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Amroth View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Standing Stones
    Posted: 20 Apr 2011 at 01:23
  The stars shined brightly as the runners made their way across the terrain. They moved silently with only the occasional clank of metal on metal and the odd grunt or gasp. It had been a long night and they had run for the better part of it. Dawn was still better then an hour off. Best to be far from last nights party come daybreak. Grimnash held up his hand and the column came to a halt. The land dipped away to lower country here and down in the basin mist was rolling up from marshlands. "Cutter, come up." Grimnash called back down the line. Quickly, a squat ambling figure approached from the rear of the column. "What's the word, boss?" he grunted quietly, gazing ahead down the hill side. " Up there, you worm" came Grimnash's reply as he struck cutter squarely in the side of his head.'thwump'  "Gain your wits before I throttle you, cutter. Look up there you mucker." Cutter rubbed at his head as his eye followed Grimnashs fingers. 
  
  The hill rose up with a group of tall roughly fashioned stones rising from it's crest. "Standing Stones," Grimnash said. " Damn your eye, Cutter. You thought I was bashed for pushin us on, instead o turnin in on those woods back there eh? But just look there, you foul stinker. Elven marker stones, you wormskin. And whose the dapper now eh" He smiled as he said this last bit, and his crooked teeth shown a sickly yellow under the moonlight.  The moonlight caught his coal eyes also, and cutter saw the evil flicker in them as Grimnash smiled. "Your right boss" he offered, careful not to look at Grimnash to long. His eye redirecting to the land falling away to the southwest. "Down and into the mists?" He asked. "Aye, and they'll have us hid fer better then a few more hours. By the time lights full we should be back to the Brood, and with our pretty blossoms all in tow" Grimnash grunted out. "Let's go you stinkers" he called and then started down the sloping hill side. The rest of the group rose from the spots they had sunk to on the ground and followed Grimnash down the hillside.
 
  Cutter roused the miserable prisoners. Two young girls and a young boy. None had seen their tenth summer, nor would they. Orcs usually ate their prisoners. "Up and we're off, pretties" Cutter said and pulled the children to their feet. He tugged the line that held them all secure and made to follow the rest. A flicker from the right caught his eye. He turned back up toward the standing stones. Had he seen something? Had something moved as he turned? He worked his gaze up as best he could, his sight not the strongest. He cursed silently as he remembered when Grimnash had cut out his other eye. His reward for the challenge he had issued. It still surprised him that Grimnash had not killed him. Grimnash did not smile upon challanges. Cutters memory slid back to the present and he kicked the slowest of the prisoners. "Fast now little hens or I'll have you in my belly" Cutter called and they all made way down the hill with the speed their tired legs could muster.
 
  Cora, smallest of the prisoners and the youngest at age six, cried as they ran. The terrible visions of last night still fresh in her mind. Breatle, who had received Cutters kick was Coras sister, and older by a year and a half. She tried to comfort her sister as they stumbled and tried to make pace. "Don't cry cora," she said. Yet her words sounded hollow, and tears rolled down her own cheeks even as she spoke to her sister. Children grew up quickly in the wild lands. Life was hard and unforgiving. Only the brave ventured out so far from civilized lands, where only infrequent patrols form royal forces, represented the only law. This was wild land and unclaimed by any crown. thus common people could settle and build, yet they also had to deal with unnumbered dangers. One of those dangers had found them last night. It had been past dinner when the raiding party set on their settlement. Twenty-five orcs and three wargs. The settlement was small, some seven families and their livestock. The wargs had killed all the animals save Dragen The wardog of Ruiall Cora's father. Dragen had killed two of the wargs and was besting the last when an orc killed him with a spear trust. The spear had pinned the dog and several orc set on him with axes. The men of the town were killed quickly with arrow and spear. the women had fought also and died horribly. Orcs did not take adult prisoners. They did at times take morsels from their victims though, to feast on later.

  These scenes flashed to all of the children as they ran. Huan, the lone boy, was the son of Danik the chief of the small clan. His father had been gutted last night before his eyes. His mother and brother also. He had tried to fight but a quick stab to his side ended all his stuggles and now he held his wound tightly and struggled to keep up. The orcs had left the village eleven less in number then when they came. Testament to the hardy settlers, who had not all died easily. Ruiall, the father of Cora and Breatle had killed two orcs before a spear trust in the back killed him. Andriat the girls mother had killed another with a carving knife before she was hacked down with axes and swords. Horrible visions to haunt a childs mind. The children ran on as they could. Cutter driving and guiding them down the hillside to the low lands and the group of killers leading them in front.

  They had almost reached the low lands when Cora's legs gave out. She fell to the ground with a hard slap, and she began to cry again. cutter pulled up on the rope and stopped to kick at her. he turned and was about to launch his kick when his good eye sighted something back down the trail. He screwed up his eye and sought for it but what ever he thought he saw was not there now. He gave an audible curse and yanked hard on the rope. Cora tried to rise but she slipped and fell again to the ground. Cutter growled now and pulled out hid dagger, if the girl could run no more, then she would stay here. He stepped forward to give her the death stroke but as he stooped toward her, he heard a 'thswack' and felt a wicked blow to his side just under his upraised arm. Cutter straightened and muttered a curse. Then he toppled on top of Cora. His knife cutting a shallow line at her thigh as he fell. It was Huan who first saw the stealthy approach of the silent ones. They came up quickly like ghosts from the shadows. Each one gray cloaked and dressed for war. Warriors all and silent as death. They quickly surrounded the children and several passed by and glided down the hill down into the mists.
 
  A figure bent and grabbed cutter, pulling his body clear of Cora. The figure stooped and whispered to the children. " I know you this has been an evil night for all of you. You are safe now and you will not be harmed. My name is Leander, and I offer you the protection of the silver wood. Noisey clangs and the sounds of combat sounded down the hill, and grew for a short time, to cut off abruptly. Other figures made their way back up the hill. "All dead." A tall figure said as he approached the group. "I would speak with you Leander. " the figure spoke again, and Leander rose and moved away from the children to speak quietly a few feet away. He quickly returned with the other figure and spoke to the children. We will see you all tended, and fed before we part company. From here we will return to our wardwatch, and you shall accompany my friend here to a town where you may find others of your kind. "You're elves" Huan almost yelled it out. He looked up at them with an evident wonder painted on his face. "My father told me of the stories of the Elven Lords." Huan said and even as he did, the figure next to Leander, stooped and bent to level with the children. "I am Amroth Anguireal." As he said this he fumbled his hand inside his waist belt. From it he produced a small bottle. " This will heal any wounds you have, and help give you some strength for our journey. We will eat and rest. Come, let us retire to the shelter of the stones. So said, the elves gathered the children and recovered the distance to the Standing Stones the children had seen earlier. 

  Even as they approached the stones, a distinct feeling of warmth came over Cora and she turned to she her sister smiling and holding the hand of the new stranger. Amroth, she thought back to the name. A strange name for a strange person. Never had she seen elves before. Now after the events of the night she was here before elves now, and she was not sure how to feel about it. Her mind flew back to the stories she had heard. Warnings and mystery. Her mother had said elves were mystic creatures whose ways were fey and dangerous, and best avoided by humans. Her father had spoken of Elven Lords who sailed the seas in great ships. Master mariners with silver sails that always found favorable winds. He had spoken also of Mighty Elven knights who rode great horses trained it was said to read their masters thoughts and respond to his every need in battle without second thought. Her thought blew away with the sound that ripped the misty air. A bone chilling howl that brought a yelp from Breatle. Cora looked around for the awful sound and realised that she herself was screaming only when Amroth stooped to her and gently placed his finger to her lips. She stopped screaming and leapt forward to wrap her arms tightly around the neck of the elven warrior.

  Instantly when the howling began, the elves had reacted forming a circle and exchanging knowing glances. "Wargs" Another elven warrior spoke. "And alot of them, by the sounds of it."
"Steady" Amroths voice was sure and solid. It carried with it, an air of unspoken leadership within the group, and the elves reacted to his words. Bows already strung were fitted to arrows, and swords were held aloft in a readiness. The first wargs appeared coming up from the marsh accompanied by the sounds of more heart shaking howls. "Thargil" Amroth spoke again, drawing Cora's arms gently from around his neck. "Keep the children round the standing stones. We will meet the wargs there." He pointed to a spot halfway down the hill. "We will carry the battle to the marsh." Amroth said. "We will meet you when we are done." Thargil, The elf the children had heard identify the howls, quickly gathered Cora up, and with her sister Breadle and the boy Huan in tow. Amroth spoke again, "Form cresent."  He said, taking up the center position and advancing down the hill to meet the oncoming wargs.
 
  Cora watched from the shoulder of Thargil as he led the children the last distance up the hill and to the standing stones. Amroth made his way down the hill with Leander and five others. They were confident in their motions and met the wargs far down the hill. Cora could not see clearly as the light was only just now beginning to illuminate things, and the figures had moved a good distance away to where they had closed in battle with the wargs. The sounds of the fighting carried up to them clearly, and as they reached the summit and the stones, Thargil lowered Cora to her feet and drew his own blade. Huan watched closely as Thargil drew his blade, and despite all his nights tumult he was in awe of the elven warrior and the shining sword he held aloft.
  
  "We shall be safe here." Thargil said to the children. "Creatures of evil will not willingly come to this place." He looked the children over as he spoke to them. He saw Huan holding his side and asked to see to wound. Huan removed his hand and to his shock saw that his wound from the orcish knife was almost healed. "Amroth's brew." Thargil said as he looked over the wound. "Good stuff, when you need it." He said. Now how about you two beauties he said, turning to the girls. Breadle was holding Cora and the girls had settled on the ground at the foot of the standing stones.
 
  A loud crackling and sounded and an explosion down in the valley. along with an area of ground down below that lit up and glowed for some seconds. "A spell" Thargils voice spilled over the scene. "I'll warrant that the wargs didn't like that." The sounds of fighting continued for some time, and then another crackling accompanied by the explosion and light, this time much farther off. "Maybe they will all be killed." Huan spoke almost without knowing. "No" Said Thargil. "Things will as they will, yet they are led by Amroth, and He is the keenest warrior I have ever witnessed. He is a prince among my people and measured mighty. They will do as they may, and then return here. We will wait." With this, it seemed to Huan that Thargil relaxed somewhat. Another crackling explsion sounded from a great distance, and all was silent down below.
 
  Thargil pulled off a pack he carried round his waist and unrolled a pocket with some provisions inside. He drew out some thin breads bound in leaves, and these he unwrapped and offered to the children. They accepted the food and ate it quickly each surprised at their hunger and the taste of the sweet bread. Then Thargil gave them each a good drink of water from a flask he also produced from his pack. Thargil wanted to question the children, yet Amroth had been specific in his order protect and wait. It made sense to Thargil as he could see that these children had been through much this night and were in a delicate way. Thus he acted easily around them and betrayed no concern for the fate of His fellows though he guessed it must be a picked battle. Three fireblast spells and each farther away. This pointed to large enemy numbers and an attempt to draw them away from the weakest in their group, the children.
 
  Huan's words came back to Thargil, "What if they are all killed?" The words hung in his mind for long seconds. Then Thargil laughed. Rumors and legend flooded his mind and he chuckled aloud. Amroth killed by wargs? Not in a hundred Elven lifetimes. This was the warrior who had lead human armies across continents. The same elf prince who despoiled the great drake 'Gwuamaviee'. The Scourge of the Nine Deserts of Perra-Tinae. The same Amroth who went to the den of Blagarost the Shadow Drake in Nanglidoph and slew him there. Avenging his Father Ambertain whom the Dragon had slain. This was the same Amroth who had done all these things, and many others. To many to sing the deeds of on a long summers night. Thargil roused himself from thought and looked to the children who had all fallen asleep. The brew that Amroth had given the children had taken a goodly effect, and these tired little ones, who had seen so much horror, would sleep now in peace for several hours. With that thought, Thargil summoned a shadow. it formed before him and he spoke to it, as a master speaks to a servant. "Vigilance and warning if any approach." Thargil spoke the words, and then he rolled his cloak around himself and settled down for a restful reverie. He did not wait for the shadow to respond, He knew that it could not, but he knew it would abide his command, and follow his will. With this thought he settled down for a needed rest.

  Thargil was fully rested when he was roused from his reverie. It was the shadow, pulling at his tunic. This brought Thargil from his reverie fully awake and cognitive. He was up and ready as the shadow faded having accomplished thargil's command. It was leander who came into the camp. He was worn and wounded in several area's. "All minor, and a good bit of luck for me." Said Leander. The battle was close, and we were hard pressed. We had just about finished with the wargs. Amroth let fly two spells that did for them properly. The second scattered the wargs and we were about to return when more orcs arrived. Over a hundred and all nicely trimed for battle. Not the usual orc stuff either, mismatched pieces of what ever was handy. These bastards were organized under a standard and they all wore field armor. A rough time they gave us. Even when Amroth gave them a third spell and roasted a third of them. They came on quick and they had battle spells on them. We fought gallantly but one by one our comrades fell until only myself and Amroth were left alive. we killed over a hundred, and there was still two score or more. When we heard wargs again in the distance. Amroth stayed to lead them away and bade me come to you and remove the Children to a more secure place. We shall make for Haleth Drymgalladuer. I will leave Amroth signs that he can follow us.

  Thargil listened to all Leander said and then without question, went to work. He roused the children and gave them some elven sweet water from his pouch. They were all scared and uneasy and he calmed them quickly telling them that they could trust him  keep them safe. The small girl cora began to cry, the memories of yesterday's events still fresh in her mind. Her sister Breadle comforted her and helped her take some of the elven water. Huan also woke with a start and tried hard to hide his fear and sorrow. His fathers words came to him. "Never show strangers your tears." His father had said this when Glandis, the town bully had given Huan a beating. Now the words rang in his ears. He felt numb and strangely removed from the events of the previous night. Like somehow those things had happened long ago. Instead of the previous evening. Death was always present in the wild lands. And all who lived there were not strangers to it. Even so the weight of losing both his parents sat heavy on huan as he gathered himself, and tried to help with the girls.

  Thargil watched the emotions play across the face of Huan. he knew that these children were all in a delicate condition. His own parents had been killed in a raid by Goblins when he was still a stripling, and these children and their plight brought those memories back to him,  and moved him to a great devotion in regards to these little folk now robbed of their own parents and left in the wild. So vulnerable, so helpless. Thargil's memory drifted back to a small elf child who stood in the streets and watched his village burn. There was fighting all around him. Powerful warriors who fought with vicious goblins intent on slaughter. 

  One warrior had caught his eye. A dancer it seemed to him. Moving through the enemy like a breeze blows through wheat stalks in the meadow. Everywhere their blades moved, he moved faster. A quick stroke here and a goblin fell, a roll and a quick trust brought down another. This warrior moved in a way that almost hypnotized any who might watch. His movement fluid, his timing perfect. he appeared almost as a ghost avoiding every stroke of the enemy, and dealing death each time his blade licked out. Never had Thargil seen a warrior of such skill. He had been so intent on watching the warrior that he hadn't seen the goblin running at him until he felt the jarring thud of the goblin as he collided with Thargil, knocking him from his feet. Thargil struggled to rise but looking up at the goblin whose spear was raised, and knew that he was dead. A bright blade had suddenly poped through the front of the goblins throat, and he swayed momentarily and toppled dead to the ground. Thargil had risen and seen the warrior looking to him, marching his safety, in an instant, before he dove full into the combat again. It seemed like only minutes from then until the raiders were all killed and the villagers were at work putting out fires, collecting the wounded and the dead. The warrior had come to him then.  "Thargil, My name is Amroth," He had said. "I was your fathers friend, and I will take you from here to a city."

  "I know no one in the city lord". Thargil had answered. "This is known to me." Amroth had replied. "you shall stay with me until you are able to make your way. I would teach you things you should know, Thargil. If you have the mind to learn?"


Edited by Amroth - 23 Apr 2011 at 22:01
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Nokigon View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2011 at 12:09
Hey, I happen to know you didn't invent some of those names. I've read Trudi Canavan. Anyway, your sneaky tongue has at least found a use. Well done.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2011 at 13:13
yer Grimnash sounds like a familiar name from somewhere.

Could do with more formatting. Paragraphs way to long. No way I'm reading all that.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2011 at 15:59
Alright now that I could read it easily I can say, Good job. It's an interesting story and hopefully there will be more to come.

Edited by Kurfist - 20 Apr 2011 at 19:26
Patience is a virtue, resource giving is a sin
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jun 2011 at 11:19
Nil pointe
 
(especially for the reusage of names, including Tolkien's Huan the Hound)


Edited by Aneirin - 17 Jun 2011 at 11:20
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