Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

It is the year 2946 of the Third Age, and the lands east of the Misty Mountains are astir. From the cloud-shrouded peaks above the High Pass to the spider-infested gloom of the forest of Mirkwood, paths long-deserted are trodden once again. Busy merchants carry their wares to new markets, messengers bring tidings from foreign realms, and kings send forth armed men to extend their influence and the rule of law. Some say that a new age of freedom has begun, a time for adventure and great deeds to reclaim glories lost in long centuries of oppression and decline.

But adventures are not really things that people go out and look for. They are dangerous and rarely end well. While it is true that a handful of valiant individuals set out to make their mark on the world, for others it seems that adventure chooses them, as though it is the path they are fated to tread. They are restless warriors, curious scholars and wanderers, always eager to seek what was lost or explore what was forgotten. Ordinary people call them adventurers, and when they return successful, they call them heroes. But if they fail, no one will even remember their names...

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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Vardaen » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:16 pm

Image So now there was nothing left to do but to fill their water-skins at a clear spring they found close to the forest-gate, and unpack the ponies.

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings


August 6th, 2949, The Third Age to March 4th, 2950, The Third Age

The days in Rhosgobel are done, summer is fading and autumn is on its way. Many hearts desire to return home, the longing is great in each of your. So you say farewell to one another and go your own way. Some travel together, such as those heading north to the Easterly Inn. Varuthil, Gerwald, and Glirion turn south. Along the way the three stop at the Kingstone.

Once, this land was part of the Kingdom of Rhovanion, the realm of the Northmen. This kingdom fell as all the works of mortals do, but some traces remain. The Kingstone is a small pillar of rock sitting atop a low hill overlooking the Anduin, facing west. On top of the pillar is the skull of a great beast — a Dragon, some say. Legends tell how all the princes and warriors of Rhovanion swore oaths upon the stone before embarking on adventures or wars. Other stories claim that the Dragon will roar when touched by hand of the true king of the Northmen. The touch of many hands has worn the skull smooth, for it is a tradition for visitors to put their sword-hand upon it for luck. The visit bring hope back into the hearts of those two, to see the great enemy defeated by men of old, and to know it can be defeated again.

Borir and Finn travel straight away to the Easterly Inn, there is much work to do there and the dwarf and man both have things they wish to accomplish. You find the Inn is not faring as well as you'd have hope. Travel in the region is down. Traffic through the Anduin Vale seems to have slowed down, rumors of a vile "Bloody Ghost" hunting and killing in the Beorning's lands keeps travelers wary to go out. The Woodmen are busy with their work to build the Black Tarn settlement, and more travel east into the East Bight, but not by way of the north roads. Still the hobbits are in good spirits, and with Borir's skilled metal work and Finn's songs and business skills things can perk up with some hard work.

Glirion has left the company after the Kingstone and returns to Lothlorien with messages from Radagast. He has family there, and a duty to return. For many months he stays there, and from time to time is sent back to Rhosgobel with messages and letters from Celeborn or Galadriel themselves. It seems he has earn himself a valued place among the Galahdrim. So he is among those who learns much of the abandoning of the Dwimmerhorn and fleeing of the enemy from the Gladden Fields. Eventually that news may be worth bringing north to Beorn and the Easterly Inn.

Gerwald and Varuthil after traveling to the Kingstone together turn north. The Beorning heads home, and eventually to the Carrock, while the Elf head home as well by way of the Easterly Inn. There she finds Borir and Finn and Hild and the Brandybucks in merry making, and enjoys herself, if only a little, before turning east into Mirkwood, a promise among old friends to meet up eventually in the spring. At home, after reporting to Thranduil all she knows of the enemy in the Gladden Fields, she throws herself into study and research on the Chain and the dangers found in the Dwimmerhorn, and puts a name to the shadow there - The Gibbet King.

Gerwald joins Beorn himself after a few months on a trip to see the Elven King. So the Beornings stop at the Easterly Inn and enjoy old friends, good company, and better food.

Fall turns to winter, and winter presses on...
Welcome to the long awaited party! Sorry about the delay. please RP a bit with those in your area, post fun narrative adventures along the way. This fellowship phase will end some time in March. The goal will be to travel East to the Lake-town for the start of the next Adventure Phase.
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"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Muskrat » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:10 pm

Varuthil travels to the Kingstone out of curiosity, always interested to see a new artifact when she has the chance. Feeling somewhat foolish, she nonetheless touches the skull of the beast for luck. She then spends some time critically examining the monument with the eye of a scholar. To Gerwald and Glirion, "Thinking about all who came here, hoping to become heroes, is ... reassuring."
I'll post about the other parts of my Fellowship phase after we've had some RP here.

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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Muskrat » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:05 pm

Having satisfied her curiosity with the Kingstone, Varuthil heads north to Thranduil's court by way of Easterly Inn. As she makes the journey, she focuses on hardening herself to the effects of travel--she had grown weary far too easily for her liking when they were fleeing the Dwimmermount.

When she reaches the Inn, she decides to spend a few days there, to spend time with Finn, Borir, and the Brandybucks. As always, she says little, but listens and watches much. During the day, she takes the Brandybuck children on outings, watching them play, but only observing herself, occasionally telling them some bit of lore about the plants or animals they see. During the evenings, she listens to the conversations of those gathered around the inn's tables, occasionally sharing her own thoughts, but for the most part listening in silence.

After a few days, she says goodbye and continues on to Thranduil's court. After a brief rest, she begins speaking with the elder scholars of the court, some of whom are old enough to remember the first sun rise. Between consulting with them and looking at ancient scrolls, she is able to figure out what this Chain most likely is and what it might be used for. By way of the wind and birds, she tries to send word to Radagast that she has found something out if he would like to visit her in Thranduil's Court. She bides some time there before preparing to leave and rejoin her adventuring companions to tell them what she has learned.

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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Othniel » Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:22 pm

Glirion nods silently at Varuthil's words. The elf wonders how many men had placed their hands upon the rock in the centuries he'd dwelt in Middle-Earth. Mortal men whose lives oft seemed as if but a season to the memory of an elf. Though Glirion was among the few chosen from those who dwelt in Lothlorien to have dealings with others, he still found mortality an intriguing gift - and now after having a close brush with death himself, he felt...something approaching a kinship.

"In the Spring then," he says finally, and begins the long trek south with a smile upon his face.

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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Blubbo_Baggins » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:04 pm

The Battle of Easterly Inn, Summer 2950 - Spring 2951
Having passed some days in Rhosgobel with Radagast, and bid some of the companions farewell, Finn, Hild, and Borir head north to the Easterly Inn in the hot days of summer. He planned to spend the winter there, knowing that he would return to the Lake in the spring, and that it might be some time before he could visit the Brandybucks and help further with his investment in the Inn.

The way north was was well known by all of them, and as a whole the journey seemed uneventful. As they headed past the Wolfswood and again past the area east of Trader's Isle, both Finn and Hild stayed extra vigilant. The last they had heard, Dreymis one-hand was still in the Vale, and certainly sought vengeance. He might still rule Trader's Isle, or after the events of May of last year, perhaps he had returned to the Wolfswood. Where he could actually be found they did not know, and so they were forced to stay on watch in that land. Their vigilance was not foolish, and yet it did not help them avoid trouble in the end. But, as those troubles ended well, who is to say what they should have done?

In Stonyford they stopped and stayed at the house of Brunhild, who was glad to see Finn and Borir again. Things had not changed much, but recently she had let a young boy stay at her house, a lad who did not seem to have any other family. His name was Malaric, and that evening over a pot of soup he could not get enough of the stories that Finn and Hild told, but especially those that Borir shared, who always added a little 'magic' in the telling.

Malaric was small for his age and asked many questions, but his cheerful face and innocent eyes warmed up the hearts of the trio. When he heard where they were going, he said he'd never heard of the Inn, and would love to meet Hobbits. Finn looked at the others without a word and turned back to the boy,

"Well lad, if you can promise you'll not complain one word on the way there, for the road is no bed, and its long, and the days hot, and the food isn't exciting, and if you can promise that once you're there you'll do whatever the Brandybucks tell you and work for them, you can come along."

The delight and surprise, followed by hundreds of promises to work harder than everyone and never open his mouth at even the slightest discomfort, etc., almost made the Lakeman wish he hadn't extended the offer, but the lad was nothing if he wasn't earnest. "And," he said later to Borir when the two of them discussed this decision, "if you have earnestness and hard work, you have all you need to be successful." So the next morning they continued on, this time with Malaric tagging along.

True to his word the lad never complained, and though they knew not how or why, seemed at home on the road. So at last they came to the Inn toward the end of August, and it was clear they had been missed. Not only did Shadrach the hound happily bark, but Dando and Rodry had soon raced up to the company, cheering and asking what they might have brought them. Agatha had soon told the boys off for their rudeness, and asked them to ignore the long grass and weeds, which she hadn't been able to tend to, and as she led them inside began saying at once that they were very glad to see them and to scold them for being gone so long, which ended in a list of all the things that needed doing in the Inn. Finally, she handed them all a large mug of ale and disappeared to the back with more words about the work never ending.

Dody had poured the ale himself, but had not dared say anything until Agatha had said her piece, then welcomed them all heartily. "And who is this?" he asked, looking at the boy.

"This is . . ." said Finn beginning to answer when he was cut off, "Malaric," said the lad, holding out his hand. "Here to help!" "Yes," said Finn, "He is energetic, as you will see. We met him at Stonyford and it seems he needed work to do. There wasn't much in the village I guess. Have Agatha put him to work."

Dody's brows were raised at these replies and turned back to Malaric with a wry smile, "Well, I don't suppose you like blackberry pie, but Mrs. Agatha is about to pull two of them out of the oven. Berries from the bushes out back, picked today. But if you fancy some, go ask her kindly how you can help. She is known to reward hard workers with a piece or two." Without hesitation Malaric ran to the back and disappeared while the trio began catching up with Dody.

They soon summarized some of their doings, and warned him of the little they had learned, the stirrings of the enemy in these parts, but tried to not scare the halfling, either. Dody shared that Dindy had just left for Laketown a week before, and would be there through the winter until the Feast of Dragontide in the spring, not only getting things necessary to resupply the Inn, but doing his part to advertise for it. Though word had spread about the Inn and it was still running, business came as a feast or a famine, and some seasons wore the Brandybucks out with the amount of visitors, and others they began to wonder if they'd have to shut their doors. "What we really need," added Dody, "Is for every trader and traveler going to Laketown and back, or coming past us from north or south to stop in, especially in winter. Of course winter will always be slower than summer, but still it's been too unpredictable."
"We should build out the stockade Dody," said Agatha. "And get a gate. All this talk of the enemy and the Shadow is terrible. I have to let the the boys go outside on their own without fear."
"Ach, lady Agatha," Borir replied, "Leave that to me."
"One piece of good news we have," said Finn, "is that we are staying through the winter, and aren't leaving until spring. I suppose we will need to be back to Laketown for the feast of Dragontide as well. But until then I'm here to help you in anyway I can, and to entertain the patrons, while Borir will build and fix everything that needs fixing."
"Hurrah!" shouted Dody, while Agatha breathed in relief.
"And I will do whatever is needed," added Hild somewhat curtly, feeling like Finn had forgotten her. "I can build, clean, fix, and chop wood, and entertain your two lads just as well these fools," she added, with a look aimed at Finn and Borir that mixed anger and laughter in equal parts.
That day turned to night, which soon led to another day, and a week, and a month, and it seemed in no time fall was upon them. Malaric had proved himself very helpful to Agatha, Borir had repaired a hole in the roof, sharpened the stockade, and repaired all sorts of ironwork, even pots and pans. Finn had helped Dody get his accounts back in order, labored in the hot sun around the steading, and of course played the lyre and sung every evening, whether they had guests or not (though more often than not the Inn was nearly full). It was during these days that the Inn enjoyed a visit from Gerwald and his Beorning friends. The regular time to unwind did great things for Finn's mind and heart, as well as these visits from friends old and new, and the troubles of the past slowly faded from his mind.
Heal Corruption - removed temporary Shadow
At the end of the Fall, Finn was awoken early in the morning while it was still dark. He wasn't sure what he'd heard, but he went to Hild's room and found it empty. Quickly he continued downstairs, finding the back door ajar . . . but before he ran off into the night, he saw that Hild was still nearby, her long shadow cast by the light of the moon.
"He is gone," she said.
"Who?" Finn asked, confused, but knowing in his heart the answer.
"The boy. He is gone. Wake Dody. I think more than that is missing."
Soon the Brandybucks were awoken (though their boys slept happily on) and some short investigating found that Malaric had indeed vanished, along with a small satchel of gold, one of the axes from the workshop, and several loves of bread.

"Good thing we only kept small change in there, as I have always insisted," said Agatha to Dody.
"Yes," he replied, "It was at the wise suggestion of Borir to hide the real operating funds, and by his spells it is kept hidden. This would not be the first time we were burglarized, nor will it be the last. But why did the lad do it? He was well-liked here and appreciated. I thought he felt at home here. He wouldn't stay forever of course, by why did he leave, and now on the eve of winter?"
"That we should learn," replied Hild looking at Finn intently. "Let me follow him. Let me see if I can discover where he is going."
"But," replied Finn his hand subconsciously holding the charm about his neck, "He came with blessing of Brunhild and the folk of Stonyford. She had nothing ill to say of the lad and of course his actions here speak well of him. He's probably just a wanderer, unaccustomed to living by rules set by others. He did seem too comfortable on the road, but then he also adjusted well here . . ."
"Let me go," replied Hild. "The longer we delay the further he gets. He asked many questions of us, not only on the way here, but I watched him. He was always observing."
"Ok then, but I'll go with you," said Finn.
"No, you are needed here in the Inn, with winter coming more than ever. Folk who stay will be all the more attracted by your music. I must go alone," said Hild firmly.
"Fine. Go," replied Finn, who seemed to have made up his mind but didn't like the conclusion. "But bring rations, and don't go further south than Stonyford, or north of the Forest Gate."
"I will take care of myself," she replied, "I am already packed."
Finn followed her as she began to leave, warm cloak about her, pack on her back, sword at her side.
"I survived well enough before your oversight." After a moment's hesitation added, "But I will return, hopefully within a month, before the snows come."
Finn reached his arm out and opened his mouth, but found nothing to say and closed it again, his arm falling back to his side. "Stay safe," he mumbled.
"You oaf," Hild said with a laugh, then turned and hugged him, but before he was ready to let go she was gone, disappearing into the night.
Over the next few weeks the Inn saw a flurry of travelers making their way south for the winter, Beornings traversing the Vale, and Dwarves who were heading from mines up north. The majority of guests were stragglers headed to Laketown and Dale over Mirkwood or through the Elf Path, hoping to cross before the weather got rough.

All of the friends were kept busy cooking, cleaning, building, fixing, and entertaining. Agatha kept reminding Dody to finish the stockade (which Hild, Borir, and even Finn had been working on, with only the gate left undone), and while the stakes were strong and sharp, the gate had always been an unspoken problem, for its presence would have changed the warm invitation of the Inn, its Hobbit-likeness, for which it was so well known. Finn never liked the idea of a closed gate, and it seems neither did Dody, and for one reason or another the project was never started.
While a gate might have changed the things that came to pass that winter, as the troubles did not turn out poorly in the end, who is to say what they should have done?

So it was that for the month of December the number of guests slowly dwindled, until near Yuletide the only occupants of the Inn were the Brandybucks, Varuthil (who was within a day or two to head down the Elf Path to her home), Frier the Dwarf-tinker (who had recently arrived from the Grey Mountains), a pair of young Beornings who'd heard of Agatha's famous Yuletide feast, and of course Finn, Hild, and Borir.
"To friends young and old," said Dody, raising a glass of 15-year Brandy, a small barrel he'd opened that night in celebration,
"Be warm bellies, warm hands, warm beds,
True eyes, true words, true hearts.
The road is long and cold, but we are the sort of people that hold firm, and live to see the Spring return."

It was a fine moment, made finer by the vintage in their glasses, and yet when Finn later reflected on the moment he saw that Dody's words had more significance for what was to come than all of them realized. Finn was glad, but his eyes could not help but notice the empty chairs, in particular the one Hild had occupied. It had been seven weeks and still she had not returned.

That night after the others had turned in, Finn stood by the front opening in the stockade and looked at the waning moon, which had been full just a night or two before. Dark clouds were in the West, and it was cold. From behind him came Dody's voice, "It's likely to snow. Tonight, perhaps tomorrow."
"It's certainly cold enough," Finn replied.
"The roads are good. Beorn and his folk have seen to it. Even in the winter they are broader and safer than before," the hobbit said.
"I know. I was just appreciating the beauty of the night. Not ready to say goodbye to Yule, to welcome the beginning of the cold winter."
"I'm sure, but don't worry. It never helped anyone travel any faster or safer. I know from many months of worrying while my brother was off on the road. He's always come home. Just don't stay out too late."
Finn nodded as Dody turned back in, the hobbit himself feeling too cold to remain in the yard.

Soon Finn was alone again, staring down the road. The light of the moon was appreciated to travelers at night, but it still made the world look dark and full of mists. Then suddenly at the furthest he could see a shape appeared coming his way, at what seemed like a run. He rubbed his eyes as the spirit, or whatever it was, seemed to appear and disappear, but always when he could see it, it came closer. His heart began to beat, but he could not turn back, though it reminded him much of the wight the company had faced on the ruins of Haycombe on the pass. Soon the spirit stopped disappearing and took a more definite shape, its approach still steady and even fast. And then he heard a voice.
"iiih!"
"iiiihn!"
The voice grew louder and it was soon easier to understand,
"Inn!"
"Inn!"
"Who goes there?" yelled Finn in return.
"Inn!"
And then suddenly he saw it was a woman, and the voice was one he knew,
"Finn!"
He ran toward Hild, worried that something must be wrong for her to come in such haste.

Soon she had been brought inside, Varuthil, Dody, and Agatha all awake. She given something to drink, but she did not rest a moment before speaking between gasps, "I have run for twelve hours. Dreymis has found us-- and he comes leading many."
"How many?" asked Varuthil calmly.
"At least four score, probably a hundred," replied Hild.
"And how do you know they know where to find us?" asked Finn anxiously.
"Malaric."
"The boy?" asked Agatha. "But . . ."
"He is a spy. He had been sent to Stonyford to watch for us. That was why he asked so many questions, and once he knew for sure that we were the two Dreymis wanted, and had an opportunity, he slipped away."
"How long do we have before they are here?" asked Finn.
"I think I am a day ahead of them." And then the words began to flow, and Hild told the rest of her story. "I followed Malaric south for four weeks, nearly back to the Gladden. There he disappeared into the forests, but I investigated and saw signs of a camp of men, and I had a bad feeling. Over the next few days I watched and waited. Then I saw him, Finn. Dreymis. It scared me, for I remembered my how terrible it was to have that man holding my oath. And seeing both Malaric and Dreymis, I knew the rest of the story. However, I had to verify what their plans were, so I continued to spy, and soon enough his men began packing up camp and preparing their arms. I quickly left, but could hear the sound of their northward march, so I began to ran. By Béma's favor I wasn't seen. First, I warned the folk of Stonyford, then Gelvira. I stopped at Beorn's house, but he was not home, though I left a letter for him with one of his dogs. For two weeks I forced myself to hurry here, but his men, outlaws though they are, did not waste time either. They were not coming north to pillage the Vale; they had one, have one, objective in mind."
"And that is?" whispered Dody, eyes wide.
"To kill or capture us, and destroy all who stand in the way," replied Finn.
They all suddenly turned at the sound of a hand slapping metal. "Not if I have anything to say about it," said Agatha, holding a frying pan with a look in her eye that would have cause an orc to hesitate. "But," she said sternly to Dody, "I want a gate!"
So it was that on the night after Yuletide, all of those staying at the Easterly Inn began preparations for battle - Dody, Agatha, Borir, Frier, Varuthil, Finn, Hild, and the two young Beorning men. How the companions wished Gerwald and Glirion were there to help, or that Beorn had been home when Hild had attempted to get his aid. They had discussed the idea of locking up the Inn and running, but with the winter weather coming in it was deemed too dangerous, especially for the Brandybucks' young boys. Plus, no one could stand to imagine the Inn seized or worse, burned down, which was a likely scenario in Dreymis' wrath.

Dando and Rodry were sent to the cellar with Hild, who was too exhausted from her forced march to be of help that night and the next day, but had promised to guard the boys with her life. There was no time to build a gate around the palisade, so instead a barricade was built from the great dining hall table turned on its side and backed by crates. Behind this "wall" boards were nailed to attach them and finally, more boards were nailed to hold the whole structure to the sides of the palisade. It could be fairly easily scaled, but would nevertheless slow down attackers, and prevented archers from easily firing into the defenders.

Finn, Borir, Frier and the Beornings set up to guard the gate. Dody and Shadrach were on patrol, to watch if they were attacked from the side. Climbing over the sharp palisade would be nearly impossible unaided, but if a ramp was built or ladders, attackers enter from any side. Agatha and Varuthil prepared wound treatments of bandages, poultices, and concoctions that helped a person ignore pain for a short time. Agatha further prepared food and water, and when she would not be bringing aid to the defenders, planned to use her sharp eyes to keep a close watch on their enemies. Finally, Varuthil hid on the second story roof of the Inn with as many arrows as possible. She too would help the defenders in the front, and discourage others from attempting to enter from another side.

Overall, it was a good defense, but it could not hold for long. If the attackers kept going even after losses, eventually the company would suffer a casualty or two, which would almost certainly have a cascading effect, leading to what could be an end for them all. It was a terrible thought, but they did not dwell on it. After their preparations at about noon that day, they tried to rest, not knowing how much time it would take for the army to arrive.

It did not take long. At the setting of the sun Varuthil's keen eyes could make out dust rising in the distance along the road. She passed the news along, and soon Dody and Agatha stood together in front of the Inn's door. Finn began to slowly drum on his bodhran, then to chant the words to the Lay of the Northmen. Some listened while others joined. At the end, Dody spoke quietly, but somehow all could hear him clearly,
"The road is long and cold, but we are the sort of people that hold firm, and live to see the Spring return."

In return from beyond the gate a voice called out. "Finnulf Wyngard. Come out. Bring your slave with you." The company could see in the dusk that a tall man bearing a sword and shield had called out, and again raised his voice. "Dreymis would like a word with you, and your slave owes him a debt."

Before Finn could return an answer a voice came from behind him, though sweeter than his, it was strong and had a tinge of bitterness that had been suppressed. "Dreymis. Only willing to find us with an army behind you? You always were a coward, always forcing others to do the evil deeds that were born in your heart. Go back to your hiding spot, before "

Then they heard a laugh, "And yet," said a man who stood by the tall captain, clearly Dreymis to those who had not seen him before, "in the name of a higher power you not only stood by while it all happened, you helped perpetuate it yourself. In the end, instead of thanking me for my care for you and your family for ten years, you repaid me with this." The man raised his right hand, but instead nothing was there, only the remaining stump of an arm.

"As Captain Viduvar commanded," Dreymis continued, "You will come out Finnulf, and you will bring that wench with you. I have only two requests once you have joined me here. First, she will die. Second, you will pay with one hand of your choice. Am I not more generous than you are? If not, then realize that my men been given free reign of this Inn and all its occupants. They will have their sport and take what they will. The only thing left will be ashes. I don't think you and the slave wish for that, so come and make payment, and we will leave this very night."

In response Hild looked at Agatha who waited by an open window inside the Inn, the wrath on her face all the confirmation that Hild needed. She looked up at Varuthil and said, "Shoot him."

At that moment the Captain raised his shield as Dreymis disappeared behind him into the ranks of his band, while an arrow soon followed, burying itself in the shield of Viduvar.

"Attack!" yelled Viduvar. And with those words the men charged toward the barricade, and the battle of Easterly Inn began in earnest.
Sorry that's so long. Feel free to post what your character did in the battle. WB, I'm thinking Gerwald will enter in toward the end, providing a much needed rally. So maybe wait until the others have posted. Othniel, feel free to bring Glirion in if it makes sense for where he was traveling.
Last edited by Blubbo_Baggins on Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Wbweather » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:11 am

Gerwald was no stranger to loss. Having buried a wife and son he thought little else could match that pain, but now that he had time to rest, the loss of the hobbit Everard had brought back the sense of loss and old wounds were open once again. He did not speak of this to the others. They had their own troubles and he needn't bother them with his. At Rhosgobel, he had gone with the others to visit the Kingstone and that had indeed given him hope that despite the darkness which seemed to be spreading relentlessly across Middle-earth there was still good in the world, a good worth fighting for.

His mind eased somewhat in the days that followed. Travelling north with Varuthil, the two talk long of their lost companion, laughing at fond memories he shared at times, at other times silent when no words could be found. He wondered how the elf viewed death. It must seem different to someone who was immortal. He thought as Everard as a son, a child. To those long lived folk, all mortal lives must pass as quickly as the seasons. How did they deal with grief? Did they even understand it? But Varuthil seemed saddened at the loss of their companion as much as he did.

When they reached the land of his people, Gerwald took leave of Varuthil and went home to his own people. The steading where he had lived had changed little over the years since he left. The steading maybe had not changed, but Gerwald had. While this had once been his home, it no longer felt like home. How could it when his home had been torn away from him. He still had family there and they were glad to see him. He was happy to see them as well, but far too often he could read the questions in their eyes, "Have you gotten over the loss of your wife and child?"

He stayed for a few days, longer than he wanted. When he had said his last goodbye, he left alone to visit the Carrock. There was something about the place that spoke to the heart of a Beorning and standing on the summit, the rushing water ever moving far below, he felt the beginning of the shadow being lifted from his shoulder. He needed to move, to wander the lands of his forefathers for a time. He needed the open sky and solitude. So he traveled. How long and how far he really could not say. Days turned to weeks as he followed the river north. He watched the eagles circling far overhead, he watched the stars wheel through the night sky, he was alone with only the grass at his feet and clouds above and it gave him time to heal.

Some weeks later her returned to his people, the Beornings. His mind had found its peace.He took up the task of sharpening his great spear head finding further comfort in the exertion of his strength at the forge. Sometimes he would travel to the Easterly Inn to check on his companions and the hobbits so far from their own land. each time he would tell himself he would stay and help with the work but he would find himself no yet ready to join them and so he would go back to his homeland again. Fall passed and winter fell. He had completed his work on his spear. He needed other tasks to occupy his time and so he would set out hunting, bringing back venison and boar to feed those most in need. Something about the wild began to become part of him. He moved more quietly through the land, stealthier than he had ever been, feeling one with nature.

It was in the heart of winter that he first started feeling an unease about his companions at the Easterly Inn. He was not one to put much stock in dreams or feelings, but he would wake in the night with the urge that he was needed by his travelling companions. ANd so he made up his mind to go to the Inn, in spite of the cold and snow. One morning he just packed up his few belongings and set out to visit the Brandybucks, this time to stay and help them out until spring. Little did he know his arrival would coincide with the coming of another company with a sinister intent...

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Blubbo_Baggins
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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Blubbo_Baggins » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:09 pm

Varuthil began sending arrows into the front ranks - those men who were trying to climb the barricade. At first this was quite effective. Men screamed and fell back with arrows sticking in them, and the initial charge was stayed. But it did not take long for the vanguard to rally, and forming a shield wall they began their charge anew.

At the same time Viduvar drew back, out of range, and began giving orders out of sight of the defenders. Though Varuthil tried to observe him she was too busy, for now the attackers had begun to scale the barricade in earnest and were ready to drop down behind the wall. More carefully she looked for openings and fired on them, causing one or two to fall off the barricade, but soon the attackers were over, and not wanting to hit friends, she held her fire.

The Dwarves' counter charge was terrible, and Dreymis' men in the front rank were soon dead or dying. Seeing what happened to the others and hearing the war cry of the Dwarves brought dismay into the hearts of those who had followed behind, and brought them pause. Agatha laughed and mocked them, and Varuthil used the moment to send another arrow into a man.

For the moment Finn watched, trying to see what Viduvar was ordering his men to do, but could only see the men in front, charging toward and climbing the barricade. It was also dark, and hard to see far beyond the palisade, but soon they could hear Shadrach's bark, coming from the western side, and knew there might be trouble from there. Trouble indeed came, for before the battle had begun, a small group with rope had already set up on that side of the palisade. When battle had joined they had quietly scaled the wall and the hound's bark had revealed their presence. Hild and the two young Beornings ran and found that only three men had managed to enter the grounds, but two more were soon behind them.

A small skirmish began, and though the attackers had advantage of numbers, Hild and the Beornings' bravery and skill soon contained them. As they fought they called to Varuthil. Unfortunately the elf could not see that side of the wall from her vantage, so began making her way across the roof for a better angle.

Simultaneously, arrows began falling into the yard. It seemed that Vivuvar had set up a squad of archers to send these into the area; even if the vast majority of shots were off the mark (for they could not aim through the palisade), the arrows were a danger and a distraction to the defenders. As the Dwarves continued to engage the men who made it over the barricade, Finn soon followed behind them, protecting their flanks and shielding them from arrows that came too close.

Finally coming to a good position, Varuthil made quick work of the two men scaling with ropes. Hearing their backup being hit by arrows, the three remaining bandits in the yard turned to look, giving the Beornings an opening, and soon the bandits were down - dying or injured.

It seemed that in spite of Viduvar's well-coordinated attacks the defenders had held them off, for the attackers again pulled back. Though the moment to rest was appreciated by the Inn's defenders, no one celebrated, fearing what might come next and knowing that if the bandits did not lose heart and continued to attack, the battle would indeed be long.

Dark clouds covered the stars and a chill wind came from the west from over the mountains. Finn, trying to push the fear he felt down, began singing a line from his Lay and while it helped, the fear was ever present. Suddenly the darkness was pierced by a light. An burning arrow flew over the palisade and landed on the front wall of the Inn. Agatha was nearby, and soon had it doused, but the arrow was soon followed by many more. Most of the arrows landed in the palisade. While they posed less of an immediate threat there, if allowed to grow into a blaze, the stakes would burn down, and with them would burn the best tool the defenders had to protect themselves. And so Dody loosed Shadrach to patrol alone, and joined Agatha in filling buckets with water.

At the same time, a cry was heard, and with it the attackers again charged the barricade. Beside them unlit arrows landed in the yard. Every one of the companions was soon was busy fighting those who made it over the barricade, dousing fires on the Inn or palisade, or trying to avoid arrows. Finn did all he could to both protect the Dwarves and aid them in attacking bandits who made it over the barricade, but soon his focus was entirely on the foes who engaged him, and he could not spare attention for the arrows.

It was one of these that finally hit Frier in the leg. The Dwarf cried out, but amazingly continued to fight. His courage put fear into the attackers nearest them, and though there was a pause in the assault, it became clear that the Dwarf would not stand much longer. "Hold the gate, Borir!" Finn cried, grabbing Frier and carrying the Dwarf to the Inn before he could be killed outright. Handing him him to Agatha (who was already prepared) Finn turned back, not wanting Borir to fight alone. "Varuthil!" he cried, hoping she would see that Borir would soon be alone. He wondered, where Hild and the young Beornings were, but had no time to put further thought into it.

Aided by Shadrach's nose and bark, they had continued finding more men trying to scale the walls. It seemed that they had brought only a few ropes (otherwise the Inn would have indeed been overrun), for while Hild and the Beornings could not cease their vigilance in preventing these small forces from entering the grounds, they were able to hold them off.

Smoke rose from a burning section of palisade near the front hindering Varuthil from clear shots. Seeing the state at the front gate she called down to Hild, hoping the woman could leave the Beornings to aid Borir, who fought alone.

As Finn ran to rejoin Borir, he saw that already five men had scaled the barricade and more were coming.

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Wbweather
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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Wbweather » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:37 pm

It was late as Gerwald was nearing the Easterly Inn with thoughts of a fine hobbit made meal and a soft bed. Night had set in and he expected to have to knock hoping to rouse Dody to let him in. As he came in sight of the inn he began to wonder if there was some festival going on, he could see fires glowing around the place and hear the shouts of many people. It didn't take long for him to realize the true nature of the events that were happening before him. The Easterly Inn was under attack for reasons he could not fathom. A large group was gathered in the dark assailing the palisades. He moved forward stealthily hoping to avoid attention. Fortunately the attackers were focused on their dark work and didn't see him slip up behind them.

He stood for a moment, silently contemplating what he could do as he watched men hoisting ropes and climbing the walls. He could hear the fighting going on inside, although he could not gauge how many men had breached the barrier. He could see a row of archers near a fire pit lighting arrows and loosing them into the night air.

He decided to approach from behind with a purposeful stride, hoping that in the darkness and confusion he would be assumed to be just another of the attackers. Fortune seemed to favor him and no one stopped or questioned him as he came to stand along side of a man who appeared to be giving orders to the archers. The man stared at him for a moment trying to remember him. A moment later Gerwald thrust his spear deep into the man's belly. One of the archers saw the attack and shouted out a warning to the others. He quickly dispatched of that man as well and faced off against the remaining three men who at this range could do little with their bows. A third fell to his spear as the last two men fled to the larger group. Others were now watching and he had to withdraw before he was engaged by a larger group of men with better armor and weapons for close ranged fighting.

Fortunately, he knew the lay of the land around the inn and was able to disappear into the night while men were sent with torches to search for him. He had at leased stopped the burning arrows from falling on the inn and hopefully had drawn off some of the attackers, giving those inside some relief. He made his way to a thicket of trees and used the shadows to try and circumnavigate the attackers, hoping to approach them from the far side.

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Muskrat
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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Muskrat » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:57 pm

As Gerwald travels with Varuthil, he might at first find her a seemingly distant companion. She never laughs and rarely smiles and her face and voice are usually cold. But when he speaks of the loss of Everard and then his family, something in her expression seems to soften. "You and I have more in common than one might think, Beorning. I lost my parents to an orc attack when I was young--young even as men measure such things, not only elves." She was silent for several minutes before continuing. "That is how I have found myself on this strange road with companions such as few of my people have traveled with. I do not want what befell me to befall any other, be they elf, man, hobbit or even dwarf. I have studied the ways of the Enemy deeply that I might know him and his servants, the better to fight them." Gerwald perhaps has an answer to how Varuthil has dealt with her grief, though that may not be how other elves deal with it.

****
At first, Varuthil hisses angrily to herself during the Battle of the Easterly Inn. With so many enemies, she cannot see everywhere and loose her arrows at every enemy. Soon enough, she shakes her head and sets aside her frustrations as a distraction. She lets herself go cold inside and focus methodically on sighting the enemy, shooting them with an arrow, then looking for the next enemy--not worrying about the bigger outcome of the battle, only doing the part that she can.

That is, until one bandit comes near where the hobbit children are hidden. Hissing like an angry cat, Varuthil leaps from the roof with elven grace, laying the man low with her sword. She scans the area for more approaching bandits and, when she sees none, scrambles back onto the roof to continue plying their foes with arrows.

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Vardaen
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Book 7: Act 2 - Longing for Home

Post by Vardaen » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:08 pm

Borir was born and lived most of his life in Ered Luin, the Blue Mountains. Having lived there, he grew accustomed to both Humans and elves living in the mountain region. When Borir was young, he and his father, Norir, was attacked by Orcs just outside the town. During the fight, Borir was young and not yet Dwarven Battle Age (30). He tried his best to fight the Orcs alongside Norir, but he was soon knocked unconscious when his head was smashed by an Orc. His father stood over him to protect him from the Orcs until fellow dwarves arrived. His youngest brother, Lorir, died there, leaving only Borir and his middle brother Forir. At the sight of the dwarven warriors, the Orcs quickly soon fled. Shortly after the other dwarves arrived, Norir was cut down by an Orc and fell over top of Borir to hide his son from the Orcs. Afterwards, Borir was both too young and too wounded, he was not allowed to hunt the Orcs who slayed his father. Borir carries the shield of his father, Norir, who used the shield to protect him from the Orcs as he laid unconscious on the battle field.

That shield now is held high, and is dented with the years of many battles. Holding the gate alone, Borir, no longer a young lad, being well over 70 years in age, swings his father's shield from side to side knocking men flat. In his other hand is his axe which has killed countless orc and goblins and it fair share of men and even more foul things. The attack on the narrow opening in the palisade wall is grown more desperate by the attackers and with only Borir holding it now, they see their chance.

"Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-menu!" shouts Borir as he cuts the legs out of another man who has scaled the barricade. Another stands atop, spear in hand, ready to throw it at the retreating Finn and Frier, but before the man and loose his spear a dwarven axe slams into his chest! Borir's own weapon has been flung through the air end over end into the man's chest. Blood bubbles up out of the man's mouth and he topples back into the darkness. "Go Finn! I'll hold them, get Frier to safety!"

The short blade on Borir's belt is drawn now, and he plunges forward with it, striking here and stabbing there. Yet he cant' hold the line alone, there are too many, "They are worse than goblins! Like so many biting ants!" He's knocked backwards, shield held up against a bandit with a great woodman's ax. Two, three, four blows and finally at long last the shield of Norir gives up. It is rent in twain and sundered. The fifth blow shatter's Borir's shield arm and knocks him to his knees.

"FOR THE SHIRE! FOR THE FELLOWSHIP!"

Borir rallies as a black winged raven swoops down pecking at the eyes of a man standing over Borir, and the dwarf strikes the man in the knee buckling him over, but even as the axe man staggers away two more take his place and with long spears they strike Borir, one in the side and another in the back as they flank poor Borir, son of Norir, of the Longbeards. He topples forward into the blood soaked dirt, his breathing shallow, his blood spilling out from many wounds even as Finn secures Frier and Varuthil saves the children. Some place out there the flaming arrows pause in their flight as Gerwald arrives unlooked for.

Limping up to him the enemy axeman looms over the dwarf, axe high held in both hands, the blade a glow with the red of the fire of the night. "It ends here dwarf, for all of you."

SWOOSH

Borir's head rolls, his eyes gazing up wards to the stars, a soft smile on his face as he finally sees his father once more in the Halls of Mandos in Valinor.
So here ends Borir Son of Norir, of Erebor of the Longbeards.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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