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Author Topic: Campaign: Unsung Heroes  (Read 56730 times)
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jdizzy001
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« on: January 22, 2011, 10:46:36 AM »

(This campaign takes place after Bilbo leaves bagend, but before Gandalf returns.)

The 3rd age.  In the wilds of Ithilien, Radagast the Brown trudges southward.

No Mithrandir, I don't have time to worry about a hobbit and some ring you think to be of some importance.  Radagast thought as he trudged through the mud.  He was soaked from the top of his head to the bottom of his robes.  The shower was not letting up and the clouds covering the moon made it difficult for Radagst to see in the dark.  Regadless, he had to continue southward.  If I don't reach the border soon, all could be lost.  A spell of endurance had sustained the wizard all day, but now its aura of sustaining energy was fading.  Radagast grew weary.

Ahead, through the trees, Radagast could see a flickering light.  A campfire?  Travelers!  He thought.  With a renewed vigor Radagast moved through the shadows till he was just outside the light of the campfire.  He peered into the lighted area.  He spied from his hiding place a small number of people.  Radagast perceived them to be sturdy folk with an latent heir of nobility about them.  

Feeling confident they were free folk of middle-earth, Radagast stepped into the light.  It was only a moment till all eyes rested on the ragged wizard....

(There you have it.  Take it away!)
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2011, 06:15:08 PM »

"These Gondorians are weak. No wonder the orcs have grown bolder and take more land by the day. I should get out of this place while it's still standing. The only one actually doing anything here is the stewards son, Boromir, but he alone can't save this place. It won't be long until the orcs would grow so bold as to attack Minas Tirith itself." thought Kane as he was moving through the First Level of Minas Tirith. After traveling for many weeks, he stopped in Minas Tirith to gather some supplies before continuing on his way. "There is nothing for me here." He said to the guard as he exited through the Great Gate.

"I should probably go to the east. Men of Harad rule there, but I shouldn't have any trouble from them. They'll see me as just another beggar and there I might learn something of their battle techniques. They are said to fight differently than men of the west." thought Kane as he was nearing a broken bridge over the Anduin. "Very well... ", he said. "Haradwaith it is. Although, I should first find some way to cross this river."
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 11:22:05 PM »

"To Harad?  For a wizard you are a crazy one!" said the Captain.

Radagast was not amused.  He surveyed the fighting men surrounding the campfire.  Some were clad in armor, others were not.  Some were soldiers, others were not.  The weary wizard took a deep breath, "If you truely value this land, you will follow me southward!"

"No, Master Radagst, we are but soldiers in a convoy heading to Minas Tirith.  There is nothing for us south of Gondor, we are sorry.  You may stay with us as long as you wish, but our road lies north, for it is the will of the steward Denethor," explained the captain.  The company dispersed.  Some returned to their meals, others were caring for their weapons or armor.

Radagast felt dismayed.  He hung his head low for a moment, What shall I do? he asked himself.  The wizard was deep in thought, when he noticed someone approaching.  Radagast looked up.  He met the gaze of a steely-eyed man.  His hair was dark and stringy, wet from the rain.  He wasn't dressed in the garb of a knight, nor the trappings of a travller.  His clothes were simple and over his shirt he wore a heavy chain corslet.  An arming sword also hung in a sheath at his side.

"You're going to Harad?" asked the man.

"Yes.  There is much occuring in Far Harad which will effect us all.  I must get there in haste," explained Radagast.

"I am Beowdil, son of Wulf.  I've been searching for my wife and sons.  They were taken by a party of Uruk-Hai.  After months of searching I have reason to believe they were taken to Harad," Beowdil paused.

"Then our roads lead us to the same place," suggested Radagast.

"I am only searching for the ones I love, but I will accompany you till I find them." explained Beowdil.

Radagast nodded, "I would hope for nothing less."  The wizard extended his hand.  

Beowdil grasped it and they shook.  He noticed a strange tenor in Radagast's voice.  There was a hidden meaning in what the wizard said.  Though Beowdil only promised to travel with him till he could find his family, the retired farmer could tell he would be traveling with Radagast for a long time.
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 01:43:05 PM »

The journey southward was quickly becoming humid. The rains had passed, but Radagast and his traveling companion, Beowdil son of Wulf, were still wet. However, the moisture came due to sweat as they reached southern Ithilien.

Just after noon, the small company stopped for lunch, "Eat quickly Beowdil, we must make haste."

Beowdil glanced at the wizard then knowingly nodded, "Very well," he answered.  The two moved to sit down before eating their rations.  Radagast paused mid-squat. He lifted his head as if listening to something.

"Did you hear that?" he asked.

"No," Beowdil responded. The fighting man stood up straight once more.  His hand instinctively went to the hilt of his sword. 

Radagast stuffed the dried rations back into the folds of his robes and gripped his wizard's staff.  He looked over at his raven haired companion, "Quickly, this way!" Radagast turned and dashed into a thicket of trees.  Beowdil followed.  They fell to their stomachs in order to hide behind the low bushes just off the main trail. In silence they waited.

Beowdil strained to catch a whisper of what Radagast seemed to hear with ease. It came softly at first, but quickly the noise grew in volume. Beowdil then caught a glimpse of what the wizard had warned them against.

A small company of three Haradrim were moving north through the forest.  In tones hardly audible Radagast spoke, "Southron scouts.  Clearing the road for a larger force no doubt." 

Beowdil said nothing.  Slowly he began to pull his arming sword from its scabbard.  As he did the sound of metal on metal was heard as the blade dragged across the scabbard.  The Southrons spun in place, spears in hand, searching for the source of the sound.  Beowdil felt his heart beat faster and his rage begin to kindle as their eyes fell upon him.  He fought the urge to grin. 

Radagast glared at Beowdil, "You fool!" he barked in a low whisper.

The Haradrim let out a war cry, it sent shivers down Beowdil's spine.  With incredible speed, the Haradrim charged.  With greater haste Beowdil, son of Wulf leaped from his hiding place, "WULF!" he yelled as he raised his sword above his head.

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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2011, 08:36:20 AM »

Beowdil could feel his rage building, and with that fire he met the Haradrim. In a wide, arching overhead strike Beowdil attacked the nearest Haradrim. The lithe warrior caught the blow with the haft of his polearm. The farmer turned warrior leaped back as the other two Southrons attacked with their spears set to charge. Beowdil spun a web of steely defense about himself parrying the oncoming attacks. Quickly the fighter feinted, causing the third Haradrim to lose balance and tumble. With a vicious stroke Beowdil's blade found its mark. One of the Southrons were now dead. Beowdil's rage was burning in his stomach.

The first Haradite moved in against Beowdil for a second time. Beowdil's building rage narrowed his vision until all he could see was the Southron in front of him. The second southron turned and struck at Beowdil with a poorly placed attack. The spear turned almost harmlessly off Beowdil's corslet of chainmail.

The fighting man could feel the bruise forming on his back. His vision widened momentarily as the painful attack reminded the farmer he must pay attention to all of his surroundings. However, as he gripped his rage once more and his vision narrowed. Beowdil spun around and with a quick stroke downed the second foeman. Once he was certain the Southron was dead he turned to face his last opponent. With a loud bellow, Beowdil released his red hot fury.

In a crash of sinew and steel the two warriors met. Strikes and blows were met with feints and counters. The warriors were bleeding from many wounds which would have been fatal had they not been avoided by late parries and last ditch evasions. Radagast watched from the bushes. He was certain he had found the right hero, I just hope we can find more companions, he thought. The wizard pushed himself up from the ground and with staff in hand he raised both arms into the air.

It's a shame I have a wizard with me who won't fight! Beowdil thought to himself. His back was to Radagast so he couldn't see the wizard conjuring a spell of power.  The Southron however, was staring right at the wizard who seemed to grow in stature. The woods surrounding Radagast became sinister and dangerous and the wizard's spell grew in power. An inner light materialized within Radagast growing in intensity. The Southron had to cover his eyes. He screamed in pain as he was momentarily blinded.

Beowdil capitalized on Radagast's distraction, and with a mighty strike supported by his fury, he disarmed his foe.

The Southron fell into a puddle of his own blood. He was only on the ground for a moment before rolling and rising back to his feet. He let his spear lay on the ground still gripped by his severed arm. Beowdil leveled his blade at the beaten Southron who turned and fled southward. The reluctant warrior could feel his burning rage subside.

"Well done," stated Radagast as he walked out onto the main path, "He will report back to Harad's army about what happened."

"Perhaps they'll think twice before attacking the freemen of middle-earth," stated Beowdil. He felt a trickle of blood move down his swordarm. The fighter looked at it in time to see his blood run from the hilt of his sword to the blade and mix with the blood of the Haradrim.

"Where did you learn to fight?" asked Radagast.

"I didn't, I let my rage guide me," answered Beowdil. He looked up and saw the wizard was staring at him.

"I'm no sword master, but I know a few things about the blade. Perhaps you will let me teach you what I know?" asked the wizard.

"I will gladly accept any aid you offer me in finding my family," stated Beowdil.

"Excellent. Then lets bandage your wounds and eat lunch. I'm starving."
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2011, 10:31:37 PM »

With a few days march behind them, Radagast and Beowdil noticed the trees began to thin as they neared the ford in Pelargir which crossed the Poros River. Radagast served as guide, knowing the route from Gondor to Harad. He kept a sharp eye out ahead, and communed with the birds from time to time in order to ensure a safe passage.

The companions crested a hill and looked down towards the ford. There was a winding path of switchbacks leading down a short cliff. Once at the bottom of the cliff, they would be out of Ithilien and free to cross the ford. They would no longer be in Gondor. Once across, the road became The Harad Road which cut through Harondor and skirted Khand before crossing into Near Harad.

Radagast was prepared for that trip, but not the one he was about to experience. His eyes traced the path down the cliff and across the Pelargir Field. To his surprise, the ford was already being crossed. A company of Haradrim sloshed their way through the ford into Gondor. They made a great tumult of noise as they moved. To both Radagast and Beowdil's surprise, the company included three Mumakil.

"Iluvitar be merciful," whispered Radagst.

"O Elbereth Gilthoniel," stated Beowdil, "I have never seen a monster so large!" As if on cue one of the massive grey beasts raised its trunk in the air and let out a bellow. The rider responded by blowing the horn which dangled at his side.

"We can not linger here," Radagast said. There was a hint of concern in his voice.

"We have nothing to fear wizard. The Southrons will not be able to bring their Oliphants up this trail. They will have to go around," explained Beowdil.

"That is what worries me. To the East lies Mordor, the Oliphants will need a straighter pass than the Mountains of Shadow. They will have to go through Pelargir. Pelargir is weak. It is the last free city before Harad and they are nearly broken. They will not be able to withstand the company before us. At least not alone," explained Radagast.

"You are thinking that the aid of a wizard is what the Gondorians need in order to vanquish them?" ventured Beowdil.

Radagast chuckled, "I have sworn an oath to defeat Sauron. No doubt these Southron are traveling to the Dark Lord's lair to bolster his numbers. If we can defeat them, or at least hinder their march, then I will be one step closer to fulfilling my oath," he paused, "I know you are here to find your family Beowdil, and I would not ask you to help, but Pelargir will not have the strength to fight against these Southron. Your blade will be most appreciated in the river town."

Beowdil sighed. He looked out across the slowly moving Haradrim forces. They were already nearly across the ford and beginning to move west around the cliff, towards Pelargir. The farmer thought of his wife and children, What shall I do my beloved? If I go with the wizard I may never find you. However, would you still love me if I refused to aid the helpless? Would I still be the man you married if I turned my back against the defenseless? With a grin on the corner of his lips Beowdil answered, "Do you really think we can stop three Oliphants?"

"Perhaps not, but wouldn't you like to boast about it in a tavern?" Radagast smiled.

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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2011, 09:10:39 PM »

Pelargir wasn't far from the border of Ithilien, but even with only two companions the journey lasted a full day and night's march. Nevertheless, Radagast and Beowdil now stood at the river town of Pelargir as the sun began to rise.

"We arrived ahead of the Southrons. Nevertheless, time is against us. We must find the town's leader and prepare what defenses we can to thwart the Southron," said Radagst. His brow was sweaty and smeared with dirt. He and Beowdil had marched through the night. This would give the people of the river town more time to prepare for the defense of their city.

"Do you really think a small river town can thwart the company we saw?" asked Beowdil.

"We must trust to hope. Come Beowdil," Radagast turned and looked skyward. He whistled loudly and waited in silence for a few minutes. Beowdil looked at the wizard, then looked into the sky, then back at the wizard. He turned once more and looked skyward in time to see a black raven soaring downward. Radagast reached out with his free hand and the raven landed on the wizard's open palm. Beowdil was amazed.  Radagast leaned down towards the bird and whispered something inaudible to Beowdil. Once finished Radagast raised his hand into the air and sent the raven skyward.

"What was that?" asked Beowdil.

"That was my friend. I asked him to serve as a scout to us and inform us the moment the Southron are within 10 leagues of here," explained the wizard. Beowdil opened his mouth to say something, but he didn't understand the ways of the wizard so decided to say nothing.

With a smile and a wink, Radagast turned to face Pelagrir and lead the way into town leaning on his staff as he walked.

Beowdil had never been to Pelagrir before. Despite the urgency of their quest, the farmer paid close attention to the township and how it was built. Homes and small shops were crafted from wood, taken from the forest, and stones, which were sent down stream from quarries in the north. The road was paved with brick and was used to traffic goods to the river front. Over the townsfolk and to the west, Beowdil could see the riverfront. Its bank was covered by a boardwalk leading to docks of varying sizes. He could see barges and boats coming and going from the docks, some were loaded with cargo and others were empty.

Beowdil turned and looked forward. Radagast was leading them to a large manor not far from the riverfront. Two guards stood in front of the manor's main gate. The gate was made of iron bars and a low wall no more than ten feet high. Beowdil noticed the guards wore shirts of mail, much like his own, simple helmets of iron rested on their head, and in one hand they held a spear and on their hips were slung a sword.

Radagast stopped a few paces away from the guards, who were eyeing him with great suspicion. The wizard looked each guard in the eye, then spoke, "I am Radagast the Brown. I seek and audience with your master. It is of dire importance."

"Master Radagast, you are known to us. I will summon my master at once." The foremost guard placed a fist to his heart and bowed slightly. He then turned, opened the gate and soon vanished into the manor. In silence the small company stood. A cool breeze crept by from the river and was a nice reprieve from the humid air. Beowdil glanced over at Radagast. He stood tall and proud and despite his aged appearance the Istar carried himself with the grace and stability of a young noble. Beowdil noticed the wizard seemed to be listening. Listening for a sound only he could hear.

The sound of a heavy door shutting was heard from the manor. Beowdil turned his attention forward once more. The foremost guard was returning with another behind him. He was a greying man, he too carried himself with noted pride and nobility. He was certainly the Lord of Pelagrir. The gate was opened and Radagast, along with Beowdil, were motioned inside.

"Radagast the Brown, a most welcomed guest. I am Corinir, Master of Pelargir and Lord of this river!" There was a smile on his face as he spoke.
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2011, 05:09:51 PM »

It seemed to Radagast that Lord Corinir was unaware of the Southrons moving against him. The greying Gondorian was rather jovial and didn't seemed bothered by much. Radagast looked across the marble table. Beowdil seemed dwarfed by the tall chair in which he sat. The wizard was certain he too looked rather small in his chair just opposite the reluctant fighter.  Radagast took a sip of the wine given him from Corinir's servants, set down the fine goblet, then spoke.

"Lord Corinir, I thank you for the hospitality given my companion, Beowdil son of Wulf, and myself. However, we must speak with you about an urgent matter," Radagast paused as one of Corinir's servants stepped forward to top off the wizard's goblet.

"Urgent news?" Corinir's smile didn't fade, "And what may that be? More Corsairs? Fear not master wizard, the fighting men of Pelargir know how to defeat river-born pirates. We have driven them back countless times."

"Lord Corinir, I do not doubt the men at arms of your house, however, the threat approaching you is not one from the river. A company of Haradrim are marching upon your city even as we speak. Beowdil and I are no more than a day ahead of them. I have a spy watching their movements, and he will alert me when they are closer. I am here to warn you of their advance, and offer my service in the defense of your city," Radagast explained.

Corinir, Master of the river, was silent for a moment. His smile slowly vanished, "Yes, I am aware of their presence. Master wizard, I must confess something to you. There will be no easy way to tell you this, but inform you I must."

Radagast could see Corinir shifting nervously in his seat. The Gondorian was fidgeting with his goblet spinning it around and around with his fingers. His eyes were cast downward, staring at the white marble table, "Don't keep me in the woods, tell me," stated the wizard.

"As I said, we are aware of the Southrons' company. We have been for some time," Corinir paused and waved his servant forward. He lifted his goblet and the servant filled the offered mug. Corinir continued, "Perhaps I'll start at the beginning. As you maybe aware, we have defended the coasts of Gondor for some time. Many attempts have been made by the Corsairs to assail our lands. However, we have always been able to stop their attacks, sink their barges, and reinforce our port town against future assaults.

"Nevertheless, to our dismay, the assaults have become grievous and more frequent. Many of my strongest men have perished in the frequent assaults. At the start of this past year, the Umbars attacked us yet again. It seemed nothing new to us, however, they fell upon us with such strength and force we could not repel their assault. Our fair city had been taken," Corinir paused as he watched Radagast's brow raise in slight confusion. "Yes, the city of Pelargir fell. However, the Umbarians came ashore and I met with their shipmaster. He didn't come with a flag to conquer. He came with a bargain: Allow Mordor to use Pelargir as a staging ground or perish. It was a hard bargain but I could not willingly choose to kill my own people here in this once fair city.

"To deny the Black Numenorians this request would spell the death of every man, woman, and child in Pelargir," Corinir paused as Radagast stood up. The wizard's gaze was fierce and blazed with fury.

"And to grant them this request will spell the death of everyone in Middle-Earth. Lord Corinir, after centuries of fighting and bloodshed, you allowed the Dark Lord's allies to walk into Gondor!" never before had Radagast felt a rage in his stomach burn so brightly.

"I wish now I could take it back. I do, Master Radagast, I understand now the folly of my ways. But in the time we have had since finalizing the treaty, Pelargir has been rebuilt. Now all we do is allow the Southrons to cross into Ithilien where they can trek to Mordor where Sauron lies. Yes, I sold my soul, but the people who call Pelargir home have been able to return to a state of normalcy. We can trade again, live without fear of attack. Do you know how long it has been since the people of Pelargir lived so?" explained Corinir.

"But for how long? The Dark Lord will advance again, he will attack Middle-Earth and your precious city. What will happen then Corinir? Will you again trade your freedom for life of luxury? An empty facade? Which is all you will have under Sauron's rule. You will not truly be free, you are not so even now! Your docks are defiled by Haradrim plotting your destruction. It is only a matter of time before your city is razed to the ground! Are you caught so far in the enemy's web that even now you will permit the Haradrim to cross your lands? Have everything your father's fought for been for naught?

"For an age they warred to keep our lands free. They paid with their blood, and now you will betray that blood?" Radagast fumed.

"What would you have me do? My people are spent, broken, and dying! We have nothing left to give Radagast, we have been beaten," Corinir leaned forward into his hands and struggled to maintain his composure. In silence Radagast stood.

From across the table, from the reluctant fighter, Beowdil spoke, "I would have you perish Master Corinir,"

Both Corinir and Radagast looked over at the raven black-haired man, "What?" they said in unison.

"I would have you perish. Perish, standing on your feet instead of living on your knees. You allowed the enemy into your home, now thrust him out. Give your people a taste of freedom my lord, and they will war against these Southron till their last breath. The enemy thinks you are spent. I do not believe you. Radagast does not believe you. You are sons of Numenor, sworn enemies of Sauron. Make him remember, remember it was the Numenorians who rose up against him. Take back what is yours and drive these invaders from your home!" Beowdil was standing now. He was leaning forward, gripping the edge of the table.

Corinir looked over at the fighting man, "Will you stand with me? My men may find courage in your words." A sudden flutter of wings was heard at the window. All three men turned and saw Radagast's raven standing on the stone window seal. It cawed. Though Radagast was the only one who understood exactly what the raven said, both Corinir and Beowdil knew why it had come.

Beowdil turned and looked at Cornir, Master of the river. He nodded as he spoke, "Yes, Lord Corinir, I too will stand with you against this darkness."
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2011, 09:09:55 AM »

"Rally the archers, post them on the wall by the main gate!" the Captain barked orders as loud as he could over the din of his company. They had only a few hours till the Haradrim reached Pelargir, "Deploy the men-at-arms just behind the gate, spears at the ready. Send the light infantry to the east gate, and put the heavy infantry just outside the city."

The crashing sound of metal on metal was accompanied by the hustle of women and children gathering what they could to move away from the main gate. Radagast looked down on the mobilizing forces from Lord Corinir's manor. Beowdil left about an hour earlier to support the light infantry. The wizard wasn't sure how this relatively small force would be able to withstand the assault of three oliphants, but they had no choice.

Lord Corinir had ordered every able body man to fight in defense of the city. This greatly fortified the ranks of the archers, the men-at-arms, and the light infantry. However the heavy infantry that would bear the blunt of the assault and their numbers were limited to a few hundred. They were placed just outside the main gate, as close to it as possible so they would not be flattened by the advancing mumakil. From their place along the wall they would skirmish with the haradrim. The light infantry would then flank the company of harad while the archers along the wall would spray the howdahs of the oliphants. For the limited time given them to prepare, this was the best plan Lord Corinir and Radagast could concoct.

The bearded wizard lifted his head and looked to the southeast. A rising cloud of dust marked the advance of the Southron's. They were still a distance away, but Radagast's raven ensured him the army would be upon them within the hour.

Radagast stood in silence drawing in and focusing his magical powers. I'll need as much magic as I can focus to drive off the Oliphants, he thought. The magic flowing through him heightened his senses. He heard the door on the far side of the room click and open. The new occupant was wearing robes. The fold's of the robes swished as the new occupant entered the room and shut the door. His boots tapped on the ground as he moved. The door closed with a second click and Radagast turned to greet the visitor. He met the gaze of Lord Corinir and nodded.

"Master Radagast, My men have been deployed. We're ready for the assault," stated Corinir.

"The Southron are close. They will be upon us within the hour. Did you tell your heavy infantry to stay close to the wall? It will be harder for the Oliphants to harm them if they stand close by," said Radagast.

"Yes, and the light infantry has been ordered to flank the Southrons as soon as they hear the skirmish begin. Do you really think we can ward off this assault?" asked Corinir.

"It is only a single company of Haradrim. We have the element of surprise on our side. I've seen this company of Haradrim before. As long as your archers keep the Howdah busy Harad's fighting men will prove easy to defeat. Remember, they've been marching all day in this humid weather," Radagast spoke with confidence.

"And what of the Oliphants?" pressed Corinir.

"That is why I am hear, Lord Corinir. I am Radagast the Brown, master of shapes and hues. By mandate of Yavanna I am here in Middle-Earth. I am friend to all beasts, and I will remind these Oliphants of my station. Do not fear them," stated Radagast.

There was a lingering silence in the room for a moment. Corinir moved to the window, looked at the approaching cloud of dust which signaled the oncoming Haradrim company. He swallowed the swelling lump in his throat then turned to Radagast, "Come master wizard. It is time."

----------------------------------------------------

Beowdil made a few last minute adjustments to his chain mail. He grabbed the rag he carried in the pouch which dangled at his side and wiped the sweat from his brow. He looked around at the company of light infantry he chose to assist. They, like himself were clad in chain mail and carried swords and shields. The heavy infantry bore the same but also carried spears in addition to heavier armor. This allowed them to hunker down and deflect enemy assaults. It was the job of the light infantry to flank the assault and deflected force.

Beowdil could tell the fighting men of Pelargir were nervous. He looked around at the organization of the company. The career soldiers were leading the charge as they bore the finer weaponry and possessed greater skill at arms. They stood at attention ready to charge at a moment's notice. The volunteer force, which included Beowdil, was made up of young boys and old men. Some of them bore armor, others did not. They were all given swords and lacked organization. Beowdil could tell who had served in Pelargir's army in the past and who had never seen combat.

From his position on the eastern gate, Beowdil could see the on coming Southrons marked by a cloud of raising dust. The Howdah was beginning to crest the horizon now. It would be less than an hour before the assault began, and from the way the Haradrim were marching, Beowdil knew they were unaware of the resistance awaiting them at the city's main gate.

The sound of a Southron horn rang out in the air, signaling the arrival of the Haradrim. A hushed murmur echoed through the ranks of the volunteer fighting men. Beowdil forced himself to focus as he reviewed in his head what Radagast had taught him about fighting: Don't overstretch your arm, focus on what is in front of you, pace yourself and maintain situational awareness. The horn sounded a second time. Beowdil took a deep breath. From the depths of his gut, The Son of Wulf felt his fury ignite.
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2011, 04:36:07 PM »

Instantly, Beowdil's vision narrowed. His fury burned hot. He could hear the Southron clash with the heavy infantry. Arrows were loosed upon the Howdah as planned. The captain of the light infantry raised his sword above his head, "Charge!" he yelled.

Beowdil let out a war cry and charged. He struggled to widen his vision. Beowdil quickly found himself at the front of the charge. He could see a Haradrim struggle with soldier from Pelargir. With both hands he raised his sword above his head Beowdil and clove the Haradrim's skull in two. Beowdil quickly spun on the ball of his foot and met the advancing polearm of another southron he saw from the corner of his eye. With a quick parry followed by a powerful thrust, Beowdil impaled the bearer of the polearm. Arrows littered the ground as Haradrim from the Howdah regrouped from the surprise attack and began supporting allies on the ground.

Beowdil quickly blinked as he struggled to control his raging fury. He wanted to grasp the internal wrath and use it, but among all the chaos of battle, he knew he couldn't afford to narrow his vision further. A sense of relief washed over him as he realized he had a greater degree of control over the flow of battle as he kept his fury at bay.

Wave after wave of Haradrim attacked. Like a crag against the oceans currents, Beowdil stood his ground. He accepted the challenge of every Haradrim he encountered with an unyielding, controlled wrath. Despite the success seen among the infantry, the growing sense of hope began to fade as the Oliphants accompanying the Haradrim approached with a thunderous advance. The animals bellowed and began stomping their way towards the city. Gondorians and Haradrim alike dove out of the way of the incoming animals, but to no avail. each step seemed to crush soldiers in groups of ten or more. However, Pelargir's infantry stayed close to the city walls, and those who did, avoided the Oliphants trample.
---------------------------------------
From the city's parapet, archers loosed arrows into the advancing howdahs. There was a great chaos below the city's wall. From behind Pelargir's archers stepping through a near by door of a guard tower, emerged Corinir and Radagast. The wizard quickly passed Corinir, the city's steward, and stepped onto the parapet.

"Protect the wizard!" shouted Corinir. A volley of arrows drove home into the Howdah, rending cloth and flesh alike. Radagast raised his staff over his head and in the language of magic commanded the Oliphants to cease their onslaught. There was a brief silence from the parapet. The archers, however, soon broke that silence with astonished gasps. Slowly, but surely, the three rampaging Oliphants stopped moving. The animal drivers urged the great beasts forward but their urgings were ignored.

Radagast turned to the archers, "The Howdah is yours, but do not harm the Mumaks. They will cause you no more harm," he warned.

The Haradrim within the Howdah loosed arrows upon the city's parapet and the soldiers below, but the song of their bowstrings was quickly silenced as they were exposed to Pelargir's sharp arrows.
-----------------------------------
Beowdil reigned in his fury and with a new found control met his next antagonist. The Haradrim's face was masked and he twirled a scimitar in one hand. He circled Beowdil slowly, preparing to attack. Beowdil wiped the sweat from his eyes with a bare forearm. He felt grit move across his forehead. His fury raged. He felt his vision try to narrow, but with great concentration he pushed is back. As he did, from the corner of his eye, he saw a second Southron emerge from a battle with his spear at the ready.

Beowdil quickly found himself outnumbered two to one. The son of Wulf breathed and let his vision expand. He parried the first attack and dodged the second. With his trailing foot, Beowdil kicked the Southron's spear into the ground. He used his sword to knock the Haradrim's spear away before twisting it in an arc and planting it into the spear weilding Southron. Beowdil ducked under the scimitar a second time, pulled his sword from the dead body of the second Southron, and with a quick strike, caught the first Southron in the stomach with the edge of his arming sword.

He looked at the still Oliphants. They had ceased their rampage, and once they did, both Pelargir's heavy and light infantry launched their counter assault. Despite their greatest efforts, the Haradrim stood no chance against the fully armored troops of Pelargir. Without the support from their Oliphants the Haradrim force fell quickly. With great haste the surviving Southrons turned and fled from the city.

"Let them go!" came the Captain's orders. With great restraint Beowdil calmed the storm in his stomach and lowered his bloody sword. He heard the captain as the heat in his face subsided, "This battle is over, our city has been liberated!" A victorious roar echoed across the plains and danced over the river's surface.
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2011, 10:06:59 PM »

Bodies were piled high. Lifeless corpses piled upon stretchers. The newly tamed Mumaks were used to haul mounds of bodies to the river's bank where the remains of the battle, bodies, armor, and useless weapons, were all cast into the water to be swept out to sea.

Corinir watched from his tower. Radagast stood nearby puffing on a clay pipe. Wreaths of smoke circled his head like a halo. Corinir turned to look at the wizard, "How long will those Oliphants be under your spell?" asked the lord of Pelargir.

"No spell," began Radagst, "I simply convinced them that a life of quiet service was better than one of war. As long as you never demand them to make war, they will be yours till the end of time."

Corinir chuckled quietly to himself. His expression quickly turned serious, "And what of the Southrons? Will they return?"

"The Southrons, the Corsairs of Umbar. You did not rid yourself of your problem, but you are no longer under the sway of Sauron, the Dark Lord," explained Radagast.

Again, Corinir sighed, "At least we'll die on our feet."

From the back of the room Beowdil agreed. He was smeared with blood, sweat and dirt, "And that," he began, "is a reason for which to die."

"And what now Radagast? Do you plan to stay? Stay and witness our downfall as the followers of the Dark Lord descend upon us? It was, after all, your idea to resist him," Though Corinir was relived to be free of his foul oath, the reality of his future began to weigh heavily upon his mind. "My people are spent. Exhausted and trodden down. Yes, this victory has prolonged the inevitable, but what more can we do? Should the Corsairs assail us we won't stand a chance."

"Look to Minas Tirith. That city still stands. They still defy the Dark Lord. Call for their aid. Your valor here today has lengthened their lives as well. Perhaps an emissary to the Steward. Perhaps he will send a garrison with which to aid you," suggested Radagast.

Corinir cast a glance at the marble floors of his dining hall, "No, I fear not. Minas Tirith has its own trials. Osgiliath is weakening and with the number of Southrons we aided in reaching the Black Gate, that city will not stand for long. I'm afraid we are on our own Master Wizard."

"Perhaps, but at least your people have found their courage. That must count for something," a grin was on the Brown Wizard's face as he spoke.

"What will you do now?" asked Corinir.

Beowdil perked up as Radagast looked his way. The wizard grinned and looked back to Corinir, " My companion and I will continue our journey south. He is in search of his family, and I must confront the power rising there. If I fail my quest, then the free folk will face more than Mumaks in the war to come."

"Allow me to send you on boat. It is the least I could do to repay the aid you offered us," Corinir began to walk towards his large wood table.

"No," Radagast refused, "We will travel by foot. I feel drawn to the slave road. There is work their I must complete."

"The slave road? Only brigands and slavers use that route, Wizard. If it is some great power you seek to vanquish, I doubt you will find it there," stated Corinir.

"The feeling I possess regarding the Slave Road is not one of challenge. Someone there needs our help," Radagast explained.

"Wizard, there are many people who need help on that road. You will be busy for the remainder of this age. You will never accomplish your task if you travel by way of the Slave Road," Corinir was doubtful.

"Yet, I must. Perhaps it is Beowdil's family who is calling to us. Perhaps that is why I am drawn there."

The reluctant fighter straightened his back, "Do you really believe my family may be there?"

"I don't know, but would it hurt to search there for them?"
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2011, 11:04:24 PM »

Plant life was almost absent on the slave road. Beowdil was wary. For days now they trekked along the dirt road. His rest was uneasy, and he was constantly on edge. In just the few short days they had been on the road, he and Radagast had already been attacked by thieves on three separate occasions. Beowdil did his best to keep a watchful eye to his right and left, nevertheless, regardless of his vigilance, the brigands who haunted these roads always seemed to slip passed his watchful eyes.

The increasing heat did not help him either. More than once he had to wipe sweat from his eyes, and more than once the dancing heat waves played with his vision causing him to see mirages. Radagast however, did not seem affected by the ever increasing harsh environment. Ever since their small company entered the main road, Radagast had kept to himself. Beowdil wasn't sure, but he hoped, the wizard was hard at work silently casting spells which would protect them from the eyes of bandits.

After what seemed like weeks, Beowdil wasn't certain. After the third bandit attack he stopped counting the days they spent on the Slave Road. Nevertheless, a day after the third attack Radagast finally spoke, "Someone is approaching. Get off the road."

Beowdil cast a glance to the west. A few crags were jutting upward from the barren landscape. They were no more than twenty feet from the road. He nudged the wizard with his elbow and hustled to the spire shaped boulder. Crouching silently behind his cover, Beowdil waited quietly.

Radagast must have used some sort of spell to detect the approaching party because nearly an hour passed before Beowdil even heard the sound of their approaching wagon. Silently the fighting man waited. From around the crag Beowdil spied a horse drawn carriage pass by. Four Southrons marched by. They each bore a polearm with a scimitar dangling from their belts. Each one had their face veiled. Beowdil shifted his focus to the wagon. It was no more a wagon than a cage. The small cage was empty saved for a pile of discarded garments and, to Beowdil's surprise, a dwarf!

"There he is," muttered Radagast. The wizard was crouched behind the second crag. He was leaning heavily on his staff.

"Do you know him?" Beowdil whispered from his hiding place.

"No," began the wizard, "but he's been waiting for us." Radagast stepped out from behind his hiding place and with a quick shake of his staff, a thread of magic frightened the horse and caused it to rear. The Southrons quickly turned their attention to their panicked steed trying to calm it. "Now, Beowdil!" yelled the wizard.

With great haste, Beowdil rose from behind his crag. He sprinted towards the nearest Haradrim. In a blur of steel, Beowdil drew his sword and downed the first Haradite. Three to go, he thought. Almost on cue, Beowdil felt his vision begin to narrow.

One of the Southrons was busy trying to calm their horse. The other two were now moving in on Beowdil. With a quick parry and a feint, Beowdil avoided the attacks of the two haradrim. The fighting man cast a longing glance to Radagst as if asking for help, and seemingly from nowhere, the wizard was at his side. With practiced finesse and tact, Radagast the brown fought the Southron using his staff. Beowdil was impressed.

The magically fortified staff blocked and parried incoming attacks just as well, if not better than Beowdil's sword. The two free-men danced with death as the two Haradrim tried to land a death blow. Through a sweat dripped brow, Beowdil noted the third Haradrim had calmed the horse sufficiently to join the fight. Quickly, and only for a moment, Beowdil allowed his fury to take control. His vision narrowed till all he could see was the combatant in front of him. With ferocity which almost matched a feral warg, Beowdil struck his foe acoss the chest. The Haradrim fell to the ground dying of a gaping chest wound. He quickly refocused in an attempt to bring the world back into focus. The third haradrim was upon him. With raw talent and budding skill, Beowdil meet his next opponent.

Radagast clubbed his adversary across the top of his head, causing it to crack like a melon. The wizard glanced at Beowdil who was locked in combat with the last Southron. Had Radagast not invested a few nights training Beowdil in sword play then the fight would have favored the Haradrim, but the wizard had been honing Beowdil's skills. He was a talented fighter, now Radagast would change him into a skillful one. The edge clearly belonged to Beowdil.

The wizard moved to the carriage. Immediately, in the dwarven tongue, Radagast stated, "We're here to help you." He waved his hand over the lock and muttered a few words. The lock fell open.

"You have my thanks," the dwarf stated in the common tongue.

As the stout fellow climbed down from the wagon, Beowdil ended his battle with the Haradrim. A powerful strike removed the Haradrim's fighting arm. He dropped his pole arm and looked up at Beowdil.  To the farmer's surprise, there was no fear in the Southron's eyes. The Haradrim said something in a language Beowdil didn't understand. To further his surprise, the Southron spoke calmly.

From behind, the dwarf spoke up, "He says to, 'finish it.'" Both Radagast looked and Beowdil looked at the dwarf in surprise.

"You speak Haradish?" asked Radagast.

The dwarf nodded, then turned to Beowdil, "Are you going to honor his wishes? He is useless to his Lord with only one arm. An armless Southron cant fight."

"Who are you, and how do you know what this man wants?" asked Beowdil. He never took his eyes from his opponent, nor did he lower his sword.

"I am Belok, son of Frori the Beardless. I have spent a long time among the Haradrim, as a slave. I've learned a lot about them. The least you can do is grant that Southron an honorable death, one at the hand of his adversary in battle." explained Belok.

Beowdil looked back at the Haradrim. The Southron's eyes revealed a longing to die, Beowdil obliged. With a quick stroke his sword found its mark. He pierced the heart of the Haradrim who died instantly, feeling nothing. Beowdil withdrew his sword and his opponent's body landed on the ground with a thud.

The company salvaged what they could from the Haradrim caravan. They found some water and rations, the dwarf found his axe, and just when they were about to set the horse loose and remove the carriage from the road, Beowdil caught a glint of silver coming from the rags piled in the cage, "Wait a moment," called to Radagast who had already began pushing the carriage.

The farmer climbed into the cage and reached into the pile of rags. He withdrew a small amulet hanging from a silver chain. In silence his companions watched as Beowdil stared at the amulet slowly spinning in the dry wind.

"What is it?" asked Radagast.

Beowdil stared at the amulet in disbelief. It was unmistakable, the silver chain, the small metal pendant, and the letter 'A' etched onto the back of it, "It belongs to my wife, Ariel."
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2012, 08:16:00 AM »

From high above over the burning sands of the Harad waste the sun bore down upon the small company. Of the three, the dwarf, Belok, could feel the greatest amount of vigor.

"How is it you seem so unburdened by this oppressive heat?" asked Beowdil.

"I told you, I was a slave. I have spent many long hours laboring under this very sun. The Haradrim are a nomadic people, but when they establish a camp they usually send their slaves out to fetch water and chase down game for the hunters to slay. Hard labor is always performed by the slaves as well. Slaves and women," Belok explained.

Beowdil wiped his forehead with his brow. At the sound of the word, "women," he straightened his weary back, "Women? Belok, did you ever see any women among the slaves? I mean, women from from Gondor, Rohan, or Dale?"
 
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2012, 10:46:59 PM »

Belok scratched the top of his blonde head, "I'm sure I saw some, but I don't recall ever seeing the women who wore that amulet you carry. She was probably sold to some chieftain and transported to his dwelling before the slavers came for me," explained the dwarf.

Beowdil sighed. He looked over at Radagast who shrugged.

Beowdil turned to look straight ahead once more. In the distance he could see rising above the endless dunes a plume of smoke. He pointed up ahead, "Look."

"I noticed it earlier," commented Radagast, "It is too big to be a camp fire, and too small to be a signal fire. We should approach with caution."

Belok cocked his head to one side as he examined the rising smoke. He tried to recall if he ever had seen something of this nature during his time among the Haradrim. To his dismay, he could think of nothing. The company approached the rising smoke, and as they neared it they slowed their pace and ducked low as they reached the top of the nearest dune. They peered down into the sandy valley below.
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2012, 09:01:03 PM »

They reached the dune closest to the rising smoke. One by one the companions dropped to their bellies and crawled up the final dune. The fine sand wriggled its way under their clothes, Beowdil was annoyed, foul sand, he thought.

Radagast reached the peak first. He gazed over the dune into the sandy depression. With his beard gathering copious amounts of sand he pressed himself closer to the ground to avoid detection. He gazed down and despite the blazing sun, Radagast spied another caravan. However, this van was not for slaves. Haradrim bodies lay strewn across the ground. The dead men all had spears in their hands but none of them bore the wicker type armor common among Southron warriors. To the east of the depression Radagast noticed a cluster of bald men. Their faces were covered in black, red, and white war-paint. Some of them carried wicker shields and all of them carried clubs made from bone.

Beowdil and Belok reached the creast. Beowdil immediately noticed the robed women surrounded by the war painted warriors, "who are they?" he asked.

"The Mahud," answered Belok.

"What are they doing?" Asked the farmer.

"It looks as if they just finished raiding that caravan," Belok stated matter of factly.

"What will they do with those women?" Beowdil was shifting in the sand. His hand inched closer to his sword.

"Calm your fury Beowdil," began Radagast, "We are out numbered and the Mahud should not be taken lightly. They have-"

As if on cue, from behind one of the smouldering wagons, out stepped a foul creature. Beowdil was taken aback. Taller and broader than a man, massive hands gripped a leather wrapped bone club. Supported on massive trunk like legs, this creature walked with a hunched back. A small head was cradled by sinewy shoulders, and smaller eyes conveyed the look of minimal intellegence and an unquenchable taste for blood and gore.

"-Half trolls." Radagast finished.

"By the Valar...." was all Beowdil could muster.
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« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2012, 09:45:44 AM »

Belok groaned, "I hate those creatures. I was made to fight one once, as entertainment for the Golden King, they are more than a match for you and I Beow."

"What shall we do then?" Beowdil asked, "I may be searching for my Ariel, but I can not sit by idly and watch those women be hauled off by these Mahud."

Radagast laid quietly. Deep in thought. the sun over head was scorching hot. Sweat rolled down his nose into his beard. With one hand the wizards tapped his wizard's staff. Finally, in a hushed tone he spoke, "We will follow them. We can not help those women when the half-troll is so close. When the moment is right we will infiltrate their camp and free those women. Until then, we must be quiet as shadows."

Beowdil knew Radagast was right. He had never crossed paths with a half-troll. He did not know of what they were capable. His hand moved away from his hilt.

Belok reached over and set his wide dwarven hand on Beowdil's arm, "We'll free them Beow, don't worry."

The companionship trailed the Mahud hunters. Radagast cast simple spells from time to time masking signs of he and his companions. Beowdil stowed his armor and cloak he recovered from the caravan destroyed by the Mahud. Belok lead the way being more familiar with the burning south than either Radagast or Beowdil. Their march was slow. Belok chose their path carefully, staying far behind the Mahud raiders.

As the companions fell farther behind Beowdil grew nervous. Each time the Mahud sunk behind a dune he feared they would never see them again but each time they vanished Belok was able to find them again.

"They're talented hunters," commented Belok, "They hide their tracks well."

"I noticed," replied Beowdil, "I'm glad you're with us Belok. Between the sun and wind I lost track of the Mahud more than once today."

Belok looked westward, "The sun is setting. They'll set up camp soon."

"In the middle of the desert?" asked Beowdil, "We've had very little to drink. I imagine they are in need of water just as much as us."

"They're hunters. They know of an oasis. I am certain. I also know that the half-troll will get upset if it doesn't get water soon. As long as we follow them they'll lead us to water," explained Belok.

Beowdil looked over at Radagast. Maintaining the masking spell for so long was exhausting the wizard. His shoulders were stooped and his clothes were drenched in sweat. Despite this Radagast smiled wearily.

"Whatever we do Belok, we need to stop soon. Radagast isn't going to last much longer. He is spent," stated Beowdil. The company topped a final dune. Belok paused and motioned his companions to drop. They obeyed. In the depression below was an oasis. Beowdil gazed longingly at the starkly different depression. The better part of the day was spent crossing this barren waste and now he stared down at a lush, green oasis.

"I told you," commented Belok. He was grinning from ear to ear, "Do you want to know the best part? Look at the Mahud tracks. They stopped. The hunters have set up camp below."
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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2012, 04:21:02 PM »

A pale moon sailed quietly across the cold desert night sky. In the depression below, shining like an emerald from the moon's light, Beowdil could see the oasis. The palm trees swayed slowly on the cold night air. A faint orange glow could be seen near the oasis' edge, marking the location of the Mahud warriors, and their prisoners.

Beowdil looked over to Belok. The dwarf was cradling his axe. The two looked over at Radagast, "It may be hard, but we cant save the prisoners till we have obtained some water for ourselves," explained the wizard.

"That should not be too hard, we just sneak in and grab some water," stated Belok.

"Not quite," replied Radagast, "We will need to fill our waterskins as well." Radagast reached down and patted the empty leather bladder at his side.

"Are the Mahud near the water?" asked Bewodil.

"I do not know," Radagast said shaking his head slowly. He looked up, "However, it is safe to assume so."

"So we will need to fill out waterskins before helping the prisoners?" Bewodil asked

"Indeed."

"Then let us move. The night is growing old." urged Belok. He gripped his axe tightly.

Following Radagast's lead, Bewodil and Belok ducked below the crest dune and circled around to the far side of the oasis, opposite the Mahud. Slowly they moved down into the green depression, careful not to make noise. As before, Radagast quietly cast a screening spell to help the companions move more quietly. Beowdil paid close attention to the orange glow deep in the oasis. Where the Mahud were waiting. Where the captive Southron were waiting.

The cold night air was refreshing to Beowdil. He hadn't felt chilled for a long time. They moved swiftly through the oasis. They had left their packs outside the oasis to prevent them from catching on shrubs or limbs. Beowdil was glad to be rid of the weight. Aside from his clothes to keep the chill off, he carried only his arming sword and waterskin. As the companions moved closer to the Mahud camp Beowdil could smell the moisture in the air from the water source of the oasis. Soon, something else caught Beowdil's attention. The sound of muffled screaming.

Radagast, who was in the lead, raised his hand signaling the man and dwarf to stop. He looked over his shoulder and whispered, "Do you hear that?" he asked. It was apparent that the wizard could hear the screaming as well.

Belok tensed and Beowdil nodded.

"They're torturing them," Radagast stated.

Belok lowered his axe and stared at the ground, "Yes," began the dwarf. He spoke in hushed tones, "but not to death. The Mahud are a tough and hardy folk. Both the men and the women. Their women are so stout, it is easier for most Mahud men to go off and pillage for women of a different culture. It is easier to kidnap a Haradrim and keep her than it is to completely satisfy the demands of a Mahud woman. So the Mahud men capture potential 'spouses.' Before returning, sometimes, the hunters will," Belok paused choosing his words carefully, "assess the captive's durability."

Beowdil felt his stomach turn. His fury burned white hot, "They do what!" The fighting man kept his voice low, but his comment was loud enough for Radagast to stare down the farmer. Beowdil was gripping the hilt of his naked sword, "We have to save them. No one deserves that doom."

"You are right Bewodil, but we must get our own water first. We can not help those women if we have expired from thirst," explained the wizard.

Beowdil removed his waterskin from his shoulder. He handed it to the wizard, "You fill it. I can not sit idly by while such a monstrosity occurs." Without another word Bewodil was marching towards the Mahud camp. He had abandoned all caution.

"Fool of a man!" hissed Radagast, "He will be killed."

"Well don't just stand their wizard. If he's going to die we best keep him alive as long as we can," Belok spit some sand from his mouth, wiped it clean then trotted off after Beowdil. Radagast rolled his eyes.

------------------------

The screams had ceased. The Haradite woman was dragged by her arm back to her cohort. The offending Mahud passed by the half-troll guard and dropped the woman among the others. Without another word he turned around and walked back to his hunting companions. The cohort of women rushed to their sister. Some did their best to tend the victim while the others glared at the grinning Mahud. He glinted as the camp fire's light reflected off of his moist skin.

There was a sound of shifting brush south of the camp. The cohort of women glanced towards the sound. To their surprise a man bearing a sword entered the clearing. He started yelling and though the women could not understand his words, they could tell he was challenging their Mahud captors. The women jumped as the half-troll stood up with his bone club in hand. The creature moved to advance against the stranger but was stayed by the hand of the master hunter.

-----------------------

"Come at me! Taste my steel! You're brave enough to defile helpless women, how will you fair against a man of the west!" Beowdil shook his sword in anger. His vision was closing in on the Mahud who stood up and quickly grabbed their shields, spears and clubs. Beowdil saw the half-troll attempt to move but was motioned down by the Mahud wearing copious amounts of war paint.

"No challengers? Very well," Beowdil nodded. He gripped his sword with both hands and prepared to charge, "WULF!" He yelled. Blood rushed to Beowdil's face as his fury consumed him. No darkness shall stop me! He thought. The Mahud quickly set up in a defensive line.

From the shrubs behind Beowdil, Radagast and Belok watched the spectacle, "Beow won't be able to push past those hunters on his own. Especially once that Half-troll comes up behind him!" Belok too prepared to charge but Radagast placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him. The dwarf looked up in confusion.

"Wait a moment," Radagast said. The wizard grasped his staff with one hand then raised both hands above his head. He uttered an arcane phrase when their was a sudden bright flash. The entire oasis lit up with a bright, white light. Belok quickly covered his eyes. The half-troll and the Mahud were not as fortunate. The half-troll writhed in pain as he was blinded. The hunters also blinked in disbelief as they were momentarily sightless, "Now!" shouted Radagast.

Beowdil smashed into the Mahud hunters. One of them lowered their shield when the flash went off. He fell first. Beowdil pierced the heart of his adversary and the first Mahud fell without a sound. He exerted himself to withdraw his sword from the corpse and move behind the wall of wicker shields. The Mahud to his right, despite being blind, flailed his club about. The bludgeon weapon was smashed into Bewodil's forearm the crunching sound was loud. A blast of pain surged up Beowdil's left arm but it didn't slow him down. The fighting man quickly recovered and thrust his weapon into the stomach of the second Mahud.

"Save some for me!" shouted Belok. The dwarf leaped into the fray close behind Beowdil. With his battle axe he caught a blow intended for Beowdil's skull. "They're a tough lot but Radagast slowed them down enough. We can take them!" Belok returned the crushing blow with a cleave of his own. His blow separated a Mahud's head from the rest of his body. A pool of blood was quickly gathering in the sand.

With the skill befit a maiar, Radagast stepped into the camp. Using his magical staff he deftly parried the attacks of a Mahud hunter before splitting the attacker's skull with the same shaft. Once the wizard was certain the Mahud were subdued by Beowdil and Belok, he reached out with his hand and shouted, "Fear! Fire! Foes!" a blazing, white, light lanced from Radagast's bare hand and pierced the half-troll's writhing body. The once powerful monster was now whimpering and rolling on the ground powerless against the wizard's might, "You are an abomination of an abomination. I can not permit you to continue your wicked ways. The half-trolls of the Mahud must not aid the enemy. Behold the secret fire!" With another pulse of light the half-troll slumped onto the ground and released its last breath.

Few of the Mahud hunting party were left to fight. Despite the pulsing pain in his arm, Beowdil had struck down every foe who stepped forward to fight him. Nevertheless, there were still two Mahud remaining and they showed no signs of retreating. The dwarf, Belok, flanked the remaining Mahud. The two hunters stood back to back. Belok had seen this before. He predicted a lull in the combat as the two sides catch their breath. He prepared for the momentary reprieve by moving into a guarded stance. However, to his surprise, his cohort, Beowdil, did not pause. The man's sudden fury caught all three combatants off-guard. Both of the remaining Mahud were slain as Beowdil, son of Wulf, slashed the naked chest of the first Mahud then followed through with a thrust into the spine of the second Mahud, who was focused on Belok. As the last body slumped to the ground all the company could hear was the crackle of the fire.
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2013, 12:58:08 PM »

In the orange light of the campfire Radagast looked to the Haradrim women, "Fear not," he said in the tongue of Harad, "we have come to take you home." The women looked shocked to see an aged, pale-skinned, man of the west speaking the Haradish tongue.

"Your arrival is well met," responded the eldest woman in the cohort, "I am Mali-Hama, daughter of Mali-Ahmir. How may I address you master wizard?"

"I am called Radagast the Brown. I travel here on urgent business. There is a growing threat in Deep Harad, the strength of which could change the course of men to one of captivity."

"There is always a threat in Harad," said Hama, "we are a harsh people who  live in a harsher land. Who am I to stop you on your quest master Radagast, but please allow my tribe-sisters and I to draw you water from the oasis. You and your companions will perish soon. You can not travel more this day, stay here tonight in the oasis and depart tomorrow."

"Indeed. My companions and I need rest, and water. I for one am weary," Radagast paused and turned to look at Belok and Beowdil. The dwarf was standing over the man, who sat on the ground. The two were examining the farmer's arm. Radagast moved to his company, "Are you hurt Beowdil?" the wizard reached out and carefully took and examined Beowdil's arm, "It seems the club you caught crushed your forearm. I can set it, and splint it, but you will be unable to use it for some time. These women offered us sanctuary here in the oasis tonight, so rest easy man of Dale. You have earned it."

To Beowdil, those last words spoken by the wizard were heavy. A great drowsiness settled on the fighting man. He felt a great urge to lay down and sleep where he was at, in the blood-soaked sand.

Belok say this and reached for Beowdil as he tried to lay down, "How about you don't sleep with the dead tonight, my friend." Belok helped the man to his feet then guided him to one of the bed rolls laid out my the fallen Mahud. Once Beowdil was in a bedroll, he fell asleep.

The dwarf turned to the wizard, "What did you do?" he asked.

"Beowdil is in great pain. I am not a master healer. The greatest help I could offer now is to aid his rest. I used my magic to put him to sleep," Radagast stated. The wizard turned to accept the filled waterskins from the Haradrim women. Belok heard the Brown thank the women in Haradish and then discuss something. Once they had finished Radagast approached Belok and offered him a waterskin.

"What is going on?" asked Belok. He took the bladder and began to drink as he waited for Radagst to answer.

"Firstly, we will mend Beowdil as best we can. It must be done tonight before his bone begins to heal. Second, Mali-Hama, the matriarch of these women has agreed to take you and Beowdil to her tribe. I wish to go with you, but I sense a great power near here that I must investigate. There is some magic west of us. It is familiar to me, it reminds me of someone I knew long ago. I will rejoin you as soon as I am able," Radagast paused. Belok stopped drinking and looked at the wizard, "Belok, it is important that these women and Beowdil are returned safely to the tribe."

"I give you my word as a dwarf. They shall return," state Belok.

"I knew I could trust you. The dwarves are honorable people and you are no exception." stated Radagast. He took a swig from his waterskin and smiled.
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« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 10:55:09 AM »

The desert sun rose over the dunes and the swiftly rising temperature caused Beowdil to stir. He opened his eyes and found himself resting on a bed roll. He moved to sit up and quickly realized his left arm was restrained. A sharp pain shot up his arm as he tried to move it. Looking down Beowdil saw the splint bracing his forearm.

Radagast approached casting a shadow on the sitting fighter, "That is my handiwork," Bragged the wizard. He offered Beowdil a full water skin, "Drink this, I am certain you are very thirsty."

With his good arm, Beowdil reached up and grabbed the bladder. After a swig, he looked up at Radagast, "What happened?"

"After your skirmish with the Mahud hunting party, I cast a resting spell on you. You broke your arm during the fight," explained the Brown.

"Are the women safe?" asked Bewodil.

"Indeed they are. Thanks to you and Belok, they will return safely to their tribe," answered Radagast. The wizard was quiet for a moment. Beowdil tipped the water skin up to drink more water. Once he finished, Radagast continued, "You and Belok will be escorting the women back to their tribe."

"What about you?" Beowdil interrupted.

"I have wizard's business to which I must attend. There is a mass of crags near here and from them I am detecting a presence. Something I have not felt since my days in Valinor," answered the wizard.

"Valinor?" Beowdil looked up at the wizard.

"Never you mind Beow. I will come for you when I am able. Until then, you must heal. You are of no use to me injured. Mali-Hama and here tribe-sisters will look after you. Be a generous guest," Radagast instructed.

"Wait," said Beowdil, "are you leaving now?"

"I have already wasted enough time tending to you and convincing Belok that he is not to follow me. Remember, I have not come to Harad to find your spouse. I wish you health and a swift recovering Beowdil the Enduring. May the grace of the Valar protect you," with that Radagast turned and vanished into the trees of the oasis.

Beowdil shook his head before taking another swig of water from the water skin. Once he felt sufficiently strengthened, Beowdil stood up. From the other side of the camp site he could hear Belok conversing with the women. It was only a few moments before the dwarf and the women noticed Beowdil was awake.

"Here is the hero!" shouted Belok, "Did you rest well? Have you eaten? Are you ready to move on? The women say we can be among their people by night fall." The plethora of questions caused Beowdil's head to swim a bit. He could still feel the residual effects of Radagast's resting spell.

"I have not yet eaten," was all Beowdil could manage to answer.

Belok turned to the eldest looking Haradrim women and said something, from what Beowdil could discern, the woman was only slightly older than he. The woman reached into the folds of her robes and withdrew a small round object. She offered it to Beowdil, he took it, and the woman made an eating motion. Beowdil took a small bite of the food and winced. It was very sour.

Belok laughed, "You like that? It's Caldo. Very potent and that one piece will keep you going all day. Eat it, all of it. We need to get moving."

A shiver danced down Beowdil's back with each bite of the Caldo, but as instructed he ate it. Once he was finished the company gathered a few supplies from the Mahud cache and turned eastward leaving the oasis behind them.
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2013, 11:45:38 PM »

A high, desert sun seemed intensified to Beowdil. His arm throbbed, and sweat streamed from his face. However, despite his injuries, he trudged along with Belok and the Haradrim women they had rescued from the Mahud. The loose sand beneath his feet made walking more difficult and the dull pain in his arm seemed to be spreading to his head. Beowdil turned to Belok who was nearby. In an attempt to distract himself he asked, "Won't the Mahud come looking for us?"

Belok took a deep breath and held it in as he thought of a response. The dwarf turned to the man, "No. The hunting party could have been anywhere from two to three days away from their own tribe, and judging by the supplies we took from their cache, I would guess they were at least a week away from returning home. If it were up to me I would guess they were planning at least another two raids before returning home. By the time the rest of their tribe realizes they are dead and gone, there won't be any signs by which to track us."

Beowdil nodded. He turned his head back to see the gaggle of women behind him. The fighter and the dwarf lead the women with Mali-Hama as guide. She indicated to Belok that it would be nearly sundown by the time the company reached her tribe. As Beowdil returned his gaze to the front, from the corner of his eyes, he saw one of the younger Haradrim women staring at him. He noticed it earlier today too. At first he thought this young woman was eager to see a man of the west, however, it was passed noon and the young maiden was still eyeing him as if her fascination was moving beyond mere curiosity.

"Belok," began Beowdil.

The dwarf turned to look at him once more.

"Who is the young maiden? The one on the far left?" asked Beowdil.

"How should I know? I don't know these women," Belok drew his brow together.

Beowdil sighed, "Ask, Hama for me." Belok nodded. He got Hama's attention and there was an exchange of words. Beowdil tried to glean what he could, but the two spoke so quickly that the man from Dale couldn't even tell when one word ended and another began.

Belok turned back to Beowdil, "Her name is Raja-Yusraa youngest daughter of Raja-Dahn. Hama says, like all the girls here, they have never seen a man from the west. She is just fascinated. Don't worry Beow, I'll protect you from her," Belok let out a loud, deep, dwarven laugh. He reached up and stroked his beard.

Beowdil shook his head. once Belok calmed down Beowdil could feel his arm start to throb once more.

----------------------------------------

As Hama predicted, it was after night fall when the company reached the tribe's campground. Beowdil took note of the skin tents, each organized in a familial cluster all centered around a fire pit which served as the center piece of the camp ground. Beowdil saw a few men with spears and veiled faces patrolling the camp ground but judging by their demeanor and size, he could tell they were young and inexperienced.

Belok and Hama lead the group to the fire place at the center of the camp. The two were greeted by a Southron with many trappings. It was obvious to Beowdil that he was a man of great importance within the village. Hama and Belok began to converse with the chief and gesture with their hands as they spoke.

When they both started pointing at Beowdil it became obvious to the man which part of the story they were talking about. He tried to betray the fact that his arm was in a great deal of pain, but it was of no use. He cradled his broken arm gently. Beowdil drew his brow together as he felt a pair of smooth, warm hands move their way passed his elbow and over his make-shift splint. He turned his head and saw Raja-Yusraa.

Beowdil wanted to move away as he felt awkward with a young woman massaging his broken arm, but the warmth in her hands was comfortable and seemed to dull the pain in his arm. He was unsure how she was killing the pain, at first. When she drew her hand away and poured more oil into it from a gourd which hung at her side from a leather strap it made sense to Beowdil. Yusraa said something to him but Beowdil could not understand. He just stood quietly, allowing the young maiden to gently rub the pain-killing oil into his skin.

As Belok returned, Yusraa bowed her head and slipped back into the crowd of women. They were growing anxious to return to their families'. The chief yelled something at the crowd of women who then cheered joyously before dispersing into the arms of their loved ones who had gathered. Belok looked over at Beowdil, "You want to have a banquet?"

"What?" asked the man.

"The Chief, he wants to celebrate the return of the tribal women and your valor. He said they will have a feast in your honor," Belok explained.

"What about you? You helped," asked Beowdil.

"Sure, me too, but you are the one who risked life and limb to save his women. Don't worry, I'll get mine too. I haven't had any ale for a long time. I will be certain to drink my share of glory," despite his large beard, Beowdil could see a large grin on Belok's face. "And believe me Beow, I have been to a few Southron festivals, there will be lots of glory to drink!"

-----------------------------------------------

At the chieftain's command the women dispersed to their families. Raja-Yursaa was no exception. She quickly turned and fled to her father. Sand flew up in trails as she sprinted home, "Patu!" she called in the Haradrim tongue, "I have returned!"

Yursaa's father, Raja-Dahn, was weaving a shield when he heard the voice of his youngest daughter. He quickly looked up from his work and at the tent door. It flew open as his beautiful, young daughter dashed to his arms. He hardly had time to drop his tools, "Daughter!" tears streamed down his face, "When the warriors returned empty-handed, we feared the worst." Dahn paused and turned to the other women in the tent, "May, come greet your sister."

Raja-May turned from the stone where she was grinding meal and smiled, "My sister! I am so glad you have come home!" She raced to her father and sister and embraced them both, "I am so glad we are together again."

Yursaa held her family close for a moment before pulling away. "Patu," she began, "there is a man. He is from the west, a valorous man. He saved us, he and his companions fought the Mahud hunting party. Chief wishes to honor them tonight."

"Indeed, we must. It was this man who brought my Yursaa back to me," said Raja-Dahn.

"Patu, there is something else," Yursaa pulled back and reached up. She grabbed a thin leather strap which hung from her neck. At the end of the necklace was an aged brown claw no longer than a man's forefinger.

"Oh," said Dahn, "I see."

A sudden cloud seemed to settle over May's face. She reached up and clasped the claw that hung from the necklace she wore as well.
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« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2013, 08:26:04 AM »

The blistering heat would have proved bothersome to Beowdil and Belok, but Radagast travelled alone now. The wizard of brown maintained a cooling spell about himself. The spell was complex thus he was unable to sustain it upon three people, however, now that he was alone, it proved far easier. The crag in the distance which drew him away from his companions, was much closer now. Radagast passed beneath its shadow and sensed the air around him cool.

The wizard paused and stretched his magic aura out into the rock formation before him. He sensed a labrinth of tunnels below the surface. He sensed residual magic which indicated these tunnels had been craved not by hand, but with the skilled precision of a wizard.

Radagst marvelled at the shaping spell used to carve the subterrainian maze. However, it wasn't the labrynth itself at which he marvelled, but the unique signature left behind by the caster. "I haven't felt your presence since I left Valinor," Radagast said. No one was present to hear him, but he spoke anyways. The wizard retracted his spell and began to search for a way to open the maze's entrance.
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« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2013, 12:32:15 AM »

Beowdil sat on the sand just outside the chieftain's tent. His arm throbbed with a dull pain but he ignored it. The sun was nearly set now, and the bonfire built in the center of the settlement was beginning to rage. Beowdil looked to Belok who was smiling, "I haven't seen a feast this big in a long time," said the dwarf.

"All in our honor?" questioned Beowdil.

"Our honor?" began Belok, "The chief said it was all for you."

"I really don't feel like feasting," Beowdil commented.

"Don't worry Beow. After a few drinks of wine you will forget all about your arm. I for one would like a break from the dried fruit and salted meat we've been living on," Belok paused before raising his arm. He pointed to the opposite side of the circle of tents, "See those butchers. They are carving up more meat than these people eat in a week. You don't want to offend them do you?"

"They should just keep the meat for themselves and forget about some grand festival. I would have done what I did for anyone," Beowdil commented.

"You mean brashly attack a force which outnumbered you?" Belok mocked.

Beowdil looked up and grinned, "yes." he stated.

--------------------------------------------

The bonfire raged and illuminated the festival. The nomadic Southrons danced to the rhythmic tones of their bards and musicians. The sounds of drums and flutes seemed to keep beat with the crackling bonfire. Belok kept close to Beowdil to translate. Many fathers thanked Beowdil for his courage. As the dwarf promised their were copious amounts of "glory" from which to partake, and just as the dwarf had implied, Beowdil forgot about the dull pain in his broken arm.

Raja-Dahn looked over at Beowdil who was standing by the chieftain's tent. He took a deep breath then turned to Raja-Yursaa. Her eyes sparkled as the light of the fire dance in them.

"The chief has consented. Daughter, you are certain this is what you want?" asked Dahn.

"Yes, father, he is a valiant warrior and a man of honor," answered Yursaa. Dahn looked over his daughter's shoulder at Raja-May. Her eyes conveyed a sense of duty, honor to uphold her people's traditions. He didn't need to speak. May knew what was required of her.

As if perceiving her father's thoughts, May nodded and from behind her veil she spoke, "I will honor you and our people, Father."

"Then let us go," said Dahn. He hugged each of his daughters, turned and marched to Beowdil. He greeted the man from the west with a hearty greeting of Harad, "Kotaw!"

"Kotaw!" responded Beowdil.

Belok leaned over, "I am really glad you learned to say 'hello,' I grew weary of translating that one."

Beowdil did not recognize the man who addressed him, but from over the Haradrim's shoulder he thought he recognized the young woman behind him. Beowdil tried to understand what was said, but the Southron language was beyond his capability.

"This is Raja-Dahn," said Belok, "He thanks you for saving his daughter, Raja-Yursaa."

Raja-Dahn turned to Yursaa and took a cup which she held. Dahn turned and extended it towards Beowdil. He spoke slowly and clearly. Beowdil took the cup and leaned to Belok for the translation.

"From one patriarch to another, responsibility has been passed," Belok translated.

Beowdil raised the cup to his lips, then paused, "responsibility?"

"That is what he said. I may not be a smart dwarf, but I know how to speak Haradish."

Beowdil shrugged and tipped the cup back. Its sweet wine flowed into his mouth. He paused as he felt something solid touch his lips. Beowdil tipped the cup forward and peered inside. Within the wine was a crescent shaped object. Beowdil reached in and pulled it out. It was the curved claw of an animal fastened to a leather necklace. He held the object up and looked at Raja-Dahn. The man uttered something in Haradish.

"Will you accept, as thanks for your valor?" Belok interpreted.

"Oh. With honor!" Beowdil slipped the necklace around his neck, it tapped against Ariel's medallion. The fighting man finished draining the cup of wine then handed it back to Dahn. He turned to say something to Belok but was surprised to see Dahn did not move away as the others had done earlier. Instead he took a second cup of wine from the slightly older woman who accompanied him and extended it to Beowdil. He offered the same statement as before, "From one patriarch to another, responsibility has been passed."

Beowdil stopped moving for a moment. He slowly turned back towards Dahn, "Very well." The man of Dale accepted the offered cup and drank as before. Again, he found a clawed necklace mixed within the wine.

"Will you accept?" Dahn asked.

Boewdil hesitated, "yes," he finally said. He slipped the necklace over his head. It too clicked against Ariel's medallion. He drained the wine and offered the cup back to Dahn, who bowed, then backed away. Beowdil's head began swimming. He looked over at the two women who did not walk away as did their father. From behind her veil, Beowdil was certain he could see the younger of the two women smiling.

-----------------------------------------------

That smile was the first thing Beowdil recalled when the tent flap from the tent in which he slept was thrown open. The slap of the dried flesh startled him awake. A familiar woman entered and set a pitcher near the pile of furs among which Beowdil rested. She said something to him but he didn't understand. Beowdil suddenly became keenly aware that the only articles he wore were Ariel's medallion and the two clawed necklaces. Under the fur coverings he was completely naked. The farmer grew anxious and hyper-vigilant. He noticed the woman wore a long sleeved tunic which stretch to her ankles. Her long, dark hair was down and slightly matted as if she too had just awoken. Beowdil tried to understand her as she spoke but to no avail.

The woman sat down near Beowdil and offered to him the pitcher she held. He took it and peered inside. He saw nothing but water. He quenched his thirst then offered the pitcher back, "Thank you. Where's Belok, can you bring Belok to me?" he asked.

"Belok?" asked the woman.

"Yes! Belok, my dwarf friend, bring him here," Beowdil tried signaling as he spoke. The woman seemed to understand. She nodded, stood, bowed, then left the tent. Beowdil shook his head, "what is going on?"

Shortly, the woman returned with the dwarf in tow, "Belok." was all she said.

Beowdil looked at the dwarf. His eyes were droopy and he moaned, "too much glory?" asked the farmer.

"You and me both my friend," answered Belok.

"So it would seem. Belok, I'm naked."

"Beow, I don't care if you sleep on your head, let alone that you sleep in the nude. Did you have May drag me out of my tent to tell me that?" asked the dwarf through sleepy hung-over eyes.

"I don't normally sleep like this. What in the name of the Valar is going on?" asked Beowdil. He watched as Belok turned to Raja-May and they began to converse. At first Belok nodded as he listened but suddenly he stopped nodding and his state of post drunken stupor vanished and was replaced with alarm. The alarm quickly changed to a smile and Belok began to laugh. Loud and hard.

"Congratulations!" Belok yelled. He raced over to Beowdil and slapped him on his bare back. From the entrance May chuckled nervously.

"Thank you. What is happening?" asked Beowdil.

"Oh, I wish you spoke Haradish so May could tell you what is going on. I guess my translation will have to do. Hold on Beow, I need to compose myself," Belok stopped talking so he could laugh. He laughed for what felt to Beowdil like and eternity before continuing, "Recall last night when you found those claws you are wearing in your drinks?"

"Yes," answered Beowdil.

"That was a wedding ceremony!"

"What?" Beowdil answered, "I'm already married."

"I know, twice now. Or three times actually," Belok said between belly-laughs.

"Explain!" Beowdil demanded.

"That phrase about responsibility being passed and you 'accepting' responsibility and putting on those necklaces. It was those. That entire conversation was an official wedding ceremony, and according to May here, your third wife I will add, it was a marriage sanctioned by both the father and the chief!" Belok was still laughing.

"I'm already married, to Ariel, my wife from Dale. The reason I am in this Valar forsaken desert!" Beowdil stood over Belok yelling. He paused as he felt a draft and remembered he was naked. He quickly grabbed a fur blanket and wrapped himself in it, "Sorry May," he said to the woman by the tent entrance.

"I think she saw more than that Beow. We both got very drunk last night, and I am going to bet. Wait a moment," Belok turned, said something to May. She nodded and Belok turned back to Beowdil, "Yes, she saw far more than that, you not only agreed to wed Raja-Yursaa and Raja-May, but you consummated both your weddings last night. Not bad for your first night in town," Belok said.

Beowdil felt a pit form in his stomach, "but I'm already married."

"That doesn't matter here, a man can wed more than once. To them, Ariel is only the Matriarch of the family, it doesn't make you unavailable. They offered and you accepted," Belok explained. Beowdil sunk back into his pile of furs. Belok could see his friend was in despair, "Let me talk to May."

Beowdil watch as the dwarf approached May and the two conversed. He tried hard to understand what they spoke, but as usual, it was of no use.

"May," began Belok, he was speaking in Haradish, "Beowdil is already married. That is why he is in the desert. He is searching for his wife, Ariel."

"So, Yursaa is not the first wife? She can not be the Matriarch?" said May. Her eyes seemed to light up when Belok spoke. She tried, but could not hide her smile.

"No. In fact, in Beowdil's country a man can not have more than one spouse." explained Belok.

"That is odd. Who takes care of all the women?" asked May.

"Family, friends and their spouses. Look, is there anyway we can explain that there is a misunderstanding here? Can we allow you and your sister to return you your father?" asked Belok.

"No, Beowdil accepted us both in word and body. We are his responsibility now. Should we return to our father as rejected wives, having lost our virtue we would bring great shame to him. At best we would become shut-ins, at worst we would become shut-outs. I am sorry if the Matriarch does not want us, but Beowdil accepted us. Although I will admit, I am glad to learn my younger sister will not be Matriarch over me, she hasn't stopped gloating all morning. Beowdil accepted her in word first, but he accepted me in body before my sister which indeed has caused a strain, since it is tradition for the Matriarch to be accepted first in both cases," explained May.

"I really don't care who knew who first," said Belok, "I would like to know why your father gave you both to Beowdil?"

"It is not right for the younger sister to wed before the elder," stated May.

Belok nodded as if he understood. He turned to Beowdil and spoke in the common tongue, "Well friend, you're married, thrice now. If you end your wedding with these women, you will very literally ruin their lives. I would just accept it for now and learn to speak Haradish. I'll go talk with the chief and see what can be done. In the mean time, put some clothes on."

"What about you? Did you get married last night?" asked Beowdil.

"Me? No, you and your people don't have enough hair for dwarf tastes. I just got blind staggering drunk. Hey, enjoy married life!" Belok laughed again, he threw back the tent flap and walked out leaving Beowdil alone with his third wife.
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2013, 10:45:52 PM »

How long has it been? Radagast asked himself. Even with my magic powers I can't seem to breech this labyrinth. The lack of light combined with the endless twists and turns is exhausting! I am growing weary. The wizard walked by the light of a fading spell. When he grew too weary to sustain his magic Radagast placed his hand on the wall and let his light go out. Completely blinded from lack of light, the wizard placed one foot in front of the other and ran his free hand along the stone wall. A growing hunger gnawed at his insides. He had used a spell to slow his metabolism and combined with the rations he took when he departed from his company, Radagast had enough food to last him for some time. However, as Radagast reached into his haversack he recalled that his rations were long gone. I can't sustain myself forever, he thought, Perhaps I should rest. Then, as he had done numerous times in the dark, dry, cold labyrinth, Radagast sat down, wrapped his ruddy cloak about himself and drifted into an uncomfortable sleep.
---------------------------------------------------
A faint shuffling caused the wizard to open his eyes. He felt bothered when he opened his eyes and saw nothing but black. He momentarily forgot where he was as he closed his eyes a second time, rubbed them, then opened them again thinking it would afford him better sight. After his mind cleared and he remembered where he was, Radagst sighed.

What a dreary place.

The wizard used the labyrinth wall to guide himself to his feet. He reached down and grabbed his staff. He uttered a few enchanted words and the head of his staff lit up like a torch. The wizard could feel his endurance fade. Radagast pushed his aura out in order to sense from which direction came the shuffling. He expected nothing and received nothing in return. He had become so weary, the brown wizard was unsure how far out his magic aura was stretching. As when he entered, he could feel a familiar presence but that sensation permeated the entire labyrinth. It was as if the structure was constructed by someone he knew.

If I know them, he thought why cant I find my way through here? Radagast resumed his trek once more. It was slightly easier to navigate when he could see, however, with each step and each hour the wizard felt his fortitude diminish. The glow of his staff mirrored his physical condition as the light grew dimmer and dimmer. Radagast couldn't remember when the light went out, but when it did, he instinctively put his hand on the wall and stumbled around in the dark turning corner after corner until he couldn't walk any more. Once more, Radagast slid to the floor, wrapped himself in his cloak and drifted to sleep.

The shuffling was louder this time, closer. Radagast's eyes shot open and with a quick shout of arcane words his staff lit up in a flash. Down the hall the wizard glimpsed a shadow not his own. He tried to move quickly, but his body was growing weak. Once on his feet Radagast pursued the specter.

"You can not out wit me forever," threatened the wizard, "For I am Radagast the Brown, master of shapes and hues!" He chased in the direction in which the shadow fled. With a renewed vigor he marched, but the vim began to fade as the day waned on. Just as the many days before Radagast's pace slowed, his staff dimmed, and soon he was bumbling around in the dark. Another day had passed him, another opportunity to escape alluded him, and after blindly walking with his free hand on the wall until his strength was drained, the wizard slunk to the ground and drifted into a restless sleep.
-----------------------------------------------
"Your arm is mending well," May said to Beowdil.

Yursaa gingerly took her husband's arm. She too examined it, first the top then the bottom, "I agree. It seems sound, you healed fast my dear."

Beowdil took his arm back, "Please, don't call me that," he said in Haradish.

"You're Haradish is improving too," May smiled.

Beowdil looked down at the sand. He pushed the grains around with his booted foot, then he looked over at the tent walls. Finally, he allowed himself to look at his second and third wife, "Is it well enough to explain to you my plight?"

"You may try husband. Perhaps today we will understand," stated Yursaa. She took Beowdil by his newly mended arm and lead him to the pile of furs in which he slept. Yursaa sat down and urged him to sit with her. Beowdil relented and sat. May, still holding the splint of wood and cloth that Beowdil used, moved to a nearby table, set the articles down and joined her husband and sister-wife.

"Look, I am already wed to another," Beowdil began.

"Yes," began Yursaa sounding annoyed, "That is how you began last month when you told me I would not be the Matriarch of our family."

"Please," Beowdil pleaded, "I want you to understand. In my land, a man may only have a single spouse. It is not prudent for him to have two, or three."

"But you left, your land and came to ours," May interjected.

"Because my Ariel was taken. I came to find her," Beowdil said.

"And you found us," Yursaa interrupted, "You don't have to stop looking for her. We can help. Our father Raja-Dahn taught us some hunting skills. He was mocked for it, but he did it because he wanted us to be able to help our husband if needed. Oh my husband, if you could only understand our way of life."

"It isn't me I'm worried about. What is going to happen when I find Ariel? How will I explain to her that according to Southron customs I am now the husband of three women?" Beowdil asked out loud. Deep down he hoped one of these women had the answer, but this was not the first time they had this conversation, and each time, no one offered an answer.

"So Ariel will not be pleased that she is now the Matriarch?" asked May.

"Where I come from there is no Matriarch," Beowdil paused, "well, there is, but not like here. Ariel is the matriarch of our family. Her, me, my children."

May's eyes lit up, "You have children? You never speak of them my Dear!"

Beowdil's cheeks flushed, "I do," his mood immediately darkened, "but they were also taken from me."

"I am sorry Beowdil," May reached out and touched her husband's hand. a wave of comfort washed over Beowdil. This was the first time anyone had expressed empathy for the loss of his family. At least this was the first time he was calm enough to notice. He placed his other hand on top of May's and sat motionless. He soon felt Yursaa's jealous stare. Beowdil tried to devote equal time to his two new spouses, but it was extremely difficult. May was so much easier to care for. She was mature, and possessed a gift of empathy which Beowdil had only ever seen before in Ariel. Yursaa was not difficult to love either, but she was used to a level of attention much greater than May. It was no secret that Yursaa's beauty far surpassed May's, and her vibrant youth was contagious, however, if she did not receive the amounts of attention she felt she deserved, she became difficult to be with. This was not to mean the May was ugly, for her eyes were stunning and almond shaped. The emotion she could convey through her dark eyes could fill a room with warmth and comfort.

In an attempt to preserve the peace Beowdil removed his hand and changed the subject, "Now that my arm is better, I want to resume my search for Ariel." He stood up from the pile of furs.

"When will we leave?" asked Yursaa looking up at Beowdil.

"We?" asked Beowdil.

"Yes," began May. She stood up, "Yursaa already told you that we can track. Whether you like it or not, Wulf-Beowdil, our Matriarch has been taken, and the family's off-spring is also missing. Yursaa and I are honor-bound to aid you in any way we can."

"Neither of you can fight. I cant be expected to track and defend you," Beowdil lied.

"Then teach us. I have seen you fight and you are amazing. Belok can help too," Yursaa stated.

"Your father won't be happy," Beowdil tried to dissuade them once more.

"Father relinquished his patriarchal authority to you. We are now Wulf-May and Wulf-Yursaa," stated May.

Beowdil sighed, "I see there is no convincing you otherwise. May the Valar help me, I have three stubborn women to care for. Very well, let's go and find Belok."
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« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2013, 08:23:57 AM »

Belok sat in the morning sun. He was seated on a bench just outside the tent in which he had chosen to stay. In one hand he held a plate of salted meat, in the other was a mug of ale. The flap on the tent next to his flew open, Beowdil and his women stepped out.

"Are you done arguing?" asked the dwarf in Haradish.

"You could hear us?" asked Beowdil.

"These tents are made from animal skin. Of course I could hear you, and had you tried to leave without May and Yursaa I would have stopped you as well. They are good women. You couldn't ask for better companions," stated the dwarf.

Beowdil shook his head as he fastened his sword to his hip, "If you all are ready to go we should gather what water and supplies we can and head out."

"Where? Radagast seemed to know where he was going. Without him we are lost," said Belok.

"I have been thinking about that for some time now, and since I cant seem to convince May and Yursaa to stay behind, they will help us," Beowdil paused and turned his attention to his wives, "Women, can you guide us to the Mahud camp?"

Yursaa tensed up, May appeared determined, "They are as nomadic as us. However, we do know something of their movement patterns."

"I will gather what supplies I can," stated Yursaa. She turned and walked towards her father's tent.

It was midday by the time everything was gathered together. Beowdil approached his newly formed caravan as Raja-Dahn finished tying down the load. The warrior walked to his father-in-law, "Thank you for your help," said Beowdil.

"It is the least I could do. You are taking my daughters from me, I gathered what inheritence they were entitled to in addition to one of my horses to carry it," Raja-Dahn became very serious. He turned and faced the man from Dale, "Beowdil, I know of the conversations we have had. I know you feel I tricked you into accepting my daughters as wives. I also know that despite your feelings and despite the fact that you do not treat my daughters as your wives, I would ask that you care for them. You are taking them into the wild, a very dangerous wild, and I can not bear the thought of losing them to this Valar forsaken desert. Whether you like it or not, whether you agree or not, by my people, you are the rightful provider to my daughters. Please remember that. If nothing else, love them as I would love them."

Beowdil looked over the supplies as Dahn spoke. He listened carefully as he checked the straps to ensure nothing would fall off the horse. Once Dahn finished speaking Beowdil turned and looked at him, "You have given me two beautiful women to care for. I will not squander that gift. Though I can not promise you to love them as a husband, I will take care of them as long as I am able." It may not have been what Dahn wanted to hear, but it was the best Beowdil could offer. The warrior turned and walked to the front of his small caravan.

May and Yursaa approached their father next. He hugged each of them in turn. Through watery eyes Dahn spoke, "I am very proud of you both. You honor a husband who can not honor you as his wives. Perhaps one day he will understand his responsibilities. He is taking you on a dangerous journey, and I wish to see you again. I have added my hunting gear to your inheretance," he paused.

"Father, you can't!" May protested

"I will craft more. You need it more now than I. Daughters, honor the oaths you have made to Wulf-Bewodil. He will someday honor his," Dahn finished. He drew each of his daughters close once more and kissed them on the forehead. May smiled and walked to the front of the caravan where Beowdil and Belok waited.

Yursaa moved to do the same but before she could, Dahn gently took her by the arm and moved in close, "My dear, I have a special task for you. May is slowly moving beyond her child bearing years. I fear by the time Beowdil is ready to father children by you and your sister that it will be too late for May to bear. As you know, dear, I have no sons, and as I said, May is slowly moving beyond her prime. The longevity of our family is therefore placed soley on you," Dahn paused allowing the weight of his words to sink into his daughter.

Yursaa stared at her father. He could tell by her look that she understood, "Bear for me a grandson. I wish for the Raja line to continue."

"Yes Father," Yursaa said. Dahn pulled her close one last time in a hug. Then she too joined her family at the front of the caravan.
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« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2013, 11:33:58 AM »

The wizard opened his eyes to nothing once more. He could see nothing and his strength was spent. I can't even light my staff. I'm so weak. "I yield!" Radagast yelled into the darkness, "Do you hear me creature? I surrender to your horrid game. Come and finish me. I know you're there."

In silence Radagast sat, but only for a moment, "That is all I wanted to hear, old friend," came a familiar voice.

Radagast perked up, "I know your voice, like an echo from a past age."

"More like two ages, or is it three now," the voice answered. It was a deep voice Radagast noticed. Deep, but not sinister.

"You have me at an advantage. I do not remember your voice. You have also remained hidden from me. Don't kill me in a state of confusion. Speak your name before you add my death to your title," requested Radagast.

"Oh my dear friend Aiwendil," came the voice.

Radagast raised his brow, "No one has called me by that name in a very, long, time," the brown wizard slowly pushed himself up from the floor, "In fact, only four others know me by Aiwendil. Curumo, Olorin, Pallando, and Alatar, my Istar cousins," Radagast paused and pondered for a moment, "Alatar, is that you?"

There was a space of silence followed by a low, slow, chuckle, "Indeed, 'tis I, Alatar the Blue, Morinehtar as elves called me."

Radagast laughed, "Where are you? Illuminate this place, I can not see."

"Nor I," stated Alatar, "that is why I did not illuminate my labyrinth."

"I don't understand," began Radagast.

"I will explain it in time. For now, follow the sound of my voice, we have much to discuss," said Alatar.

Radagast followed Alatar's instructions. He listened to Alatar guide him, left, then right, then forward. On an on until Alatar told him to halt, "Now will you provide me with some light?" asked Radagast.

"You're one of the Istar, do it yourself," stated Alatar.

"I would, but I have been lost in this maze for a long time. I no longer have the strength. I grow weary," explained the brown wizard, "Why are you keeping your sanctum so dark?"

"To ensure all who enter have no advantage over me. I will be master of my own domain," answered Alatar. His voice was closer now. Radagast could hear the sound of Alatar's staff on the stone floor.

"Alatar, you're speaking in riddles. Speak with me as you once did. As a friend," asked Radagast.

"I am blind. My eyes, Aiwendil. He took my sight," Alatar said bluntly. He was standing next to Radagast now.

"Who took your sight?"

"Pallando. He has been corrupted by the Golden King. When I refused the Golden King's bribes Pallando captured and tortured me. Before I could escape he took my eyes. Then, one night while he reveled in the debaucheries offered to him by the king of Abrakhan, I used what bearing I had and escaped into the night. I managed to regain my staff of power, but that was it. I fled naked into the Harad wastes. Blind, naked, and half-dead I managed to find this crag. I used the powers afforded to me by my staff to create this sanctum. The Golden King sent many hunters after me. They found my sanctum but were lost in the bowels of the labyrinth. Many have entered here and only I know its secret, for it is mine, I made it, and I will keep it," explained Alatar.

"So Pallando too is lost," Radagast stated rather somberly.

"Too? Who else has fallen?" asked the blue wizard.

"Curumo has abandoned reason for madness. He spends his days locked in his sanctum poring over ancient tomes searching for the answer to all riddles," explained Radagast.

"And what of Olorin? Is he still true to our cause," questioned Alatar.

"His wit has been slowed by his love for the halfling's leaf. He thinks he has found Sauron's ring," stated the brown wizard.

Alatar sighed. Radagast heard the blue wizard tap his staff on the ground and the chamber was illuminated, "It seems you and I will have to do then."

Radagast squinted before his eyes adjusted. Once he could see, he looked at Alatar. The wizard was dressed in blue robes, his eyes were covered with a strip of blue cloth he had tied around his head. Its color match that of his robe so Radagast assumed it was ripped from the hem of his cloak. In his hand the blue wizard held a staff whose head was illuminated by the chamber. The brown wizard looked around, on the far end of the chamber was a pile of furs where Alatar slept, next to that was a small case filled with scrolls of paper. Beyond those two things, the massive chamber was bare, save the numerous arching doorways leading back into the labyrinth. Finally, Radagast's gaze settled onto Alatar, "Yes, it seems we two will have to stop Pallando. Tell me, who is this Golden King?"

Alatar shook his head slowly, "He is the ruler of Abrakhan. In times past it was an important city between Gondor and Umbar, the rulers accumulated massive wealth. I have seen many kingdoms in this Middle-Earth, Radagast, and I tell you, I have never seen a city of such wealth! The walls, streets, and structures are all gilded, there is nothing the city does not possess. Except an Istar. When Pallando and I passed through the city we were seized by the Abrakhan guard. We were taken before the king and asked to join his court. At first we both refused, however, the Golden King is not accustomed to being told 'no.' It was then that he started bribing us. He offered us gold, jewels, furs, silks, foods, women and anything else you can fathom. I don't know why or how, but Pallando succumbed. The rest you know."
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« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2013, 12:23:24 PM »

Beowdil reached down into the water of the Oasis. It was warm, but cooler than the surrounding air. He took a handful and raised it to his mouth. The life giving liquid run down his parched throat. He look across the pond of the oasis at May and Yursaa. They were filling everyone's waterskins before departing. He stared at the lovely women longingly. They were standing in the water trying to cool down. They allowed the skirt of their robes to soak in the water. They are beautiful, he said to himself. He smiled to himself when he was suddenly seized by pang of guilt. Beowdil quickly turned his head and looked over at his dwarf companion who was snoozing under a palm tree.

Beowdil was surprised, despite the time they had been away from this oasis, when he first met Yursaa, he could still see residual tracks in the sand where he fought the mighty half-troll. The bodies had all been picked clean by scavengers and many of the bones were either buried by the sand or hauled off as well. Beowdil placed the last bit of dried fruit from his ration into is mouth, scooped up one last mouthful of water, then stood up.

"May, Yursaa, are you two ready to continue onward? The sun is almost set," Bewodil called to them across the pond. He walked over to Belok and tapped the bottom of his boot with his foot. The dwarf slowly opened his eyes.

"Is it time?" he asked,

"Nearly. The sun is setting. May and Yursaa agreed that it would be easier to travel at night. However, tracking the Mahud is going to be almost impossible. To make matters worse, we still don't know what happened to Radagast," explained Beowdil.

"Maybe we should wait for him," suggested Belok.

"The thought has crossed my mind. But we are all here in this desert for different reasons. Radagast is here to stop some unseen threat, I am here to find my wife, Ariel, and you are here," Beowdil paused, "why are you still here? You have been freed from your captors, and you are free to go."

"And let you have all the fun?" Belok chuckled, "No, I think I will stay here with you Beowdil. You can't have all the women in Harad," the dwarf joked.

Beowdil shuffled nervously. He looked over at May and Yursaa who were walking over towards the two adventurers, "My sister and I have filled the waterskins. We are ready to depart," stated Yursaa. She stopped at Beowdil's side and gingerly stretched out her fingers until they touched her husbands. Beowdil blushed, making his sunburned face more red. The fighting man had noticed Yursaa had been making more advances towards him. He continued to turned her away, but with each passing day, it grew more difficult. May could see her sister's actions were making Beowdil uncomfortable so she tried to persuade her sister to stop by attempting to elbow her unobserved by the rest of the party. Yursaa glared at May, Belok stifled a grin.

Beowdil broke the awkward silence, "Well, perhaps we should be leaving." The company agreed and moved towards their small caravan. Each member of the company took their place in the caravan. As Beowdil moved to the front he heard a distant voice.

"Did you plan to leave without me?" Everyone in the company turned to see where the noise was coming from. On the far end of the oasis they saw the Brown wizard. At his side was a man of similar robed in blue. Over his eyes he wore a blue cloth wrap.
 
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« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2014, 01:03:20 AM »

Beowdil was glad for the extra company, and skill. Between himself, May, Yursaa, and the two wizards the company was able to follow the Mahud's tracks. Despite this, from the top of a sandy dune, Beowdil soon found himself gazing down into an abandoned campsite, "where did they all go?" He asked.

"I couldn't say, other than eastward," stated Radagast. With a slow pace the brown wizard began to make his way into the camp.

As the caravan slow descended into the empty encampment Belok asked, "If the Mahud are nomads, why would they leave all their tents behind?"

"That is what I want to know too," stated May, "It is fool hardy to travel without supplies in this land." As the caravan entered the encampment everyone spread out and began looking through the abandoned tents for any sign of the Mahud. May moved from tent to tent. She found trinkets of bone, sleeping furs, spare clothes and a few other items but not a single person. Once the caravan regrouped in the camp's center point they discussed their findings.

May listened as everyone spoke in turn, "All I found were trinkets," said one of her companions, "I found nothing," said another, "Nothing but sand," said the dwarf. It was Radagast, she noticed, who began to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

"Perhaps," he began, "The answer to our question is not in what we find, but what we didn't find. Beowdil, did you find any food?"

"No."

"Belok, did you find any weapons?"

"No."

"May, Yusraa, did you find any water?

"No."

"Alatar, have you sensed the presence of anything?"

"Well," began Alatar, "the half-trolls. I can sense they were anxious and excited. The warriors were also the same. If I didn't know any better," Alatar paused as he honed his spell of sight he continually maintained, "these people were leaving for war. And it seems that none of them planned to return," the blue wizard finished.

"Therein, we find our answer," stated Radagast. Someone has recruited the Mahud. But who?" Pondered Radagast.

Beowdil looked around at the abandoned camp. As he surveyed the ghost town a glint of light caught his eye from the far east edge of camp. As his companions talked he slowly moved towards the shining object on the ground. As he moved he felt someone grab his hand. He turned back to see Yusraa. Beowdil did nothing to remove his hand.

"What is it?" She asked, "Did you find something?"

"It may be nothing, come and see."

May watched as Beowdil and Yusraa separated themselves from the camp. Hand in hand. A piece of her resented Yusraa's forthright attitude. Another piece of her wished she too was confident enough to act more the part of Beowdil's wife.

On the ground Beowdil and Yusraa found a gold coin. It had a stamp of what looked like a mask upon it, "I've seen this before. From merchants passing through our camp back home."

Beowdil reached down and took the coin from the sand, "I saw a few too." Stated the farmer, "Who are they from?" Beowdil stood up, "Hey!" He called to his cohort, "I've found something, come here!"

The travelers moved to Beowdil and Yusraa, "What is it?" Asked Belok. Beowdil extended the coin to the dwarf he examined then coin then moaned. "It's from the golden city. That face on the coin," Belok held out the coin for all to see, "It's the Golden King."

Alatar sighed, "If the Golden King has bought the tribe for war then indeed, a foul act is afoot. We must stop him."

"Wait, who is the Golden King?" Asked Beowdil.

"The rotten shadow-lover who forced me into slavery," stated Belok "He is the wealthiest creature I have ever encountered. Do you recall the tale of Erebor and the gold within that mountain? The Golden King's wealth makes Erebor appear as nothing more than a few coppers. Between his conquests, treachery and the cursed mountain he's hollowed out, that king is arguably the wealthiest creature in Middle-Earth. And that is saying a lot coming from a dwarf."

"On then, to the Golden City," stated Alatar, "I'm sure we will find many answers there." The company was in agreement. They regrouped and began to move out.

"Belok," Radagast called to the dwarf, "Lead the way."

Belok nodded.

"Beowdil, come to me. I must speak with you," Radagast said as he fell back to the rear of the caravan. The fighting man met him as the others began to move out.

"What is it?" He asked. He noticed the wizard carried a wad of green cloth folded under one arm.

The wizard unrolled the cloth. It was a dress. Beowdil recognized it instantly, "It can not be," he stated.

"I found it among the camp. As you can see, this dress is not of Harad make. It is from Dale," stated the wizard.

Beowdil grabbed the dress and began to inspect it. He turned it over and over in his hands. Aside from a few tears and soiled marks the dress was in good condition, "But how? She was taken by the Uruks."

"Then we found her amulet among the Haradrim. It is clear to me that she is now in the possession of the Mahud, who are heading to the Golden City." Explained Radagast the Brown.
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« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2015, 05:06:48 AM »

"Anyone is allowed into the city," began Belok, "in fact, the King prefers it. He welcomes all to swoon over his wealth. The entire city has been covered in gold. According to the scholars, who I heard talking, it was all done in previous ages. The rulers of Abrakhan used their position to accumulate massive amounts of riches during Harad's bloody history," he continued to speak as the company traveled. Beowdil, despite his best efforts, was no longer able to focus on Belok's tale. The caravan was now traveling on a main road. Though movements were now easier, Beowdil felt nervous being so exposed. He turned his head from side to side gazing off at the rolling dunes. He searched for any movement out of the ordinary, he felt uneasy in such a wild country.

He noticed his caravan was slowly joined by others. Soon, his company stretched behind and ahead for as far as he could see. Beowdil leaned over to May who walked beside him, "who are all of these people?"

"Travelers, like us. The Golden City is home to more people than you have ever seen. So much happens here. Be at peace husband, there is strength in numbers. We have nothing to fear. At the moment," May reached up and touched Beowdil's arm. She felt her face flush. May slowly opened and closed her fingers on Beowdil's arm. It was gritty and sweaty yet comforting. She had not know Beowdil long, but she could tell that he was an honorable man. Worthy of the title of husband which he had bestowed upon him. She  looked up at her man, "Beowdil," she began.

The farmer turned to look at her, "Yes?" he asked.

May felt her face flush for a second time. Her mind suddenly raced as she began to think of Beowdil, herself, Yusraa, and Ariel, "Never mind." May quickly broke her gaze and looked forward.
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« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2015, 05:56:11 PM »

Near an oasis, by the road, and under the stars, Beowdil and his company rested. The huge line of caravans had also set up camp along the road. It was now lit with many campfires, and in the distance could be seen the fires of the city Abrakhan. The farmer laid upon his sleeping furs which he arranged near the campfire. Sitting to his right was Belok, and on his left was Radagast and Alatara. They were all still glistening from the sweat of the day. Behind Beowdil one of the company's tents was erected. Inside May and Yusraa could be heard moving about and speaking in low whispers.

"Tomorrow we will enter Abrakhan," stated Radagast.

"Have you thought this far ahead?" asked Beowdil. They spoke in the common tongue of Middle-Earth.

Radagast, "I know what must be done."

Alatar chuckled, "You just don't know how to do it. Pallando and I already tried to convert the Golden King. You know how that tale resolved."

"Indeed," nodded Radagast. Beowdil could see the wizard was at a loss of how to proceed.

They say in silence pondering, finally Belok spoke, "Let's worry about reaching the city first. We are yet a day away. We'll think of something."

"What of you Beowdil?" asked the brown wizard, "Will you help me? Upon reaching the city our agreement will have been met."

Beowdil smiled, "Our agreement was met long ago. If you recall, I agreed to stay with you until we reached Harad. We have been in Harad for sometime. I will continue to aid you until our paths diverge."

Alatar chuckled once more.

"Is something funny?" asked Beowdil.

"If you only knew when those paths forked. You may have refused Radagast's offer in the woods."

"What do you speak of?" asked Beowdil.

Radagast spoke, "Alatar may be blind, but his vision is keenest of the istari. He has been blessed with the gift of foresight."

"Foresight," said Belok, "few are those who possess such a gift."

"And much like those who possess it, I see little. Glimpses if you will," explained Alatar.

"What do you see, wizard?" Asked Beowdil.

"As I said, only glimpses. I see you and Radagast. I also see your family, farmer. You, Ariel, Yusraa and May," began Alatar.

"Are my sons there?"

Alatar nodded.

"Are we well? Where are we?"

"Careful, Farmer, it is only a glimpse, and knowing too much harms more than it benefits. Yes, I see you all, and you seem well but that is all I see. Pester me no more with this. Let a blind old man be," Alatar was grinning now.

"You wizards," scoffed Belok, "Always more trouble than you're worth." All four of the men laughed at his statement.

From behind them, the tent flap was heard as it opened. May stepped out holding the caravan's water bladders, "Beowdil, I am going to fetch water. Will you help me?" she asked in Haradish.

Beowdil pushed himself up from the ground, "Of course, my dear." The entire camp froze, including the farmer. Never had he referred to Yusraa or May by a term of endearment. He didn't need to look but he could feel May's smile. Beowdil cleared his throat, finished standing and took a portion of the water bladders, "to the oasis."
----------------------------------------------
Gently, quietly and slowly Beowdil and May filled the water bladders with the water from the oasis. A few travelers from the other caravans were also there but everyone kept to themselves. Beowdil let the cool of the water creep up his arm then down his spine. For the first time in a long time, he shivered. As he moved the water bladder in the oasis he felt his hand bump into May's.

"Excuse me," May said.

"No. All is well," Beowdil released the water bladder with one hand and clasped May's. He looked her in the eyes and spoke, "You have been nothing but kind to me and I have repaid you with silence and loneliness. You left your home and agreed to wed and travel with a stranger so your younger sister could also wed. I see, May, that you bear a strength most free folk will never muster."

"Free folk?" questioned May.

"The Free folk. Men of Dale, Gondor, Rohan, the Elves of Mirkwood, the Dwarves of Erebor, the lands from whence I came. Where the sun shines, and water flows down the mighty Anduin in currents far greater than you have seen. Where white snow falls and yields to a green spring. Where life isn't so harsh, where men and women love and children play."

"It sounds lovely," May paused. With her right hand she set down the water bladder she filled. The woman then turned to face Beowdil. She stood, and he followed, "My husband. Will you take me there? Will you take me to see your land?"

Beowdil dropped the water bladder in his left hand and clasped both of May's. Holding them close to his chest he answered, "Yes. I will take you wherever I go," he leaned forward and for the first time, kissed his bride.
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« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2015, 01:51:36 PM »

Beowdil was in awe as he neared the mighty city of Abrakhan. Veins of gold ran up the city walls much like ivy crawls up a wall in Dale. Unbeknownst to him, there seemed to be an ever growing throng of travelers moving towards the city. He squinted, shaded his vision with a raised hand and scanned the city walls. Men, clad in robes with gold colored armor, armed with bows stood guard. The line of travelers slowed to a crawl as each party was admitted to the city individually. Despite their proximity to the city, Beowdil understood now why it would take another day to enter the city's gates. The many different companies moved very slowly.

It was past noon once Beowdil's company reached the high arching city gates. Much like the walls, veins of gold reached to the top of the wooden doors. Yusraa, who walked near Beowdil, leaned over, "The gold is impressive, but when our people speak of the city's doors, we marvel at the height of the timbers which make up the doors," she explained.

"I imagine so," Beowdil said with a nod, "I haven't seen timbers of this height since I left Dale." Beowdil turned his attention to the guards who were asking Belok and Radagast a series of questions. They appeared like the same guards who stood upon the walls. They carried a bow, a curved sword and a spear. They were clad in the same scarlet colored robes, adorned with the same gold colored armor. All save two. The two who caught Beowdil's eye were hulking men. Both overweight with round, bare bellies. They each carried an impressive sword and wore, in addition to their trousers, a head cover and a thick gold chain around their neck.

"They are the king's personal guard. They are usually with the Golden King, however, they also oversee the activities of the regular warriors," explained Yusraa.

"You seem to know a great deal about Abrakhan," stated Beowdil. He looked at the young woman. Her smooth, tanned skin creased as she smiled. A strand of dark hair fell out from under the shawl she wore on her head to block the sun. Beowdil reached up and gently pushed it back.

"I do. I know much about this city," stated Yusraa.

"Excellent," answered Beowdil.

Their conversation came to an abrupt end as Radagast interrupted, "Come!" The mighty city doors were opened by a handful of guards and the company was allowed to enter.

They passed under the high archway. Beowdil looked over at Belok who was nearby, "I never thought I would return to this place," he said to the farmer over the din of people. Immediately after passing through the gate, the noise escalated. They immediately entered a market. It was crowded with vendors and passing people. Beowdil was surprised. Even in Dale, he had never seen such a concentration of people. He was speechless.

Radagast raised his staff slightly, for his company to see, "Follow me, we were issued a token which will allow our caravan to set up camp at the west end of town." He spoke loudly as he looked over his shoulder at his traveling companions. They pushed passed the countless throng of people. Beowdil stared at the buildings, each crafted from a mixture of bricks and gold. The main road was also made of stone and veins of gold. Beowdil was in awe. Never had he seen so much gold. In addition to the buildings, streets and walls, it also adorned the city's patrons.

Yusraa, who noticed Beowdil's bewilderment, placed a hand upon his arm, "Fear not, husband. Stay close to me and I will ensure your safety," she joked.

Beowdil looked at Yusraa and smiled, "Yes. I would like that."

As the company moved towards the west end of town, Beowdil noticed a large circular building. Coming from the inside the farmer could hear cheers and crashes of iron. Belok nudged the man from Dale, "That is the stadium. The slaves are made to fight there," the dwarf paused, "That is where I was made to fight. For a long time." Silently, the company passed. As they moved through the city both Yusraa and Belok pointed out interesting locations, the grand market, the central oasis, the aquaducts, the Golden Library and other buildings. Each one appeared more grand than the previous. Slowly, however, the city's grandeur lessened as they approached the west end. Buildings became smaller, and the gold less frequent. Soon, Beowdil noticed the shrinking buildings were no more than single dwelling huts separated by large open lots of sand. Some of the lots were bare, others were filled with the belongings of different caravans.

"What happened?" he asked Belok.

"This is where travelers stay. The huts are for guards to ensure there are no troubles among the different caravaners," explained the dwarf.

Radagast approached a guard and extended the token he received at the city's main gate. They exchanged few words. The guard pointed to an empty plot of sand, then turned away. The Brown wizard turned to the company, "Welcome home," he said as he extended his staff towards the plot of sand, "this is where we shall stay."
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« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2015, 01:49:14 PM »

Once the company had settled, Belok took to his tent, "It brings too much hurt to be here," he stated. Radagast and May agreed to remain behind to comfort Belok and ease his growing fury.

"Beowdil, go to the market and replenish our supplies," stated the wizard. Use the skins we received from your father-in-law. And what coin you have."

Beowdil nodded in agreement. From nearby Beowdil heard Yusraa, "I will go with you, husband." Beowdil smiled.

Back through the golden city of Abrakhan, hand in hand, Yusraa lead Beowdil. "The king acquired his gold from many long conquests and trades. Abrakhan was placed along the way of many important trade routes. Countless traders passed through, and countless amounts of gold were traded in its walls. At least that is how the story goes," Yusraa explained.

"However," she paused," Abrakhan's greatest source of wealth is the huge lake beneath it. They say the Golden King has large wells in his palace which he uses to haul water to the surface so he can sell it to surrounding nations."

"Do you believe it?" asked Beowdil.

Yusraa shrugged, "I don't know. I have never seen such large amounts of water. Do they exist?"

Beowdil looked skyward and thought back on the journeys he made to the ocean as a boy. His father was a trader and would go to the sea from time to time in search of artifacts not found in Dale or Erebor. Finally, Beowdil spoke, "Yes. There are large bodies of water. Larger than you can imagine."

Yusraa smiled.

They entered the busy market. Beowdil was fascinated by the number of people. Canvas tents and merchants peddling wares stretched out from wall to wall. The people were noisy and loud, trying to attract the attention of passers-by. A heavy dust hung in the air as streams of people poured into the city. Beowdil paused under the archway leading to the market.

"Come, Beowdil," urged Yusraa, "we have to buy supplies."

Beowdil scanned the sea of people and nearly stepped into its tide before pausing. across the throng of people and upon a raised wooden platform Beowdil spied the form of two young boys. They were bound and next to them stood a grown man in a tunic. He was shouting and pointing to the lads. The man from Dale recognized their manner of dress, for he had dressed them! "My sons," he uttered in disbelief.

Yusraa turned, "what?"

With a voice of thunder Beowdil yelled, "My sons!" Releasing Yusraa's grip, and dropping the skins he held, Beowdil ran through the crowd with great haste. He pushed passed many people knocking some to the ground, but the calamity vanished from his eyes. Only one thing mattered to him, his children, "bar Beowdil! bar Beowdil!" he yelled as he ran, "Sons of Beowdil, sons of Beowdil!" He reached the raised platform only to be blocked by a number of the King's guards. Their faces were obscured behind head wraps and around their necks hung a thick golden chain. A large curved sword hung from their hips.

"Let me pass! Those boys are my sons! They were taken from me. Return them to me!" he yelled at the nearest guard.

"Do not interfere with the auction," responded the guard.

"Auction? Those boys are not property. They are my children. Stand aside!" Demanded the fighting man. From the platform the young boys yelled for succor. Tears rolled down their face as they realized who authored the commotion below.

"Calm down outsider or we will be forced to remove you from the city!" demanded the guards.

"Let me pass, or I shall take my sons by force," Beowdil withdrew the sword at his side. Many in the crowd quickly moved away.

"That was a poor decision, stranger. In this city, weapons may not be brandished. I will give you one warning to sheath your weapon, or face the consequences of our harsh laws." stated the guard. He grabbed the massive weapon at his side.

"There is no force in this Middle-Earth that can keep me from my children. I have passed through war and an endless sea of fire to find them. You shall not hinder me, stand down." His voice was cold as iron as he spoke.

Two other guards moved in on Beowdil. He fought to keep his burning rage contained, but too hotly it burned. He lunged forward with a speed immeasurable and with a flash of bare metal severed the swordarm of the guard. The weight of the massive weapon could not be held up with a single hand and the first guard fell to his knees. The fighting man side stepped and ducked below the swing of the second guard. With the pommel of his sword Beowdil dug deep into the second guard's stomach. He lost his breath and fell to his knees. The farmer struck the man on the top of the head with his pommel knocking him unconscious. The third guard swung his mighty sword in a great overhead chop! Beowdil spun and dodged the blow. The heavy sword dug deep into the sandy earth. With a quick stroke the man from Dale severed the guard's hands just above the wrists. A howl of pain filled the air, the smell of blood filled his nostrils and a spray of fluid streamed across the sandy street.

The fight was done. Beowdil leaped up the steps of the platform. The auctioneer fell to his knees, "Don't kill me outsider. I am but an auctioneer."

"You are a slaver and not fit for this world. But I will allow you to live on one condition. Where is the mother of these boys!"

"I regret to tell you , oh mighty swordsman, she has been sold. To the king," the auctioneer answered quickly from his prone position. Beowdil's joyous reunion was suddenly cut short as he realized his beloved Ariel was in the clutches of the Golden King of Abrakahn. 
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« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2015, 12:09:53 PM »

Despite his growing prowess, Beowdil knew, even atop the raised platform, he could not contend with the gathering force. From a gilded arch on the far end of the street the man of Dale could see another group of city guards rushing through the crowd to meet him. His mind raced, "Yusraa! Yusraa! Come for my boys!"

"Da, no!" the boys begged.

Beowdil quickly knelt down and looked into the eyes of his children, "I will not let these men take you. Go with Yusraa. She will take you to Radagast. You can trust her, she is my..." Beowdil paused unsure of how to explain his relationship to Yusraa in such a short amount of time, especially to boys so young.

"Who is she, Da?" the eldest asked.

Beowdil embraced his sons, "Go with Yusraa. She will protect you." The fighting man stood as Yusraa reached the wooden platform.

"Come with me! I will take you from here," Yusraa reached for the boys who leaped to her arms. She gazed up at Beowdil, "You, my man, are a fool." There was a grin at the corner of her lips. Without another word Yusraa and the sons of Beowdil vanished into the commotion.

Beowdil stood up, the guards were nearly upon him. He did not resist. He dropped his sword and raised his hand, "I yield, take me away." he said in near perfect Haradish.

Half of the company arrested Beowdil, binding him with shackles, while the remaining tended to the moaning wounded left by the farmer.

-----------------------------------------

With haste Yusraa urged the boys onward. The youngest wept as they moved. They were both speaking quickly, from the way the words rolled Yusraa could tell they were speaking Beowdil's native tongue, but despite having spent a good deal of time with Beowdil, she never mastered his language. Yusraa offered a few words of comfort, but the boys did not seem to comprehend Haradish.

The closer Yusraa moved to the visitor's sector the thinner the crowds became. Before long she found herself standing at the company's campsite. May, Belok, Radagast stared at the young women. Even Alatar, despite being blind, seemed to stare in disbelief.

Belok stepped forward and with a thick dwarven hand touched the boys' faces, "Bless my beard. They look just like Beowdil. Where did you find them? Where is Beow, he'll want to see them," the dwarf said to Yusraa.

From afar Radagast could see the youth's distress. He rushed to their side and in the common tongue, spoke, "I am Radagast the Brown. I am a friend to your father. Do you know where he is?"

The boys both talked at once. There story was disjointed and blurry. Radagast couldn't make sense of what they were saying. Yusraa finally spoke up, "He and I went to market to sell the skins for some gold. Without warning Beowdil started screaming and he rushed the auction stand. He attacked three guards, recovered his children then sent me away with them. The last thing I saw was a company of guards moving in on Bewodil."

Belok and Radagast started speaking frantically, and at the same time. They were as incoherent as Beowdil's sons. Before their questions could be answered Belok had already vanished into his tent then emerged with his axe. He was muttering as he went, "Stupid man, gone and got himself captured by the Golden King. Now they'll kill him. When I find him, I'll kill him!"

"Belok, calm down. We will find our friend and rescue him," stated Radagast.

"Wizard," began Belok, "When you and Beow saved me in the desert, I made a promise to myself. I swore I would never go back to the arena. Ever. Do you know what the Golden King does to his captives? He puts them in the arena. Do you know what we are going to have to do in order to save Beow? Get into the arena. Do you have any idea where the one place is that I never want to go? The arena! Now I have to go back into the arena to save my friend! Are you coming or not?"

Alatar could be heard laughing from afar.

While Radagast worked to calm Belok, May approached her sister. With her calming expression and gentle demeanor she placed her hands on the boys' shoulders then spoke to Yusraa, "Have they told you there names?"

"If they have, I do not know. I don't speak Beowdil's language," explained Yusraa.

May knelt in the sand to be at the same level as the boys. She placed a hand on her breast, "May," she said. She then placed her hands on the boys' chests then back on her own, "May," she repeated. She pointed to her sister, "Yusraa," Then placed a hand upon her breast once more, "May," she reached out to the boys one last time and waited for them to answer.

The eldest nodded as he understood. "Ranulf bar Beowulf," he touched his brother's arm, "Lif bar Beowulf," May smiled and pulled the boys in. With both arms she held them close for a long time. The boys whimpered and sobbed quietly. May held them quietly, Yusraa stared unsure of how to respond. May took a deep breath and smiled. The boys smelled like their father. She felt a love for them blossom in her heart. She gently pushed them to arms length and in Haradish said, "I am so happy to meet you."

Radagast moved in close to the boys. He leaned down steadying himself with his staff. In Dalish he said, "boys, stay here. We are going to find your father. Stay with May, she will take care of you. She is your father's," Radagast paused as he tried to think of a way to explain Beowdil's relationship to May, "just stay with May until we return." He then turned his attention to Yusraa, "grab your father's spear. We need you to show us where you and Beowdil were when he found the boys."
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« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2016, 01:41:39 PM »

With a quick gasp of air Beowdil lurched awake. Almost immediately his head began to throb as he recalled what had happened. It was unclear at first, like murky water, but soon returned to him. Yusraa took the boys and ran. Beowdil was surrounded by guards, but his the skills he had developed on his journey combined with his burning rage for the slavers served him well in the defense of his offspring. The guards proved an easy challenge. After confronting the slaver about Ariel Beowdil recalls slipping into a stupor realizing he was no closer to finding his spouse.

Everything slowed down after that.

The farmer shook his head as he tried to recall what happened next. He reached up gently feeling the sore spot on the top of his head. His fingers were greeted by a stiff crust. He moved his hand down and glanced at his fingers, dark crusted blood told the rest of the tale. In his quiet anguish another guard must have clubbed him on his head. Beowdil sighed. He stood up. As he did, the metallic sound of metal on stone were tell tale signs that Beowdil would bound. He glanced down at his ankle to see an iron cuff around it, I guess gold isn't the only metal in this city, he chuckled quietly to himself.

"You won't be laughing once they finish with you," someone said in Haradish.

Beowdil looked up. He finally took note, he was bound to the floor of an iron cage, just tall enough to stand in. Outside the cage were a number of large cages. Some held captive, some held wild animals, and all of them sat below a stone roof. The sounds of distant cheering could be heard from above. Aside from the scant piles of straw in each cage they were remarkably bare.

"What?" responded Beowdil. He looked over at a filthy man bound in a similar iron cuff sitting in a neighboring cage.

"I said, 'you won't be laughing once they finish with you,'" he repeated.

"Who are you? Where am I?" asked Beowdil.

The dirty man looked surprised, "An outsider who speaks Haradish? I'm impressed. Very well, I'll tell you. You're below the King's arena. It is Endurance Day," he explained.

"Endurance Day?" questioned Beowdil.

"Yes, Endurance Day. The day when the Golden King pits his prisoners against his beasts. Last man standing wins."

"Wins? What do they win?" asked Beowdil.

"It changes like the wind. Sometimes it is freedom, sometimes a night in the Harem, sometimes nothing."

"It sounds like the festivities have already begun," stated Beowdil, he was looking at the stone roof towards the sounds above. Distant cheers and the sound of combat bled through.

"They have been going at it for awhile now. The guards come down between rounds to pick the next fighter. I'm just waiting my turn," explained the man.

"You don't seem nervous. There is some fierce competition down here," Beowdil glanced at some of the other cages. Lions, Tigers, men, even a moping half troll on the far end of the prison caught his gaze.

The filthy man huffed, "That is because I am going to win."

"You seem awfully confident."

The prisoner gripped the bars of his cage and leaned forward, "I am the greatest hunter in my village. When I go out, I will grab a bow and arrow and slay every man and beast I fight."

"Then it is truly my unlucky day," began Beowdil, "To be captured on Endurance Day and to die at the hands of an unfed, dingy hunter."

"I'll remember those words Outsider," said the prisoner.

A loud clank caught their attention as two guards walked in to the prison. Outside all Beowdil could see was a ramp, dust, sand, and sunlight. He squinted. The guards walked towards the filthy man. One of them spoke, "that one. He should be be an easy kill for the beasts." The other guard agreed. With a set of keys they opened the hunter's cage, grabbed him, unchained him, then hauled him out and up the ramp.

"I'll see you in the arena Outsider!"

« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 10:04:55 PM by jdizzy001 » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2016, 12:36:00 PM »

Yusraa rushed quickly back to the market place. Belok and Radagast were close at hand. They stopped in the crowded street at the foot of the slaver's auction stand. The rostrum was empty but streaks of fresh blood were still visible.

"Beowdil fought off the guards," Yusraa explained.

"I can tell," stated Belok. With the butt of his staff he moved one of the disembodied hands which remained behind from Beowdil's fight.

"But where is Beowdil?" Radagast pondered aloud. As in answer to his plea, a dull roar was heard over the hustle and bustle of the market place.

Belok sighed, "He is in the arena."

"What? How do you know?" asked Radagast.

"It's June. All the prisoners are sent to the arena for the sport during June. It is how the Golden King reduces the cost of maintaining a prison. Every June he sends the prisoners to the arena for the sport. Normally he only uses arena fighters such as myself, but every June he empties the prison," Belok explained, "The final prisoner standing becomes the King's newest arena fighter."

"Let's get him!" urged Yusraa.

"The most we can hope for is to watch him die in the arena. Either now or, if he wins, during his next fight. Beowdil is a worthy opponent, and I don't doubt he will succeed today, as the prisoners are usually no more than thieves and tax evaders, but the veteran arena fighters, they're real warriors." responded Belok.

"And so it my Beowdil," retorted Yusraa. A warm breeze crept by causing a strand of dark hair to fall out of place as she spoke.

"Let's go and see if Beowdil is even in the arena. We can devise a plan once we know if he is even in the battleground," said Radagast.

The three outsiders hustled to the arena. A set of merchant guards stood watch by the entrance. Belok kept his head down. The guards stepped out with hands outstretched, "Halt!" they ordered. The three stopped.

"Kindly let us pass," stated Radagast, "We only wish to view the sport."

"No weapons," hissed the first guard. The second guard motioned to a pile of weapons just behind him.

Belok dropped his axe on the pile of weapons. Yusraa sighed. She reached up and removed the shawl from her head and wrapped it around her father's spear, "I want this back upon my return." The guards scoffed.

Radagast smiled. The guards did not smile back, "Your staff."

"Oh please, it is merely an old man's walking stick. Do not part me from it," Radagast began to lean heavily upon his thick, oaken staff.

Belok chanced a glance up a Radagast. The wizard moved his mouth but words did not part from his lips but in soft whispers.

"Very well. Take your walking stick, old man. But be warned, if you make a scene, I will kill you myself." stated the first guard. The second guard chuckled.

"Oh, thank you," Radagast gushed, as he walked passed the guards. The crowd cheered in the distance. The wizard smiled and the three walked into the arena up a ramp towards the seats.

As they walked into the bright arena the scene opened before them. They glanced at the filled stadium. It was a large bowl made from brown sandstone. Much like the rest of the city veins of gold ran across the entire structure all leading to the throne of the Golden King. His section was pillared, separate, and completely gilded. The monarch sat in a golden throne draped in silky robes with a guard on each side. Additionally, he was surrounded by women and bore a golden mask upon his face.

"And there he is," began Belok, "The Golden King."

Yusraa gasped, "I have only heard tales of his majesty."

"Do not distract yourselves. We are hear to find Beowdil." Radagast chastised his companions. They then cast their collective gaze onto the arena floor. It was littered with bodies. Radagast ceased counting once he reached fifty. Weapons of all kinds were strewn across the ground, at one end a woman in a tattered dress was tied to a post, she appeared worn and tired, but still moved attempting to escape her bonds. Not far from her were a few prisoners fighting. The crowd cheered with each blow. The sound of metal on metal was drowned by the spectators. The companions continued searching for Beowdil but could only spot a second group of fighters trying to kill an archer standing near a wall. He was a talented shooter, a pile of bodies with arrows lodged in their chests attested to that.

The smell of sweat and blood filled the bowl. A haze of dust swirled about as the fighters moved kicking up sand which was caught by the wind. As they watched the match unfold the far door opened and two guards pushed a dark haired man into the ring. Yusraa spotted him first, "Beowdil!" she screamed. Some anxious spectator, unknowing of the situation, responded in kind, "Beow-dil! Beow-dil! Beow-dil!" Soon other spectators joined in.

------------------------------------------------

With a mighty shove the guards thrust Beowdil into the arena. He senses were immediately consumed by the chaos. Screams of pain filled his ears as untrained fighters swung deadly weapons at one another. The farmer looked about but suddenly paused as he heard the crowd chanting, "Beow-dil! Beow-dil! Beow-dil!"

"By the Valar," he whispered. He was brought back to the severity of his situation as an arrow whizzed past his head. He flinched. From the other side of the arena he could see the dirty prisoner from before. The man smiled at Beowdil, but it wasn't welcoming.

Beowdil reached down and grabbed a scimitar from the ground. As if that was some sort of cue, many of the other fighters turned their attention to him and charged. With a skill beyond his competitors Beowdil swung his weapon in wide deadly arches. It was clear that many of these fighters were more of a rabble than actual fighters. For a moment, Beowdil felt a pang of guilt. When he downed the final competitor of the first mob he gripped his blood soaked weapon and glanced about. The dirty prisoner was on one side of the arena fighting a mob of his own, to include a lion. He appeared as competent as he boasted from his cage. The farmer scanned from the dirty man to the other side of the arena, there were a few skirmishes. The half-troll caught his eye for a moment, but it too was surrounded by a mess of fighters. He settled his gaze on the large wood pillar sticking out of the ground on the opposite side of the arena. There were a few fighters near it. The flow of battle moved them to one side and Beowdil finally saw who was tied to the post.

It was a women.

Immediately his heart froze, her dress was familiar, her hair was familiar, her form was familiar, "Ariel!" He yelled over the din. His vision narrowed and his face grew hot, a fire uncheck raged in his chest and stomach. With a fury undaunted Beowdil charged into the fray. No challenger could halt his charge, many of them were cut down before they could strike. Ariel grow closer with each step, Beowdil felt as if his journey was finally coming to an end, "Ariel!" he cried again, this time, she could hear him. She ceased to struggle and cast a glance at her man. Their eyes met.

"Beowdil!" she screamed. This caused a few of the fighters to suddenly band together and challenge the new-comer. There was a clash of steel and sinew. Beowdil ducked and rolled under a number of spears and swords. The man fought with vigor renewed, each stroke found a mark, disarming another foe man. As quickly as the gang had assembled, Beowdil had thwarted their attack. He reached Ariel's side and with a mighty strike, smote the chains which held her bound. They snapped beneath his force and his scimitar dug deep into the wood post. A loud roar came from the audience.

In a quick duck Beowdil scooped up two bloody swords. He handed one to Ariel, "Get to one side!" he ordered, Ariel moved closer to the wall of the arena. Beowdil watched as she retreated and as he looked back the man was surprised by a club which struck his chest and sent him flying into the wooden post. Pain blossomed in his back as he slid down the pole. Through blurred vision he could see the half troll approaching. Its club was high above its head. Beowdil rolled to one side as the club smote the ground. A cloud of sand rose upward.

Speed, Beowdil thought, Speed is the key! He quickly rose to his feet and before the creature could recover, the man hacked at the beast's arm. The half troll let out a terrible cry and swung his weapon again. Beowdil ducked, the sound of crunching bones was heard as the beast connected with another fighter. The farmer ran around behind the troll and stuck again. The troll bellowed a second time, followed up with another missed swing which connected with another advancing fighter. Beowdil moved in close and plunged his blade deep into the monster. For a moment their eyes met and Beowdil could see the shock in his opponent's face. The troll slumped over dead.

An arrow then sank deep into the troll. Beowdil jerked his head to one side as the arrow pierced through his ear before puncturing the troll's flesh. He gasped and turned. The dirty prisoner from below was stepping closer, nocking another arrow as he moved. Beowdil squirmed out from under the dead troll and grabbed another nearby, blood-soaked sword. Another arrow whizzed by Beowdil, he ducked to be safe, the shot went wide. Beowdil charged. The dirty man nocked another arrow and fired. The shot went wide. Very wide, Beowdil was surprised, but he continued his charge. Another arrow raced towards him, this one was more true than the previous, Beowdil dropped to the ground. The arrow sailed over. As quickly as he fell, the farmer jumped back on his feet. The dirty prisoner groped for another arrow at his side, but quickly realized he had fired his last lance. Beowdil raced across the stadium floor. Between he and the dirty prisoner lay a mess of dead bodies, many of whom were pierced by arrows. The dirty man raced to a nearby fallen body, in an attempt to recover an arrow, but Beowdil was too close. The dirty prisoner grabbed an arrow, nocked it and pulled back on his string. Beowdil raced in, raised his sword above his head and cleaved. With a puff of air Beowdil fell to his knees. The charge was long and difficult, but his blade was true, from his knees Beowdil looked down at the dirty prisoner's dying body, a large, open slash stretched from his shoulder down to his navel.

With great difficulty the dirty prisoner spoke, "You many have won, Outsider, but you get no prize," and with his last breath, he expired.

Beowdil paniced. He stood up and peered across the stadium. He was indeed the last man standing. He looked over to the post where Ariel had hid but could not see her. He turned and raced back across the stadium, "Ariel," he screamed has he ran. The crowd cheered as he ran.

Breathless and tired Beowdil reached the far end of the stadium. To his horror he found Ariel laying on her back with an arrow lodged in her stomach, "Ariel. NO! NO! I just found you! Don't leave me again!" he fell to his knees and cradled her head.

"My husband. You came for me," she smiled weakly. The crowd had not ceased cheering.

"Or course I came for you, I would die for you!"

"Where are our children,"

"I found them, "Yusraa has them." Answered Beowdil.

Ariel cast a side-long glance at him, "Yusraa?"

"My," Beowdil paused, a pang of guilt seized him, "my friend. One of the people who helped me find you."

"I thought I would never see you again," Ariel stated.

"The thought never crossed my mind," Beowdil reached into his shirt and withdrew his wife's medallion. It clanked against the wedding tokens from Yusraa and May.

"My medallion. You found it," said Ariel.

"Yes. Here take it," he said.

Ariel gasped for air, and coughed. Blood streamed from her mouth, "I don't think I need it any more, dear."

Beowdil closed his eyes tightly as he tried to push back the tears, "Yes you will," he lied, "Ariel, don't go."

"I don't think I have a choice," she said, "You and the boys will do fine without me. Find a good mother to raise them."

"They already have a mother. We have to get you home, back to Dale. Back to our farm," said Beowdil.

"Our farm," whispered Ariel. Her voice was growing faint, "It's summer back home, you'll need to hire someone to help with the harvest... I can't... I can't even move right now."

Beowdil began to cry, "Let's go home, I hate this desert."

"Home," whispered Ariel, "It's summer back home, you'll need to hire someone to help with the harvest..."

"Ariel, Ariel!" Beowdil shook her shoulder.

"The harvest," she whispered. Her breath was slowing.

"Ariel, don't leave me! I love you, don't go!" Beowdil pleaded.

"Harvest..." she whispered, "Love..." she gasped, and with a quiet breath Ariel died.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 10:22:10 PM by jdizzy001 » Logged

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