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Enemies of the Mark

Story Collection: 
Prologue

This is an adventure led by Eiadric. It will take you on an epic journey slowly leading the kin towards Rohan.

 


 

Eiadric picked up the letter again and read it for the third time:

Dear Eiadric,

 

I hope this letter finds you in good health. I have received your latest message and all the ones before. The information you are sending is of great value to Rohan. It gladdens me that I made the right choice in sending someone to the northern lands. It gladdens me that I sent you.

 

The news of this fellowship of nine that you speak of is puzzling. I am not sure how it is supposed to affect us. Specially when you only mention the fellowship’s importance but not its goal. I will nevertheless inform Third Marshal Eomer next time I see him of the fellowship’s impending departure southward and that he is not to stand in their way.

 

As for my news to you. The days of Isengard’s secrecy are now long gone. Forces of the White hand are now openly encroaching on our borders and scout reports tell me that a large scale invasion is imminent. Yet my father still issues no orders. I have therefore taken it upon myself to assume full command of Rohan’s forces and organise our defences. I have summoned reinforcement from Edoras led by Elfhelm. I hope he reaches us in time.

 

I have received news that your family in Aldburg is in good health. They have asked me to send their warmest regards.

 

Théodred, Second Marshal of the Mark

 

 

Eiadric gazed out the window, deep in thought. Reading the letter took him back to the day when his fate was sealed and he was tasked with venturing north to Eriador all on his own.

 

Several months earlier……

 

It was a chill night and Eiadric felt a shiver as he stood in the stone hallway waiting. He stood outside the heavy wooden doors facing two of the Marshal’s own personal guard. The lit torches along the walls did little to warm the place up. ’Autumn has come early this year’ he thought to himself. But he tried not to show his discomfort and checked his urge to pull his cloak tighter around him.

 

He had just come from tending to his horse which was a part of the daily routine that he enjoyed the most. The stables of the Hornburg were at the very bottom of the fortress and it was all but empty at this time of night.

 

He had long grown accustomed to the life at Helm’s Deep even though it offered little in the way of everyday civil comforts. It was certainly easier to lead a “normal” life when he was stationed at Aldburg in the East-mark. Helm’s Deep was a purely military installation close the Gap of Rohan. Close to the enemy.

 

Suddenly there was a rapid double-knock from inside the doors. The Guards snapped to attention and opened the doors in one fluent motion. A man Eiadric recognised as Erkenbrand came out and walked past Eiadric and down the hallway. “The Second Marshal will see you now.” Said one of the guards.

 

Eiadric stepped into the chamber which was surprisingly dimly lit. But it was warm with a fire burning in the hearth at the far end.

 

“Eiadric.” Said Théodred but with a sharp yet friendly tone.

 

Eiadric took a few steps in and swiftly knelt with his head bowed low. “My Lord--”

 

“Come, come. We need to talk. And we can’t do that with you staring at the floor.” Said Théodred. “Sit with me.”

 

Eiadric rose and walked over to a heavy table in the middle of the room and sat down across from his lord. The table was littered with parchments and maps.

 

Eiadric was still not comfortable being so close to The Second Marshal of the Riddermark. He was after all King Théoden’s son and sole heir. Eiadric had never risen past leading an Outrider unit of twelve men and a week ago hadn’t even been addressed by a man of such high rank, let alone had a private conversation with one. Things were certainly taking a swift turn. Eiadric could feel that life was never going to go back to what it once was.

 

“Tell me, how long have you been in my eored now Eiadric?” inquired Théodred.

 

Eiadric paused. “Five years my lord. And before that, six years with the Third Marshal in the East-mark.”

 

“That is a long time.” Said Théodred looking across at Eiadric. His eyes were bright, revealing a sharp mind behind them. “And you have been through a lot. Specially these past

months.”

Eiadric nodded solemnly. His memories were still painful and he was suffering even though he tried his best not to show it. His scouting unit had been ambushed by orcs at the Fords of Isen. He had been tortured in Isengard before being bartered to the Dunlendings as a slave. Eventually he managed to escape and made his way back to Rohan.

 

“Tell me again of your escape from Dunland. Tell me about the men that helped you. Rangers you called them?”

 

Eiadric took a deep breath. “Aye my lord. That is what they called themselves. Rangers of the North. They showed up out of nowhere and saved my life. I will never forget that. And even if I would have survived the escape, I doubt I would have made it all the way back though the gap of Rohan if it wasn’t for them.”

 

Théodred sat quiet for a moment pondering. “What were they doing there? As fortunate as it was, rescuing you could hardly have been their true task.”

 

Eiadric nodded. “They said that they were going south to deliver an urgent message to Gondor my Lord. I didn’t press them for information but they did tell me things in the days that we journeyed together. I gathered that they watched over the lands of the North. They talked at length about how they were troubled that Eriador was falling under darkness, unbeknownst even to its very own residents. They said that what they lacked in numbers they made up for in strength of unity and influence. That they were led by a great man. They also mentioned old Stormcrow, or the Grey Pilgrim as they called him. How they know him I don’t know. But I could tell that he is highly revered by the rangers. It also became clear to me that these men were of special, maybe even noble lineage. They exuded the kind of strength reminiscent of the noble people in the songs and tales of yore.”

 

Théodred listened intently, hanging on every word Eiadric spoke. When he stopped Théodred remained silent for a long time gazing at the table with all its maps. Eiadric sat respectfully silent, not wanting to disturb his masters train of thought.

 

“It is decided...” said Théodred slowly as he looked up. He stood up now and paced back and forth in the room as though his feet helped move, not only his body, but also his thoughts. “These are troubled times Eiadric. The world is all grown strange. Great forces are at work. I can feel it. Things are happening outside our borders that we cannot explain. Orcs are attacking from the north, east, south and west. And your report from your capture puts it beyond any doubt that Isengard is now an enemy rather than the ally we always trusted.”

 

“And my father... his illness...” Théodred stopped pacing, shook his head and grimaced, clearly disturbed by what he was now saying.

 

“My father does nothing. He sits in Meduseld and rots away. And so do Rohan’s hopes of survival along with him.”

 

“This will not do.” He said sharply as he turned and looked at Eiadric. “I will not-- I CANNOT allow this to happen. We must act. But we cannot act when we are blind. Therefore we must gather more information. You, Eiadric, must venture north and seek out these Rangers.”

 

Eiadric looked up and stammered. “But-- But my Lord.”

 

Théodred drove on. “Fate has chosen you Eiadric. You are the only one of us that has been within the walls of Isengard and survived. You are the only one of us that has had contact with the Rangers. You are the only one they can learn to trust. And you are also one of the most capable men in the Eored.” Eiadric blushed.

 

“I want you to travel north. Seek out the rangers and find out as much as you can. Aid them if you must. Gain their trust. Go wherever the trail leads you and report back with anything of importance to Rohan. This is the only way. You must see that Eiadric.”

 

Eiadric could see it clearer than Théodred could have known. He felt very deeply that he was no longer in control of his own fate. That he was now tied to the greater forces in movement in this world and there was nothing he could do to change that.

 

It was his destiny to seek out and thwart the plans and schemes of the Enemies of The Mark!
 

Chapter I - Part I - The Lost Dispatch

Eiadric took a deep breath, opened the door and entered Elrond’s private library. Elrond who was looking out the great colour-paned window turned around and smiled as he saw Eiadric.

 

“Ah, you came. Thank you my friend.”

 

Eiadric bowed low. “Of course, Lord. It is an honour as always to serve the Master of Imladris. And my gratitude goes out to all the elves of the valley for their generous hospitality.”

 

Elrond burst into spontaneous laughter. “I see you have come a long way in refining your court etiquette.”

 

Eiadric blushed a crimson red. “I have spent some time with Dwarves. Their formal politeness rubs off.”

 

“Indeed” smiled Elrond and motioned toward a couple of armchairs in the corner of the room. “Please--” he said. Eiadric obeyed and they both settled down as Eiadric respectfully waited for the elven lord to begin speaking.

 

“I have seen and spoken to you a few times now Eiadric. You have served Rivendell and the free peoples well.. You should be proud. Your people would be proud. If they knew.”

 

Eiadric looked up and sighed “My people. My lands. They feel so far away now. Yet my heart is still there.”

 

“Of course it is.” said Elrond. “I would be surprised if it wasn’t. Yet I know that you are also quite fond of your friends in The Grey Guard, are you not?”

 

Eiadric gave a deep sentimental chuckle. “That would be an understatement. They are like a second family to me. Who could have known that I would befriend these strange people, of strange races, and call them my brothers. For that is truly what they are.”

 

“But I sense unrest within you Eiadric. I see that you are... torn.”

 

This half-elven lord of Imladris was indeed perceptive thought Eiadric. He felt like he could see right through him.

 

Eiadric hung his head. “Aye Lord. I am torn. I have tried to hide it for a long time. Especially from my friends in The Grey Guard. But the burden grows ever heavier.”

 

“You are confused about your allegiances?” Elrond said, gently probing the man in front him.

 

Eiadric stared blankly at the wall ahead of him and nodded. He paused for a long time, then started speaking “I-- I came north to serve the Riddermark. I was sent by Théodred son of King Théoden. And yes I have sent a lot of useful information back to Rohan. Sometimes by hawk, sometimes by rangers travelling south on errands. But I feel that I am forgetting my true role in all this. I have been swept away in a storm and find it hard to hold my true course.”

 

Elrond thought for a while and nodded. “I understand your concerns Eiadric. And I can see that you truly care for both sides that you serve. But you must understand that these two roles need not conflict with one another. In fact, they are probably both better off because of one another. Do you think you could have gotten as far as you have if it wasn’t for The Grey Guard? Could you have gathered this much information and unveiled this many secrets?”

 

“No.” said Eiadric “Certainly not.”

 

“Well then…” continued Elrond “How can that be a bad thing for Rohan?” Elrond’s message was clear. In less time than it takes to prepare a pipe he had made Eiadric answer his own questions to rid him of his doubts.

 

“You are right my Lord. You are completely right. You are even wiser in council than I have been told.” Eiadric felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He sank back and sighed a sigh of relief.

 

“That is nice to hear. I wish you could tell Master Bilbo that.” Elrond smiled warmly and then they both sat silent for a moment before Elrond spoke again.

 

“Now. Let me inform you of something you can do that would affect the wellbeing and safety of Rohan in a very direct way.”

 

Eiadric sat up straight again, clearly curious as to what Elrond was going to say.

 

“You see…Before departing on his quest, Gandalf asked me to send an urgent message to Rohan.”

 

“Here is a copy of it.” Elrond handed over a letter…

 

To King Théoden of Rohan, Exalted lord of the Riddermark and most noble chief of the Eorlingas,

 

It has come to our attention that Dunland is now in a full fledged alliance with Isengard. Furthermore we have confirmed that they intend to launch an attack on the West-march of your kingdom within the month.

 

I urge you, with all respect, to reinforce your northern borders against Isengard and Dunland. I would also like to take this opportunity to warn you that the rumoured alliance between Isengard and Mordor now has been confirmed beyond any doubt.

 

These are perilous times, dear King. We must all act together to keep the forces of darkness in check.

 

My humblest regards
Elrond Half-elven, Lord of Rivendell

 

 

“As you can see” says Elrond “It is of utmost importance.”

 

Eiadric nodded “It certainly is. And you would like me to deliver it?”

 

“No the message was sent three days ago. But today I received news that my two envoys were captured in Eregion by Dunlending scouts and taken to Munudh Cadlus, The Dunlending fortification in the very south of Eregion.”

 

Elrond pointed to the map on the table. 

 

Map Eiadric blew out his cheeks “That’s bad news indeed.”

 

“Indeed” said Elrond. “The problem is two fold. First, Rohan will not receive the urgent message. Second, our enemy will find out what we know. We must prevent this from happening”.

 

“I know that the Dunlendings are the sworn enemies of Rohan and this is why I thought of you Eiadric. You and whoever else from The Grey Guard you can gather to aid you. The Grey Guard has served Rivendell and all the free peoples well in the past and their great deeds have not gone unnoticed. There is no one else I would trust more with this quest than you.”

Chapter I - Part II - The Journey South

The company of Grey Guards made good headway. They had already reached the Giant Valley by first nightfall and had pushed well into Eregion by the second. The journey thus far had been quite uneventful, except for the usual heated arguments about how many stops that were necessary along the way. The hobbits had pressed for their regular eight meal breaks whereas the rest of the company were happy to push on to cover as much ground as possible before each night camp.

 

The skilful hunters were always ahead of the group. Scouting the terrain and finding the best route. They also provided the company with good meat for their cooking fires. All in all the mood was quite good and songs and stories were shared around the warm campfires late into the nights.

 

On the morning of the third day as the company was on the move through Glad Ereg’s wooded landscape Eiadric hurried ahead to talk to the hunters about their progress when he was signalled to stop and get down by Bonkadoc. Eiadric stopped dead in his tracks and crouched down just as he heard faint voices up ahead. He carefully crawled up to where Bonkadoc and Landril were pressed against some bushes.

 

“Look.” whispered Bonkadoc and pointed through a little opening in the vegetation.

 

Eiadric peeked through and saw a group of rough men standing around talking. He instantly recognised the dialect. “Dunlendings…” he exhaled through clenched teeth.

“I was wondering what dialect that was.” said Tilda, standing right next to him. Eiadric jumped. “What the fu--Where did you come from?” he whispered a bit too loudly. Tilda shrugged as if she didn't quite understand the question. “Never mind.” added Eiadric after realising he was talking to a burglar who was just doing what a burglar does. He just shook his head.

 

And then, through the brush, he saw Nodlos creeping up on the group in front of them. His heart raced and he tightened his fists. What the hell is wrong with these hobbits! he thought, now loosing his temper. “Landril. Please hurry back to the main party and let them know what’s ahead. The last thing we need is Thradin, Gim and Jonalewie clanking in like a Durin’s day parade.” Landril nodded and was off and out of sight in the blink of an eye.

 

Eiadric looked back at the hobbit burglar that had crept up to the Dunlendings. He saw that he was now only a few paces away from them in what seemed like plain sight, yet he remained completely undetected. Remarkable! They truly are remarkable. He thought. And annoying. Truly annoying.

 

He now studied their surroundings. It was some sort of lumber camp. They are using the good lumber up here to build their fortifications further south. The war is escalating. And the enemy has taken the initiative. “Dammit!” Whispered Eiadric. “We need to interrupt their activities here. But first let’s get an idea of what we’re up against. Tilda and Bonk. Could you please sneak around the camp and try to determine how many there are. Lets meet back here.”

 

The stealthy hobbits split up and headed in opposite directions around the lumber camp. Eiadric headed back to meet Landril and the main party away from the camp. Once united they were all told of the situation and a lot of them were actually pleased to finally have the opportunity to see some action. Thradin pulled out his axe and grinned. Gim, Arnrandir and Nehariel all got that determined look in their eyes that is so typical of the melee classes. Everyone else prepared in their own way.

 

“Look...” said Eiadric “This is a simple task. Lets not overdo it ok?”

 

Most of the company just nodded as if to say: Yeah yeah whatever. Show us the camp. Eiadric shook his head and rolled his eyes. This was not going to be pretty.

 

They carefully made their way to the edge of the lumber camp. Tilda was waiting there and Bonkadoc just came into site out of a bush. “I counted twelve on my side of the camp excluding these.” Said Tilda “Four on my side.” Said Bonkadoc. “Right. That makes it roughly twenty with the ones standing here. With the element of surprise this shouldn’t be a problem. If you just follow my lead and wait for my signal. Let’s circle around the camp to break off their escape routes. And when I raise my hand like this we strike. Clear?” Eiadric looked around and saw everyone nodding. A few of them had already started moving into place around the camp. “Wait for my signal.”

 

Eiadric had just laid his sword down and was swinging his pack gently off his shoulders when he heard loud shouts all over the place “KISS MY AXE!!!!” “AAAARRGGGHHH!!” “FOR THE SHIRE!!!” In a flash people were running in from all angles with their weapons held high! Eiadric fumbled with his sword and scrambled to his feet. He heard twangs from bushes and tree’s” He looked at the group of Dunlendings closest to him and saw that Nodlos had already stabbed one in the back and was springing into position to stab the next. The whole thing was over in half a minute. The Dunlendings didn’t know what hit them. Eiadric just stood there. Fuming. He cursed the day he had met this bunch of idiots.

 


“Whaaat?” said Thradin innocently.

“What!?” replied Eiadric, red in the face. “I said wait for the bloody signal. That’s WHAT!”

“Well you gave it.”

“Huh? No I bloody well didn’t”

“Yes you did. You raised your arm.”

Jonalewie nodded “You did give the signal.”

“Are you INSANE! My sword was on the ground. I was taking off my pack! Why would I give the signal”

“Oh… You were taking off your pack? It looked like a raised arm to me.” said Thradin casually.

Jonalewie blew out his cheeks and became very interested in some treetops to his left.

“While taking off your pack you DID raise an arm... Slightly... raised... Like so” Tilda raised her arm ever so slightly.

“Signal shmignal” said Nodlos cheerfully “We did well didn’t we?”

“Don’t you start!” said Eiadric glaring down at Nodlos. If looks could kill.

Eiadric looked imploringly at Landril and Gaelle. Surely they would be the voice of reason in this. They both shrugged. Obviously not wanting to tell Eiadric that they thought that he did give the signal.

Eiadric looked down at the ground, took a deep breath and looked back up a gain. “Well fuck it! We did kill the bastards pretty fast.” He managed a crooked smile.

“What’s this 'we' business?” said Evewyn. “You didn't do a thing my friend.”

“Apparently I raised an arm” said Eiadric.

They all laughed. “Yeah. That showed them.” said someone in the back.

Eiadric looked around at all the happy faces. He blessed the day he had met this bunch of idiots.

 

Chapter I - Part III - A Most Fortunate Encounter

After burying the corpses in a shallow grave and rummaging through the camp for anything useful the company prepared to move out.

 

Eiadric called them all together “We’re going to head south now. Munudh Cadlus is several days ride from here and we have to be very careful from now on. We have entered hostile territory and there’s no telling what we might encounter.”

 

He didn’t really need to say more and they silently got under way. The mood as they rode was noticeably tenser. Faces were grim and concentrated, and their keen eyes were constantly scouring the landscape as they pressed on.

 

They rode south until dusk, and since they knew they were close to the Fellowship of Nine’s old High Hollin campsite they decided to break for camp there for the night.

 

Once at the campsite they all settled down in their chores. Wood was gathered and fires were started as the most proficient cooks brought out their pots and pans and started preparing the conies they had caught along the way. Soon the air was filled with the smell of roasting meat and musty tater stew. Everyone was pleased to be rid of their heavy packs and it didn’t take long before they started talking loudly and joking around, as was the custom when you had more than one Grey Guard in the same place at the same time.

 

The sun had set now and the landscape around them was melting into shades of grey. But for the occasional sound of wild birds, all seemed to be calm.

 


 

As they sat talking Eiadric noticed that Gripper was staring at the top of a boulder formation right above them. He squinted and through the dim light he saw a shadowy figure standing there. He started and instinctively reached for his sword, as did many of the others in the company. The chatter died abruptly and soon all were staring at the figure who just stood there staring back. Tensions rose in the silence.

 

“Oi there!” Eiadric called out. “What’s your business here?”

 

There was a pregnant pause. Then in a female elven voice the figure responded… “My business?” the tone was sarcastic and defiant. “What would my business be at my own camp I wonder?”

 

Landril shifted closer to Eiadric and whispered “I noticed fresh traces of someone else here. But as no one was here I assumed they had moved on and said nothing.” Eiadric nodded but remained uneasy. He was thinking of what to say next. The atmosphere was beginning to feel almost hostile.

 

“Ah for the love of badgers!” exclaimed Winagrim impatiently “Just invite her down”. Then in a louder voice for the stranger to hear “What my thick friend here is trying to say is: Greetings traveller, great to see another living soul up here in the High Hollin Moors. Won’t you please come down and join us for some food?” …pause… “at your own camp?” …Hobbity smile.

 

The elven stranger looked noticeably relieved by the hobbits disarming frankness and smiled

“Now with such an invite how could I decline?” then she jumped nimbly down the rock formation and moved towards the campfire.

 

Remarkable. thought Eiadric and smiled. “Thank you Winagrim” He whispered to the hobbit. “Why didn’t I think of that?”

 

“Erm. do you really want me to answer that?” replied Winagrim. Some people within earshot snickered. “Anyway. I’m starving and this was interfering with my dinner. Now kiss and make up so we can eat already.”

 

Eiadric rolled his eyes and walked up to the stranger offering his hand. “I am sorry for my rudeness. We are trying to be careful. I hope you took no offence.

 

”Not at all. It is wise to be careful in these parts.” She smiled “Soullouh’s the name.”

 

They all came up and greeted the newcomer. Pleasantries were exchanged and soon they all settled down around the campfire again. Winagrim purposefully settled down next to Soullouh and spent most of the night staring at her taters.

 

They ate and chatted about all sorts of things and after a while when asked from whence she came Soullouh paused and then fell into gentle song. The company fell silent as they were drawn in by her sombre, mesmerising voice.

 

”Dark Mirkwoods daughter though I be,
I shun a life beneath the tree.
High mountain valley deep I roam,
till in the West I'll find my home.”

 

When she finished everyone sat silently for a little while. Slowly they all started speaking again and now it was the Guards’ turn to divulge who they were, all the time being careful to steer clear of their current assignment. But later in the night, when in passing, Soullouh mentioned that she had seen two captive elves being transported to the south by a band of Dunlendings and half-orcs they were hard pressed to hide their concern.

 

“I can see that this news was of importance to you” said Soullouh, correctly judging her company’s reaction.

 

“We will not lie to you.” said Eiadric “This is vital news indeed. Where did you see them? Where were they headed?”

 

“You are in luck my friends for I not only know in which direction they were headed. I followed them all the way there. I know where they are. I was hoping for an opportunity to free them but it was impossible. They were far too many for me to handle”

 

There was a buzz in the air at this news and the rest of the night was spent discussing the details of what the stranger had seen and what the next step would be. By the end it was decided that at daybreak she would lead them to where the two elves were held captive and that they would try to free them and see if they could secure Elrond’s letter to Rohan.

 


Morning came and the sun gently touched the tops of the boulders and then poured its radiance over the hillsides. As the boulders crimsoned and the landscape regained its colours it seemed as if the whole High Hollin moor took a deep breath and slowly woke up.

The company of Grey Guards arose and started preparing for their departure. As they stirred they shivered, chilled by the new sweet morning air.

Soon they were mounted and started riding south... Closer to the enemy.

 


 

Sorry Winagrim. I just couldn’t resist the taters part. I did of course mean her food. *Cough cough* Wink

Chapter I - Part IV - Assault

Night had fallen when the dark figures rose silently out of the river and moved like shadows up to the unwary Dunlending guards. Without a sound their throats were slit and they slumped gurgling to the ground. More shadowy figures came up behind and they all grouped up where the bodies lay.

 

“Good work” whispered Eiadric “Now we need to push deeper into this place and find the captain of the camp. He will no doubt have that letter we’re looking for. And keep an eye out for the captured elven messengers. Let’s be as quiet as possible though. We don’t want them to sound the alarm.”

 

He could see his comrades nodding in the dark, their faces grim and determined. They knew that this was a serious matter. A dangerous and risky undertaking.

 

When they had arrived at the Dunlending fortification that morning they had carefully scouted the place and then spent the rest of the day discussing how they would carry out the raid. In the end they settled for mounting the attack at the fort’s weakest point. And that was the poorly guarded dock entrance along the river.

 

The first part of the plan had now gone off without a hitch, but the hardest part was yet to come. Once within the palisades there was no telling what they might encounter.

 

As agreed they split up into two groups, each taking care of a small portion of the camp while the other leapfrogged ahead to take care of the next, all the time staying relatively close to each other in case things turned ugly.

 

They were doing quite well and were nearing the centre of the large camp when suddenly they turned a corner and were stood face to face with a group of Dunlendings.

 

Both parties froze and stared at each other for a moment.

 

Then all hell broke loose.

 

“Intruuuudeeeers!!!”

 

Dunlendings soon streamed in from everywhere and a full battle quickly ensued. Axes flew, swords sang, daggers stabbed and bows twanged and lore-masters staffs flashed, whizzed and banged. The noise and energy was incredible.

 

Twenty minutes or so into the tumult Nidi spotted the Dunlending Captain. He was running toward a huge tent, away from the fighting.

 

“There he is!” Nidi jumped up on a crate and pointed as he bellowed over the noise of the fighting “He flees!”

 

Eiadric who had just smashed someone’s face in with his shield looked up at Nidi from across the battleground. He gritted his teeth and forced his way through the crowd, blocking blows as he went. “Jona! Nehariel! Follow me!”

 

Jonalewie landed one of his axes in the side of a man who shrieked as he fell. He quickly followed with his other axe across the man’s face. There was a crunching sound as the axe lodged itself in the man’s skull. With a foot on the man’s chest he pulled his axe free and ran after Eiadric and Nehariel. They ran past Nidi who joined them in the mad dash after the captain. Gwynith and Bonkadoc who had noticed what happened followed in their wake.

 

They got to the large tent a few seconds after the Dunlending Captain. ”We want him alive.” Eiadric reminded them as they followed him in.

 

As they flapped open the tent door their eyes struggled to adjust to the dim light inside. They saw now that it was the camp smithy. In the dim orange light they saw a lot of half-finished weapons lying around as well as racks with finished weapons. The tent was even bigger than it had looked from the outside and the whole space had been sectioned off with heavy leather drapes dividing the tent into numerous small rooms. In the centre of the main room was a large stone forge filled with red hot coals. The five Grey Guards stood there for a moment taking it all in. It was unbearably hot and there was no trace of the captain.

 

Suddenly a spear came flying out of nowhere. Nidi ducked at the last second as the spear whizzed past and clipped off his hat.

 

Eiadric, Nehariel and Jonalewie ran in the direction of where the spear had been thrown. But when they flapped the drape away no one was there. Carefully they moved further into the darkness.

 

As they had cleared two empty sections they heard Bonkadoc scream in the first room. They hurried back to find the Dunlending captain standing over the unconscious hobbit and now moved in on Nidi who had somehow been knocked down and had lost his weapon. The Dunlending moved toward him with his sword raised.

 

Just as he was about to strike Eiadric roared something in Rohirric which the Dunlending obviously understood. It made him furious and, forgetting about his intended victim, he turned on Eiadric.

 

He snarled and ran at Eiadric with his sword raised above his head. Gwynith acted fast and taking a step forward, stuck her foot out and tripped the man. Eiadric leapt out of the way and the foe flew headfirst right into a weapons rack and was impaled by a sword.

 

Everyone cringed at the sqwich of impact and then went silent.

 

“Oops” said Gwynith sheepishly.

 

Eiadric frowned. The only person with the information they sought had been killed. He knelt down and searched the corpse and was pleased when he managed to pull out a folded piece of parchment from the corpse’s chest pocket.

 

The fighting had died down outside so they tended to Bonkadoc and went out to the rest of the raiding party.

 

The bodies of the Dunlending lay strewn all over the place and all the Grey Guards were covered in dirt and blood. Some were barely recognisable. But apart from some minor cuts and bruises they had all seen through the fight alright.

 

“Right...” said Eiadric “Lets burn the corpses and leave this place”.

 

He held up the blood-stained letter and grinned “We got what we came for.”

 

At this they all cheered and congratulated each other patting each other’s backs and punching each other’s shoulders.

 

As the cheerful company went to work piling the Dunlendings’ bodies Jonalewie came over to Eiadric and asked “So… What did you shout at the man in there to make him so furious?”

 

Eiadric looked up and shrugged “ Just something about his mother...“

 

Jonalewie grinned. “The old ‘something about your mother’ taunt eh?”

 

Eiadric grinned back. “Never goes out of fashion.”

 

Thradin who was within earshot chuckled.

 

Mini-epilogue:

 

As they started their long journey back to Rivendell Landril reined his horse in alongside Eiadric’s.
They rode in silence for a while.

 

“Well?” Eiadric finally spoke.

 

“Well what?” replied Landril.

 

“You’ve got that troubled look on your face. And you’ve been riding next to me and away from Nehariel’s side for more than an hour now. Out with it.”

 

Landril gave a shy smile and then went back into his dour frown “Well... It’s the elven messengers... They weren’t there.”

 

“I know” said Eiadric “That’s what I’ve been thinking about since we started riding.”

 

“What do you think that means?” asked Landril.

 

“Not sure. They might have been killed... disposed of.”

 

“Mmm” Landril pondered. “Or they may have been moved.”

 

Eiadric raised a mischievous brow “Or they may have escaped.”

 

They both smiled and stared out over the distance ahead, once again falling silent.

 

The wind was picking up as the company headed north towards a grey sky. It was very chilly and all of the riders rode in silence. They were battered and bruised but all in all quite pleased with themselves. All they could think of now was warm food and soft beds.

 


 

Note: This event was held more than a year and a half ago. I'm very sorry it's taken this long to finish writing the whole thing.

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Landril
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A really good story Eiadric Smile

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Eiadric
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Joined: 22 Nov 2007 - 13:38
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I just finished the epics where Theodred falls at the Fords of Isen. It brought back memories of this. I must continue these adventures with ingame sessions with all you guys Smile

By the way I recommend reading the link in the middle... "His memories were still painful". I think I wrote that about 4 years before they created the ford in the game. But I remember when I saw it in-game for the first time it was quite emotional. And the setting was very similar to how had invisaged it when I wrote the story all those years back.

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Bonkadoc
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Joined: 11 Jul 2007 - 11:28
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"And no-one more than Bonkadoc", the hobbit spoke to himself before dozing off again under quite
generous blankets.

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