Sunday, May 18, 2008

Storytelling: Book 3, Prologue - Fires in the North

Frideric gave word that I was to meet with a Ranger named Candaith. I had met the Man a time or two before, and even fought side-by-side on Weathertop. Many adventurers in the Lonelands believed the Ranger to be lazy. His camp was hidden in a small copse of trees in the shadow of Weathertop right by a large orc encampment, and it was there he mostly remained.

I bid farewell to Frideric, vowing a return someday. A quick glance at the others in the ruinhold (especially the gruff guards that never warmed up to me) told me ther were no more goodbyes to make. I left Ost Guruth at night without a backward glance.

My way to Candaith's camp was easily made. Although there were no goblin scouts on the way, my name had echoed across the orc-kind's walls in the Lonelands. If they saw me it was likely they pretended not to.

I made camp for the remainder of the night at Candaith's fire. He explained to me that Esteldin, the Ranger stronghold of the North Downs had ordered me... ordered me to return. The threat of Angmar in that region was growing out of control. There were rumors of three different tribes of the orc-kind gathered in the North Downs. A dire situation indeed.

A few nights later, I made it to Esteldin. Like Ost Guruth, it was another ruinhold; however Esteldin was far more defensible than the patch-holed Ost Guruth. It seemed as if the Rangers were expecting me. The stable-hand nodded as I handed him the reins, and then nodded off towards the Ranger's quarters.

Halbarad was one of the commanding Rangers in Esteldin. Word is that Aragorn, chieftain of the Rangers, placed Halbarad in charge of Esteldin. Such a station was a commanding mark in itself, but rumors abounded that Halbarad ran a very tight operation with his Rangers. Any one of the men could fell twenty orcs before falling... if they didn't melt into the countryside before they met orc-blade.

Throughout my ride north I had been mulling being commanded to arrive at Esteldin post-haste. I wanted to storm in and demand apology. A captain of my rank is not commanded by a Ranger, no matter how helpful my arrival is to the Free Peoples. Instead, I chose to let Halbarad speak first. I did not want to harm my reputation with the Rangers of Esteldin by saying something hot-headed. I was just a mere aquaintance, but at least I was that.

My pent-up rage, fled immediately as Halbarad told me of my legend throughout the Rangers of the lands. Although he did not directly ask me for my help, he said that my strength was needed in the North Downs more than ever. With the rumors of the three orc tribes and the recent attack on the human settlement of Trestlebridge, I could only nod in agreement to the unasked question.

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