffer as we have! I...we lost all those dear to us!'

    Trumodir stares hard at the mayor, biting her lip to keep from bursting out in a way that would undoubtedly hurt their cause. But if looks could kill, the mayor would surely be dead.
    Minabel comes forward. "You have not right to condemn the farmers with your stubbornness. These Rangers are here to help you and you turn them away. You condemn the farmers of the North Downs to slavery to orcs, or worse."
    Eskild creeps further under the window to hear better. He feels somewhat alarmed by the news of the strangers.
    Bialver gives Trumodir a steadying look, and looks around the room, his eyes lighting nowhere

    The Mayor rounds on Minabel. 'And what would you know, child?' she snaps. 'The farmers that yet live have come here, and it's my duty to keep them safe. I shall not come to this "Council", nor anything else. And I shall not be convinced otherwise! Now, if you have no other business, leave me to see to the defence of this town!' Mat attempts to say more, but Trotter grabs him by the shoulder. 'That's enough out of you. You heard the mayor: get out of here afore I toss the lot of you in the stocks for the night.' Mat pushes the man's hand off him and stalks back out the door, muttering to himself the while.

    Trumodir gives the mayor one last dark look, accompanied by a growl, and bumps into Trotter—on purpose—on her way out the door
    Bialver suddenly seems to loom over Trotter, giving the man a hard stare before he shoulders past him and out the door
    Minabel huffs off, "Foolish woman, and no sense of fashion either."
    Miriaden frowns at Trotter, then at the Mayor, but only shakes her head as she leaves with the others. "She is doing what she thinks is best for her people, even if she is doing the wrong thing." She murmurs to Minabel.
    Minabel turns to Trumodir. "The people of this town will regret the day they chose that woman when there shops burns down and they have no more clothes"

    Eskild runs out from his hiding spot in the bushes to block the group at the steps. He says, 'Hey! You guys! You're those queer folk everyone says bring trouble!'
    Maegdin pauses on his way down the steps as a young man steps out of the bushes. 'And what do you want?' he says bitterly. 'Come to gawk at the Rangers and heap more abuse on us?'
    Trumodir turns quickly toward the young man, startled at his sudden appearance.
    Bialver frowns at the newcomer, but holds his peace
    Minabel turns to see the young man. "Who are you?"

    Eskild says, 'I 'eard everything! Every word! That old bat Boskins en't never lift a finger to help no one. She just spends all day in that house yellin' and doin' nuthin. But I en't like her. I want to help! You say orcs will come and attack Trestlebridge, an' I believe you. I wanna help you fight them orcs!' He puts on his best brave and confident face.
    Trumodir lets out a deep breath—a sane person, here among all these mad folk! She gives the newcomer a big smile and shakes his hand—perhaps a bit too strongly.
    Minabel looks the young man over. "You look younger than my sister Amy. How old are you?"
    Eskild says, 'Seventeen. Turned it last month.'

    Maegdin raises an eyebrow. 'Is that so?' he says. He gives the fellow a look-over, and then sighs. 'Except we're not off to deal with them. I've got to tell a friend of mine about the Mayor's answer. Then? Who knows? But for now, we've a long ride ahead of us, and I'm afraid you can't come.'
    Miriaden looks over to the newcomer, brows furrowing in doubt.

    Eskild stands directly in front of Maegdin. "Whatever you be doin, it's better than sittin here and waitin for them orcs to kill us. I wanna help. I'll do anythin."
    Minabel's jaw drops. "Seventeen? We cannot bring babies on this trip. Come back in five years."
    Trumodir turns to Miri who is standing next to her and mutters, "This young'un should be rescued from this awful place; why not take him with us? He'll likely just get into trouble with the watch if he stays here."

    Bialver says "You? A mere bjarnhúnn?. What will you do on a long journey, in grave danger?"
    Eskild unsheathes his sword. "I got me a sword. Was pa's afore he got killed by orcs. He taught me to use it real good too."
    Trumodir turns and addresses Maegdin. "I'll take responsibility for this young'un if you'll have him. He needs to get out of this place, and there's fire in his heart that will stand him in good stead."
    Bialver begins to smile.

    Maegdin holds up a hand to cut off the others. 'No!' he says with some force. 'I will not bring one so young and untested with me. I am sorry, lad, but you need to stay here. If you want to make a difference, join the guard.' He turns and makes his way north through the town, expecting that the others will follow.
    Eskild scowls. "Guard won't do nuthin! They en't do nuthin last time orcs come, an' they won't do nuthin again!"
    Minabel adjusts her hair and goes after Maegdin. "Best to leave the child here".
    Trumodir stays where she is, calling to Maegdin, "I guess you'll be going with a smaller group than you're used to, sir. I'm taking my stand with this young'un.”
    Bialver breaks into a laugh. "Come", he calls after the Ranger, I dub this one a Röskr Bjarnhúnn. We two of the Vales will see to his safety. And when there is no safety, we will see he dies well."
    Trumodir smiles broadly at Bialver, "I knew I could count on you, cousin", she says gratefully.

    Maegdin turns back to look at Trumodir and Bialver. 'Very well, then. I need to speak to Halbarad, and in haste. I'll go by myself, if need be.' He turns away and continues walking towards the horses.
    Minabel calls to Trumodir. "Do not be a fool. That silly mayor has condemned the people of this town to death. If you stay, you will die with them."
    Maegdin rounds on Minabel. 'Will you be quiet?!' he snarls softly at her. 'Do you want to cause a panic?'
    Minabel pouts. "No one speaks to me that way. I am Minabel, daughter of Bram, gentleman farmer and his wife Mina."
    Miriaden looks at Eskild and shakes her head before following the others, getting her horse and her weapons.

    Eskild swells with even more confidence. "An' I know this land! I know this land better than all ya!"
    Trumodir retorts, "Who said anything about staying? Let's get out of here, Bialver, young'un...what did you say your name was?"
    Bialver lifts an eyebrow silently at Trumodir. "Do we follow?" he asks
    Eskild says, 'Eskild. Eskils Hartwick, ma'am.'
    Trumodir nods. Well, Eskild, Bialver and I need to retrieve our horses and weapons; come along with us and we'll see what happens. Do you have a horse?"
    Bialver rolls his eyes as the party's voices die off in the distance, and bows to his kinswoman and the stripling who makes such a brave show
    Eskild nods vigorously. "Yup! Best horse in all Trestlebridge! She can run all the way from Deadman's Dike and not a sweat!"
    Trumodir nods to Eskild. "then get your horse and meet us at the north end of the bridge."
    Bialver 's bow turns into a gesture towards the bridge "We will meet you on the other side in a quarter of an hour. Do you not fail us."
    Eskild nods excitedly before darting off to retrieve his horse.
    Bialver looks about for a tavern. but, not seeing one, ambles slowly towards the bridge

    Maegdin shakes his head and continues walking towards the bridge. He unties his horse's reins from the hitching post and walks across the bridge, grumbling the while. He keeps doing so as he collects his weapons, glowering at the guards the whole time. He mounts his horse and waits for Miriaden and Minabel to join him. He looks off to the north and east, then at the dark clouds moving in from the west. He shakes his head.
    Minabel whistles to Brianna and when she comes, swings up into her saddle. She then waits to follow Maegdin.
    Miriaden mounts her horse, nudging the beast up next to Maegdin as she looks around the hills. "We will work with what we have." She says softly to the other ranger, trying to be encouraging.

    Bialver pauses on the bridge, deep enough in its shade to be out of sight of the company, and waits.
    Eskild trots up to Bialver on his chestnut mare.
    Trumodir calls out to Maegdin, "You can't keep us from going to Esteldin, now can you? We'll meet you there and maybe you'll have come to your senses by then." She turns to Eskild and says, "Don't worry, this is just a short storm that will blow itself off soon."
    Maegdin sighs and nods at Miriaden. He sets off at a gallop along the Greenway, not looking back.
    Miriaden kicks her horse into a gallop and races through the deserted lands keeping pace with Maegdin.
    Minabel turns back and see that the Beornings and bringing the child and she shakes her head in disbelief.

    Bialver reaches out a casual hand and plucks Eskild off the ground by his collar. “We have taken responsibility for you, cub” he says, giving the young man a shake to emphasize the seriousness of what he says. “Do not shame our judgment.”
    Eskild studies the clouds. "I en't afraid of storms. I hunt in these lands often." He says, 'I won't let you down mister. I swear it on my pa's grave.'
    Bialver gives a low whistle to get Trumodir's attention, and tosses Eskild to her.… but gently
    Trumodir gives Eskild a big bear hug and says softly, "Glad we found you son, or you found us"
    Bialver whistles, and Utsending comes trotting up.
    Eskild is a bit disoriented at having just been thrown.

    Maegdin and the others have not ridden for more than half an hour when they see three other riders coming down the Greenway at a great pace. Maegdin checks his horse and waits for the others. As they draw nearer, it becomes plain that they are Rangers. Maegdin calls out to them when they come within shout, 'What news, cousins? Why the haste?'
    One of the others shouts back, 'Orcs! A warband has come down out of the hills. They must mean to burn the town to the ground, else they would not move in the sunlight. We must warn the folk of Trestlebridge.' Maegdin shakes his head. 'I doubt they will heed you. The Mayor just spurned Halbarad's summons. I fear they will think this some ruse.' He sighs. 'But, you are right. Let us return.'
    Minabel sighs. "You are not seriously thinking about going back to that town and trying to convince that impossible woman to come with us?"
    Miriaden frowns, her hand already moving to rest on the hilt of her sword. "We can't leave them to their own devices. They are ill-prepared for an orc attack. We protect these people whether they like it or not."
    Maegdin looks over at Mina as he turns his horse. 'No. We are going back and will defend the town or die in the attempt. You had best come with us; the Orcs will not let you live if they meet you on the road.' With that, he sets off for Trestlebridge again.

    Eskild easily pulls himself into the saddle and gathers his reins. "I never caught your names."
    Trumodir says, 'I'm Trumodir, daughter of Grimbeorn, and granddaughter of Beorn himself.”
    Bialver smiles "Bialver of the Hunnangsbjorner, at your service"
    Trumodir said this as the two beornings and Eskild were riding easily northward, in the general direction of Esteldin.
    Eskild grins broadly. "A pleasure to meet ya both."

    Bialver smiles. "And who are your people, Gallant Cub?"
    Eskild says, 'My pa was Egon, a loyal defender of Trestlebridge. But he been killed by orcs in the last attack.'
    Trumodir looks intently at a cloud of dust a way up the road and says, "I see a group riding toward us at great speed. Maybe Maegdin has changed his mind already."
    Bialver squints at the road. "Then let us wait, and not tire our horses to no purpose." He adds "But perhaps OFF the road, in case these are not our friends"
    Trumodir nods in agreement.
    Bialver looks at Eskild "You know this road. Find us cover"
    Eskild nods and steers his horse off the road and down a small slope hidden by trees.
    Bialver follows the youth, and guides Utsending out of sight amongst the trees
    Eskild says, 'They won't see us here. Not unless they look real hard.'

    Maegdin and the others ride back south along the Greenway at a great pace, their horses panting at the effort. In only a few minutes, their company has drawn near enough to the others for them to plainly see that they are the Rangers and Mina. They do not seem like they are intent on stopping before Trestlebridge.

    Trumodir says to the others, "Looks like they're in a big hurry. Guess we should follow after them. They might need some help.”
    Bialver nods "Just so, Kinswoman. Son of Egon, we ride for Trestlebridge; is there a quicker way?"
    Eskild nods. "Follow me. We'll join the road just north of the Trestlespan." Eskild guides his horse through memorized trails and staying away from the road.
    Bialver knees his horse into motion and follows

    Miriaden was already pulling out her bow as she watches the orcs' cloud of dust racing behind them. This was going to be close and they would not have much time to make ready before the orcs reached Trestlebridge.
    Eskild urges his horse into a gallop as the trees and ground even out and the Trestlespan starts to come into view.

    Maegdin and his company draw near the Trestlespan only a little behind the others. The guards, seeing two groups racing out of the north, grip their weapons and shout. When he comes close enough, Mat shouts, 'Not now, you blasted fools! Orcs are coming! Mount a defence! Get across the bridge!' He quickly dismounts and begins to lead them back into the town.

    Bialver stifles a whoop, but loosens his club from its binding to the saddle
    Trumodir could feel rage building inside her as she spurred Marr on. Just let her at those filthy orcs! They would regret their encounter—those that lived to tell about it!
    Bialver leans over and says evenly to Eskild "You know the town's weaknesses. Where will we three do the most good?"
    Miriaden races her trusty steed across the bridge, barely taking a moment to murmur instructions to her horse before grabbing anything and everything she could carry to create a barricade on the bridge.

    The guards look shocked for a moment, but then the dust of the Orcs' march further up the road catches the light of the setting sun. The men of Trestlebridge scramble into action. As they do, the westering Sun is eaten up by the dark clouds rolling out of the west, and a sudden twilight falls. Thunder echoes from under the cloud.

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