Arrival at Edoras

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Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:04 pm

Despite the unusual and dark nature of the people in the camp site, the site of Edoras and the golden hall of Meduseld set everyone's spirits soaring and they galloped the last few miles along the valley of Harrowdale.



Umar and his warband were welcome, but here he was just a junior captain. Serethiel, however, was heralded as royalty, according to the directions set for by King Eomer. A feast was set of her in the great hall and Umar was included only as an afterthought and at her expectation. Indeed there were mutterings in the hall about him being placed above the salt while many of those who considered themselves more high born than he, we lower down the list.

The evening was somewhat strained by the social jockeying, and the big war captain declared very quickly that he would retire for the evening to their quarters while she should stay and see the whole process through.

“They will talk freely to you, but not if I am there,” he whispered to her. “They cannot see past their social rankings and I am of a lowly sort. You are welcome. I am not.”

He stood and bowed to her and to the head of the table, making his excuses in a gruff but polite manner.

OOC: Will she stay and work the room for information?
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Serethiel was glad to get to Edoras and she could tell that Umar and the warband were as well. Serethiel wished to spend a quiet evening with Umar, but very quickly a feast was set up in her honor, which she could not politely refuse. She bathed and changed and then headed to the great hall with Umar. She could immediately sense a growing tension in the room between Umar and the other guests. She hated that Umar was made to feel uncomfortable. She had wanted to spend the evening with him and now he was leaving. For a moment she hesitated, unsure of what to do. She wanted to leave on principle, but she also did not want to offend King Eomer. She decided she would have to stay, at least for a little while longer. She watched him go and he would see in her eyes that she did not want to stay, but had to. She was angry, but steadied herself before speaking to the highest ranking man in the room.

"What can you tell me about the raids that have been happening?"

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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:31 am

The young Lord Elfwine is at the head of the table, but he seems to be much overruled and overawed by the older and much more experienced warrior, Erkenbrand, Marshal of the West-mark. Erkenbrand is famous, and Selethriel remembers him well – he did not take part in the battle of the Pelennor Fields, but instead was set by King Theoden to guard Rohan while the riders were at Minas Tirith. He is notoriously brave and outspoken.


Lord Elfwine or Rohan

When Lady Serethiel asks what news there is of unrest in the Mark, Erkenbrand speaks up loudly, though a little fuzzily owing to the red wine he has been drinking all evening.

“We are far from the concerns of the King of Gondor, my lady – happy to provide warriors when he needs them for the slaughter, but lower in the list of concerns that must beset such a high king.” His tone is rude and it sets Serethiel on edge to hear him. Nevertheless she hears him out.

“For some two years now we have been beset by evil doings in the north riding. Some say it is the influence of the Old Woods, Fangorn Forest. Others claim that some shadow has crept out of Isengard to blight the land. No matter what the cause, there has been a huge increase in violent crimes – theft, rape, even mass murder. Mostly committed by rough men, outlaws – both from our own folk, and from outsiders drifting here from other lands. But there are rumors more recently of fell creatures, spotted in the evening shadows, dancing in jubilation over the despoiled lands and taking part in the raping and murdering of our people.

“Urchs!” he spit the word out in her own tongue. “Orcs such as we thought fled to outer darkness, but now come back to kill us.”

His fury seemed to leave him then and he sat down heavily in his chair.

“We have begged the high king for help, and I suppose that this muster in Minas Tirith is a part of his response – but we understand he looks to the north and east, not here, in the Mark. This is where we need help. And all we get is a . . . girl!”

There is a gasp of horror in the hall at this. The old war lord has directly insulted one of the fair folk – something no polite society could endure.

“Uncle!” Lord Elfwine, barely in his teens leaps to his feet to upbraid Marshal Erkenbrand. “You are drunk, but that is no reason to insult our guest.

“My Lady Serethiel, please forgive us. This is not how we greet honored guests.”
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:51 am

Serethiel recognized Mashal Erkenbrand. He had been rather outspoken about her participation at the Battle of Helm's Deep. He had wanted her down with the other women instead of on the battlements, believing she would be nothing but trouble for them all. Thankfully, King Théoden had welcomed her assistance, having already known her from her journeys through Rohan before the war. Serethiel did not care for Erkenbrand, but refused to speak ill of him. He was drunk and she knew that was going to make whatever he said even worse. She didn't even flinch when he insulted her. She remained calm and seated, allowing him to speak his mind. She could sense the horror from the young lord, King Eomer's son, and she glanced at him before looking back at Erkenbrand.

"Let me first point out to you that I am no "girl". I have lived over a thousand years and have fought and killed more orcs, goblins, trolls, wargs, and other foul beings than you could ever count. Do not let my feminine exterior ever fool you for I am not to be underestimated...those who do end up dead. Let me also remind you that there was also death and destruction in Gondor. King Elessar does care about Rohan...as much as he does Gondor. His heart is purer than any man in Middle Earth. He was here and fought side by side with you and many other brave men at the Battle of Helm's Deep and he was prepared to give his life there...as was I. We are aware that there is still evil out in this world and while we will continue to fight it I do not think it will ever vanish completely. We must all learn to work together, otherwise we will fall apart and evil will once again reign. That is why I am here...to help. However, if you would rather have a man then I can leave and turn my attentions elsewhere. Is that what you want Marshal Erkenbrand?"

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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:59 pm

"Bah!" the old man is clearly angry -- and drunk. Not a happy combination.

"What i want, dear lady, is someone to help us rid ourselves of whatever is causing these outbreaks of violence and lawlessness. If you are the person sent by the high king , then he clearly has faith in you. I will not say more."

He sits down heavily, his page rushing to support him as he totters in his chair and spills wine on his fine clothes. Those around him look a bit embarrassed at his outbreak, but there is a muttering of approval lower down in the hall. He has said what needed to be said. There is something not right in the northern part of the Marches. It has been building, but now it is bad enough that someone with power and abilities beyond the normal should be about seeing it off.

Lord Elfwine tries to recover the spirit of festivity, but it falls flat and the evening is soon over.

Elfwine speaks quietly to Serethiel as the gentry stand to leave the hall.

"Can we speak in private, my lady," he asks. "If you would come to my study?"

OOC: Assuming she does

Elfwine's study is a comfortable room at the back of the great hall. A fire burns merrily in a stone fireplace and a dozen or more books are shelved alongside it, close by a comfortable chair for reading. A plain wooden table covered with maps has seats around it as if it might double as a dining table from time to time. A glazed window looks out over the rolling plains to the north, faintly illuminated right now by a waxing moon in the west. Serethiel knows instinctively from its position that it is an hour or so short of midnight.

Elfwine offers her wine and then leads her to the maps on his table


Lord Elfwine's Map of Rohan

His finger traces the rivers following one small tributary that runs out of the ancient forest of Fangorn less than fifty miles from Isengard and the great tower of Orthanc.

"It is in this area, the upper reaches of the Entwash, that we have traced the source of our blight," he explains to her. "No specific person or group, you unedrstand, but it is from here the earliest tales of . . . nastiness come, and the deeds seem to radiate out from here, south and east into the northern reaches of West Emnet. But I am convinced that some hidden malign influence is at work here." He stabs his finger down on the map and then draws out a different map to lay over the first.


Lord Elfwines's Map of the Entwash Vale

This shows some detail of the upper Entwash valley. Two towns are noted: Eaworth and Thornhope.

"In one of these two towns, I an certain, is the root cause of our shadow," he says. "I've sent men there. If they go alone, they disappear. If I send a warband, they find nothing. I am at my wits end, and as you can tell from tonight's demonstration tempers are riding high. We've had lynchings in some of the small towns for no more crime than being a stranger."

"Can you help us, Lady Serethiel? Rohan will be in your debt."
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:17 pm

Somehow, Serethiel managed to maintain a polite manner through the remainder of the evening, as short lived as it was. She wished only to return to her quarters and lay in Umar's arms. She was tired...exhausted, both mentally and physically and knew that if she spoke up to Elessar that within a moment she would be done with it all and would be free to live the life she desperately wanted now. A life of peace...without anymore bloodshed or fighting. A quiet life with Umar in a home they could call their own. She wanted to be married to him and to prove to him once and for all that she needed nothing more than him. However, she knew that it was not over yet and she could not walk away knowing there was something more out there she could do. And so when Lord Elfwine asked to speak to her privately she slowly nodded and followed him from the hall and into his study.

Once inside, she graciously accepted a glass of wine and stood quietly, prepared to listen to the young lord. She couldn't help but see much of his father in him. His father had only been a little older than him when he fought in the war. She followed him over to a table and could see several maps piled atop one another. She looked at the map on the very top and watched his finger as he traced a line along the bends of the Entwash. She listened without speaking as he spoke and explained to her exactly what was happening and where he believed it was originating from. She glanced at the second map he pulled out and at the two towns. She had never been to either of them, but had heard of them. As Elfwine finished speaking she was silent a moment before walking over to the window and looking out.

"I am actually in your father's debt. Very few know this, but during the Battle of Pelennor Fields your father saved my life. It was chaos on the field and I had run out of arrows and was fighting hand to hand. I stepped back and tripped over the body of a dead soldier and lost hold of my long daggers. I was on my back with a sword at my throat. Your father was near and saw what was happening. He could have just let me be killed...his own life was at risk...but he came to my rescue and saved my life. He didn't have to, but he kept my secret and I gained in him a dear friend. I will always help him if he needs me. I will go and I will discover what is happening for you...and for your father."

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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:47 am

Umar was sullen when she returned to their rooms. He was eager for her body after their days of abstinence on the trail, riding with his war band, but she could tell he was resentful of the honor given to her and not to him, and on top of that suspicious of the time she had spent alone with Elfwine, an attractive and much nobler fellow than he. It was all she could do to restore a sense of affection between the two of them.

OOC: Assuming she tells him what has been told to her.

The prospect of seeking out a cloud of evil within his own land was both exciting and upsetting to him. The villages Elfwine had mentioned were both known to him, being a few days ride beyond his own steading. And that suddenly plunged him into doubt.

“I cannot go so close and not visit my family,” he explained. “It has been months since I was last there. My father and mother are still healthy, but getting on in years. Will you visit them with me? They have heard me talk of you, but I had not told them of our . . . intimacy. It may come as a shock to them – indeed, as it comes as a shock to me each morning I wake and you are still by my side.” He laughed and rolled with her on the wide bed, his spirits returned to their height, and he took her again, this time with tenderness and joy.
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:25 am

Serethiel was relieved when she was finally able to return to the room she and Umar were sharing. The moment she laid down in bed with him she could sense his resent towards her and also a feeling of jealously. She was quiet a long moment before she turned over and into his arms and began to softly tell him what she had promised to Elfwine. She wanted to ease his pain and remind him that she belonged only to him and so as she spoke she lightly caressed his chest with her fingertips.

After she had finished speaking she could sense Umar thinking hard about something. When he then went on to tell her that the villages she had promised they would visit were close to his family she could not help but smile a little. After being apart from him for so long and being plunged back into this growing darkness it was nice to have something to look forward to. She had never met his family, though Umar had told her quite a bit about them. She smiled at him.

"I would be honored to finally meet your family. I am certain we could find the time to spend a few days with them."


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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:57 am

They woke to find that a heavy rain had settled in over the land. At breakfast, Lord Elfwine sought them out and greeted them both with respect and welcome, making Umar feel better than he had the night before. The young lord seemed much wiser in the ways of men than his elderly Marshal.

“Lady Serethiel, Captain Flintfield, good to see you. I'm sure you are eager to be on your way, but I wonder if I can ask you to spend another day with us. It will give a chance for the rain to subside and Lady, I wonder if you would help our physicians in the infirmary?

“I know you are best remembered as a fierce warrior, but it is also my understanding that the fair folk are well versed in the healing arts. We have a number of cases that have the physickers baffled.”

It seemed churlish to refuse him, and he lead the way to a long house set aside from the others where two physicians and a number of nurses were looking after the sick. Of the dozen or so patients, more than half were simple wounds or bone breaks, easy enough to treat, but five cases were of another nature. Three men and two women, all young, less than twenty years of age, lay still in their beds, faces wan and eyes fluttering. Their bodies were emaciated.

“We try to feed them hearty broth,” the eldest doctor explained, a woman in her later years, broad featured and confident in nature. “They do not rouse to tend themselves and we must clean them daily. Mostly the broth runs out of their mouths, they do not swallow. If we force a little down their throats they will live a few weeks, but these are the last of a score or more who have died this past winter with the same illness. We do not know what it is.”

She looked hopefully at Serethiel.
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:39 pm

Serethiel was glad to be able to spend the evening in Umar's embrace and after making love she settled next to him and drifted into a meditative rest. In the morning she and Umar rose and dressed before reading down to the hall for breakfast. Umar seemed in better spirits than the night before for which she was glad to see. As they ate they discussed holding off on leaving Edoras until the rains subsided when they were approached by Lord Elfwine, who asked her if she might visit the infirmary. She was curious as to what illness might have befallen them that their healers couldn't treat. She agreed and she walked with Umar and the young lord to the infirmary.

Almost immediately, her eyes settled upon the five that she had been asked to look at. There was something about what was happening to them that drew her to them. She could sense there was something dark and evil associated with their sickness that no ordinary medicine could treat. She listened to what the healer told her, but her eyes remained fixed on the five, who were kept separate from the others.

"I cannot guarantee anything, but I shall see what I can do."

Slowly, she approached the bedside of a young man. He appeared to be around 15 years of age with sandy blonde hair. He, like all the others, was gaunt and emaciated. His eyes fluttered, but remained closed. She sat down on the edge of the cot and took one of his hands into her own. She closed her eyes and bowed her head and began to almost sing in elvish. In fact, what she was truly uttering was a chant that would allow her to connect with the young boy's mind.

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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:06 pm

In the years since the Great War, the use of the healing herb Athelas had fallen out of favor again within the world of men, but Serethiel found a small stock set by in the herberium and sent for a kettle of hot water. Crushing a handful of leaves into the steaming water, she inhaled the vapors and made sure that her first patient, a young woman of perhaps twenty years could breathe the fumes as well. Then she began to sing, a fragment of the Lay of Leithian that she had known of old and was potent in healing.

Men spoke often around their camp fires about the magic of elves, but most of it was nonsense. She had no skill or tools to simple heal someone of any wound – other than needle and thread and knowledge of herbs and sanitary needs – but the songs she had learned as a child could allow her to see the world in different ways. As she crooned softly and allowed the perfume of the herb to relax her body and mind, she began to get flickers of sight into the boy's spirit.

“Edouard, Edouard,” she sang, for this was the boy's name. “Can you hear me?”

Again and again, she sang and rocked slightly alongside the boy holding his hand, and slowly, like the petals of a blooming flower, the boy's inner spirit opened and became aware of her. And deep inside the boy, Serethiel became aware of a dark blot. It squirmed and shied away from her gaze, but she bent her focus on it, slipping deeper and deeper in to the dream state herself.

The thing coiled and curled like a drop of ink in a glass of water, and now that her attention was this close, she became aware of a psychic stench. Something she had known before. The Black Breath. Somehow this boy had been touched by the power of a Nazgul!

The contamination was deadly. Left untreated the boy would die, but for Serethiel to risk reaching out and ripping it out of him was to also pit her own strength against that of whatever had placed it there. She might save the boy and take on a taint herself.
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:00 pm

Serethiel was not sure she could save these young men and women, but she knew she had to try. She could not just walk away knowing that there might have been something she could do. She was not a trained healer, but she had learned several elvish remedies over her lifetime. She was surprised and relieved to see that Athelas was among the other herbs that the healers had growing. It was a small amount, but it would have to do. She picked it all and ordered a kettle of hot water. Once it was brought to her she crushed the herbs into the hot water and the steam took on the scent of the Athelas. She ignored the questioning looks of the humans around her, knowing that time was precious.

Taking a seat next to the young man again, she breathed in the Athelas scented vapors and took up the young man's hand. She closed her eyes and relaxed her mind and body and began to sing again. As she sang she began to sink further and further into Edouard's mind and spirit as it connected with her. Fully connected with Edouard's spirit she became aware of a dark blot. It had an evil presence about it and Serethiel knew then that this thing was what was infecting this body and the others. She began to wonder what it might be, but slowly the realization hit her. It had come from a Nazgul! He was infected with this evil force and she knew that untreated he and the others would die. There was a risk to herself to rip it from him, but she had no other choice. He and the others were young and had their entire lives before them. She had lived for over a thousand years. She had killed hundreds and hundreds of orcs and had fought in the war. She had also finally found love in Umar where she had had none before. She could not walk away...she could not turn her back on them. Gathering up her strength and determination, she reached out and grabbed hold of the dark blot and ripped it from Edouard's spirit.

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In the Healing Halls of Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:51 am

The pain! It lanced through her as if she had been stabbed with a Morgul blade, searing its way from her finger tips to the depths of her inner being. Surprised by how much it hurt, she almost let go of the dark blot. Almost. Instead she gritted her teeth and squeezed harder, ripping the horrible canker loose from the boy's soul. It came with a sudden tearing and an equally sudden switch from tenacious resistance to aggressive attack. Pried away from one host it sought to enter a new, burrowing into her flesh and spirit like a  maggot.

With a second effort she erected a barrier between herself and the stain of darkness, holding the squiggling parasite at arms length to examine it in more detail.

Though it battered continuously at her inner defenses seeking a way to infect her as it had the boy, she kept a firm grip on the slug like thing and bent her inner eye, her elven sense of the world unseen, upon the foul parasite. She caught quick glimpses of moments from the past.


* A mighty king kneeling before a dark lord to accept his gift.
* A howling sea of agony and wretched obedience that seemed to last for an eternity.
* A moment of total surprise as the blade of a warrior slashed forth bright and true.
* A faint glimmer of awareness as another took up the burden – a young human, quickly consumed.


And then nothing more. The dark blot abruptly burst in her fingers like a bubble of swamp gas leaving a foetid odor and nothing more.

She gasped as her awareness returned once more to the healing halls of Edoras. The boy, Edouard, slept peacefully and she could tell that the blight had left him. She also knew that this was not the human the ring had consumed. For what else could this be but the influence of the ring of the king of the Nazgul – the Witch King of Angmar? He had been struck down, against all odds by Eowen, sister to King Eomer, fulfilling the ancient prophecy that the Nazgul lord could be killed by no man.

She knew that Mithrandir and others of her folk had scoured the battle sight for days after the victory against the forces of Mordor seeking the Nazgul's missing ring, to no avail. There had been much speculation about what had happened to that ring. Many, Lord Elrond included, thought that Sauron had held the rings of power in his own hand to control the Nazgul, and that they had all been destroyed at the destruction of the One Ring. Gandlaf had not been so sure.

But fifty years had passed with no sign of it. And attentions had moved on. Yet here it was again. Not the ring itself, but the stench of its power. And from the other clues she and Umar had gleaned, its influence must be centered in the northern villages of the Riddermark.

“My lady? My lady?” the voice was far away at first it seemed, but gradually became louder and more insistent as she gathered her wits about her. The physicker, a woman in her middle years, was shaking her shoulder, fear and worry on her face.

Seethiel glanced around her. The sun had moved. A lot while she had been connected to the lad by her healing magics. Midday had turned to late afternoon. Hours had passed.

She looked down again at the boy and he stirred in his sleep, but she was sure he was no longer in danger. Then she looked around again at the beds of the others who had been similarly afflicted. Seven more remained – and that was just here. How many had been tainted?

Should she spend her time and energy here, healing those she could, or should she ride like the wind with Umar and his warband in search of the source of the contamination before it became a wildfire that consumed all of the Rohirrim?
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:42 pm

Serethiel was startled to realize that hours had passed. Looking down at his face, she could see that Edouard was out of danger, but there were others who were still tainted by this evil. Her energy was drained from just saving this one young man and it had clearly taken half a day or more. It would take her days or possibly weeks to save the others, if she even could, and by then more people would fall victim. The source of this evil must be found. She knew that only then would this stop. It terrified her to imagine what would happen if they could not stop it. This evil could spread far beyond Rohan's borders.

She knew she should probably rest after exerting so much of her energy saving the boy, but time could not be wasted. She managed to get to her feet and she looked around for Umar.

"Where is Umar? I must speak with him immediately."

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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:36 pm

On hearing her voice calling for him, Umar pushed angrily past the nurses who had been holding him back from entering the infirmary. He moved quickly to her side, glaring at the physicker, as if it had been she who had drained the elf to the point of exhaustion.

“Serethiel, my love! I am here. You look exhausted. Are you ill?”

He spared scant attention to the boy she had healed at such a cost to herself, but gathered her up into his arms and carried her towards the exit.

“She has given enough today,” he declared as he whisked her outside into the late afternoon sunshine. She felt as light as a child in his arms and her skin was wan and waxy, but as soon as the sunlight fell upon her she began to brighten and her color returned visibly.

He breathed a great sigh of relief and hugged her to him, whispering fiercely into her ear.

“You risk too much. I cannot lose you. I know you are a warrior and there are risks in life, but we must face them together.. When I saw you in there, your face lax, your mind elsewhere, I thought that I had lost you. I thought . . . “ he shuddered at whatever it was that he had thought and gripped her tighter.

“Will you be healing the others in this way? You are your own woman and I cannot forbid it, but I beg you consider my own grief if you should lose yourself in the process.”

Speaking to her in this way, he set her down on her own feet and guided her to a quiet bower within the compound where the last rays of the sun fell on her fair face.

“They say you have cured the boy. What did you find was the cause of his illness?”

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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:30 pm

Serethiel felt lightheaded and weak and all but collapsed against Umar. She could sense his deep worry for her as he lifted her up into his arms. She did not fight him and she rested her head against his chest as he carried her out of the House of Healing. Just knowing he was there and hearing his heartbeat brought some comfort to her for a brief moment, though she feared his reaction when she told him the truth she had learned. For the moment though she just allowed her body and mind to relax. Her energy was all but drained, but she felt it was well worth it in the end. The boy's life would be spared and she held onto hope that they would locate the source of this evil and destroy it. They had to...there was no other choice. If they failed...well she did not want to think about the consequences.

She blinked against the sunlight as it hit her eyes. Inside Edouard's spirit it had been dark and so it took a long moment for her elvish eyes to adjust. The warm sunshine felt good against her skin and she didn't realize that she had been trembling in Umar's arms. Hearing his whispered words into her ear made her heart surge with love for him. It ran deep and true in her heart and spirit and knowing how much he loved her caused her to realize that for the first time in her life there was someone (other than Elessar) who actually cared if she lived or died. The thought nearly brought tears to her eyes. She knew in that moment that should Umar ask her to marry him that she would not hesitate to say yes.

As he set her down she steadied herself against him and closed her eyes as she felt the sunlight on her face. She heard his question, but she was quiet for a long time before turning to regard him.

"Yes, Edouard will live, but there are still others who are suffering...and there might be more unless we stop it."

She took a deep breath and then went on to explain to Umar what had happened when she had connected with the young boy's spirit and what she had learned. When she mentioned Nazgul she saw Umar's eyes widen and his face pale, but she pressed on until the end of her tale.

"Unless we locate the source of this evil and destroy it more and more people will fall ill and die and it will spread beyond Rohan's borders. We must travel quickly to these villages. I cannot connect my mind with the rest of the spirits of those young men and women. It will likely kill me and then there will be more and more like them. Our only hope is to find the head of this beast and chop it off."

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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax on Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:15 pm

“We know from what Lord Elfwine said that when he sends a war band, they learn nothing, and when he sends an individual they disappear,” mused Umar. “No doubt because a war band is too strong to overcome but lacks the ability of a skilled investigator to undercover facts and clues.

“But we two might fall into a neat slot between these extremes. Back to back, we are indomitable, but we also have the skills to ask questions and sniff out the right answers.

“My family steading, Flintfield, is not far away. We could ride there with my war band and spend a few days with my family. Then just the two of us could take a sight seeing journey, perhaps, past the area in question. If anyone asks, we are on our way to visit Fanghorn Forest again and relive our adventures of old. Much better they think of us as two lovers on a honeymoon than as spies for the royal court.”

Much later, after their love making, he lay beside her wide awake looking at stars through the open window. He knew from the wise men that the stars, though they seemed fixed in the sky did move, though very slowly and he wondered if she had seen other constellations in her early life. And how many new constellations she might see after he was long dust. It was not a comfortable line of thought and he pushed it aside. His mother had told him since he was a very young fellow that each of us is granted an allotment of life in the circle of existence, some short, some long, some sweet, some foul, but we must all of us be content with what we have received, striving only to better it as we may and not resenting what others may have.

He fell asleep at last thinking of his mother and his father and how they would be surprised when he rode home with an elfin warrior woman as his mate, His mother, he was fairly certain, would want to know if they would marry and have children, and he wondered how he might broach this subject with Serethiel before they arrived at his homestead.
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel on Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:30 pm

That night, as Serethiel slipped into her restful meditation in Umar's arms, she could sense he was awake and thinking hard on something. She decided not to interrupt his thoughts and to allow them to remain his for the night. That night she remembered the first moment she met Umar five years ago. He had been younger and much more brash, but she knew then what she knew now...that he had a pure heart. His only concern had been for his people and not for himself. He was willing to give his life for others and in Serethiel's mind that made him a true warrior. In the five years that had passed he had matured and in many ways reminded her of a younger Aragorn. She was honored to be at his side and would remain so for the remainder of their days.

In the morning, she rose early with him and as she dressed she glanced over at him and could see his brow furled as thoughts plagued his mind. Finally, she approached him, took his hands into her own, and looked into his eyes.

"Umar, I can see that something is on your mind. Please tell me what bothers you so. You must never fear to tell me anything."

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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by mysterymax Today at 12:12 pm

Umar rode alongside her. His spirits seemed restored by the daylight and being on horseback again, but when she spoke to him, he shared some of his concerns with her.

“It seems to me, lady, that I will be but a short chapter in the great book of your life. I have heard you speak with my men about how brave their grandfathers and great grandfathers were. You knew because you had fought alongside them. And you may well one day stand alongside my great grandson. I will be long in my grave.”

He rode a while longer in silence, but then spoke again.

“It is a great gladness that I have in my heart at the love we share, but as I grow old and weary while you remain a lovely girl, I fear it will become tiresome – to both of us.

“But that is a fear laid on top of a joy, and who knows what fate has in store for us. We may die in one another's arm this very day!” He laughed at this, but it was dry laugh.

They journeyed swiftly across the open grasslands of the Mark. The horses pleased to nearing home and the men too. They carried letters in a satchel provided by Lord Elfwine to deliver at villages and steadings along the way, and at each stop they were treated with respect and reverence for the elfin warrior who rode with them. Umar's men liked being her honor guard and made up songs in her honor as they rode. Their leader smiled and held her eye.

“They love you, too. You are our good luck, it seems.”

It took two days of such progress to reach the Flintfield steading, and word had raced ahead of them. Umar's family waited at the entrance to the their land, dressed in their finest to welcome their son and his lady. Garyn Flintfield, Umar's father rode forward first to greet them and formally invite Selethriel to lodge with them. Willa Flintfield, Umar's mother held back until introduced by her husband and then took over welcoming her son and the lady to their long house.

The Flientfiled steading was no great place. A simple long house with a few neighbors and various barns and outhouses to keep the animals, house the smithy and so on. It was a prosperous and working farm, but not a wealthy place. But Seretheil soon saw that Umar was much loved and respected by his family and the farm hands. His knowledge of horses was impressive, and he was asked by the farm manager to look in on a few new foals and consult with some of the locals about ailments their beasts had encountered.

Everywhere she went, Serethiel was treated with respect tinged with awe and it became bit irksome until Willa came to rescue her and ask for help preparing the evening meal.

“I don't want to put you to work, my dear,” Willa confided, “but I would like to talk with you, woman to woman. My son is clearly in love with you. He spoke of you many times in the past, but always with a longing for that which was lost. Now you are here and will be sharing his bed.

“Is there a plan for marriage? Do your folk do that? With our kind?”
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Re: Arrival at Edoras

Post by Serethiel Today at 2:49 pm

Serethiel sighed, but remained silent. She wished she could convince Umar that she truly did want to give up her immortality for him and die by his side. She wished to speak to him further about this, but did not want to do so in front of his men. This was a conversation better left for later in private. Thankfully, their journey was uneventful and the men all seemed in good spirits. They talked and sang and at night played games near the fire. Serethiel was looking forward to meeting Umar's family, but the thought of the evil that was plaguing this land remained forever in the back of her mind. At night whenever she would lay down to rest she could not help but think of those young men and women fighting for their lives and the others who might become infected. She needed to find a way to end this evil...there was no option for failure.

It was a sunny afternoon as they finally neared the Flintfield steading. Serethiel eased Beleg to a stop beside Umar and they waited as his father approached. Serethiel smiled warmly at him and graciously accepted his invitation for her to remain with them. Their horses were then taken to be unsaddled and housed in the stables and Serethiel greeted Umar's mother. The house was warm and welcoming and Serethiel immediately felt at home. Palaces were nice, but they often lacked the coziness of a house such as this. Serethiel was intrigued by everything and looked at books, paintings, and other items throughout the house. It was wonderful to see Umar with his family and she could see his resemblance to his parents. They clearly loved him and were proud of him.

Serethiel politely answered questions, but was somewhat relieved when Willa asked for her help in the kitchen. She stepped away and followed Willa, but sensed that she had questions for her herself. She listened quietly and did not speak for a long moment as she considered what to say.

"I have been alone for most of my life. When I met Umar I had given up on love because I did not think anyone could love me and I did not want to get hurt. Umar changed everything for me. He made me realize that I was worthy of his love and I allowed myself to love him in return. I had never realized until then how incredibly lonely I had been. Human often wish for elvish immortality, but I have spent hundreds and hundreds of years alone and watching those around me be born, grow old, and die. I...I am tired of it. Most of my kind has left for the Grey Havens and I could go if I wanted to, but I now have a chance at happiness and I do not want to give it up. Umar seems...conflicted. I know that he loves me, but he keeps speaking about me far out living him. I am ready to give up my immortality for him. If I so choose, I can allow my soul to be intertwined with his and I would die when he died. He would have to choose to allow this. Should he not...then I think I would leave Middle Earth and allow him to marry someone else. I cannot marry him though and then go on after his death. I...I just cannot do that."

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