Ask LOTR: No Warning

Discussion in 'Diverse RPs' started by Sreeya, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. Sreeya

    Sreeya The Devil/Site Co-Owner and Manager

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    “Katrin!”

    She awoke with a start, bolting upright as she heard the urgency in her husband’s voice. She looked over at him, her eyes adjusting to his face as the first rays of sunlight seeped in through their window. She hadn’t seen terror like that in his eyes ever before, and it took her a moment later to hear all the commotion outside. He was quicker on the uptake, jumping out of bed and hastily putting his outerwear on.

    “I think there’s an attack!” He said, opening up the cabinet in their bedroom to draw out a blade. He was a farmer and he never knew how to use it. His father had been a soldier, but Edwin was never his father. Katrin couldn’t help but have the emotions well up in her chest, clapping a hand over her mouth as she heard scurrying and screaming outside. With the king completely unfit to rule and the Rohirrim banished, there was no one left to protect them. Whoever was attacking them, they were on their own.

    It took her a moment to realize Edwin was shouting at her again, “-Aro! Get him!” He screamed, and she nodded vaguely before springing to her feet. She grasped a shawl and put it around herself, knowing it was cold out. They had never done any drills on what to do if they came under attack, but they did have a horse.

    Katrin rushed to the next room in their two room farmhouse, their seven year old son sleepily rubbing his eyes as he was already up. She quickly scooped him up, hearing complete chaos outside. Edwin looked out the window, his eyes widening as he turned back to look at her.

    “Go! They’re already here! Take the horse and make for Edoras!”

    “What about you?”

    “JUST GO, KAT!”

    She was crying now. She didn’t even realize when she began. Aro was complaining about something, but she didn’t hear it, clutching him fiercely. She flung the door open and quickly rushed towards the stables, but she had to stop. She spotted an unnatural creature - it had the shape of a man and was more sturdily built than an orc. It stood tall and was clearly unaffected by the sunlight now bathing its black, grotesque body. Katrin watched in horror as the creature plunged a rusty blade directly into the back of a man, slowly raising its face to sneer at her.

    It had seen her.
     
  2. Phoenix

    Phoenix Peon

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    Adathar had been doing this for so many years he'd nearly lost count, and now his beard was filling with more grey than he cared to admit. He'd seen the orc numbers fluctuate and thin, but never in all his years had he seen the kind of offensive that was underway now. Orcs - no, Uruk-hai - had begun carving their way across the countryside, and Adathar had led a small detachment down from the North to provide whatever aid they could.

    Their efforts had proven unsuccessful. He'd heard report of a band of nearly 100 strong of Orcs, Uruks, and wildmen that were moving across the Westfold burning, raping, and pillaging as they went. Adathar had been on his way to warn anyone he could when he and the four he rode with were ambushed. Their horses were slain, and after a skirmish, Adathar was left as the only survivor on foot with nothing but his own strength to keep him going.

    The trip had run him through the remainder of the night, and now that the sun began to rise over the horizon, he saw that it was already too late. Women and children were fleeing and screaming while men who looked as though they'd never held a sword for a day in their lives ran to meet the enemy. It was a massacre. The enemy cleaved through the farmers as if they were nothing, and Adathar was left to watch on in horror.

    With a hard grimace he gripped his bow more tightly, drawing and nocking an arrow as he moved down toward the village. There was... very little cover in the Rohan planes, which only made this task more difficult, but if he could reach the edge of the town, he might be able to find a way to save someone.

    It seemed his luck held or the Valar were watching over him, for none of the Uruks noticed him in the shortening shadows. As he came around the corner of a stable, he loosed an arrow that plunged into the side of the large, terrorizing Uruk that glared down a young woman with red hair.

    Come on! he said, motioning toward the woman and speaking loud enough for her to hear him, but hopefully not loud enough to attract the attention of more. It did attract the attention of more...

    He reached for another arrow, but the monster was already on its charge. He was getting too old for this sort of thing. He should have been back training the next generation of rangers, but with the war brewing, even he had to come out and fight. In his youth he had been eager for war and battle, but now he found himself wishing for a more peaceful life, but that didn't seem to be what was in store for him. @Sreeya
     
  3. Sreeya

    Sreeya The Devil/Site Co-Owner and Manager

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    Kat saw an arrow plunge into the creature ahead of herself. She rushed towards the horse, not keen on wasting the window of opportunity. She wasn’t going to stand around to thank whoever saved her life just now. Kat quickly tried to get a hold of the horse, the animal understandably spooked and neighing. She yanked him towards herself, scooping her son up and placing him on the horse. The boy had ridden before, but he was in tears now.

    “Remember when pa took you out past the mountain that looks like a big smiling face?”

    He was sobbing and shaking his head, “THINK ARO! YOU REMEMBER IT!”

    “I-I do,” He said weakly.

    “I need you to focus! I need you to ride there!”

    “But ma what about-”

    “Don’t worry about me, I’ll go get pa. Follow the other riders! They’ll be going there! Don’t look back and just keep going!” She yanked the horse out of the stable, pulling with all her might. She had been so focused on her son that she completely missed the man calling for her. Perhaps a simple turn would have allowed her to see him, and it would have provoked her to take Aro and pass him to the man. Perhaps she wouldn’t have needed to worry. Perhaps many things could have gone different.

    But that wasn’t what happened.

    As she slapped the horse on the rump and sent it away, her heart pounding against her chest, she watched the beast rush away. Her son looked back, and she tearfully waved to him. He began to wave back, one small hand barely beginning to raise before she saw it. Her smile began to disappear, her eyes growing wide in horror as she saw a warg riding towards her, coming up to pass by her son. She saw its rider raise a black blade and swing down, and her son was no more. The blow was enough to sending him flying back several feet and land in the mud, his torso torn to shreds in one fell swoop.

    “NO!” Kat couldn’t scream loud enough. She couldn’t hear anything. She couldn’t see anything. She simply fell to her knees, right there in the mud. She was right there in the middle of the chaos, still in disbelief. She didn’t move or budge, the Uruk on the warg still rushing towards her. The creature had the most satisfied grin on its face, tossing the bloody blade up in the air and snatching it again to prepare to hack into her as he passed.
     
  4. Phoenix

    Phoenix Peon

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    The charging Uruk was upon the ranger quickly. Perhaps he had lost a step in his age or simply the time away from engaging at such close range. He ducked low and pulled free the short sword hanging at his side, plunging it up and into the belly of the humanoid. It pierced through the leather armor, passing right between the flaps and into the belly where it carved its way through the diaphragm and almost to the heart.

    The Uruk let out a howl as if stumbled forward, and Adathar pulled the blade free, covering his hand in black blood as the creature's life left it. The assault had prevented him from stopping the warg rider that now barreled down on the woman's son, and he watched helplessly as its large blade slammed into his small body. His own blood boiled at the sight, and the orc's proud expression was enough to make him sick.

    He dropped the sword from his hand, scrambling for an arrow as he brought it to nock and sent it into the face of the wolf-like beast. It struck true, and the animal stumbled forward, sending its rider tumbling to the ground.

    Adathar closed on the creature, sword in his hand once again and plunged his blade through it, all but slamming his own body into the hilt to drive the point home until it came out the other side.

    As he crouched, half sprawled over the dying Uruk, he saw what had become of the town. He'd been cut off from the remainder of those who were alive, and the meager defenses the farmers had erected were quickly overcome. There was no reaching anyone else, and there would be no saving the town. With a company of Rohirrim at his back perhaps, but not one man. Not alone.

    He scrambled back up, looking to the woman who was weeping for the loss of her son. They still had a chance, but only if they moved quickly. He rushed to her, and with his bow hand, grabbed the back of her cloak. This was not a time for niceties, and she was in shock. If she didn't move soon, she would die, and that would be one more person on his conscience.

    We need to go! Now! he all but shouted at her, half dragging her along. Stunned or not, this was not the place to mourn. A mother should have been able to stop and mourn her son, but the forces of darkness had robbed this world of even that simple justice. Saruman would pay for his treachery.
     
  5. Sreeya

    Sreeya The Devil/Site Co-Owner and Manager

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    Katrin was still sobbing on the ground, completely detached from the world around her. All the screams blurred away, all the blood was invisible, and she didn’t see or smell any of it. Before she could simply lie down on the ground, she was roughly yanked back by her cloak. This was it, she was going to die. It almost seemed blissful after everything that happened. She wanted to wash away what she saw, and to erase the image of her son being thrown around and his blood and entrails flying. She wanted to forever wipe those memories away.

    It took her a moment to realize she was being pulled by a man, and he was actively trying to drag her away. She looked at him for the first time, her eyes wide and frightened, “But my husband-” Katrin glanced back, seeing everything on fire and the town in shambles. The streets and fields were overrun and in the distance she could see a massive army marching. She screamed at the sight, but the man was already pulling her away.

    She didn’t even know when she got on the horse. She was numb, staring ahead and shaking, “Edwin…..Aro..” She whispered softly under her breath as they rode away. Katrin’s head lolled and she faded in and out of consciousness. She was beyond traumatized, and she saw the mud and streets give way to plains. She could no longer hear the screams, the sun high up in the sky now.

    She didn’t know how long they had been riding, her mind far away from the present. All she could think about was her family. She didn’t even know the man who had saved her or why. Perhaps he had some ill intentions for her as well? She didn’t think so. Katrin couldn’t even turn to look at him, seeing nothing but open fields ahead of them.

    “Why did you save me..” She asked pathetically, tears flowing out of her eyes, “You should have left me to die. You should have let those things get me,” She didn’t know what they were. They didn’t look like orcs. Up ahead she could see the tops of the White Mountains, “Where….are you taking me?” She asked weakly.
     
  6. Phoenix

    Phoenix Peon

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    Adathar managed to get them a horse and had the two of them riding away shortly thereafter. The methodical thumping of the horse's hooves was moderately reassuring, but he also knew there were still wargs about, and they could easily be run down before they ever managed to make it to safety. Repeated looks cast over his shoulder revealed no pursuit, but his heart felt heavy in his chest at what he saw.

    The village was in flames, and not a soul could be seen fleeing the village. The army had marched in and stomped everything under foot. It had to have been a hundred people dead plus his own men, and all he'd managed to save was one person. He had to believe that it was worth it. He had to believe that even one life was worth the sacrifice. The alternative was too much for his soul to bear.

    And so they rode on. Making their way South toward the White Mountains and - Adathar hoped - the safety of Helm's Deep. Rumor had been told that King Theoden had made for Helm's Deep with what remained of his army, though if this was true, Adathar had been unable to confirm.

    Eventually, the pair came to a small stream running through the planes, and the ranger pulled on the reigns, dropping down and holding the reigns as she disembarked. He could see the tears streaked down her face, and there was a grief reflected in them that was beyond words.

    If you died, their memory would die with you, he said. No matter how much she insisted, he refused to believe her death would have been a good thing. You should get some water, and some rest, he said, The ride to Helm's Deep is long still, and you've been through much already.

    He realized he'd yet to say anything of her lost family, but what could he say? No words of his would bring them back, and consolations would be hollow at best. But still, he must say something. I'm... sorry for your loss, he said. But he knew her pain. He knew what it was to lose a wife and son, and he knew there were no words that could ease the pain of their passing. I know your grief, he tried to reassure her.
     
  7. Sreeya

    Sreeya The Devil/Site Co-Owner and Manager

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    She was quiet for a long moment, even as they arrived by the stream. He hopped off the horse, and she remained unmoving for a moment. Katrin wiped her face and looked away, slowly shifting into the point in her grief where she felt numb. After a while, he motioned for her to come down, and she finally made her way down. She felt horribly out of place, looking back over the fields. There was nothing in sight, but she could see a plume of smoke back from where her village was. No one else had made it out, and she had lost everything in one fell swoop.

    She hadn’t even told her husband and son she loved them, hadn’t returned the plow she had borrowed from her neighbor, hadn’t woven a dress for her cousin. None of those things mattered anymore. None of those people were breathing anymore. Her lip quivered as she felt another bout of tears coming, and she buried her face in her hands again. As the man spoke again, she looked at him, “Do you? Do you know it?” She almost yelled, “Have you seen your son fall and watch his entrails fly out? Have you?

    Katrin wiped her face off, pausing for a moment, “I-I’m sorry... “ She looked away, “I should be giving you gratitude for saving my life,” She said quietly. Katrin walked over to the stream and bent down by it, washing the mud and grime off herself and drinking the water. It was cool and refreshing, as she had forgotten how parched she had been. Katrin looked down at her reflection in the water, spotting bits of blood on her dress. It wasn’t her own, the thought disgusting her.

    After a moment, she rose to stand, looking at the man and surveying him quietly, “Are you one of the Rohirrim? They had been banished from these lands,” She had no idea that the king was no longer under whatever strange spell that made him unable to lead. As far as she knew, nothing had changed, and now they had these tall orcs taking over the lands.
     
  8. Phoenix

    Phoenix Peon

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    Adathar was taken back for a moment to another time and place as she screamed at him. He was twenty years younger, and he'd just returned home from his patrol. His son - another Ranger who had recently completed his training - had been home with his mother when the Orcs had attacked. Down from the Misty Mountains or perhaps Gundabad, they had come to raid into the Shirelands, but found a simple ranger homestead first.

    By the time Adathar returned home his son's body lay surrounded by three orcs, and his wife surrounded by another. He'd clutched her lifeless body in his arms and cried for hours. His soul had been crushed that day, and no matter how many years passed, a piece of his soul seemed as if it had been missing since that day. He would never forget it, and he would never forgive the minions of Morgoth.

    So when she screamed at him, he said nothing. This was her time to grieve. His had come and gone, and everything she had felt, he knew too well. He'd wanted nothing but vengeance and someone to blame for what had happened. She would travel the cycle of loss soon, and he didn't envy her for that.

    He bent by the river, cleaning the blackened blood from his hands and clothes as best he could downstream from where she drank. He shook his head as he began to drink a moment later, cupping the water and bringing it to his mouth.

    No. I traveled down from the North when I heard of the raids against Rohan, he said. He only regretted that he could not have reached them sooner. Last I heard they were moving to the East, and Edoras was emptied, he said. He didn't realize she would not have heard of the movement, and he began to wonder if the people had made it to Helm's Deep yet.

    I don't think we'll be able to catch up with them, he said with a shake of his head as he stood up. So we should rest, he said. Are you hungry? he asked, delving into his rations to see what he had left or if they would need to hunt.
     
  9. Sreeya

    Sreeya The Devil/Site Co-Owner and Manager

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    She felt even guiltier when she noticed he didn’t get angry at her outburst. His calm resolve told her all she needed to know: he had lost a child as well. She remained quiet for a long moment, trying to push the thoughts of anguish from her mind. In the end, there was nothing she could do. There was anger and the urge to retaliate, but how could she? She recalled the way he had so easily disarmed and killed the tall orcs. He could actually do something about these things, but she couldn’t.

    When he spoke, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion, “Edoras emptied? But… But King Theoden is..” Katrin stared at him, awaiting an explanation. As a mere peasant, she had no way of receiving news until a messenger came by with tidings. Their village had been doing poorly without a king to oversee them. There was no protection, nowhere to sell their produce, and with the Rohirrim gone, their men had no opportunity to join a cause. She had only known a simple farmer’s life. She didn’t belong in a time of war, but there was no denying that it was here now.

    She was distracted by his words, and she shook her head no even though she was starving, “I don’t know how to hunt,” She muttered quietly. Edwin had done the hunting. She was good at preparing and cooking meals, and she even had favorites for her family. She smiled sadly at the thought for a moment before focusing on the time at hand, “What’s your name?” She suddenly asked, looking at him, “I’m Katrin.”

    Did it matter if they exchanged names? Katrin looked at him for a moment, wondering how much he wasn’t telling her. His eyes had the look of someone that had seen a lot of combat. The way he was unfazed by her agony told her that he had seen and experienced it many times before. Katrin sighed and looked away, “The world is coming to an end, isn’t it? Those things… they were not orcs. They could walk under the sun and they had the look of demons to them. And the army marching at their backs…We have no chance.”
     
  10. Phoenix

    Phoenix Peon

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    He nodded as she asked about Edoras being emptied. Even he hadn't heard all that had transpired, but it was enough that he knew the peoples were on the move and the king seemed to be healed or some part. Aragorn was reported to be with them, traveling in the company of others... even a wizard, or so the messengers had said.

    They say the king is feeling better, he said, There is hope still.

    He had to believe it. Without that hope, all was lost. The armies of Mordor had grown beyond count, and before long they would move to cover all the land in a second darkness. Not as long as he drew breath, though.

    I am Adathar, son of Abathar, he introduced himself, bending down and pulling out a piece of jerky for himself before handing her another piece. He bit off a portion, the tough, salty meat was a welcome refreshment from the lengthy travel. Even as he ate, he began to feel his strength return.

    Then you'll learn, he said. The wilds were no place for someone who could neither fight nor fend for themselves, but what was more, he knew it would give her a distraction from her grief if only slightly.

    Not yet, Katrin, he said, standing and grabbing his bow from the rock it was leaning on. He began to rummage around in search of a good target to fire at. Those creatures... they're not like normal orcs. Larger, stronger, faster... some witchcraft of Saruman, I can only guess. Perhaps their creation is more difficult for him, he suggested, though it was merely a guess. He didn't realize just how many had marched out of Isengard or that thousands more were lurking in Mordor.

    If the king is indeed healed, there is hope still. I can feel it, he said with a nod. It was as much to reassure himself as it was to reassure her. In all his years of war, he'd never seen anything like this before.

    Have you held a bow before? he asked as he uprooted a small bush and set it against one of the nearby hills. In the forest, he would have had far more options, but without the means of the woods, he had to make due with what he had.

    Come, he said, beckoning for her to stand and come to him, holding the bow in one hand. Whether she wanted to learn or not, she had to know something.