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 Post subject: The Shadows of Arthedain ~ Ríannon and Amliach
PostPosted: January 1st, 2017, 10:23 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Location: The Lakeshore of Annúminas
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The Shadows Of Arthedain ~ Ríannon and Amliach

(Note: Written in 1st person perspective of Midsummer 1940 of the 3rd Age, and Midsummer 1960 of the 3rd Age)

~28th day of Nárië, the Year 1960 of the Third Age ~
(Amliath’s Perspective)

These were the days of King Araphant, a good ruler of the Northern Dúnedain realm. Though the armies of Angmar had been fairly subdued since the days of King Araphor, their raids were never ending. The King knew that the days were darkening, for the strength of Carn Dum and the restlessness of the Rhuadurians was growing. Arthedain was only a shadow of the greatness of Arnor of old, for the fracturing of the realm into three signalled the beginning of the end of the northern kingdom. First Rhûadur, and then Cardolan fell into the shadows, and now only Arthedain stood against the darkness that spewed forth from Angmar. The evil of Carn Dûm gave little rest to the Dúnedain, and it was there in the east, in the Weather Hills, in a war of attrition, where I serve my King. Ere twenty years have passed since I joined the Eastern Watch. Only a year would be needed to serve it was said at the time, but upon my arrival, the faces of the veterans there told otherwise. Arthedain was slowly being bled out. The numbers of new families and of children born grew ever fewer as the years passed., and the service of the men grew ever longer, keeping them away from home and their loved ones. It was all part of the shadow that reached its hand over Arthedain in its decline.

As fortune had it, I was wounded by a blade during a raid on our positions by Hillmen of Rhuadur, and so I was one of the chosen to return to Fornost for rest and healing. I chose to go onward to old Annuminas.

I was standing on the shores of Lake Evendim, with the darkening skies and emerging stars to the north, the Twilight Hills silhouette the skies. There I stood, thoughts still dark from the twenty years of battle and war and death. It was peaceful here, not like the Weather Hills or the northern steppes. Silence I dwelt in, it washing over my mind, easing its pain when I heard soft footsteps approaching.

There in the dim light, I saw walking toward the lake a woman. She smiled as she looked toward me, and I suddenly thought of my appearance. Hard are the ways of a Dúnedain soldier who serves on the Eastern Watch, and I had only arrived in the fair city of Annuminas. Yet as rough as I appeared, this woman decided to turn and walked toward me. I smiled awkwardly as she came up to me, and I said.

“Mae govannen”

as my eyes held their gaze into hers. She was dressed in layers of the thinnest white silk I had ever seen, and the warm summer breeze fluttered the long gown around her and made the sheer long sleeves dance about her arms. I swallowed, trying not to make it obvious that I noticed her beauty. She was silent and it seemed that she was looking through me and I had no secrets that could withstand her vision. I finally spoke...

“I am Amliath of the Eastern Watch, and I have only now arrived in this city. Forgive me if I seem awkward and stink, for long have I been in the field afar, and long is the road to Annuminas from the Weather Hills. I have only been in the presence of fellow soldiers for so long, it seems I don't know how to act in a city with civilized people, let alone a fair lady as yourself”

I gazed at her as her long, sandy-blonde hair danced in the breeze, and a smile came over me as I seemed to slip back in time. I wondered what she thought of this nervous soldier that stood before her. I found out when I heard her voice as she said,

"Welcome back to Annuminas Amliath. It has been a long time... perhaps you have forgotten me?"

I didn’t know how to tell her that I had forgotten her, even her name. I had worked hard to drive the memories into the depths of my mind. The pain of that Midsummers Day, and though letter after letter I had written to her, none came in answer. After a year I still wrote her letters, but I had stopped sending them. Some years after that, I burned them to keep the winter fires going. I did all I could to forget.

But now, seeing her and hearing her voice, the memories all came flooding back like an avalanche of snow off a high cliff, crushing me. Everything I had forgotten over the years since I went east suddenly fell upon me all at once.
Remembering back to that summer, I was a young Dunedain man then. I would walk quietly by the lake-shore west of the city, where the tall grasses rustled in waves in the wind. It was a place where I would go to be away from people, to think of life, this world, and the path I was to walk. I was raised in the finest of the Dúnedain studies and learned much of the history and of the lands of the two kingdoms. I had often visited Imladris, and there I learned much lore and craft-work of the elves, sword mastery, and how to be a good archer. It was fitting that I would go into the service of Arthedain where their military training was hard and vigorous. And it was that Midsummers Eve, the last day of Nárië, just before the ball, that I was assigned my post with the Rangers of the Eastern Watch. It was to be for a year, but it continues even now, twenty years on.

The years since I left passed and my path had taken me far and wide. Though most of the time was spent in the defences of the Weather Hills, I would go on raids into the northwest reaches and the Ettenmoors. At first, the battles were with hill trolls, orcs, & the wild wargs of Carn Dûm, but later the evil that stirred there became more cunning with the Hillmen of Rhuadur making stealth raids of their own on our positions. The years had been long and hard, and I would go long in the wild lands, seeking, finding, and killing those who would plunder the lands of Arnor. I had excelled in tracking, stealth, and killing through the years, and though I was of Dúnedain blood, I had become ever weathered and burdened and hardened with the years.

The last time I was in a city was 10 years ago. I was in Fornost for a week. It seemed like an eternity and I longed to get back to the Weather Hills and the men. Other timed through the years when I won the draw, I had gone to Bree on our supply run when the regulars didn’t arrive., But it had been 20 years since I was in fair Annúminas. Maybe I avoided coming home, but I do not fare too well now amongst people, for the smell of death was upon me. I was even uncomfortable staying long in Bree. I preferred when I came for supply to stay at the Forsaken Inn east of Bree, for there, few questions were asked and fewer answers given, and one such as I did not look or feel out of place. Though known by some, I could come and go without raising much attention. And there, by being quiet by oneself by that large stone fireplace, much could be learned by one of keen hearing and knowledge of the languages. It is something that may serve me well here in the city, though I would needto dress well and act well, and not get distracted with the sights and sounds arousing the memories of my youth. But the memory of a certain girl who I had first come upon in the tall grasses west of the city that summer I did not expect to come walking back into thought. After an uncomfortably long pause, I said,

“I have not forgotten thee Lady Riannon... though it has been too long since I had the honour to be in your presence.”

The breeze off the lake continued to ripple her gown around her body in waves, and the locks of her hair danced about her face as I stood before her. It took me back to forgotten memories of the day I had last seen her. The memories of the thirtieth day of Nárië, 1939. The memories of that day were at first joyful, but ended in pain and sadness. The next day I was to set out to the watch in the Weather Hills for what was supposed to be for a year… Only now have I returned.

She couldn't help but notice the sadness wash over my face as those thoughts came for an ever brief moment. I struggled to push them out. Smiling, I finally said,

“Would m’lady walk with me this evening by the lakeshore?”

“Yes! Yes, I would like that.”


She said in anticipation as she smiled. I held out my arm and she hooked it with hers and we began walking. At first we were silent. It had been so long ago, and we were so young…. young and in love. In the silence we both remembered that

It would be an evening to remember. I went dressed in the best I had, a white silk shirt that was rather sheer and had billowing sleeves cinched tightly at the wrist, and a thick, smooth black vest and matching leather pants. I cleaned my black boots as they were the only ones I had, and they looked fair. I had no jacket or cloak that would pass muster at the palace, for I was yet assigned mine, but the night was a warm one, warmer than most Midsummer days, and the breeze from the south was indeed warm. It was as though the desert winds of Harad had found themselves lost and had come to Evendim, yet when the breeze calmed, you could feel the coolness of the air from the lake. It was a beautiful night.

I had arrived early, wanting to be there when Ríannon arrived... if she arrived. I knew if she did, her father would most assuredly be with her for he would be curious as to who had asked his daughter to the ball. Ríannon had told me her father was of the royal guard, an elite position to have in the Army of Arthedain Me, I was a new recruit to the army who was awaiting orders for my first assignment after the long and strenuous training.

There were many at the palace grounds, where soft glowing lamps were hung about the decor on the palace grounds, and there were banquet tables and low tables to sit at upon the soft, fresh cut grass, and a large open space where I was sure the dance would be. The Royal musicians were setting up and some were tuning, and I was asked to help move some tables where fine craftsman wares were displayed to be sold. Afterward, I stood in the shade in hopes I didn’t sweat too much when a finely dressed man came up to me, and asked,

"You are one of the new men?"

“Yes, awaiting orders for my first post!”


I said proudly.

"Your orders have not come yet. I think some of the field commanders were delayed so the customary way of assignment had to be changed. I will assign you to the Rangers of the Eastern Watch. Your service there will be for one year, and you will leave for Fornost tomorrow. Once you arrive in Fornost, you will report to Captain Dúriel, commander of the Eastern Watch. He should be in Fornost in three days’ time."

I was stunned that this man was telling me my post, but then I noticed what he wore on his breast. He was high in the command of the King, so I wanted to impress him, but I could only stammer...

”Yes... yes sir!”

"I wish you well on your journey, yet tonight enjoy the ball. I don't believe I know your name soldier ...."

…”Amliath, Amliath of Evendim m’Lord”


I said looking briefly at the entry gate. A coach had arrived bringing some early guests, but it was not Ríannon. The commander’s adjutant had brought a small parchment with ink and quill, and he wrote out my name, signed the bottom, and dated it. The adjutant took care of it and gently rolled it. The commander sealed it with his ring, and handed it to me.

”Welcome. My apologies for the short notice, but you are only the first of many who will be given orders on short notice. You are awaiting someone?"

He asked. I replied,

”Yes I am! Lady Ríannon of Annúminas, daughter of Hollinstadt, Royal Dunedain Guardsman to the King, and Rihanin, fair lady of Rohan.”

He looked at the door as his face softened at my mention of Lady Ríannon. He smiled slowly in a way that spoke of a hope and dream lost to reality of these hard days, and he looked at his hand where a nice jewelled ring dwelt. His other hand went over it and he smiled ever more before he looked at me, saying.

"Yes, Lady Ríannon… I know her well. Such beauty she is here in Arnor..."

he paused before smiling and continuing...

"You do well to call on one such as she, and I wish you and she well. I will come and talk again when the ball is underway, for I will have a need to be away from the heavy formalities I have to do."

“What do I call thee sir?”
I asked him as he did not give me his name...

"I am Arvedui, prince of Arthedain. I hope you don't hold it against me. You are a good man Amliath of Evendim, and with the times I see coming, Arthedain will stand with the strength of men such as you on the reaches of our borders, or fall without them."

He took something out of the pocket of his fine deep blue velvet coat and he pinned it on my vest above my heart, He had another to put on my shoulder, but he looked and saw he was being summoned, so he set it in my hand.

"This is a high ranking of the order of Arthedain, of which I am empowered to give at my will. I am supposed to give them for valor, yet I see in your eyes that you have it already and will prove yourself worthy on the field of battle. I may not be able to award you properly at that time, but I feel this will not go unearned. Now, I must take my leave..."

I stood there in awe. The Prince heir was a common soul, and seemed to hold his position in a distance, yet not. I looked at the deep blue jewel in my hand, a stone of valor in the armies of Arthedain, and then the one on the vest. I did not deserve to wear such, and I would take it off if it was not placed there by Prince Arvedui. But I did not place the other, but stowed it securely in the tight vest pocket that the other was pinned on. I brushed my vest, and I looked at my attire... so plain in light of those arriving, and so I stayed by a tree near the entry, watching for Ríannon.... telling her I was leaving in the morning will not be easy....

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Last edited by Hanasian on January 7th, 2017, 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 2nd, 2017, 8:41 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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The Shadows of Arthedain
(Riannon’s Perspective)

~Annuminas – Third Age 1960~

Looking out the window I saw a man standing near the lake. He looked tired and weary from travel. But I knew his face all the same. He has returned, after so long, Amliath has returned to Annúminas!

I ran downstairs and out the door as fast as my feet would carry me. As I drew closer I slowed my pace, not wanting to seem too eager. Smiling, I walked up to him. He didn’t seem to recognize me as he introduced himself.

He looked the same as I remembered him, though the stresses of the war had wearied him. I reached out and brushed his cheek as the breeze blew at his slightly greying locks. He was as beautiful as ever, stronger, and leaner. He looked wonderful to me. I looked into his eyes. They had seen much since I saw them last. They were deeper and wiser, but still tender.

"Welcome back Amliath. It has been a long time. Perhaps you have forgotten me? "

I leaned close and planted a kiss on his cheek, in the hopes he would remember me. But the years that had passed had been so many, and his road was no doubt long. It had been twenty years since I had seen him. We were so young and naive then, falling in love at a heartbeat that summer day….


~Riannon remembering – Two Days before Midsummers Day - Third Age 1940~

The sun was shining high on that hot summer’s day. There were no clouds to offer comfort from the blazing heat. Only the slight breeze blowing off of the lake offered any relief. The grass was quite tall and therefore held much coolness near to the ground, so I lay down in it. I was hidden from anyone coming upon me. Thus how Amliath happened to find me there.

I heard the hoof beats coming, but thought it all to be in my dream I was having, so I paid it no mind. They grew louder as they came close., The earth beneath me seemed to shudder. And before I knew what was happening it was upon me. I sat up in the grass and there before me was a horse and rider, coming on fast. I screamed and dived back down flat in the grass just as the horse jumped over me. My heart was beating wildly as I tried to catch my breath. I lay still, I couldn’t move. I heard the horse come around, and the rider dismounted and knelt down to me…

[i]“I did not see you there! Are you hurt?”


I was only now getting my breath back. With his assistance, I sat up slow as his voice echoed about in my head, sounding melodic and sincere. I lifted my head and gazed my eyes upon him. The sight of him sent my heart beating wildly again. He wore riding clothes that were dusty from his journey. His face was smudged with dirt, and his long dark hair was tangled by the wind. But still… he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. I thought I would pass out again as I took deep breaths. He lifted his water bag to my lips and I drank hard from it before pulling away to gasp another breath. The cool water splashed on my chin and neck and I shivered slightly before taking another, slower drink. I looked up at him as he drew back the water bag.

“N..No. I.. I think I am all right… just startled….”

I stammered nervously as he helped me to stand.

“I do hope so. My name is Amliath.”

He said, introducing himself politely with a bow, but his eyes never wavered from me.

“I am Ríannon….”

I smiled as his eyes continued to hold me.

“Ríannon….That is beautiful….”

His words trailed off and somehow I did not get the feeling he was meaning my name. I self-consciously checked myself to make sure everything was in order, and I realized just how awful I must have looked to him. My dress, once a rather fine one of my mother’s, was old and worn and quite threadbare in several places, with the hem frayed at the sleeves. I had worn it this day because it was so comfortable, and the fabric thin and cool. Also, I had not considered meeting anyone out here this day. I made a futile attempt to brush off the stray blades of grass stuck about on it, as well as all through my hair. I sighed as I let my arms drop and stood speechless. I must have seemed like such a little girl to him, and I guessed he would say his respects and ride off. But he did not. He just kept gazing at me, and I started to blush. When he saw me blush and start to hide in my hair, he said

“Would you like to take a ride with me?”

I accepted without thinking. His horse came to his call, and he mounted and offered his hand to me. I quickly slid up behind him and we rode hard and fast through the grasslands. Something seemed to break within me, and I could not remember a time that I felt that free, full of joy! Being in this man’s presence seemed to ignite something inside me that I had never felt before. For the rest of the day we rode far and wide among the grasslands and the foot hills of Evendim. We came to the west lakeshore, and there we looked upon Annuminas across the way. I had never seen the city from here before, and it looked grand but ancient. We walked the horse through the water by the lakeshore, and the cool water felt good on my feet. I had to talk Amliath into taking his boots off, for he was afraid the stench would drive me away. But he smiled as his feet stepped into the water. We let the horse rest and graze in the grass while we waded and swam in the lake. He spoke much of his life growing up near these shores, and I hung on to his every word, taking them into my heart. I spoke of my life, of my father and his service to the King that had me in and around the royal palace at times. That is when he asked me to the Mid-Summers Eve Ball that was to take place the next night.

“M’Lady I am hardly worthy, but if you would do me the honor of accompanying you to the Ball tomorrow night…I would…”

My finger pressed against his lips and he fell silent. I then let my finger slip around his cheek and I kissed him long and slow. That was my answer. With the sun sinking into the west, we mounted his horse and he took me back to the edge of the city where I slid off the horse and fled down the street. I was only going to be gone a short time, and the skies had now grown red.

The city streets were filled with much anticipation of the Midsummers Eve party that would happen the next day. Decorations were going up, banners and ribbons of all kinds. Bakers were baking, seamstresses were finishing up last minute alterations for many of the ladies dresses… a dress.. I did not really have a dress fit for a ball… I stopped and watched through a window at the beautiful silken gowns inside. I had seen gowns like these when I went to the palace They belonged to the beautiful ladies of the court, royal and noble. Our family was not royal in anyway, my father was in the Royal Guard, and my mother came from a respectable house in Rohan. But that was as close to any royalty as we got. My father was paid well enough for us to live comfortable. But he would never spend his money on such foolish things like ball dresses that might only be worn once… Amliath watched me from afar, not wanting to take his eyes off of me. He must have noticed me staring at the dresses, for he rode up behind me and said as he took my hand,

“Which one do you like?”

How could I choose? They were all so beautiful. How could I choose…What did I mean choose? There was nothing to choose for. He looked as if he would buy one for me, but how could he afford it? But he continued to ask. I said nothing, but my eyes never wandered from the white one in the window.

“I’m sorry son, we don’t have time to alter any more dresses today.”

The head seamstress snapped as Amliath took the dress from the window. He ignored her and handed me the dress.

“Please, try it on.”

He smiled at me. Then he smiled at the seamstress as if he knew something she did not.

Stepping behind a changing wall, I put on the dress. It fit perfectly. No alterations needed. How did he know just by sight that the dress would fit so well? I found out later that it was because he had memorized every line and curve of my body. I stepped out to let him see, he was still wearing that beautiful smile, but not his deerskin vest. He walked over and took my hand and kissed I, saying,

“M’Lady.. you look stunning in that dress. It is my gift to you for this day.”

I blushed and choked on the words I was going to say. The cost was high, and he only met me hours before. How could he….. why would he…. I stammered but it was his finger that came to my lips now, and I went silent. A leather bag of coin he dropped into the seamstress’s hand, and he smiled at me. I stumbled back behind the changing wall, and returned to my old worn dress. Amliath had the dress put away for me, and I left it at the dress shop that night. I would come tomorrow and see if this day was a dream. That was the day I fell in love with silk. That was the very first silken gown I ever had. Though I have many now, there is none quite as special as the first one.

As we walked out of the shop, I looked longingly back, watching as the seamstress held up Amliath’s vest, examining it as if deciding what to do with it. It was late and she was closing the shop, and I had to get home. I kissed Amliath on the cheek and quickly ran off. I did not look back, for I desired only to be with him. If he had not asked me to the ball, I did not think I would see him again.

The morning came and I had to wonder if it was all a dream. After breakfast, I set off immediately to the dress shop. I had to know that it wasn’t a dream. I got to the dress shop as they opened and went inside.

“Hello?”

I asked the seamstress. She smiled and immediately brought out a bundle for me. I accepted it, then asked,

“I was wondering if you still had the vest that my friend sold you last night.”

The seamstress replied,

“What? Oh, that old thing? No, I don’t have it. I sold it. Now if you will excuse me miss, unless you are going to buy something else I suggest you get out of the way.”

I left the shop and sighed. I had to tell my father I was going to attend the ball with a man I had just met, and he had not met. I walked slowly home with the dress held tightly under my arm.

My father was already ready to go to the ball when I arrived. He was eating supper, for he would be working that night, and not enjoying any of the festival at all. I sat down with him though I did not eat much, and I told him the news ….

“I am going to the Ball tonight too father.”

I was excited!

“Oh?.”

He asked curiously.

“Now Ríannon.. as much as I would like you to go and enjoy this festival, I am working tonight. And I do not wish you to be there alone.” He continued eating as my mother moved back and forth from the kitchen. “It wouldn’t be right for you to go alone.”

“But I will not be by myself father. I was asked to go.”


My mother stepped forth and asked,

“Oh? Who asked you dear daughter? Did Prince Arvedui ask you to the ball?”

She gasped, getting excited.

My mother and father had always hoped that beyond the political bounds the Prince would choose me as his bride, for being at the palace at times he had seen me and took keen notice of me. But it was not meant to be, for the Prince had to give up pursuing me when his father the King recently promised his betrothal to Firiel, daughter of King Ondoher of Gondor. I didn't know that there was other reasons. I said,

“No mother. You know that Prince Arvedui is set to wed Firiel of Gondor by the end of this summer.”

My father interrupted as I finished speaking. He did not try to contain his disappointment. I guess my mother had not heard the news.

“Yes, yes. So, who is the gentleman that has asked you to the ball?”

“His name is Amliath. He is a cadet in the army.”


Just saying his name brought a smile to my face, and the longing in my heart to see him again. I continued smiling, but my father had stopped eating. I did not notice as my mind drifted off to Amliath.

“I think I’m falling in love with him.”

I added, glowing. My father dropped his fork and it crashed to the plate, startling both me and my mother.

“Absolutely not Ríannon. I will not have you consorting with a cadet soldier!”

My father snapped, wiping his mouth with a napkin. He was obviously through eating now.

"What are you talking about?”

I asked startled. I did not understand. What was wrong with a cadet soldier of the Kingdom? My father knew what it meant, and he didn't hold back.

"The new cadets.... they come full of promise, but too many will be assigned to the Eastern Watch. Those Rangers are wanderers. And so are their hearts. They are, or become, hard men who have no allegiance to the fair women they meet. They consort with different woman in every village they pass through. You are not his first and you will certainly not be his last! He will forget about you as soon as he leaves. And who could blame him. The chances that he will live through his first tour is slim. You understand he may not come back!”

My father did not have a way of explaining things gently. His words seared my heart, and I felt tears welling up in my eyes.

“You speak of him as if he is already dead! And if they all behave in that way! You do not know him father! You have not even met him!”

I started to cry as I stood up and ran away from the table.

“I have known enough to know! They are the dregs, misfits, and *beep* sons of servants!”

He yelled as he stood up angrily calling after me. Even though I heard his words, I did not listen as I went running upstairs. I could not keep the tears from coming as I pushed the door closed hard and threw myself onto my bed.

Downstairs, my father sat back down resting his head in his hands. My mother could no longer stand there not saying anything.

“Hollinstadt! How could you upset her like that?! You do not know this boy!”

“Believe me Rhanion, I have seen it too many times!. I know what happens to these cadets! Odds are what happens to this one will not be any different. They puff themselves up in their pride of finishing their training, sweet talk the young ladies and make these unsuspecting women believe that they are the only ones for them. No sooner do they get their marching orders, they go off to Bree sprouting the same nonsense to some bar wench down there. They rarely return to the woman they had promised to. I will not have someone like that taking advantage of our daughter!”

“Yes, they have a very bad reputation Hollin, especially those who are assigned to the Eastern Watch. But pleaase do not judge this boy before you meet him... for Riannon's sake.”


She placed a hand on his shoulder.

“It’s only a ball. They will not be alone or will be betrothed to be wed for pity sake.”

She smiled as she went back into the kitchen, leaving my father with those.words to think about.

Upstairs, I sat on the end of my bed crying, and I held the white silken dress to me. I could only think of the words my father had said. And it hurt. Amliath was not like that! He could not be!… I had only known him for two days, and already he had captured my heart, filling a void, and giving me hope. I felt an ache inside when I was not near him. He filled my every thought… I love him…

I don’t know how long I sat there crying. But suddenly I heard a voice from the door. It was my father’s voice, and it was a lot more gentle now.

“Ríannon?”

He stood there. Trying hard to find the words to speak.

“Are you ready?”

“Ready? Where am I going?”


I weeped softly.

“To the Ball…”

He sighed.

“A wise woman once told me..’Judge not the man, without sight or word first.’ I am sorry Ríannon, my daughter. I will do my best. Now get ready. And I will be your escort.” He turned and started to leave the room adding, “What better way to arrive at the Ball than in the company of the Royal Guard.”

We hugged and smiled at each other before he turned and stepped out and closed the door. I started to get myself ready for the evening.


The western sky was a warm red as the evening commenced. The sun was setting low casting its last remaining efforts across the horizon. The ride to the Palace was long, at least it felt that way. For I wished to get there as fast as I could! I wanted to see Amliath again. I closed my eyes and all I could see is his eyes. How they sparkled when they looked into mine! How his voice and his words flowed over me, enchanting and captivating every fiber of my being. I dreamed of dancing with him through the night, and of the first kiss I hoped to receive. The ache inside of me that longed for him was replaced by the flutter of anticipation. Tonight would be a wonderful night.

My heartbeat quickened as the coach slowed. We had arrived. We had to wait in line as many were in front of us. My father gave me the royal treatment. When we pulled up in front of the gate my father stepped down, and in very royal fashion opened the door, bowed, and took my hand to help me down, wearing the white silk gown that Amliath had got for me earlier in the day. Then he hooked his arm with mine and escorted me through the gate. Whispers could be heard among the gathering crowd…

“Who is she?”
“Must be a Princess.”
“Maybe not a princess, but the daughter of the Captain of the Guard does appear royal for certain.”
“The Captain of the Guard? She isn’t full Dunedain blood!"
"She cannot be a princess of Arthedain...”


Many heads turned in my direction as the endless stream of guests continued through the gate, but my eyes were looking elsewhere and I did not hear the words spoken. I was looking for Amliath. As we entered the gates, I saw him standing under a tree. He was not looking my way at first, he looked deep in thought until the endless whispering caught his attention, and his head turned and his eyes met mine. Something about him seemed to glow as he walked towards us. Standing before us he gazed in my eyes, bowed low, and said.

“Good evening fair Lady Riannon. You are the beauty that illuminates this night as well as ….”

“You are Amliath?”


My father asked, cutting him off.

“Yes sir.”

My father’s eyes looked him over, stopping and staring at the jewel that was pinned on his vest. I too noticed it. He had never worn it before. My father seemed to recognize immediately what it was and know who could award such. He became reluctantly pleased if not puzzled, but he slowly smiled.

“The jewel of the order of Arthedain… for nobility and valor. You must have done a great deed in your service for such a high honor.”

Amliath looked nervous, like he wanted to say something. But my father seemed so impressed, his tone and eyes changed. He looked at my father and then to me, but he could not speak. My father said,

“I will leave my daughter in your care. I trust you understand what this means.”

“Yes sir”

“We will meet again later this night. Then you can tell me of the tale of valor.”


My father took my hand and placed it in Amliath’, then he smiled, kissed me on the cheek and proudly walked away to his post. I smiled. Finally I was alone again with Amliath. I wanted to wrap my arms around him in delight, but I refrained. Something about his eyes told me something was on his mind. I said,

“You look wonderful this evening.”

And I smiled as I looked to the jewel on his vest.

“The jewel is beautiful, as are you M’lord, I didn’t know…”

“I didn’t….”


He interupted.

“Is there something wrong?”

I asked. He said,

“Wrong? No, no, nothing is wrong. But we need to talk..”

He took me by the hand, and led me back to the tree where he had been standing waiting for me. I could not know what he was about to tell me would change my life. I did not know that this would be my last night with him... for the next twenty years…

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 4th, 2017, 8:44 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Amliath - Annuminas Summer 1960
Yes, I remember every detail of that night even now... Ríannon and I walked silently through the grass toward the lake. Soon one of us would have to speak, yet right now we held each other's hands and stepped silently. We were lost in thought of that night.... that beautiful, most happy night... and the sad, painful morning after... I stopped and turned to Ríannon, not really knowing what to say. My eyes caressed her face, ever beautiful, yet the strain could be seen there. I could see in her eyes that she, as I, was deep in memory of our mere two days together...

Amliath’s recollection - Midsummers Eve 1940 of the Third Age

I waited nervously, seeming an eternity yet it went so fast. I watched for Ríannon as everyone arrived, and passing thoughts as to how to tell her of my sudden posting. Would she leave me there, thinking I had known all along? Surely the Prince would tell otherwise? Will she wish to be seen with a Ranger of the Eastern March?

Time for the mind's hurried thoughts came to an end when a lady, dressed in white silk, was walking toward me with an escort of a Royal Guardsman. Surely it was her father, and so I braced myself for the upcoming questioning... I could feel the heat as I fought back the perspiration, for walking and riding out in the grass with her was one thing, to be here at a royal ball, and all that has happened suddenly with the Prince, and meeting her father... I was scared...my mouth started to move without me thinking…

”Good evening My Lady. You are the beauty that illuminates this night as well as my heart.”

I blurted out nervously. Her father, Hollinstadt, a High Commander of the King's Royal Guard, immediately took note of my recently given award. I would have to tell him how I got it... yet the hardest thing I had to do was tell Ríannon of my orders... Words escaped me in short bursts, as though I had to force them past the lump in my throat. She could see there was much on my mind, and after my few hard to say words with Hollinstadt, he entrusted me with his most beautiful and beloved daughter. Ríannon could see the concern on my face and we were given leave and stepped away to where I was standing in the shade by the tree....

”Lady Ríannon, there is much I wish to… need to say to you, but it all seems to trip up in my mouth and throat. You are by far the most beautiful woman here! And the joy I had hoped this night for us has slipped away. I have been assigned to duty starting tomorrow...”

There it was . I could see the smile fade slowly from her face as she feared the worst. I struggled to finish what I wanted to say...

”...I am leaving in the morn for Fornost, then will set out for the eastern marches afterward for a year’s duty there.”

Her eyes grew moist in disbelief as she stood before me frozen. I took her hands in mine and looked her in the eye…

”Prince Arvedui assigned me this night as I arrived here to await for you. So excited I was to see you again, I arrived early. If I was arriving just now, or later, I may not have this assignment...”

"He... he assigned you? tonight?? Why???"


...she said softly, her voice almost breaking into the tears that were barely staying in her eyes.

”Yes, for one year. I will return for thee, for ever since yesterday, I see you everywhere, and you are inside my eyes when my eyes are closed. As you arose from the grasses before me, my dreams have come true. Yet why could it not have been weeks ago when I rode through the grasses? I would have this time to spend in your presence. Yet now I will be apart from you after this night, for I leave in the morning...”

her hands trembled, and I could say no more. It was as if I had taken my blade and run it through my heart and hers. I drew her to me, and she leaned into me, and my arms went about her.

_________________
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Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 4th, 2017, 9:31 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Riannon – Summer 1960
As I walked with him, hand in hand now, by the lake. I did not know what to say. Long years had passed, and though I never stopped loving him, and I had searched for him long for many years. My despair had led me to give up ever seeing him again. Yet here he was, holding my hand, yet, he seemed to be at a loss for words as well. I had hoped that not too many years had passed that would have left nothing between us, for even as he stood here, turning me toward him, looking in my eyes, my insides fluttered, and my heart rate quickened with the touch of his hand. But my thoughts were ever on that night, bringing back the emotions felt back then. The sadness came back to me… and cut me once again.. when he told me he was leaving…

Recollections of Riannon – Midsummers Eve 1940

….Twas like a knife piercing my heart as I heard him tell me of his post. He was leaving me. I could not breathe, I could not speak, my hands trembled. My mind thought back to what my father had said only hours before. ‘He will forget about you and not come back’. I could not hold back the tears. He pulled me to him, wrapping his arms around me, and I leaned into him. We stood embraced that way for what seemed like hours, when actually it was only a few minutes. I cried and he held me. Neither of us spoke a word for a while, as the sun was a fiery red like the blood spilling from my heart, then faded to darkness.

How could this be? Why? Just when I found love, he was being ripped from my grasp. No.. please… not tomorrow.. please..

With one arm around me, he held me tight as I cried, stroking my hair with the other. I buried my face in his shoulder, wetting down his vest with my tears. He kissed my temple.

pi]”I am so sorry Rían. I will return for you… I promise.”[/i]

His voice trembled, and I almost swore I felt a teardrop on my shoulder. The night that was going to be so perfect, felt shattered. Holding me at arms-length, he wiped my tears away. I could see the wetness in his eyes. In the distance I heard the Royal musicians begin to play.

“Let us have this one night.” He said, trying hard to salvage the evening.

We could have just sat in the dark holding each other that night and it would have been fine with me, but the darkness would hold no happiness for either of us. I understood he wanted to make the best of this evening. It was best to immerse ourselves into happier things. He hated to have disappointed me and bring sorrow to this night. But I was thankful he told me now.. instead of later.

I sighed, at that moment I wanted to tell him how I had fallen in love with him. How he had filled a void in my heart, how he made me happy with his presence, how he gave me hope…. Hope… there did not seem much point to it now.. in fact it might only make it harder on him to do what he must do if I tell him…

“Yes.” Was all I could say.

“Are you certain my lady? We could leave if you like.”

He must have still saw the pain in my eyes. I know we would have left that night, if I had insisted on it. He was so kind to make me feel as comfortable as possible with the ill news. Now I tried hard to hold back the tears. He was right. I wanted to be happy.. for just one more night.

I nodded my head and mustered a smile. He smiled back, and embraced me again. In parting his lips came close to mine, I thought I might receive that kiss from him I had so been hoping for. But perhaps he too, did not want to for the deeper pain it would cause when he was gone.

He took my arm and we walked and followed the now smaller streamline of people still arriving, though late.

It was dark now and the soft glowing lamps lit up the courtyard. It was a beautiful sight. Everyone was now mingling about the banquet tables, and eating. Royal waiters walked to and fro carrying trays of wine, as the musicians played on soft soothing music. I saw the area where the dancing would be. Many people were gathering there now, as one song had ended and another began.

“Would you dance with me my lady?”

I accepted and he took my hand, and we stepped in with the others, moving to the music. Amliath was a wonderful and a graceful leader. He held me close when the music was slow, our hands linked. He looked at me longingly when our movements caused us to step apart. It felt so safe and comforting to be in his arms, I began to forget he would be leaving in the morning.. that this was our last night together. I didn’t want it to end…. I was going to do all I could to make it last…

_________________
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Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 6th, 2017, 6:54 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Shadows Over Arthedain ~ Midsummers Eve 1940 of the Third Age
(Amliath's Recollection)

The pain of seeing her cry, and as her tears ran down my jerkin and darkened spots of my silken shirt sleeve, I held her close. I loved this lady so much, for I had never been touched so before, and yet who would understand?? I would try to make this night the best I can for her, and I know what I wanted to do. I asked her to dance with me.
Silently she took my hand and we melted into the crowd. Her eyes were wet, but I held her close as we danced. We silently moved about the floor to the music, oblivious to everyone. But many noted the beautiful blonde lady in the white silk dress dancing with the plain black leathered man in the white shirt. We hardly ceased to dance, though we spoke little. Our dance was impassioned, ever moving softly in each other’s arms, or moving wildly about to the faster songs. We were shocking some with the boldness of our dance, but we were in love with each other, and we were heartbroken knowing we would be parting after the ball and not seeing each other for a year. So, long they danced, and little thought was given to food or drink until the band paused to rest and there were some announcements to be made.

King Araphant stood up on a royal podium, and his voice carried out over the grounds...

"Ladies and gentlemen! Thank you for attending this Midsummers Eve Ball! I do have a few things to say, and my son, Prince Arvedui will also say a few words. We promise to be short-winded so we can get back to our merrymaking. I have to say it gladdens my heart to see such here in the old city, for it is needed and will be remembered long in the days ahead.”

The King took a drink of his wine and cleared his throat before continuing…

”First, I am sorry to say this will be the last Midsummers Eve Ball to be held here by the lakeshore in the fair city of Annúminas. Unless brighter times again return to these lands, we will have to stay vigilant. As most know, there is a darkness to the north and east that raises its hand against Arthedain. Ever have we been opposed since the days Isildur and his sons failed to return home from the war of the great alliance. Ever my heart speaks that this same darkness opposes us now. But we remain strong and we remain faithful! We will oppose this darkness wherever it is found and we will prevail! And with the posting of our youngest and strongest young men this night, we step ever closer to forever ending this shadow that ever has been upon Arnor.

But, let us not be grim at this merry occasion. This ball is about celebrating life and happiness, that which has become ever less in our realm. Let everyone smile and enjoy the food, drink, and dance, and know that we will again meet and make merry at the royal wedding of my son Prince Arvedui, and the Lady Fíriel, daughter of King Ondoher, of our southern brethren of Gondor. There will be again a festival and ball in which I hope to see you all there. And now my son, Prince Arvedui..."


I stood and applauded lightly with Ríannon, for though the King sounded re-assuring, one could tell he strained to put that forth. His words were at times dark, yet the feeling I had from them was one of extreme love and happiness, even if deep sorrow and loss strained below the surface. And I held Ríannon's hand tighter as Prince Arvedui started to speak...

"My friends, ladies and gentlemen! My father speaks of darkness that will not come upon him, but awaits my days I feel. Yet these days are far away in the future. Right now I wish to acknowledge these fine royal musicians, the cooks of the fine fare we have here, and the brewers and wine makers and merchants that brought their best for us to enjoy.. May you all enjoy this night, for I have had to give out orders to many who had completed their training and schooling, though I had wished to wait til morning. I give honor to you all!"

I could see him looking at me, and his eyes were captivated by Ríannon. The way he looked at her sent a wave of jealousy through me, yet remembering he was betrothed to the Lady Fíriel... I instinctively moved closer to Ríannon as he looked, and he turned away as he spoke more...

"So, to all you soldiers out there who will be leaving in the morning, I wish you all well and know you will do Arnor proud. Now enjoy this night, and let us make this the best Midsummers eve ball ever!"

I felt the feelings in the air. There was reason we were called early. The watch on the east was not going well, and it was in the sound of the King's voice, and in that of the Prince though they both tried to cover it with their well wishing. I looked to Ríannon who must of felt something as well. I turned to her as the music started to play low while people went to get food on their plates, and my grey eyes fell into her blue ones. I took her hands and drew her nearer, and as we slowly came ever so close, I kissed her softly on her lips. It was intense with heat as the simple kiss ended, and both our eyes opened wide and we caught each other beaming at the other. I wanted to say something... how much I loved her, or apologize for being so bold. Her eyes spoke riddles to me in her silence. Did she want to slap me for my boldness, or return the kiss? For that awkward moment, we just stood and swam in each other's eyes, and I could see her love for me pour out, and I hoped she could see my love for her pour out to her. My hands slid around her, one around her waist, the other up her back to her shoulder where I caressing the soft silk against her skin. I took her lips to mine once again, evermore filled with passion. Long it went, and we were oblivious of all around us. I finally broke in a gasp, and holding her to me, I whispered into her hair,

”Lady Ríannon, I am falling in love with you...”

My words were barely out when she took my lips to hers again, and she gasped words of love to me and we hugged and started to sway ever slightly in each other's arms. Danced we did, and I only took notice of one thing the brief time my eyes were open, and that was Hollinstaadt and Prince Arvedui talking, and looking at Ríannon and I....

_________________
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Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 6th, 2017, 8:17 am 
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Midsummer’s Ball 1940 of the Third Age
(Riannon)

I had butterflies in my stomach… Sure, had been kissed before, but nothing like how Amilath’s kiss made me feel. My legs threatened to give way, and if Amliath wasn’t holding me, I would have melted into the grass right them and there.

“I have already fallen in love with you… I love you Amliath.”

My heart raced and, my breath gasped in short bursts. I took Amliath’s lips to mine with much passion and intensity that spoke of my love that had been quietly yet fiercely building. Joy surged through my heart as I held him and we swayed. He loved me and I loved him. And our love poured over each other like a roaring river.

I did not see my father and the Prince talking. My eyes were closed holding to Amliath. Lost in a daydream of life and love, walking in the amber fields hand in hand for the rest of our days. I heard his voice calling.. calling to me.. ‘Ríannon! Ríannon! I love thee!’ Yes! Amliath yes! I love thee! ‘Ríannon!’ A voice called again.. but this time it was not Amliath.

“You two have gained quite the attention out there in the dance. You looked wonderful.”

My father said, a wry smile on his face. I smiled gracefully, but I felt something amiss.

“Ríannon, my daughter. Be a dear and bring us some wine.”

“But father I…”


I began to protest. I did not want to leave Amliath’s side for a moment, I still clung to him, his arms around me.

“Now. Ríannon.”

His voice snapped. Not loudly, but with much assertion. I was taken aback. It was clear to me now that my father wanted to talk with Amliath…. Alone.

I took my leave pulling away from Amliath unwillingly, and walked away slowly, looking back over my shoulder I watched as my father put his arm around Amliath and began walking the other way.

“I would ask you your tale of heroism that earned you that jewel, but his Highness has told me he gave it to you himself this night, for future deeds not yet done. He seemed to have taken a liking to you as does my daughter. But I, not so much. I am wary where you are leading Riannon.”

Amliath turned to my father and looked him hard in the eyes. The conversation was quite tense…

“I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean Sir.”

“You say you love my daughter, Amliath? Do you mean it?”

“Yes Sir, with all my heart Sir.”

“Temptation Amliath. Long nights away from your homeland. Days, weeks, months… even years. The heart may yearn to be true, but the body seeks just one night of comfort. One leads to another, and another. And so it begins…. The reputation of ‘The Wandering Ranger.’ Wandering the different lands… and…there are women in these lands, that pray on the wandering Rangers… Most of the Rangers succumb to these temptresses. They will tempt you... what promise can you give my daughter that you will not fall to that temptation?”


My father looked down on him with eyes of steel. His words were harsh and direct. He wanted answers. He wasn’t about to let anyone take hold of my heart, then only to leave and shatter it, to broken promises.

Amliath’s’ eyes held my father’s for a moment. He did not speak right away. Perhaps he was thinking of an answer.. or perhaps his eyes had caught sight of me…..

I had made my way to the bar that was set up near the eating tables. All the waiters were there refilling also. My eyes kept looking back watching Amliath. It looked like my father was really digging into him with questions. I felt bad for Amliath. And my thoughts drifted again to my father’s words from earlier in the evening. Why was my father doing this? I bet if it was the Prince my father would not be questioning him so….

I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I turned my head slowly to see the face of Prince Arvedui, he looked at me wistfully.

“Lady Fair, there is no beauty in all of Arnor that compares to the lady before me.”

“Your Highness.”
A full curtsey I gave.

“Ríannon…In all our long years, you have never called me that.”

He smiled. It was true… I had never referred to him with anything but his name. I never really looked upon him as being anything but a boy.. a man. Not an heir to the crown. We had been friends for quite some time. Always in the hopes he would get swept away and fall in love with me, my father kept me close to the palace as often as possible when I was growing up. Arvedui was a wonderful man, beautiful, tender hearted and kind. But as of late I did not feel close to him anymore... our lives had since drifted apart. It was not meant to be. And we both accepted it… and moved on..

"I see Amliath has taken a fancy to you, he is a good man. My happiness abounds for you both.”

How could he be happy for us? Amliath was leaving me in the morning, and our love would not be given the chance! I became angry. My thoughts raging. He had given Amliath his post.. Why?… Was he jealous of our love? If he couldn’t have me, would no one else?….

“Then why are you sending him away?!!”

Bitterness, anger and sorrow filled my voice as I spoke sharply. I gasped, and Arvedui was a little shocked. What was I doing? He was the Prince! Even as a friend, I had no right to speak to him in such a manner.

“I am sorry M’Lor.. Arvedui. Forgive me.”

“There is nothing to forgive my lady Ríannon. I understand. This is a very emotional evening for you. And I apologize for that. But I was not the one who ordered him away. Commander Dúriel of the east requested him. I don’t know why. Heard of his skill in training I assume. He is one of the best… but…”


He saw the sorrow in my eyes and it touched him.

“I will renounce the order if that is what you wish. I have the power to do that. However.. it is his first post.. and with a decline… he would in all likelihood be exiled…”

Cadets were not allowed to decline any post, let alone their first. That was just the way of it. If you were given a post, you go… or they don’t want you. Amliath had trained long and hard... he wants to serve the Kingdom of Arthedain, and his first post is with the Rangers of the Eastern Watch. Who was I to come into his life and take that away from him! He would only be gone for a year after all… it will pass by quickly, won’t it? We could write to each other…

“You would do that for me? Why?”

“Because I want you to be happy. I cannot bear seeing you in sorrow and despair Ríannon. I care too deeply for you. I always will. But you need to know…. It will be better for Amliach if he takes his posting.”


His eyes held mine with pity and concern.

“My love?”

There suddenly came a voice from behind him. He turned, smiling when he saw her, he held out his hand and took hers pulling her close to him. She was beautiful. The most beautiful lady I have ever seen, flawless and perfect, her gown was of a emerald green, rich in design with a touch of gold here and there, though she sparkled like a diamond. Prince Arvedui said,

“My beloved! Come! I want you to meet someone. This is Ríannon daughter of Captain Hollinstadt. Ríannon.. this… is my beloved Fíriel, daughter of Ondoher, King of Gondor.”

“Pleased to meet you Lady Ríannon. Arvedui speaks fondly of you!”


She bowed her head graciously, smiling ever more. Even her voice, her words were as beautiful and perfect. I curtseyed in respect. I was silenced. I did not know what I could possibly say that would compare to the words of this Princess. She turned to Arvedui.

“My love, your father is looking for you.”

“Thank you beloved. Tell him I will be there shortly.”


Still holding her hand he kissed it, then he kissed her on the cheek, and she walked away. This made me ache inside, I missed Amliach already. He turned back to me, still glowing from the presence of his love. His eyes met mine again, and his glow diminished slightly. He could see the answer in my eyes... see the pain clearly... he knew I could not deny Amliach his post. Prince Arvedui said,

“Ríannon… It is only for a year… he will return. Then I will see what I can do to get him posted closer.”

He placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder, but I was not so sure. He turned me to him and saw the tears welling up in my eyes. He drew me to him and embraced me. A hug for understanding and comfort. But I was not comforted.

“I do hope you will enjoy the rest of this evening. Take heart in what is left of this night. Do not be troubled with the fate or the will of the future. Treasure this night! Cherish it! And always remember it. You and Amliach will be my guests of honor this evening.”

Arvedui took my hand and kissed it.

“Farewell for now Lady Rían.”

I curtseyed and he walked back to where Firiel awaited him. I turned ans saw Amliach and my father.

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


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Last edited by Hanasian on February 12th, 2017, 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 6th, 2017, 9:10 am 
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Midsummers Ball – 1940 of the Third Age
(Amliath)

I encouraged her to do as her father asked after he snapped at her, and she did as asked and I was alone with Hollinstadt. He questioned my award, and knowing it was yet to be proven, I was quite uncomfortable in his stare....

"Can one know all things of the future? If I could do so, I would ask now for your daughter's hand, and we be wed before I go. But it is not the way of the Dúnedain, and so I will give my word of betrothal to you, and when I return, we will be wed if it so pleases Ríannon..."

"Now you wait a minute! You barely know my daughter, and yet you ask for her hand? She will be wed to one who is no Ranger of the wild..."


Hollinstadt said harshly as he drew close to my face. I did not flinch and stared hard into his eyes and said,

”Yet its these Rangers who fight and die far to the east to keep Fornost and Annúminas free of evil! If not for all of them, the future of Arthedain in its daughters would be ravished by the evil hillmen of Rhuadur while the orcs destroyed everything else! You may despise me for loving your daughter Ríannon, and you may not respect my not having any experience in the field, and you may hate me because I have been posted to the Eastern Watch with these Rangers, but I will prove to you and Ríannon...”

"You need not prove anything to Ríannon, for you will surely not marry her. You have come and obviously took her heart in a day... how, I know not, but ... and now you will go off and she will be alone suffering. It will be my hope that she will soon forget about you after you have been gone."


Hollinstadt cut in. His words faded as I looked toward the front of the ball-grounds. I saw Lady Ríannon there with Prince Arvedui as he kissed her, and the heat boiled inside me. Surely the other lady I saw nearby was Fíriel, The Prince's Lady of Gondor, but... the Lady Ríannon looks so elegant and lovely in the royal court. I looked away and quickly to myself.. a rather plain, rough-hewn young soldier compared to those around me. I had not noticed the stares while with Ríannon, but now... my mind raced... I was posted to go, and by the Prince... maybe... maybe she... maybe her father was right.... for he wished her to marry one of the royal house or at least a royal guardsman....

”NO!”

I drew back to hit him in my building anger, but instead pushed by him and went out the gate. The looks and stares followed me, and I could hear the mumblings as I walked away. What would they tell Ríannon? Why did I let him get to me? I paused in my steps and thought of returning, I could not let him decide our fate as such, and so I turned and started to walk back. I slipped back inside the gateway unnoticed and stood quietly and still. I saw Ríannon having words with her father, and she looked around franticly for me. It was then her eyes caught mine. To her I would make my promise, and to her I will be betrothed! I will honor her and her alone...

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Last edited by Hanasian on February 12th, 2017, 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 6th, 2017, 9:14 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Midsummers Eve Ball - 1940 of the Third Age
(Riannon's perspective)

Prince Arvedui was right. I could not let my heart be troubled this night on the thoughts of what was to come or the absence of Amliach. This night, would be all I would have of him…My heart lightened. I would give my heart to him this night. I will bind myself to him, and my heart will go with him on his journey. I will stand beside him in this task. I will pledge my life to him this night!

As Arvedui left, I turned to find Amliach. I looked toward my father and there I saw Silvanis angrily walk away. He headed for the gate… Why? Blood boiled within me and I headed straight for my father, the obvious cause of Amliach’ fury.

“What did you tell him? What did you say??!!”

I demanded as I walked up to him.

“Nothing that needed not be said. Forget about him my daughter, trust me.. he will forget about you.”

“Forget about him??!! I love him!”


My voice began to shake.

“You do NOT… LOVE him! You barely know him!!”

My father answered with fire and anger building.

“I know enough of him to know I want to spend the rest of my life with him!”

“Lies! All lies! He tells you what you want to hear! He is a Ranger, I will not have my daughter wed to a wild and reckless, unstable, unwilling, walkabout Ranger!”

“How dare you..”


I whispered, tears in my eyes, flowing uncontrollably.

“How DARE you tell me who I can and cannot wed!!”

Our voices carried and people began to stare. My father looked around nervously. Not the way a member of the Royal Guard should behave.

“Keep your voice down. This is neither the time nor the place to discuss this any further Ríannon.”

He put his arm around me and began to lead me away, to make it look nice, like everything was okay.

“Now come, I have someone I want to introduce you to, his name is Prince---"

“No! Enough of this!”


I stopped and freed myself of his arm.

“You are always throwing me at the feet of Princes and Royal Guards!! Enough! Can’t you see they don’t want me?? Can’t you see I don’t want them!! You are not Royalty father! You are the Captain of the Royal Guard who married a foreign woman of Rohan. You have half-breed children who will never be considered Dunedain! Yet you continue to pretend that we are royalty!” Wake up father!”

I cried hard. My father was stunned by my words. He looked down and said quietly,

“I just want what is best for my family.”

“No father, you just want what is best for you… and your status here in court. You do not care what is best for me, or my sisters, or mother. You have no consideration for what I want.”


And with that I could take no more. I turned quickly and left my father’s sight. He sighed and turned and left in the other direction. That was the last we spoke to each other that night.

Frantically my eyes began searching for Amliath. I saw him finally coming back through the gate. I ran to him, throwing my arms around him and holding on tight, I did not want to let go.

“I’m sorry Amliath! I’m so sorry for my father's words.”

I trembled as the words came out. And so did the tears, rolling freely down my cheeks.

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 7th, 2017, 8:22 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Midsummers Eve
(Amliath)

Returning to the grounds I saw Ríannon with her father, and she was having words. She stormed away from him crying, and my blood burned at his attitude toward his daughter, and such as his status. But I restrained myself from going to him, and Ríannon found me and I lost myself in her arms.

"I Love thee Ríannon!"

I said as I held her to me, her tears soaking into my shirt. My hands pressed into her back as her silken dress rustled with her movement. I looked back and saw the disdainful look her father was giving us, but I let it bother me none. This was to be a joyous night, for I would have to ride away to the east in a few short hours.

We walked toward the gate together, and I relieved one of the royal waiters of a bottle of Evendim 1910, and with Ríannon still sobbing, we walked out and made our way toward the lake. We were silent, only holding each other as we walked, and the stars in the clear night sky grew brighter as we distanced ourselves from the lights of the festival grounds.

Coming to the lake shore, the water sang its quiet song as the warm summer breeze caused the water to lap at the shore. I kissed her cheek and said,

”Beloved, may it be not sad that this night should pass, for if it be your will, when I return, will you be my wife! There is much to overcome before it will be seen as a good thing in your house. And so beloved, I hold my betrothal to you, and in my heart I will think us husband and wife, though I will have to prove myself upon the battlefield and in my walk to your father. I love thee Lady Ríannon, and I swear this oath to you. I take thee with me in my heart forever until we meet again, and I will only wish for the hurrying of days until that day does come....”

We held each other close, sipping... no, gulping the wine and trying to forget the morn coming. Her shining eyes beamed in the starlight, and I was aching, knowing I would be leaving in a few short hours...

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Last edited by Hanasian on February 12th, 2017, 1:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain
PostPosted: January 7th, 2017, 8:53 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Evendim Lakeshore, Annuminas – Third Age 1940

(Riannon)

My ears were ringing, but I heard Amliath say,

"Beloved, may it not be sad that this night should pass, for if it be your wish, I will take you as wife. Be your answer yay or nay, now or later, or you need time to consider the weight of this before giving an answer, I will await it. Just know that I will hold my betrothal to you, for I love thee Lady Ríannon, and I swear this oath to you. I take thee with me in my heart forever until we meet again, and I only wish for the hurrying of days until that day does come...."

My heart racing and my body was tingling all over, as if a thousand ants ascended my body. I could barely stand, I could not find the words to speak. Could this be? This war bound Ranger was pledging his life to me. How could I live without him for an entire year? Yet I had only known him for a couple days! Yet, I could hold to this as the seasons changed, knowing the next summer when his duty in the east was done, he would return to me. I said,

"Amliath of Evendim... are you asking for my hand in marriage?"

A smile crossed my face. I tried not to show the utter fear and excitement I was feeling inside. But I had to be sure my hearing had not failed me nor that I did not misinterpret his words.

"I ask if... you will have me." He said, dropping to one knee. "Will you?.... Have me Lady Ríannon?"

Gasping and no longer able to stand, I dropped down in the grass with him. He took both of my hands in his, awaiting my answer. My hands were shaking, my heart was beating so loud I was afraid I would have to shout over the beats in order for him to hear me.

"Yes." I managed to squeak out, my voice quivered. "Yes. Ever and always Amliath. I love thee."

Elated, we held each other fast. Parting only to engage in long kisses, full of joy and passion. I felt his entire body tremble, as he gripped me tightly, pressing his lips to mine, feeling his strong arms hold me in love.

"I am afraid I have nothing to give thee, but I give to thee my word, I promise I will return for you, for hard it will be to bear being apart from you Lady Ríannon.

His voice started strong, but ended in but a whisper, full of emotion.

"I will be waiting."

He stood and took my hands and I stood before him. He gently put his arms around me in an embrace. Our bodies began to sway and he kissed away the tear that had escaped and was rolling down my cheek. In the distance we heard the sound of a lute and lyre begin to play.

”My lady, I would be so honored, if you would dance with me."

Before I could respond, he wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me closer to him. Very close. Our lips grazed each other lightly but we did not kiss. We began moving slowly to the music. It was not very loud, so Amliach began to hum the melody of the music as we danced. I giggled and smiled and buried my head to his shoulder. And for that moment so brief, I forgot he was leaving in the morning. But I let that not take away any joy from me now. We danced together it seemed for hours, long after the music had ended. But we noticed not, for the grasses flowed beneath our feet, and the wind sang out a chorus in song as we moved about in each others arms. The night deepened and we drew together, and soon my lips took his to mine....

Loëndë ~ Midsummers Day

(Amliach)

The light of day approached the eastern horizon as the stars began to fade. The morning dew clung to grass and tree. Entwined in each others arms we stirred as the scents of morning arose from the grasses around us. I held Lady Ríannon close and looked into her eyes. They opened and beamed as though Varda made them and brought them from the skies. We held each other close and my hands caressed her back. Her wet silken dress felt so good against her skin, and I kissed her cheek. We would have remained there together, but morning was approaching fast. Riannon jumped up and said,

"I have to get home! Father will learn I did not come home!"

A quick kiss was all I got before she started to run off. I grabbed her hand and drew her back for one more kiss, and I threw my cloak around her shivering body. She brushed my cheek with her hand and looked hard at me, then turned and ran. I fell back down into the grass, wondering if the night was a dream. I must have drifted into a slumber, for the next thing I remember was the sounds of horses approaching the city from west of the lake. The Northern command was arriving with those from the western steppes, and I needed to join them. We would depart for Fornost ere midday with other companies of Annúminas. I stood and thought of Lady Riannon as I walked slowly back toward the city. That kiss goodbye was the last I would see of her, and it would be a vision I would remember for many a day.

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Last edited by Hanasian on February 12th, 2017, 1:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain ~ Ríannon and Amliach
PostPosted: January 21st, 2017, 8:55 pm 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Marching Off To War

It was Loëndë, Midsummers Day when my service to Arthedain began. Had barely enough time to get to the inn to get my satchel and get to the stable to get my horse and arrive on the parade grounds in time. There we were grouped together by assignment, and there were six of us from Annuminas who had been assigned to Captain Dúriel. Five from the Evendim Hills , and seven from the western reaches of the realm were also assigned to Captain Dúriel. Apparently he was highly regarded, and expected much of his men. We all would get to know each other well in the coming months.

As we set out, we rode tall and proud. The people wished us well and I searched the crowds along the street for Riannon. She was nowhere to be seen. I sighed and looked forward as we headed east along the road. It was thirty five leagues to Fornost where we would met our captain. But for now, we came under command of Captain Belas, who tasked me to be the corporal of Dúriel’s cadets. I was no leader, and I hardly knew these men. I think Captain Belas just pointed at who was closest when he reviewed us, and that was me.

As evening set, we set camp in an area that marked the half way point between the two cities. Belas tasked us to set watch, and we held vigilance against the darkness that pressed us evermore and unrelenting. There were no stars this night. After my watch, I penned my first letter to Riannon…

’Dearest Love,
Though it has only been two days, I miss you so. I close my eyes ad see you there, your smile and the glint in your eyes. I hear your voice, soft and sensual, and your laugh so bright. But my hands miss your touch.. the feel of your skin clad in the thinnest of silk, the softness of your cheek as my finger brushes it. May this find you well, and know that you are ever in my thoughts.’


I put away the pen and ink, and hoped it would be readable. I would send it tomorrow before w e leave east.
The next day was hot. We moved northeast through the North Downs, giving the families that lived there some comfort. When we came to the eastern reach, the soldiers there were glad to see us. The units from the Western March commanded by Belas were to be deployed there, and so the ones being relieved were in good cheer even as they appeared grim. With instruction given from veteran to cadat, many of the relieved soldiers would be going back to Fornost for rest. But there were some who would not be. They joined us and would march east to the Weather Hills. Their eyes were deep and hard, and they spoke little to us but kept to themselves. A dozen of them, all grim, all weatherworn, and all silent. They gave the cadets the chills. One saw me looking at him and he came walking over. I turned my eyes away and looked forward as we set to march. He stepped in next to me and said,

”You know what that smell is?”
“What smell?”


I answered not turning my head. He grabbed me and held his notched knife to my throat.

”The smell of death. Yes, it is on me, and it is on my comrades. Too much of it. If you and your comrades live long enough, it will be on you too.”

He retracted his blade as Dúriel called out,

”Dakuis! Leave the kids alone!”

Dakius. I had a name to put with the face. The veterans were loath to give the cadets their names. He said back to Dúriel,

”Just giving the corporal some sage advice. He’s a leader of sorts to these kids. Thought he would need some.”

Dakuis said as he walked forward to talk to Dúriel. I marched along. I wasn’t able to shake Berel’s designating me as a corporal. It would be something that would stay with me whether I wanted it to or not.

Dark are the days ahead, and it was spoken on the faces of the veterans who have seen too much of war, the commanders who could do little more than order their forces to where they thought the worst threat would come, and the hesitant doubt in the faces of the new men like me. Yes, the coming days would be hard. We gained our position in the north of the Weather Hills without incident, and the veterans there greeted us by talking to each other….

”About time Dúriel.”
“Look! The ‘relief’ is here. Can we go home now?”
“Boys…. Here we go again”
“You talkin’? You were a boy when you got here the last time… when was that?”
“Hundred years ago, all crammed into one year. I should be going home now.”
“Nope, you move down the line to the south. Maybe someone whose one year was up several years ago will get to go.”


And so it was. Our twelve veterans and us manned the north end of the Weather Hills. The fortifications were old and somewhat crude, but were functional. We all found a place to call ‘home’ for now.

Of all the lore of Arnor that was beheld in the libraries of Annúminas and Fornost, there are numerous accounts of the Dúnedain’s struggle against the dark power of Angmar. Of the days of King Arveleg I, his reign was that of war, and it finally took his life at Amon Sûl where there was much loss. But then, the strength of Arthedain prevailed, as it does now. But the strain is heavy, and our strength evermore seems to wane while that of the Witch King seems to grow evermore.

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain ~ Ríannon and Amliach
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2017, 10:32 pm 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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The Morning of Midsummer’s Day ~ 1940 of the Third Age
(Ríannon)

I panicked when I awoke in the grass with Amliach. I had wrapped myself in my thin cloak, and Amliach wrapped his heavy dress cloak around me as he kissed me, and I ran home in the growing twilight as fast as I could. I managed to get in the palace by a secret way only I and my sister knew of, and got to my room without waking or being seen, or so I thought. My younger sister Ráinna, who was 13, saw me enter my room that early morning. Ráinna immediately came to my room, and slipping in through the door, scared me. I quickly jumped over and shut the door, hoping Ráinna would keep quiet. Our sisterly discussion of whispers took only a short few moments, and I knew that to buy Ráinna’s silence, it would cost me dear. Though Ráinna agreed to keep this to herself, should it become useful sometime in the future, the price for silence would go up. Ráinna left the room, shutting the door a little harder than the silent latch I would have preferred. I stood with my back to the door for a moment, thinking of the last two days. I then yawned and fell face down on my bed and was soon asleep in blissful dream, dreaming of waking up in Amliach’s arms again. Her disappointment and sadness would wait a few more hours to when she is awakened. It was the noon hour, and Amliach and the new companies were gone, and it would be a year before he was due back.

I became withdrawn and became depressed, for my heart was recovering from its shattering by Amliach’s leaving. I knew this was in store for them, yet it hurt so much. I wrote letters to Amliach and posted them in secret, hoping they would catch up to him in Fornost, but I would never know if he got them until such time he could write back to her. All she could do was wait for his letters to come, and for him to return to her from the front.

~ ~ ~

Commander Kallam, who served in the Royal Guard assigned to Prince Arvedui and was the Prince’s childhood friend, returned from an errand to Fornost the Prince had sent him on. After reporting to the Prince the news he had gained, the Prince looked grim and dismissed Kallam so he could go rest. As he was walking back to his quarters, he passed by the King’s Palace wing. Commander Hollinstad saw him as he passed his office door and he called out,

”Commander Kallam! It is good to see you!”

Kallam paused, and turned to enter Hollinstadt’s office. He said,

“As it is to see you Commander Hollinstadt.”

Hollinstadt poured two glasses of wine and offered one to Kallam. He took it and sipped it slightly. Hollinstadt said,

”How is the east road to Fornost? I was hoping you would return in time for the Midsummers Eve Ball.”

“I tried, but was delayed getting away from Fornost.”


Hollinstadt sipped his wine and nodded, saying,

”Well, I’m glad you are here now. There are a few things we need to discuss. First, am I right in thinking that you know the postmaster of Fornost?”

“Yes, Guarack. We schooled together.”
Kallam replied.

“Good. Good….”

Hollinstadt said as he walked around his desk. He leaned back against it and asked Kallam,

”And tell me, would I be right in thinking that you fancy my daughter Riannon?”

This caught Kallam off guard as he sipped his wine. He coughed and looked at Hollinstadt, fighting for words…

Er… well yes, but… what does that have to do with the first question?

Hollinstadt’s hand went up silencing Kallam. He said,

”Nothing… yet. And no need to explain. I’ll just say that I have noticed you watching Ríannon at social functions for some time, and she has always been polite to you. You two seemed to partner well at dance, and talk a fair amount of time as well.”

Kallam cut in saying,

”Lady Ríannon is a very beautiful woman. We have been friends for some time, and I am polite to my friends….”

“Unfortunately you were not around to offer that politeness to her at the Midsummers Eve Ball. I ask you again, and mean it in an inquisitive, kind way, Do you fancy my daughter Ríannon?”


Hollinstadt cut in. Kallam then said,

“Sir, where are you going with this? And should you be asking Ríannon these things?”

Hollinstadt smiled and nodded, and said,

”My eldest daughter is a bit, shall we say, wayward in thought and emotion. In the fortnight you were gone, she went from walking and talking with you in the evenings and being, shall I say, somewhat enamored with you, to falling head over heels in love with a young man from the Evendim Hills.”

Hollinstadt paused to sip his wine and examine Kallam’s face which had a thoughtful pondering look as he stared toward the window. He then took a sip of his wine and looked at Hollinstadt and asked,

”Does this young man have a name?”

“Amliath of Evendim.”


Hollinstadt said as he watched Kallam. Except for an initial glint in his eye, there was no familiarity. Kallam said,

”There was a familiar sound to the name, but I think it only from history. Do you know anything of him?”

“I did some research and very little is known of him.”


Hollinstadt said. He downed the remained of his wine and sat the goblet on his desk. He looked at Kallam and went on,

”Comes from a simple farming family that lives to the north in the hills. They grow barley and hops, and raise fine cattle. I sent a man out there to see them to find out all he can. Being the Royal House is in need of another supplier of meat, and I was supposed to see to that, so he has the power to offer a proposal to them if he likes what he sees. It could be beneficial to them, and to us. They may need some assistance with their son being a new recruit who went off east to the Weather Hills just this morning.”

Kallam nodded and sipped at his wine. He knew what that meant for Amliach. A year’s duty with the Eastern Watch would likely stretch out longer. He knew Hollinstadt had something in mind, and so he asked,

”Yes, I saw the companies marching east as I returned. I do not think this Amliach will be back here in Annuminas, or even Fornost, any time soon. You know what happens to the cadets that go off east. Does this Amliach have to do with my knowing Guarack?”

“To put it plainly, I don’t want any letters from Amliach to find their way to Riannon. Likewise, should Riannon send any letters to Amliach, I don’t want them finding their way to him I would think the Postmaster of Fornost would be able to make this happen.”


Hollinstadt said. Kallam gulped, then drank down his goblet of wine as he started to pace about Hollinstadt’s office. He came to the window and looked out of it. He considered what it would take to make this happen and what it would cost. Kallam said,

”You realize this is a lot to ask for. Guarack and I are old childhood friends who schooled together with Prince Arvedui. He does owe me one from our cadet days as I helped him pass one of the required tests. But this will be a big ask to call in, likely more than what the debt is worth.”

“Yes. Yes. I’m not sure what I can offer there. If you can make my request happen by any means you can, I will be grateful. I will tell you outright that I would look favorably on your courtship of Riannon if you wish her to be your wife. In fact I will encourage it! You are a high-standing officer in Prince Arvedui’s Royal Guard, and I would be honored to have you as a son-in-law!”


Hollinstadt said as he walked up next to Kallam, who kept staring out the window. He said,

”Do you think Riannon might have something to say about this?”

“Yes. Yes. She would, I’m sure. If you wish to have her as wife, you call on her. She has known you for a long time, and she likes you. I think that in time, she would agree to marry you and will forget about this… ranger.”


Hollinstadt said as he slapped his hand on Kallam’s shoulder. Kallam said,

”I do know that with your daughters there comes some…”

“Problems with bloodlines? Was that what you were going to say Kallam? Yes, I am aware of the gossip and ill thoughts of me marrying a Rohirric wife, and our children are not ‘pure’ Dunedain blood. But I say their strength if not their longevity will match any Dunedain women’s. And it is well established that with the attrition and current battlefield needs of this kingdom, and with the birthrate of Arthedain is dwindling, something must be done. Look at Gondor. They revitalized themselves when they brought the Northmen in among them.”


Hollinstadt said. Kallam was quick to say,

”And Gondor nearly wiped themselves out in a bloody civil war because of it. We can’t afford that here. But I can say right now that I am not a Castamirian racist, and I would be honored to take your daughter Ríannon as my wife and we would bear you many grandchildren, that is, if she accepts me. I will see what I can do as far as the mail goes, for I can see that it would be to our mutual advantage to have Ríannon lose all communication with this Amliach. I think I can see it through. Would you like me to advise you of my progress?”

“If you wish, but the less I know the better.”


Hollinstadt said as he too looked out the window. Kallam said as he turned and walked over to set his goblet down on Hollinstadt’s desk,

”Then I will only say that I already have a plan in mind. Give me a fortnight. I will brief you on my status then if you like. Right now, I should call on your daughter. After that, I have someone else to see. I have after all just gotten back.”

The two men saluted each other and Kallam left. Hollinstadt poured himself some more wine and pondered what all he had just set in motion.

Kallam made his way over to the Hollinstadt house, and called upon Lady Ríannon. She would not see him. Kallam didn’t press, just wished her well and left the house. He went to his quarters in the Prince’s palace, and he started gathering his things. A Captain of the guard walked by and Kallam summoned him in. He said,

”Farien, it is good to see you well. Yet you look grim?”

Farien paused and stepped into Kallam’s office. He shut the door and said quietly,

”They have me running supply! Me! I thought I had risen above that duty years ago.”

“What happened while I was away?”


Kallam asked. Farien sighed and said,

”It must have been the Midsummers Eve Ball. It’s the only thing I can think of.”

“The Ball? It sounds like I missed a good one. Why do you think this?”


Kallam asked. Farien went on,

”Commander Hollinstadt was in a bad way. He had a lot of concern and wasn’t very attentive to Lady Rihanin. She was left alone at the banquet table, and I talked to her. Later, I danced with her once. It was harmless even if Lady Rihanin seemed to enjoy her wine greatly that night. Apparently it wasn’t taken too kindly, for it was less than two days when I was re-assigned to the supply run to the Eastern Watch.”

Kallam rubbed his chin slightly, not believing his luck. He nodded before saying,

”Yes, I can see that being a terrible inconvenience. I will see what I can do to get you a better posting. But you will have to do a run, maybe two. In the meantime, there is a service you could do for me in your current position.”

“Yes, anything if it gets me returned to my former posting.”


Farien said. Kallam grunted and said,

”Now I can’t guarantee that, but I will see about getting you posted with me in the Prince’s Royal Guard if you are successful in doing this… favor, for me.”

“What will you need?”
Farien asked.

“Make sure no letters from Ríannon, daughter of Hollinstadt, find their way to a ranger named Amliach of Evendim. He is posted in the Weather Hills on the Eastern Watch. Likewise, stop any letters he may send to her. It will be my desire to have them forget about each other. It is my guess this Amliach will get himself killed before the year is done anyway, but this which I ask will be to my benefit in many ways, hence your benefit as well..”

Kallam said, setting it out there. Farien nodded and said,

”Is that all? It is many leagues between the Weather Hills and Fornost. I think a couple letters could get lost. Especially if their disappearence gets me off the damned supply run.”

The two ended their meeting with a handshake. Kallam was glad he didn’t have to approach Guarack just yet.

~ ~ ~
(Ríannon)

For the next three days, I would not leave my room much. My mother would come and talk to me and bring me small meals. Kallam would call upon me each morning to see how I was, but I would refuse to see him. He seemed genuinely worried about my state of mind. Kallam had gained permission to set up his office in House Hollinstadt in the first room in the hall where he could keep a watch on my chamber. He would call upon me each morning, and it was the fifth day that I opened her door to him. He convinced me to take a short walk around the palace with him like we did only a few weeks before in the evenings. Through the next week we did so. I began to again warm to his kindness and I could see his love for me in his eyes. I was finding it hard to get past seeing him as being my friend in court and Prince Arvedui’s best friend from childhood. By the second week I began to enjoy his company each morning. But at night, I would think of Amliach and Midsummer’s Eve, but the memory was evermore fading into the shadows of my mind. Would I ever hear from Amliach again?

The third week since the Ball had passed, and my stomach was queasy as I finished writing a long letter to Amliach. I sealed it and hid it before I went to bed. I slept a short time before waking in a sweat. The summer heat was stifling and I couldn’t breath. I left my room in the darkness of the early morning in a sleepy daze, and went out to the palace balcony. A cool breeze blew off the lake and chilled me, causing me to shiver. My nightdress fluttered and stuck to my sweaty skin, but the breeze felt so good! I closed her eyes and thought of Amliach. He was likely on the Eastern Watch by now. My stomach eased some thinking of him, but I started to weep. I loved Amliach, and their days together. Days? They spend a day together since they met in that field. He made me feel like I never had before, yet… maybe her father was right. Would I ever see him again? I wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my nightdress as my stomach turned hard. I threw up what was left of my dinner from hours ago. I stood and leaned against the wall as my head swam as if I was underwater. I first sat down, then I lay down on the warm stones and stared up at the sky and listened as distant thunder rumbled to the northwest.

My dream was intense and seemed real. I saw Amliach fighting. Having not ever seen a fight outside the training grounds, I was terrified of the visions in my head. When Amliach’s head was hit, wetness splattered all over me and I shuddered as his blood covered me. I began to shiver as I cried and fell into a broken, disturbed sleep filled with more horrible dreams.

A hand touched me and I startled awake struggling.

”M’Lady Ríannon! You will get sick out here in this storm!”

Kallam said as he helped me to my feet. I wobbled and leaned against the wall. Lightning struck nearby and the thunder shook the palace hard. The rain fell hard, and I looked to the sky, letting the torrent wash over me soaking me. Kallam again spoke,

”Lady Ríannon! Come, we must get out of the rain!”

I felt dizzy as I turned to him, and as I started to collapse, he caught me and lifted me into his arms. He carried me in to the palace and to my room where he lay me down gently on my bed. I felt his gentle hand on my cheek as they brushed the wet strands of hair from my face. I stirred in dream and opened my eyes just as a flash of lightning lit the room ever so briefly. I whispered as I reached out to the man I saw…

”You have returned to me! You live!”

Kallam swallowed, and after a pause, whispered to me,

”Yes, I have returned for you m’lady. I love you!”

He let my arm that had slid around his neck lead him down to me, and I kissed him. I wrapped m arms about him and held him tight as lightning flashed and thunder crashed around the Palace. I was at peace with the man I loved in my arms.

Kallam woke up with a start. It was quiet, really quiet! The sound of thunder was well off to the east, and he sat up. I was sleeping soundly next to him, contented and lost in bliss.

’what have I done?’

Kallam thought to himself as he silently got up and sorted himself. As he gathered his boots, he slipped out the door and quietly stepped down the hall to his own quarters. He sighed and shook his head. How could he have been so… careless? So… stupid? There was only one thing he could do now.

When morning light came, Kallam was dressed in his best uniform, and he came to my door at his usual time and knocked lightly, saying,

”M’Lady Ríannon? Would you like to walk with me in the fresh morning air?”

Ríannon sat up in bed and blinked. With another tap on the door, I said in a sleepy daze,

”Yes… yes, I would like that. A walk, yes.. Give me some time to get ready.”

Kallam said,

”Very well M’Lady. I will await you in the parlour.”

He walked back to his quarters, then took a seat in the parlour just past his door and sat down. I stood and again was dizzy, but it faded, and I looked at myself in her mirror. What happened?Last evening and night was all so vague and confusing. I felt I lived a nightmare with splashes of bliss among them. I wept at the thought of Amliach far away at the front. I shook my head trying to clear it as I let my torn, damp, stained nightdress fall to the floor. I could only remember bits of the night before, but they made no sense to me. I remembered Amliach holding me, and Amliach falling in battle. I vaguely remember the storm had come, and I remembered the refreshing feel of the rain on my face. But I could not remember anything solid. I readied myself as quickly as I could and for the first time since Midsummers Day, I stepped out of my room.

I met Kallam in the parlour with a smile as he took my arm. I managed to hold back my nausea and my dizziness didn’t come on too hard, and we walked silently for some time. We did start to talk of the garden and the birds, but I felt that Kallam was uneasy about something. It was when we stood by the ponds that Kallam turned to me and held both of my hands. He then let one go as he knelt, saying,

”M’Lady Ríannon, It is with great joy that I ask for your hand in marriage. Will you have me as husband?”

He held out a most beautiful golden ring with many gemstones embedded into it. I looked Kallam in the eyes and fought for breath. My mouth opened and my hand came up and my fingers touched my lips. My mouth moved as it tried to say something, but no words would come to me. The back of my throat was right behind my teeth. And I fought to not lose it before him. Tears started to well up in my eyes as I gasped. I reached out and caressed Kallam’s cheek with my fingers, for he was so beautiful and loving as he looked at me. My mouth opened and closed a couple more times before I turned and ran away, leaving him there without an answer.

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Last edited by Hanasian on August 26th, 2018, 8:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain ~ Ríannon and Amliach
PostPosted: February 12th, 2017, 2:30 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Our first days were uneventful as we settled in to life in the line of crude fortifications in the Weather Hills. The heat of the summer and the rationing of water had broken us in to life there, and we were soon as rank, if not as dirty, as the veterans. After a week of no activity, Commander Dúriel called us new men together. He said,

”Twelve of you will be going on patrol. Amliach, you will have a chance to demonstrate your leadership ability. However, since you all are cadets, I’ll have someone go with you as point.”

Dúriel turned and looked at the veterans, all who seemed to make themselves the hardest to see.

”Drakius, you can go with them. Patrol north.”

“Me? Why? What made you decide to ruin my day?”


Dúriel sighed.

”Just get on with it. The sooner you get out, the sooner you get back. Take half ration of water.”

“Thanks for nothing!”


Drakius said as he started gathering up his gear and readying himself. Still unsure what to do, I had the guys do the same. Once we were ready, Drakius took me aside and said,

"You are technically in charge of this little field trip Amliach, but you will do exactly as I do, and will do whatever I say. You got that? I want to bring myself and all your sorry butts back alive."

Drakius set out down the track we had come in on. I looked back at the rest of the men and said,

”Follow me.”

Once we reached the lowland where the last rocks were, Drakius stopped us and turned and said,

”Water inspection.”

We got our bags out and Drakius checked each one to make sure it was only half full. He proceeded to drain some into his own bag from most of ours. His half-full was somewhat less than everyone else s half full. He didn’t take any from mine for when he got to me, his bag was now full. I said,

”Do you really think this is fair?”

Drakius took my bag and looked at his, he then opened mine and took several healthy drinks from it before giving it back to me. He said,

”Yes, you all have about the same now. Remember, you are the leader of our merry bunch. I’m just here to babysit and make sure most of you don’t get killed your first day out, so the rule doesn't apply to me.”

“What are we looking for?”


I asked. Drakius adjusted his belt and said,

“The forces of Angmar. Didn't they teach you anything in your training?"

I shrugged and would figure it out the best I could. Seeing a look of determination on my face, Drakius gathered us all together. He said,

"I guess they didn't brief you much before you got here. Didn't want to demoralize you I guess. Here is a summary of our situation. Of late, the orc raids seemed to be fewer, but there have been more sightings and skirmishes of the Hillmen of Rhuadur. Much more cunning and stealthy than orcs they are. Keep your eyes open for them.”

I wasn’t sure what they looked like, but they sounded grim. We moved out into the tall grass of the plain that stretched from the Weather Hills north to the North Downs, and east to the Ettenmoors. Drakius was silent and serious, eyes searching, always searching. I too followed suit, and had the men do likewise. We tried to follow every action Drakius did. When he paused, we crouched. When he moved swiftly, we moved fast, keeping our interval. Noise discipline was stressed at all times and we learned that quickly. Finally as the sun was setting, we had returned to the first rocks. Tired and sore, we were relieved to return to our post as nightfall closed around. We were exhausted, so the cadets that remained behind took the northern end and watched. We had learned much from Drakius, and were glad the day passed without incident.

That night, I thought I would sleep, but after a short time I awoke with a startle. I was then restless, for my mind was on Riannon. I thought of being with her on Mid-Summers Eve as my hand reached and felt that which I wore about my neck... the silk scarf she had given me when we departed. I thought of our walk, and the sound of her voice, and the feel of her movement as we danced slow at the ball. I thought of the betrothal of Prince Arvedui of Arthedain and Princess Fíriel of Gondor, and I thought of my own betrothal and wished I could have married Lady Riannon before I left. I missed her so bad! I held the scarf to my face, and let it drape as I lay back. Sleep for me was broken, and by the time first light came, I was not rested.

The weeks went on and I wrote her a couple more times. When supply mail run came in, I waited patiently for the mail call and any word from Riannon. None came, but it was the first supply run since we arrived, so was likely too soon. I sent many letters back to her each time the runner was going west, evacuating the wounded. I held to hope and to my memories of Riannon.


It had been a month, and we had not seen or heard or found any sign of any enemy activity. No raids, no contact or sign found on patrols, nothing. The cadets were beginning to get a little cynical with the continual words of warning that came from the veterans. Our commander, Captain Dúriel, l knew it was only a matter of time before an attack would come, but he couldn’t risk waiting to test these new men. He considered sending some of them out on a long range patrol to the Ettenmoors.

It was that night that an attack came. Rhuadurian soldiers had managed to cross the steppe unseen, hiding from our sweep earlier in the day. They silently crept up to the north end of the line where we were at. Two cadets on watch near the First Rocks fell silently with only a slight gurgle from the blood of their cut throats. The sentry up the track squinted at some shadowy movement, and managed to get his sword drawn when they jumped him. The ringing of clashing steel alerted us, but the echoes in the rocks made it hard to know where it had come from, and it grew quiet again. I moved back to watch the track fearing the Rhuadurians had gotten behind us as I sensed something was amiss. I then heard the sound of swords clashing nearer than before. They were coming up the track! I sounded my horn to alert the men sleeping, but it was cut short with an arrow hitting it and knocking it to the ground broken. I looked back to the rampart and saw they had killed my watch comrade. He was slumped down with arrows in him, and more Rhuadurians started climbing over the top I I sweated in a near panic as they charged me. One Hillman jumped down at me from the high rock that flanked the track. Maybe luck was with me, for I pointed my sword at him and he came down on it and ran himself through. He fell to the side and I stared at him with his eyes bulging and blood pouring from his mouth. I was stunned by this dying man, andthe death of my comrdae. I wanted to puke. But Drakius ran by me coming up the track. He paused long enough to grab my sword and turn it in the man before pulling it out and throwing it at me.

”You! Fight! Now!”

He slapped my face and ran down the track toward the sound of ringing steel. Several others ran by me and I followed them blindly. We were soon in a chaotic battle. The Hillmen were trying to roll the end of our line and gain a foothold in the Weather Hills! I fought hard, and was numb and lost all emotion. After I had wounded a couple Hillmen, I turned to see where my comrades were. Then everything went black…

_________________
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dunedain Ranger of the North
Annalist, Physician, & Historian
of The Black Company of the Dúnedain,
The Free Company of Arnor


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


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 Post subject: Re: The Shadows of Arthedain ~ Ríannon and Amliach
PostPosted: March 12th, 2017, 4:52 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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The shock of Kallam proposing marriage caused me to run away from him. I didn’t stop running until I got to my room, where I fell face down on my bed and cried. I was out of breath, and likely hurt sweet Kallum by not giving him an answer. But I was to wed Amliach! Yes, when he returned! But that would be a whole year! And I was coming to the realization that I may be with child!

My head swam … It would be scandalous if she was with child! But it would be still many days before I would know for sure! Yet, for some reason I knew, as if the life that had begun growing inside me spoke to me in Amliach’s voice in that dream. I let out a sigh and stood still in the quiet of the air. My thoughts sped through my head. I could hear the gossip of how the eldest daughter of Commander Hollinstadt had been taken and abandoned in a day by a soldier recruit, a ranger of the Eastern Watch. Yet I loved Amliach, and if I was with his child, it would be a great honor to carry life that they had created together! The joy of that thought filled my mind even as I threw up again. I would know! And only I would know! I could not tell Amliach, for it would bring shame upon them all that I had a child out of wedlock. As I knelt on my hands and knees trying to recover from the heaving my stomach was doing, a scheme of my own came to mind. I had to do what was best for me and my child! Should I go and find Kallum? Or should I wait a day and really think this out? No, I pulled myself together, and I returned to look for Kallum.



(A few days after Amliach fell)

Farien had arrived with supply at the main camp at Amon Sul. They were off loaded and Elandur, Commander of the Eastern Watch and Duriel’s superior, looked at some parchments of casualties. He signed them with a sigh and handed them to Farien to take back to Fornost. Farien got out of there as soon as he could. On his first night on the road, he went through the mail bag.He didn’t find any letters from Riannon on his way down, and so now he needed to check the letters going back. There were a few of them! He collected them and closed the bag. He would use them to start his fire. All save one was burned that day. One fell off the edge of the wagon and Farien didn’t see it.

While he sat and ate some food, he took a look at the casualty lists he was to deliver. He browsed the names and saw a couple that were familiar to him. He stopped and did a double take. There on the list of dead was the name ‘Amliach of Evendim’. Farien looked around as if someone was playing a joke on him. He then read it again. He returned it to its pouch and smiled. He didn’t have to do a damn thing! Just deliver this to the Counsel General in Fornost. He packed up and set out right away.

Three weeks later, Farien arrived in Annuminas. He wasted no time going to Kallum. He was there in his office looking out the window. Farien wasted no time, he said.

“Amliach is dead!”

”Are you sure?”

Kallum asked, sounding surprised when he heard the news. Farien said,

”Official word would come in days from Fornost. But I read the name on the casualty list. I couldn’t believe it either!”

Kallum looked past Farien, for Ríannon had stepped into the door. Farien turned and nodded, saying,

”M’lady”

Ríannon smiled and said,

”I hope I am not interrupting anything.”

Farien said quickly,

”No, I was just leaving.”

He nodded to Kallum and left the room, shutting the door behind him. Ríannon turned to Kallum and a tear ran down her face. She said,

”I am sorry Kallum. It was not right for me to run off.”

“The question still stands.”


Kallum said, walking toward her. She looked at his face, and with a deep breath, she kissed him long and hard. They paused, then he returned the kiss with passion. After a few moments she gasped as his hands roamed her,

”Yes!”

She pulled him to her and they fell into passion.

Outside the door, Farien stood. Many times he said,

”The commander asked not to be disturbed.”

When the door opened, a rather tossled Riannon emerged. She blushed as Farien said,

”M’lady”

And hurried past him, her arms wrapped tight around herself. She stayed there the rest of the day.

When Kallam came calling on her later that day, Riannon again ravaged him. It wasn’t until after a week that Commander Hollinstadt asked him why he looked so tired.
~~


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