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#11740346 Nov 11, 2015 at 04:58 PM · Edited 4 years ago
Knight
50 Posts
Her eyes were fractured, showing the struggle for her soul; one moment rage and anger, another sorrow and weariness. She blinked away tears, looking at the Golug was like looking into the sun, it was painful and beautiful all at once.

“Your friend, she is the one you call Ulfban? Why is she falling? I can see you do not mean it in a literal sense. Falling into what? Do you mean me? I am Ulf Mutter; how can the bane of wolves be considered fallen when she has risen up to become me? When she now cares for those she once hunted?”

Hethan, my Hethan… A memory floated up, unbidden…
“The Eldar live in secret now sweet daughter. They hide themselves in their beautiful realms, full of light and magic.”
Ulfban sat on her father’s knee, wide eyed and solemn, “But where are those places daddy?”
Her father laughed; “The Eldar do not give out their secrets so easily Ulfban, but if you must know, wise Elrond lives in Imladris, that the common folk call Rivendell, the hidden valley. And Lady Galadriel lives with her husband Celeborn in the Golden Wood on the far side of the Misty Mountains. Last of all, the wood elves make their haven in mighty Mirkwood.”
“I want to see an elf someday daddy, will you take me?”
“Some day, young one, some day.”
“Daddy, tell me about Beren and Luthien again.”


Ulf Mutter shook her head, the screeching inside gave her a headache. Seargildin, she called him by his other name, the one she had come to hate, Zargodon.
“I do not seek for peace Golug, nor do I seek to bring about that which cannot happen. Mandos is greedy with his souls. I will never see my love again…”

My love…
Ulfban sat on the stone preparing her lunch. It had been twenty years since her father had first told her the tale of Luthien Tinuviel and Beren the mighty. As she sat contemplating her meal she heard a happy voice singing in a language that she did not know but seemed nonetheless familiar. She stood up and froze as she saw, skipping down the rocks from the mountains, her very first elf. The woman was young and beautiful, more beautiful than Ulfban knew was possible for a living being. Surely here was Luthien herself, lost to the ages, singing and dancing her way to her beloved Beren.
Ulfban stared at her, open mouthed and dumb to the world around her. She forgot the surly dwarf she had purchased her lunch from, forgot her quest to find the golden wood, forgot even who she was; she was in rapture, entranced by the dark haired maiden before her…


She sat silent for a while, sad memories warring with the dark spirits rage. The two emotions battled back and forth across her features, contorting them painfully. She blinked away tears of sadness, clenched her hands into fists of rage, and choked on words of hate.

Quietly, she spoke again “He killed my only love. He must be made to pay, justice must be served. But I will not kill him, no. I will not give him the gift of peace in Mandos’ halls, not with the one I LOVE. He will become a small thing, quaking with fear at the sound of ghostly footfalls and hard, hot breath on his neck. I will haunt him, and my children will hunt him. To the ends of the earth and behind the stars I will scourge him.”

Looking up she added in a low, cold voice “Him and all those who protect him.”
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#11742258 Nov 12, 2015 at 04:31 AM
Grandmaster
64 Posts
“YOU love? You love, you say? But you have just told me you are not Ulfban, and have shown it very strongly. You do not speak as she would, act as she would. How can you tell me it was you that loved her?” Ramield saw the conflict in Ulfban’s eyes, hoping that perhaps she was getting somewhere. “Would one who truly loved Hethan do something so terrible? No, for it would go against what Hethan stood for.”

“Nor can you claim that what you seek is justice. Zargodon did not murder her in cold blood, as is the only thing that would warrant such a punishment. Matters of the heart cannot be controlled by sheer force of will; there is no way he could have made himself feel any different. Many foolish actions were done and words said, I agree, but none that are deserving of such a terrible fate. But Ulf Mutter, you do not seek justice for a grievance, you only seek self-satisfaction.” Ramield pictured the wandering group in her mind: the secretive warrior, the curious seeker of knowledge, and the foolish young elf-maiden who would likely be the next target of the specter’s rampage. With all her will, she struggled to pierce the veil of darkness that enveloped Ulfban.

“Tell me, Ulfban, who is to blame. If the sea called Hethan home as it does all our people, would you blame the Unquiet of Ulmo, or the shipwrights that built the vessels that carried her from you? Or if she fell in battle, who would you blame, the comrades who could not protect her from a stray arrow? Or if she sat at your deathbed, despairing over her loss, who would you blame; would you rage at Iluvatar himself? All are meaningless and reduce the person of Hethan to a precious possession that is to be locked away in a box to be kept safe. She needed more than that and would wish more for you; she would seek adventure and wish you happiness and a life of joy which can only be denied you if you pursue darkness. You are abandoning her in this, throwing aside all her desires and what she stood for, defiling her memory. If you follow through with this, you will estrange yourself from her forever.”
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#11742384 Nov 12, 2015 at 06:07 AM · Edited 4 years ago
Knight
50 Posts
Pain contorted her features, Ulf Mutter and Ulfban battled for control. A headache, a skull splitting headache pounded in her brain...

Somewhere deep and secret, a light that was still Ulfban shone through the darkness and for a moment there was laughter on the wind…

Some twenty years ago Ulfban had met Hethan and shared a wonderful summer with her, dancing and laughing among the silver boles of the mighty Mallorn trees. In her heart she had pledged her love to the maid of her dreams. Now today she stood facing her again, but something was wrong. She was sad; Hethan should not be sad, she was all light and air and music and dance, not this dull, sad girl before her. Yet, even in her sorrow, she was still the most beautiful creature Ulfban had ever laid eyes on. Her sorrow piqued her beauty in a sharp, almost painful way, and Ulfban’s heart went out to her once again.
But Hethan had met and fallen in love with the hunter Zargodon. Ulfban was jealous. For two decades she had pined in secret over the elf maiden, she had never forgotten Hethan. But Zargodon was her lover and betrothed now. He would protect her and make her happy…

“Take this stone sister, there is none other like it in all of Middle Earth.” …

No one ever noticed the longing glances or witnessed her stalk Hethan from afar, protecting her from anything that ventured within a mile of her love. Her passion was secret, consuming, deep and rich.


For the briefest moment tears welled up in her eyes, not caused by the bright spirit before her. The mask cracked and in terrible pain the huntress’s voice broke through,

“Help me Ramield…”

In her hand, through all the darkness and pain, she carried still a single, small shell. In a desperate moment she threw herself at the Elf, embracing her and pushing the shell deep into her clothing, securing it against the raging spirit inside her. She knew she was losing the battle, and she despaired of ever loving again...
Her head felt ready to explode, the dark spirit rose up from her and screamed wordlessly into the sky, then, quick as lightening, drove back into her, subsuming her own, weary, spirit once again...
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#11830126 Dec 05, 2015 at 08:42 PM
Grandmaster
64 Posts
“Help me Ramield…”
Rmield put her bow to the side to reach out to the broken huntress, but did not expect what happened next. When Ulfban embraced her, she was unsure whether to be alarmed or relieved; however, compassion won out. Her left arm wrapped around Ulfban in a hug. “By Nienna’s tears…” she sighed. Suddenly, she felt the repressive aura that had prevented Ulfban from emerging ejected. Staring up at it with distain, she hugged Ulfban protectively as it shrieked into the perpetually overcast sky. Her knife left its sheath in virtual silence, any sound it made drowned out in the horrid wail the spirit made as it dove back into Ulfban. Ramield kept Ulfban’s left arm pinned under her own upper right arm, dagger in hand pointed at Ulfban’s ribs, though one arm remained around her comfortingly. She waited patiently to see what the result would be.
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#11842215 Dec 09, 2015 at 03:05 AM · Edited 4 years ago
Knight
50 Posts
Ghash muttered a curse at his mount “… quiet down!” He was surprised when it worked, his large warg sat silent, staring away at the distant fire. Suddenly it got up and loped off. He jumped up; “Get back here! HSST, get back.” The Warg ignored him and disappeared into the night.

“Something isn’t right,” he thought. His mount never behaved this way. Gathering up his pack and weapons he trotted off after her. He wasn’t too worried about being quiet, things were afoot, he could tell, and his small frame would likely be ignored so long as he stuck to the shadows.

She went straight to the camp, slowing down and taking up a silent watch just at the edge of the trees. Ghash came to a stop beside her and, twining his hand in the tangle of fur about her neck, settled in to watch.


Ulf Mutter was speaking strangely, using the hated Tarks language, of which he knew little. Something about killing and death, Ghash liked that. The Golug responded in her own painful language. It sounded like claws on slate to him; “Why would anyone bother with such noisome speech,” he wondered. He watched as they debated back and forth, pain in his leader’s features. Obviously something the Golug was saying bothered her. Ghash reached into the bag slung over his left shoulder; from it he withdrew a precious possession, his last pouch of black fire. He desperately hoped he wouldn’t need it, but he would protect her at all costs, even if it was his own life. “Well, maybe not MY own life, but somebody’s,” he thought darkly as he eyed the Golug.

Her horse was a strange breed, gigantic and deadly. He would have to keep an eye on it just in case. He recalled it outpacing the hunting party’s Wargs and showing absolutely no fear in the face of either fire or steel. He certainly hoped there weren’t more around like it. As he scanned the scene he realized the three largest Wargs, the ones that had been with Ulf Mutter from the very beginning were ringing the camp, crouching and taught, silent and waiting, just like his own mount.

That was what brought her, he realized. They had told each-other through their howls that they were coming and his mount had followed. What he didn’t know was; what was Ulf Mutter doing here in the first place? She had ordered this Golug killed and now here she was bandying words like, like old friends. Ghash furrowed his brow in confusion; what was going on here?

Suddenly Ulf Mutter threw herself at the Golug, a knife flashed in her enemy’s hand. Before Ghash could react however, a terrible thing happened. Ulf Mutter’s spirit reared up from her body and screamed at the sky. He knew the voice; it was the same voice that had called his Warg, the same voice that had cowed Zaukil, the same voice he had feared and worshiped from the moment he first heard it. It was in pain, wordless agony, towering baleful and angry into the sky.

A moment frozen in time, then everything happened at once. The Wargs charged in, two diving for the giant warhorse, the brindle and his own mount leaping at the Golug. Ghash lit the fuse with a dwarf fire stick and threw it, it was a large pouch. Half a breath later a blinding explosion rocked the little camp, burning wood flew everywhere; everyone on two feet was knocked to the ground, those on four feet didn’t fare much better…
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#11930046 Jan 07, 2016 at 06:51 PM
Grandmaster
64 Posts
In the instant she saw the wargs move, Ramield held Ulfban tight and rolled to try to avoid them. Coming out of it, she moved to bring her knife up to Ulfban’s throat in an attempt to threaten the wolves through her, however much she wished not to. However, at once all her senses were assailed as she was thrown back. She had to close her eyes to the blinding flash from the darkness, felt the heat and force of a blast, tasted the components on the air, and smelled the smoke and sweat. Most of all, the cacophonous clamor rang in her ears: snarling of wargs, Ulfban’s ragged breathing, and something hard connecting with bone before it was all drowned out in a sudden bang and things went silent.

The world seemed muted as Ramield recovered, trying to rise, failing in a dizzy stumble, and rising again. She tried to take stock of her surroundings. Ulfban had fared no better than she and the wargs were still shaking themselves from their daze. Mercifully, her knife was still in her hand. “Ribo lim!” she called to Gwaenor, though her voice sounded distant to her. She could only assume Gwaenor was behind her while she searched for her bow. It had landed several yards to her right, just beyond one of the recovering wargs, that which was farthest from the blast. She advanced on it, taking slow steps as she regained her balance. The beast shook itself, eyeing her advance, and took a few staggering steps this way and that. It snarled at her and she returned in kind, her eyes narrowing, focusing on its movements. As the creature leapt at her, teeth barred, she ducked to the side and leapt with it, grabbing it by the scruff of its neck. When they landed, she was straddling the beast’s back, throttling it with her left arm and balancing with her right holding onto both knife and fur. As the warg thrashed about trying to snap at her, the elf gained purchase, and as it came to snap at her right side she embedded her knife in its skull through its eye.

The animal’s legs caved under it, all their strength gone in a single moment, and the two thudded to the ground. Ramield recuperated quickly this time and placed her foot on the warg’s lifeless face, using it as leverage to help her pull her knife free, keeping a strong grip on the hilt to keep her blood-covered hand from slipping on the equally bloody hilt. Free of the corpse, she quickly retrieved her bow and turned to find the second warg that had targeted Gwaenor now circling him. When the stallion neighed, she could sense its fear, but stamped it his hoof in challenge simultaneously. The warg, meanwhile, took pained steps, blood spreading through the fur over its sternum. Out of its field of vision, Ramield jammed her knife into her belt and in a flash an arrow whispered through the air into the warg’s ear. By the time it fell, Ramield was already in the saddle, spurring Gwaenor on in the direction Ulfban had come. The ground they were on was not an ideal place to make a stand, nor even a good one, and she had no way of knowing when more wargs would show up. Looking back, she caught sight of Ulfban one final time while she riding into the growing morning light.
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#11954155 Jan 14, 2016 at 04:17 PM
Knight
50 Posts
For a moment she felt peace, it had been so long since she felt peace. There was nothing but the woodsy smell of the elf she hugged tight and her own, desperate, strength. A small sob escaped her lips as she opened one eye. Through the tangle of hair her face was buried in she saw a figure flicker in the darkness, a small, furtive movement in the shadows.

Suddenly there was a great light and sound, she was knocked flat on her back, the elf thrown away from her. Something hurt in her chest, more than it should have; a broken rib perhaps. As she lay there, helpless, unable to move or respond she was dimly aware of the sounds of a small, desperate battle about her, the twang of a bow, the yelp of a wolf, the thunder of hooves... Above her Helluin burnt cold and blue in the vastness of the night sky, but it was slowly fading away.

Reaching up a hand she grasped at the star in vain. Her vision grew dim, one by one the stars faded away until there was only Vingilot, sailing towards the dawn. A moment later that, too, was gone. There was only the darkness before dawn and a cold fury growing in her chest.

She was being shaken; it was Ghash, the ever loyal Goblin. “Ulf Mutter, we must flee. Surely the Golug will be back.” His goblin pidgin battered her ears like bat wings.

“What?” was all she was able to manage; the rising sun hurt her eyes.
“Later, we must get to safety,” he insisted. Half carrying, half pulling her near dead weight Ghash was finally able to get her to lie across the brindle, the last of her greatest children, while he mounted his own Warg. Together they set off at a furious pace, straight towards Ost Crithlanc, guarding the road into the mountains.

Soon the stink of fur and the bouncing of the road drove her fully awake. She had time to think on what happened while they fled, letting the Warg have his head while she clung on and squinted at the wind of their speed. She had gone to inquire of the Golug why it was following her. It had answered some lies about the one who had murdered her love, then… then nothing. There was an empty space in her memory. She remembered talking in the starlight, she remembered a flash of light, and then she was waking up with a pain in her chest that wasn’t from any broken bones or other, physical, injury.

Slowly a cold anger began to build within her chest; the Golug had tried to murder her, some elf trick causing a sunburst right between them. If it hadn’t been for Ghash she would surely be dead, elven steel sprouting like red flowers from her breast. By the time they reached the camp the sun was fully up and her wrath burnt bright as dragon sport in the night.
The Angmarim knew she was coming, they had seen the wolf pack pass by, a few braver ones, had even stepped out to speak with the Wargs leading the pack. So it was that, as she drew closer to the camp, outriders closed in about her, forming a protective shell of flesh, willing to give up its tenuous hold on the world to protect a woman they did not know.

There was still a pain in her chest, like an aching, empty hole that could not be filled, no matter how much wrath was poured into it. Everywhere she looked the Angmarim were dim, grey candles, barely flickering spirits capable of naught more than self-sacrifice. But up ahead she knew there was true power. A tall totem, an alter to the Dark Lord, spewed an invisible, black cloud continuously into the sky. The power of it radiated in all directions and drew her closer, despite her innate abhorrence of it…
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#12006042 Jan 29, 2016 at 01:40 AM · Edited 3 years ago
Grandmaster
64 Posts
Horse and rider slowed to a stop a considerable distance away from where they had started, seemingly waiting for something that would have been unknown to the common observer in the seemingly silent pass. The elf’s expression seemed to be one of relief, though tainted by concern. Reaching over her back, she pulled out an object from under her leather armor and clothing: a shell that had been pressing itself into her shoulder blade. She turned it over in her hands, examining it from all angles. As the morning light continued to brighten the sky, from the southern path three figures appeared, all atop steeds. She called out to one of them in Sindarin. “I thought you would have followed your people.” A voice responded in the same tongue. “Without your warning, there would have been none to follow. We owe you a debt that I shall repay.”

Arohir, Landion, and Gaellant trotted up to Ramield, hoof prints overlaying the numerous wolf tracks that had already been laid. Arohir looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t know what you two are saying, but I assume he told you we’re coming too. This fellow here insisted on joining us…at least from what I could understand.” Landion nodded to him. Gaellant rode up next to Ramield, examining her bandaged arm. “I suppose that’s the best you could do with one hand, not too shabby. Maybe we should have brought Nestadam with us.”

“I do not think it would have been wise, knowing what we are tracking.” Ramield shook her head. “We would only be putting her in danger and she can hardly defend herself.” She motioned to the tracks beyond count. Arohir ran a hand over his tired face. “Who knows how many there are…”

“At least one hundred, by my last count. However, since then, I have killed some and then she recruited more it seems. There could be any number of wargs and wolves.”

“And the four of us against them?”

“I still hope some from my Order may aid us, should they be able and should my message have reached them in time.” Ramield looked toward the south but saw no further hope coming yet. “I had thought I would need to do this on my own. Perhaps now we stand a greater chance.” Turning Gwaenor northward, she spurred him to a trot. “We should find out where they’ve gone, perhaps make a battle plan.”

The pack wasn’t hard to follow, for though the ground was hard and packed, the trail left by that many wolves was unmistakable. The small group followed it through the silent lands, the stillness in the air broken only by the chirping of insects and the occasional howl of their quarry. Twice some creature was bold enough to try to make them a meal, and so Angmar became two predators fewer. Soon, however, Ramield came to a stop. Landion too stopped and stood in his stirrups, listening. Wordlessly, Ramield turned around, backtracking. Gaellant called out to her, but Ramield didn’t stop in her reply buy sped up to a canter. “She’s gone to Bail Rova and there is no way around it for quite some distance. We had best head back the way I came toward Aughaire.”

From then, the group was a bit more relaxed knowing they were not riding to but rather away from the greater danger. Deciding it best they not risk a confrontation with the clansmen, they skirted Aughaire, only receiving suspicious glances from a few lookouts. Their road from there turned east, toward Fasach-larran. Now in Angmar proper, Ramield kept an eye and ear out, instructing her companions to shoot any warg or wolf on sight, never being sure if it were only a wandering beast or part of Ulfban’s hoard.
Throughout their ride, descending further into Angmar, Ramield felt a growing sense of unease, as if the very air weighed down on them. The others fared no better: Landion was unnaturally stiff in his saddle and Arohir and Gaellant periodically made furtive glances all around them as if the shadows themselves were pursuers. So far had they travelled, that by the time they were near Bail Rova’s other entrance on the north side of the mountains, darkness was beginning to creep overhead, not only the natural darkness of dusk but the oppressive shadow of Angmar.

Arohir called them to halt. From the base of the hill separating them from Malenhad, he nodded toward their left at two walls standing atop a rise. “That ought’ta make as good a camp as any in this place. I would rather not risk going further when we are so close and my eyes lose to those of the wolf in this light. You say we need a battle plan, I agree. Let’s stop here and figure it out.” The rest conceded, and so the group made camp and a small fire in a sheltered corner to combat the chilling gloom. Gaellant brought out some rations she had packed for them, which were eagerly consumed. Their bodies warmed and their stomachs full, Gaellant began to unwrap the bandages around Ramield’s arm. As she wound new ones in their place, she asked. “So, what are we getting ourselves into here? From what I’ve seen, this is quite a figure to command such obedience from wargs. Even among themselves they are not so disciplined, so ruled by bloodlust and infighting.” The two men tuned their ears in. Landion made this known, though his back was to them and his eyes outward toward the wastes.

Ramield picked at the bandages, trying to figure out where to start. With a sigh, she began the sad tale: of the woman enamored, of a protective elf, of the longing of one broken heart to the pain of another, and finally to loss. Some she knew, other parts she inferred or pieced together. Then she entered the narrative and she told of her journey north from Hookworth, spying Ulfban on the shore of the lake, more akin to animal than human. Landion sat straighter when she got to Lin Giliath, reminding her of parts she left out or hadn’t been there for. When he told of his fight with the spiders, he first attempted in his limited and broken Westron, but it became simpler to use Ramield as a translator.

Her story drew to a close with her encounter with Ulfban in the gorge, the flash of fire, and her flight. “The rest you know. So Gaellant, you see I do not know what this Ulf Mutter is that has the power to command the wolves nor what that is that has taken Ulfban’s spirit. I believe there is still the possibility to save her, but I will not sacrifice Zargodon and those with him to do so.” Silence fell on the group. The fire popped and hissed, and in the wavering light Gaellant watched Ramield turning over a pale object in her hands, feeling over its surfaces as if to memorize its form.

“What’s that you’re holding?”

“A shell,” the elf replied, returning from her musings. “Ulfban must have placed it on me during our second encounter.” She held it out for the woman to view but never let it leave her hand. Gaellant ran a finger over its curve. “Astonishing…beautiful.”

“Why?” came the question from ranger on the other side of the fire.

“I have not the slightest thought.” Carefully, the elf packed the shell away in a pouch on her belt. “The question we should be asking now is what can we do for the future? What do we do about Ulfban?”
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#12015779 Feb 01, 2016 at 04:18 AM · Edited over 3 years ago
Knight
50 Posts
She stood facing the altar, silently she watched it. Her mortal eyes saw the rough carved stone fireplace with a baleful green, smokeless, fire. The eyes of her spirit saw the column of poisonous smoke billowing from the chimney, slowly spreading across the sky.

She loathed it. She hated the being it was erected for, but she feared him as well. The spirit in her body was forced to obey its master, but also free to pursue its own ends. HE sought dominion over all things, IT sought to kill elves. Since the days of Carcharoth it had raged against the firstborn. Hating them for the murder of what it considered its greatest child.
Over the years it had wreaked great evil; Wolves, Wargs, Werewolves, even the Gauredain were the work of its hand. But never before had it been allowed out into the world, allowed to possess flesh and bone. Not since the very beginning. As it wandered the country looking for a host it had, by chance, found this woman. She had opened up her soul and in it was a pit of grief the spirit had found to be… cozy. She was its tool; through her it would gather its children and hunt the firstborn until they were eradicated from middle earth.


Ulf Mutter’s eyes watered as she stared into the bale fire. She stood motionless, frozen in front of the vile altar until the sun had gone down and the moon hadn’t yet risen. Suddenly, swiftly, she fled into the night. Rage for her murdered children, two of her greatest, fueled her purpose. Silently she swept into the canyon and behind the watcher. Her pack greeted her with warmth and anger. While they were happy to see her, they were angry that their siblings had been killed. It did not take long for the story to spread. In moments they were frothing with fury. She knew she had to do something, they had to let out their rage and frustration or it would turn inwards and they would begin fighting among themselves.
She turned to Ghash, “What tribes are here?”

Ghash was startled “Mostly Blogmal and Tarkrips, but further up there are some Krahjarn.”

Ulf Mutter pondered this for a moment, the Blogmal and Tarkrips were large tribes, known for their viciousness and lethality. The Krahjarn however were an entirely different breed. Powerful, intelligent and deadly, they were a small but decidedly more dangerous tribe. While she could easily impress the Blogmal with shows of strength and cow the Tarkrip with sheer intimidation the Krahjarn were a different matter altogether. There were also the Angmarim to consider; some native to the land, some Black Numenorians come long ago to answer a dark call.

Climbing a small hillock against a cliff she spoke with a voice of authority. “Raugzok, Grish, take the pack into Angmar. Past Bail Rova turn east and make for the woods of Gorothlad. Send out scouts and emissaries to the Scara of the land and bid them join us there. Keep an ear to the ground, there is a Golug here that we are hunting, he may have a few Tarks with him. I will pause in Frith Vale for the evening and confer with the Angmarim, they may have heard of him. Tomorrow I will push on to Mor Maudhul and speak with the Krahjarn there. Now go my children; shake the hills with your howls, trample the earth with your feet, breath hot on the neck of our enemy. Stop for nothing!”

With a terrible cry the pack sprang up and, slavering and snarling, ran off into the canyon. The rings of their howls echoed through the hills for days. Every living thing ran before the storm of claw and fang. Mad with fury they swept down on Bail Rova and charged through it. A lone sentry stood to challenge them as it bore down on the Angmarin town. He called out a challenge and was met with a thousand howls that chilled his blood until he fainted dead away and was torn apart as the pack drove over him, tearing at his flesh and filling their stomachs. Spilling onto the ravaged plain the pack charged into the wastes of Malenhad and bore down on every living thing that moved; monstrous turtles, bloated leeches, giant corrupted flies and neekerbreekers, though they avoided the fire worms.
After sating their terrible hunger the pack swept off to the east slavering and snarling, looking for anything to tear at, until they came to the edge of the woods at Gorothlad. Here they slowed and spread out, searching for the deadly Scara to add to their numbers…
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#12038280 Feb 07, 2016 at 04:41 AM · Edited over 3 years ago
Knight
50 Posts
She watched them leave, her precious children. The only ones to stay behind were the Brindle and Ghash, with his curiously loyal mount. Ulf Mutter stood motionless for a long time, listening to the echoes among the cliffs and canyons, slowly fading away.

Finally she began to move, slowly at first, as though stiff with age, her naked body nigh emaciated and pale as death. As she came to the bottom of the hill her movements grew more fluid, she moved faster and faster until she was sprinting through the rocks, running as fast as she could for as long as she could. The joy of running was in her and she ignored the pain as sharp rocks cut at her feet.

There were corpses littered all along the trail; Spiders, Cave Claws, even a few unfortunate goblins who hadn’t climbed the siege towers that were headed south fast enough. She smiled grimly as she saw them; skin flayed back, bellies torn open, gutted and wretched. An evil laugh escaped her lips as she rounded a corner and saw Frith-Vaile, set far back in the rocks with gates closed against the fury of the pack. Upon high were archers and sorcerers guarded and on the watch. She slowed to a stop and allowed the lookout to challenge her. Her only response was to walk right up to the gate and speak, quietly.

Against the will of the keepers the heavy log gate slowly swung open and Ulf Mutter walked in, flanked by enormous Wargs, one being ridden by an especially cruel looking Goblin with skin puckered from burn scars. They knew enough to give her passage, though not without guard. Her wicked looking spear was recognized as a tool of the master, and the presence of Wargs was a sign of power. Confidently she walked up the street and up the hill, turning right at the only intersection and continuing uphill until she reached the very top and stood facing the captain. She remained silent, waiting to see his reaction.

All about her were guards and men at arms, some with hands glowing with a faint, sickly green light, some with drawn weapons, some with crossbows aimed at her and her companions. The captain stood still regarding her, axe in hand. Finally he stepped forward, into harms reach. He had decided she was to be trusted, at least insofar as he had her ringed with dangerous men and a few, even more dangerous women. “Who are you, and what do you want?” was his direct opening.

She smiled, here at least was one worthy of the medallion he bore, one with an eye, lidless, and wreathed in flame. Young, stable, thirsty, he was willing to do what it took to climb the ranks.

“I am Ulf Mutter” she replied. “My children have passed you by and allowed you to live, at my order. You will open the gate” here she pointed to her left at the small, poorly made gateway that blocked the bridge spanning the canyon the hamlet was set into, the far side of which led to a small trail that looped back behind her to an unassuming building set just behind another, very large, altar.

He paused; she could see his hand tighten on his axe and his jaw bulge as he ground his teeth. He had not expected this. The moment passed quickly, he stepped close to her, almost embracing her. “And why would I do that? He asked.

At her side the great brindle growled low in its throat, he did not like anyone to be this close to his mother. Almost absentmindedly she reached down to give him a reassuring scratch behind his ears, but she said nothing, only staring hard at the captain, through his eyes and into his soul. She saw a dark flame flickering; it yearned to grow, to burn, to consume. It was stifled here, in this backwater outpost. She continued to stare, he was hiding something. Something he was afraid of.

On the outside he was all strength and command, his confidence bore witness to that. He had a strong aura about him, one that cowed his followers, but not Ulf Mutter, and he could see that. He also knew what was behind the gate, in the building she wished to visit, and he was afraid of it. For a moment, just a moment, she let him in; let him see what she really was. Instantly she saw the fear in his eyes. He ducked his head and stepped away. Turning to his men he commanded, “Open the gate, let her pass.”

Reluctantly his men obeyed, they were stunned at his reaction. In Angmar fear was power, and those who wielded it were respected. They had never known their captain to be afraid before and could only guess that fear was why he had let her pass. They knew there was something terrible in the cottage she was making her sure way towards, and that meant she was at least as powerful as whatever it was that had taken up residence there. They feared her, and it made her happy.

As soon as she had passed they closed the rickety gate behind her. Ghash turned back and scowled, he did not like traps, and this felt like a trap, but he trusted Ulf Mutter, and so he followed quietly, if not happily. She crossed the stone bridge and passed through the gate house on the far side. Exiting at the cliff face she turned left and followed the little path to the tower. Here she stopped and instructed Ghash to wait. “Stay here, in the tower tonight. I will return in the morning.”

Ghash looked about warily, he did not like this, the large altar towering before them filled him with dread, he knew she purposed to pass it and enter the home beyond. There was something in it, he knew, something terrible and powerful. Something that was comfortable dwelling so close to such an altar. “I do not like this Ulf Mutter.” He said quietly. “It feels like a trap, I do not trust the Angarim.”

She looked down on him, she would have been angry had he not proven his faith and worth time and again. Instead she felt the tiniest drop of pity, he was afraid. She knew that feeling, she had been afraid once, but no longer. Now she was Ulf Mutter and she knew no fear. Gently she placed her hand on his shoulder, “We will be safe. Go, enter the tower and make it your own for the night. Take the Wargs and care for them. We will need to be well rested come sunrise.” Then she turned and walked past the altar and into the house beyond.

Ghash muttered darkly to himself but did as he was bidden, taking the Wargs and claiming the tower for himself that evening. It appeared to have been abandoned for some time. The food stores were at the end of their life, but to him, a Goblin raised on scraps and droppings it was heaven; wine, sweet meat, strange vegetables he threw out the window, and hard bread unlike anything he had ever eaten. Once he had gotten a taste of the food and a drink of the strong, dark, wine he glutted himself with abandon, finally passing out in a drunken stupor, belly full for the first time in years. The Wargs fared no less the better, between them they ate every remaining scrap to be found in the larders.
================================================

His head was pounding. Ghash had never had wine so strong; he was used to Golbin Ale, potent but not with alcohol. The dull, grey, glow of what passed for dawn in Angmar was beginning to show in the black sky. Before him stood Ulf Mutter, she was different somehow. He could not place his claws on it, but she was more dangerous than before. It was just then that he realized he had never once seen her eat food.

Squinting against the dim grey light he apologized as he sat up “Ulf Mutter, we have eaten all the food. I have nothing for you. I am,” he choked on the word “sorry.”

“It matters not,” she replied. “I do not eat.” Her eyes were sunken and dark, her lips thin and bloodless, she was feral, and strong. Ghash was in awe, the power of Ulf Mutter was now barely contained in the flesh of the woman before him. She was swiftly fading, disappearing into the shadow.
The Goblin struggled to his feet, clutching at his head. “Yes,” was all he said. As she turned to go he forced himself to ask one more question. “What was in that house?”

She paused and turned to look over her shoulder, “A kindred spirit.” Then she continued on her way, determined and wrathful. Ghash had just a moment before he had to hurry and catch up with her, the Wargs had already joined her outside. He quickly rummaged through the house until he found a hunk of hard cheese, tucking it into his pouch with the rest of the wine he scurried after his adopted master.

As he marched down the path towards the bridge he spared one glance over his shoulder at the still shadowed house. What he saw froze his blood and stopped his heart for a moment. Standing in the shadowed doorway was a figure cloaked in grey robes with red, leather, gauntlets clutching a naked sword. Where its eyes should have been were two pinpricks of cold, hard light. A wraith.

Ulf Mutter was silent all that day, the only sound that escaped her was her breath, coming hard and fast as she began to anticipate the hunt. The Wargs picked up on her excitement and began to lope faster as the day wore on. Ghash even overcame his early morning shock and began to warm to the idea of the hunt. As they approached the bridge there was a terrible, terrifying screech. It came from the little house.

Immediately the gate was thrown open as the Angmarim made way for her to leave. They knew what was in the house and they were now terrified of the apparition clothed in flesh marching determined through their small town. Down the hill and out the north gate they marched. Gathering speed as they wound through the canyons the small party was jogging as they passed the large watcher stone outside Bail Rova. Turning right they began to run as they passed through several log stockades and out into Angmar proper. As they charged out onto the plane they followed the curve of the road as it swept past the sickened Malenhad swamp. They had been travelling a few hours already and should have been tiring, but the strength of the spirit that possessed them pushed them hard and they continued to run, and ride, hard for the evil town of Bail Boglakh…
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#12058639 Feb 12, 2016 at 06:05 PM · Edited 3 years ago
Grandmaster
64 Posts
What passed for dawn in that dreary land finally came. The two humans of the group had slept fairly, though Arohir was ever restless even in dreams. The two elves had exchanged watches, noting no movement. Instead, howls came from the hills. For a short while, they ceased, and the silence was more unnerving than the barks.
Landion tapped Ramield on the shoulder then. “(S) I believe now is a good time to move.” Roused from her rest, she helped him wake the others. Together they ascended one of the rises toward Malenhad. In the distance, guards, both goblin and Angmarim, patrolled the narrow path at the north entrance of Bail Rova. To the east, the wastes were sedate; even the goblin structure rising from one of the pools showed no movement.

“I don’t like the looks of it,” muttered Arohir. “They could easily pour over the hill and surround us.”
“Neither do I, but we make a stand here or farther east at the bridge.”
“Yes, but we may yet have a better chance there. We could-“
“Be careful what bridges you burn, Arohir,” interjected Gaellant, “for you may yet need them to return to your people.”
“And what of this road? If we fail here there is just as good a chance that our path home may be blocked.”
“Both observations are true,” remarked Ramield. “While our plan to the east may be necessary, there would not be many favorable paths open to us on our return.” The unspoken “if” hung in the air.

The unnatural stillness on the edge of Ramield’s vision itched. Looking back toward the goblin structure, she examined it more carefully. Taking Gwaenor’s reigns, she walked with him down the slope and out to the wastes, her confidence sinking with the landscape. The structure was devoid of life, but not of goblins. They had been strewn here and there, some pierced with arrows, some dispatched by the sword, and others bore teeth marks, gouges that evidenced a bear attack. She tried not to breathe as she approached as the stench of death was so overpowering. Roughly pulling one of the arrows free, recoiling as a mix of black blood and rotting tissue poured from the wound. A heavy sigh escaped her as her suspicions were confirmed. She had seen other arrows like this, had fixed many of them herself. She would easily recognize the arrows of the Knights of Eriador anywhere.
The others had followed the elf, though Landion stood farther back than did the others. Ramield presented the arrow. “They came this way: Zargodon, Leothross, Acurith, Eruthaiwen, and by the looks of it another archer was with them.”

“How long ago?” called Gaellant.
“They have a few days lead on us from the looks of these corpses.” The ground around them was hard, but to the trained eye a few signs could be seen. “They passed south, possibly to that rise. However, I doubt they are still with the hillmen. No, if they are still searching Angmar and want to avoid undue attention, they would head east, across the wastes and past the watchers.”
“Then how are we supposed to find them?” asked Arohir. “I’ve heard the tales, none of them good.”
“Others have passed before and so shall we.” Ramield’s eyes turned east to where the tips of menacing wings like those of bats could be seen. “It is said the Dark Lord erected two in his own land. I doubt these are near their equal. If Leothross and his companions were able to pass them, then we will also; if they were unsuccessful, then we shall face a storm of wolves with them at our side also. We will-“ Ramield pivoted and Landion’s eyes widened before a sudden clamor pierced the air. Ramield waved the others over and they delved further into the wastes, finding hiding spots among the craters and the ruined structure as wolves and wargs poured from the gates of Bail Rova, skirting the wastes as they made for their next target. Arohir kept his back pressed against one of the towering craters and Gaellant crouched, watching wide-eyed and muttered, “Well, it seems our choice has been made for us…”
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#12323929 Apr 26, 2016 at 03:02 AM
Knight
50 Posts
The pack didn’t notice the small band hidden among the Goblin ruins. Nothing moved there, that meant there was no food, and they steered clear of the fire worms, deadly opponents and powerful allies. Everything else was fair game though; they bore down on and tore open the bellies of every living thing they came across. Rampaging through the ruined landscape they gave no thought for who could see them, no thought to their own safety. They were many, and they were strong, and they had Ulf Mutter. Her spirit possessed them and drove them on with a furious energy. Soon their howls echoed among the vile pools of Malenhad as they drove eastward, powering through the Rammas Deluon, seeking the shelter of the forest and companionship of the deadly Scara, powerful Wargs that dominated Angmar.
Slowing as they approached Duvuinen, the swarm began to spread out, testing the sulfurous waters before slinking into the forests of Gorothlad, seeking for the arena of Maethad. The first to fear them were the orcs of Ongbishuk, the pack’s howls shook the hills and echoed furiously among the trees. The Blogmal here were not as insolent as their Tarkrip cousins in Bail Rova had been. No one challenged the pack as it slunk through their camps, instead standing back and watching in awe as the storm of fur and claw and fang blew through. Several of their defilers could feel the power that drove them and followed in their wake, dragging a few warriors with them for brute force if needed.
It wasn’t long before their howls caught the attention of the large Scara. Several of whom approached the pack. At first there were raised hackles and bared fangs, but in the end sheer numbers won them over. The pack began to splinter, smaller packs breaking off, each with a Scara among them scouring the landscape for more of the deadly Wargs. The main force pushed on until they were led to Maethad. A great watching stone towered above them as they poured down into the arena. Trolls peered down in curiosity as the bowl filled with a swarm of teeth and fur.
The Orcs that had accompanied them paused at the brink of the bowl, the defilers could feel a palpable aura among the great pack and they were nervous about being caught in their midst. The Ongbishuk warriors fell to prowling the perimeter and comparing weapons and armor with the mighty Gorthorog and their lesser Jarn Olog cousins.
As the day wore on into night the smaller scouting parties that had splintered off began to return, with more Scara to add to the packs already burgeoning numbers. As the witching hour approached a terrible wind sprang up and, as if from nowhere, a terrible scream pierced the night. The watcher stones wailed in response as even the mighty trolls cowered at the terrifying sound of it. The wolves, however, recognized the fell spirit on the air and raised their many voices in greeting, a terrible howling and yammering that split the night as baleful, green, lightening split the sky and a black rain began to fall, lashing venomously at every living thing…
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#12428972 Jun 02, 2016 at 03:21 AM
Knight
50 Posts
Ulf Mutter smiled as they coursed through the canyon. She enjoyed the hunt, and her vigil with a kindred spirit the night before had finally quelled the rebellious soul of the body she inhabited. She had learned much during her communion. She was free to pursue her vengeance but she was also tasked with leading her pack through Forochel when her initial goal was accomplished. The pack was the perfect tool for the hunt, and hunt she would, adding the ferocious Susi to her pack she would sweep down with winter storms into Evendim and extinguish the Tarks there before turning west to Ered Luin and the Golug hidden there. It was fitting, she thought, to release the storm into that land where the woman’s lover had died. There was a delicious irony to it…
The day was wearing on towards noon by the time the final canyon opened up before them onto the Angmarim town of Bail Rova. The road curved away to the right but Ulf Mutter chose to charge straight ahead, right past the last watcher stone, through a half dozen sentries and jumping down into the rearward courtyard. The Wargs followed her without question, jumping straight into the pit, Ghash clinging to his mount in terror; he did not do well with heights. Horns were already blowing as the goblins camped there jumped up at the sudden disturbance in their midst…
She did not pause, even for the slightest second, but ran on, right through the goblin camp and into the town proper. Goblins were popping up everywhere, confused and frightened. What was this woman, naked and filthy who could run faster than the swiftest Warg? And who was the burnt goblin who followed her? The sheer size of one of the Wargs in her train was enough to impress all and frighten many.
“Ghash,” she called “Find some fire and bring it with us.”Ghash smiled wickedly and veered off, he knew what she meant. Although these Tarkrip fire thrower’s supplies were crude at best he could refine them once they had a day or two. It would never be as potent as the black fire of Lugbas but he didn’t know that recipe anyway.
Up ahead there was a tent with the right markings. Fire supplies were kept separate from everything else and were easy to spot if you knew what to look for. Urging his mount on, he brandished his spear, screaming wildly at the pair of guards in front of the tent. As he had thought they would, they abandoned post and ran. Worthless little Tarkrips he thought. Inside the tent were several piles of supplies, it didn’t take him long to find the ones he wanted.
Ghash’s mount had always been strong, even for a warg, so he didn’t feel bad about loading him down, slinging barrels and pouches across his back and shoulders. A wicked thought crept into his mind just as he was finishing, and he couldn’t help himself. Spinning about quickly he upended barrels and dumped pouches, creating a terrible, reeking mess. Then, climbing his mount he struck his last dwarf fire stick, a precious item to be sure, and tossed it behind him as he burst from the tent, charging straight into a pack of angry Angmarim and terrified Tarkrip. Again he brandished his spear and let out as terrifying a battle cry as he was capable of. It wasn’t much, but the sudden, enormous, fireball behind him was enough to knock everything on two feet to the ground. His mount just jumped with the blast and charged off, his rider shrieking and laughing maniacally.
**************************************************************
Ulf Mutter charged through the Tarkrip camp into Bail Rova proper. Angmarim were pointing and shouting orders, bowmen loosed their crossbows and fighters blocked her path. Bolts flew wide, the Brindle tore open the bellies of three men and Ulf Mutter speared one commander herself. But the Angmarim were better organized than the goblins, and not as scared. Perhaps the goblins were in touch with something more primal, something that recognized hidden power. Whatever it was, the men of Bail Rova had forced a hastily build blockade across the town gate and manned it quickly and efficiently. Ulf Mutter smiled when she saw it, here was a chance, an opportunity, to show these men who she was.
Slowing to a stop, well within crossbow range, Ulf Mutter drew herself up straight and seemed to grow even taller as dark shadows swelled about her. She pointed with her spear as her face darkened and grew gaunt. She spoke three words, words pf power, words of the black speech, and five men fell dead, their hearts frozen within their chests. She paused a moment.
The men suddenly grew wary. The naked, emaciated, woman in front of them had just killed some of their strongest with mere words. There were no sorcerers in Bail Rova, no one who could combat this. The ones in the back, where their captains could not see them, were the first to drop their weapons and flee. In a matter of seconds they were all throwing down arms and running away, except for a few. Then, just as she was beginning to wonder, an enormous explosion rocked the goblin camp behind her. That was enough for the remaining men. They turned to run just as she started forward again. She went slowly at first, easily vaulting the barricade and trotting down the long ramp that led down onto the plains. It wasn’t long before she heard the laughter, the laughter of a mad man, or goblin, as the case may be.
As Ghash and his mount caught up with her Ulf Mutter began to run again, as swiftly as she could, down the dirt ramp and onto the vast, empty plain of the Malenhad swamps. She knew her course; the being she inhabited had been here before, sneaking about and discovering this and that. Down she swept onto the plains, following the course of the road to Bail Boglakh.
It was a long run, the road curved wide to the west, avoiding most of the swamps and skirting the hills. The final approach was up a long slope wide open to attack from the evil town above. It was approaching nightfall when she finally began the long climb into the multi-level town. Despite the steepness of the slope and the heat of the day, she did not slow her approach. Word traveled fast in Angmar, and the Tarkrips here knew better than to challenge The Mother of Wolves. They cowered at the side of the road as she drove past, not even flinching at the watcher stone placed at a narrow place in the road.
As she rounded the final turn and the town came into view she could see archers lining the high span under which she must run, and the great watcher stone behind it, powerful enough to cover the entire town and the canyon into which it was built with its evil aura. Her goal was beyond the town though.
She was headed straight through into the Orc camp beyond.
And so she ran, without pausing she ran straight under the bridge, past the small watcher stone that guarded it, through the courtyard, purposely passing close enough to touch the giant watcher stone that stood there, and on through, past two more watcher stones that guarded the town’s eastern entrance, and down into Mor Maudhúl and the Krahjarn encamped there. They too, had had word of her coming, though they had not expected her to push through to their camp.
In a sudden and confused rush of Orcs and Uruks the Krahjarn rallied themselves to form a close ring about Ulf Mutter and her two wargs as she entered their territory. She was fine with this, and stood silently, awaiting one worthy to speak with.
She felt his approach before she heard or saw it. The enormous Gorthorog bellowed as he came rushing forth. Ulf Mutter’s face darkened. This was not what she had expected from the Krahjarn, they were more intelligent than to try to cow her with mindless brute force. Coming behind him though were a pair of figures she considered might be worth her time, a dark, slouching Orc and a tall, dark Uruk. She awaited their approach, brooding on her dark thoughts.
It wasn’t long before what felt like the entire camp was there, silently watching her; warriors, archers, sorcerers, captains, even the giant Troll who marched back and forth in front of her inside the ever expanding ring made by his comrades, bellowing and smashing the ground with his great maces. Silently she waited until the stars began to peek out in the eastern sky.
“Silence beast, I did not come here to watch your pathetic display.”
Ronkûrz was genuinely surprised; no one had ever dared to speak to him like this before. For a moment he faltered and grew silent. Then, with a great, deafening bellow he rushed the woman and her companions. He would crush them beneath his feet.
Casually, almost flippantly, Ulf Mutter gestured at the Gorthorog who fell, mid stride, flat on his face and began to snore loudly through a now broken nose. Stepping around the giant body she approached the Uruk she had seen accompanying it earlier.
“I am Ulf Mutter. You are in charge here.” It was a statement of fact, not a question. The great Uruk simply folded his arms across his chest and glowered at her from the shade of his helmet.
“I am hunting a Golug who came this way recently. Perhaps you have heard something of him,” another statement.
Unfolding his arms he rested his hands on the hilt of his great, wicked, sword that stood, point down, in the earth before him. “Perhaps we have, perhaps we have not. What we HAVE heard of is a great pack of Wolves and Wargs that came pouring from Bail Rova yesterday. What can you tell me of them?”
Ulf Mutter stood silent a moment. Though she did not wish to bandy words she guessed that this was the way of it this time. These were no rabble of mere goblins; they were Krahjarn, strong of body and mind, the elite Orcs of Angmar. This one was strong willed and perceptive enough to know what he was dealing with.
“They are my children, who accompany me on the hunt. For now they seek out the Scara of Angmar to add to our numbers.”
In the long pause before his reply those present would later swear they saw a flickering shadow, pale in the hideous fading dusk, stretch forth from the woman’s body and grow like a billowing cloak above and about her. Distantly on the breeze they imagined they could hear the howling and yammering of her pack, leagues away already across the Rammas Deluon. Slowly at first, the wind began to pick up until a strong breeze was whipping her long hair about her gaunt features. A dangerous, feral, darkness crept into her eyes as she stared down the mighty chieftain.
“Who was this Golug then? And why did he come here where he is not welcome?” His stoicism in the face of her growing wrath was impressive.
“He is a thief and a murderer, as all filthy Golug are. This one travels with an old man who may keep a large bear as a pet. Another Golug, a witch-woman, and another Tark, a woman who pretends at knighthood go with them. I know not why they have come here, only that they have; I have tracked them here from Bree.”
The normally hot wind of Angmar began to grow cool as the rising clouds began to blot out the stars. Still Durbskút remained silent, contemplating the husk of a woman before him. There was power there, he could feel it, palpable and angry, old and determined. There was something else too, just at the edge of his vision, her spirit perhaps, dark and ominous, casting its shadow over everything in her presence. But he had never been able to see things like this before. Only the sorcerers had claimed to see such things, and he had always thought them foolish, and a bit touched. He was worried. He knew of the elf the woman spoke of. He and his companions had escaped capture just a few days ago. He was angry enough about it, heads had rolled.
But he was frightened of telling this emaciated woman that he had lost the Elf. He didn’t know what she wanted with it, he was sure it wasn’t pleasant, but he didn’t want to find out what happened to those who impeded her hunt either. So he debated; could he pass off a lie to her? Or would that just end in a fight? A fight he wasn’t so sure he could win.
As he stood defiantly he noticed Mamar creeping up behind the woman, and several of their defilers silently readying themselves for combat. Finally he shook his head, “Come, we should speak of this in my tent.” Raising his arm he gestured vaguely away to the south as he turned to walk away.
“I can feel his presence Durbskút, he was here.” Durbskút paused; he had not told her his name. In that moment both her Wargs turned to face Mamar and the defilers. The burn scarred goblin flourished a short spear and a small container of what looked to be blasting powder. “Your time is up Uruk, answer me. What happened to the Golug?”
Durbskút turned back, now his blood was up. He had not risen so far in the ranks by being rash, but it was the curse of his race that wisdom and reason were blotted out when angered. Growling fiercely he responded, “And who is Ulf Mutter that I must answer her!? Yes, the Golug was here! Now he is gone, as you shall be too!” With that he raised his wicked sword and charged, and as he did that so did the rest of his tribe.
Ulf Mutters vision went red, for a time she could not tell friend from foe, child from enemy. All was a red wash of rage. Power coursed through her limbs like lightening, lending her body strength it did not possess. Her spear flashed wickedly in the growing storm, lightening dancing along its edge, striking out into the mob. She was a whirlwind of death, striking, dodging, spinning away and striking again. Slash and pierce, the dance wore on until she came to, clouds roiling above her, Orc bodies piled at her feet.
And there amidst the ruin was her greatest child, the one she loved the most, the great brindle, dead. A ferocious burn, as from lightening, seared into his belly, burnt straight through. Far off was Ghash, cowering behind a boulder, hiding beneath his own injured mount.
A cold, empty pit opened up inside her. Once again she had lost the one she loved the most, only this time it was at her own hand. She could not accept this, it had been the Orcs. But more than the Orcs it had been the Golug, if he had never come here this never would have happened. Again her mind was blinded by anger, rage, frustration. She threw her head back and screamed.
It was a primal call, evil, furious. A scream of rage and frustration that echoed out across the landscape. The gathering storm broke, baleful, green, lightening split the sky and a black rain began to fall, lashing venomously at every living thing…
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#12457678 Jun 13, 2016 at 12:11 AM · Edited 3 years ago
Grandmaster
64 Posts
The Watching Stones appeared to advance toward the group as they rode, growing seemingly disproportionate to how they should. Soon they stood imposing over the four, and though they were still a ways off, the bound malevolent spirits already began to worm their ways into the company’s minds. “Steel yourselves,” cautioned Ramield, dismounting. “They will do anything they can to get you to turn back.” She got mixed reactions from the group: a solemn nod from Landion, a knowing grunt from Arohir, and a quizzical look from Gaellant. “Whatever they think will deter you the most: harm, fear, visions, lies. To some, an almost physical wall. They will do anything in their power, but that power is limited to what your mind gives it.”
“How many times have you faced these things? Are you immune then if you know their tricks so well?” her fellow huntress asked.
The elf shook her head. “No, I am only more prepared, but they also know me better.” She handed Gwaenor’s reigns to Landion. “Which means they will come at me with all they can. Just to be safe, please, if you could lead Gawenor to the other side.” Landion assented.

Ramield turned to face the stones. No matter how many times she had passed them, a sense of fear still encroached on her spirit as she approached them. Invoking the names of the Valar and pleading their protection, she stepped into the Watchers’ range of influence. Immediately, a word rang out: “Ereb.” She winced at the voice, booming and ominous, but it was for her alone and she alone heard it. Shaking her head, she rebuked the lie, taking slow, sure steps forward. “No,” she thought. She looked back at her companions who watched her, thinking also of Brywyn, Beongarn and the Knights, Vearra, Amelthia, Winterwolf and Ithiliarn, her comrades in the Golden Wood and all those she had labored with. “Not in the least.”
The watchers jeered. Images of the Knights flashed through her mind, all dead or dying, taken by old age of shadow. “You will be,” they retorted. Mentally, Ramield replaced the images with her own: family, Inayat, Merenind and Merenlind. “I will endure.”
Those too shall pass,” they boomed.
The sights of her family and friends on a ship with their backs toward her, of looking as through a window at three red-headed children who did not even know her name, came and faded. The voice returned, not loud and overpowering, but as a snakelike whisper in her ear.
Ereb ta Alanirant.”
“False!”
There was a flash as Ramield’s knives sliced the air in the direction of the voice. The elf blinked, breathing heavily, stunned for a moment as the echoes of her voice faded. She could sense the watchers’ derision, noticing that she had hardly moved from where she began. Steeling herself, she progressed purposely forward. Derision turned to anger. “You lead them to their deaths.”

Unable to stop herself, Ramield turned to her companions who had begun to follow her through. Landion clutched the two steeds reigns with white-knuckled fists. Arohir supported Gaellant who appeared to be having trouble walking, though his gaze was turned back the way they had come. To her eyes, they appeared haggard, covered with wounds, their skin being torn to shreds by invisible claws.
They chose this path; they decide their own fates,” she declared, banishing the image. She spun around to continue forward and came face to face…

with Ulfban.

The young huntress was clothed in her usual woodsman attire, appearing as she always had but for her countenance. Her once cheery, adventurous expression was twisted into a sinister and grotesque smile. Disturbingly, an arrow shaft protruded from her otherwise intact left eye, the fletching brushing Ramield’s temple. “What about me?” the woman asked, “Why do you get to decide my fate?” As she spoke, blood began to seep over and around her pierced eye. Ramield stumbled back a step, a look of horror taking over her normally expressionless face. Ulfban’s mouth curled into a mocking, nightmarish grin. “What’s wrong? Why don’t you finish what you started, finish me off? C’mon, kill me, effiriedin. You know it would be so easy for you, even easier with the state I’m in now. Look here, just like this…” Ramield raised her knives defensively as Ulfban raised her arm, but instead of striking out, the girl touched the arrow in her eye. Grasping the protrusion, she slowly twisted it back and forth, pushing it farther into her skull. Blood flowed from the socket like water, running down her arm, down her chest, soaking her left side before pooling around her feet, running into the cracks of the parched ground. Ramield stood frozen in place, her heartbeat pounding in her ears as the pool expanded while Ulfban laughed. “You don’t want to? But you might as well have already. Now I’m going to kill the fool elf and his friends, then the three you brought with you, then the Knights. Then I’m coming for you. You should have killed me when you had the chance; I might have been better off if you did. You’ve failed me,” she said with a jerking twist of her wrist, bringing a fresh gush of blood, “you’ll fail them,” another sharp twist, “your knights, your family, your friends, fail, Fail, FAIL!” Each new group and repetition brought another jarring twist of the arrow until the arrowhead scraped against the back of her skull.
Ramield’s arms slowly dropped limp at her sides. Ulfban raised her chin in distain. “What, no words of consolation, words of wisdom, defiance? No words at all? Pity, I thought you a better opponent than this; you were once at least. I’m surprised you haven’t tried to kill me; it’s one of the only things you’re good at since clearly your words failed to work on me before. Come on, kill me,” she taunted. “Kill me. Kill me!” With a cruel sneer, Ulfban wrenched the red arrow from her head, pulling flesh free with it, revealing a wicked black depth which poured forth blood and shadows. “Kill me! Kill me and send me to whatever afterlife awaits those of my kind that look like this on the inside!”

Ulfban’s shoulders shook with laughter. “Kill me. Kill me or turn back. No good and unwanted, kill me. Kill me, kill me, kill me. KILL M-“ Ulfban’s head reeled backward as Ramield’s fist connected with her chin. “Not if I can help it,” she replied, once again stone-faced. Spinning around the woman in a whirl, the elven huntress planted both of her blades squarely in the apparition’s back. “I may have failed you, and I may yet as you say, but you were sorely mistaken if you thought a mere stone could best me.” She pulled her blades free and kicked the thing before her to the ground into the pool of blood and ever-deepening darkness it exuded. As she turned to join her comrades on the other side, an unnerving sound proceeded from Ulfban’s image: laughter, but not as before. This laugh started quiet, sinister and mocking, but what sent a shiver through the elf’s spine was the tone of delightful glee.

The Watching Stones hissed and growled and howled and roared as she resolutely strode eastward, but through them all the laughter pierced Ramield. Even when all the others had faded when she passed beyond their realm of influence, that one sound echoed in the back of her mind.
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#12519396 Jul 05, 2016 at 10:58 PM
Knight
50 Posts
Silently she stood, letting the rain wash away her anger. It hurt; the rain was painful, sharp, like being stung by hundreds of bees. But in that pain was catharsis; rage, anger, frustration, pain, sorrow, slowly she deflated, sinking into herself. Before long the terrible Ulf Mutter was no longer, only a sad and tired girl who stood naked, shivering in the rain. Dropping the spear and falling to her knees she cried out in pain, not pain brought by the rain, or the lurid flashes of lightening, or the deafening thunder that roared about the hill like a dragons rage, but a pain of the soul. Ulf Mutter was exhausted, withdrawn, resting. In her absence the woman was free to feel again, free to feel the pain of her loss, the pain she had buried so deep inside her.

Her loss; was it really hers, did she own the loss of Hethan? Or were others also pained, what about Hethan herself? What despair drove her to make the choice she had? What depths of grief were so unfathomable that her spirit simply could not linger here anymore? These were questions the woman had never asked herself…

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Ghash stayed where he was, huddled behind a boulder, tending to his mount. He peeked at Ulf Mutter from beneath her mane. He was awestruck, never before had he witnessed something like what he had just seen. He was certain when they arrived that Ulf Mutter would strike some sort of deal with the Krahjarn. That she would have them aid her in the hunt. But he was wrong, and it had all gone bad so fast.

She had been speaking with the big one, and he had put her off. He charged her and she had screamed; the dark spirit manifested about her and she was a whirlwind of insanity and death. Her voice alone was enough to kill; her spear never seemed to leave her hand though he swore she had thrown it a hundred times. As the fight wore on she didn’t tire, didn’t slow, she only seemed to grow more ferocious with every death. Clouds began to gather above them and soon he swore she was causing the lightening to strike where she would. It didn’t shoot from her spear but it would crash wherever she pointed. One blast had thrown him and his mount clear of the fray and it was then that he knew better than to be seen again. He had hauled his precious, loyal mount behind the rock and cowered until it was over.

Then, when it was all over, when all the Krahjarn were dead, she just fell down and started crying. Ghash knew better, the rain was burning, it hurt. But he wasn’t moving, not until he KNEW she wouldn’t end him. He stayed put, cowering under the matted fur of his mount, and waited.

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Arms hanging limply at her side Ulfban threw her head back and cried, until
now she had not allowed herself to feel sadness. Grief had tore open a gaping wound in her spirit and she had filled it with rage, poisoning herself to the truth she knew. Into that wound a spirit had crept; old, dark, powerful and malevolent it had poisoned her mind, whispering madness to her until she had accepted its lies for truth. Tainted by the darkness she was able to see the shadow, the spirits of the eldar were visible to her, as were the darker spirits of the land she now found herself in. She could feel a will bending towards her, a great eye from far away was watching her, curious. But she didn’t care, all she had was her grief, she refused to turn and look. Instead she held her arms up to the furious sky and called in a weak, tired voice. She was tired, so tired.

“Elenath, goheno nin. Le annon veleth nín, gin iallon natho nin.”

And then she collapsed, exhausted and spent.

It was a long time before Ghash crept from under his mount and reverentially picked her up. He was shocked at how light she was, nothing but sinew and bones with dry skin stretched taught as a drum over it all. He didn’t know what she had said at the end, he supposed it was some elvish curse

He tied her to his mount and slowly led her away from the carnage. Out the southern gate he led her, down into the Malenhad, following the eastern shore of Lake Duvuinen, marching into the night. He only had a vague idea where he was going. For now he just wanted to get as far away from Mor Maudhul as he could, just in case.

After an hour or so he found a relatively sheltered pile of mud, something had burrowed into it and formed a sheltered cave. He hauled out inside it and settled Ulf Mutter against a wall as best he could before tending to his mount. Carefully he tangled her matted fur, picking out pests and salving her wounds with a reeking concoction of strong liquor and the sulfurous mud the area was so plentiful in. After some debate he decided he could risk a fire, nothing would be out moving tonight…
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#12647257 Aug 23, 2016 at 04:38 AM
Grandmaster
64 Posts
The four stopped on the other side of the Watchers, recovering. Gaellant sat, swished some water around her mouth and spat it out. Arohir gave her a pat on the back, but his eyes were still turned westward. Landion was already atop his horse, and while the color was returning to his face, his expression was hollow. Ramiels sat down, letting out a long-held breath. Her thoughts wandered, skirting various possibilities. After a while, she looked down, realizing she had been turning over Ulfban’s shell in her hand. She ran a finger along one of its ridges and down its edge. “Do you miss her, Hethan? Are your thoughts with us? Are you at peace?”
Two scenes juxtaposed in her mind:

To the ends of the earth and behind the stars I will scourge him…Him and all those who protect him.”
“Help me Ramield…”


Ramield closed her hand around the stone and held it to her chest. She began to put the shell away but stopped halfway to the pouch. Going to her saddlebags, she produced a thing leather cord and secured the shell to it.
“What did you see out there?” asked Gaellant, “It looked as if you killed something.”
“I did.”
“What manner of creature was it?”
“Something that I hope does not exist.”
Gaellant looked as if she were about to probe further, but thought better of it, holding a hand up in concession. “Fine. How about you, elf?” Landion looked down at her and merely shook his head.
Having finished her project, Ramield put her head through the looped leather cord, tightening it around her neck so the shell rested just below her collar bones. “We should get moving again. Just-“ she looked at the sky. “We should head north first.” Landion looked northward, then to Ramield with a confused look. “The cliffs?” Ramield nodded in response, confirming her surety but doing nothing to help with his confusion.
Gaellant used Arohir’s shoulder to help herself up. “Well, since you weren’t the one whose insides were in upheaval,” she told him with a smirk, “you can help me onto my horse.” Arohir shrugged without objection, giving the woman a hand. Meanwhile, Ramield who had already mounted, put her hood up. The acrid smell she had begun to sense was growing stronger, carried from the east on the building storm winds.

Gwaenor stamped his foot, eager to set out. He knew his master well enough now to feel her anxiousness when no one else could sense it. It was rare; it made him want to bolt. A gentle hand and soft words calmed his heart and settled his mind. Despite the soothing words, when she commanded him onward, her desire for haste was evident and his hooves carried them swiftly across the wastes.
As the party neared the cliffs, sheets of stinging black rain fell from the sky, moving from east to west. This spurred the horses on even faster until they nearly ran into the cliffs. The four and their steeds pressed up against the sheltering stone face. Gaellant scowled, rubbing her arms. “Tsh, and here I though those statues would be the last barrier between us and our quarry. Now what do we do?”
“Just wait it out, I suppose,” muttered Arohir. The rain did not last overlong, and went as suddenly as it came.

A mournful cry followed the rain, a pleading prayer. Ramield touched the shell. “Hethan, I know not if her words or our thoughts reach you. Your sister needs you now more than ever.” She spurred Gwaenor on at a canter, carefully watching their surroundings. Stopping just before the walled orc camp, she dismounted. She couldn’t hear the commotion that should be coming from it, the usual clashing, cursing, and vile noises that usually proceeded from such a place. Only the faintest of sounds reached her ears. Even so, she still felt it best to scout it out. She stayed close the earthen rise as she rounded it to get a look at the guards only to find that there were none. The gate was open, with no sign of attack save days old tracks of a sizable number of feet leaving the camp in pursuit of something. She waved the others forward as she carefully approached the gate to look inside. Arohir whispered, “It smells like someone is cooking something big in there.
After a look inside, Ramield could see why she heard nothing. She walked slowly into the camp, taking in everything. The scent of roasting meat Arohir had smelled came from the seared flesh and fur of orc and warg. Bodies lay strewn throughout the camp, but largely in one circle, the epicenter of a great battle from which ran small rivers of blood. Claw marks gouged the ground, most warg and wolf sized; however, one set, too large to be either and fading with age, concerned her. Seeking out the quiet whimper she heard when she neared the camp, she found a twisted, shivering orc, draped in vile charms and clinging to half of a broken staff. It babbled incoherently about death incarnate, the spirit of night and rage and pain, of tearing and shrieking and striking and fear. Landion came up beside her, posing a question to her with a look. She shook her head; the sniveling thing would be of no use to them. Nodding, Landion drew his sword as Ramield turned to investigate the rest of the camp, striking down the wretched thing with an apathetic stroke.

The captain’s tent had little of use for her. She quickly scanned the maps and papers she found, seeking any indication of a planned attack on the lands to the south or anything else that might help them in the future. Most, she tore until there was no chance of reconstructing them. Two maps she claimed, and three orders. One chest full of older papers, off to the side but not forgotten, produced a poster with a face similar to one she had come to know, a younger version of Acurith, with writing beneath in both the tongue of the Angmarim and Westron. She scanned the text, folding the parchment and putting it with the rest of those she was taking with her.

Rounding the back of the tent, she noted the large stake in the ground which still bore the stain of days old dried blood. A small brown sliver caught her eye. She stooped to pick up the thing which seemed out of place, for indeed it was far from where it should be. The strip of elven leather, torn away by some vile device and darkened with blood, belonged to Zargodon. She scanned the surroundings with new eyes. Things which seemed odd before now openly gave her their story.

She held up the little leather strip as she approached the center of camp again. Gaellant was picking up the spear, but shivered and dropped it, looking at it with apprehension. She noticed Ramield and gave her a quizzical look. “What’s that?”
“Zargodon was here, as were his companions. Whether they are still alive, I don’t know, but it appears that Zargodon was there and Leothross and the others were able to retrieve him. They may have been pursued out, but I will have to look at those tracks again with this in mind to determine that. If there are bear tracks with the others, I fear the worst.”
Gaellant stepped out of the circle of bodies, having to trample on some of the corpses to do so. “Well, they’re not our mission now, right? We have our own problems to worry about.”
“Indeed,” replied Ramield, stepping into the circle. As the darkness of dusk began to overtake them, she took up the spear which sent a shiver up her spine. “Though this has not put us off track. Ulfban was carrying this when she passed us in the western Malenhad.” She turned in place, examining the bodies. “Something happened here, I don’t know what, that broke her. This could mean that the person of Ulf Mutter in her has died out, or that she has grown even stronger, or even something stranger than all that. What I do know is that it was Ulfban who stood here and created this carnage.” She looked at the spear, holding it far from herself. “This is here and she is not, so that may be a good sign. Still, I’d rather not have anything associated with Ulf Mutter exist if we are to confront her again. We should-“
Arohir roughly took the spear from her hands and stalked over to the wall, bracing it and giving it a sound kick. A rumble sounded, but the spear held. “Arohir,” Ramield called with a cautioning tone. With a grunt, he kicked it again, producing a louder rumble as the spear cracked. “Arohir!” barked Ramield. With a yell, Arohir kicked it a third time. A peal of thunder sounded as the spear broke in two. The ranger was red-faced and breathing heavily. “Arohir, calm yourself.” Ramield had closed the distance and stood, gripping his arm.
He wheeled around to face her. “What? You were about to say we should destroy the thing, so now it’s done.”
“Yes, but we need to be careful. We don’t know what we face here.” Ramield remained expressionless at his accusing glare.
“Whatever. I just don’t want that witch and whatever she did here to turn on my kin, and if that could have any part in this…this whatever, then I’ve just eliminated that threat.” He tried to pull away, but Ramield’s grip had tightened on the word “witch.”
“You have seen men enthralled by the spirits of the dead as well as I, ranger. Do not put this girl in the same class as the servants of shadow.”
Arohir stared her down. “Fine,” he surrendered, though the dark tone remained in his voice and expression. As Ramield loosened her grip, he wrenched his arm away, walking back to his horse. “Let’s just go. The sooner we’re done here, the sooner I can get back to my people.” Ramield watched him go, her gaze pausing on Gaellant who looked conflicted. She turned, carrying two torches she’d found, and followed after Arohir. Landion looked to Ramield’s leadership and she nodded toward the gate.
As the others prepared to leave, Ramield took the two halves of the spear. Taking a deep breath, she launched the top half over the northern wall. The bottom half, she took to the ridge and threw southward into one of the pools.

At the gate, Gaellant was examining the surrounding ground. She pointed to a spot at her feet in the soft mud at the edge of one of the pools. “Seems your friend and his bear must’ve gone that way.” Ramield nodded, relieved that they were not in the same direction as the larger number of old tracks. Gaellant obliterated the print and continued, pointing at another set in the dust. “These ones are odd. There are a few recent ones, fleeing orcs no doubt, but this pair walked out of here, a goblin and a warg I believe.” Ramield joined her in examining the tracks. “Indeed,” she replied, “and with no barefoot human tracks leading from here, that’s our best bet. We’re close.”
The prints disappeared after a short ways, and there would have been very little chance of following them in the darkness regardless, but the group rode on in the general direction they had started in. Half an hour in, Ramield called for Gaellant to stop and rode ahead of the torch-bearing woman, confirming her suspicions. In the distance, the faint glimmer of the light of a fire could be seen. She motioned for the others to be quiet as she silently guided Gwaenor over the dark landscape. When they were near, she dismounted, the others following suit. She had already decided how she wanted to handle this, giving instructions in hushed tones. “Landion, Arohir, I need you two to stay outside, here ideally. Don’t let anyone in, and if the goblin or his warg come out, kill them. Gaellant, come with me. I would like you to stay just outside that cave, out of sight, but keep your bow at the ready. I may call you in, but until then do not let yourself be seen. The smoke should mask our smell from the warg.” She looked around at the group. “The last time she saw me, I was alone. Let’s let her keep believing that.” Landion nodded; Gaellant hesitated before doing the same. Arohir planted his torch in the ground and turned to face their surroundings.

Ramield motioned to Gaellant who followed her. The woman paused a ways from the cave entrance. Hearing her stop, Ramield turned. Gaellant whispered, far too soft for any human to hear, but knowing it would reach Ramield’s ears. “Why do you not have the men waiting outside the cave as well? We could all just as easily guard from here.”
Ramield returned to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. “I am concerned about Arohir. Landion was an easy choice for that since seeing a male elf is probably the last thing she needs right now. It may set her off. Besides, having them farther out means we will have more warning if something approaches.” Gaellant’s mouth twisted in a concerned expression, but she nodded understandingly. Ramield offered her a half smile. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Nocking one arrow and readying a second, she approached the cave mouth. She stood there, listening. Three sounds of breathing emanated from the cave: one low and rumbling, likely the warg; one raspy, the goblin; and one so faint it was almost not there. If the last belonged to Ulfban, the elf was sure she would likely not have to worry about the woman at the moment. She hoped she would be quick enough to avoid a melee confrontation in the close quarters. Taking a slow, silent breath, she stepped in front of the cave mouth, instantly identified the warg, and sent two arrows in quick succession at its head.
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#12684880 Sep 06, 2016 at 12:53 AM · Edited 3 years ago
High Nine Ad...
34 Posts
Allabeth stands high above Nan Gurth, looking north over the desolate maze of sharp rocks. A breeze comes up from the south, gently brushing past her. She smiles and removes her helmet, letting her long golden hair fall around her shoulders, catching in the wind and blowing around her face. The southerly wind was refreshing. It smelt less of death and decay than other winds in this dark land. The elven woman looks down, and kicks the corpse of a Scara over the edge of the cliff, watching it tumble down to be impaled on a rock far beneath her.

Her gaze rises, settling on Barad Gularan, the high tower at the centre of Nan Gurth. The night would shroud the tower for any mortal, but Allabeth’s elven eyes saw the tower as if it was but a dark day. She watches the lights flicker in the windows and arrow slits that litter the tower, a sick feeling rising in her stomach as she imagines the orcs and dark men feasting within.

She turns and looks away from the tower, trying to take her mind from such thoughts, and sends her gaze south. In her mind’s eye she looks not upon the jagged hills and valleys of Gorothlad, but on Rivendell. She thinks of Imladris and her time there. She had never been happy there, but there had been peace. She sighs, and shakes her head, ridding the doubt from her mind. This personal war against the servants of Morgoth had given her a reason to be. A reason to stay in Middle-Earth before taking the straight road.

Then there was light. Bright green light illuminating the world, blinding her momentarily. Then crash. The thunder followed the lightning almost instantly.

The wind began to pick up howling like a thousand wolves around her. But no… that wasn’t just the wind. Allabeth leans into the ferocious gale, her hair whipping around her face as she makes her way away from the cliff edge towards her small camp nearby. She would don her helmet, knowing of only one course of action she could take.

Allabeth fights against the wind to get to her steed, a silver mare named Limlhinn. The tall steed whinnies her displeasure at the weather and scent of wargs on the wind, but allows Allabeth to climb up and guide her south. The two fight the wind, pushing south when suddenly a rain begins to fall. All rain in Angmar smelt of death, but this was worse. It bit into their skin viciously, coming down at a steep angle.

Before long, Allabeth decides to leave Limlhinn in a small sheltered cove, hidden and out of sight. She hopes it’s enough to keep the mare from danger as she makes her way on foot southwards into the morning.

The sun would just be passing over the Misty Mountains to the east when Allabeth reaches Maethad, where the howling seems to have originated. A cold light fills the land as she stealthily moves from one bush to another for cover, keeping low and in valleys when she can to avoid the warg and orc scouts.

She’d reach the high walls of rock that protect the bowl of Morthad, looking for the hidden path up their sheer face. On reaching the path, the would hide behind one of the many rocks that litter the mountains and wait. She would draw Draugruitha, her spear that held so many memories for her. Every time she wields it, she remembers ancient battles of the past. The weapon is one of sorrow, yet is all the deadlier for it. She would wait for a while, maybe twenty minutes, half an hour, she wasn’t sure. Her eyes would be peeled as she looks out from her hiding spot, checking she wasn’t being followed. When enough time had passed, she would make her slow way up the steep rocky path.

After more than an hour’s climbing, she would have reached the top, keeping low and away from the edge. She would lie down on her stomach, her round shield slung across her back. She’d crawl forward, looking out over the bowl of Maethad to find the source of all the howling.

For a moment she’d forget to breathe. The writhing mass of fur and flesh below her was enough to ravage the southern lands. All that innocent life. Gone. Trampled beneath the paw and boot of warg and orc. Gone were the days when armies comprised of hundreds of thousands. This was great force by today’s reckoning, and it couldn’t be allowed to travel south.

And so Allabeth began her descent down the rock face once more, lightly running down the path and barely disturbing the gravel. As she descends, she keeps on a look out below her in Gorthlad for any scouts. It’s not long before she has chosen a target for her first attack.

The large beast had dark red fur, littered with scar marks from previous battles and bouts. It was missing an ear and had clearly been the alpha in its pack before joining the new pack under Ulf-mutter. As far as Allabeth was concerned, it was perfect. It didn’t take long for her to formulate a plan as she tracked the beast from a distance as it wandered to the North of Maethad. Other scouts where abound, but that was part of her plan.

So she got closer. Close enough for the monster to catch her scent. As he lifted his snout, sniffing the air to identify the new smell, she sprung from her hiding spot. A javelin quickly leaves her hand, embedding into the beast’s flank causing it to howl with pain and rage. What was this dark armoured foe to challenge him? He spun to face her howling for his pack to come to his aid.

His pack came. And they howled with anger and fear. There was no sign of any foe, only a dying body of an alpha warg bleeding out in the dirt. It was no way for one so proud and mighty to die. Afraid in the mud.
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#12716152 Sep 18, 2016 at 05:47 AM · Edited 3 years ago
Knight
50 Posts
Fire was a religious experience to Ghash, fire was power, fire was life. He had always been small, even for a Goblin. Life as a small Goblin child was not easy; he was abused viciously and taken advantage of every day of his young life. It wasn’t long before he learned to skulk in the shadows and strike from behind with a wicked dagger. But even being savage and sneaky wasn’t enough to save you from larger Goblins or Orcs.
Then, one day in the dank caverns where he had been spawned, they had a visitor. It was the day that changed his life. Fear was a weapon in the Dark Lord’s service. It was wielded by those who had the power and authority to do so. In the Goblin and Orc camps that mostly meant brute force, a special few were learned in the sorcerous arts, they, the Defilers, were most feared. But even they feared the Wraiths. Usually they stalked unseen, their presence felt in a ghostly chill or a scream that could stop hearts cold. But on rare occasion they showed their selves, cloaked in grey tatters, carrying a naked, frosted blade.

On that day, when Ghash was still young, even the largest brutes cowered in the shadows with him. The Defilers only went out to greet the Lithul because someone had to. Everyone stood in awe of the enormous Uruks who flanked and followed the Lithul everywhere it went, but Ghash was the only one to notice how the Wraith avoided even the smallest torches. Perhaps it was because fire would burn away the lies they cloaked themselves in, perhaps it was because fire could actually harm them, spirit beings that they were. It did not matter to Ghash, he had learned a secret, and secrets were power too.

The next time it visited, Ghash summoned all his courage and, bolstered by a small torch, stood defiantly in the path of the Lithul. He was quaking in his boots, but he stood his ground. The Uruk sentinels were surprised with the little goblin, everyone else was in awe. Even the Defilers stayed hiding in the shadows; if Ghash was stupid enough to greet the Wraith and get himself killed so much the better, at least they wouldn’t have to.
The Wraith stopped in its tracks and looked about in the weary way they do. It raised its sword and moved forward but Ghash simply raised his torch and stood his ground. It stopped again, then spoke. The thing about Wraiths speaking is that everyone else only hears screeching. The thin, high, voice pierced through to Ghash though and he stood rooted in terror. It congratulated him on his bravery and bade him accompany it. It was a gamble, but he won.

From that day forward he was known as Ghash, fire in the black speech. His previous life and name became forgotten. He was a legend in his home caverns and when he returned years later it was armed with the knowledge and power of fire and blasting powder. His return wasn’t for long though. He snuck in; slinking through the shadows and killing his old enemies with a liquid fire that, once caught, could not be put out. He would pour it on them in their sleep then strike a dwarf fire stick and light them, hurrying into the shadows as they woke and began to scream.

Everyone knew it was Ghash, and soon he was feared far and wide as a wielder of fire. That he had been burnt severely many times and now had a puckered, evil, look about him only helped his reputation. He worked hard and rose through the ranks, choosing his jobs and moving about as he desired. He kept a Warg for quick transportation and they soon became fast companions, a fearsome duo in battle. Finally he ended up in Nan Wathren, still sneaking and striking from the shadows. He lusted after the black fire, he worshipped it. Fire was power and the black fire was even more powerful, it was unstable and could explode at the smallest spark. It would even ignite if it got too hot out. It was never mixed until it was ready to be used and the secret ingredient was kept under lock and guard. Ghash never figured it out.

Until now… Ghash mused as Ulf Mutter growled and tossed in her sleep. Something was bothering her and, as she was possessed by a wraith, that couldn’t mean anything good. He sat silently grinding his ingredients and mixing his powder. The Sulphur from Lake Duvuinen seemed to possess some special qualities, some unstable qualities. He would mix a tiny amount and toss it into the small fire, delighting in the spark and flash, inhaling the smoke and reveling in it. A little more, a little less, change the formula, tweaking and experimenting until; with just a pinch he got a small, black explosion, large enough to singe his hair, but not so large as to wake Ulf Mutter. His mount growled and shifted but that was all. Smiling to himself Ghash mixed enough to fill a few small pouches, and place them into a larger bag. Ceramic or metal grenades would have been better but he didn’t have any. Tucking the bag under his back for support he leaned against his Wargs belly and, scratching her under the chin, fell fast asleep.

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Ulf Mutter was uneasy in her sleep; she growled and shifted about, like a wolf having bad dreams. Someone had stolen something from her; stolen and destroyed something that was hers. It made her angry. Even more so since she could see what had happened but she could not wake the mortal vessel she inhabited, and could not manifest herself as others could. She was not allowed to do that. She could see the Golug and Tarks approaching. She was angry, so angry. This vessel was strong, but it had its limits. Given time it would be subsumed into the shadow and she could manifest physically if she chose. But that time was not yet ripe. So all she could do was silently rage.

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Ghash started up at the sound of the bow. In the mouth of the little mud cave was the filthy Golug that had hunted them all the way from Dol Dinen. In an instant he took it all in; a second arrow left her string and buried itself in his mounts remaining eye. She was limp, dead. A dark thought flickered in his mind, a moment’s furtive desperation. If his mount had to die so would the Golug, and himself if the Dark Lord willed it.

Jumping up he screeched and leaped forward dragging his bag as he did. As he stepped into the small fire he slammed the bag down at his feet… the heat and violence were too much for the powder contained therein and it immediately exploded. Ghash was wreathed in a black flame, a hellish sight. The explosion threw him in the direction he was already headed, straight at the Golug. He had naught left to fight with, a burning, frenzied demon in the shape of a goblin.

Fire was a religious experience to Ghash and he was at the height of ecstasy. He felt empowered, free from danger and pain, no longer having to lurk in the shadows. He threw himself at the Golug and attacked with claw and fang, fire and ferocity. He was crazed, mad with religion; a martyr to his cause, and the only thing that could stop him was death.
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#12730725 Sep 23, 2016 at 05:52 AM · Edited 3 years ago
Knight
50 Posts
RAGE! ANGER! FEAR, FIRE, FOES!

His pack howled in rage. Here was their Alpha, breathing his last into the mud. Quickly they scattered about sniffing for any clue, obliterating any tracks the elf may have left. With one last breath he heaved himself up on his front legs and gave a mighty, tree shaking howl. “Foes, to the hunt.” Then he collapsed, dead in the mud.

Others heard his howl and came running. Word spread and the great bowl of Maethad emptied as swarms of wolves and Wargs spread out looking for the one insolent enough to come challenge them. It wasn’t long before the scent was caught and the whole pack, hundreds strong, began the chase.
They hadn’t gone far though before Raugzok and Grish called the whole pack to a halt. “Ulf Mutter commanded us to wait here. So we will wait.”
“But what of the Golug; it killed our brother.”

“His pack may hunt it. The rest of us stay here. Find the Scara, give them Ulf Mutters call. If they ignore it, kill them.”

The pack didn’t like this. They were wolves, bred for the hunt. There was growling and threatening, but the big Wargs were powerful, and Ulf Mutters word was law. After some snarling and skulking they turned about and headed back to Maethad. Runners were sent out to seek for the Scara and the dead alpha’s pack, in a cold fury, went to hunt their brother’s murderer.
Back at the bowl the Orcs were wondering what had happened. There was a great howl and then, in an instant it seemed, all the wolves got up and ran off. For the better part of the night they debated what had happened. Then, as sudden as they had gone, the wolves came rushing back in, but now they were agitated, angry, riled up.

Whereas before there had been some semblance of order, the largest wargs lying in high places and watching over everyone else. Now there was chaos, fighting, an electric energy, like a storm waiting to explode…
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#12735036 Sep 25, 2016 at 01:12 AM · Edited 3 years ago
High Nine Ad...
34 Posts
Allabeth peers out of the dell, the brambles around her providing cover. She looks down into the small valley below, tracking the warg pack from afar. They were on her trail, as she knew they would be. As they pass her hiding spot she prepares herself, readying her weapons. She makes her way down behind them, following them from enough of a distance that they don’t catch her scent.

The warg pack makes its way through the valley, following her scent from earlier. She had back tracked, turning in a wide loop to get behind the pursuing wargs, now using her position to follow them. Javelin in one hand, and shield in the other, she advances behind them carefully.

The wargs enter a small gully, the bare rock rising up either side, sparse trees dotting the landscape. Allabeth steels herself, closing in slowly.

Suddenly she hears multiple twangs, almost like bowstrings, then twigs and sticks snapping. Wargs yelp as sharpened stakes bury themselves into flesh. The wargs panic, trying to get away from the traps, but trip off more traps. Bent back saplings ping back, sharpened stakes attached to them penetrating the wargs. Allabeth springs forward, launching a javelin into the pack of wargs. It embeds into the neck of one of the undamaged beasts, killing it. The next was javelin took out another. The last two uninjured wargs spin, facing Allabeth and howling as the pounce at her.

Allabeth charges into the onslaught, meeting them with a war cry of her own. Just before meeting the wargs, she darts to her right, pushing the warg in front of her away with her shield. As it lands to her side, she buries Draugritha into its chest. The other warg pushes past its brother, lunging at her. She twists to avoid it, but a paw catches her shoulder, knocking her backwards. Though it doesn’t damage her shoulder, not penetrating her armour, she does take a couple of steps backwards to regain her balance. The warg resumes its onslaught, lunging for her with a snarl. She jumps back, thrusting out with her spear into its neck. Blood gushes out, spraying her as the warg drops, it’s body still quivering.

Allabeth straightens up, observing the carnage around her. She moves through, checking the bodies for signs of life. A couple of the beasts that were caught in the initial traps lie pinned, bleeding out as they whimper quietly. She finishes them off with the blade of her spear in their throats. She looks out at the land as she cleans her weapons.

Once that was done, she goes about her work on the bodies. She sharpens sticks, burying them upright in the dirt, making a circle with them. She then takes her hatchet, going through the bodies one by one as she hacks off the beasts’ heads and places them on the sticks, facing outwards. Once the gruesome work is done, she sets off, finding somewhere to hunker down for the night.
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