Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Lucian
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Minas Tirith


Prince Galador II strode the outer wall of the great city of Minas Tirith, looking out across the Pelennor, but not toward the south and east. Instead, he looked to the north. The High King's call had been sent out many days ago, and the representatives would surely be arriving soon. A nagging voice at the back of his mind kept worrying about whether or not said representatives could make it to the city without being waylaid. Osgiliath was still firmly in Gondor's control, but the forces that attacked Minas Ithil were dangerous and cunning, not just an orc warband, but treacherous men from the south, and monstrosities that Galador had only ever heard about in tales.

As he paced the wall in his white plate, adorned with the symbol of the Silver Swan, the common soldiery and guardsmen of Gondor nodded or saluted as he passed. He returned these gestures absently, his mind wandering. On one of his laps, he was stopped short as he noticed a small speck crawling along the stones to his side. He leaned down to investigate the insect, more as a way to distract himself from his incessant musings than anything else. The tiny thing crawled on eight legs, skittering across the stones until he bent over it, and it froze, staring up at him with several beady eyes. A spider. He was reminded of the forces he and his knights had encountered as they secured the escape of those innocents fleeing Minas Ithil.

His face turned grim, his brow furrowing and his mouth puckering ever-so-slightly. The main force of that army had been eight-legged monstrosities. Somehow, the men of Harad had apparently learned to tame them. Perhaps it had been the orcs who remained roaming the mountains which had done the deed. It didn't much matter, he thought. What did matter was the freedom of movement of the enemy with such creatures in their employ. A small swarm of the things could pass stealthily by Osgiliath's defenses, slink across the fields, and ambush any of the representatives who might be coming from the north or east. The thought was interrupted as the spider interrupted the staring contest with the man, and began to scurry away.

A white gauntleted fist came down on the thing, killing it instantly, and Galador rose, now determined to ensure the safe passage of the envoys of the free peoples lest his fears prove well-founded. Things moved rather quickly after he left the wall. The Knights of Dol Amroth were gathered, and within an hour were geared for patrol, and combat if necessary. Galador himself took point as they rode from the great gates of the White City, and out toward the north.

Somewhere in Near Harad


Two men rode swiftly across the sun-dried plains as they began to give way to the more lush lands of Gondor. One of the men, a seemingly old man on a dapple-gray mare with a braided beard, wore a blue cloak which trailed behind him as the two rode. The hood of the old man's cloak remained inexplicably untouched by the wind, despite the speed at which their horses were running. Abruptly, an arrow stuck into the old man's cloak. The old man heard the other rider yell something in the language of the south. He thought he recognized a challenge or a warning in the tone, but couldn't make out the words above the thunder of the horses hooves. In an attempt to identify the threat, the cloaked man hunched in his saddle, and scanned the scruffy foliage thirty meters to the right. The obvious place for the archer to be. He saw movement, but couldn't make it out. He cut his horse to the right, and moved toward the brush, drawing from his saddle a quarterstaff of silver metal with a blue orb secured to the top. As the old man did this, the orb began to glow a deep orange, and then red. He held it to side, and the orb began to drip little motes of fire as he rode toward his attacker.

Behind the man in blue, the other man, in his ornate riding clothes and blue headscarf, drew his scimitar and followed the charge, though at a lesser pace. As the man with the staff neared the dead brush the ambusher was hiding in, he whipped the staff around, the bits of liquid fire that had accumulated at the tip suddenly flying of toward the brush. It was a small flame, but the shrubbery was dry and dead, and quite flammable. It caught quickly, and a gruff voice was heard shrieking in black speech. "Ghash! Ghash agh-!" The younger man didn't hear the rest. As the orc left it's swiftly-burning hideaway, the man with the scimitar urged his steed on faster. The fleeing orc took one look behind him to see the rider in all his fearsome glory, scimitar raised, horse wide-eyed, and then the blade came down, relieving the orc of it's head.

Suddenly, a call went up to their north and east. A shrill orc-horn, followed by rough calls in that foulest of tongues, and then the howling of great wolves. The younger man called out to his elder,

"He was merely a scout, Pallando. They were waiting in ambush. It seems Alatar knew we would come this way." He said. The wizard trotted his horse close to the younger man's.

"Of course he knew. This was the only option truly open to us. Alatar may be a traitor, but remember, he is no fool." Pallando said, his brow furrowing in some unspoken thought as he replaced his staff in his saddlebag.

"But what do we do now? They've wargs, by the sound of it. They will be on us soon. Our horses have been riding too hard and for too long. Shall we kill as many as we can before we die?" The younger man said, making a point to hoist his steel, rather than sheathe it.

"No, Darm. We must reach Minas Tirith. If we can make it to Osgilliath, then the soldiery of Gondor will drive off our pursuers." As the blue wizard spoke, he leaned down to his gray's ear and whispered something. The horse neighed and shook it's head, suddenly much more energetic. When the wizard had worked this magic for Darm's horse, the two rode away as fast as possible, heading north-west toward Osgilliath, and refuge. Behind them, the howls and taunts of their foul tag-along harried their every gallop. The wizard Pallando hunched in his saddle more and more, the exhaustion of the ride and the working of so much magic having visibly weakened him. He began to truly wonder whether they would make it to Osgilliath or not.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Verse Zero
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Pelennor Fields

The heavy thunder of horses moved down the north road like a veritable storm head on the horizon. Sweeping across the land, from Anorien, moving South swiftly. Steeds of pure snow and deepest night. Their hides unblemished and immaculate despite the ardors of traveling across country. Their mane's flowed like silk flapping in the wind. The whipping of their tails like the trailing clouds of an approaching rain shower. The lead rider wore garb of black and dark forest green. Her armor was black, edged in gold with fine filigree, though it was not actual gold. Simply pained as such. Art even for instruments of war. Her clothes where soft, tailor made, but capable of surviving a rugged life style. Practical. That is what she would have said. For the lead rider, a woman, possessing a face most fair matched the movements of her steed with extreme proficiency. Horse and rider were one. Her black leather boots firmly in their stirrups. A pair of elven daggers hung in sheath's posterior to her sword which hung on her hip. A quiver and bow at her back. A helmet dangled from the side of her saddle. Her saddle bags snug in fine brown leather, but plain and unadorned. Flowing in the breeze like a falling comet were fierce golden locks of hair. Like fresh spun gold thread they trailed behind her beautiful face. Eyes shining like Silmarils themselves.

Behind her trailed a small group of elven riders wearing grey-blue cloaks in golden armor. Only four, one bearing a banner for the Greyhavens of Lindon. Two bore spears while the other had a bow and quiver strapped to their back. She had originally pleaded to travel alone. She preferred it after all. But at the urging of Cirdan, who had sent her in his stead, for the longing of the Sea was strong in him bade that she travel with a small party. Perhaps he knew that dark powers stirred? The lead rider could not guess.

"Altariel. Riders from the city." The elf bearing the banner indicated with a point of the small standard. Altariel looked off, her elf-sight clearly making out the riders. Their gallant steeds, polished armor, and the Swan sigil. Knights of Dol Amroth. The Prince of that fief was here it seems. At current pace they would intersect. No doubt watchers high up in Minas Tirith had noted the arrival of riders coming from the North. No doubt messages from sentries had noted riders passing through Anorien. They had made no attempt to hide from the eyes of Gondor. Friends and allies.

Altariel shifted and her steed maneuvered gracefully in the direction of the Gondorian patrol. Moving at a direct course to meet them. The other four elven riders formed up alongside their leader. It was a direct intercept course. No doubt the riders could now make out the five other riders coming directly at them!

Still, given the distance, it took several minutes for the two parties to actually become close. Altariel leant down and whispered into her steed's ear. Almost immediately the pace of the elven riders began to slow. Like the horses themselves knew how to approach without direction of the rider. The two parties met with the elves deferring to Altariel and thus remained silent.

Altariel lowered her head, raised her right hand to her heart, and from her lips came a voice like a siren. Sweet, possibly bordering sultry for her tone was that of strength and not like a passive maiden, honey to the ears. Nor did her stature lesson among Knights such as these. Standing at 6ft 3inches she kept her shoulders squared and back straight. Respectful, yet not submissive to those she was meeting.

"Aiya Meldor." Greetings friends. Lowering her hand she looked at the lead rider. A man fair of face, the blood of Numenor in him, none other than Galador II of Dol Amroth!

"I come in place of Cirdan, The Shipwright as he is known, Lord of the Greyhavens. I am Altariel Eledhwen Eldun Emmeril." She once more lowered her head for a moment in respect and awaited for Galador's reply.
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by MiddleEarthRoze
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Not seven leagues away from their destination, six horses crested a hillock, and the lead rider gazed into the distance as Minas Tirith came into view. The Tower of Guard was truly a glorious city, the pinnacle of the race of men's achievements in the modern age. Truly, it was a stoic dwelling, having seen more years and survived more battles than many could even dream of. Even stuck in the shadows of Mount Mindolluin it looked spectacular, the white stones of it's towers and walls still shining bright. However, the Elves of Middle-Earth did not come on that day to simply admire the capital of Gondor; they had business within, and such business was not to be kept waiting. The lead rider eased her steed forward with a gentle nudge of her heels, and soon the six were at a steady gallop, nearing the city at haste.

Although having seen the two groups of riders before, they were to be ignored up until the lead Elf, Elennína, realised that both parties had paused on the Pelennor fields, and were now conversing with one another. Recognising both banners, the elf cocked an eyebrow curiously at the latter. Glancing behind her to share a look with the Emissary, Elennína altered the course of her group slightly, now heading directly towards the others on the fields - it was likely they were here for the same reason, after all.

As they slowed to a canter upon nearing the others, the auburn-haired elf found her thoughts drifting to her Emissary - Lhindél. They had not conversed all that much during their journey; having met he and the remainder of his guards just beyond the Field of Celebrant, they had made no delays in getting to Minas Tirith as swiftly as possible. To her, that meant no time for idle chit chat. As such, she didn't particularly know what to make of their young Emissary, only that he was clearly deemed responsible enough for the task before him. Elennína could assume that he had not seen battle as she had, but had stopped such thoughts almost immediately. A person wasn't defined by whether or not they had participated in war; it was their actions that mattered, be it in a fray, or at times of peace. Still, this was sometimes a hard thing to forget, when she herself had seen some of the largest battles of the Third Age. Regardless of that, she had nothing against Lhindél, and decided a real judgement about his character could be made during this meeting of King Eldarion. As for the others that would be present, it would seem they were to meet one - or possibly two - of them here.

Pulling firmly on her reins, Elennína came to a pause before the two other parties of horses and riders, her own stopping behind her. They would see an elf dressed apart from the others; while the guards of the once Greenwood wore garb of browns and greens, her own armour was the golden hued metal of Rivendell, paired with cloth of crimson and blue, and her treasured sword hanging at her hip. She wore no helmet, and her hair was tied into a tight, albeit windswept, ponytail.

"Greetings." Her gaze turned first to the party of men; the banner of Dol Amroth rising high before them, and heir to the line of Imrazor sat before her. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, your Highness. I am Elennína of Imladris - I am guard to Lhindél of Eryn Lasgalen, our Emissary." At this she paused, gaze now turning to her Elven kin, whose flags were no doubt familiar, but unexpected. Again, an eyebrow rose high in curiosity. "We did not expect to see our kind from Lindon here. Tell me, where is Círdan? He has not left these lands yet, has he?" She could only assume this was why they were here; that the Shipwright had finally departed for Aman, and he had sent out riders to send word. However, the number of riders and their destination seemed to say otherwise. Clearly, Círdan had some reason for sending some elves to Minas Tirith. Did he not trust Thranduil's emissary? It was hardly as if there were enough Elves left in the west that they would need such an input in this meeting - and whoever the woman was at their head was unknown to Elennína, so she was left stumped as to why - if Círdan were to send anyone - he wouldn't come himself. Or at the very least, send someone more well-known.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by FernStone
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Pelennor Fields


The sight of Minas Tirith, from his position in the centre of his five guards, was something of a new one to Lhindél. He had only visited the city once before and in passing, giving it barely more than a glimpse. He had been younger then. Though, he was still young for his people. And once again there was no time for him to admired the beauty of the manmade city – they were here on urgent business and the most important thing was to press on and reach the capital as quickly as they could, just as they had been trying to do since he had left Eryn Lasgalen.

As his horse easily moved into a gallop Lhindél found his gaze curiously drifting to the other two groups of riders, narrowing slightly to try and discern their banners even as the moved. His curiosity only grew slightly as they stopped and he could finally make them out. Well, that was certainly interesting. He turned his head to look forward and gave a slight nod as he caught Elennína’s eye when she glanced behind her. It only seemed logical to change course to meet the two other groups. He was quite happy for his head guard to take charge of changing their route, anyway. He may be the emissary and technically in charge but, if anything, she seemed more capable than he was.

If he was honest with himself, there was still a small part of Lhindél that questioned why he had been sent as an emissary. While he was of nobility in Eryn Lasgalen and a skilled swordsman at that he was hardly experienced in the way of the world. Especially from an elven perspective. It was not that he had no confidence in himself, he could definitely do the job, just that he was sure there would have been many elves more experienced and capable than he was. But now that he was here he would carry out his role to the best of his abilities.

Lhindél pulled his horse to a halt, stopping so that he was just behind Elennína but still visible to her side. It made it easier for him to look over at the members of the other two parties with guarded grey eyes. Though clad in the browns and green typical of those from his forest home, it was clear from his stature and the quality of his clothing that he was not one of them. The sword that hung at his side was enough to show him as nobility; passed on to him from his father, it was a family heirloom that was still beautiful even though it showed the years of use.

He didn’t say much as Elennína introduced them, only putting in his own greetings and making it clear that he was the emissary. He did not have much to add so instead allowed her to do all the talking while he silently observed. There would be plenty of time for him to bring his opinions forward at the upcoming meeting, anyway.
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Oddsbod
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With each step of the great beast, the ground trembled. Lady Nesrine took great satisfaction from this.

Her party had just argued their way through the fortifications outside the Rammas Echor, and it took no little persuading before the guards of the wall finally allowed the Haradrim through. Nesrine's letter of invitation, signed by the King himself, wasn't accepted until a rider had been sent to Minas Tirith and returned, out of breath, with confirmation. Nesrine's smile was queenly in its austerity as she waved off the guards' muttered apologies, and commended him for his commitment to Gondor's security. The smug smirk she reserved for after they had passed the gates, and were marching the Pelennor Fields.

In the distance, the White City sat like a jewel in a crown, gleaming brightly even under the gloom of the clouded-up afternoon.

"Have you ever been to Minas Tirith?" Nesrine asked the attendant on her left.

"No," said the attendant, Nira, whose status as Nesrine's personal spy did often take him deep into Gondor territory, though his fear of people, crowds, loud noises, and aggressive haggling generally kept him away from the populated cities.

"It's quite a sight," said Nesrine. "In an ideal world we would be here as victorious conquerors. But I can settle for tourists."

Nira didn't know what visiting as a tourist was supposed to feel like, but he doubted it was anything like what they experienced making their way up southern Gondor. Pellargir, Harlond, and several others—in each city, Nesrine met very graciously with the city's lord, and had her soldiers scatter gorgeous red cactus-flower petals as the mumak marched down the central streets. Politics, Nira reasoned, was a rather showy affair.

There were six of them in the curtained red platform mounted on the titanic mumak's back. Nesrine sat at the rear of the enclosure on a mound of decadent pillows and carpets. In the old days, they say, the Haradrim mounted massive war towers on the backs of the mumakil, and carried forces of over twenty armored soldiers. Since then, however, the great tribes have become quite strict on the treatment of their legendary beasts, as the creatures have become rare, expensive, and notable cultural symbols, and wearing out their spines for ostentatious towers had become distinctly unprofitable and unpopular. Nesrine's royal platform was an elegant, crimson structure, armored with polished wood, the banner of Erdir flapping high above the tent. It was comfortably spacious for her small procession, and had all the trappings of a large, homey bedroom.

To Nesrine's left, the ranger Nira, and to her right, Basima, captain of the guard. Around them, four royal Erdira soldiers, tall, dark, and glittery-eyed. Every once in a while, their mumak would raise its massive head, and its trunk would make low trumpeting noises that rustled through the grass of Pelennor like ghosts.

"Lady Nesrine, if I may ask," said Nira, "why a mumak?"

"Why?"

"I mean, it seems excessive, doesn't it? Slower and much less convenient than horses."

"My Nira, we are going to be among statesmen, politicians, and heads of country from every corner of the map. You can be sure that each person there will have their pants undone and their privates out on the table. And when that happens, it helps to have the biggest one present."

She made a rather crude jerking motion with her hand, and laughed at Nira's flustered, "Oh, um, of course."

"The view is quite pretty up here," said Basima, who, lost in thought, had removed her helmet and was gazing out an opening on the side of the platform.

"That too," said Nesrine serenely. With great gray footstep after great gray footstep, the mumak neared the city.
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by POOHEAD189
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Thurin Stonewrought III, of Durin's Folk


The Mûmakil and it's host, as well as the various Elves and Halfling on their great steeds were easily seen from far off, loping along the fields of Pelennor. Their numbers and beasts of burden stood out for the guards posted at Minas Tirith to see for many miles off. It was quite a different story with Thurin and his folk. Though broad of shoulder and body, the Dwarfs were short enough to nearly have their knees covered by the tall grass.

No steeds to bear them, nor servants to haul their supplies, they carried their packs without complaint. Their legs sturdy and moving inexorably forward as they hummed a Dwarvish tune to keep their spirits strong, and to celebrate their arrival after a long journey.

"The world world was young, the mountains green,
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
No words were laid on stream or stone,
When Durin woke and walked alone.
He named the nameless hills and dells;
He drank from yet untasted wells;
He stooped and looked in Mirrormere,
And saw a crown of stars appear,
As gems upon a silver thread,
Above the shadow of his head-"


Thurin in particular enjoyed this tune. It gave the Dwarf warrior great pride. To know that Durin, the father of his people, was a pathfinder; an adventurer like himself. Oh, he no longer sang it with glee as he did a wee lad. But it gave some extra vigor to his muscles on this last walk toward their destination. The music halted when they found themselves upon the footsteps of Rammas Echor, having been newly forged by the Dwarves themselves after the battle of Pelennor centuries past. Newly forged by Dwarf reckoning, that is.

"Look upon the work, lads." Grungi said, one of the older Dwarf Guards. He felt his hands along the exquisitely carved and laid stonework. "The world of men is kept strong by our craft." Thurin placed his hand on his hips, letting his walking Axe lean upon the wall, and he nodded in solemn agreement. "Aye, and now it shall stand by the strength of our arm and the skill of our axes before this is through, mark me."

"Baruk Khazâd," the others muttered in agreement, before they hefted their packs again and took the long, winding journey up to where the group of Men, Elves, and Halflings had gathered. "So many Elves," one Dwarf said. "Here I thought there weren't that many left."
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Kessir Tarkin
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Kaldur walked with the band of dwarves, having bribed his way in to be allowed to be part of the company as a chronicler. He had been following another dwarf that was an actual chronicler and learning what one would do, such a task that he had been assigned would require such tactics. To make himself seem credible enough to belong there. Each time they would stop he would bring out his books and write of the events, places that they passed by that held importance, the songs, speeches, who spoke, who or what they were referencing.

He stroked some of his newly grown red/almost orange beard that reached down to his chest, it had been so long since he was able to grow one, normally he would be clean shaven or only had stubble at most. So being able to have a full beard was kind of nice for the moment.

The trip had proven to be what he would describe as unchallenging, nothing really happened to them along the way which he didn't complain about, he didn't want to have to blow his cover unless he had no other choice.

He sang the songs as best he could, luckily others who were more versed sang loudly to cover his low singing. He made picked a little notebook out of his pocket and wrote the words down of the song. He muttered the words to himself to keep them in his mind as he wrote them down.

Grungi had spoken up about the craftsmanship of Rammas Echor and again made note of that in his book, and would write them in his actual chronicle book when he had the time. He also made note that Thurin Stonewrought III made a comment and the others commented and they began on their way now seeing humans and elves. He wrote it in his notes and continued to do so as they made there way.
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Adelard Took was quite the excited Hobbit. In fact, he was so excited, he kept bobbing up and down with his saddle, even moreso than one usually would when sat upon a pony, going at a steady canter. A bright grin adorned his ruddy face, and it was so large that his pipe kept threatening to fall out at every slight movement he or his pony made; and what with the bouncing, it was quite likely to happen.

"Look at that, my friends! Is that not the most glorious sight you've ever seen?" Adelard called out merrily to his guards, keeping his pipe still by grasping it with one hand. Of course, the Hobbit was not talking of his pipe (Nor the smoke ring he had just puffed out, although it was quite a splendid one at that), but of the city that lay before them. Minas Tirith - the greatest city of men still standing to this day, and shining brightly underneath the protection of it's mountain. The Pelennor Fields stretched out before the four Hobbits and their Ponies, and in the distance, the re-built city of Osgiliath could be seen on the great river. Beyond that, however, were less glorious sights. While awesome to look upon nonetheless, the Ephel Duath, or Mountains of Shadow in the common tongue, stood tall and ominous against the silhouette of the once-capital of Gondor. Adelard's excited bouncing paused for a moment as he looked upon them, and a deep shudder went down his spine. The red hue was long gone from the skies above those mountains, but simply being where he was, and looking upon these sights, brought him right back to his Grandfather's shoes. (Or feet, he supposed, as Hobbits rarely wore shoes.) When Peregrin Took had been brought here more than a century ago, Osgiliath was a battered ruin; the Tower of Guard ruled by a mad Steward, the Pelennor Fields ready to soak up the blood spilled in the battle of Minas Tirith, and the dark, crimson skies of Mordor ever present in the distance. The Orcs that dwelt there could not stand the pure light of the sun, and so their dark master made sure to shield them from it.

"Adelard?"

The sudden voice in his ear made the Hobbit jump, and he looked to his guard in surprise. It seemed he had become lost in his own thoughts; or rather, the thoughts that had gone through past Hobbit's minds when they had stood where he had, on the brink of battle. In fact, Adelard had become so preoccupied with the view before him, and the memories attached to it, that their party had come to a standstill.

"There seems to be a congregation on the fields. Can't tell who they are from here, but they're bearing banners - perhaps they're others coming for the meeting?" The guard suggested, scratching underneath his helmet irritably. He was a fine fellow, but Adelard couldn't understand why he insisted on wearing a helmet when it was both too big and too itchy for him. In fact, all of the Bracegirdle guards seemed to be the same... something to prove, perhaps? In Adelard's opinion, if one were to try and seem more impressive than a family member, uncomfortable headgear wasn't the best way to do it; working on your aim with a bow or skill with a sword would be better. As for that, the Hobbit Emissary knew he was in good hands. One of his other guards, Cassinia Fairbairn, was a wonderful shot, even by Hobbit standards. And while many liked to underestimate Halflings when it came to matters of war or frays, it should always be kept in mind that all Hobbits - no matter how fat, short, or old they were - had impeccable aim when it came to throwing things. Indeed, back in the old, old days that not even Adelard's grandfather's grandfather could remember, the Hobbits had sent a group of archers to aid King Arvedui of Fornost, against the invasion of the wicked Witch-King and his forces from Angmar. The stories of men tended to forget the aid of Hobbits during that battle, but if there was one thing that Hobbits knew, it was their own history. To a certain extent, anyway - after a while it got a tad too boring and bothersome to dredge up the far past, especially when so little documents remained of such times.

Again, Adelard realised he was getting lost in his own mind again, and the bemused Bracegirdle guard waited for his command.

"Ah yes - excellent spot! I dare say there's a few Dwarves down there, if their stature is anything to go by." He said eagerly as he looked at the varied heights of the figures in the distance; jolly grin returning to his face, and pipe once again threatening to fall from his mouth. "And if there's Dwarves, I'd bet there'd be a couple of Elves and Men down there too! Isn't that fantastic? Have you ever met the fair folk before?" Already anticipating the somewhat agape expression of his guard, Adelard dug his bare heels into his steed, getting the group moving once again. "I have! Well. I saw a group of them leaving for the Grey Havens - probably came all the way from Lothlórien, I reckon. Rivendell has been empty for a while now, according to reports. Still a shame to see them leave; just imagine what we can learn from them! I'm just glad that some have stayed in - " At this point, Adelard's rambling speech came to a sudden halt, much to his tired guard's relief. The poor Bracegirdle had expected a simple escort job; he hadn't taken into account the distance they had to cover. Nor the incessant chattering and stories of his Emissary. However, even the obstinately traditional Hobbit couldn't help but to be amazed at the very sight that had cut off Adelard's talking.

"Bless my furry feet!" Adelard whispered, his pipe finally falling from his wide open jaw. "That - That's an Oliphaunt! They've brought an Oliphaunt!" By the time the four Ponies and their riders had reached within earshot of the Men, Elves and Dwarves stood on the fields, Adelard was still gazing at the magnificent, enormous beast before him, his face lit up like a child's would upon seeing fireworks for the first time.
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Pelennor Fields


Oh, how exciting! In her (somewhat) short life Cassinia Fairnbarn had only ventured out with the borders of the Shire a few times. Each time had been in a group of scouts, and they had barely gone past the border. Going to Minas Tirith? That was quite the event. The city was beautiful, more so than the pictures in books she’d read as a child had made it out to be. It seemed that the emissary, Adelard Took, also seemed to be excited going by what he was saying.

To say that Cassi had been delighted when chosen as a guard for this journey was something of an understatement. All her life she’d been brought up on the stories of the great adventure four hobbits had gone on to save the world – one being her great grandfather, Samwise Gamgee. She’d lapped up these stories and wished to have an exciting life, and practically demanded she be taught how to fight. After all she was the fourth child of the Warden of Westmarch and unlikely to have to take a role like that. The bow had been her first choice, and here she was one of the most accurate among the hobbits scouts and rangers. She’d always wanted to go on something like this, though; something more than just scouting the borders of her home. Her father’s status as Warden along with her skill and renown among the scouts, even at such a young age, was why she had been recommended and chosen. It probably helped that her family was close to Adelard’s.

“Oh look, there’s people over there,” Cassi whispered fervently to the guard next to her, pointing from where they were just a bit behind the emissary and Bracegirdle guard. “I wonder if they’re here for the meeting too! What do you think, Robin? Ooo, this is so exciting.”

The older hobbit gave her a weary look. Robin Noakes was a more experienced member of the hobbit Rangers, at least twenty years Cassi’s senior, and had been done with her constant talking since she had joined the Scouts and they’d had contact through that. Still, she didn’t let the looks he shot her way stop her. After all it was nice to have someone she knew there, especially since he was far more experienced than she was! She was always learning from Robin.

“I wonder if there are Elves… I’ve never met one before, imagine how wonderful that would be? Though it will only make me feel younger! Do you think there will be any?”

“There will be people of all kinds attending the meeting, Cas,” Robin sighed, looking down across the fields with a frown. It seemed they would be meeting with any others earlier than expected. “I’m sure there will be.”

“I can’t wait! I wonder if they’re nice. Will the other guards look down on us because we’re short? Cause I bet I can outshoot all of them! Well, maybe not any Elves, but everyone else. We’ll show them not to underestimate a hobbit!” She kept up the chatter even as they continued to approach the already congregated groups on the fields, getting only nods and grunts from the older ranger.

As they continued to their destination her bright green eyes widened at something of a spectacular sight, mouth wide open and rendering her speechless. Even through his own shock Robin had time to chuckle at the sight of her face. Cassi had never seen anything like it and had only heard of Oliphaunts in stories. She’d honestly thought they were a myth. Seems she was wrong there.

“Oh wow! I’ve never seen anything like that… Hey, why couldn’t we arrive on something so big and dramatic?”

A glare from Robin was all she got in response from him.
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The carriage was beautiful, a wonderful twirling yet robust display of long scarlet sashes and ornate golden sculptures adorning its roof. Beautiful golden patterns were etched into the frames of the wooden grilles at the sides. At its front and back, the banners of Dale billowed in the cool day wind - a seal of a golden dragon, with a black arrow through its heart. The carriage was just one of a procession of even more carriages and horses that snaked down the green fields of Gondor in a glimmering golden parade. Soldiers of Dale flanked the convoy, bearing smaller yet just as grand versions of their lord's banner. The procession was grand - but none were as so intrinsically valuable as the man inside the carriage.

Randal son of Darnal, Prince and firstborn Heir to the Throne of Dale, the Kingdom in the North, sat and mulled over the events of the recent past. They had been waylaid multiple times by orcs in Rhovanion, though Randal suspected that they served gold more than any other dark force. He had lost a bannerman, and his final wailing scream as an orc berserker gutted him with a scimitar still haunted all the golden Host. Besides that, a foul air had been troubling the North. The keelboats that had been travelling down the River Running had been constantly returning emptied of their stock and sinking with orc-shafts. Expeditionary forces to drive back the bandits had been sent out in vain, as the orc-bandits would not meet them in battle, but would instead scatter and entrench themselves within shrubbery and tall grass - something which not even wave after wave of soldiers can root out. Because of this, Dale was increasingly unable to meet its own quotas to the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, something which could prove devastating for the entire North in the long run.

But danger came also in the guise of Men - the Haradrim were now a gathering of multiple tribes, which made for multiple opinions of the Kingdom of Dale. Sometimes, Dalish caravans would pass through Haradrim territory completely unscathed. A second caravan in the same territory would never be heard from again. The Easterlings were, however, a more geographically pressing matter. They had slowly broken off trade ties with no further explanation, though it was clear they were somehow in league with the orcs yet again. The Rivers Running and Redwater were just as infested with Easterling swordsmen as orcish archers. With two vital marine trade routes effectively closed off, Dale had no choice but to rely on the elves of Eryn Lasgalen and Gondor - who had troubles of their own to attend to.

Such were the affairs that troubled the young prince. He hated the thought, but now he was beginning to realize that all his glamorous Host could not protect him from the seemingly inevitable instability caused by Dale's increasing economic isolation. Taking a sip from a goblet of warm red wine, he let his eyes meander through the yellowish-green meadows that surrounded Minas Tirith.
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