Rangers of the North

S02E18D - Jack Fleetfoot: Path to Redemption
Chapter 2: Jack and the Wolf

Eregion. Winter T.A. 3011-3012. Jack leaves the beaten path for the first time, all alone. The last time he did so he followed the tracks left behind by his Companions, travelling from cache to cache where they had left firewood, kindling, and small foods. He soon learns that the harsh wilderness of Eregion is less bountiful, and after only a few days of battling uncleared paths full of weeds, brambles, holly and thistles, he is bloodied, thirsty, hungry and alone. He is afraid of eating from the many growths, remembering Feredir’s stern warnings about deadly fruits and berries, and restricts himself to those plants he knows without doubt. Those are few. He attempts to put up snares, but finds that it is not as easy as his Companions have made it seem – nor is kindling a simple trick, and he is soon down to his last, few matches, keeping them religiously safeguarded in a waterproof pouch about his neck. In addition, he has the nagging feeling that he is being watched, which makes him walk in a constant state of fear. Any small sound is enough to make him jump. And there are many.

One night, when drizzle has ruined his chances of a warm fire, and he is huddled and shivering under a thicket, he feels a presence in the undergrowth. There is something there! Something approaches, and he is elated to realize that it is Feredir’s wolf, Grey Cloak, that is stalking him. Then that elation turns to terror, as the giant wolf bares its fangs, and leaps straight for Jack, who falls to the ground with a wail of terror! There is a terrible sound, and Jack carefully takes his hands from his face, to see the wolf stand victorious over another wolf – a wolf that was about to attack Jack from behind! Grey Cloak has saved him!
As the days pass, Grey Cloak never leaves Jack’s side, keeping him warm at night, and offering his solid frame for support when the Hobbit falters. Grey Cloak is large enough that Jack could ride him, but the wolf doesn’t seem comfortable with it, so Jack doesn’t push it. Some times the wolf will disappear and return with some small game that he shares with Jack, who most of the time simply eats it raw to avoid starvation.

Then one day, Jack is unable to get up. His now very close companion Grey Cloak whines and nudges him with his muzzle, but Jack is too weakened by hunger and fatigue, sickness has taken him over. He has no concept of how long he has lain like this, but at some point he registers faint voices, sees flickering figures about him. Gradually he quickens, under the care of a group of Elves – a Wandering Company. Initially, Jack tries to refuse their help; it goes against his Path of Redemption to accept their help. Unfazed, the Elves withdraw. But the folllowing days, Jack notices that whatever direction he chooses, the Elves seem to have chosen that path before him. They leave small things for him; foods, drink, garments, that he initially refuses, but then grudgingly accepts when he comes across them again the next day. He starts seeing them in the distance, and soon he follows closely enough to watch their motions. He sees that they spend a good portion of every day meditating or doing excersises that seem similar to the katas Jack has learned as a martial artist. Within long he is doing these with them, first at a distance, but as the days grow colder Jack trains and meditates alongside his new friends. They do not speak much – the Elves do not speak Westron and Jack is no wizard at Elvish – but they make themselves understood. They help him reach deep inside himself in meditative techniques and they teach him the fundaments of bushcraft. Jack is starting to feel much better, both in body and in spirit: these Elves have helped him reach a new level of enlightenment. Then one day when he wakes up, the Elves are gone. There are no tracks, no signs of them ever having been there. Were they ever there? Jack considers his new clothes and equipment – proof that the were, but at the same time he can’t shake the feeling that it all happened not in the real world, but in a dream-state. While packing his sack he finds a set of beautiful bracers, clearly of Elvish design and a perfect fit for Jack. Renewed, fortified, and slightly more elfin-looking, Jack Fleetfoot returns to the woods with his friend Grey Cloak, and does not re-emerge from the wilderness until the mountains have thawed and spring is in full force.

View
S02E18C - Recovery
Wherein Eldacar spends his days in recovery.

Cillien, Northen Dunland. Autumn T.A. 3011.
Time would pass and seasons change before he would recover, he knew this as he lay in the bed. How long he had been here, or how long since he had crushed under the weight of the dragon he did not know. He only knew that this was the first day since it all happened that he could remember. He knew not where he was, but whererever it was he felt safe. And he been look after, that much was evident. And from the booming voice coming from somewhere outside Beoraborn was here.

“Eldacar! Awake at last I see! How glad I am to see you concious again!” Beoraborn smiled as he continued: “Let me prepare some food for you, you must be starved!”

Days passed and he spoke little and did less, never once even attempting to leave the bed. That was still a long time away. It hurt. His whole body hurt, but no part worse than his head.

Weeks passed. It still hurt, and as before his head was the worsed. His finger trailed the area where Beoraborn told him his head had been opened. Herbs was a gifted healer, one of legend, there could be no disputing that. Never the one most eager to talk, he had become even less talkative than before. He was concious, he ate and answered when asked. But that was also the extent of his activity.

Months. What hurt when he woke up in the morning, still hurt the next. But slowly he could feel his strength return, the pains and aches diminish. The headaches was the worst part. They would come suddenly and deliever blinding pain.

He was luck that he had not died Beoraborn said, and he was right of course. But what he did not say in reply was that he now, one day, would die. Of course living his life he could have been killed anyway, that is true. Death might have been highly probable, but it had never before been a certainty. It was now, though. He had made his choice, and was now forever bound by it. He did not regret or despair over it. It did not frighten him. But it felt…strange and he would muse on it now and then, as one would a question of a philosophical nature. Had he made the right choice?

Meditation was the first step in recovery. From there he started to train his mind. He would gaze about the room, close his eys and ask Beoraborn to move any and as many items as he pleased without him looking. Then open his eyes and spot that which had been changed. He would look out of a windon for a few seconds, then turn away and describe it in detail for the beorning.

Then he began with the physical training. Hands first, simply squeezing objects as hard as he could. Stretching his legs, lifting one and holding it up for as long as he could. Then the other. Soon he’d take short walks, across the rom at first. Then around the house. Then longer walks.

Time passed and sit ups followed, then push ups. He’d lift buckets. Empty at first, then filled a 1/4 with sand, then half full and finally full. He began running.

The thoughts about dying and death faded, so too did his worries about whether or not he had made the right choice. That did not matter now. It was made. Time to heal.

Sword practice followed: Parry, thrust, feint. Rusty at first, but improving on his form for each day that passed.

He’d talk to the big man about nature, asking for names of plants and beasts and insects. He watched him work his craft skill, and asked him about that too. He would help him. Fetch water, gather wood for the forge, whatever was needed.

He read all there was to read. Then read it again. Trying to memorise it all, sharpening his mind. Let his thoughts wander, analyzing problems and challenges. He would invent strategies for any scenario he could think of. He made plans, ways to gather intelligence, to plant false information amongst their enemies. He had a lead now, Herbs represented an opportunity. He analysed all sides of that opportunity.

He wrote too, letters mostly. Messages to his handler, in code. Letters to his mother, also in code.

He had been right. Time would pass and seasons too before he recovered. Seasons would also pass before he once again was reunited with his friends. But when this came to pass, a feeling of happiness came over him unlike any he had ever known before.

View
S02E18B - Guard Duty
Wherein a familiar face inhabits a furtive guise.

Minas Brethil. Winter T.A. 3012. Darkness envelops the sodden streets, only dimly lit by sputtering torches, storm lanterns, and flickering reflections of these in the puddles of the prevailing downpour. Erefarad shudders and adjusts his cloak, feeling the mud already soaking through his boots. He realizes that they are more or less ruined. It feels like an age and a half has passed since the day he bought them in Fennas Drúnin. They have served him well, taking him by foot through most of Eriador. To think their fate would be sealed here, in the mud-caked streets of the rotten citadel of Minas Brethil. The figurative stench is as palpable as the literal. His hand closes on his spear as the sound of feet in the mud heralds an approach.

“What ho, brave Erefarad! Are our brickworks safe from prowling thiefs and goblins this eve?”
The accompanying burlesque laughter seems not at all to affect Erefarad, who cheerfully smiles back.
“Nothing stirs in these streets, Corporal Corchon, save your presence, in course. No thief or goblin dare brave these sodden ways on a night like this. In truth, I’m surprised to be graced by your company, what brings you out this way?”
The mocking sneer turns dark as Erefarad continues, “It surely has nothing to do with unpaid debts at a certain house of ill repute, as some wicked tongues will have it?” He leans closer through the rain, “Which, I should add, have been dealt with. The tongues, that be, not the debts, unfortunately. We cannot have that sort of slander blacken our proud Brotherhood’s name, now, can we, Corporal?”
“Mind your own business, private!” sneers corporal Corchon, and strides away, mud splashing about his legs. Erefarad permits himself a little smile. Corchon is indebted to him now, as well he knows, and will display less of his disdain when next they cross paths. Like so many of the Brotherhood, he has his vices, and the right words and the right coins to the right people has a marvellous tendency to alleviate knowledge of these. Erefarad has no haste, he plans to work through winter. It is the only means he has of finding a way into the right circles, wherein to learn the fate of his friend, Baran Sîdoneth, once lord of these lands, now at uncertain mercies. As long as Baran is still alive, the man known as Erefarad will find him. Hopefully, he will have uncovered enough to also find a way out, and the Valar willing, find a way to bring down the Brotherhood.

Ultimately, his probing give few fruits. He learns that Baran is, indeed, alive, but has been removed from his post. With a heavy heart Erefarad chooses to slip away from a graveyard shift guard duty, shedding his disguise and reemerging as Feredir of the Rangers of the North. He walks south with spring approaching him for every step he approaches Cillien in Dunland. He feels helpless for not being able to aid his old friend, but a nagging part of him also feels Baran has brought much of this on himself. At any rate, a greater Quest looms in the horizon, for a greater purpose. He hopes to be able to find a way to help his friend, but if he is unable, he also knows Baran to be a capable fighter, whose prowess with small arms matches Feredir’s own.

In Minas Brethil, no alarms are raised from Erefarad’s absence. Those who owed him a debt or knew he had intelligence on them are only too glad to see him gone.

View
S02E18A - The Ranger and the Eagle
Wherein Feredir scales Methedras and finds more than he bargains for.

Cillien, Eregion. Autumn T.A. 3011. The frost has not set in when Feredir leaves for Minas Brethil in the autumn of 3011. His route takes him southwards from Cillien, towards the southern Misty Mountains. Had the Companions seen him go, they would perhaps have questioned his destination, but in truth Feredir set forth in secret, only Beoraborn knowing his true intent: that of scaling Methedras in search of the Great Eagles. The stalwarth Bejibar smith has fashioned for him gloves with scaling hooks and grafts with large claws for his boots. Feredir has brought his warmest garments, and supplies for surviving in the harsh climes of the mountains.

His wandering brings him close to the northern slopes of Methedras; he is not planning on going the easier way near Isengard; a bad feeling linger within his bones about that place after his last skirmish.

It takes him two days to reach the foot of the mountain, and another day to reach the higher altitudes. He finds he must circumvent the top to find his ascent, and on the fourth day he is surprised by an early but heavy snowfall, and must seek shelter in a secluded valley. He is surprised to come across a sapling of a white tree, and below the shallow grave. The ancient armour leaves no doubt; this is the grave of Elendil. In deep reverence, Feredir spends three days meditating and building a cairn over the grave. On the third day, a Great Eagle does indeed descend to him: Noranthír, charged with watching over Isengard and the Nan Cúrunir. Noranthír expresses he is pleased that Feredir has tended to the gravesite, and is willing to talk to the Ranger.

Feredir explains his plight, and is surprised to find Noranthír taking the news of Turkulon’s death with some satisfaction. The Great Eagle says that he can not promise any aid from the Great Eagles in going after Colargon, but that neither will the Eagles be antagonistic to his plight: Feredir can count himself a friend of the Eagles. Noranthír promises one thing, however; that he will investigate the rumours of the lance of Fram. Should he uncover anything of worth, he will find a means of bringing word to Feredir.

On the fourth day on Methedras, Feredir begins his descent. He carries nothing more than what he brought up, but in his breast bats a slightly encouraged heart.

View
S02E18 - Permutations
Wherein our heroes reunite, and are joined by some unlikely new Companions, and plans are made for winter.

In the Autumn of 3011 the Companions all reunite in Cillien. Feredir comes North with two wayward Rohirrim, both of with whom he seems to have some animosity. Jack Fleetfoot comes South by boat, and with him comes Jayelle of the Oak Grove, and Salabon’s sister Lominzli. Eldacar is recovering – though slowly, and Salabon is making good use of the libraries and workshops of the Healer’s Hall. Beoraborn is working with their ward, who names himself Súlkano, and who knows the secrets of Enchanting.

The Companions all agree that the best course is to wait for Spring, and then press north towards Angmar and Colargon’s lair. But Jack brings news of Baran: Minas Brethil are now in the hands of a mysterious Brotherhood – the Order Baran belonged to. Baran has been removed, and is nowhere to be found. Feredir thus vows to infiltrate Minas Brethil and find news of Baran. Jack declares that he will leave the Company again, that he needs to do so alone to find his Redemption. The others protest, but Salabon supports Jack, and as such Feredir does too. When the Ranger accepts it, the others follow suit. Beoraborn says that he has a quest of his own: With the help of Súlkano, he will endeavour to make a set of spears with which to kill Colargon. He will use the remains of the dead Dragon Turkulon to do so. Salabon explains that he believes that Eldacar has withrawn into himself, and that only the sight of his lover, Mabs, with help him out of it. He will therefore go North-West to Bree and collect Mabs before Winter. He will hear no complaining, he explains that this is something he must do. Eadyth, Edmund, Jayelle and Lomiñzli will stay at the House of Healing and care for the invalid, as well as preparing for Winter. Eadyth is not pleased with being left with womanly chores, but agrees out of deference to Feredir.

Thus the Companions part ways yet again, all moving towards their own designs. But those are different tales…

View
S02E17 - Tales of the Riddermark
Wherein Feredir travels to the the fabled land of the Rohirrim in search of lost tales

When he had travelled through the rock for three miles or more, he came into a fair country. It was as bright as a summer’s day; the land was flat and green and there were no hills and no valleys. In the middle of the plain was a castle, magnificently adorned and wonderfully high.
- Sir Orpheo (Old English poem ca. 1330)

Dunland. Feredir wanders south, towards fabled Rohan and its capital Edoras. He had planned to make the journey with his friends and Companions, but the recent events has left him with only one free and hale Companion, Beoraborn the Beijibar. But due to the Elf Eldacar’s state, and the fact that Salabon remains to care for him and for the mysterious prisoner rescued from the dragon Tulkaron, it is decided that the burly Beorning remain in Cillien to guard them. After all, Feredir has walked many months alone in the wild, with his wolf, stoat and owl as his only company. He is uneasy, however, for the wolf, Grey Cloak, is not with him this time. Feredir has sent his friend to watch over the Hobbit, Jack Fleetfoot, who has rambled alone into the wilderness on a quest for redemption. Thus it is that he walks alone, and he names himself Erefarad, the Lone Ranger, to those few souls he meets.

Dunland is a desolate place. It is clear that the aftermath of the conflict between the Dunlendings and the Rohirrim has left them crushed, and most have abandoned their villages and abodes and gone elsewhere. Some few, stubborn homesteaders he does encounter, and though they are polite and hospitable as is custom, they are clearly only so glad to see the back of the stranger from the North. Feredir is a formidable hiker, and covers much more ground than any lesser man, but he is also a Ranger, and is willing help those who need it. None will accept more than a few split logs as payment for food or shelter. The hardy Dunlanders want nothing that they cannot get or do for themselves. The only tidings he get are warnings; “Beware the Woodwoses”. Not knowing about any such creature, Feredir dismisses these warnings as superstition.

South, south he goes, and soon he passes a large and mysterious forest the locals call the Caerdh Wood. Running along the stream, Feredir thinks he sees figures or shapes flitting between the branches. He stops up, and is sure he sees a strange face, its features unlike any Man, or even other races, he has seen. Is this a Woodwose? The face disappears into the undergrowth in the trees across the stream that separates them, and Feredir continues. He has not the time to go traipsing about unknown forests looking for strange creatures, nor has he reason to follow these beings deep into the woods.

Many fallen mottes and towers does he see along the way. But when he nears the southern peaks of the Misty Mountains, a sight causes him to stop dead in his tracks and gape in astonishment. There, high above him, about the cloud-enshrouded peaks, he spies a Great Eagle.

His mission forgotten, he turns from his path and moved up into the highlands. He climbs for hours before he realizes that it will take him days to reach altitudes high enough for him to communicate with the Eagles. With a sinking heart, he descends onto what is undoubtedly the Vale of Isen. He sees in the far distance the mighty Orthanc, but something in his bones makes him hesitant about the place. An ominous sensation makes him skirt Calenardhon and descend back in Dunland, before he moves towards the Gap of Isen.

He has not come far before he is besieged by the Host of Rohan. They demand his name and his business, and he tells them true – he has come to seek audience with the King of Rohan, and that his business is regarding Dragons. Incredulous, the Host allows him passage, and takes him into the heart of Rohan, towards Edoras.

He is brought before King Theoden, who challenges him to explain why he has come. Thus Feredir tells the tale of Fram of the Eothed, the forefather of the Rohirrim, and how he slew the mighty Scatha the Worm. “You would come into my hall, and tell me the tales of mine own forebears?!” roars Theoden. “No,” counters Erefarad. “I come to hear the tale told true”.
Theoden King stares long at the stranger, before breaking into laughter, the Hall erupting with the same. “You have a nerve about you! Very well, you shall have your tale. Let us feast!”

Long is the night, and luscious is the feast, of all the modest wealth Rohan can afford. It is still extravagant compared to Erefarad’s usual fare, and he relishes in it. There are many tales told that eve, and Erefarad tells a few himself. He knows not how much the old King embellishes his tale, but the Rohirrim are known for their strict oral traditions, and Erefarad believes that the version told to him that night is, indeed, the closest to the actual truth.

In the small hours, most of the Host has fallen asleep where they sit and drink, and apart from the temperate Erefarad finds himself alone, apart from one of the Host in the far corner of the Hall. He moves over. “A drink with you, sir”, says he, and the other agrees. They fall into conversation, the the Rohir introduces himself as Edmund, of minor noble lineage. He asks if Erefarad if he would prefer to sleep in the Hall, or if he has lodgings. Erefarad says he has not, and Edmund invites him to his home, which he shares with his sister. Erefarad thanks him, and stays at Edmund’s modest house.

The following day Edmund shows Erefarad around Edoras, but the Ranger notices there is a certain repuditation associated with Edmund that has now befallen himself. Finding the young man agreeable company, if not particularly knowledgeable or strong-willed, Erefarad nonetheless decides to take his leave, with King Theoden’s blessing. As he is leaving, Edmund comes riding after him.
“Please, I beg you let me join your quest!” pants the consterned Rohir.
“What quest?” asks Erefarad.
“Please, do not bother hiding it; it is writ plane in your actions. You seek to slay a Dragon, and you are here gathering intelligence.”
“If this was indeed so, why would I take you with me?”
Edmund looks downcast. “I will not lie. The honour of my House is broken. The only way I can restore it is by taking part in great deeds. There are none greater than what you seek to do. In payment, I will give you this excellent horse from mine own stables.”
Erefarad hesitates. As Feredir, he has worked for years to restore the honour of his own lineage. The youth’s reasoning is the one thing he cannot deny.
“Very well, I will grant it.”

And so, the two set out. But as they leave Rohan, Edmund changes course to skirt a small farm. He stops outside the abandoned farm house, and begs Erefarad follow. “These are our family’s old farms,” he explains.
There is a curtain across the door, and as they approach, it is opened by a young woman. It is Edmund’s sister from the night before.
“What is this?” asks Erefarad, moving his hand towards the hilt of his sword.
“I beg you not be angered, though you might have ample reason to.” says she. “No, you will not need your blade, this is not an ambush. We are grateful for this opportunity to restore the honour of our House, but I fear we have mislead you. It is not Edmund who will follow you on your Quest. It is I.”
Erefarad is dumbstruck at first, and refuses, but the girl, Eadyth, pleads with him, explaining that Edmund is useless and weak, but that she is a strong fighter. Erefarad resents her words, because he and the young man came along quite well. It is perhaps his disgust with her treachery and patronization along with that part of him that recognizes her plight, that makes him agree, on the condition that she fend for herself. Knowing within him that he is already responsible for Jack Fleetfoot, Eldacar and Salabon, Erefarad does not wish to be guardian to a woman also. He does know very capable female Rangers, but this is no Dúnadan.

Angered at having been duped and taken advantage of for his charity, Feredir leads them north towards Cillien and the Healer’s Hall.

View
S02E16 - Partings
Wherein our heroes part ways again, each to his own designs.

Eregion – one week later: The canoe flows jerkingly against a current not so obstinate to require struggle, neither compliant enough to make it pass unnoticed. At any rate, it is a small task for two burly woodsmen as the two who ply the paddles. The Huntsman – Feredir – and the Bear – Beoraborn – the two are journeying up the Cilstrem in search of Cillien the legendary Healer’s Hall.

After having stabilized Eldacar and provided what they could for the ancient Elf who still is unable to give his name, and indeed very little of coherent sense, Salabon speaks of a legendary hall of healers rumoured to lie upon this very stream. Travel to Imladris with patients as unfortified as these is an impossibility, but a house of healing thirteen leagues away on water seems a blessing to the unfortunate Companions.

By river the two reach what is undoubtedly Cillien after one day. Here, a grand and unusual building, quite unlike anything of Dunnish make in Feredir’s experience, its great gate locked fast. In the courtyard stands a small cottage. Within, it is clear that whoever here dwelt left in a great hurry, only taking with them the most important of valuables and belongings. Feredir, thinking a key to the bighouse might be secreted away here, commits himself to a thorough search. He does not locate any key, but he finds a leather-bound tome that closer inspection deals with mystical healing. He packs this away for Salabon. He also finds a set of masterwork leatherworking tools.

Beoraborn declares that he will have the cottage clean, cleared and aired by the time it will take Feredir to venture downstream to fetch Salabon and the two invalids. And this is in truth a fine place for the two to recuperate, even if the bighouse is still closed to the Companions. As Feredir merrily disappears down the stream, Beoraborn whistles a tune only the Beijibar can sound, and from the underbrush, the trees and even from under rocks and hills all manner of beasts flock about the big warrior. A few, simple more enticing whistles and the beasts descend into the cottage. “Warrior great I may be, but I am also great at keeping house!” he rumbles.

When Feredir reaches Salabon it turns out that Jack has left camp in the middle of the night. Feredir kicks up a great fuss, but Salabon calms him with wise words; Jack must do what he feels right in his heart, and his heart tells him to seek redemption alone. Not content with this, Feredir still understands that he cannot go charging after his friend – that would belittle his personal quest. Instead, he bids his most trusted companion, the wolf Greycloak, to go after Jack and keep him safe. Slightly appeased, he returns to freighting Salabon and the invalids down the stream.

**

The following day, Salabon wishes to investigate the Healer’s Hall. Feredir and Beoraborn explain how they have been unable to gain entrance, upon which Salabon asks, “Have you sent your mustelids within?” Feeling slightly foolish, the two unleash their fearsome weasels, and tru enough, they are soon back with a key that fits the lock.

Within, they find abandoned a school for healers. Here they have clearly taught some form of magic healing, much to Salabon’s interest and suspicion. They search the entire house, which is quite large, and upstairs they find an infirmary. Beoraborn once again vows to undertake the cleaning, and sends Feredir and Salabon away in the mean time. The two investigate the town below, where they find much of the same: The town has simply been left, and only the most valuable or necessary items and possessions have been taken. Curiouser and curiouser.

**

After having had the invalids lodged in the infirmary, Feredir declares that he is taking his leave. He will carry on his journey to the heart of Rohan by himself. He asks that Beoraborn stays to aid and protect Salabon and the invalid Elves, vowing to return before autumn. They make their farewells, and Feredir sets out across Dunland towards fabled Rohan.

Follow Jack’s adventures in Jack Fleetfoot: Path to Redemption, only on Obsidian Portal.

View
S02E15A - Jack Fleetfoot: Path to Redemption
Chapter 1: Jack's awakening

The dark, but soothing voice speaks… Not really words that jack can understand, but still they tell him what to do…His vision seems somehow clouded, but everywhere he looks, there are riches beyond his imagining, and more still. The voice, and the dream-like reality draws him away… away from the environment.. away from the stench of great predators.. away from the screams of his friends… Suddenly his mind and vision are cleared. The feeling Jack now has, can only be compared to waking up after your most terrible nightmare, and allthough Jack is now fully awake, he has a bad feeling, deep inside of him. Something is terribly wrong. Jack has no idea where he is, it seems to be some kind of dungeon or castle basement, but it does not matter. He cannot shake the feeling that something is off. He starts runnning through the rooms and corridors of the structure. But when Jack suddenly finds his companions, his heart stops for a second. He cannot believe his eyes. On the floor lies the bloody corpse of a massive, pale dragon. Jack takes a step back. And as if the dragon wasnt bad enough, on the floor a few feet aay, amidst screaming companions, lies Eldecar with wide open eyes and a shattered body. Jacks world now stands still. after what seems an eternity, jack studders “what’s happened?!” Only Feredir seems to notice, and only replies “There are times and places, Jack,” says Feredir. “On occasion it is perhaps best to say nothing. This is such a time and place.” Jack feels the black cloud of guilt envelop him, and asks no more. With luck, Salabon manages to bring Eldecar back to life, and temporarily stabilize him with his skills as a healer, so for now, the danger seems to have passed. But for Jack, this is far froma ivctory. He does not know how, or why, but he was caught in a spell, and therefor unable to aid his friends in the battle against such a mighty foe. For that, Eldecar nearly paid the ultimate prize, and Jack is sinking into a pit of self.recentance. Why was he to weak to resist the spell? Why is he so obsessed with wealth and anything that shines with purity and magic, when, in the end, it means so little? Why does he abandon his friends, who now hates him, for the sake of himself only? Jack feels like vomiting when he thinks about what he’s become. He stares into the fire, and makes the final decision to leave the party, he’s not safe to be around anymore. Besides, they probobly wont even notice he’s gone, nobody has talked to him since the incedent. He tricks Salabon into talking him through the path from here to Minas Brethil, whe Jack feels he must start his path to redemption. When his waking shift that night is over, he silently leaves in the direction he’s been told. He walks for days. His feet aches, he’s hungry and tired, but most of all lonely. he misses his friends, but thinking about it, he reassures himself that his action now is for the best for everyone.

View
S02E15 - The Fallen
Wherein our heroes must set aside their need for glory and adventure, as a friend's life hangs in the balance.

Ost-in-Edhil: Eldacar lies fallen. Trapped beneath the body of the dragon Tulukuron it takes all of Beoraborn’s might to shift the flaccid corpse enough for Feredir and Salabon to pull the Elf out. There, his blade, thrust so far into the Worm’s breast that only the hilt can be seen. Here, the Elf himself, his head cracked from the weight; no helm did he bear.

“But wait!” cries Salabon, “There is still life!” He can hear the distant beating of the Elven heart, like fading drums. “Brothers, we may save him still, but I need light! There!” He points to Eldacar’s belt, where strands of light testament that the enchanted amulet is still active.
Feredir carefully fishes it out, but drops it in shock, as he recognizes that it is one of the amulets from the entrance. “No!” cries he. “It is a trick, some foul sorcery! These are evil trinkets!” He throws it down the corridor.
“Heed me!” cries Salabon. “I need that light, no matter what you believe it to be. I cannot save him without it!”
“I will fetch it,” says Beoraborn, but Feredir waves him off.
“No, my friend, if anyone should risk the terrible magics, I will pay that price. This is my quest, and I owe it to you all.” The others can only shrug as Feredir recovers the amulet. He truly believes he is sacrificing himself, and although the other two know that there is no danger, his sacrifice is meaningful.

Feredir finds a crevice in the rock where he fastens the amulet with a few strips of leather.
“I must act in haste, I know not how long that light will work,” says Salabon, as he carefully cleans Eldacar’s head of blood, and cuts away what hair he dares. “Wait! Eldacar holds a life preserving mixture, he showed it to me himself. In his belt pouch!” They unstop the tiny vial and carefully pass the contents across the Elf’s lips. Almost immediately, the tincture takes effect, and it is clear that immediate danger has passed. But Eldacar’s head is still crushed.
Salabon swallows. “Have you any remedies that can mend these bones, Feredir?”
“Not in my herbary, alas. But did I not espy Bonehae moss on the banks where we disembarked”
“Bonehae?”
“Aye, you may know it by ”/wikis/edram" class=“wiki-page-link”> Edram, a silvery grey, soft moss that grows in large patches."
“I do know Edram! But listen, brother, for it to be effective it must be used immediately after being picked. You must find some way of transporting it down here. No go, quick! I know not how long he has.”
Feredir is about to get up, when they all three turn to see Jack Fleetfoot standing on top of the dragon looking down at them. He stares with dread at what has befallen Eldacar. He looks up at the others, and is about to speak.
“There are times and places, Jack,” says Feredir. “On occasion it is perhaps best to say nothing. This is such a time and place.”
Jack sags and stares at his feet as Hunter passes him.

“Now, Jack,” says Salabon, “I have use of you, and of you, Beoraborn. There are forges and furnaces, and any number of metals. Can you fashion for me some sort of harness that will hold Eldacar’s head in place while his bones heal? It has to be a perfect fit.”
“That we can do,” says Beoraborn, and nudges Jack. “You’re good with numbers, wee one, measure him.”
Jack almost evacuates his bowels as he is forced to lean close to Eldacar’s broken form, and measure his cracked head in detail, all the while Salabon is meticulously ministering care. All Jack can see is his own greed staring back at him: This is his doing. Eldacar would not be all but dead if he weren’t so greedy and corrupt. It should have been him that lies here, not Eldacar. He stifles a sob, and feels tears on his nose, but he bends his back to the task.

“Now,” says Salabon. “There is one piece of his skull that is pulverized; it will not heal, not even with elexirs. I have performed this exercise before, replacing a piece of fractured skull with a coin beat into the proper shape. But I do not know if I dare, I know not if it would work on an Elf!”
“They’re sensitive to iron, is what I’ve always heard,” says Beoraborn.
“That is my fear. I know not if it is but myth and old wives’ tales, but I dare not take the risk,” he laments. “If I only had some more potent material, a piece of legendary mithril, for example!”
Both Salabon and Beoraborn look in amazement at two pieces of mithril clanging to the floor before them. They are no less astonished when they look up at Jack Fleetfoot with an anguished grimace. “Use them well,” says he.
“Beoraborn, can you work these? They are not ordinary metal.”
The Beijibar grins. “With these works? These works were built to work mithril.”

They then return to the prison chamber. Gently Jack picks up the mask the ancient Elf was trapped in. It will be perfect. Hours, they toil, Beoraborn the smith working the metal, Jack jury-rigging, fine-tuning, perfecting, to create a brace that will hold Eldacar’s head.

In the mean time, Hunter has returned with a large, ornate urn filled with sweet-smelling, silvery moss. Salabon uses some fine crafting tools Beoraborn has found to trepan Eldacar’s skull. Removing the splintered and destroyed pieces of skull, he subsequently places the sliver-thin pieces of Mithril over the exposed parts. Feredir, who is made to hold the Elf’s head, is green and struggling, but he holds fast. Then Salabon gently lays the folds of skin back over the wounds, and stitches his finest needlework ever, closing the Elven head. “Now,” says he, “the pieces of skull lie precariously in place, but they must mend ere he will be dead within long. This is why we need the brace, to hold the pieces in place. No mortal would be up to the task, especially if we did not have these wonderful healing mosses! A few fragments of this gently coerced between his lips, and his bones will begin to mend, and only two hours will it take to rescue him from Death’s door. But beware! He will not be well for mayhaps months, and I will not guarantee that he will ever be himself, bruised and bashed about his brains having been. We must take care that his ribs are also in alignment, ere they, too will suffer and knit falsely, for this outstanding moss will remedy all his broken bones.” They follow Salabon’s instructions to the letter, and over the next few hours it is as if they can see the skull and ribs start to reset themselves: indeed, Eldacar’s very pallor shifts into something more recognizable, but still he does not stir. But one thing is clear: Their companion is saved – for now.

View
S02E14 - Ost-in-Edhil
Wherein our heroes gain first-hand experience with dragons, and must prepare to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Wondrous is its wall-stone, laid waste by the fates.
The burg-steads are burst, broken the work of the giants.
The roofs are in ruins, rotted away the towers,
The fortress-gate fallen, with frost on the mortar.
Broken are the battlements, low bowed and decaying,
Eaten under by age. The earth holds fast
The master masons: low mouldering they lie
In the hard grip of the grave, till shall grow up and perish
A hundred generations. Hoary and stained with red,
Through conquest of kingdoms, unconquered this wall endured,
Stood up under storm. The high structure has fallen.
Still remains its wall-stone, struck down by weapons.
-“The Ruin” (unknown author) Old-English poem, 8th century.

Ost-in-Edhil. Words cannot do it justice. The Companions glide in silence in among the great ruins of this once the grandest of all Elven citadels. Although not a single structure stands unharmed, and wild growths cover most of the parts that are not all rubble, their shapes and locations give testament to how it once must have looked: geometrical and angled, completely foreign to the aesthetics that the Companions have encountered before, as unlike Annúminas, Deadman’s Dike, Twisted Hill or Tharbad as to Rivendell. Wordlessly, Hunter disembarks and drags the canoe and Jack up onto the bank, and the others follow. Jack’s heart beats fast.

“I don’t like this,” says Hunter. “I… sense something.”
“Yes,” says Eldacar coming up next to him, “I sense it too. A presence. Something foul has taken abode in this place.”
“It was a mistake to come here, I told you all along!” says Salabon. “We should leave this place at once. In fact, I know of a place not far from here, where there is rumoured to be these healers…”
Beoraborn takes up his usual stance when he has the urge to slay something evil. “No. We have come this far. I wish to see this place.” Jack is already far ahead.
“Jack!” calls Hunter, suddenly fearing for his friend once more, but he is relieved to see the Hobbit turn around, smile and wave. “Very well, we stay on the paths, we do not enter buildings without cause, and we stick together.”

**

They walk among the eerie and desolate structures, all angles and alien design, even to Eldacar. Whatever these Noldo built here, it looked like nothing else in all of Middle-Earth.
“Why is it so dreary here, Eldacar?” asks Salabon.
“I know not,” replies the Elf. “It is possible that these stones retain some of the essence of what transpired here. It is known to me that the Enemy appeared among the smiths and bade them craft for him magical talismans that he could force his will on others, and that when found out he destroyed this place. But that is literally thousands of years ago, before Westernesse was swallowed by the oceans. And the Elves that dwelt here are as alien to me as they are to Men or Hobbits. I have no knowledge of their ways, save that they were builders and delvers, wise and ingenious.”
“Were they all slain by the Enemy?” asks Salabon.
Eldacar smiles hollowly. “No, my friend, they were not. But they left this place, after its destruction, and went from this world. From the Grey Havens they set forth on the final journey across the Sea.”
“We must be weary for new Haunts”, observes Hunter. “Like the stones that bewitched Jack, I can sense these stones murmuring.”
“Yes,” says Eldacar. “There are voices in them still, but I do not understand all that they say. I do not believe them to be evil, but caution is certainly good.”

“Look at this,” rumbles Beoraborn. “A sign!” And true enough. They have reached a crossroads, and by the side stands a signpost, almost entirely covered in ivy, but still standing, after so many years. He reaches up and clears the sign. “What does it say?”
“To Khazad-Dûm,” says Eldacar. “To Moria.”
“Moria!” exclaims Salabon.
“Oh yes,” says Eldacar. “The Dwarves of Moria were great friends of the Hollin-Elves.” He is unable to explain more, as Hunter exclaims: “Where is Jack?”

The others look around, and there is no sign of him.
“Confounded!” cries Eldacar. “That Hobbit should be kept in a sack!”
“Fool of a Fleetfoot, where are you know?” cries Hunter.

**

Tracking Jack in the dust is easy: these roads have not been traversed for centuries. They lead through some garden where the immaculate fountain still spouts water, through a hedge under which the Hobbit could easily have snuck but the Men have to cut through, and through some derelicts. The tracks lead into a building that seems to be largely subterranean, and Eldacar exclaims: “The Halls of the Smiths! These are the Halls!”
At the same moment Hunter cries out in excruciating pain. He savagely grips his head, and falls to the floor, twisting in agony. Eldacar, wise in his Elven ways, instantly reacts and pulls the blank amulet from Hunter’s neck, ripping it loose and tossing it along the corridor. The pain leaves Hunter immediately. “Jack!” he pants, but the others can naught but nod grimly: They all understood well enough. Jack is in dire straits once more.

**

They enter the hallway, cautious and weary. Hunter still struggles with echoes from the visions he received from Jack: Flames, beating wings, terror. Dragons? He spies a rack with medallions upon the wall, it is clear that one is astray, and but the scuffmarks in the dust, Jack has taken it. Hunter gazes upon them, but is seized by violent visions, and imagines them to be imprinted with the Burning Eye he has seen in visions before. “Beware!” he cried. “Evil talismans! Do not touch them!” Eldacar examines the amulets, and conceives them to be some sort of key.
“We may have need for these, my friend,” says he, reaching for one.
“No!” cries Hunter, and pushes him away. “I will not have yet another of my friends endanger himself so!”
Eldacar sees the desperation in his friend’s eyes, and considers. “Feredir, listen to me. We will need these. I can see that they are…”
“Should any of you fall to the temptation I will be forced to strike you down,” says Hunter, drawing his sword. “I cannot allow you to endanger us all!”
The others, shocked, take a step back. “Very well! As you say. Lead us on.”
Hunter turns his back and picks up his medallion, carefully stowing it in a strip of leather, Eldacar smoothly pockets four amulets.

**

Down and down, the corridor leads. They enter some sort of cave system, where there is also a road leading to an underground river. Clearly these were subterranean loading docks. Eldacar speaks a formula, and makes light appear from his hand, illuminating their progress. Hunter is awed. He is also starting to shake off the shock from earlier, but he is still slightly distracted.
“What tracks do you read?” asks Salabon.
Hunter looks down, and spies Jack’s immediately. But he is not alone. “By the love of the Valar…”
“What is it, brother?”
“These tracks, they were made by a dragon!”

**

There is no hesitation. No second thoughts. The Companions know Jack Fleetfoot is in danger, and they have to rescue him. An unspoken bond ties them together.

“It is weak,” observes Hunter. “It shuffles its feet and veers. It is dragging its wings. But it is large.” They’ve followed the tracks through a second tunnel, down below the first. There are many dragon tracks. “However, I believe it is somehow trapped. I seems to be circling the same areas.”

They are entering a new tunnel now, and before them two enormous door are revealed. Then, a booming voice: “ELF! I command all lesser beings, tremble before my might, and remove the Elf, or I will kill this one under my thrall!”
The Companions halt, shocked, but as the voice repeats its command, frantic glances and gestures decide it best for Eldacar to move out of sight.
“Lo, the Elf is gone now from this place, pray may we see our friend?” Hunter calls out, and the massive doors slide open. The three Companions are nearly overwhelmed with terror, when before them a terrible dragon appears, Jack Fleetfoot mesmerized behind it, moving towards the back of the great chamber, a small door set in the wall.
“Puny Manling! Puny Manling! That you dare face ME here, in mine own lair, speaks of your courage? I will devour you now, that songs may be sung of your demise – an honour to you! Unless you are Elf-friends, then I shall enjoy torturing you slowly!”
“Please, I beg!” cries Hunter, immediately. He casts one glance at his friends, his eyes alerting them.
“No Elf-friends are we, O Magnificent One, but pilgrims come to marvel at your august presence! The wicked Elf caught us and forced us down here, the better to snare you! It was only your glory that frightened it away, saving us! We thank you, Radiant Master, if you must devour us, it truly will be an honour.” and he bows, nudging the other two to follow suit.
Hunter has recalled Bilbo Baggins’ notes on dragons and their vanity: even obvious false flattery falls favourably with most dragons, and it seems to be working. The dragon appears to soften up somewhat. It is clear, however, that not all is as it should be with it. It is pale: almost translucently white, with only the mere hint of a tinge of green, blue or black. Its eyes milky and its form withered and sinewy. Its wings do not appear to have been large to begin with, but seem as shrunken and shrivelled as the rest of the beast. It is perhaps thirty feet in length, but appears somewhat stunted.
“Your words… It has been long since words so pleasing befell mine countenance. I should keep you… THE HUNGER! It consumes me! I must eat you now!” bellows the dragon.
“Oh, Jewel of the Skies! I beg of you, if you are in need of servants, please allow us to act as such, it would be an unspeakable honour! Is it not better with vassals to serve, who can attain substantially more sustenance than a mere mouthful? We can find food!”
“Do not presume, little thing! You ARE food!”
Feredir grovels. “I mean no offense, your Majesty! I only beg you consider this; who will praise you, serve you, worship you?” The dragon pauses.
Salabon is impressed. For someone usually so outspoken against deceit and trickery, Hunter’s training as an Outrider infiltrator has never been more apparent than now. And he is good at it!
“Your words ring with the echoes of sense and truth, and truly I did not think of that. But it means little, my hunger ails me now!”
Hunter turns to Beoraborn. “Quick! Run into the woods and fetch some large game! I saw deer tracks just outside the citadel. And you!” he looks at Salabon, and very discretely glances down at Salabon’s herbal pouches. Herbs does not fail to interpret the glance. “I shall aid him,” he says.
“NO! You will remain here, none shall leave! Bring the Elf to, that I may devour it! This I command!”
“Oh, but surely you have no desire to eat the Elf,” cries Salabon, “when it is common knowledge that they are very poisonous!”
“What is this foolishness?”
“’Tis true, I am a healer, I am versed in these matters!”
“Then I shall devour you in its stead!” bellows the beast and rears.
“Oh no! You must not! I have inside me the blood of the Kings of Númenòr, there is some Elven blood even in me!”
The dragon visibly recoils at Salabon’s words. “Unclean thing!! REMOVE HIM FROM MY SIGHT! NOW! I shall kill you all!”
Salabon has no choice but to leave, and Beoraborn uses the opportunity to bolt away. This suddenly leaves Feredir standing alone in front of a clearly mad and starved dragon. He swallows. Prospects do not look good.
Before the dragon has a chance to act, he cries, “Glorious creature! By what line are you begot? Of what mighty destroyer are you the son? For surely, your lineage is the noblest of all! I beg you, tell me your name that I might cry it at the top of my lungs in sheer idolatry!”
“My line? Name?!” the dragons pits. The air seems to almost ignite before it. “It is incomprehensible to the likes of you!”
“Oh, indulge me, Radiant Lord, let me bask in the song that it must be to hear!”
The flattery seems to be working rather well, and Feredir finds himself breathing a short sigh of relief. He soon steels himself, however; weakened it might be, but this immense monster could still kill him with but a thought.
“My name… is [incomprehensible to mortals].”
“Astonishing! Marvellous! Beautiful! But what may I call thee, the better to dress my worship?”
“You may address me by my mortal name, which is…” The dragon grows visibly confused. It shrinks in on itself as it mutters and spits. “Elves, filthy stinking lying Elves! They must be destroyed! They have taken it all. Taken it!!” Then it remembers itself, and it pulls itself up to its full height again. “You may call me Turukulon, and TREMBLE BEFORE ME!”

**

Jack Fleetfoot swims. He swims inside his own head, confused, afraid, broken. Only partial glimpses of what transpires around him does he fathom, most importantly that it now is his great pleasure to serve the most magnificent lord of all, the dragon Turukulon. Jack is only partially aware of another soul sharing the small chamber with him, chained to the wall and a mask of iron covering its head and face. No, Jack has more pressing matters, and he looks around him, the room being filled with pieces of precious metals. He picks one at random, and finds in his hands perfect tools. He starts shaping the platinum: when he is finished, the most perfect likeness of Dread Turkulon will be a fitting offering to his new Lord.

**

Beoraborn runs. He is heading straight for the woods and as he is running so does his shape bend and ripple, until it is the shape of a bear running in his path. Beoraborn is an excellent hunter. In his shape of a bear he is nigh-unchallengable. Before long, the shaggy form disappears among the hollies, his thick hide not even phased by their rasping blades.

**

Salabon is in distress. He has left his brother to his own devices, in front of a dread beast, the worst they have ever feared. He must go back! He braces himself, turns, and is about to retreat down the passage, when he is violently dragged backwards, a hand clamped over his mouth.
“Hush!” breaths Eldacar. “I can hear all from this vantage point. I know Feredir’s intent!” He releases Salabon. “Go back outside, and forage; find the most potent killer your skills and lore can identify. Treat the meat Beoraborn brings down, and let us pray the beast is sufficiently dwindled that its senses do not detect the treachery. Now go!”
Salabon is still distressed, but his Elven Companion has given him purpose, and to this he leaps.

**

Meanwhile, Feredir has used every trick learned from Bilbo Baggins to entice, charm and flatter the beast. He has even managed to trick the dragon to roll, revealing to his eagle eyes the birth spot, the imperfection caused by the Wrath of Eru that the chronicles and Bilbo has revealed. It is close to the pit of his front leg, where the skin is soft to begin with. It will be nigh-impossible to pierce it there: weakened Turukulon might be, but not slow, never slow. Its erratic behaviour has more and more begun to manifest in wild, unpredictable movements, and it is clear to Feredir that even though few can rival his quickness, it is extremely doubtful that he will be able to draw his blade and dart across the expanse to slay the beast with one blow. As much as it pains him, this calls for more subterfuge. Had he but been carrying a spear…

He has now learned that the worm Turukulon, though thousands of years old, is not as old as Colargon, nor even of the same generation of worms. According to the books from the Library of Tharbad, Colargon was present at the Fall of Gondolin: Turukulon must have been spawned millennia later, although Feredir has very little knowledge of the times past to which the dragon refers, and knows not one of the names he mentions. It is not a reliable or straightforward narrative to begin with, and Feredir is not much the wiser for hearing Turukulon’s tale. What is clear, however, is that he has been trapped in these ruins for more than a thousand years, and that he feels tricked into coming here, the Elves being who tricked him and captured him. But this makes no sense, as it is clear that the Elves left this place long before even that, and that those so skilled as to dominate these halls would have found a way to slay the dragon, not leave him trapped.

Time passes, and Feredir is growing uneasy. His friends do not reappear, and he feels abandoned and cornered. He is seriously contemplating martial action, when the dragon suddenly forcibly ejects him from the chambers, charging him to find the others and bring the meat. “I can smell it!” he roars. “You must bring it here, lest I go in search for it and come across Elves! This I command!”

Feredir runs up the stairs, and is greeted by Eldacar.
He recounts what he has learned, and Eldacar grows sombre. “I believe I can slay the beast,” he says, “though not in honest combat. Treachery and subterfuge will do this work, and if I fail we may all be doomed.”
Feredir grabs his shoulder. “It may be our only hope. We cannot leave this mad evil alive, and we need to try everything to save Jack. If we give our lives for this task, at least we sacrificed them trying to do the right thing. No one can ask more.”
Eldacar nods. He does not like it, but some times the young Ranger’s moral compass points to the only path.

Salabon and Beoraborn return, the Bejibar with a freshly killed deer over his shoulder.
“I am sorry,” wails Salabon. “I could not find any substance of enough potency to poison a foe so great. I have failed you.”
“Do not despair,” says Feredir. “We still have a chance, and one that will make Eldacar a name of legend. Hear now our plan, and may the Valar look down upon us.”

Eldacar has searched the chambers along the corridors, and found several workshops, with doors leading into the dragon’s chamber. Here, armed with strong tools, Feredir and Salabon sit poised, waiting for the dragon to leave, so they can sprint into the smaller antechamber and free Jack and the other prisoner. Eldadacar, or Bragol, sits hidden, magically veiled, in a nook in the wall around a bend where the opening is so small that the dragon must squeeze through to get to the meat. This will allow him a very brief window of time to carry out his dark business. Beoraborn takes up his place before where the dragon will appear, refusing to fall to subterfuge and intrigue. He has his mighty bow in hand, ready to face the beast and die trying.

The doors explode outwards, and the dragon, maddened with hunger, crash through the halls, trumpeting and bellowing like a rampaging beast. Feredir and Salabon run without a moments pause, and in quick strides are across the room. The dragon is now pounding up the corridor, trumpeting. Eldacar feels like relieving himself. Beoraborn grins, and says a small prayer to his Bear Totem. It is a good day to die.
Clink, clink, the manacles are broken, the mask removed, and the Companions are surprised to see a withered, frail Elf sitting before them, his eyes almost milky, his skin almost as translucent as the dragon’s. Feredir lifts the fragile form, and Salabon puts Jack into a sack. “Where to?” Feredir asks the Elf. He feebly indicates a set of doors, and they head towards them.
Within they are greeted by a set of elaborately carved Elven warriors, statues of mithril, but as they are to pass through, one of them moves! It is about to bring a menacing sword down on Feredir, as the Elf speaks a few words in a long-forgotten tongue, which stays the statue, and it becomes once more immovable. Salabon breathes a sigh of relief. So Eldacar was right: The amulets were keys, and Feredir refused to carry one. Within the chambers, Feredir carefully sets the Elf down. “Will you be safe? We needs must aid my friends.” The Elf nods, and Feredir runs. Salabon is right behind him, Jack forgotten in the sack.

The dragon explodes down the tunnels, and rounds the bend where the smell of blood leads it, maddens it. Turukulon roars so that the walls themselves shake, and the floor tremors, and launches himself at the narrow opening. For just a split second he is stuck between the walls, but just as fast he is lose. Fast, but not fast enough: In the time it takes the dragon to force its way through, Eldacar has his opportunity! Manifesting from the darkness he comes, his sword leading the way for him: The thrice-forged blade of Imladris plunges directly into the very spot Feredir has described, in such detail that Eldacar, in the timeless moment he experiences, can swear that he has seen it before. In, in plunges the blade, and the dragon breaks the very air with a shriek so piercing that Beoraborn drops his bow and covers his ears. The cry echoes down the corridors, and knocks Hunter and Herbs onto the floor. It pierces the spell that binds Jack Fleetfoot, who suddenly finds himself awake inside a dark sack smelling of raddishes.
The dragon rears around, and spies the Elf who has slain him.
“Elfling. You are my bane! You have in Turukulon reddened your glittering blade! Your sword has pierced my heart. Heed me! I curse you now! This shall be your bane.” But whatever Turukulon’s great death-curse, only Eldacar could hear them. To the others, the words were lost in the violence of Turukulon’s death-throes. So, too, is Eldacar, lost beneath the mighty worm’s form as it finally rolls over, dead.

Feredir and Salabon round the corner in time to see the dragon still its throes. “Eldacar!” cries Feredir in desperation.

But there is only silence.

Notes: Turukulon’s words to Feredir are reminiscent of Fáfnir’s words to Sigurd in Fáfnismál. Turukulon seems to emulate Fáfnir when he can, albeit a clearly demented version. Bragol’s mode of killing Turukulon is also not altogether dissimilar from the way Sigurd slew Fáfnir; Sigurd dug a large pit in the path Fáfnir used to crawl from his hoard to water, and hid inside it. When Fáfnir crawled from the gold he blew forth venom, but it flew over Sigurd’s head. When Fáfnir crept over the pit, Sigurd with his sword pierced him to the heart. Fáfnir shook himself, and beat with his head and tail. Interestingly, all similarities were coincidental at the time of play, although Turukulon did have Fáfnir-like dialogue retroactively inserted to create a stronger flavour of mythopoeia.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.