Bree-land

“I will see you soon, then.”

Eruviel delighted in the relative quiet that the Scholars Stair offered. Having no commissions that day, she decided to relax in the sun. Letting out a deep sigh she sank further back in her seat, sharpening her dagger as she let her mind wander. She had slept very little the past two nights. Even after speaking with the leader of the Bree-town Watch about her encounter her mind had been restless. As much as her mysterious assailant intrigued her, she worried about others being caught in the cross-fire.

Sleep had almost taken her when she was startled back to the present by a sickening thud. “By the Valar,” she mumbled angrily under her breath. Rising to her feet she slung her bow over her shoulder as she made her way to the stone railing. Fifteen feet down laid the body of a man, lifeless in a pool of blood. You fool! she chastised herself as she slammed her dagger back into its sheath with frustration.

It was then that she noticed the man walking slowly away down the wooden walkway. Of all my unlucky weeks, she mused to herself. She did not like to gamble, but her horse was stabled in the directions he walked. Shifting her dagger amidst the folds of her flowing blue skirts she began to walk casually in the same direction. Without seeing his masked face she knew it to be the man from the other night, though he looked taller than she remembered. As they walked down the way with a mere twenty feet separating them, Eruviel thought over what she should do. There was nothing she could do combat wise. She had just gotten the dress mended a month earlier and did not want it ruined for good. She had wanted to speak with him again . . . though she assumed, under the circumstances, her options would be less than favorable.

Descending the southern steps down to the the street the man rounded the corner to walk down the shrubbery-lined way. Looking around for her horse with a frown she shrugged her shoulders and whistled two clear-toned notes. Her horse’s whinny sounded from a block away. Rolling her eyes she turned down the lane the man had vanished down. There is nothing for it, she mused, he already knows you are trailing him. “You are no good, hunting in town,” she muttered under her breath. “I’d rather hunt a man in the woods any day.”

Proceeding with caution not being an option, Eruviel strolled around the corner of bushes and began to head down the road to the West Gate when she sensed him. He snuck up on her much like he had the night before, but this time she was a little more prepared. As the man’s dagger appeared hardly an inch from her throat, Eruviel grasped his wrist with her left hand, having decided against drawing her own blade. She could hardly fit her nimble hands around his wrist and her stomach twisted as she came to the sudden realization of just how much bigger than she he was.

The man’s voice rolled past her ear in a deep whisper “Why do you insist on following me?”

“Why do you keep killing others close enough for me to see the body fall?”

The man laughed quietly at her. “I need someone to know what I am doing. . . I will not stop until they are all dead.”

Eruviel turned her head to glare over her shoulder at him. “And who are these . . . filth that you are ‘taking care of’?”

“Criminals, associates of. . . ,” his growl faltered for a moment, “Brigands.”

Keeping a firm grip on the wrist of his armed hand, Eruviel carefully turned to face the man. “Associates of who, heruamin?”

“None of your business,” he said, the danger in his voice thickening as he stared coldly at her from behind the black mask.

Eruviel ‘s emerald eyes darkened as she looked up at him. “If you were doing this outside of town, in the hills and along the roads I would be killing them with you. But there is a different law in town, and justice is not ours,” she said in a fierce whisper.

The man smiled slowly. “I will see to it the the children of this town are safe. . . along with their family’s. . . even if it costs me my life.” He moved his arm and Eruviel released her hold on his wrist to watch him sheath his long knife.

His comment surprised her, but she simply nodded curtly. “That was my first concern. I would not want to have to fight you over the life of an innocent,” she said, giving him a wry smile.

The man’s face darkened. “You won’t. . .” He stared into her eyes for several moments before adverting him. “I am here to help not hinder,” he said firmly.

Curiosity clawed within her. Eruviel smiled slightly as she took a small step back. “I cannot promise that I will not keep following you if you kill near me again . . . but I cannot say that I do not . . . admire your cause in some way. Though, if we do . . meet again, I would prefer to not have a knife to my throat.” I will need to be more vigilant, she thought. I would rather have his victims behind bars than painting the streets with their blood.

The man nodded. “I do not make promises I cannot keep.” He cracked a smile but his face went dark again. “If the Watch gets in the way. . . I will have no choice but to . . . .” His voice trailed off.

Eruviel meet his eyes again. “You always have a choice, my dark friend,” she replied, her rich, elvish accent seeping into her low, stern voice.

The man meet her eyes. “I have to do this.” Eruviel’s heart beat sped up, from what she could only attribute to being a moment of fear, as he drew closer to whisper this time in a normal tone of voice. “I do not want you to get caught in the middle of this,” he said before again stepping away.

Eruviel let out a musical laugh. “Oh, but it seems I already am, heruamin. You could have let me pass the other night. You could have killed me, but even now it seems I will not die wearing my second-best.” Giving him a thoughtful look she began to turn to walk away.

The man’s facial expression turned as hard a steel aside from a slight glimmer in his eye. “I will . . . see you soon, then.”

Eruviel threw an indecipherable look over her shoulder as she walked towards her horse that stood patiently a few yards away. “That, I do not doubt.”

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(All dialogue comes from in-game RP)

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In The Late Watches of the Night

Respectfully,
Eruviel Aranduin

Stifling a yawn, Eruviel folded her letter, including the solo hunting commissions for her friend. She never remained in town this late into the night and felt ill-at-ease. Slipping her message into the mailbox she noted three shadowed figures, one peering out the southern gate, one pacing inconspicuously down the street, and another crouched behind a bush beyond the stable yard.

Turning to head out of town her heart rate began to increase. Could there be another? Before she could set her forwards foot down she heard a whisper of a breath and a soft thud. Turning around she saw the figure that had been hiding beyond the stable yard laying in a dark pool of what could only have been blood. A faint movement caught her eye and she look up in time to see a mask and a dark cloak disappear around the corner into an alley.

There is another, she thought grimly. She had heard rumors of murders happening in the night. Heaving a small sigh of frustration, she tugged her gloves on and melded into the darkness as she began to carefully pursue the shadowed figure.

Ahead of her the silhouette of what could only have been a man hesitated for a moment before continuing down the corridor. Eruviel steped in time with the man, blending easily into the shadows of the buildings. Rounding the bend in the road she froze. He had disappeared. Impressive, she thought, forcing her pulse to steady. The excitement of a challenge mixed with uncertainty, not knowing if the man had continued on or laid in wait for her amongst the ancient stone ruins. She carefully surveyed the square littered with broken pillars and shattered paving stones. As light as a feather, she carefully made her way through the rubble, stopping just in reach of the light of a street lamp.

She smelled the steel and blood. In a flash, as the shadow drew behind her, putting a knife to her throat, she flicked out her dagger, pressing it’s tip against the man’s side. “Following me?” asked a deep voice.

“Only because you warrant the effort,” she responded coldly, tapping her blade against his side to make sure he was aware of it.

The masked man laughed “And what do you plan on doing?”

Eruviel turned her head slowly so he could see the wry smile on her face. “That all depends on your next move, my shadowy friend.”

The man chuckled. “Tough… I like that…” he put his knife away. “No blood shall be spilt tonight…but do not follow me again.”

“I hope the blood you already spilled was worth it, or next time you will not see me coming.” Eruviel stepped away smootly, clicking her dagger back into its sheath.

The man flashed a smile. “The blood is only starting to spill, love… I am going to be “cleaning” the filth from Bree-land… make it a safer place.”

Eruviel ‘s eyes narrowed as she studied the dark-robed figure. “For whom it shall be safer for, I have yet to determine. Be careful that you mind the lines on which you tread.”

“I do not think this is the first time we have met,” said the man, his deep voice growing cold as he laughed quietly to himself.

Eruviel smirked as she stepped back out of the lamp-light. “Nor shall it be the last, I wager. Till we meet again, dark one,” she said with a smile.

The man gave her one last long look before smiling and walking away. “Till next time.”

InBree

(Dialouge taken from RP and altered only slightly to fit the correct tense and add details.)

What Was Found in The Barrow-Downs (part 2)

(side note: the previous post’s tense did not seem to fit right, so I will be changing it. Enjoy!)

Eruviel remembers.

Her bones ached from the cold. Her soft, fair skin had faded into a pallid grey over the past days as she remained where she had first lain on the grassy, mist-ringed hill. Her ears had grown accustomed to the groans and wails of the barrow-wights, and on the rare occasion the screams of some creature meeting it’s untimely end.

Eruviel stared south into the mists, her once vibrant green eyes now faded and hollow. This must be what it is like to fade away, she thought. Even her mind seemed void of emotion. The battle with the wight played over and over in her head. And over again she saw herself thrust the knife into Rainion’s corpse. He is not your brother, she had told herself repeatedly, but it had not been long till her care to say it faded.

“I wonder if this is what it is like to die,” she whispered through parched lips.

A cry echoed from a distant barrow to the south, and Eruviel’s grip on the hilt of Rainion’s sword shifted ever so slightly. Though they passed by in the low places, not once had a wight or hound climbed her hill.

The rising sun crested the furthest barrow, shining a cheery bright yellow that in another time would have woken her with delight for a new day. But now, she wished it had risen red as it seemed often to do. Another cry of a wight rung out, closer this time. Her muscles did not tense. She simply laid there, waiting as she observed the land in the direction of the crys with a dispassionate gaze. The bark of a hound no further than fifty yards away ended abruptly, and an awareness crept back into Eruviel’s eyes. Who could possibly be here? More importantly, why did she suddenly care?

The fog below shifted, twisting as if it were somehow attempting to flee. A figure rose out of the mists, features shadowed by the brilliant light behind him. She knew without a doubt that the newcomer to be of her kin, for he was tall and his step unwavering. The sun gleamed off of his golden hair, and for one crazed moment she thought it to be the High Elf Glorfindel. The figure stopped, his etched leather boots inches from her body. She felt his eyes upon her but had not the strength to meet them.

“Oh, oselle,” flowed the sad, yet deep, musical voice of the elf. He moved to retrieve her discarded weapons, then stooped and lifted her in his strong arms, cradling her against his chest. Then they were moving. The elf lord lept from the small hill, sprinting through the Barrow-Downs at a pace few elves could match. He bounded over rocks, dodging all manner of foes, bearing her swiftly down a southern path into Bree-land where the sun finally warmed her skin. Looking up, only then did she see it was her brother Milloth.

He did not stop till they reached a campsite, a fire already burning in a pit. He laid her down on a pallet of bedding he had previously rolled out, and gently unwrapped her fingers from their grip around their older brother’s sword. She did not want to let go of the ancient weapon. Eruviel had not realized just how much it had numbed her mind, and how much of her desire to wield it came from the blade itself till Milloth had taken it away. He did not speak, his movements swift and graceful as he pulled off her damp overcoat and tucked a wool blanket around her. Finally seating himself next to her he untied her braid, letting out her hair so it could dry faster. Taking a wet cloth he moistened her mouth, dripping the warm water past her lips to slowly hydrate her.

She could feel heat beginning to return, slowly trickling through her veins. Milloth paused for a moment, his sea-blue eyes looking sadly down at her. “Sister, why were you in the Barrows? And how is it that you have Rainion’s blade?”

Eruviel looked up, searching his eyes as her own began to clear. “I saw him, Milloth,” the words caught in her throat. “The dark spirit had stolen his body and –” her voice cut out as tears welled in her eyes. Suddenly fear gripped her. Looking to Milloth his face change into Rainion’s. “No, a’mael toror. Please,” she whimpered, pulling away from Rainion’s face and Milloth’s hands.

The face suddenly changed again, the vision of her brother withering, his eyes growing dark with a hungering evil. A panicked scream rose up from deep within her and Eruviel scrambled to escape, even as the hands took hold of her, pinning her down as she thrashed in vain. Weeping, she screamed Rainion’s name, begging for forgiveness. A firm hand struck her, slapping her across the face. All the fight in her vanished as did the haunting vision, and she collapsed against Milloth’s strong chest, shaking and sobbing quietly.

The next two days Eruviel lay beneath the blankets, trembling as Milloth tended to her, giving her water and feeding her small portions regularly. On the third day her shaking stopped. Her mind had revived, her body having regained some of its former strength. She sat up to eat, devouring the food Milloth set before her, then sat quietly, staring into the fire, unable to look at her brother.

It was afternoon when he knelt beside her. “Can you stand, oselle?” he asked kindly. Eruviel nodded, taking the hand he offered her, but standing of her own accord. Straightening up she raised her head to look at him. His handsome face showed nothing but sternness, but his eyes glimmered a little with pride as she stood before him expectantly. “Good. Take up your bow,” he commanded, giving no explanation. She did as she was bid without question, shouldering her quiver and expertly stringing her bow in one smooth motion.

“I am ready,” she said simply. Where could he be taking her?

Turning, she matched his stride as he set out in a jog. Her heart skipped a beat as his path lead them back towards the Barrow-Downs. She moved with the elegance and grace that she always had, her face set in a calm yet determined look, but her eyes belied her body, filling with panic as the brother and sister rounded the corner into the Downs. Milloth took the lead, cutting down any enemy that thought to pursue them without slowing his stride. Further in they ran, one behind the other till they came to the hill he had found her on.

Milloth pulled a sword from his belt — Rainion’s sword — and stabbed it into the earth. “The blade, while powerful, is dangerous. We should not take it with us.” Eruviel nodded slightly in agreement as her eyes darted around their surroundings. Milloth, looking at the sword for a moment longer, moved to stand beside her, more regal than she ever remembered him as he counted the arrows in her quiver. Taking a handful out, that left her with five. The Elf muttered something under his breath, touching each of the arrows then finally the top of her head.

“Now, oselle,” he said, one strong, lean hand on her shoulder, the other pointing to a lesser wight fifty yards away. “Slay it.”

She turned to look up at him, not caring to disguise the fear that saturated her voice. “But toror, I– I do not think I can.” The terrifying vision of Rainion flashed in her mind. She shook her head in attempt to expel the wicked, grinning face.

“You will,” he said matter-of-factly. From the look her gave she had no other option.

Turning to face the wight he had pointed out she took a tentative step forward, then another. The horrifying face flashed in her mind, more dark and terrible the closer she stepped towards her foe. Raising her bow she aimed for the wight’s head. “Orome, steel me,” she muttered under her breath. She loosed her arrow and it struck the wight in the head, flinging the fiend back, though not killing it. Her arms shaking, she rushed at the being, thrusting her daggers into its neck. She let out a frightened cry as it screamed inches from her face. Then the body collapsed, her hands covered with the perished man’s dust. The vision of Rainion vanished. Her chest heaved as she worked to control her breathing.

“Well done,” Milloth said, still watching from the hill. “No, no oselle,” he said softly as she started back towards him. “You will slay four more. We will not leave until you do.”

Eruviel looked up at him, her face stern. She smiled a little at him, understanding what he meant to do. He was forcing her to face her fear, and he meant to drive it out of her. He even had the foresight to deprive her of ammunition in the event she go too far. Something inside of her clicked. It was a subtle change, but in spite of her uncertainty, she knew it could never be reversed. Giving him a curt nod she turned away, disappearing into the mist as she knocked another arrow. She no longer trembled, her eyes no longer showed fear, and the vision did not reappear as she glided more confidently towards her quarry.

What Was Found in The Barrow-Downs (part 1)

Eruviel in the Barrow-Downs

Eruviel remembers.

The unrelenting sun pours its merciless heat down through the canopy of the Old Forest. Sweat gathers on her brow as Eruviel guides her tired horse through the thick undergrowth. An afternoon ride into Buckland had turned into a week of exploring the Old Forest. For the most part her exploring proved uneventful aside from being shadowed by wolves for three days, and a long conversation with a beautiful, golden-haired woman who called herself the “River-woman’s daughter.” But now the air had begun to change, and her mount more reluctant to press on.

“Calm yourself, Crithta,” she says, patting her mare’s neck. “Why have you grown skidish?” She dismounts, and scratches along the edge of the horses’ mane as she peers ahead of them.

The horse grows silent. After a moment the mare jerks away from Eruviel’s hand and back away.

The elf-maiden frowns, looking from her horse back to the path ahead of them. “Crithta,” she beckons, “tula sinome.” The horse tosses its head in protest. “Tula sinome,” Eruviel commands quietly, pointing to the ground next to her. Her mount snorts unhappily, but steps up beside it’s lady. Patting the reluctant animal once more, Eruviel takes the reigns and begins to press on through the trees.

The humid air begins to thin as does the foliage. She can see grey hills ahead as she nears the edge of the forest. The sun seems less oppressive, and a sour wind cools the sweat on the elf’s face. Cresting the first open hill before them Eruviel sucks in a sharp breath. A chill courses up her spine and a growl rises from Crithta’s throat as the horse lays its ears back. As far as they can see the landscape is covered with grassy, rolling hills and mounds. Mist creeps like a living thing through the low places, and from nearly every mound stone megaliths grasp at the sky like cold fingers pushing up through the earth.

“The Barrows,” Eruviel says with a hushed breath. “Once part of the capital of Cardolan.” She attempts to comfort her frightened mount. “It fell a hundred years before I was born. Uuma dela, Crithta. We will not remain here long.”

The mare huffs in protest, and jerks the reigns out of Eruviel’s hands. She canters half way down the hill back towards the forest before stopping and whinnying after its mistress.

“Ed’ i’ear ar’ elenea!” Eruviel exclaims. Waving the horse away she smiles down to it. “Begone with you, then! Wait for me by the East Road.” The horse nickers, bobbing it’s head in response before it plows back into the trees, oddly confident of it’s path.

The elf maiden shifts the long daggers on either of her hips into a more comfortable position, and pulls an arrow out of her quiver as she carefully makes her way down the hill and further in. Several times she dodges wights as they rise from the ground or pass through the mists. “This is foolish,” she mutters to herself as she slips behind a boulder to avoid a wight that passes by too close for comfort. She rises up into a crouch, about to turn back when, from the corner of her eye she sees a cloak . . . a sword . . . a withered body she recognizes. Her muscles freeze and her limbs refuse to listen to her.

“I– it c–can’t be,” she gasps, her chest heaving. Her mind snaps to and she leaps down the hill, her sprinted steps silent as she disappears into the mist below in pursuit of a wight, begging the Valar that her eyes deceive her. Leaping up out of the swirling fog, Eruviel finds herself standing on a small, unmarked mound. No megaliths, no markers, not even a barrow door rises from the earth.

Lifting her head, Eruviel sees the the wight hovering not fifteen feet before her. Her pulse quickens. The shade’s breathing echoes in her ears, and as it turns slowly to face her Eruviel’s heart stops and rises into her throat. Her face, her body language remains calm and confident, but her mind screams in agony, beating against the cage of her skull with rage.

Despair.

“Rainion?” The name catches as it trickles out from her lips.

Despair.

Amin toror,” her voice wavers as she stands, “Why is it that I see you now, when you perished three hundred years ago?”

Despair.

Eruviel drops her bow, the wight too close for it to be of use. Her serene face grows dark, and her eyes gleam with misery and wrath. “No, you are not my brother Rainion. He now lives across the sea. How dare you desecrate his body.” Her voice steadies, her tone deepening with anger as she slowly unsheathes her daggers.

“Thisss body hasss been very ussseful,” breaths the wight. “When my massster fled the battle the lassst of my brothersss came here. Thisss body laid hewn upon the ground. Did it belong to you?” His raspy voice mocks the elf-maiden.

“Rainion, my brother,” she says as she slides her right foot back behind her, ready. “You tarnish only his memory, fiend of Angmar,” she hisses. He is not your brother! She tells herself. Her arms tremble as the wight begins to approach. Rainion’s sword is in its hand. Ranion’s armour clads its body. Ranion’s now-gaunt, decaying face holds only the eyes of a black spirit. Stop shaking. He is not your brother!

Despair.

With a great cry Eruviel leaps forward to attack the shade before it can raise its weapon. Thrusting her left dagger into it’s chest the wight screams and bats her off of him. She hits the ground hard, but rolls and jumps to her feet, attacking again. Faster! she commands her body, muscles aching with sorrow. What poor fortune has she that she must kill the body of her beloved, deceased brother? She stabs the wight once — twice before he punches her in the face with his cross-guard. Eruviel stumbles back, barely avoiding his swinging blade as the tip grazes her leather breastplate. With one final shout she passes the wight’s swinging sword and thrusts her blade deep into its chest.

The wight screams, struggling in the throes of death. Eruviel pressed herself hard against it, twisting the dagger. The evil spirit attempts to claw at her but it perishes and dissipates before it can touch her. The elf is left standing on the small green hill, panting for breath, a pile of dust, bones and elven armour at her feet.

Her face is cold, and her eyes empty of everything as she drops to her knees. The earth is soft here, and Eruviel has little trouble carving out a hole in the soil just big enough to bury Rainion’s remnants. She can hear the cries and hollow breaths of other wights as they circle their own mounds, but none approach her small hill. Breathing seems pointless except as a habitual action. Her limbs tremble with weakness, and hot tears course down her chilled, pale cheeks. Leaning over she curls up on her side, cradling her brother’s sword, and a bitter, broken wail rises from her parched throat to echo over the Barrow-Downs.