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Author Topic: Coming Clean and Fresh  (Read 359 times)


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Coming Clean and Fresh
« on: May 22, 2020, 04:16:16 PM »
Dol Amroth. Harper hadn't been back in this area in...she wasn't sure how long. Since her fledging, of course, but maybe only once or twice since then. Once or twice in around seven decades! It wasn't for any ill feelings towards the inhabitants; for one they were different inhabitants now, and had no tie to the fisherman who had shot down her father in mistaking him for a typical hawk, and thought him the reason his crab traps came up empty, except if his grandchildren were around.

Harper knew who the fisherman had been, also, yet held no grudge, or had repeated to herself the facts all leading to it being an accident many times over the course of the decades. The Man himself was no longer alive, of course, but his grandchildren also would not be saddled with the sins of their decendent.

In truth, Harper would be harsher on the otters (normal creatures) who had been the cause of the fisherman's robbed crab traps and the misunderstanding.

No, it was simply for keeping her own secret still that Harper was scarce; yet she also felt the ties of home to this place and thus a need to check up, and especially with what she had heard...

The darkness which was spreading was coming from Mordor, of course, which held far too close a proximity to Gondor as a whole. Minas Tirith was dealt the worst of it, but Harper didn't feel the coastal city was all that safe either. Of course there was precious little she could do, herself, but...she'd feel better for having checked up...however effective such was in the end.

There was risk in it for her own self, sure, but Harper was older now, if only by a small bit, and, in her Eighties, the equivalent of a Sixteen year old youth, where as she'd left a small child comparable to Nine or Ten perhaps.

Walking down the familiar streets, she smiled to herself, and was soon given her first test of the resolve she'd just been forming...

As she came back over towards the coast, Harper spotted an older fisherman hauling in his nets and...the small child of five would have been hard to recognize in the gray hair and weathered face, though the blue eyes were the same, but the boat was recognizable. It was the same from his father's use, weathered also and well patched by now. Impressive that the family had made one boat last this long, really!

He wasn't an acquaintance, thankfully, for otherwise he would have recognized her, but more a child Harper had known of before. And son to the fisherman with such a tie to her own story, with children of his own no doubt and them perhaps grown, though the man was left to his current task alone.

Frowning, but not in negative emotion, more thoughtfully, Harper watched him struggle with his net for a bit before making up her mind and walking over, stepping from the shore over into his boat, which was moored just up against the soil and in the shallows. Though she was probably not much further help, she grabbed the other side and helped him haul the net over and in. It took a while, but they finally got it.

"Thank-you young lady", the man wiped at his brow and gave Harper a smile, which she returned. They then both turned their attention to the haul he'd brought in and the man bent to inspect. "No, no damage, that's good" he said.

"Are they often damaged?", Harper asked, wondering if the effects of Mordor spread this far. and hopefully not! The man shook his head again, "It might be more Orcs tossing mutilated fish back than any ill effects down here, but I've pulled in a few bad catches, though it's hard to say", he admitted. Still, Harper frowned thoughtfully once more, as even the man's face took on a grim hue as well as both thought over such. It was no doubt also half an intimidation factor, if Orcs were doing such, but also...the disregard for Illuvatar's creation and wanton killing, with no purpose, of even fish, left a sour note.

"Here", the man went on, bending and, using a small wicker basket also with him in his boat, putting in three fish from his catch before handing it over to Harper. "You take this with you back to whatever family you have; for thanks for your help", he smiled.

"", holding up her hands, Harper tried to protest, and for the man's sake and knowing she could catch her own fish much easier than he could even, and so feeling bad if she did take such! He meant nothing but good, she knew, and if his words on Family She Had stung it was just for the family they came from, and of course unintentional.

As with most grandfatherly types, the man wouldn't hear of sending her away without something of course, and Harper was obliged to just smile and take the basket. "Thankyou!", she went on sincerely, and...again, it could hardly heal anything when he didn't even know of the heavy weight between them, but...somehow it did, in a small way, and the basket of fish she left the boat with felt like absolution even if unwittingly given.

Or Harper felt lighter even if there was no logical reason for it, and nothing of weight had actually been solved as, with a smile, she walked off. It was also good to see the coastal village was doing mostly alright, though she was sure there were effects she couldn't see as she made her way along, smiling to women and children alike who would glance up and wave to her.

Next curious about the old hut her parents had used, and which she'd been born in, Harper directed her steps that way and away from town, towards the forested cover.

{Alvy can come upon her before she reaches the hut or after, however :)}



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Re: Coming Clean and Fresh
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2020, 12:49:52 PM »
A few weeks earlier…

Crouching low to the forest floor, peering through the bushes that concealed her from the furry scavenger nibbling on the grass a few yards away, Alvelin trained her eye on her unsuspecting prey for a few moments, following it with the point of her arrow for less than a heartbeat, before letting it fly.

No noise. No suffering. The skewered rabbit fell without a squeak, a clean headshot, while the rest of the colony scattered and sprang away into the undergrowth. 

It was sad. The act of snuffing out life, especially those of innocent (cute and fluffy) creatures, for consumption, never failed to tug at her heartstrings.  She took only what was necessary, prayed for Yavanna's forgiveness and paid a moment of grief in respect before setting out on each and every hunt.  For herself, if there were no alternatives available, but mainly for others that relied on it more. The wilds around Dol Amroth yielded ample plant life to sustain her thus far without complaint, though the aromas of bread and pastries would lure her into town every so often to satisfy those carb and sugar cravings.  Alone, she could get by with very little but greens and fruit to stay her hunger.  It was when she had other company around to tend to, that her bow saw more use in the pursuit of food than the slaying of enemies.  Unlike Elves, not every creature was blessed to be able to survive long without meat.

A smile returned to Alvelin's face as she rose from the cover of the shrubs, once the rabbit was down.  Mourn for death, but honor the sacrifice.  Now was no reason for sorrow, but for celebration.  One mouth would not go hungry. And it was not to fill her own.  For this selfless act, there was little to burden her mind with guilt, in ensuring that her four-legged comrade would survive.

"Go get it, Griz," she urged, stirring up excitement in her tone that would goad the animal forward.  Though Sindarin was her native tongue, her Noldor parents, High Elves themselves, had taken pride in teaching her Quenya at home. In preparation for Valinor one day, they said. Hopefully, if the sea-longing took hold to sway her, after them.  Rare were the opportunities for her to speak Quenya in public.  It was during these reflective periods of solitude, with no one around to talk to, save that of the animals, that her thoughts turned towards home in Lindon and family in Valinor, reminding her to practice the language so as to not lose memory and skill of it altogether.

At Alvelin's urging, Grizzly stared up expectantly and wagged his tail, not making any effort to move from where he stood as he waited patiently beside his new provider.  Named for his grizzled appearance, his black fur graying with silver, his coat lackluster and thinning with age.  He was a sad-looking dog, most captured in his eyes, full of sadness but hope... Like most strays that wandered the streets of the nearby city, where Alvelin had found him, searching the back alleyways for food. She had fed him a crust of bread and, locking gazes with his as he begged humbly for more, had felt glimpses of his past… Times and people and other places had been good to him, up and down throughout his lonely life. He had been happier once, knowing the kindness and love of many strangers, perhaps even a strong master at one point, but those memories were long ago and faded and, knowing like all of Yavanna's creation when their time is nearing, had accepted his life would soon be over, with no point in pursuing greater happiness than what he once knew, if he had not the strength and vigor and guarantee of time to enjoy it in, like his youth.

Newfound hope had recently sprung into those eyes, padding after Alvelin who had coaxed him to follow her. Many a stray dog had earned her sympathies and spare morsels, but few she had allowed them to tag along on her travels, knowing there was only so much she could do to provide for so many.  Aiming to stick around Dol Amroth for... however long Grizzly would live, at least... she had enough time and convenience to make his last days comfortable. Though out of all elderly strays around, why this one? Even Alvelin couldn't quite pinpoint the reason.

Not that she regretted adopting him, but he certainly wasn't the most… helpful dog. To no fault of his own. All his life, he had looked to people for everything, and had not been fostered with a purpose by which to serve them. He was no hunter, herder, or guard dog. He had not survived a day in the wilderness without Man to guide, protect and feed him. There was not a mean bone in his body that would activate those predator instincts and get him to chase anything, all the more due to lack of interest and energy in his old age. His bite was non-existent, as well as his bark.  Silence, Alvelin could appreciate.  Being old made him more careful of where he put his paws, and he treaded lightly, able to creep up beside the Elf without alerting any prey, watching his new master do most of the work in securing him a bite to eat.  No amount of Elvish whispering would get Grizzly to budge otherwise and fetch his own meal.

"Well, dig in," Alvelin said invitingly, standing over the rabbit where she had shot it, after retrieving her arrow, though she wasn't too keen on staying nearby watch the gruesome scene of teeth tearing into flesh.

If only Grizzly knew what to make out of the warm, furry lump. He approached cautiously and sniffed it, looking absolutely stumped as he looked to Alvelin for indication of what to do next. Biting into a whole rabbit - fur and blood and all - was just as foreign and unappealing to him as it was to the Elf.  Whatever people ate, he also ate, whatever he could sneak away with or beg for in the city. And last he recalled, people did not eat raw meat. 

Pampered stray.

"Fine, I'll cook it for you," Alvelin sighed, picking up the rabbit, anticipant Grizzly at her heels as she walked away.

This dog was too much work, she grumbled silently. But fondly. She couldn't blame Grizzly entirely for his picky eating and human dependency. And there was enjoyment to be found in having a living creature around to take care of. Even if it meant butchering Grizzly's meat into bite-size pieces and hand-feeding him like the helpless, stubborn elder he was.

Trudging around in the woods, she began searching for a place to set up camp and a fire.  Now was not one of those days when she desired people enough to go out of her way to find them, stumbling into their company or knocking on nearby doors for a room to stay in. She'd rather spend a night alone, for a change.

The babbling sound of water reached her ears, and she followed it, over to a small brook. Right here seemed a perfect spot, but, on a curious whim (led by Elvish intuition), she followed it upstream, deeper into the woods that led to an uphill slope, where something not quite matching with the rest of the natural landscape caught the corner of her eye.

A roof.  A mound of foliage-covered earth that would have escaped unnoticed, if not for the small stone chimney that poked out of it.  Who could be living out here? She wondered. Was it a hunting lodge?

She could sense no movement or activity of anyone that might have passed by recently or occupied the place. Indeed the structure looked quite old and neglected, as she drew closer to investigate. The front was made of stone, hewn from the same rock of the hillside that the shelter had been dug into, while the rest was fortified with wood, such as the roof and the door.  Moss had taken root, coating most of the surfaces over time, though the building had aged well despite the elements, due to its strong foundation.

There were no windows by which she could peek through before pushing the door open. The inside was a single room, extending farther back into the hill than what the hut appeared to be on the outside. A rather cozy little burrow. A few cracks in the walls allowed light and air to filter through.  If these had been living quarters, it was remarkably bare. No table, no chair, no bed. Several wooden beams hung overhead, near the ceiling, though they clearly didn't support the framework, resembling more pole-like branches cut from a tree. Interesting design choice. A simple fireplace connected to the chimney, while the number of shelves hinted that the room must have been used more for storage than daily living. 

Overall, it was well-preserved. A bit musty and dusty, but with a little bit of tidying, Alvelin couldn't find a reason to pass up a free room, set up with the brook nearby. If no one owned the place and it was abandoned, then she might as well make some use out of it and get it looking decent again, at least for the next traveler that might happen across it, after she had gone.

She glanced at the dog approvingly.  "Welcome home, Griz."
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 10:25:45 AM by Alvelin »


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Re: Coming Clean and Fresh
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2020, 02:39:09 PM »
Though it had been years, Harper still remembered the pathway up to the hut, or memory came back as she walked, and she quickly recalled the varying details of it as she made her way along. Brush and shrubbery that had been landmarks before were now massive or overgrown. Sapling like trees now mighty and tall, and yet still young in that they would grow more and more rings for even years to come after. Maybe even on past her lifetime, though there was a similarity with her own growth rate as well.

Harper smiled to herself as she pondered all this and re-acclimated herself to the area, even if it also brought some painful memories of just recalling her parents who were no longer there. But then the town had also held some of that. Harper paused by one such mighty tree that now towered on into the foliage cover, and yet which she could recall passing with her father when it was all but at her height. She remembered such, because he had mentioned all of this and, after measuring her against it, laughingly told her it would probably out grow her, in height at least. As it had.

As she came through the final bit of woodlands surrounding the old area where the hut had been, Harper spotted it and smiled again. It was still there. Though she'd half expected it would be, she also hadn't been sure, and not this many years later. As she glanced around her eye fell on some tracks all around the area and, still within the cover of the trees, she bent down to examine them. The dog prints showed more clearly than the others.


They looked like Men tracks, except she didn't know any that could tread that lightly, so possibly. Unless...the thought came before Harper could stop it! Were there Skin-Changers who could...tread lightly due to what form they took? Harper would have defended that her own eyesight seemed still a bit heightened, even out of form. Not to full Hawk standards but, it was said certain telling signs remained.

For her own part, Harper wouldn't know, her parents being the only other Skin-Changers she had known; but she was slight in form after all, and it was said Bears were massive giants of Men...

Harper glanced once more to the hut. Her theory had some backing to it, just by how remote the cabin was. Most of those in town were no doubt happy with their arrangements, and the long trek all the way out here was inconvenient if they had any sort of business in town to deal with, which was the whole reason her parents had set up in the space to begin with, and trusted to not being disturbed.

So...perhaps...other Skin-Changers would think the same...

Stop it!. Harper told herself, You're being ridiculous, it's just some woodsman who took up residence...

Not that she really minded, and she hardly held a claim over the hut anymore, after this many years had passed, and she didn't really need the space anymore either.

Harper considered a bit longer. If she was going to do what she was thinking of doing, she was going to need an answer if it was anyone from town. She didn't have to worry about them recognizing her, she reminded herself, again, any alive then would have been small children she no doubt didn't meet, same as the fisherman back in town...

No she'd just have to pull off what wasn't a lie of 'kid on her own', now young teen so it was a bit easier to slip away still.

Yet...if it was just woodsmen, she'd hate to bother them for really nothing, and would prefer to just leave them in peace and with her blessing to use the old hut. Removing her light pack she always carried (or knew where she'd stashed nearby if need be) from her shoulders, Harper left it behind a tree. Changing still took some forethought and planning of at least being prepared, though what she now wore would also be there for her use again*, wear and tear was also a possibility amidst transformations, and depending on how many and variables of it. So she always had to be prepared.

Then Harper changed to her Hawk form for some subtle spying. She half-flapped half-glided over to land on the roof. There actually was one window, but it was around back and if whoever was using the hut hadn't cleaned at it in all these years, it would be of little use, especially for spying through. Still, Harper made her way over there and craned around from upside down all but to try to peer through.

An owl would have been that much better at it, but she managed. She caught sight of the dog who's prints she'd seen earlier and...there was the person, but Harper couldn't get a good look. She moved to the ledge just big enough for such and tried to get a better look. Unfortunately this resulted in her beak slightly tapping against the window. Just in case it was heard, she flapped back up to the window and watched the door. If no one came out, she'd go back to subtle spying.

{*It's an aspect of Skin-Changers my research, and basically having Beorn to go off of, doesn't give many answers to, yet we see Beorn changed mid/upon entering the Battle of Five Armies not seeming to be having to be concerned about what he currently has on so I think I could pull a Currently Used argument while still not pushing the laws of reality too much. Small, perhaps, nitpick facts like this matter to me too and for characters :D}



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Re: Coming Clean and Fresh
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2020, 03:28:56 AM »
Before moving in completely, Alvelin performed a quick search around the hut, scanning every nook and cranny to make sure everything inside was safe and secure. No big bugs or unwanted creatures lurking around… Although, she could handle a few harmless spiders and geckos sharing the abode; at least they did their part in getting rid of pesky insects.  Following her nose to the source of a putrid odor revealed a dead rat - likely an old one that managed to crawl its way into the hut before it died - now riddled with maggots. Gross. Couldn't have that stinking up the place.  Using a stick to sweep up the decayed lump onto the blade of a wood axe, she carefully picked up the carcass and tossed it outside - as respectfully as she could possibly do it, if Yavanna cared about such sentiments towards rats after death.  The wood axe, she had found among the various tools lying around the hut, and was a reminder for her to cook the rabbit soon, else the meat would spoil while she was busy being distracted, exploring and tidying up her new living quarters. 

Grizzly by her side, she headed outdoors to collect some kindling nearby, hesitant to use the axe against any living tree, so long as there were fallen branches she could load her arms with, lugging it back to the hut - and whatever edibles she could forage along the way, to keep her hunger satiated as she prepped the rabbit and roasted it over the fire. She had to admit, the aromas were mouthwatering, nearly tempted to take a bite for herself. Her priority, however, was the dog, and while Grizzly gobbled down his gourmet meal, Alvelin turned her attention to further investigating and cleaning up things. Surprisingly the hut was full of items and trinkets, uncovered while rummaging through drawers, cabinets and chests. Quite a household clutter… Could there have been a family that lived in here, once?


A few weeks later…

Puffs of smoke emanating from the chimney would indicate to passersby afar that someone was actively using the hut.  The woods were abounding with small game birds, of which Alvelin had caught a few pheasants for Grizzly, and was in the process of butchering and roasting them over the fire when she turned her head to glance up at the window - where the back of her head had been facing it, prior to hearing the little 'tap' against the glass.  Cleaning the hut was slow process to keep on top of, since Alvelin had settled into her new normal, spending far more time outdoors than in.  That particular window around back was more for letting in light overhead than for peering through, and would require a stool for her to reach up and wipe it down.  Not one to fret about a little dirt, she actually didn't mind the dim lighting the smudged glass provided.  Made the room much more cozy, with the fire on.

If the 'tap' was any louder, she might have been tempted to take a peek outside, moreso with wary concern, had her senses told her that there was something (or someone) "bigger" outside nearby the hut.  Picking up no further sound or movement out of the ordinary, Alvelin turned back to her task of cooking the pheasant, dismissing the 'tap' as a piece of nature's debris - a pebble or piece of dirt that had been dislodged from the roof, or a bug that had smacked into it. Or even if it was a curious critter - a harmless bird or squirrel - it was nothing Alvelin thought about to raise concern over.

Tags: alvelin lotr 

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