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Author Topic: Campaign: Unsung Heroes  (Read 62383 times)
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jdizzy001
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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."
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 05:52:16 PM by jdizzy001 » Logged

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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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