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Noises off

Tags: Brev,  Narthalion,  Gidon,  Shozark,  Bagaglok

Short Summary: At the edge of Mirkwood, three beings investigate strange noises in the night. Why should it take that many to subdue one scrawny orc? Well, communication is a wonderful thing.
Date (real-life): 2009-09-15
Scene Location: Edge of Mirkwood
Date (in-game): December 3047
Time of Day: Midnight
Weather: Clear/cold
Dirt Road approaching Mirkwood

Rabbits and birds appear less the closer to Mirkwood, all but stopping before reaching the boundaries of the massive, bleak forest. The grass, proud and strong even if a single boring colour throughout, is dwarfed and crushed by the massive trees of Mirkwood. The trail through the plains leads right to the edge to the southeast, where it can be seen meeting another larger road.

Haunting sounds of the night can be heard coming from the forest. Even though the night is thick about the area, the darkness of Mirkwood seems to be blacker still.

Obvious exits:
SouthEast and NorthWest

Real time is: Mon Sep 14 14:44:41 2009 - Weather in the Beorning realm is: CLEAR
Elendor time is: Nighttime <00:14:03 > on Highday of Winter - December 10, 3047

It is night, and here at the edge of the Great Forest the blackness is almost complete. Groping boughs and outstretched twig-fingers reach upward to snatch the merest trace of light from the sky, though over to the west a few twinkling stars can be seen. The ground is iron-hard, and the air icy cold, and thus the little band of travellers halted for the night have lit a small fire, sheltered well from prying eyes at the centre of a circle of wagons. Some sleep; others watch.

Brev has been huddled by that fire, but now he rises, tugging his cloak tighter about him, and moves to stare warily into the darkness, waiting for his eyes to adjust.

One of those keeping watch is not far from the campsite. Beyond the circle of wagons, Narthalion has taken station beneath the boughs of the forest itself. To an unwary eye he must be invisible indeed, sitting high up in the branches of an oak. His sword and scabbard have been removed from their belt, and rest now in one hand.

Long he has thus sat and watched, but something stirs him from his place. He moves out to the edge of the branch, keen eyes peering into the darkness. Suddenly, he leaps down from the tree, landing upon the grass with scarce a whisper. There he remains, as silent and still as the trees themselves.

Brev's eyes may be wary, but they are also human. He shows no awareness of the Elf perched in the branches above and beyond him ... not until that leap is made. His response is instinctive - his right hand emerges from his cloak with dagger at the ready, and his stance shifts so that he is lightly balanced on his feet, ready for fight or flight. As the leaper is identified he lifts one brow in silent query, peering past him into the velvet darkness, while his head tilts slightly as though listening.

The Elf moves now, a swift turn to bring his back against the tree and the man into his field of vision. He does not look at him, however. The bright eyes, so unpleasant to the Man, are roving ceaselessly over the shadowy forest. A movement of his hand, so slight as to hardly be detected, reattaches his scabbard to his belt.

Deep in the forest, so buried in undergrowth and darkness that it may belong to another world, something stirs. It's no more than a rustle of grass, perhaps something brushing against a branch. Narthalion inclines his head to Brev, a wordless inquiry.

Brev's eyes narrow at the sound of the rustling, and he turns to face it rather than the Elf, leaning forward as though his gaze could penetrate the darkness to identify whatever creature moves through the forest tonight. It cannot, and after a moment he risks a glance over to Narthalion to mouth in silent query, "What? Trouble?" Better the devil one knows ...

Warily he moves forward, one step and then another. Then he halts, simply listening.

[Nob(#16122)] Gidon has been asleep, soundly rolled in a blanket, but now - for no reason he can pinpoint - he is startled awake. The low orange-red flames dance softly, flickering on the ground and picking out erratic outlines. The boy rubs his eyes, trying to be quiet, and blinks a few more times before he realizes one of those outlines is a man. And he stands up, shedding his blanket, and comes over. "What is it?" he asks in a whisper.

Narthalion gives a short shake of his head in answer to Brev's mouthed question, continuing to keep a sharp focus on the rustling. His lips part and he leans forward slightly, the very image of concentration. That concentration is broken by Gidon.

Words can scarce describe the look of fierce disapprobation thrown at him. The Elf raises a finger to his lips, annoyance written on every feature.

The rustling draws nearer by a few feet. Somewhere out in the forest, a twig snaps sharply.

Brev, his senses focused on the hidden world beneath the forest boughs, twitches at the whisper. It is a moment before he responds to Gidon, leaning over to murmur in the merest thread of sound, barely audible. "Nothing, likely. Some beast ..." The fact that they have seen neither rabbit nor pigeon this last day is not dwelt on.

The snapping twig brings his focus sharply back to the woods, and he lifts his dagger a little higher.

[Nob(#16122)] The tension in the elder two translates itself to the boy, and he too stares into the darkness. Narthalion's motion catches the corner of his eye, and he glances sideways in time to see the raised finger, but all his attention is on the noise. An animal... surely. His left arm hangs a little crookedly (and looks too thin), but with his good hand, he feels softly for the sling that's always at his waist.

Narthalion draws the hood of his cloak, drowning the light of his face in shadow. Now he ventures forward, silent steps upon the grass. Each move is cautious, and so sinously executed that every turn of his foot seems to have been planned far in advance. It brings him some thirty feet ahead of the others, tucked neatly into the bole of a tree where he remains moveless as a stone.

The night is at its blackest now, and here at the edge of Mirkwood little can be seen. Certainly, the small fire lit at the centre of a circle of wagons is well concealed. The faint scent of smoke, though, drifts on the air ... that, and perhaps other scents, for a being with nose sensitive enough to detect them. Dwarf, elf, man ...

Brev watches Narthalion step forward, and his lips twitch. Glancing sideways to Gidon, he shakes his head: wait'. At the sight of the lad's sling he nods slightly, and his lips pull back in a faint grin.

[Bagaglok(#24847)] There is a further parculiar sound that drifts upon the smokey air now; a rustling of bushes in the immediate vacinity. A dark shape might be spotted just beyond the boughs of the farther trees by keen eyes...The animalistic figure stoops suddenly, sniffing the odd mixture of scents, and the hunched Orc's yellow eyes glow hungrily as he peers out from the foliage toward the small camp.

[Nob(#16122)] Gidon neither heard nor saw as Narthalion moved, and when he looks again to where the elf has been, he gawks for a minute at empty air. But then another sound snaps his head back to the dark forest, and he carefully slides a rock into the sling.

Narthalion's head shoots up, cocked slightly to one side as though he were listening. Yes -- that is indeed an orc snuffling. He is facing his own companions, a tree trunk between himself and the orc. He makes no effort to get a look at the creature. Indeed, the only move he makes is to draw his sword less than an inch from its scabbard, with a significant, persistant stare at Brev and Gidon.

Brev, standing just beyond the wagons with his eyes as well adjusted to the dark as they are going to be, frowns at that faint breath of sound that is surely animal snuffling and not wind. His face is turned toward the disturbance, and thus it is that he is looking straight at Narthalion as the elf begins to draw his sword. Perhaps he catches a gleam of faint light, perhaps it is that hard, silent stare - at any rate, something causes him to shiver. His jaw sets stubbornly, however, and he remains where he is, still as though set in stone. Not a great risk-taker, this one ...

[Bagaglok(#24847)] As the shadowy creature continues to slink through the undergrowth, Shozark licks his fanged mouth with a scarlet tongue, shiftly as quietly to one as side as he can in order to get a better look at the hidden camp beyond the ring of caravans. A rusty scimitar hangs at the Uruk's side, but there is no move as of yet to grab it. Perhaps this creature knows silence is the better tool here, for where there is camp there are bound to be those watching it, protecting it from unwelcome intruders.

[Nob(#16122)] Gidon is nervous. A good-enough hunter, the boy is, and used to woods, but this forest is uncanny. He swallows, suppresses a shudder of his own, and glances from faint edge of shrub to branch to trunk. The inch or so of metal blade catch the light and the boy's eyes, and he looks at it for a minute, before lifting his gaze to Narthalion's face. Slowly, he begins to swing his simple weapon - back and forth, back and forth.

Narthalion hangs his head. It's just as well for Gidon, since it's clear to the meanest intelligence precisely what Narthalion thinks of Gidon at this moment. But he allows the boy to do as we will with nary a shake of the head or word to stop him. The Elf, it seems, is too busy listening.

Brev moves a little way away from Gidon to give the lad room, placing his feet carefully so as not to snap a twig. Then, seeing and hearing no more disturbance, he stoops for a moment, his non-dagger-holding hand reaching toward his boot. His head remains raised, as he awaits a further move from the Other or Others out in the darkness.

[Bagaglok(#24847)] Shozark shuffles still onward, yellow eyes now narrowed to slits as he creeps closer to the victims. He straightens slightly as a branch snaps under his small clawed foot, and the Orc freezes, motionless, waiting. Despite the effort to maintain his cover, however, the Orc lets out an uneven rasping noise from his throat, no doubt some form of sick laughter at the thought of what unsuspecting people lie asleep in the camp...

[Nob(#16122)] Gidon is ready - the sling has enough momentum to fire the stone off - but there is no target. The boy turns a little, scanning the forest with care, but sees absolutely nothing. The snap of a branch whips his head back - still nothing. And then he hears the gravely hoarse rasp. Surely, he is looking right at whatever made that noise...

Narthalion draws his hood back a little, enough to give the Humans a glimpse of his face. Now he has leant his head back against the tree and closed his eyes. He sighs, his breath a puff of white from the cold. Every angular feature of the Elf, even the flashing of his throat as he breathes, bears the unmistakable mark of someone trying very, very hard not to lose his temper.

When Brev straightens, his left hand too holds a dagger, although this one is lighter, slender, weighted for throwing. At the single snap of a twig his head whips round, and his off-hand pulls back, as though ready to throw. Yet he does not. Perhaps he is expecting someone else to make a move? His features are twisted in a scowl to rival that of Narthalion, whom he is no longer facing.

[Bagaglok(#24847)] Shozark falls silent once more, and his grimy features darken as he sniffs the air again. There is the familiar smell of human, that the Orc knows for sure...but, there is another scent, one more uncertain to the Uruk, and it is this that makes the creature uneasy for the moment. Shozark peers through the dark, and his fanged maw quickly turns into a smirk, however, as his gaze falls upon the figure of Gidon in the firelight. The wagons still conceal most of the camp, and the Orc has not yet glimsped anyone else. Shozark bursts suddenly from the cover of foliage at the edge of the forest, fell light kindles in his gray face as he chuckles to himself at the sight of the boy. There is the ring of metal as he draw his weapon finally, and he rashly charges forward, blinded by his desire to cut at the target.

[Nob(#16122)] And then, from nowhere, the... thing bursts from the darkness. Gidon has a moment of chaotic impressions: jagged evil-looking teeth, black holes of eyes, a shining steel sword before he lets the sling fly automatically. The boy's eyes are wide with horror and remembered terror, but he has himself under control - mostly. Backing up as fast as he can, he reaches for another stone, slips it into the cloth, and starts swinging. There is a hot breath on his face.

The Elf is paying attention now. He watches the orc race at Gidon, no surprise there. He watches Gidon hurl a stone at the orc, no surprise there. He watches Gidon reach back for another stone, and Narthalion wishes very much that that ridiculous move surprised him. But it doesn't. Narthalion reaches out a lighteng-fast hand as the orc races passed him, intent on Gidon. The Elf's purpose being to grab at the neck of the creature's armor (or tunic?), and, by lunging forward, unbalance the orc and throw him to the ground.

[Bagaglok(#24847)] As the Orc rushes forward as fast as his scrawy bent legs can carry him, he cackles in glee, "You're dinner, maggot!" His arm is held up as if lash out with the poisoned blade as the distant between hunter and prey dwindles; then Shozark's dirty expression twists into one of surprise and then annoyance as the rock hits him square between the eyes. He stands there for an instant, stupidly, and thus is caught completely off guard as an elven hand whips out from nowhere! He snarls suddenly as he his pulled off the groud by the collar of his ragged tunic, and the creature kicked out angrily.

The time for waiting is over. When the weaponed form charging towards Gidon tumbles, Brev hurls his throwing-dagger toward the prone form - either he is confident of missing Narthalion, or does not care. He is already covering the distance between himself and Gidon, hissing something between his teeth in Dunael, when Narthalion moves. He holds his remaining dagger in reserve in case there are more of the unseen attackers.

[Nob(#16122)] As the orc is yanked unexpectedly away from him, Gidon turns and flees.

The orc is flung unceremoniously to the ground. Narthalion draws his sword, a flash of light in the darkness of the forest. It's a blur, a flame of silver sailing down upon the orc. It is driven with the ferocity and skill of some eight thousand year's hate and practice. A blow meant to impale and kill.

[Bagaglok(#24847)] There is no chance for the Orc to react as he is quickly impaled by Brev's dagger. The foul creature's howl of pain is instantly cut off as the elf's sword cuts through his middle, and black blood flows freely as Shozark turns limp. The fanged mouth is open in a half growl, but no more sound emerges; the Orc is dead.

Gidon's flight is let pass - likely Brev will speak with the lad later. For now, he covers the remaining distance to Narthalion and his prey, anger putting fear in abeyance for the moment. "Kiern! Thought you wanted to take him. Next time, don't use the boy as bait. Not when I'm there as alternative." The words are tight, and he swallows, hard, before calm takes hold. "Wonder how many of his friends are watching?" he murmurs without ire as he retrieves his dagger from the bloody remains of the goblin.

The Elf has just drawn his sword from the body of the orc, resting it on its palm to feel its elegant weight, when Brev speaks. His voice is cold, but the rest of him aflame, "Do not issue orders to me, child. You are old enough in the years of your people to choose for yourselves whether to fight or run. I am not here as a nursemaid, to you or that boy. If you will fight, learn the ruses of war and do not comport yourselves like fools."

He sheathes his sword with a swift, angry gesture, his free hand pointing out the area where Gidon had stood. "A slingshot, forsooth? This is the Mirkwood, not Archet..."

Brev's features stiffen. "/I/ am." His voice is kept level. "In the reckoning of the Breefolk Gidon's still little more than child, though amongst my folk he'd be counted a man." The Elf's final comment brings a sudden curving of his mouth, and his hand brushes against his own side for a moment. "Aye, a sling. A good weapon when attacking from a distance, as good as a bow in skilled hands - not all of us fancy swinging a sword. It'll gouge a hole in leather," he turns the orc's carcass with one booted foot, "open up a man's chest cavity - or if he wears a metal-skin a true shot will take out an eye or spill his brains."

But the anatomy lesson - one in which he seems to be taking a perverse delight - must wait. Within the camp, Dwarves are rousing. There have been no alerts from the other sentries - perhaps this goblin truly was acting alone, or perhaps its companions have seen what they needed to see of the camp and those within it. But still, watches must be set, and decisions as to scouting must be made. Without another word, Brev walks away, wiping his begrimed dagger clean on his trews as he goes.

Date added: 2009-09-14 18:50:16    Hits: 151
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