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Logs

Fire in the Night


Short Summary: A dragon overflies the stalled traveling party.
Date (real-life): 2009-09-18
Scene Location: Mirkwood

[Eilian(#17713)] 

It is still early in the day, and not enough light for the camp to feel secure enough to move about. Yesterday's fires smoulder with few to tend them, and only the change of guards stirs the air with quiet, disgruntled words.


The elves' camp is similarly inactive: only Eilian sits upon her pack next to the fire, mending a set of arrows that were used to catch last night's meal.


The Bree boy has turned himself very nearly into a wraith, so quietly does he move about and so careful is he not to draw attention to himself. The dwarves are disgruntled and inclined to snap and Gidon avoids them as much as he can. So it is that he pads softly up to squat beside the one elf who has been kind to him; sitting close beside the fire and saying nothing. His dark eyes look about nervously, and his thin face is pale and set.


[Eilian(#17713)] 

The low flames flutter as one comes near -- Eilian raises her head, and a wan, worried expression flits over her face, ere it is replaced with a warm smile.


"You ought to be sleeping," she chides, setting the knife and string down in her lap. "If we are to move, you will need strength."


"Couldn't," Gidon admits. After a pause, he asks, "Be there really fighting up yon? I heard 'em talkin'..." The sky overhead is massing with clouds driven before a high cold wind. Distantly, something shakes the air - it is like hearing a faint, far-off drum beat, one that is almost a dream.


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"Something has been foul in the air," answers Eilian ambiguously, fitting an arrowhead onto its shaft. Her eyes remain on her fingers as she works. "If the road is blocked, then we must turn back. There is no other road that leads to Dale."


"None?" Gidon asks, twisting to look up at the dark sky. There is nothing there, but the boy is still uncomfortable, shifting his weight slightly and glancing around. Behind him, unseen, there is a flash of red-tinged light barely visible in the sky beyond the spiky dark trees that surround them. "S'almost too late t'travel, ain't it? Snow an' all."


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"We traversed the Misty Mountains in snow, and under it," points out Eilian, who does notice the scarlet exclamation, and shivers. "Certainly we know more about it than a forest in which only one road is safe. This entire forest is touched by something evil."


The boy looks at her curiously. "Thought nobody else noticed," he says. "Thought I was just bein' .." He flushes a little. "... dumb. I don' know much 'bout it or nothin'." The distant thumping seems to have grown a little louder, and there is another flash of light, higher on the horizon. "Din't you say elves lived here though? They ain't... 


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"They live north," replies the elleth, looking up to the sky. "If they are caught in the trouble as well, it will be ill for them.... I doubt everybody has noticed," says Eilian, smiling without reassurance at the boy, "but those who do speak not out of fear, of guessing what it might be."


Gidon nods, a little comforted as he is not accused of cowardice or imagination. "What - what might it be?" he asks. "It ain't always like this?" He searches his mind for enemies - few come to mind. "Goblins?"

Whatever lights the sky is getting larger - or nearer - quickly. Even as the boy speaks, the orange-hued light flashes again, almost overhead. And now others have noticed it: dwarves and humans scramble out of their beds to stand and stare at the sky. Some hold useless weapons - useless, for what good can it do to shoot at light? And nothing else is in view.


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"Perhaps." Eilian slices with the knife, then holds the arrow up to the dawning, bloody sky. "Those we must not fear. But those," and she stands swiftly, the string falling unheeded from its rest, "that the Enemy may have in store for us ... those unknown powers I fear."


She looks up, blue gaze unyielding, though widened.


The boy nods again, though it is clear from his expression that he finds no comfort at all in her words now. And he too stares at the sky, his good hand reaching for his slingshot - futile as it may be. Then his gaze drops to the ground around them. Brev has told him he is to hide, to shoot from ambush - but where to hide when you don't know what is coming or from whence?


The drum-like shaking of the air is no longer dream-like, no longer distant. It is here, now. And overhead glides a long sinuous figure, great wings pumping rhythmically. The beast opens its mouth and flames, heating the air about it, and catching the tops of a few trees on fire.


[Eilian(#17713)] 

Something that appears only in songs of old, in stories long twisted into lore. It writhes and burns in front of Eilian now, and she is loath to -- dares not -- tear her eyes from it. "Naurlhug." An ancient word full of fear and curse.


But she moves swiftly, hand on bow and quiver and foot stomping out the breakfast fire -- head bent low to the ground, she reaches for Gidon's hand, to pull him out of the clearing, where the camp may be seen...


Gidon is gawking, nearly, forgetting now his instructions to hide; and Eilian's hand takes him by surprise. But he catches himself quickly and hurries along after her, hunching down as best he might and running towards the woods that just a few minutes ago, he was certain he would never enter.


The entire camp seems frozen - in disbelief or horror or fear - but finally someone shouts, a ragged hoarse sound, and someone else fires an arrow. It arches into the sky and the dragon flames again, turning the missile into an arc of fire. For a minute, it seems to hover overhead, long snaky neck twisting this way and that.


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"A beast I thought was forever hurled from the sky," Eilian murmurs in low gasps, clutching the boy's hand tightly. She is trembling, though an ironic slant is in her voice: "Look closely, Gidon. Such a story will earn you dinner and good wine everywhere for as long as you live."


The elleth sounds hopeful. Perhaps they will live long, and prosper. But now someone shoots, and Eilian's eyes widen in horror.


Gidon worms his way into the bushes, his hand in the elf's cold and shaking. Between the leafless branches, he stares up at the impossible creature, unable to say a word. 


Someone else, foolhardy or mad, raises another bow, but his neighbor knocks it down again, growling something inaudible. And as no one else either moves or attacks, the dragon contents itself with setting another tree on fire before bending its great wings to flight again. To the north, it flies, north and east, leaving behind a group of shell-shocked travelers, who slowly begin to babble to each other.


"Wh-what w-was that?" Gidon asks, as he finally finds his voice again.


[Eilian(#17713)] 

Eilian draws a long breath, wiping her forehead. "It was, I believe your folk call it, a worm," she replies slowly. "A dragon."


The fire of rotten trees plays tricks of red and yellow upon the well-trodden snow


 the elleth's form stands against it, blue-cloaked and defiant. "You saw where it flew," she murmurs. "It does not bode well for your destination."


Those still in the open, still gawking, are finally recalled to present reality as one of the trees explodes and showers them with embers. And then it is as an anthill kicked open, as men and dwarves and elves hasten to throw snow onto the flames, cut down what trees they can near the fire without injuring themselves, and do their best to keep Mirkwood from becoming a bonfire. It is well that it is mid-winter, and snow lays deep on the ground. There is little on the trees to burn much, and it is not long before there is nothing but a rather over-large campfire smoldering nearby. 


"A... dragon?" Gidon's voice squeaks, and he cranes his head to see - but the beast is gone. "It never killed us," he marvels to the elf.


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"We were not much of a threat," answers Eilian bitterly, laying her bow and arrows upon the ground. "But if it should meet armies, I do not know what could cause it, or its flames, to perish. The last one to do such a feat is now a star in the sky."


Gidon shakes his head soundlessly, still looking north. But finally, he drags his gaze away. "Somebody kilt one of them b'fore?" he asks, disbelieving. "How?"


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"It is a long story," says Eilian, somewhat comforted as she looks up to the brightening sky, now caused by rising sun. "One to be told over a large fire. But not one as large as this. Come, let us ensure that they are all safe."


Gidon blinks. He has nearly forgotten there are others with them. Then he flushes, and stands up, brushing snow off. "Will you tell me?" he asks her, as they head out of their shelter. "Sometime?"


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"Yes, sometime," promises Eilian, "and perhaps with the help of one older than I." The elleth's voice warms a little, but she continues in a quick pace towards the dwarves and men.


Gidon nods and hurries after her. But thankfully no one is badly injured. There are a few dwarves with burns, and one of the men has lost his cloak to the fire, while another has a number of nice, large charred holes in his. The boy's eyes search the clearing, and he sighs with relief when he sees Brev uninjured, and helping to dig a ring of dirt around the new 'campfire'. Then he begins his search again - and again... "My Da," he says, faintly. "I don' see him..."


[Eilian(#17713)] 

Eilian spins about sharply, a smear of charcoal upon her face. "He might be asleep. Check the tents." She shakes one gently, then calls within in the elven tongue.



Gidon nods, his face white again, and hurries towards another tent. It is empty, and he goes to the next, then the next. And finally, he calls across to Eilian. "Found him!" After a few minutes, he is back, ready to help as he might. "He were sleepin' under a wagon," he explains. "C'n I help?"


[Eilian(#17713)] 

"It will not be necessary," murmurs Eilian, peering cautiously into another elven-grey tent. "Wake the others who are still sleeping. They must know of this, and be wary."



The boy nods, and begins to go about, waking any who are sleeping and telling them of the happenings of the early morning.



-------------------

It is mid-day. The caravan has stalled - the road ahead is closed by armies, they are told. The road behind is near to closed by snow, and still no one moves. Small groups of men and dwarves cluster nervously together, talking about more than just the uncanniness of the woods and the unexpected fighting ahead - now they have a dragon to discuss.

Gidon is taking advantage of the prolonged stop to take care of a few things of his own. And just now, he is sitting cross-legged by the large several-tree fire and sorting through sling-stones.


[Amruncrist(#14425)] As has often been his habit, Amruncrist has been scouting ahead, to see what dangers lie there. He returns to the caravan non-chalantly, though someone with adequate powers of attention might notice how loose his sword in his scabbard. He joins the motley crew with no word whatsoever, his elven eyes looking ever forward, apparently unconcerned, but... ready.


The Bree lad tosses one stone aside, and stirs through the others in his pouch. A second joins the first - he is not looking where he is tossing them. Hopefully no one gets stung. After he has picked through the ones he has, the boy begins to dig in the dirt at his feet, picking out stone after stone - weighing them, testing them, and either putting them into his bag or letting them trickle away. He glances up as Amruncrist nears - something about the elf's presence drawing his attention. "Did... you see anything?" he asks, after a minute.


[Amruncrist(#14425)] To Gidon, Amruncrist smiles: "I see many things, lad. Perhaps you should be more specific in your inquiry." He continues walking at a regular pace, a hand on the hilt of his longsword should unsheathing it become necessary. He discards the mystery of his previous statement, further clarifying, "We will want to pull up very soon and take council. There is some mischief afoot our small band may not be adequate to confront."


Gidon watches the elf, his hand still on his stone-bag. "What is happening?" he asks, and while his voice doesn't shake, there is a note of fear underneath it. "These trees ain't right," he glances over his shoulder nervously, "An' that ... worm flyin' over an'... what's happening t'everything?"


[Amruncrist(#14425)] "Fear not," Amruncrist admonishes. "We are a small enough band no trouble may come to us." Even so, he continues to look ahead, waving a hand to the carts to pause at a particularly defensible dip in the road. "It would appear that we have found ourselves in a predicament," he says in a typically elvish understatement.


The boy lifts his chin, but does not go so far as to say he is not afraid. It would be a lie, after all. "What're we goin' t'do?" he asks. "


[Amruncrist(#14425)] "We are going to wait. For the moment. A solution will often present itself," Amruncrist offers in the manner of a proverb, "if one is patient enough to wait on it." He draws his sword. "But in the meantime, we will hone our weapons and form a perimeter. The wyrm will not mind it, but his attention is drawn elsewhere. We may yet escape notice, ere we are required to take a side other than our own."



Date added: 2009-09-22 16:23:38    Hits: 54
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