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  #121  
Old Oct 8th, 2020, 11:27 AM
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Vidar
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The dwarf quickly ran his hands over the stone looking in desperation for anything that would reveal the secret opening for which himself and Nolmendil had hoped. The shadow seemed to envelop that hope with despair with each crack and stone the dwarf searched. Looking over at the elf with look at concern Vidar stated.

"It's not here..." the breath letting out the last of his optimism. "The stone, I can see any nook and groove. IF there were something I'd see it" he insisted.

"WE need to go Nolmendil, now! Quick this way!" he calls taking out the corner of the tower and sprinting after the others.

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  #122  
Old Oct 8th, 2020, 06:11 PM
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Nolmendil
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Hope is such a fragile thing, like the statuette of a flying bird made of crystal in the hands of a child. It is wonderful to behold, full of beauty and brightness and possessing all the colors of the rainbow, which makes it all the more sad when it shatters, leaving behind sharp, irregular shards that wound the hands and the soul.

Nolmendil had been certain that a trapdoor at the base of the tower would allow them to survive, would keep them safe from the spiders‘ fangs. He was certain because he wanted it to be so, he desired it with every fiber of his being. His heart fluttered like a bird inside his chest while Vidar’s eyes and fingers expertly searched the earth and stone for an opening, a mere crack that would guarantee their escape. Unfortunately, the earth had made no such promises and no matter how great the desire to discover something useful, the slow realization of the truth dispersed the illusion like the strong wind scatters away the tattered clouds.

Nolmendil’s heart grew cold and dark and the elf despaired anew. There was no way they could escape the swarm of spiders after all. They would run and shoot arrows at them, cut at their legs and bellies with sword and axe and curse their kind, but in the end the monstrous insects would bring all of them down, one by one: the brave dwarf, the skilled Dúnedain, the noble woodman, his dear merchant friend and himself as well, the elf who had sought to find a place in the world of Men. They would try to avoid their fate of course, for it was in the nature of all living beings to do so, but this was a fight that could not be won. If only they hadn’t strayed from the path…

Who would have thought that hope rides at the back of an arrow?

An arrow appeared out of the thick woods surrounding the clearing with the spiders‘ nest. It flew upwards towards the rising sun, absorbing the dawn’s brightness before plunging towards the earth still shrouded in the blackness of the night, its metal tip bathed in golden light like that of a falling star. The fire of heavens and the metal of the earth became one, moments before the arrow met its target, their combined might putting an end to the eternal hunger and great malice of one of Mirkwood‘s giant spiders. A death brought from on high. A death that reignited Nolmendil’s hope.

The Noldo saw a single individual, probably a Man, disappearing among the trees as quickly as he had appeared. Yet, where one stood, there could be many. Many noble souls to counter the great evil of the spiders. Even if that was not the case, the elf could attempt to take advantage of it.

"Friends, we are saved!", cried out Nolmendil, his voice carrying over to the spiders through the broken walls of the watchtower. "The Dúnedain and Thranduil’s scouts I summoned have finally arrived. Now they can put an end to the menace of these ruins and cleanse the forest from their stain. Let us run towards the treeline and make sure that as many of the spiders as possible follow us. It will be easier for our friends to fill them with arrows as they chase us out in the open. Let’s make haste! The dawn brings new hope."

It was a bluff of course. Nolmendil had summoned no one and even if he had, he could not be certain that those who followed Aragorn and the Elvenking would pay heed to his words. Yet words were weapons more powerful than even the sharpest of swords and the fastest of arrows and if they managed to seed fear and uncertainty among the spiders, he and his companions might have a chance. It was the hope of a candle staying lit in a storm but it was all he had.

 
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  #123  
Old Oct 14th, 2020, 03:21 PM
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Vormund
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Vormund looked over his shoulder at the approaching spiders, firing off a quick arrow that went tragically wide, hitting nothing.

Just when all seemed lost though... a mysterious ally appeared, felling one of the wretched beasts with a far more effectively-placed arrow. Who this man was, Vormund didn't know, and he had not the time to think beyond the moment as he continued running for the edge of the clearing. It was all they could do at this point.
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Action: Attack with greatbow
-Attack: 8 (miss)

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  #124  
Old Oct 16th, 2020, 02:50 PM
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Braegar watched in horror, certain he was witnessing the Elf and Dwarf's final moments as the monsters descended on them. He drew his bow, too slow, he knew, to save them. There were not enough arrows in his quiver to fell so many enemies, even were they all to find their mark. Before he could loose his shot, someone else's arrow cut through the air from the tree line to his right. One of the spiders went ridged, then fell like a stone. Braegar thought he spied someone in the undergrowth, but his form melted back into the foliage so fast he couldn't be sure.

Nolmendil's voice rang out like a bell. Dunedain? Thranduil's scouts? When could the Eldar have gotten word out to anyone that they were in need? Though he had to admit, the fair folk could do many strange things that were a mystery to him. But it seemed the elf's words carried a little too well to be solely for the benefit of his companions. A ploy then. he hoped it would be enough to at least give the creatures pause.

Braegar let fly his arrow and watched it disappear into the tower's shadow, the spider he was aiming for seemed undaunted. Again he missed what should have been an easy shot! He looked down at his hand and realized it was trembling. His own fear would betray him to his death if he didn't master it, he knew. He clenched his fist, trying to will his hand to steady.

"Come on, Grim!" He said, turning to the Beorning "We can't go back the way we came in, but whoever that was that came to our aid surely knows a safer way!" With that, he began again to move, helping Grimfara keep Baldor going as much as he could.


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Last edited by Helvorix; Oct 16th, 2020 at 02:58 PM.
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  #125  
Old Oct 23rd, 2020, 12:28 AM
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Journey through MirkwoodDestination: The Forest Gate
Approximate Travel Length: 160 miles (9 days travel)
Peril Rating: 3
  • Guide: Solveig
  • Scout: Vormund + Braegar (help action gives advantage)
  • Hunter: Solveig
  • Look-out: Nolmendil + Grimfara or Vidar (help action gives advantage)
Traveled Thus Far: 2 Days - 36 Miles

The Castle
Nolmendil and Vidar had hoped they could find some means of escaping the approaching giant spiders in the form of a passage or tunnel at the base of the ruined tower. Under the dwarf's careful eye, he was certain they would not be so lucky.

Or perhaps they were. An unknown man, dirty and with clothes in tatters, appeared at the treeline to the north of the ruins and fired a single arrow, dropping an attercop in one precise strike. Then, as suddenly as he had appeared, he was gone again.

Deciding unilaterally that their only chance of survival now lied in following their unexpected ally, they all began making their way to where they had last seen the man.

Braegar called out to Grimfara to urge him to follow, the kicking Baldor still draped over his shoulder like a sack.

One by one the companions dashed through the trees north of the ruins. The giant spiders could still be heard behind and overhead in the branches at first, but this slowly subsided until the only thing that could be heard were the sounds of their heavy breathing and Baldor's swearing.

With the threat of the spiders seemingly behind them, they now found themselves in a different predicament, what with the day nearly spent and no idea where they might be.


GM NotesAnyone attempting to guide the party anywhere will need to make a survival check.
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  #126  
Old Oct 25th, 2020, 01:31 PM
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Nolmendil
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Nolmendil ran through the shadowy forest like he had never run before, he ran as if the Enemy and all the orcs of Mordor had been at his heels. When the group finally stopped running, the elf was unsure how long it had been since they left the spiders‘ clearing for the relative safety of Mirkwood. Judging from the shortness of his breath and his aching legs, it could have been hours. Looking around him, the Noldo was glad to see that they were all there and that apart from a few scratches and bruises they had been dealt by low hanging branches and gnarled roots as they blindly ran among the trees, no one had been seriously injured. For Baldor things must have been even worse, he reasoned, but had the burly human not carried him like he had done, the merchant would not be alive now.

"Thank you, Grimfara, your strong legs and your enduring back be blessed. Keeping up at such a pace with a grown man weighing you down is no small feat by any means, even our dwarven companion cannot but say so. Please, put our friend down so that I may take another look at him."

Slowly approaching the still bound merchant, Nolmendil washed his hands with water from his waterskin and placed them upon the man’s face, wiping away grime and sweat. "Shh, friend, you need restShh, mellon, cin baur post." Seeking out Baldor’s eyes, the elf went on in Westron. "Do you recognize me? Do you know what happened since you left our camp next to the road?"

Our camp! The realization made the elf sick. Belgo must be there all alone, believing that he will never see his father or us never again. No, not alone. Shadowmaw is with him, thank the Valar!

Having tried to do his best for Baldor, the elf rose to his feet. "I never again caught sight of the mysterious figure in rags. Has anyone of you seen him? Had he not intervened when he did, we would never have made it alive." I just hope you are alive and far from the spiders‘ reach, stranger. I pray that we might one day meet, so I can properly thank you for saving our lives. May the light be your eternal companion.

 
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  #127  
Old Oct 26th, 2020, 02:49 PM
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Vidar
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The dwarf made a huff and a gruff as they settled to a calmer pace without the spiders at their tails. "Well this is a fine mess we've got ourselves in! What are we two days of travel into this expeditin and we are lost in the Mirkwood with no idea where camp or caravan are to be found."

Looking toward the setting sun he began to let worry seep into his voice. "We need to either find camp or shelter and quickly. We don't want to be caught out in the open as the light fails us."

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  #128  
Old Oct 28th, 2020, 10:00 AM
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Braegar frowned down at Baldor, wondering silently if the man's memories would ever return, or if he'd even recognize his own son when they found their way back. If they found their way back. He felt a bit guilty, but couldn't help feeling a bit of bitterness for the poor fool. To take such a terrible risk as to drink from the enchanted stream, though he had been warned of the peril, all to chase away the pains of his past. He had put the whole company in danger, for the sake of his own comfort.

Braegar turned from him to address Nolmendil. "I didn't get a good look at him," He answered, "But I find it odd that anyone would be out there at all. There are no men living in this part of Mirkwood that I've ever heard. It's too dangerous. And for some wanderer to just happen upon us in the dark in our time of need seems unlikely." He scratched his wispy beard thoughtfully, "Could he have been following us?"

Braegar shook his head, "You're right," He said, turning his attention to Vidar, "But I don't feel safe sheltering here, and Belgo and Shadowmaw have been left alone too long as it is. Best we try to find our camp."

"We must be drawing near the Elf-Path and that's why the spiders stopped chasing us. I hope...
If we travel downhill until we find the stream, we should be able to follow it until it brings us back to the path."


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Last edited by Helvorix; Oct 28th, 2020 at 10:23 AM.
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  #129  
Old Oct 30th, 2020, 01:11 AM
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Vormund
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Vormund's breathing slowed as the apparent danger had passed. Looking around, he did a quick mental head count, making sure all of them had made it, before his mind flashed over the events again. The stranger that had appeared... who was he?

Nolmendil's question mirrored his own thoughts, and Braegar confirmed what he was thinking; that no man could be living out here on their own. It just wasn't feasible... not with the forest as it was. Too much danger and foul magic... but there would be time to think more on it later. For now, they had to return to a place of relative safety.

Turning to his companions, the ranger nodded to Braegar.

"Yes... returning to the path is our immediate priority. We can reassess the best course of action once we've reunited with Belgo and Shadowmaw. Braegar and I will lead. The rest of you... attend to Baldor and keep your eyes open." With that, Vormund began the arduous task of establishing their current whereabouts, hoping they'd be back at the path long before night fell.
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Survival Check to Guide (w/ Advantage from Braegar): 23
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  #130  
Old Oct 31st, 2020, 11:39 AM
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Journey through MirkwoodDestination: The Forest Gate
Approximate Travel Length: 160 miles (9 days travel)
Peril Rating: 3
  • Guide: Solveig
  • Scout: Vormund + Braegar (help action gives advantage)
  • Hunter: Solveig
  • Look-out: Nolmendil + Grimfara or Vidar (help action gives advantage)
Traveled Thus Far: 2 Days - 36 Miles

The Castle
For the first time in a while, the companions finally had a moment to stop. Stop fighting, running and fending for their lives. What they found was that their situation was no less dire than before. Seemingly lost in Mirkwood with half the day behind them, their employer bound and suffering from memory loss, and his son stranded back in their camp, likely wondering if he would ever see any of them again.

Although their strange savior had left a mighty impression, he had vanished as quickly as he had appeared. It did not take long before the companions agreed to a man that their only course of action was to return to their camp...if they could find it again.

Grimfara set Baldor down on the ground and he himself sat on an overturned tree, looking tired. Nolmendil attempted to speak with the man to see what he remembered.

"This is outrageous!" Baldor stammered. "You had me bound and bouncing atop that smelly man for an age! No I don't know who you are," he shot back quickly. After a moment, the man continued to stare at the elf as though thinking. "Although you do seem familiar," he added. "Look," he said, seemingly having calmed down since his rescue at the hands of the spiders," I realize that you saved me from those horrible creatures, but I must get back to Lake Town. I am very late and my wife and child are likely fretting over where I might be."

When the signal was given, Grimfara once again picked up Baldor and threw him over his shoulder.

This is ridiculous, the man shouted and began doing his best to kick and punch Grimfara. If the large man felt any of the blows, he showed no signs of it.

Vormund and Braegar set out with the others following closely behind. With the two of them guiding the party, they were able to determine a rough idea of where they were. It was only a couple of hours later that they came upon the stream that had started this whole escapade. They kept a wide berth.

They had come upon the stream further east than their camp and followed along the shore for another hour before they finally came upon their camp. Shadowmaw barked several times at their approach and ran to Braegar excitedly. Surprisingly, there was a small fire burning and the remains of a rabbit nearby that had been cooked over the fire on a large stick.

Belgo ran over to his father as Grimfara was setting him down again, a hopeful look in his eye.

"What is this," Baldor asked. "Who is this boy. I told you, I need to get back to Lake town. Why have we stopped here?"

Belgo stared at his father for a moment and simply walked away, returning to where he had been sitting near the campfire.

A loud thud turned everyone's attention to Grimfara, who had been standing, but ended up falling face-first into the ground. Those that might inspect him will find that the man is indeed dead. A wound can be seen on his back that was already dried, but black tendrils under his skin spread in every direction.

A slight chill is in the air and for those that watch for such things, they can easily tell there will likely be rain within the next day. It is about two hours from sunset.

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Last edited by Silent Rain; Nov 2nd, 2020 at 09:42 PM.
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  #131  
Old Nov 2nd, 2020, 06:57 PM
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Nolmendil
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Despite his persistence and the many years he had devoted to studying the many skills of the Eldar, Nolmendil had to admit that the state Baldor was in was simply beyond his power to heal. In the halls of Lord Elrond such a thing would not have vexed him. He would have simply consulted books on this particular subject, put his newly acquired knowledge to use and had he still been unable to treat his patient successfully, he would have humbly requested the assistance of the Master of Imladris, who was the greatest healer still alive. He would have watched him at work and would have learned from him. The next time he encountered such a malady he would have been better equipped to treat it. Now however they were at the heart of the forest under deadly nightshade in SindarinTaur-nu-Fuin, miles away from Imladris and any hope of assistance from his mentor and friend. Nolmendil was supposedly the one who was acquainted with the ways of the wise and the way mortal bodies worked, but no matter what he tried, it seemed inadequate. The annoyance in the eyes of his friend was mirrored by the disappointment in the eyes of his friend’s son. He had failed, but it was still up to him to find a solution to their current problem.

"Have no fear, Belgo. The power of the enchanted stream has clouded your father’s mind, but the effect can be countered." Turning to his companions, he continued. "I will return to the Elvenking’s hall and beg him to help us. Lord Thranduil is wise, if not trusting of those not of elvish blood. There is a good chance that my words will touch him. I will be back before long, I trust. You should…"

It was then that Grinfara fell, like a great oak brought down by a pair of lumberjacks, striking with their axes again and again, ignorant or uncaring of the tree’s pain. The elf ran to him immediately, surprising even himself with the speed of his reaction, but even as he watched for signs of life he knew that it was too late. As he examined the great warrior’s back, fighting back the tears that threatened to blind him, he soon discovered the cause of death. A wound, no longer fresh, but badly tainted, dark tendrils spreading from it in an attempt to cover the brave man’s body in darkness.

It cannot be! The spiders? Have they poisoned Grimfara as he carried Baldor away? Or was it something even more sinister? Why hasn’t he said something? I could have treated it. I could have at least tried. No, it’s my fault. I should have noticed that something was wrong. I should have felt the taint upon him. Not only that. I was the one to ask him to carry Baldor. Had I have carried him myself, Grimfara would now be alive. I was the one that doomed him.

Nolmendil took a few steps back from the brave man‘s corpse, still unable to look away from it. His face, completely devoid of color, looked like one of the statues decorating the squares and palaces of Minas Tirith, the white city. Only, this was not the noble whiteness of expertly sculpted marble, but the sickly paleness of horror, pain and guilt. Guilt that weighed as heavily as mountain.

 
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  #132  
Old Nov 7th, 2020, 09:55 AM
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Vormund
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The journey back to camp went smoothly enough, despite the protests of their belligerent benefactor. The ranger silently hoped that whatever effect the forest had had on the man's mind would wear off on it's own after a good meal and some time resting by the fire. Still, they needed to keep their guard up, lest he run off again and draw them into further danger.

Their return was warmly received, though it was admittedly sad watching Baldor fail to recognize his own son. As Belgo silently returned to the campfire, Vormund exchanged concern glances with a few of the others before breaking away. Giving Shadowmaw an affectionate scratch behind the ears as he passed, the ranger sat down next to the boy.

"It's this place... your father's mind has been addled by the forest. It happens to the best who pass through here, unfortunately. The important thing is... you can't give in to despair. The dark forces that have bred corruption in these lands will prey on us if we don't stay sharp. Your father brought us for a reason though; to keep all of you safe as we pass through. Rest assured, we will continue to do so... and before long, your father will be back to his old self again. He's lucky to have such a caring son at his side." Vormund smiled at Belgo before turning his eyes to the sky, judging the time of day through the gap in the trees.

Nolmendil reassured Belgo further, vowing to secure aid from the Elven King Thranduil. However, before he could complete his thought, Grimfara suddenly collapsed.

Jumping to his feet, Vormund followed Nolmendil over to the man, but it was too late to do anything. One look upon the elf's face told the ranger everything he needed to know.

"He must have felt the injury... decided against slowing down or stopping in order to protect us from the enemy." The ranger cursed under his breath, staring down at the beorning sadly. It was foolish... foolish and brave. Kneeling down beside him, Vormund turned and quietly address Nolmendil.

"There is nothing you could have done. Perhaps if he had said something sooner... but it does you no good to blame yourself for his silence." Vormund turned, looking up to the sky again before returning his focus to the Noldo. "We must focus on what we can do now... and what we can't do. We aren't too far from your elven brethren, to be sure, but the hour is late. It will be dark soon... dark and raining. It will be dangerous for you to travel alone, or to split our group any further. Unless you feel Baldor's condition requires immediate assistance, I suggest we maintain camp here for one more night, and you can attempt to help him to the best of your ability here. We will likely have to restrain him before we sleep. In the morning, if his condition hasn't improved... we can revisit the idea of turning back."
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Old Nov 10th, 2020, 10:17 PM
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Journey through MirkwoodDestination: The Forest Gate
Approximate Travel Length: 160 miles (9 days travel)
Peril Rating: 3
  • Guide: Solveig
  • Scout: Vormund + Braegar (help action gives advantage)
  • Hunter: Solveig
  • Look-out: Nolmendil + Grimfara or Vidar (help action gives advantage)
Traveled Thus Far: 3 Days - 36 Miles

The Castle
After Grimfara's demise, Nolmendil had determined that the large man had, in fact, been killed by the bite of an Attercop. As Vormund had suggested, it was assumed the man must have known he was bitten, and likely poisoned, but chose to keep moving onward, knowing that Baldor's and his own life were at the time, intertwined. From what Nolmendil knew of the spider's poison, it had likely been an exceedingly painful way to die. That Grimfara bore that pain without so much as a grimace spoke much of the man's strength.

The night's camp was a somber one. The growing chill in the air seemed to mach the mood of the companions that gathered around the fire, though it seemed to do little to lighten their spirits. Even Baldor had quieted down a bit, perhaps resigning himself to his situation.

Night came quickly over Mirkwood. A watch was set, though likely unnecessary in the tiny sanctuary the companions now rested. The morning sun did little to diminish the darkness that permeated the wood, so thick were the could overhead.

As Baldor was released from his bindings, for fear he might run off in the night again, he looked a broken man. It was clear that he had been crying for some time, his eyes were red and puffy. He approached Belgo immediately, though hesitantly, reluctance and pain reflecting clearly in the boy's eyes. Father and son spoke for a little while at the edge of camp and when they were done Belgo certainly seemed happier, though it was clear the experience had left its mark on both of them.

Baldor approached the body of Grimfara and laid his had on the man's shoulder. "No one has ever died for me before," he said quietly. "I did not wish to carry that honor. This journey has taken much. Too much. The worst part...I remember everything."

The man turned back to the others. "I cannot apologize or thank you enough for what you have done for both me and my son. There are no words that..." Baldor began tearing up, but wiped his hands across his eyes. "Well, I think there has been enough of that."

"If anyone wishes to leave, I would understand and would still make good on the money that I promised. For those that wish to press on, I suggest we be off. The elves tolerate my comings and goings, but they will not look kindly upon me asking to cross their waters once more. I must press onward. Can I still count on you to lead the way?"

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Old Nov 11th, 2020, 04:01 AM
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Vormund
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Sleep came surprisingly easy to Vormund that night. It had been a terrible day... they'd lost a companion, but they had kept their charge safe. The physical toll had probably helped somewhat. To keep his mind focused, Vormund had spent the better part of the evening just beyond the edge of the camp, digging a hole at the base of a large tree. He knew they wouldn't be able to take the beorning along... but the man deserved some final honors, all the same. Still, Vormund couldn't bring himself to bury Grimfara that night, leaving the hole empty as he retired for the evening.

The following morning brought a grim sense of hope to it though. They had lost time, and they had lost life... but they hadn't lost Baldor. The man finally remembered everything, though a look at his face showed that this was equal part burden and blessing. As Baldor offered to release them from their service however, the ranger finally stepped forward.

"Grimfara made a choice... it was the same choice we all made when we agreed to come on this journey. You are a good man Baldor, and you do him honor in your words. Likewise, I wish to do honor by mine." He put a hand on Baldor's shoulder, squeezing it gently before looking back at the rest of the group. "I won't judge any of the rest of you for turning back, but I intend to continue on. The only remaining business is to attend to our fallen friend... recognizing that he died so that the rest of us could live. I've prepared a grave for Grimfara, and I would ask that we take a few moments to put him to rest before we part ways."
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Old Nov 18th, 2020, 12:04 PM
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Nolmendil
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Night brought little rest for Nolmendil and no peace of mind. The elf was glad Baldor had recovered, but the price suddenly seemed too high. His heart was plagued by a whirlwind of emotions that he simply was unable to master: sorrow, guilt, anger. Every time he closed his eyes he pictured Grimfara carrying the merchant in their escape through the woods. Was it a grimace of pain the elf had glimpsed? Had the man’s breathing been too irregular or rapid to be explained by physical exertion alone? Were there any other signs he had missed? There was no end to the questions Nolmendil posed to himself, questions he was unable to answer. Sleep was even worse. There the conscious mind had no saying and the Noldo’s wounded heart decided what he dreamed of. The dreams of the Eldar were a thing of wonder, so vivid as if they were a different reality, but when powered by pain and anguish it was not long before they wore down the spirit. Realizing that he would find no sanctuary in sleep, Nolmendil tried to compose a poem for his fallen companion.

Child of Men, giant of courage
Steady of heart and strong of arm
Duty was your shield, a shield you held proudly
Until treachery forever closed your eyes to the light…

A knot in his stomach forced the elf to stop. The words he had chosen were unworthy of Grimfara, they seemed clumsy and poorly formed. The pain was too great, the loss too fresh for Nolmendil to turn his sorrow into something worthwhile.

When Vormund informed Baldor and the rest of his decision and intention of burying Grimfara’s lifeless body, Nolmendil nodded silently. He admired the ranger for his clear mind and trustworthiness. Had more people had such remarkable qualities as Vormund the world of Men would still have been great. Perhaps, one day it would be great once more.

"I too shall remain beside you, Baldor." Though it seems I am of little use. "My heart needs to see our journey reach its end." It needs to see there is a reason for the pain and loss we have suffered. "But I would also like to do something to preserve our valiant companion’s memory." It is the least I can do. "His body will have to be buried here, as Vormund suggested, but that does not mean that we cannot bring his great axe to his people and share with them the story of his bravery." And use his share of the profits to do some good among his people. Did he have children? I knew so little of him… "My friend, would you consider traveling on to Beorn’s lands? Or at least allow one or two of us to make the journey on the behalf of the whole group?" I would rather walk into Mordor than share the sad news with his family, but they must be informed of his sacrifice. We would never have escaped the spiders if not for him.

Waiting patiently for Baldor to respond to his request and the rest of his companions to make their intent known, Nolmendil looked at the sky. How could there be such beauty and such sorrow at the same time? He wished this to be the last tragedy to mark his life, but he suspected that not to be the case. Who could tell what the future holds for them?

Once deliberations had finished, the elf followed the Dúnedain and helped him place Grimfara‘s body within the pit. Out of a pouch he took three acorns, choosing them carefully. He always carried a few among his healer‘s supplies, for when ground to a paste and after adding water to them they could be used to treat irritations of the skin and toothaches. Gently he placed them one by one on the man‘s chest, speaking to him in Sindarin.

"Three lives you have changed, Grimfara. One that of Baldor, whose life you saved. One that of Belgo, who will continue knowing his father‘s care and love. One your own, a life sacrificed so others may live. Hope, love and sacrifice, that are your lessons to us. I hope I will prove worthy of them. May the seeds drink deeply of your courage and give birth to mighty oaks that will stand strong until the world ends."

No longer able to contain his tears, Nolmendil took a handful of earth and threw it into the grave.

"May the earth keep you, friend, and guard your dreams. You will be remembered."

 
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