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Author Topic: Through the Storm  (Read 473 times)

Ivriniel

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Through the Storm
« on: January 22, 2021, 05:19:01 PM »
Much eyebrow raising and eye rolling had been given by Ivriniel, the day Thranduil's decree reached her ears, ordering the Woodland army to mobilize and ship out to Dale.  For what reason, still embittered her.  Whether the King's interests were set in mind for the people, in staking a claim on the Mountain's treasure, or harbored more personal sentiment such as the White Gems of Lasgalen…  Greed, was all it sickeningly was.  And if the latter was truly the more superior and "just" motive behind their march towards Dale, Ivriniel wouldn't be surprised (but no less appalled), in contempt of her own kin.

Elves and their jewels…  Greed knows no race, but at least the tyranny and bloodshed wrought from it by Mortal kings was short-lived, in that regard.  Elven greed was far more terrifying, which Ivriniel prayed would not bring further grief to her people.  Given History's ill-fated habit of repeating itself, she foreboded that this war over gold would not end well. 

And yet, she had to give credit where it was due.  The Elves' arrival in Dale hadn't been entirely for selfish gain, though one might wonder whether this "aid" was conducted as formality rather than neighborly hospitality.  To barge into someone's house and occupy it, without paying some sort of "rent" as compensation, would simply have been rude manners on the King's part, stationing his army at the city.  Still, the Lake-town refugees benefited from the small relief given to them, including some healing herbs and vials of medicine which Ivriniel's father had taken care to pack in with the wagons.

She had come here for the sake of the innocent.  The refugees, her comrades in arms, her nephew, her brother-in-law…  She would gladly give up her life for them, as well as any tree in the Forest.  But for her King, seemed too absolute and personal of an attachment, and frankly were empty words upon Ivriniel's lips when she swore her vow of allegiance to the Guard.  Her loyalty wasn't to the Realm (though she wouldn't admit that aloud freely).  It was about protecting that which was good and light in the world, in the Forest and beyond, and protecting those who strived to do the same.  Ivriniel would not follow blindly and bind herself to die, on the whims of an Elf wearing a crown of twigs.  Still, she would fulfill her duty as best she could.  To the death if need be…  Which she accepted would be, having already said those last goodbyes to her family.  She would not look to false hope, expecting to return home alive.  Funny how such an outlook actually helped in keeping her alive, all these centuries.

She was already a reserve, and could have easily remained behind to guard the Realm (which was rather tempting, having all the trees and open air to herself), yet a call for archers had alone tipped the scale in Ivriniel's favor, if by a grain of sand (in reality, she was an exceptional shot with the bow, though she avoided making a spectacle of it).  Despite her reluctancy at first, her conscience wouldn't allow her to abandon her crew, and in the end, orders were orders, at her captain's behest.  Apart from the main battalion, all decked out in golden armor and crimson capes, Ivriniel had been sorted into Feren's company of light infantry, much more comfortable in her earthen green tunic, equipped with twin swords and a quiver full of arrows.

Her past self would have enjoyed traveling, seeing someplace new afar, and yet there was no pleasure or joy to be found in the march from Mirkwood to Dale, as everything turned gray and solemn…  For Ivriniel was just a shell of the warm and sunny Elf-maiden left behind in the Forest, shedding off the old skin…  Preparing her mind for battle.  Just another stoic face and hollow heart, numbed to the pain and suffering that would—could (she seldom had much optimism, under the looming shadow of war)—soon befall them. 

Even in the dead of night, as the army infiltrated the gates and Ivriniel took her position upon the wall, her eyes could assess the dilapidated streets and buildings all around, made clear with the breaking of day.  A very sad and sorry sight.  The ruins of a once noble city, charred and overgrown with bramble and withered trees, covered in frost, not a blade of green to be found. 

Her sympathies stirred for the people of Lake-town, displaced from their home that still smoked upon the water where the Elves had marched passed.  Ivriniel had not walked among this many Men since Ninoris, over 500 years ago, and their despair tugged all too familiar memories of the people that had practically become a second family to her, those battles she had fought with the Ninorans against raiders and orc packs.  How helpless she felt, unable to go down to the Lake-men in their time of need, but her hands were tied to her post, to await further orders.  Up until then, a pinpoint of light stood on the thinnest of horizons, that war would be avoided.  That Thorin would come to his senses and peaceful arrangement made, as the leader of the Lake-men rode out to discuss recompense with him…


"We will attack at dawn." 

The sky dimmed and all the world stood still…  Those agonizingly slow hours, every second chafing restlessly in suspense.  Nothing could change her situation now, except the King's command.  Or by some higher power…  if her own conscience could be considered so.

Thirteen Dwarves against a thousand Elves.  The loss of a single life did not make "success" and the assurances of victory any sweeter in Ivriniel's mind.  If not an Elf, then Dwarf would fall.  And if not on the battlefield, then in the ruins of Dale.  The Lake-men were already dying, those wounded from the wreckage and sick from the cold.  Her only condolence being that the sooner this conflict was over, the sooner she could be released of duty and tend to the survivors, and perhaps put her faint healing skills to use.  For now, she could only shake her head in grim disapproval, as the Lake-men began arming themselves and embarking on impromptu training sessions.  Pfft.  Like a hundred of these Men would stand a chance by themselves, against a baker's dozen battle-hungry Dwarves by tomorrow.



Night fell.  Ivriniel ate little, and drank even less.  Her stomach had no appetite, already dull inside.  Sleep was inconceivable, to shut her eyes and give into dreams for a moment, on this night of nights, as she stood watch with the other archers.

Not like sleep would be within her orders to do so, if she wanted it…


"If anything moves on that Mountain… kill it."

Hmph.  Not a very sound judgement.  Seemed like a paranoid King, to her.


Only half heeding the order, keeping an eye but not a very strict or concerned one on the Mountain… There was little else to do but wait and wander into her own thoughts, pondering what the All-father's plan was in all of this.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 03:46:45 PM by Ivriniel Nessandil »

Gard of Lake-town

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Re: Through the Storm
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2021, 06:32:11 PM »
{The same night as this thread, and sort of Gard's story in that now}

"I'm sorry if I made you think...", Gard glanced down again, he'd been doing a lot of that this night, both in front of Mister Bilbo and now in front of both Sigrid, Bain and Tilda, though it was Sig he was explaining to. He'd crept from the tent past the time Sigrid thought he was asleep, and given the few misunderstandings that had lead to him being too close to Mirkwood, he could see if she worried about where he had gone.

He hadn't ever meant willful disobedience of his uncle's directive to stay away from the woods, given after his first trip, and had only been lured in again when a neighbor dog went in there and...having lost his father to those woods (though thankfully without knowledge of exactly how; orcs or spiders) Gard was sensitive to it taking another and maybe it had accounted for his first trip. Wanting to figure out the secrets as it were.

Wanting to conquer it in some way, even if just emotionally.

He had grown since the destruction of their home, Lake Town, though, or so he felt, and saw that all in a new light now. So it was important that Sigrid know, he had only been searching the grounds for Tilda's lost doll. And maybe because his own hand-sewn dragon (or all irony!) his mother had made him when he was Five, shortly before her own death, had been lost to the hustle and flames. For many years now, it had been more saved in her memory than a comfort item, but he could use it now for that simple function also if he was fully honest.

Sigrid had seemed to believe what he said and hugged him, confessing what was true of all of them, they were just worried. About the girls' and Bain's father and Gard's uncle, though none would say it. He was to try talking to the Dwarves in the morning, and somehow even the youngest of them felt the looming war. It was so odd, they had hosted the Dwarves, and while Thorin was a bit closed off, Gard had liked his young nephews.

Surely they, and the others like Bofur, wouldn't let it come to fighting.

Master Baggins had left for that very purpose of trying to stop it, and Gard felt his job in that was to not tell unless explicitly asked.

Now he lay, once more, on his cot, trying to go to sleep...but it was no use! Still, he didn't intent to leave the tent again, until he heard a noise. Somehow the first thing he thought was that Alfrid had discovered that Mister Baggins was missing! If so, he had to try to cover for the Hobbit as long as he could! Even if the boy had no idea how exactly...

Gard quickly got up and crept to the front of the tent to peer past the flap and scan for Alfrid, or whoever that had been. He didn't see anything immediately and was about to go back to bed when he did spot some of the Elves who had come down to help them, and remained in the city, walk by. They didn't walk like they were tracking a Hobbit...still...

Gard bit his lip and glanced back at Sigrid, finally asleep after aiding so many. It seemed a simple directive, just don't leave, but...this was not just trekking through a wood he was supposed to avoid. Not as dangerous for one, and he was just covering for Mister Baggins. Making sure he had got away alright. Still, Gard had worried his cousin once and he didn't want to do it again. He scribbled a small note to alleviate such worries; feeling more than a bit clever with his coded allusion to Luck, Tilda had asked if the Dwarves would bring them luck after all, and Gard wasn't sure he would give a definitive No to that even now.

Sure they had brought the opposite thus far...as he'd told Mister Bilbo, his uncle's interpretation of that old rhyme proving more true than Gard's own thinking it alluded to good things. Though even he hadn't thought it was an actual prophesy of sorts.

Gard followed the trail Mister Bilbo had taken, careful to avoid detection himself, and upon reaching the walls of the city realized it seemed the Hobbit had got away alright. Well, that was good. He was about to head back when, turning, and even beyond the walls, he caught at least part of the looming figure of Erebor. A common sight, even from Lake Town, but now it did seem to truly loom, and not just because they were now closer...

Cling to that hope, Bilbo Baggins had said.

Taking in a sharp breath, Gard tried to.

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Ivriniel

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Re: Through the Storm
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2021, 04:30:33 AM »
Standing vigil, even with her back to the city, as she surveyed the Mountain… a flicker of movement, a stirring in the shadows, caught Ivriniel's attention. 

Naturally, there wasn't anything else better or more invigorating to do than glimpse and eavesdrop on everything around her, just to give her focus a break from the Mountain and her own brooding thoughts, even if the faint prick of sixth sense told her that this new sight/sound was nothing to raise concern over.

She turned, head looking over her shoulder and peering down from the wall, as she took a step closer to the ledge to inspect the source.

A child?  Her curiosity peaked, Elven eyes scanning the silhouette of the figure that approached the wall.  Just a boy.  And while it seemed unlikely he had any intention of sneaking off, having stopped to gaze out for a moment before turning on his heels, there was only one way to find out for certain what he was up to, this late at night…

If anything, just to deter the boy from getting any funny ideas of leaving the city.

"You, there."

It was a low bark, not enough volume or urgency to arouse alarm of other guards and archers around, even as a few of them glanced her way, in direction of the boy as well.  Spoken in a very calm manner, with an airy softness as characteristic of her people, though cutting with a firm edge as Ivriniel addressed the boy, not aiming to be ignored.

Standing tall and spookily against the firelight of a brazier beside her, wouldn't have made her look too approachable, if not for the easing up of a corner smile, tugged in vague amusement as her brow knitted briefly in suspicion.

"What are you doing?"

She half expected the boy to freeze up, take a wide-eyed look at her, and scurry off without a word, as any young child would (ought likely to, perhaps for the better) have, being noticed and spoken unto by a strange adult in the dead of night.  Though compared to Men and Dwarves, wouldn't Elves be the more safe and sound choice, in terms of talking to strangers?

Not that Ivriniel would have cared, if the boy did just that and ran off.  There was hardly any weight of demand, behind her innocent query.  So long as he didn't wander out any farther, Ivriniel could leave the interrogation and discipline to the boy's guardians to take care of.

Now, had the child come from the other side of the wall, THAT would have been a different story.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2021, 01:15:09 PM by Ivriniel Nessandil »

Gard of Lake-town

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Re: Through the Storm
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2021, 05:09:05 PM »
He had allowed himself to stare too long, standing in full view of at least one of the Elves protecting them, and was noticed. Gard hadn't really expected the dark night to provide too much cover either. Elves were said to have incredible eyesight.

The quick tone could have been given to someone else--or he could have pretended he thought it was--and yet Gard was such a conscientious boy (and one who knew he wasn't above suspicion) that he glanced up towards the sound rather than coolly trying to shrug it off.

The question had been crisply given, but not harshly, he realized, as was the inquiry into what he was doing. He could have just scurried off, made it look like he was just wandering again, but somehow, with the secret he was holding he thought this would make it look worse. That she and others would wonder over his motives more if he didn't give some sort of answer now.

But what sort of answer was there that wasn't a full lie (that probably wouldn't be good) but also didn't give Mister Bilbo away?

"I...I was...worried and couldn't sleep". There, that was truthful and withholding. No need to clarify what he'd been worried about, let her think the battle on the morrow rather than one Hobbit's success; and in truth it was both still. Something made him add...

"I wasn't going outside, don't worry", he gave a smile and shrug, but it next fell and...even though he knew it was safe, he next glanced the streets, not forgetting the Orcs that had invaded Lake Town not too long ago...and when it still stood before the larger attack.

He then glanced back up at the sentry to have noticed him. "They're not...out there are they?", he managed to keep the fear from his voice, though it was in his worried frown she might not catch at this distance. He also didn't specify that he meant the Orcs, but maybe he didn't have to.

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Ivriniel

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Re: Through the Storm
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2021, 08:49:51 AM »
The smile stayed on Ivriniel's lips, eyes twinkling in amusement as the boy came forth with his excuse.  Something about his mannerisms... Dark hair and eyes reflecting Laeorn's when he was a child, swiping a shiny trinket and then acting all meek when he was caught. 

It was…cute.

A fountain of emotion nearly broke to the surface, before Ivriniel swallowed the lump in her throat, suppressing memories of old.

At least Laeorn was safe.  Him staying in Greenwood was not an option.  Ivriniel would not allow her sister to lose both of her sons, should the worst happen. 

Staring through the boy for a brief second, only half concentrating on him as he assured her he wasn't going anywhere, Ivriniel remained silent and unmoving.  Though her gaze softened with sympathy, her heart churned with righteous anger. 

Poor children.  That the innocence of youth be shattered by death and grief.  The boy looked worn and tired, and having survived through dragon fire not even she in all her centuries of experience could imagine.  Yet there was still a smile and spark of hope on his face.  Was it true courage?  Or one that stemmed from naivety, not having seen battle before?

He must be a light to his family, Ivriniel thought warmly.  Whose child was this?

She couldn't blame him, nor anyone in the city who couldn't find a wink of sleep this night.  Really, it didn't matter what the boy's intentions were, so long as he didn't act on them, if stepping foot outside the wall was in his plan.  Not that she doubted the boy's word otherwise.  In all mannerisms and tone of reply, he seemed sincere.  There was no reason for Ivriniel to hold him any further. 

Indeed, she would have dismissed the boy to continue on his way (home, hopefully), if not for his vague question that puzzled her slightly.

"Who?"

She might be an Elf, but she was no mind reader.  Yet.  Give another five thousand years or so… 

As far as she was aware, the only things "out there" were Dwarves on the Mountain, that which required her attention.  Would the other guards approve of her being distracted by a Man child; Ivriniel didn't believe she had struck full-on conversation yet.  If the boy's question posed concern for legitimate danger, it was instinctively her job to ask about it.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2021, 02:38:02 PM by Ivriniel »

Gard of Lake-town

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Re: Through the Storm
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2021, 02:03:40 PM »
Gard watched the Elf even as he answered, as much as he could given the distance and dark night, trying to see both if she believed him and how she took his words. She seemed...thoughtful perhaps. She didn't further lecture him, which was good. He waited.

Her response came by way of asking for clarification on who he meant. Oh...right...

They might not know, though it seemed obvious to Gard. Still he glanced about, as if to make sure he was alone before he spoke the dreaded word. Like it might call the horrid beings, having to work a bit to make the word audible. "Orcs...",  though he spoke loud enough to be heard, there was hesitant almost whisper to his pitching also. Gard swallowed and went on.

"I guess I'm afraid that...well they...some attacked my family earlier, with me with them. Before the dragon", or during really; it was all a jumble of horrible really.

"I...I guess I thought they might have followed or...still be there".

But the Elves on the wall did seem calm.

What happened to that hope of his? The one that saw that old tale and song about the King Under the Mountain as a good thing, Shine and Burn could mean so much, and only now did Gard see it in the context his uncle had all along no doubt, and with his (very justified as shown) worry over the dragon.

Just believing him dead had been too easy and even before, Gard had known this.

Gard hadn't been like those others of Lake Town, most of the other adults, who expected literal gold from the Dwarves' trip, but he also hadn't expected either dragon or any of the following trouble. Not that he could lose his hope in Thorin's Company to ultimately do right (he sort of answered his own rhetorical question in realizing) and after having just seen Mr. Baggins heading off to try to help all of that. Proving, if he needed it, that the Hobbit at least hadn't deserted them.

But Gard also knew he was keeping it secret that the Hobbit had left, and to help that. So maybe he shouldn't make the Elves scan the horizon, but he already trusted that Master Baggins was safely away. He glanced back up to the Elf on her perch, waiting on her verdict on the Orcs, yes, but also, and even now, curious enough to not end a talk with an Elf himself and continue it as long as she would at any rate, knowing she was busy guarding them and all.

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Ivriniel

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Re: Through the Storm
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2021, 02:59:22 AM »
Her heartrate quickened for a second—orcs—and her attention snapped to the boy in full.  His reply was a bit alarming, briefly noting the attack on him and his family.  Ivriniel bit back the urge to bombard him with a thousand questions right then.  The dragon, that much was obvious, but no word of an orc attack in Lake-town had reached her ears.  She wanted the details, partly for her own curiosity, but also out of higher curiosity for the guard to be made aware of, in sinking suspicion that this orc attack had originated closer to home.

Those orcs that had passed through Mirkwood, in hunt of the Dwarves…  Ivriniel had been there, chasing after them at the river.  If it were not coincidence that the Dwarves had been through Lake-town, then why would orcs bother troubling themselves to sneak across the water?  Were they from the same pack?  And at a time so forebodingly close to the dragon's attack…

Though the existence of orcs and their hunt through Mirkwood was none of her and her kin's doing, there was a sinking guilt as well as tugs of resentment Ivriniel had against the upper chain of command, as of late, bewildered why she and the rest of the guard were not allowed to chase after and eradicate the rest of the orc pack right then, from escaping.  For if they had, then… perhaps these orcs might not have attacked Lake-town and hurt more innocents.

"I see," she said quietly, glancing off to the side in serious contemplation. She might have to raise word of this to her fellow archers, to keep a sharper lookout around the Mountain, rather than on it, if orcs were on the prowl.  She could sense the boy's fear and hesitance in bringing up the subject, and she did not wish to frighten or grieve him further by expanding on it and his family's attack.

Though why would she care about sparing feelings, if war would not discriminate?  Still, something heartfelt prompted her to ask:

"And your family is… alright?"

Concern etched on her brow, trying to word it gently without outright asking if anyone was hurt.  "Attack", especially in the orc sense, was usually synonymous with death.  If the boy were an orphan…  Terrible, yes. She hated the feeling of being helpless to, well, help the poor boy. But what could she do? And really, why should she care? 

Just another mortal.  Her conscience was warning her not to get too close.  Just another mortal…
« Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 06:04:25 AM by Ivriniel »

Gard of Lake-town

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Re: Through the Storm
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2021, 09:25:23 PM »
The Elf's answer was a bit brief, but then what was there to say? So much bad had happened. He was about to rush to explain that he and his cousins and uncle had still escaped alive; more than could be said for some families now, and due to just everything of the attack and subsequent fire. The loss of home also had hit upon Gard since then, of course, and yet it wasn't the prospect of Dale that made him not concerned.

Of course Gard would love to see it built up, partly for the sake of the old tales his mother would tell him on it. Half made up from tales herself, she, Uncle Bard, even their own father hadn't been alive when it was a city before, and were all distant relations of Girion after all. That also had just astounded him, that Thorin had been alive during the attack, and due to Dwarves long lived ages. But Gard couldn't overly worry over what would happen next because he knew his family would get through it as they always had. Together.

Over the years (that he was aware of anyway) they'd lost first his Aunt Rania before even both Gard's parents and then, after he'd come to live with his Uncle Bard, their grandmother. But all five of them left still had each-other and...Gard couldn't imagine what Bain or Sigrid would do if they lost their father, so he couldn't imagine it would actually be allowed to happen.

It didn't keep the worrying thoughts at bay, he just kept coming back to this perhaps flimsy answer not based on anything, really, but which he couldn't shake.

So he smiled a small bit, over the perhaps one good thing in all this as he answered her next question. "Yeah, we made it out, thanks to two of your own kin, um, the Prince and...Tauriel, that was her name", Gard was sorry to have almost forgotten it and after the help she gave. He felt bad enough not recalling the Elf Prince's name.

Something made him go on in giving credit (and his own uncle's grand one aside but in that one moment even) "The oldest Dwarf Prince too, Fíli, even with his brother sick he helped where he could and helped me and my cousins escape, and so that's why I have to believe they...the Dwarves won't stay holed up in the mountain forever", part of Gard's hope for the morrow came spilling out a bit unasked for but flowing from the question.

But he realized suddenly he might be giving too much information.

He looked, not so much sorry or ashamed, but unsure, "It...was my family that hid them for a bit, when they came into Lake Town, or the part of the River Running near it". It wasn't a full secret anymore, and guessed if not said, ever since the Dwarves were common knowledge, and he wasn't sure if the Elves cared about the inner politics of the hiding of the Dwarves and such, and now that it was all sort of moot.

"That's why the Orcs came I think, and only bothered us", Gard went on. So much for trying to hold that they weren't trouble...

"But we didn't know what they wanted--that they aimed for the mountain, and that it was Thorin Oakenshield and his Company--or Uncle Bard never would have I don't think. He...he knew what the old poem really meant, about the lake...burning. I...I thought it was just...clever wording for good things". The Elf got a distracted naming of his family, and stating he was related to the one to have killed the dragon, if they knew that by now; probably the only way she would have received such.

Gard was proud, in the way of family, but not surprised. His uncle had always been a great shot, and the one to have taught him any of his own held archery skills which were still under that kind of level but not bad.

The boy had spilled some of these inner thoughts to Master Baggins, and speaking of which, and the Hobbit's plan of getting back to the Dwarves, if he could keep the Elven sentries' eyes from scanning the mountain too close maybe he could aid that. Not for real danger, but best not make them scan closely.

With something that, more than being a distraction, couldn't be over stated, and maybe needed to be stated again if he'd injured feelings praising the Dwarves and seeming to forget; "But of course, Tauriel and the Prince's actions aside, we'd all be lost if you hadn't come. If we haven't thanked you enough for all the help in our time of need, allow me to thank you again", he nodded.

wonderful sig made by Alagon

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