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Shifting darkness

Tags: Haldir,  Sulgirion,  Witch-king

Short Summary: An Eagle receives a most troubling 'gift' from a certain mysterious person.
Date (real-life): 2010-08-11
Scene Location: Grassy knoll, OFR, Mirkwood


Old Forest Road, Grassy Knoll
The Old Forest Road ascends and descends a tall knoll at this point in its longitudinal traverse of the great forest. The summer forest is thick with growth around you, though the trees thin out around the bald knob of the hill. The midday air is warm around you, and below you the earth is damp and soft. The road is carved with wagon, boot, and hoof prints.

Sunlight streams through the gap in the trees onto the top of the rocky knoll.

Overgrown Tomb
Obvious exits:
SouthWest, NorthWest, East, and West

============== Lord of the Rings Calendar <in English> ==============
IC time is:    Midday < About 1:56 PM >
IC day is:     Sunday
IC date is:    August 27
Moon phase:    Last Quarter <HIDDEN>
Earendil:      Gil-Estel is not visible.
IC year is:    Third Age 3050
RL time:        Wed Aug 11 17:58:40 2010

The summer air hangs thick and heavy over Mirkwood, and the oppressive canopy only serves to add a greater amount of stiffling discomfort. The area where the old road rises up a large grassy knoll is allowed a rare bath of sunlight; all else is dark, trapped under the brooding forest. It is silent, for the most part...

But now something stirs the tops of a few gnarled trees, as though they are buffetted by a fresh wind. A shadow passes overhead, haloed bronze in the daylight.

And keen eyes in the heavens might note that a shadow passes beneath as well, or so it might seem as the daylight fails upon the knoll itself; a darkness fallen that owes nothing to silhouette. The wind here grows cold, and stale, and dread whispers carry upon the breeze to whatever bronze shape is winging overhead.

For a moment it would appear that the elongated shape will pass by; but it might be perceived that it slows. A breeze borne upward tugs at the brown-gold feathers, but rather than tinged with the warm of the sun, the rush of air is chilled..but there is something more.

The large sky-form turns in a semi-circle, its definition growing clearer and more sizeable as it descends for that open spot on the hill -- it is a Great Eagle, and its wings churn branches and ripple grass beneath it. Its bright amber eyes scan the gloom, curiously perhaps. But it makes no attempt to land.

The air is scattered this way and that by the mighty wings, but ever and anon it writhes around the clearing with a purpose; a strange mood seeming to guide its flurries and eddies as they seep from bough to bough. Once again cold stabs upon the wind at the great bird, and the darkness grows somewhat under the shadowed eaves of the trees all around.

And then, a thin laugh might be heard, low and cruel and mocking. "Your claws seem afeard of the land," rasps a voice in its wake. "Are the sparrows of the mountains so easily put to fright?"

The gloom grows; so too, it seems, does the avian's unease. And then the bodiless voice comes, and the sound of a startled caw emerges from the eagle's hooked mouth. Still he does not land, and instead Sulgirion cants his head from side to side as he circles. The trees are further beseiged by his wing-blasts with each new turn. At last that curved beak clacks open and shut as words form in the Common. The tone is wild-edged and rasping. "Nay," soars the repsonse, "save perhaps for darkness that swells of its own accord." The piercing eyes maintain their scrutiny of the surrounding wood.

There lurks a hunter here, in the gloom; yet the shifting shadows of Haldir's cloak do not keep out the cold. With bright eyes and hair smothered by grey, the marchwarden shivers. Longbow in hand, he stills his approaching steps.

Steps unheeded as yet, it would seem, by the owner of the dark voice in the shadowed treeline, for as the great eagle speaks it laughs once more; mirth laced with scorn.

"There are many accords that stir the darkness, winged one," answers the unseen presence. "And you are right to fear them. But what then of valor, or courage? Have the vassals of the uttermost West shrunk so far and clipped those wings so as to tremble at a greeting? The skies then are as ripe for conquest as the land they look down upon, it would seem."

The eagle's brow furrows in answer, and a few of the feathers on his crown raise; the display of anger. "If you are awaiting a welcoming greeting in return, you shall not receive it. He who greets by mockery, and laughs at conquest while skulking in the shadows is clearly no friend. You taunt my desire to remain airborne, and yet," the amber eyes flicker sharper, "you cannot even muster the courage to reveal yourself to me."

The Elf remains unseen to his eyes, shrouded in shadow-grey as he is.

Haldir does not move, except for his gaze to rove about the dark emptiness, seeking a form. His lips move soundlessly, murmuring in the unwritten tongue of the Nandor; then he is silent.

The shadows of the trees might seem to length and snatch then at the very knoll the eagle lingers above, and the laughter of the unseen speaker turns crueller still. "You wish to behold me, scavenger of the skies? You would have a trial indeed to do so, unless your eyes are lit by more than your kin of old. But look instead upon what I choose to show, and then treat better with your host."

It is then that from the darkness of the surrounding forest a shade steps forth, melting from the treeline as a tall figure clad in black. A deep cowl hides away all identity, and folds of black cloth mask whatever gear he might wear, and from a mouth as yet unseen the figure speaks on. "Will you not perch now upon my hill, and explain your business in my woods?"

A moment passes in heavy silence. The avian gives an odd motion, as though a shiver crawls along his body, and the large unblinking gaze stares upon the figure that emerges. A single feather drifts toward the ground; it is but a herald. Perhaps the ethereal dread has woven a net over the sky, for lower now does Sulgirion glide although reluctantly. With a last mighty flap from the massive wings, the sky-creature alights upon the knoll. The silence is upheld, and the eagle cants his gold-tipped head upon the scene. A talon clenches in the dirt.

An arrow erupts through the foliage, threatening neither fell Thing nor avian as it falls upon the ground. Perhaps it is a warning shot, meant to stir the Eagle from his descent.

At once the cowl of the figure snaps toward the undergrowh, and eyes unseen would appear to scour the shadows as a wrathful rasp seeps from the hood. Few surely could hide within the darkness from such a being who can urge it, and black-gloved hand rises to curl and claw at the air in the Elf's direction.

Alas for the arrow -- the eagle's descent has been concluded, and Sulgirion's keen eyes flash toward it, and in the direction from whence it came, but swiftly his attention returns to the fore. A shrill avian screech leaves his throat. Perhaps likewise it is a caution to the dart's owner, and more so, a distraction in the wraith's searching.

"And you claim to own this land, then?" the raptor's response comes at last, in Westron once more. "What right have you to utter thusly?"

Haldir's darkness suddenly vanishes -- the brush covering his form suddenly seems to give way -- and the Elf stands in the clearing, his longbow held at his side. Eyes widening in surprise, he turns to fly, looking behind his shoulder to see if the strange thing will give chase.

But it would seem that the dark figure has no such intention, for as the Elf makes to flee there is only a cold chuckle from the so-called 'host', and his gloved hand lowers slowly. "<Morbeth> Fly, servant of the loitering light," he says to himself in some dark, evil tongue, "<Morbeth> It will avail you naught. My wargs shall catch you and gnaw at your bones, and much joy will they have in the eating!"

But then the cowl turns back to face his 'guest' once more, and in the cleaner tones of the Common Speech he answers the eagle's charge.

"By the right of he who tamed this forest and made it fit for his desires. He who filled the woods with shadow and spiders, and grew the roots of the trees to trip and snatch at unwary feet. This land has suffered great trespass, though that shall be remedied soon enough. What of you, mammoth of birds? By what right do you soar above it, and question those who dwell within it?"

Head-feathers ruffle further at the foreign, horrid tongue, and the avian's throat emits noise as if of disgust. "I see I was correct in perceiving you as no friend," the clawed foot scores several deep gashes in the soil, and the gaze hardens, despite the fact that it has wavered. "The skies were fashioned for the use of winged-things," replies Sulgirion. "They are my transport, and I call them home...but I do not claim ownership of them. Does my marring of your land displease you?" Almost there is a slight mockery in the voice, though it is subdued and laced with apprehension. The eagle cants an eye toward the ripped dirt beneath his foot.

The Elf's retreat is not to be unhindered. Far off in the distance the soundlessness of Haldir's feet is heralded by deep, wolvish barking, though sounding more wicked -- more gleeful.

And with a nod of satisfaction at this far off sound, the menace in the black figure's voice is not unmistakable, though something new issues forth along with his words to ferry them forth, or perhaps grant them strange power. A black fog, hard to detect at first but growing in thickness seeps through the air toward the mighty Eagle, and once more the gloved fingers of the figure tense and curl as though raking the air.

"No more than the shovel displeases me when opening deep pits for my servants to dwell within. But do not curse them overly yet... were a creature as mighty and fell as yourself to see them, they might impress a majesty upon you after all..." he says, in tones of dark suggestion.

"I think not," says the raptor after a pause as if struggling against the strange, convincing tone of that dark voice . "If these so called servants are the creepers in the dark, and rejoicers of the night, then I know them already. Little do I think of them. They are the haters of light, and the destroyers of nature. It would be better if the deep pits were not for their dwelling, but rather their ending."

At the foreboding fog, Sulgirion shivers again, feathers ruffling anew. The claws shift, and he takes an odd avian-step backward, amber gaze veiled with uncertainty and fear. Then, he straightens and, spreading wide his bronze wings, beats them in an attempt to hinder the encroaching mists.

The mists do not relent, though they are scattered to and fro by the mighty wings, and even as eagle hops backward the figure takes several strides forward to close the distance between them.

"Then come," urges the voice amid the black breath, "and bring such about yourself, if you may. And then rule in their stead, burying their wretched little bodies beneath the ground and usurping their lands..."

Once again the voice is suggestive, persuasive it would choose to be no doubt, and mayhap the strangeness of the delivery may mask the movement at the figure's side. His gloved hand steals inside his robes, only to return subtly clasping hold of a thin, pale knife that remains by his side as he advances.

[Combat(#13388)] Witch-king wields The Witch-king's Morgul Blade.

"I do not care about ruling," the eagle says at length. Another pause, and he stares forward, retreat frozen for the nonce. "But wiping them from these lands..that is..." The wild-edged voice falters; but then Sulgirion gives a shake of his head, sending one more feather to grace the damaged ground. When his eyes return, it is to catch a faint gleam of metal, and those eyes narrow. Suspicion dwells therein.

"Come no closer!" comes the warning, heralded by a sharp caw. "What is it you conceal by your side? A friend...has naught to hide." It seems the thickening darkness has proved difficult for even avian sight to pierce.

"I bring a gift," hisses the voice of the black figure, though he would sweeten it if he could, and the black fog seeps all the more from his hood as he advances. Two pin pricks of crimson fire erupt into flame deep within its folds, searing if they may their gaze into the eyes of the Eagle.

"A gift, from the master of the forest, to his valued guest... Tarry a moment, and recieve it in good faith..."

Sulgirion's claws curl in the dirt, and his wings have remained half-open; but he does not take flight. There is a stronger will present, and it weaves its webs with cunning. "I...receive," the eagle breathes, staring blankly at those awful fiery points of light within the fold of darkness.

A cackle fills the air then, contrary to the spell of suggestion that hath been weaved -- indeed perhaps it is in danger of breaking it! -- and the dark figure steals forth yet another couple of paces. Then, quick as a snake, ere the eagle might alter his judgement, the pale knife slices out in a stab at the front talon of the great avian.

Witch-king attacks you with his Dagger!...
...and he hits! Ouch!

ARB: You've been injured for 8 hp's by Witch-king's attack...
...you have 117 left. Please RP this injury accordingly.

In danger of breaking it indeed. The wicked laughter earns a slow blink from the large amber regard, and then, a sudden icy pain shoots up one foot. The eagle's countanence hardens, and the eyes flicker with awareness and anger. "Deceiver, and lie threader!" And quite abruptly, with a high screech from that black-tipped beak, the second talon shoots up and out for the generous 'host.'

You attack Witch-king with your Eagle Claws...
Your attack against Witch-king mildly wounds him!

And it rakes deep grooves in the robes of the black figure, but whatever armours the fellow beneath it turns aside the talon's fury, and a fresh mocking laugh is sent up in reply.

"Winged fool," he rasps, wheeling away beyond the reach of the claws if he may. "Thou choose to land on a viper's nest when you hear it's hiss, and then are surprised when it bites? But I threaded no lies, sparrow of the mountains; a gift has been given, though perhaps you would return it if you could..."

ARB: Witch-king has "passed" on his turn to attack.

"My decisions were not my own," is the rasping answer, and its tone is as icy as the pain; that particular foot is raised slightly from the pressure of standing upon it.

The eyes narrow at the Wraith-lord's words. "...Is there a reason that I should seek to be rid of it...sorcerer?" The last emerges as an almost hiss, but he makes no attempt to reach in pursuit.

You forego your chance to attack.

"Take wing," comes the pitiless reply, and once more do the eyes blaze within their cowl, though no longer does the black fog seep from its depths. "And discover for yourself. My blade has a power that is wielded by my will, and soon you shall feel it clawing upon your wits. Who knows, you may come to welcome its embrace. Either way, you are marked, my hawk, and will yearn for my side in due time..."

A fresh hiss of relish then, and the fires of his eyes fade, his black-clothed figure, rent as it has been by the talons of the eagle, steps backward toward the shadows of the trees.

The frown deepens. "We shall see, threader of darkness. But take heed -- I leave of my own accord, not by command." The massive gold hued wings are fully stretched, and he begins to turn. "It will be my talons that yearn for your side, and my eyes to look upon the harm they cause."

With a leap and a series of wingbeats that throw the grass in ripples, the eagle is airborne once more. Soon the great feathered form is gone over the treeline.

And the black figure, indeed one of the fabled Nazgul of Mordor watches the bird go, a low, dark voice giving portent to only himself as he says: "We shall see, my hawk. You may find other desires on your breast ere you return to me..."

And with that the Ringwraith turns to vanish into the endless night of the forest.

Date added: 2010-08-12 21:18:40    Hits: 68
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