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Tracks in the snow

Tags: Arduath,  Elladan,  Nauthcel,  Tuilindo

Short Summary: Arduath finds a section of the woods in Rivendell heavily damaged. Elladan, Nauthcel, and Tuilindo arrive, and between the four of them, they decide that a hunt is necessary to rid the Valley of the boar likely responsible.
Date (real-life): 2013-01-31
Scene Location: Rivendell: Forest Path -- East
Date (in-game): January 28, 3058
Time of Day: Sunset
Forest Path -- East

The deep forest is lucent with the white splendour of winter, dark pine needles are brittle with ice, naked branches are heavy with snow, and the occasional branch snaps under the weight and falls even as a forest giant fell long ago. An oak has fallen directly over the path where it runs down an abrupt slope. Its massive trunk, stippled and coloured with lichen, is a bridge overhead, both its further ends vanishing into the woodland depths. Near its crown a path climbs northwards to a pass which sunders the cliffs. In the other direction far into the forest bare rose bushes grow about the roots of the oak. Briars curl about trapping roots, twining with ivy into an impenetrable hedge, save in one place where birds have long made nests, opening a window into what lies beyond.

It as if a fierce wind has scoured this way, for broken branches lie all about like strange sigils upon the ice, shattered and uprooted. A keen eye will note tracks scattered amidst the forest plunder.

Some will say that a Ranger who has spent years in the Lone-lands would never forget the skills of pathfinding, foraging, and tracking. Arduath wouldn't argue, but he would point out that practice keeps one sharp, and you always might learn something new.

The last rays of sunlight find the Dunadan back in his wilderness garb, sitting back on his heels next to a low bush. They are alike, he and the bush: unmoving, save for an occasional twitch from the currents in the air. His eyes are staring at one of the tracks, which is only a few feet from him. They occasionally flit to the other tracks, and the uprooted plants, but the movement is only in his narrow gray eyes. The rest of him is still.

[Elladan(#27059)] Not still but silent is one who comes walking through the undergrowth. Light-footed and nimble is Elladan's pace and dodges any twigs and branches like the shy beasts of the forest would do. The only contrast to his skilled forestry is his garment: a fine cloth of grey and a silvery belt do not quite fit into the scenery. Eventually he halts though and leaning slightly forward, he inspects the tracks on the ground - just a few feet away from the hidden Dunadan.

Adorned in attire that may befit a courtier more than nomad, Nauthcel quietly strides along the path leading away from the Last Homely House. His ashen eyes glance about him and reflect only contemplative thought and simple enjoyment. As for those whom travel upon the trail before him, the Ranger seems to give little notice as his mind seems to be elsewhere.

"Hir," Arduath greets the half-elf softly. "Not practice but pleasure brought you forth, I warrant, dressed as you are." He slowly rises to his feet, breaking any illusion that he is anything but a man. "But practice we find nonetheless." Glancing up the path behind Elladan, he notices Nauthcel with a solemn nod, but does not interrupt either his conversation with the scion of Elrond's House or the other Ranger's thoughts.

[Elladan(#27059)] The son of Elrond, too, offers a nod to Nauthcel and he speaks softly to the other Ranger of the North: "Pleasure I sought but what I find here seems strange to me. It has been many years now since I last saw such a desctruction in the Hidden Valley. This was not a storm but a beast of flesh and blood."

Along the path comes Tuilindo from the west. Seeing the raingers and the son of Elrond present, he draws near and offers a courteous bow to the herion.

The sound of the voices, though soft, draw the Ranger out of his introspection and pull his attention toward the speakers. Offering a nod in return to the residents of Rivendell and his kinsman, Nauthcel looks to where the topic at hand references and furrows his brow slightly in thought. "Would someone or something dare to come this close to Imladris?"

"That is my question as well, Nauthcel. The last dangerous beast I heard tell of was a warg," Arduath offers, "But that was in the Yfelwyd. Weeks ago now." He looks back at the ruined flora, then to Elladan.

Spotting movement, he sees the elf coming down the path. "Tuilindo," he greets, inclining his head.

Elladan shakes his head. "Nothing like a warg would be able to enter and defile the valley of Imladris," he ponders. "But we have seen rampant animals before and what drives them beyond their natural temper, we do not know." 

Tuilindo looks at his surroundings, sizing them up, and then adds to Elladan's words, "The herion speaks the truth. Boar and similar beasts make their home in the far recesses of the forests of the Valley above the house."

"Has anything else of this sort been seen as of late?" asks Nauthcel as his gaze continues to examine the damages. The Ranger scratches his chin in thought and turns his focus toward the wooded area around them.

Arduath paces softly around the edges of the fallen branches, careful not to disturb any of the tracks. "Perhaps a fit came upon one of these creatures, and it has since passed." His eyebrows are raised, and his voice lacks conviction.

In answer to Nauthcel, Tuilindo replies, "They make their presence known at random times. In the past we have hunted boar and bear far up the Valley and into the next valley over. The foresters have done well in keeping them in check."

Elladan glances at the churned forest floor. "This must have been a swine of sorts," he states. "The tracks betray it. Perhaps this will make for some welcome distraction at the Bereth in Elenath. A hunt in tribute of Orome should please both the foresters and the Tirith; not to mention the kitchen folk." 

A small smile curls the lips of Nauthcel at the suggestion from Elladan. "That is definitely a possibility," says the Ranger as he considers for a moment the idea. "But, let us hope that this incident is not an illusion to a deeper issue."

"I believe you are right, Herion; one of unusual size," Arduath agrees. "A scout in the Tirith recently opined to me that the kitchens needed more meat, and she was inclined to hunt. Perhaps doing so would be doubly a favor." He looks back down at the branches. "And reveal whether this beast is the sole cause of the spoiling of these woods." He reaches a hand out to lightly touch a tree that is still standing, pressing against it as though checking for a heartbeat. "It is sad to see such anywhere, but here, even more."

Tuilindo nods his head at the suggestion of a hunt. He comments in reply to Arduath, "Such things are natural, of course. Do not let them worry you."

[Elladan(#27059)] "Then it is decided, we shall pursue the beast and deliver its flesh to the cooks. I fear though that it will be stringy, wild boar that can cause such havoc are often too old to be of any use for a feast." Elladan let's a hand slide over a large chunk of ripped bark on a young tree. "But then the dogs will get their share in the end." 

"While you all plan the hunt, I shall return and alert the cooks to the coming meat. I do not believe I am in the best attire for such adventures," Nauthcel says as he gestures to his formal garments. "May Orome lead you in a great hunt," the Ranger adds as he turns to depart for the house.

"It draws late, today," Arduath notes, and indeed, the last warm notes of the sun over the valley's edge have faded into twilight. "I believe I will return to the House. I have many years of carefully rationed bites to redress." The first Ranger's smiles, his cheeks tugging ever so slightly inward - almost gaunt. Though he is well-muscled, there is no fat to see. "It may already be winter, but the Dunedain store up any time they may," he quips.

"And Herion, though I know you by sight, I do not know that have been formally introduced: I am Arduath son of Radgalar." He bows deeply, his courtly manner incongruous with what he is wearing, but fitting all the same. "Will you join two join me in seeking food and merriment this eve?"

Tuilindo shakes his head. He points to the path heading up north that leads to the pass to the next valley. "I am awaited. Are you and your brother-ranger departing soon?"

Elladan bows as well in the formal fashion of the Eldar. "Well met, Arduath son of Radgalar," he says and waits for the Ranger's reply to Tuilindo.

"He is my brother as much as all remaining Dunedain are," answers Arduath, "though we are not close kin. And I do not know," he admits. "My desire is to tarry here longer, but my heart warns me against complacency." A troubled look creases his brow for a moment. "While I remain, I shall help. Enjoy your evening, Tuilindo." He smiles and nods to the Tirith.

"So it remains only to be seen if you will give me the honor of your company further, Herion. Should Obligation draw you elsewhere, I understand." His lips curve up in a small smile. "Obligation and I are well-acquainted."

[Elladan(#27059)] "Alas, you speak of obligation like I would do, Arduath," replies Elladan. "For what began as a walk of leisure for me will be followed by a meeting of the guild of healers later this night. I shall be debating the art of healing tonight, not the trade of hunting and killing. But worry not, we shall not let this piece of game slip away and in due time the horns of the foresters will call for a hunt." 

The Ranger nods. "Then by your leave, I will go make myself fit company. I have been out all day; a bath and a change of clothes are in order. Namarie, Herion Elladan." Leaving the tracks of the beast behind him, Arduath begins back to the Last Homely House. It will be colder yet this night.

Date added: 2013-01-31 18:00:18    Hits: 125
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