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Foreign Landscape (Three Horses and an Ass TP)

Tags: Aurfaen,  Menelglir,  Sulgirion

Short Summary: Aurfaen, Menelglir, and Sulgirion come upon the Shepherding Village, but the welcome is not quite what they expected.
Date (real-life): 2009-12-20
Scene Location: Sherpherding Village

Shepherding Village
This is the home of a small, proud, and independent people who live primarily by herding sheep in the open lands south of the Great East Road. Once driven from this region by troll depredations, they have returned and appear to be prospering, perhaps because they can also profit by trade on the Great East Road.

Or rather.... we should say it /was/ the home of these people. The many sturdy houses and smaller huts clustered on a hill here have mostly been burned. Some are yet standing, more are nothing more than charred timbers. Once, they were safely ensconced behind a deep ditch and wall. The ditch is filled with the ashy ghosts of thorn bushes ... and the gate hangs crookedly, black as charcoal.

A long, low, smoke-stained building, sprawling along the hillside below the caravanserai, appears to the south. Its thatched roof has miraculously escaped burning - though there are black patches across it. Thick lead-paned windows are dark. There is no one here.
Large Ballista
Finest Herd
Obvious exits:
Gathering House, Caravanserai, and Great East Road

============== Lord of the Rings Calendar <in English> ==============
IC time is:    Mid Afternoon < About 4:53 PM >
IC day is:     Monday
IC date is:    September 26
Moon phase:    New  <HIDDEN>
Earendil:      Gil-Estel is not visible.
IC year is:    Third Age 3048
RL time:        Sun Dec 20 20:17:47 2009

The mid afternoon sun peers down upon a foreboding scene, not out of place so near the Troll Shaws to the north: a view of desolation and charred ruins dominates the village that was once a safe haven for weary travelers upon the Great Road. Now not much remains other than the blackened skeletons of burned houses, and ashy rubble beside the collasped walls of huts.

But these ashes are stirred this noon by a source other than the chilly breeze of autumn; down swoops a Great Eagle, the thundering of his wings whipping the dust and soot this way and that as he descends. The feathered arms and tail tilt, and Sulgirion lands nigh the center of the destruction, and there is a thick silence that follows the last flap of the avian's wings. The gold head turns sideways, and then cocks in the other direction, as the bird surveys the scene.

[Aurfaen(#16622)] "This way, this way!" Aurfaen's voice can now be heard exclaiming by the keenest ears as she approaches the village gates, Menelglir's hand in hers. "I can't wait for our first meal with -fresh- bread, and maybe...a stew, or a pie, do you think? And we can stay in the Gathering House," Aurfaen tells the Squire, her voice rising with excitement felt. "My father's got so many friends here! We can see Miss Anna and ask her if..." Moving through the gates, Aurfaen stops very suddenly, not even taking notice of their avian companion yet, once she's seen all of the destruction. Her jaw drops, and she blinks as though confused.

The Ranger's enthusiasm is contagious, and Menelglir can't hlep but grin broadly as he follows along with the girl, his expression and demeanor for once relaxed and more akin to his 16 years. "Did you live here, then? With your father?" he asks, looking about the path as they walk--and then bumping right into Aurfaen's back as she stops suddenly.

"Oh. No." His hand strays to his sword hilt.

"Something terrible has befallen this place," says the harsh avian voice, and the large amber eyes narrow to peer closer. "Signs of fire," Sulgirion pauses, and the eagle's head rises slightly into the air. "There is a smell of death upon the wind, though it seems stale, old, as if it has been a length since people dwelt here..." There is a sadness in the tone as he speaks, and then the bird blinks slowly, turning to face the humans. "Did you know someone who lived in this village?" he asks of Aurfaen. "I am sorry..." Again, the creature drops into silence, and the gaze resumes its roving of the bleak surroundings.

[Aurfaen(#16622)] Aurfaen takes a few sudden steps back, reaching for Menelglir's arm without ever really taking her eyes off the charred scene, as though she needs the support. "Never lived here, but I was welcomed as a daughter, and now..." Her voice trails off into a softer whisper, then nothing. She shakes her head again. At last, she looks up and meets Sulgirion's eyes, and she nods. "I did," she affirms, finding her voice. "I knew most, I...how can this be? All dead, Sulgirion? Could you- tell, somehow?"

"I am sorry." So does Menelglir speak, though in a hushed voice, to the Ranger. Steel sings as he draws his blade from its scabbard, and he squeezes the girl's hand before he steps away from her to look about with wary eyes.

"Old death?" he whispers to the eagle. "You are certain? Anything else?"

A nod is given in reply to the Squire. "Yes, I am certain; this place has been abandoned for many moons." As the questions are asked, the feathered brow would seem to frown a little. "You wish to know the causes?" he repeats, still fixing the ruins with a raptor's stare."The marks of flame seem obvious enough, but--"

The voice falters suddenly, "Wait," Sulgirion breaths, and quickly he takes to the air with a great leap. Drawing nigh to the roof of one of the scorched houses, his head lowers, beak opening to grasp at something. Then, he is wheeling around in midair, and the talons reunite with the blackened earth as Sulgirion alights beside his companions once more. The neck is lowered, and the item flashes in the sunlight as it is held out in his hooked mouth for one of the others to take--it is a black-fletched arrow, gnarled and burned slightly.

[Aurfaen(#16622)] Aurfaen nods numbly; while shocking, this doesn't move her to tears the way events in the camp did yesterday. Perhaps she finds strength in her companions? The young Ranger answers Sulgirion, "Yes, a fire is evident...but..." Aurfaen gestures for Menelglir to take the arrow. Meanwhile, she begins to do what her father would have showed her to. Her sharp eyes scan the area around the gates, and as she runs her fingers over the charred wood, and spots another arrow, she murmurs, "A siege; it must have been uruk. They could have tried to fight back...but this is a small village." She frowns, and shrugs, at a loss.

"Orc," Menelglir shudders, picking the black-fletched arrow up with a gloved hand, then throwing it to one side. "not here now. Not during the day, at least, but..." He glances to the girl again.

"But I thought their defenses here were good and this village has stood for long years?"

"Even if their defenses were good," Sulgirion says, rising again as the arrow is taken, "it would be hard for a small village to withstand a siege, if it was indeed thus. The goblins of the Shaws do not possess the same organization--if one could call it that--which their Eastern ilk display; nevertheless, the yrch of these fell woods have been known to band together for raiding purposes or the like. They might have come upon the villagers at night in a large group, and caught them unaware."

[Aurfaen(#16622)] "It has; and their defenses were made from years of hard-won knowledge and experience..." Aurfaen answers Menelglir immediately. Her gaze moves to the avian as she continues, "It must have been a large group of them- this wasn't just a raid. Not to raze the village this way... yet most of the buildings remain, in part. So the villagers remained long enough to put out the flames. There were survivors, to a point," Aurfaen says with certainty, now looking at the remnants of the Gathering House.

"If there were survivors, where did they go? In the woods?" the Squire asks, glancing to the woods not far from the small village. "Would they be safe there?"

"And more importantly, for us at the moment at least, what of this band of orc. Or army of orc if so it be. IF a village cannot stand against them," Menelglir says, "nor can we. By stealth we may have to travel now. I cannot say."

"No, doubtless they would not have found safety in these woods," answers the eagle, his stormy gaze likewise shifting toward that dark line of twisted boughs nearby. "There is a place to which they could have found refuge, but I do not think simple village folk would readily discover its location." What exactly Sulgirion speaks of, however remains unexplained, for he does not elaborate any further.

"Indeed," he nods anew to Menelglir, "if this horde is still prowling the area, we shall have to be ceaseless in our watch, and pass quietly as though shadows upon the autumn air. If it will help, I can fly ahead to see what the lay of the wood and the land reveals regarding the goblins. I did not see any sign of them while hunting earlier, but the sun was rising and they were likely hiding away in their wretched holes."

"This is grim news, for we were counting on this respite, even if it were to be brief. I must speak with Sir Gwendion, but likely we will be forced to stay here a night at the least. Or some other camp nearby that we can secure at least somewhat."

"Your eyes and vantage point will be helpful to us, yes," Menelglir continues. "Meantime, Bunny and I will go back to...that is, if she wishes, we both can go back to the others to lead them here so that a decision can be made." He turns to hurry back toward the others, though one hand he holds out ot the Ranger, should she choose to follow with him.

[Aurfaen(#16622)] Aurfaen nods wordlessly after another look around at the formerly thriving village community, and she reaches out to take Menelglir's offered hand. "After you, love," is what she tells him, words audible to the eagle as well. She follows him back out of the gates, lost in thought or rememberance.

And as the two head off on foot, so too does the raptor take wing, though he goes not with the same purpose; instead he follows the sky currents northeast, and Sulgirion drops his eyes to scour the terrain below; the gaze is sharp and searching, unfriendly to the dark creatures that sulk in the shade of the Shaws. As his path carries him over the departing forms of the Ranger and the squire, the eagle tilts his head.

"Love?" he muses. "They are in love?" Clearly, this bird is not well versed in the less than subtle awkwardness the girl and the lad have displayed on occassion during the journey. "Fickle creatures, humans are."

Another flap of the wings, and the great bird is fading into the horizon.

Date added: 2009-12-21 00:08:31    Hits: 102
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