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#10975283 Apr 25, 2015 at 05:44 PM
50 Posts
The door banged open and in stumbled a guard, clutching at the arrow sticking from his shoulder. He managed a single “ser” before collapsing. His shoulder and arm were cold as ice and his skin white as a sheet. It took the best healers the knights had to determine what had happened. The arrow was cruel and barbed yes, but no poison had coated the head. It was a darker wound, only elvish medicine could help…
When he was roused again and questioned it was sheer terror they saw in his eyes.
“It was the huntress ser, the one what keeps the little cabin for vagrants. We had report she came blastin’ through the gates, ridin’ on a whirlwind, as it were. Me an’ Brody were on patrol, asked to keep a sharp eye, the gate guards said there was sum’in wrong with her. Well we found her horse wandering about master Zargudun’s place, all sweatin and latherin. He was a chompin at his bit and rollin his eyes. She rode him fast and hard she did.
Well there was a great ruckus a comin from his place and his door was hangin off the hinges, or what was left of em. So we step up and have a look about.”
Here he sits up, his eyes grow wide, he looks furtively about and his voice drops to a whisper, he grows even paler. “It was her Ser, the huntress. I never learnt her name right, she’s always in an out. She was always a swarty one, bein out in the wilds constant, under the sun, but she was pale as death. She had a wild look in her eye and she was thrashin the place, screaming empty sounds as she did. Well, me and Brody jus stood there in shock, but she sensed us. She whirls about bringing her bow up an shot me speakin some black words as she did. The room got dark and Brody dropped like a rock, I think his heart gave out.
“I ran ser, I’m sorry to say it but I ran like a scaert child. I don’ know what happened to her but she’s gone all wrong now, all wrong.”
He doesn’t know any more than that but just then the horn blows at the gate…
When the knights arrived at the gate they saw it smashed through, from the inside. The two gate guards had arrows, with the same barbed heads, shot through their chests. Ulfban had gone...
Her horse, a beautiful elven beast from the valley had finally calmed down and wandered about by the waterfall, drinking his fill and enjoying the sweet grass. Zargodon’s home was smashed and wrecked; she had turned the place upside-down looking for something. Perhaps the only clue was a map lying under an upturned table, a dark burn marking the region of Angmar…
Later that night, just as the moon was rising a terrible howling sprang up out of the dark. A huge pack of wolves was ringing the town howling and slavering. Staying out of bow range and the light they terrorized the place yammering away until just at midnight the whole pack set out to the north, their terrible calls slowly fading into the distance. The last sound heard was a terrible screaming howl, not from any animals lips did it come; the sound stopped children’s hearts and filled men’s veins with ice. It was terrible and cruel, all fury and sorrow. In its wake a cold wind sprang up, gentle at first, it slowly gathered power until it was a raging fury, a towering black cloud of anguish and anger howling away to the north.
#10977403 Apr 26, 2015 at 05:40 AM
50 Posts
So, this is an IC thread because in game RP doesn't always work out. Anyone who would like to respond to it, may. This event occurred just after Hethans passing.

#10980669 Apr 27, 2015 at 12:59 AM · Edited 3 years ago
64 Posts
Vearra sighed and slumped against the wall and sank into a chair. She drew a weary hand over her face, the wrinkles already there deepened by the long night. She had been able to help two of the injured guards, though one was still in critical condition. A third died in the night. Yet another was already dead and unnaturally cold as ice by the time she found him. He’d been exactly where the first guard said she’d find him, lying on the floor of Zargodon’s wrecked house. The place was in complete shambles, tables overturned, drawers and clothes strewn everywhere, and books and papers scattered. Splinters of wood dotted the floor where that crazy child had broken…well, who knows what; there was nothing left of it but shards.
The old woman grunted disapprovingly remembering the scene. Slowly she rose from her chair and went to put the kettle over the embers of the fire. She put some logs and smaller wood on the dying coals, grumbling about the lack of healing knowledge around here. Returning to her chair, she let herself nod off.

She awoke to the sound of the kettle whistling briefly before its shrieks died down. She opened her eyes to see Ramield pouring the water into a pot. The elf looked over and grinned. “You set out some ginseng, but I feel you could use chamomile instead. You really need to rest.”

The old woman groaned as she sat up, cracking her neck. “Eh, who needs it. I’ve got’ta keep an eye on those guards, make sure they don’t get any worse. That girl really did a number on ‘em.” Regardless, she accepted the chamomile tea, cooling it and sipping gingerly. “It’ll be on your head if that one gives out while I’m sleepin’.”

Ramield gave her an encouraging pat on the shoulder before fixing herself a cup of tea. “Don’t worry, I shall look in on them from time to time; however, my first priority is finding Ulfban. She was not at her own house, nor does it seem has she returned to Seargildin’s. After checking her house, I kept watch near his cottage, watching the road in and out of Hookworth and seeing if she would return to the village or his house. I’m glad he is off with Leothross to Angmar; I fear what she would try to do to him and what he might have had to do in return, though with her rage, I cannot say what the outcome of such an encounter might have been.”

“Eh, both those cotton-heads would deserve what’s coming to them. I just wish Zargodon hadn’t taken that elf lass with’im; I could really use her help with those two down at the barracks.”

Ramield put her cup down. “You know she could only make the situation worse. She might have ended up on a bed beside those men rather than tending to them. As much as I fear for her and what harm might come to the group in Angmar, I am glad she is not here. You know she would only blame herself.” She picked up the cup again and took a long sip before replacing it on the table and leaning back against the wall. “That’s all Ulfban seems to care about now, placing the blame on someone and getting revenge.”

“And where do you think the blame lies?”

“Nowhere and everywhere.”

“You don’t think anyone did wrong?”

“Not exactly; whether it be a hasty decision, falling in love with the wrong person (in several accounts), or placing unnecessary blame and a thirst for vengeance, everyone had a part to play in this outcome. Even you and I could say, ‘I could have done this to prevent that’ but that does not put us at fault. Anyone who knew them could say the same, but the blame does not lie on all.” The elf huntress shook her head. “No, placing blame in a matter such as this will get her nowhere. Hethan’s death was a tragic event, but it was no one’s fault.”

“Would you say the same at Fornost?”

“That was different; this is a matter of emotions, not strategy.”

“So then is this more like the situation with Malka?” Vearra took a sip of tea, thinking. “I see, so that’s the case then.”

Ramield nodded. “I was able to see clearly then because I did not let my emotions rule me. I only hope I can show her that before it’s too late.” She grabbed her bow and picked up her pack. “I will check on your patients before I go, but I need to see if I can find Ulfban before she kills anyone else on her rampage.”

“Be careful,” Vearra warned as she stood. “Remember how you were after Fornost. That girl feels no less justified in her thinking.”

Ramield nodded, finishing the last of her tea and belting her long knives about her waist. When she was ready to go, Vearra gave her a hug. “Take care, my friend, and go find that crazy girl” she said, releasing her. Ramield clapped her on the shoulder with an encouraging smile and walked out the door. Vearra sighed heavily. The whole situation was draining. Lying down on her bed, she settled down for some much needed rest.
#10994460 Apr 30, 2015 at 05:02 AM
50 Posts
The wolf tracks are so numerous they obliterate any other sign, ringing town they gather together and, from just outside bowshot of the gate, head north. Skirting the Midgewater Marshes they head along the Weather Hills. All along the trail are littered the corpses of anything the huge pack crossed in its march north; goblins from the marshes, spiders from the hills, boars, bears and even a few smaller wolves. All have been feasted on.
As the pack crosses the Midgewater pass its numbers seem to swell. A giant pack of more than 100 wolves now, and possibly wargs, drives straight north, clinging to the foothills, skirting the Chetwood. Several small farms and cabins along the path are abandoned and a few even burned. Survivors talk of a fearsome wolf-person striding along at the head of a hellish pack of wolves and giant wargs, killing anything that dares stand in its path.
The pack travels with enormous speed, moving faster than even the mightiest steed and pausing for nothing. The southern shores of Nen Harn seem to be its first stopping point. Huge warrens, enormous caverns excavated by hundreds of clawed feet and powerful legs, dot the landscape. The empty shells of dozens of the lakes giant turtles lie scattered about as, in the distance, a haze marks the packs movement along the narrow strip of land between the lake and the hill.
Known to few, mostly elves, the refuge of Lin Gilliath lies directly in the packs path at the north end of the lake...
#11087431 May 24, 2015 at 02:58 PM
64 Posts
The smell of death was heavy in the air as Ramield rode north. Tracking the wolf pack wasn’t hard; trails of blood, howls in the night, and the trampled earth all wound their way north. When she had found Ulfban’s horse roaming, abandoned, Ramield was at first at a loss. The insane, enraged, and yet organized wolf pack was a lead, but she couldn’t be sure it was Ulfban. Even if it was not her, it was a problem that needed to be dealt with before it caused serious harm, more harm than Ulfban could do alone, even in her enraged state. Still, by the scorched map, Ramield assumed she would be heading north as well.
Gwaenor was exhausted as they emerge from the heavy wood around Nen Harn to the southeast. Ramield dismounted, letting the tired horse rest and drink from one of the small streams that fed the lake. She tested her bowstring and readied two arrows before skirting the southern edge of the lake. The sight she came upon was gruesome: a writhing pack of wolves, seemingly ready to be at each other’s throats, but yet somehow restrained. The stench of rancid blood, death, and sweat, wafted over on the slight breeze from upwind of her, overwhelming Ramield’s senses and nearly causing her to gag. Striding though the pack, unphased by the bloodthirsty wolves, was a woman wearing leather and furs. Her appearance was much like that of a Guaradain, except her markings were like none she had ever encountered before and painted in blood which was now dry and cracking. Through the blood and rage and wild hair and eyes, Ramield recognized the features of Ulfban. The grief that had plagued her fueled her current overpowering rage.
Ramield sighed, placed her arrows back in her quiver, and turned, following the shadows back to her horse. She did not know if there was anything she could for Ulfban, not here at least, but there were some she could help, who needed to be warned. The pack seemed to have stopped for now, which gave her some time. Taking Gwaenor’s reigns, she walked with her around the lake as stealthily as she could lead them. It did not take them long to reach Lin Giliath. She handed Gwaenor to the stablemaster and headed for the library. Inside, she did not find who she expected to see. “Well met, Gildor, but where is Lachenn?” she asked, slipping comfortably into her native tongue.
Gildor looked up from his musings, smiling brightly. “Ah, Ramield, a star shines upon the hour of our meeting. It has been too long and I am glad to see you here again. Will you be joining us on our pilgrimage?”

“I’m surprised you have not already left, for we are quite into spring. I regret that, once again, I will not be able to join your company. It would be wondrous to see the tower hills again.”

“Pity; we are once again deprived of your voice and songs, too rarely heard already. We intend to leave on the morrow if you should change your mind.”

“It would be best if you left tonight.” Her tone became serious again. “There is a pack of ravenous wolves, possibly nigh one hundred, coming up from the south; your company and anyone here should be well away by the time they arrive.”

Gildor paused, a concerned look on his face. “This…is disturbing news. Are you sure they are coming here, and if so, how soon?”

“They could be here in as little time as it takes for them to round Nen Harn. When I reached this side, they appeared to still be there, but I am not sure for how long. They are headed farther north and east, to Angmar. This brings me back to my first question: where is Lachenn?”

“He is away at the moment, and will not return for some time. The rangers should be warned as well.”

“Indeed; those not going with you to Emyn Beraid should make for Esteldin while your company should head west with all haste, going either through Trestlebridge or through Evendim and south through the Shire. As long as you are out of her path, you should be able to avoid an unpleasant fate.”

“Her?” Gildor laughed quietly, his mirth repressed by the circumstances. “Another one of your long stories, I wonder?”

Ramield returned with a tired chuckle. “You don’t know the half of it,” she replied, using the Common phrase before slipping back into Sindarin. “Though, in this tale, I am but the observer, playing hardly any role until now. Perhaps one day you shall hear it, this tragic tale.”
Gildor nodded and left to prepare the elves of Lin Giliath for their departure. Ramield followed, helping to inform people of the danger. As they were passing the stable, she stopped him. “If any are willing, I will be staying try to slow or stop the advance and could use some help. Also, if those going to Esteldin could take Gwaenor with them, I would appreciate it. I have friends who will look after him for me until I come, if I do. However…” Her voice lowered with the last few words and she fixed Gildor with a look that carried an unspoken request. He nodded solemnly.
“I will see to it.”

They parted, Gildor continuing with hasty preparations while Ramield went to Gwaenor. She kissed him and rubbed his neck as she spoke to him. “Get plenty of rest when you reach Esteldin, ok? And if you hear howls behind you, take whoever is with you and run as hard as you can.” The stallion lipped at her shoulder affectionately and Ramield smiled. “Be careful” she whispered before giving him a last pat and retrieving her extra quiver and other small things she could carry. She gave him a final kiss on the neck before trotting off to find whoever might join her. She remembered a spot on the northern shore of the lake with sizable trees, a narrow area that the wolves would have to pass through. As she watched the elves assembling, she was joined by two others. Nodding appreciatively, she discussed her thinking with them, pointing out the trees where they would be stationed; she herself would be in the first the pack would encounter, the others slightly to the west of her. “And if the woman who is with them gets five yards past us,” she paused, “stop her if you can, but try not to kill her please. If we can disable her, it should be enough. I hope it does not come to that.” One nodded; the second looked over at the first with a concerned look before also agreeing. Ramield nodded. “Thank you both. Let us hope we are enough to make an impact.”

The three separated and climbed the tall trees. Ramield watched from above as the elves streamed out and up the road. Soon, the elven refuge was silent but for the sound of birds and beasts and the howling of wolves in the distance.
#11106385 May 29, 2015 at 06:53 AM · Edited 4 years ago
50 Posts
The great pack paused at the southern shores of the lake, something urged her to halt and disrobe the remnants of her sanity and humanness. Day and night were indistinguishable anymore, all just one long, grey haze blurred by anger and pain. There were brief moments of sunlight. A white shadow had been following them for days now, but every time it appeared the whispering began again, reminding her of her loss and her anger at the one responsible. It was his fault, it was all of their fault, the Golug, they were not to be trusted.
She knew that if she skirted the eastern shore, hard on the mountains, she would come upon one of their havens. She could burn it, the whispers told her, she should burn it. Burn it to the ground, burn them all to the ground. Kill all the Golug and destroy every last thing any of them had ever loved; only then would she know peace. Only after she had made them all as miserable as her would they understand her pain. She would send them all to rot in Mandos’ dungeons.
Striding through the pack, having left the remnants of her possessions in a huge warren, she saw a brief flicker of sunlight, the white shadow. It stood far off and burned bright for a moment before slinking off into the forest. “Hethan” Ulfban thought, “My Hethan shone like that.”

Until he snuffed her light out,” came the inevitable reply. “He used her, toyed with her heart and threw her away, like garbage.”

Ulfban shook her head, something was not right, where was she?

He killed her.” Came the whisper, and all was a dark grey wash again.
From that moment she was accompanied by three giant wargs wherever she went. The brindle, largest of the three, even offered to let her ride him, but she declined. She was the mother of wolves, and she would run with her children.
Late that night, after the moon had set, they moved. Swiftly they ran along the shore, surging like a bore tide through the narrow gap of land between the lake and the sheer cliff face.
She should have seen them, they flickered like candles in the darkness; beautiful, sad flames. Five of her children fell to their arrows before the pack even knew they were there. She had decided to pass by the refuge, her goal wasn’t there. But the death of her children rekindled the smoldering rage in her.
Burn them” urged the whisper. “Burn them all.”

With a scream she turned aside and led the charge. Her largest children, the great wargs, threw themselves against the nearest tree slamming into it with their powerful bodies, almost uprooting it while the rest of the pack swarmed about the other trees howling and leaping. But the old forest giants were strong with deep roots and they weren’t so easily turned. By now dozens of her children, her precious children, lie dead or wounded by the stinging flies the Golug loosed from their great bows.
She howled long and loud, more a scream than anything, but there were words in it if one were to listen, “Ungol.” The pack retreated, dragging their wounded with them and for a moment, just out of bow shot, a tenderness showed through the savage visage of the Mother of Wolves. She pulled the painful darts, salved and bound the wounds with mud made from her own tears. She spoke, almost tenderly, to her children while waiting for the Ungol she knew were near at hand to respond to her summons.

It wasn’t long before they could be heard, smaller ones at first, mere children in their own right. But as the sun began to brighten the eastern skies the chittering of larger, deadlier Ungol began to filter through the trees. Tossing loops of sticky silk they darkened the glade as they came; dozens of giant Ungol chattering to each-other, racing to devour the hated Golug…
#11118663 Jun 01, 2015 at 03:10 PM
64 Posts
Ramield watched the pack’s progress around the narrow eastern shore of the lake. As soon as the first few were in range, she loosed two arrows which were quickly followed by two more from the others. Each found a target, but the wounded or dying wolves were quickly replaced by a virtual wave of teeth and claws. As she fired into the pack, she searched the sea of fur for Ulfban. When she found her, she lamented inwardly; Ulfban’s face was contorted in a mix of grief and rage, an expression that only lasted a moment before it was replaced with a feral scream that could chill one to the bone. With that, the wolves swarmed the three trees, crashing upon them and breaking way for others. The initial shake surprised Ramield; however, she soon regained her footing and continued her barrage, silently wishing for a sturdy, silver mallorn and a talan.
She called out, “Ulfban!” but the cry fell on deaf ears. The tree shook as the wolves continued to throw themselves at it; yet still, she fired arrow upon arrow into the mass. She called out again, and a third time, trying to contrive a way to attract her attention. Soon, a score of wolves lay among the roots of her tree, and more lay scattered about or by the other trees. Some were being dragged off by those who had not found themselves in the path of an arrow. As they retreated, she heard the screamed “Ungol!” and knew it was time to go. She signaled to the others who quickly climed down with her. She approached the one who had been more skeptical, Meldiriel, as she had learned her name to be. “Go to the place I told you of and tell them what is going on. Also, find Vearra and tell her these words: ‘she has become like Cuthranerth.’”
“I hope they can help, as you say. Stay safe.” The elf maiden departed, taking off northward to the road.
Ramield turned to the other, Landion. “You should go as well. I’m sure you can hear them too.”
He nodded grimly. “You shouldn’t stand alone here.”
“Thank you, but you can help by keeping the path to the north clear.”
Landion nodded, running in the same direction as Meldiriel.

Ramield calmed herself. Taking a deep breath, she yelled, “ULFBAN!” The shout echoed out across the lake. She paused, then, confident she had to have been heard, continued with less force. “It is I, Ramield, though I am sure you know that by now. You have to stop! Come, speak with me, please, as we did not too long ago.”
The skittering of delicate legs clicked in the distance as the sun’s light was appearing on the horizon. Ramield held her bow at the ready, an arrow already nocked with others at the ready. She knew they would arrive, and would not be long in coming, but she hoped she could persuade Ulfban before they did.
#11142433 Jun 08, 2015 at 12:25 AM
50 Posts
The woman, if she could still be called a woman, lifted her head, the Golug was calling a challenge. She claimed to be the bane of wolves; “fine” she thought, “I will answer her challenge and I will make her pay for the death of my children.
"Golug! You claim to be the bane of wolves, but I am Ulf-Mutter and I will answer your challenge. Come now, while the day is young, I thirst for vengeance."

Ramield was relieved that Ulfban approached. Though her answer was not encouraging, the fact that she was at least willing to speak was, whatever her state of mind. She held her bow lowered, non-threatening, though her arrow was still nocked. She called out to her again. “I never claimed to be such. Where is the Ulfban I knew, the woman who cared for others, for the elves who were in that refuge? Those wolves would have undoubtedly slaughtered them. Is that what Hethan would have wanted, the death of her people? It is for them and for her that I stand before you now, and for you, though you may not see it. Hethan would have wept to see you so.”

She paused for a moment, confusion etching itself onto her pale, gaunt features. The flickering white shadow was coalescing into a beautiful form, one familiar, yet not. As though she knew the Golug but had never seen her like this before. The tumult in her mind was silenced for one single moment when a thought broke through “Hethan, my Hethan shone like that”...

By now, Ramield was almost pleading with Ulfban, entreating her rational nature and that part of her that still clung to Hethan. She paused, sighing, and continued with a resolute voice. Her eyes set Ulfban with a steadfast gaze. “I know not whether the vengeance you refer to be that you wish upon Seargildin or on myself. I cannot allow the first for, though he may have been a fool, he is one of the High Nine of the Knights of Eriador, your Order and mine, and I cannot allow you to kill him. The Order still needs Zargodon as… as do others. If it is revenge on me you seek, perhaps we can come to an understanding, as long as it be just. But I beseech you, please, end this perilous rampage, for you will find no satisfaction in it. Hethan would not have wished this.”

Ulfban shook her head, the world was a grey wash. Up the hill, beautiful and imperious the Golug shone like a star. A small resolute voice spoke to her “Ulfban, I am Ulfban.” But it was quickly drowned out by an insistent, insidious whisper “No, You are Ulf-Mutter. This Golug would kill your children, she already has. She would deny your revenge. She protects your loves killer, she must die.
The Knights,” spoke the small voice again. “I would not betray my friends. What of Little Mithrandir, what of Iridot, your little sister? What of the funny girl, Khestra?
No,” Replied the whisper. “They protect the Golug, all of them, he leads them. You know where they hide. You can hunt them, after he is dead, you can kill them all.
“But I will start with this one,” she breathed to herself. Screaming words of darkness she charged recklessly up the hill, armored in naught but bare hide, armed with naught but ferocity and cunning…
#11150609 Jun 10, 2015 at 12:01 AM
64 Posts
Ramield didn’t hesitate when Ulfban charged; she knew it might come to this. Before Ulfban had taken three steps, Ramield had fired an arrow at her leg and turned to leave. She would have stayed and tried to subdue her, but the sound of skittering spiders grew ever closer and she knew they would be upon her in minutes. She dashed through the forest, eyes darting left and right as she fired upon any spider that drew too close. She looked up when she heard the clicking of thin legs in a tree above her, but she was too late to stop the spider’s descent as it leapt down. All she could do was deflect the attack with a raised arm and swat the creature away; however, as it slid off behind her, she felt something tear at her lower back. Another managed to catch up to her and quickly bite her leg. Gritting her teeth against the pain, she kicked at it and ran on.

Up ahead, Ramield saw a sight that came as a relief. Grinning, she rolled to the side as an arrow whizzed past her, impaling the spider. As she rolled to her feet and continued, more arrows followed, finding targets in some of the spiders that would have blocked her off. She ran past the refuge and up to the hill where Landion stood, guarding the road. She grabbed him by the shoulder. “Run” was all she said, and they took off across the plains. When they had covered a decent distance, she looked back to see the spiders watching from just outside the edge of the forest before they turned and crawled back into the shadows of the trees. Landion began to slow, seeing that they were not being pursued, but Ramield urged him on. “There are still the wolves to worry about.”

Ramield could feel her strength leaving her as she ran but put all her strength into keeping up her speed. When she saw signs of the path toward Esteldin, she slowed to a jog and turned off the road. When they were safely inside the fortress, she leaned against the wall. “Go find…Nestadam…the healer” she panted. Landion looked at her with concern. “Are you sure I shouldn’t-“
“Spider’s poison…makes you tired…easier prey. I’ll be fine.” Ramield explained. He nodded and turned to leave. Nestadam and Landion returned shortly, carrying with them bandages and other supplies. The healer examined her wounds, mumbling to herself as she applied various salves and bound the cuts and gave Ramield something to drink which she gulped down without question. “They’re not too serious,” she remarked, “and knowing you and your kind, you’ll be well and up before long.”

“I just hope it’s soon enough.” She turned again to Landion. “Find Gaellant and Arohir please.” The other elf turned to go and Ramield struggled to stay awake. Gaellant arrived first and knelt down by Ramield. “Hey there friend,” she smiled.

Ramield managed a smile back. “Hello. Do you have Gwaenor?”

“Aye, he’s been fed and is resting. You know I hate it when you send him to me not knowing if you’ll come for him again, right?”

Ramield chuckled. “It’s unavoidable. Thank you.”

Gaellant nodded with a chuckle. “You’re welcome.”

“Now, I’ve got to sleep. My vision is swimming and I’ll be no good ‘til I’ve slept this off. If you could, have Arohir wake me in two hours; that’s as long as I can afford to rest, I think.” Gaellant nodded and Ramield closed her eyes with relief, slipping into the sleep she had been fighting off.

She awoke to a gentle shake of her shoulder. When she opened her eyes, a ranger stood before her. “Ah, at first I wondered whether I’d be able to wake you if you had poison in your system.”

“Ah, well I was able to get out without too much trouble. If those had been Mirkwood spiders, I might have been in a tougher predicament.”

“Your elf friend told me what happened before he left. I wish we could help, but we are too few in number as it is to send anyone. We are concerned with the dangerous things coming out of Angmar rather than those entering it. If they’re going north, they may pass by us and we’ll have our keep to defend.”

“I understand Arohir. I hope she passes by well to the west and leaves your people alone. If she comes here, you can count on me to help, but if she moves along I have to follow her. I have to bring her back somehow.”

Arohir stroked his chin in thought. “What a mess,” he muttered. He motioned to the rest of the camp. “You should get something to eat. I’ll go see to the defenses, should they be needed.”
Ramield thanked him and got up to roam the fortress to find some food. As she walked, she tested the limits of her back. Her leg seemed fine enough as long as she did not stretch her calf too much. It would hurt, but she would manage.
#11170384 Jun 15, 2015 at 05:47 AM · Edited 3 years ago
50 Posts
Her blood boiled as she screamed words that weren’t hers. The world had narrowed to a single point of light in the darkness. It was a beautiful light but she could not see the beauty, she could only be blinded by it. Swiftly she surged up the hill; jumping rocks sliding around trees, like a living, furious shadow she charged.
Her hunters senses, honed to a razors edge by years spent living in the wild, amplified by the dark spirit in her head saw the arrow leave the bowstring, a moment of silent clarity. Instinctively she turned aside, but not fast enough. The arrow slammed into her lowered shoulder, driving straight through and pinning her to the ground.
Pain roared through her senses and she lost all semblance of control. Like a whirlwind she ripped the arrow from her shoulder and spun about, searching blindly for the light. But it was gone, the Ungol had seen to that.
Ulfban was no longer herself, in the darkness she had lost everything that was close to her. Her fevered mind could not, would not, register the truth of what she had done, the evil she had brought to this place. Even the pain of her loss was fading, taken over by a rage that wasn’t hers.
In her blindness she drove straight towards the haven of Lin Gilliath. Instinctively she knew it was there, and that the Golugs lived there. She would kill them all. She let out a terrifying howl for her children and the great pack swarmed in behind her as the Ungol threw their sticky webs from tree to tree blocking out the early morning rays.

The elves had taken some care before they left their haven. The spiders feared the buildings and would not as much as cross the ground between them. They still slung webs about and skittered as close to the buildings and statues as they dared. Everywhere they went they left their pollution, fouling the pristine courtyards and fountains below.
The wolves did not fear the elven haven as the spiders did. Like a storm they blew in and searched amongst its buildings and alleys for any living thing left. They found nothing. Feeling their mothers rage and hatred the great pack worked itself into a frenzy and began fighting amongst themselves. Wolf, Warg and Spider blood stained the stonework and pooled about the statues. It was some time before they began to calm themselves again. By nightfall the haven of Lin Gilliath was dirty, stinking, and polluted.
It was not, however, destroyed and no one had died. Only the stable had been breached and it was there that the Ulf Mutter and her chosen children, the great wargs, lay down to rest. By nightfall she was on the hunt again.

Her wound licked clean by her children and bound by her own hand, Ulf Mutter set out east across the marshes, driving straight towards Dol Dinen. The Trolls haunting the hills pulled back into their caves as she crossed their land, her great wolf pack flooding through the forests behind her. They could see a dark shadow upon her and even they feared what she had become. All night long she marched, steadily uphill into the pine forests where she knew a goblin army was gathering. Finally, as the sun began to brighten the mountain tops before her she strode out of the woods and straight into their camp.
Immediately she was challenged, a lean Orc holding a crude bow called out to her. He was confused; here was a woman, maybe a Gauredain woman followed by a roiling sea of fur and teeth. Was she friend or foe? He waited for her answer, and died waiting. A single word of the black speech from her lips froze his heart and he dropped like a stone. Ulf Mutter would not allow a lowly Goblin to challenge her.
Brazenly she marched directly into the camp and headed towards the command tent where she knew she could find something of intelligence. Orcs, Goblins, Wargs, Wolves, Evil Men, Trolls, Unseen Shadows, they all let her pass. A palpable anger preceded her footsteps and cleared a path straight through the rabble.
Reaching the tent she paused for a moment outside before calling a challenge, “Zaukîl, come out and face Ulf Mutter!” Moments later the great Orc stepped out of the tent. He studied her quietly for a moment before bellowing a command into the tent. Swiftly it emptied; Trolls, Goblins, Orcs and even a few Wargs poured out of the tent, surrounding Zaukîl and Ulf Mutter.
He sneered, the great muscle bound Orc. “What are you, some Gauredain bitch who mounts wargs for pleasure?” The surrounding crowd jeered at her, leery and evil they eyed her lean, hard, naked body.
She answered in the black speech “I am Ulf Mutter, and you will do as I say, or I will drink your blood from your skull and feast my children on your corpse.”
It was the tongue of Angmar that gave him pause. Not many spoke it, certainly not strange, naked, women in his camp. Still, he could not appear weak in front of his tribe, he was their war leader and if he could not cow this woman he could not drive his forces. Over his shoulder to the giant, armored, troll he said simply “Grat, kill her.
With an earth shaking roar the giant troll lurched forward and charged. Ulf Mutter howled long and loud and dodged to the side as a giant club smashed a small crater where she had been standing moments before. They danced for a few moments, the armored troll and the naked woman. Until, from out of the shadows, a pair of feral Wargs broke into the ring and bore down on the troll. Savagely they tore at him from behind. Caught unawares by former allies the Troll lost both his legs at the same time and fell to the ground with an earth breaking crash. His bellows of rage and pain quickly faded to impotent gurgling out as Grish and Raugzok tore his throat open.
Covered in Troll blood the two Wargs circled their kill before coming to rest on either side of Ulf Mutter, glaring cruelly at Zaukîl. The jeering grew silent as Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls reached for their weapons.
Speaking again in the black tongue Ulf Mutter warned Zaukîl, “I told you, Orc. Do as I say.” That was all she needed, everyone was stunned by the death of the Troll, even more so that it had come at the fangs of two former allies. Zaukîl stepped aside and opened the tent flap for her. Preceded by Grish and Raugzok she entered.
The next morning Ulf Mutter left the tent just before dawn, garbed in naught but her own bare, haggard flesh, and wild hair, carrying a cruel spear. She howled long and loud to her children, and they came. Wolves, Wargs, even the Goblins that rode the Wargs, they all answered her call. By midday a massive, snarling, boiling sea of fur and teeth crowded the slope before her.
Raising her voice Ulf Mutter spoke, “My children, we go hunting!” Howling once again she leapt forward and began the slow, dusty crawl to Angmar. Her children, hundreds of them, followed behind…
#11170462 Jun 15, 2015 at 06:26 AM
15 Posts
...Dang. Shouldn't have read THAT when I'm about to go to sleep.
Previously known as Athrodmir
#11172114 Jun 15, 2015 at 05:17 PM
50 Posts
Sweet dreams, Oakheart. ;)
#11207406 Jun 24, 2015 at 12:15 AM · Edited 3 years ago
64 Posts
But for a slight breeze, the air was silent outside Esteldin. Ramield sat atop the wall facing southwest, her eyes closed. She ran a finger along the curvature of her bow laid across her knees. It had been a little over a day since her last encounter with Ulfban, as it was past mid-day, yet still she had not made her way north. Ramield tapped the end of her bow in thought and started back in the other direction. This was the fastest way past the mountains and north to Angmar, Ulfban was in a hurried frenzy, and the road was open, free of obstacles. Why she hadn’t appeared yet puzzled Ramield.
Arohir stood beside her, arms crossed, surveying the road. “Any sign of your girl?”
Ramield shook her head. “Not one howl, not even a whisper.”
“Well, we’ve pulled in the scouts from the west all the same; I’d hate to see one of our men caught out there alone if she ever comes along.” Ramield nodded and scanned the horizon once more before getting up and pacing. As she walked back and forth across the wall, a ranger came and whispered to Arohir, quite in vain since Ramield could hear him as easily as if he were speaking directly to her. When the ranger left, she asked what news there was out of courtesy and custom.
“Nothing pertaining to our present business. I believe you remember the camp to the south. Dol Dinen has been a thorn in our side for far too long.” He rolled his shoulders and shifted his stance as if he were now preparing to face it. “Scouts report that there was some disturbance there late last night, some internal squabble it seemed like. Could be a power grab. I only hope it reduced their number and doesn’t lead to a renewed focus on eradicating us.”
Ramield pulled out her long knives and walked through a practiced form with precise motions, testing out the renewing vigor in her limbs from what rest she had allowed herself in the absence of an appearance by Ulfban. As she sliced through the air, she puzzled out her situation. Coming to a realization, she dropped her arms and sheathed her blades. “Good news, I think your hope has been fulfilled.” Arohir stared at her uncomprehendingly as she walked past. Suddenly, understanding shone on his face. “You don’t think…”
“Yes. It’s the only thing that makes sense, especially with what she has become.”
As Arohir watched her go, he wondered what madness could drive anyone to such depths of depravity and whether the elf maiden now striding purposefully through the camp could change anything. He shook his head, praying for her safe return.

It did not take her long after she exited the eastern entrance of Esteldin to find what she had hoped not to find: a great number of fresh wolf tracks pointing northeast. As she rode north, she tried to think of options. Of the many scenarios that she came up with, one thing was clear: she could not fight her way through Ulfban’s force. She would either have to find a path that would put her ahead of them or circumvent them once they reached open ground in Angmar. But even then, what could she do to bring the woman back to her right mind? As Gwaenor set out again at a gallop, Ramield watched as the imposing mountains on Angmar’s border grew from bumps on the horizon to giants soon towering over her. The problem she faced seemed just as imposing. As Vearra had so often put it, it is harder to heal than to harm.
#11242842 Jul 03, 2015 at 04:33 AM · Edited 3 years ago
50 Posts
Her shoulder throbbed, a soreness pulsing with the rhythm of her heartbeat; the Golug had undoubtedly coated the arrow head with something. Clenching her jaw against the pain she strode on, straight north. Before midday her head began to pound in rhythm with her shoulder. The eastern wilderness was silent, strangely so if it hadn’t been for the enormous wolf pack rolling through it. Everything that could, had fled before the storm of fur and teeth.

She hadn’t asked the goblins to accompany her, but they did anyway, loyalty to their mounts led them to abandon their former masters and follow Ulf Mutter, they just came with their Wargs. She also hadn’t bothered to set up outriders, scouts, or anything else a roving army should have, but it happened anyway. The Goblins did it because they were used to it. It was one of them who came to her near dusk to report the Golug following them.
He rode straight towards her on his Warg, coming at a fast lope. Slowing as he neared, the Goblin vaulted off his mount just ahead of her and groveled in the dust “Ulf Mutter” he said.

She paused; why was this Goblin here, who was he and why was he groveling? Curious, she replied “What?”

“A filthy Elf is following us, it came from the ruined town on the other side of the hills.”

Ulf Mutter stopped altogether, she knew this town, she didn’t know where from. It was full of Tarks, or their northern kin rather. That a Golug would be conniving with them wasn’t surprising. She wondered if it was the same one that had been following her all along, the one who had shot her.
She could probably storm the town, take it and slaughter the inhabitants. Not that it was much, mostly ruins with a small tent village where the Tarks lived. For a moment she considered it then abandoned the idea. She had a task to finish first. The Golug who had killed her beloved had journeyed into Angmar for an unknown reason, and she must hunt him first. He had to die first, everything else, everyone else, came second.

“Kill her,” she said. “Don’t bother me again until it is done.”
“I did not say it was a she,” replied the Goblin. But Ulf Mutter was already striding away, paying him no heed. She had a task to do and she would see it done. Tonight they would camp hard on the northern mountains; tomorrow they would push into Angmar itself. Then the hunt would begin in earnest…

Ghash, named for his love of fire, gathered several other Warg riders and discussed what to do. That they must hunt the Elf was obvious, the question was; how best to do it? Kishtraum suggested a wild hunt, complete with horns and wolf-hounds to scent for the larger Wargs. Zogtar was in favor of a carefully laid trap, silent and stealthy; let her kill herself in the fall. Mikar, so called because he was the only Goblin any of them knew with a beard, called for single combat, he was confident he could overpower her.

In the end Ghash decided on a blend of tactics. They would prepare a trap, several of them would lie in wait to strike after the trap was sprung and a few of them; Kishtraum, Mikar, and himself would drive her to it with a wild hunt.
They set off in their separate ways, Zogtar to lead the ambushers and build the trap, Ghash and the others to find the Golug and wait for the signal to begin the drive. The goblins worked with glee, there was nothing they loved more than hunting Golug, and nothing sweeter than Golug flesh, both they and their Wargs would feast well after she was brought down…
#11313747 Jul 22, 2015 at 03:28 AM
50 Posts

anybody who wants may join in here. I know it might seem funny for someone to just pop up all of a sudden, but it's not as if there wasn't plenty of heads up to the kin as a whole with the first post. I'm looking at you Iridot...
#11603468 Oct 06, 2015 at 03:54 AM · Edited 4 years ago
64 Posts
The steady rhythm of hoof beats echoed on the edge of Ramield’s thoughts as she thought through every eventuality and plan to counter each possibility. Several ended in Ulfban’s death, which she hoped things would not come to, and several would likely result in her own. In front of her, the mountains of Angmar rose up, inspiring both awe and dread.
A sound caused her to slow to a stop, a low growl. She knew this was not the path Ulfban had taken, but still, the growl put her on high alert. Then came another sound, breathing that sounded like rusty chains being dragged through mud filled with gravel. Goblins. She wheeled around to find a better place to make her stand, but her retreat was cut off by a sudden burst of flame. Gwaenor was startled and galloped forward. As they went, pre-set fires erupted on either side and front of them until there was only a narrow corridor before them. Through the flames on either side, Rameild beheld orc riders running alongside them, jeering at her and goading them onward. As they rode, she spoke comforting words in elvish with a steady, soothing voice to the spooked horse. When she was sure of her mount, she spurred him on and sped ahead of the others to turn at the last moment. One of Gwaenor’s hooves slid back over the pit that might have been their downfall, but compensated and rushed through a gap in the flaming trees and through the forest on their right. The two on the east side snarled and followed her; soon, two more broke through the flames from the other side while a yelp and a scream of pain indicated that a fifth had met the unpleasant end intended for her.

Ramield handed control to Gwaenor for a few brief moments, using them to fire several arrows at the pursuing goblins. Most buried themselves in the flesh of a goblin or warg. One of the wargs fell, toppling over its rider and crushing him under its impressive bulk. Another goblin was slain by an arrow, but the corpse remained strapped to its bloodthirsty beast, the lifeless body flailing with each stride in a mockery of life. Even so, the two that remained pursued her with persistence, keeping pace with her as she wove through the trees. Had there been open plains, the wargs would have no hope of keeping up with the Rohirric steed.

A curvature in the terrain forced her to turn. They were routing her, and she knew it, and clearly they knew the land as she did. The sounds of several rasping growls came from behind her and one from ahead. When she was finally in a position to make a good stand, they were upon her, two bursting from the trees to the east and a third from the southwest almost directly ahead of her. She halted and turned in place as the three circled their prey. One of them, who bore numerous burn scars, hissed and snickered; the shifty one threw a dagger at her which caught her in the arm as she lurched to one side to protect Gwaenor. At the same moment, an arrow tore at her thigh and flew on in a bloody arch. The elf grimaced in pain. Another, more heavily armored, snapped at the others in their foul speech, only a few words of which she could make out: fire, kill, and something pertaining to ownership. He fixed her with a challenging stare and beat his grimy sword on a cratered shield. Stone-faced, Ramield reached back, seeming to grab for the sword in her saddle. Instead, she took hold of a hidden arrow, drawing it along a piece of flint and setting the coated tip ablaze before setting it to her bow and firing at the warg to her left. Its fur caught fire and the beast yelped in pain, thrashing and rolling and throwing its rider. Instinctively, horse and rider charged for the opening, leaping over the goblin whose scrawny legs now stuck out at odd angles.
Now that there was open ground, Gwaenor had the advantage. Circling the slower wargs in a wide arc, Ramield headed back for the pass she intended to take and had time to focus on two clean shots, one for the scarred orc and one for its warg. Knowing the pass ahead, she prepared what she needed. As the cliffs narrowed on either side, she nocked one arrow and readied another. The armored orc behind her pursued her with a vengeance, taunting and waving its sword in challenge. When the pass began to widen again and the path began to climb with the right side dropping off into a valley, Ramield fired the two arrows in quick succession, aiming for a point which the orc easily blocked. However, as the goblin covered itself with its shield, Ramield slowed Gwaenor so that they rode beside their pursuers and the elf drew the sword she had rejected earlier, lamenting in this moment her lack of expertise with the weapon compared to others. The orc grinned its blackened and pointy teeth menacingly, relishing the single combat it so desired. Their swords locked and they engaged briefly, thrusting, slashing, and parrying. The orc swung its sword with fierce muscled arms, and as Ramield saw that her opportunity was closing, it made a powerful sweep at her head. She ducked, using the moment to slash at the warg’s saddle straps. The leather snapped, the saddle twisted, and the goblin clutched the reins, crying out as he fell and pulling his steed over the edge. Both mount and rider landed with a squelching crunch at the bottom of the rise.

Gwaenor skidded to a halt at the impending turn, breathing heavily and turning this way and that in search of other dangers. His rider whispered soothing words and rubbed his sweaty neck gently. Slowly, the horse calmed, and the two stood there for a time listening to their own breathing and the sound of crows in the distance. Eventually, Ramield dismounted and, limping, walked her horse back the way they came and into the valley, following a trail until they found among the sparse trees a pond that did not seem too defiled. There they rested, Gwaenor drinking in gulps and Ramield tending to her wounds, first tending to the jagged cut in her arm. Gingerly, she touched the arrow wound in her thigh, recoiling at the pain. Blood oozed from between her fingers as she pressed a hand to the wound, rummaging through her bags with the other to find bandages. Round and round, she wrapped the wound tightly in clean cloth. That finished, she pulled some hair from her neck that had been plastered there with a bit of blood seeping from a cut likely made by a branch as she rode through the trees. She bandaged the wound as best she could. Looking for other wounds she might have unknowingly sustained, she was relieved to find a bruise underneath a nick in her leather armor where the armored goblin’s blade had been deflected. Ramield thanked the Valar it was no more than that.

Night was falling, the already darkened sky of the far north was becoming more oppressively overcast and black. Yet even so, a single star broke through the smothering clouds, untouched. By the shore of that small pond, Ramield took shelter for the night, unable to guide Gwaenor into the shadow, and faced the star singing softly songs of Elbereth.
#11673882 Oct 25, 2015 at 04:59 AM · Edited 4 years ago
50 Posts
Ghash slowed his warg to a stop, they were both sprouting feathers. Though he was bleeding it wasn’t much more than a scratch. He was better off than Zogtar, fallen into his own pit trap. The others were dead, or probably so, he couldn’t be certain about Mikar. He had charged off ahead, sword drawn, beard flying in the wind.
He cursed the others, especially Mikar, if he hadn’t jumped the sword their plan might have worked. It would have worked. Dismounting he carefully checked his mount, pulling Elven steel from its knotted fur. Not a single shaft had penetrated the dense tangle of mange he carefully manicured in his longtime companion. He had promised Ulf Mutter that he wouldn’t return until the elf bitch was dead, and he dared not risk her wrath. There was some dark mantle about her that all the goblins feared, and the wolves and wargs nigh worshiped.
After they had cooled down some, he mounted up and headed back out on the trail. He knew his warg would not abandon Ulf Mutter, so he didn’t even try abandoning the hunt. Instead he slowly picked his way over the trail, making certain he didn’t miss anything. At one point, close to the cliffs, he heard a loud screech followed by the familiar crunch of a body in armor tumbling to its doom. Hoping it was the elf, but knowing it wasn’t he turned aside from the trail and hunted among the rocks at the bottom of the cliff until he found Mikar’s broken corpse, staring balefully up at the dark sky…
So that was it, he was the last one on the hunt. He dared not return to ask for more volunteers, and despite his own fearsome reputation he didn’t have the muscle to force any of the others to join him. That was about the only thing Mikar was good for. The muscly brute had no brains at all, gave the whole race a bad reputation.
Scavenging what he could from the corpse, especially Mikar’s wicked knife he had always craved, Ghash made his way back to the trail and continued following it until he found the elf. She was sitting by a lake, singing painfully to herself. The elf words hurt his ears, and he knew he could not surprise her so he slunk back into the shadows and loped off a safe distance to spend the night, thinking what he could do to even the odds. This bitch was a greater foe than he had first thought. Something more than mere fire was needed. Not even the black fire from Lugbas seemed to be enough. Ghash slept uneasily that night, while his warg howled low and long to his pack mates out across Nan Amlung. They responded back in equally mournful tones. All night they spoke their hatred and fear across the skies. At least the Elf wouldn’t get much rest with the racket he thought as he was woken for the third time that night by his own mount…
Out on the road Ulf Mutter heard the wargs howl. They spoke of loss and rage. Four of the wargs that had set out had died at the hands of the white shadow, only Ghash remained. He would not risk her wrath by returning empty handed. She mused to herself as she strode on through the night. This Golug was more persistent than she had first thought. She wondered why it was so determined on hunting her. Perhaps she should confront it and ask. Information was power after all. If she could learn something about it she might be able to use that against it.
Having made up her mind Ulf Mutter turned aside. Despite her commands the three great wargs that had been with her from the start would not leave her, Grish and Raugzok would lead in her absence. They were to continue to push into Angmar, past the outpost and make warren in the defile behind the watcher stone in the canyon. Ulf Mutter would catch up with them when she did, they were to wait until she came.
Silently she strode out onto the plains, she knew where to go, the Wargs had told each other through their howls all the evening. When they finally approached the water where the Golug had bedded down she slowed to a halt and studied the place for a moment. The Earth Kin had been here recently. She wondered if some of them could be turned to her purpose. Perhaps she could set them to hunt the Golug after tonight. The wargs spread out, flanking her and ringing the small camp at a distance. As the moon set Ulf Mutter strode naked towards the camp.
She heard the Golug singing songs of cursed Elbereth and set her face in stone at the strange feelings the words stirred deep in her heart. The dark spirit riding her covered her in darkness until she was standing directly in front of the white shadow. Then she simply stepped out of the darkness
and stood, naked, waiting to hear what the Golug had to say…
#11728321 Nov 08, 2015 at 06:15 PM
64 Posts
As the howling of wolves grew ever closer, Ramield readied her bow and nocked an arrow, placing them on her lap with a hand on each. Two more protruded from the ground next to her, ready for her to reach out and take. Still, throughout the night, she sang, both to keep Gwaenor calm and to occupy herself; perhaps, she thought, her song might carry to whatever ears needed it.

The howling eventually stopped, and it came as no surprise then when Ulfban stepped out of the shadows. Ramield remained calmly under her tree, finishing the last two lines of her verse before going silent. “Oh Elbereth, Gilthoniel, it is of our name that we sing. In awe of the stars all the firstborn are joyous; they dance and they sing to your fame” (or so it might roughly be translated). She inclined her head to the woman as if they were in a casual encounter. “Ulfban.” A silence stretched between as she tried to get a read on her, running a finger along the fletching of her arrow to reassure herself of its readiness. “I see you have come without the majority of your entourage. I am pleased you chose to speak with me.”
#11729812 Nov 09, 2015 at 02:30 AM
50 Posts
Ulf Mutter cocked her head to the side, just like a curious wolf. The song was familiar, she knew the words but the dark spirit in her head screeched so loud it drowned out the last lines.
Shaking her head she regarded the Golug coolly, it called her a name, wolf-bane. She had called her that earlier, at the Golug’s dirty little camp in the trees. At the time Ulf Mutter had thought she was claiming to be the bane of wolves, and so she might. Her dirty Golug darts had sent many of her children to the earth.
Knowing her faithful children were just beyond the shadows gave her comfort. She sat down across from her opponent, her spirit flickering like a candle in the darkness, this Golug who had harried her from the start. “I am Ulf Mutter, why do you follow me?”
It was difficult to look directly at her; the white shadow seemed to grow brighter as time passed, as painful to look at as the sun. And just as terrible.
#11734365 Nov 10, 2015 at 03:48 AM
64 Posts
Ramield considered the woman across from her. All semblance of personality to the cheerful hunter of Hookworth was absent. “I am following a friend, or so I had thought we were. I regret that I could not be there for her more. I hope to prevent her from falling and to bring her home. I also hope to protect comrades, the man she seeks to kill in a futile attempt to ease her pain and those he travels with to guard over: Eruthaiwen, Acurith, and Leothross. Should I be unable to do the first, I shall endeavor to do the second, even if it means the taking of her life, though I sincerely hope we do not come to that end. However, perhaps in the unknown future, she may be reunited once again with her dear Hethan. But until that utmost hour, I shall strive to preserve her life and her spirit.”

She searched the woman’s eyes to discern her thoughts. “I know not what spurs these actions of yours, whether it be a fractured soul or a demented spirit, but she who speaks these words of hate and seeks the path of death is not the woman I knew. Ulfban,” she implored, though her voice remained even. Her gaze hunted through the woman’s features, hoping to trap what was left of Ulfban, if anything, and cultivate it again until it was whole. “Why do you seek another’s life? Do you think taking Zargodon’s life can bring back the dead? Your fate is still as it always would have been, for the destiny of my people cannot be changed.” Her face softened, filled with sympathy and understanding the pain of losing those she did not know if she would see again.