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  1. #101

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 11



    But it was not to last. In the few moments it took me to reach the fire, another Gorthorog appeared at the edge of the ruined wall...



    I spoke a word to bind it as it neared the others, then fetched a firebrand and lit out toward the fires while watching the others do battle...



    The binding still held as I finished with the fires and entered the fray...



    "We have to bring these others down before it awakens!" I shouted, hoping to be heard over the din of battle...



    We fought fiercely...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  2. #102

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 12



    ...furiously...



    ...but there were too many. The Gorthorog became free of the binding and turned to face me...



    He brought mace and hammer down upon me, scarcely missing his mark between the two. The two weapons struck the stone, deafening and dazing me within their clamor...

    I staggered, finding my balance by reaching out to steady myself with the enemy's own weapons...

    I knew we could not afford the time to bring this one down as we did the other, felling it through cuts and scratches near to its roots, as one would fell a tree...



    I saw the Gorthorog rear back for another strike, and I made myself a ready target...

    "Kaleigh!"



    ...at the last moment I twisted myself sideways, avoiding the massive weapons while covering my ears to keep my wits safe from the clamor. Then, I drove my sticker into the maw of the beast with every last bit of my strength...
    Geändert von Valkrist (17.09.2013 um 21:37 Uhr)


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  3. #103

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 13



    I trembled with the closeness of the creature, and the closeness with which I had eluded its ending me...



    The Gorthorog roared, rearing back in pain and for another strike. I endeavored to steady myself once again...



    My strike buckled the creature, and it fell over on its side. I ran to it and finished him before joining the others to battle the enemy that remained...

    "The fires! The fires are low!"



    The others met the new enemy while I hurried to relight the fires...



    Another wave of the dead washed over us. The night seemed endless, and I began to lose heart...

    ...but it was then that I heard Candaith cry out in the darkness...

    "The shadows grow dark. This will be their final push! To arms!"

    Hope... was their yet hope?

    Deverell's cry of anguish roused me from the thought...

    All upon the ruined hill turned to her, both living and dead. Sensing weakness, the dead reached for her...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  4. #104

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 14



    I threw myself between them, swatting away a blade meant for her. But, in my haste, my strike was not true, and the skeleton caught my arm with the crosspiece of its sword...

    I cried out in pain, and with despair...



    Deverell staggered behind me, clutching her side.

    "Oh, Kaleigh. I fear this is a grievous wound..."



    I struggled to keep the dead at bay, away from her...

    "Do whatever you need to do to bind it! I will keep you safe!"



    My shame...



    ...my shame...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  5. #105

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 15



    ...my shame upon the fields of Archet clutches at me. It has never eased, nor will it likely fade until I make atonement...



    My life for hers...



    ...my life before any other...

    If I could only go back...



    I writhed, and I twisted, like the grip upon the heart beating within my chest, to keep Deverell safe...



    She saw to her wounds and then to mine as best she could...

    We fought as one...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  6. #106

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 16



    I dodged an enemy strike and saw an opening...

    ...I lashed out with my sticker...



    I caught the skeleton behind its leg, as it was still unbalanced from its violent swing, and I yanked it toward me forcefully, upending it onto the stone...

    ...we fought on...



    Another wave of the dead gained the hill, led by a shaman of the Palefolk. I bound him and then turned to aid the others in dealing with the rest...



    The air grew cold and heavy with the rain and the din of battle. My stickers grew heavy, as though I swung about long-hafted axes, with blades carved from stone...

    My thoughts were dark and consuming, and I did not hear it in time...

    "Kaleigh!"



    I twirled to meet the shaman, now free of the binding and spewing foul and twisted utterances into the air...

    ...but it was too late...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  7. #107

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 17



    Aaaaaaaaaah!

    My heart was rent by the cries of anguish from my friends, even as I cried out with them. The Darkfire burst within our midst, enveloping us, searing the places where our skin was exposed...

    Our weapons burned in our hands, and every breath we took in was a nightmare...



    Yet, even so, we had to fight on. The shaman and its minions would not leave the Darkfire, and we were sure more were on their way...



    The Darkfire soon consumed itself, but it had taken a heavy toll. We were past the brink of exhaustion, and now every movement we made, and every action we took, was also met with pain. Our eyes still burned with darkflame, and we feared loosening our grip upon the implements we wielded for even a moment, for fear we might have neither the strength, nor the ability, to make firm our grasp once again...

    The margin by which the enemies' swings now missed us thinned to a razor's edge. We were slipping from the edge of the blade upon which we danced...

    It was then that the air grew heavier still, and cold...

    And silent...

    I struck down the wasted being I was battling with and turned to the others. They were looking about as well...

    And then Candaith cried out in a voice shredded by flame and burden, terrible yet strong...

    "Let the foulness that leads this assault come forth and meet its end!"



    The fires dimmed, nearly consumed by an approaching aura of darkness...

    A wraith, cloaked in red, gained the hill and advanced upon us...

    Deverell shuddered, sinking to her knees...



    Candaith was to her side in a moment. Together, we brought her to her feet, and I held her close while he drew his bow...

    He looked to me...

    "Kaleigh, see to the fires and then join us."

    He then looked to Deverell, placing his hand upon her shoulder...

    "Deverell, you're with me."

    She looked up at him and nodded wearily, gifting him with a faint smile. Whatever end we met, we would meet it together...
    Geändert von Valkrist (17.09.2013 um 20:31 Uhr)


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  8. #108

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 18



    I searched for a firebrand to bring with me, sweeping away burning embers as Deverell kept watch over us both...

    "Hurry, Kaleigh!"



    I lit out toward the fires with all speed and then rushed back to join the others...



    Within the downfall of the rain and the shroud of darkness, we met the wraith in battle. It wielded a blade as tall as a man and half again, and he swung it in a wide arc, with the strength of a cavalry charge...

    Advancing upon it would have been folly...

    Candaith held up his arm, spinning his hand in a circle...

    We made to surround the wraith...



    We battled with it for a long while, the one it had engaged merely keeping it at bay, while the other would strike it from behind...

    We were holding our own, and we took heart. If we could but keep our strength...



    The wraith halted its attacks and began chanting dark words. The earth and stone beneath us began to swell and tremble...

    "What is it calling upon us?!" I cried.

    "Stop it! Stop its desecration!" shouted Candaith.

    We struck at the wraith with all the strength we could muster, but we could not turn it from its incantation...

    Beings began to surface from the swelling earth, like worms during a storm...

    Candaith looked ashen...

    "No..."


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  9. #109

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 19



    The dead of the watchtower of old, men who had long ago lived their lives and rested peacefully since their ending, they now rose to heed their new master's call, doing battle with us...

    Deverell fought to speak her words of lifting for us between her sobs...

    Tears streamed from my eyes, blurring a heinous vision...

    Alongside Candaith, we turned toward his kin of old, to strike them down while still battling the great evil that meant to see us undone...



    The endless night and the endless darkness wore on...



    ...and we were teetering upon the razor's edge. At times, we were nearly lost...



    ...but we found a way to rally ourselves, and we fought on...



    The terrible wraith summoned more dead to him, even as we broke the others down...

    It swung its blade with a palpable malevolence, which we felt sweep over us even when the blade itself did not find its mark...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  10. #110

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 20



    It spit dark words and dark magics upon us, visible upon its fetid breath...

    ...yet we fought on...



    The fires began to falter as I was surrounded...

    "Kaleigh, see to the fires! I will lure them from you," Candaith rasped, with the remaining shreds of his voice.

    I fought my way over to him, nearer the central fire...



    The wraith turned toward me. It reared back and let out a screech that nearly knocked me to the ground...

    "Kaleigh, behind you!" Candaith shouted.

    I turned in time to meet a skeleton's axe with my sticker, steering it away. The fires had nearly burnt themselves out in the time it took for me to send the skeleton back to its rest...

    I twirled back toward the fire to fetch a firebrand...

    "Kaleigh!"

    Something grappled me from behind, and I cried out with pain as I felt something rake across my shoulder. I was lifted off my feet and spun back toward the battle...



    A hand of bone reached for my face, clawing at the air before me. Another skeleton had kept me from the fire, punching a hole through my tunic in the attempt...



    I shook myself free, fending off the skeleton while bunching my torn leathers under my strapping to help bind my shoulder...

    But the fires were dying, and I knew there was little chance of us lasting were they to fail. I stole a glance at the others, hoping one of them might intercede for me...

    ...but they were nearly overrun...

    I maneuvered toward the fire, trying to find a firebrand with one hand, while keeping the skeleton at bay...

    ...but the dead one fought through the will of its master, and it found the firebrand an easy target to knock from my hands...

    "Kaleigh! The fires!"

    I cried out in despair, for I no longer had the strength to bind it by word. My other tricks were all but gone, spent at desperate times, when our lives hung in the balance...

    Our light was fading...
    Geändert von Valkrist (17.09.2013 um 21:48 Uhr)


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  11. #111

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 21



    ...and the portal loomed before me...



    I trembled with fright and with grief, as I endeavored to find a way. But fatigue dulled my thoughts, even as the pain pierced through them. The thought of our ending, and making it count for as much as it possibly could, began to surface. My gaze turned downward in despair...

    My eye caught the glimmer of the dying fire reflected by my boot-knife...

    ...and it was then that an old remembrance returned to me, an off-hand comment during a day of training with the way-watchers, and a desperate ploy that I had rarely found a reason to use...

    After dodging the next swing of the skeleton's axe, I quickly threw my sticker into the earth and drew my boot-knife. I raised myself up as high as I was able, lowering my guard...



    At the moment when the skeleton began its upward swing, I threw my other sticker into the earth, taking my boot-knife in both hands. I felt the swing of the skeleton's axe above me, as I dropped to the ground, aiming for the skeleton's foot and twisting my knife so that the crosspiece would cover its entire width...

    I drove the knife through the bones of its foot and into the earth below with all my strength, hoping to bind it to the spot. I then reached for my stickers and wrapped my arms over my head, flinging myself backwards...

    The axe-blade brushed my wristguards as I dove away, landing on my backside. I scrambled to my feet and backed toward the fire...



    The skeleton struggled to free its foot from the earth for a few moments, before peering at me with unseeing eyes...



    I became lost in its struggle...

    "The fires! Kaleigh, the fires!


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  12. #112

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 22



    I turned to find a firebrand from the fire, replacing my boot-knife with one of my stickers...



    ...and I ran the circle once more, while Candaith saw to the rest, and Deverell kept watch over us both...



    We battled on, drawing upon each other for strength. But we were fading. Our time was counted in minutes, by the fingers of one hand, and not every one of them...

    ...but we were not the only ones...

    The darkness had eased, ever so slightly. The wraith had ceased its spewing of curses, nor had it called for more dead in a long while. We sensed its end was near, as it surely did ours...

    And now it danced upon the razor's edge with us. One mistake, one misstep...



    The wraith lunged at me...

    I ducked away just in time...



    ...and in that brief moment, while it was open to attack, I pierced its garments with my sticker, driving it into its being as deeply as I was able...

    It fell away and, for a moment, all was silent...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  13. #113

    Stand on Amon Sul - Part 23



    Then the air about us rushed past, and into the space where the wraith once stood. Its robes billowed and swelled, the arms flung into the air by the rushing wind, which then exploded like the cracking of a whip...

    The robe began to lightly settle, falling to the earth...



    "It is slain! It is slain!" cried Deverell with joy.

    Candaith spun in place. "The others! See to the others!"

    My hand went numb, and my heart raced. I followed Candaith, stumbling toward the remaining dead, and we finished them...

    We then fell to the ground, breathless and worn beyond reckoning...



    The darkness faded quickly. When we finally had the strength to stand once again, we saw that it was mid-morning of the next day. We had fought through the night.



    We three remained, standing, upon the weathered peak.


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  14. #114

    Obstacles



    Obstacles



    Candaith was the first to recover his breath and finally speak.

    "Well done, both of you. There were a good many more in that war-band than I had suspected," he said.

    "We are fortunate to have escaped with our lives," said Deverell, still trembling from all that was involved in the battle.

    Candaith looked to her. "Fortunate? Very much so, yet fortune was not all that stood here with us this past night."

    He looked around the weathered summit, at those lying on the ground who had met their end, before continuing, "While I wish I could say that we had met under a better circumstance, Lady Deverell, the truth is that meeting would never have been, save for your presence here this day. Scout Kaleigh and I, we owe you our lives."



    I turned to smile at Deverell and witness her flustering, both with such praise and the fatigue that wore upon us all.

    "Thank you, my lord," she managed.

    I squeezed her hand. "He is right, you know. We would be lost without you here with us."

    Candaith then turned to me. "Saeradan would be proud, Scout Kaleigh. You took to your lessons well.

    I smiled at him...

    ...yet the grip upon my heart remained...

    "Come, let us see to the horses, and if they have been spared."



    Once Deverell had treated our more pressing wounds, we began our descent down from Weathertop and toward Candaith's camp.

    "Where now will you go, Candaith?" I asked. "Perhaps the three of us should share the same path for a time."

    He shook his head.

    "I fear that time has ended, for the Enemy has seen the same opportunity that Halbarad envisioned, and has acted upon it. We have been forced to move more quickly that we would have liked."

    "The others Halbarad sent, you mean. The others sent with you?" I asked.

    He nodded.

    "Yes. We were to make for western lands and sweep eastward, looking for opportunities to hinder enemy efforts and spoil their plans. But word has reached us that the Enemy is already on the move, and that we are needed in southern lands. I am likely the last of us in these parts, save for those in the haven. And I, too, must now make for distant lands.

    We silently made our way toward camp for some minutes before he spoke again.

    "If you mean to continue on this path, you would act more as obstacles to the enemy rather than the quiet knife striking from the shadows. And neither Halbarad, nor I, nor any other amongst us would ask you to act as such."

    I was still considering this new course, and how different the path might be for us, when Deverell said, "We made a good showing of it today, at least."

    "That we did." I nodded and looked to Candaith.

    Candaith grinned wearily, "I should have known better than to expect those who had henpecked me into resting upon arriving at my camp to give up so easily."

    Deverell and I put our arms around each others' shoulders and made a show of mock defiance, before the effort became too much to bear.

    We had survived, to see another day, and we celebrated life and the bonds we had forged through blood and sacrifice...

    Candaith looked westward and said, "In the Ered Luin, the Dourhand have a stronghold. Do you know of it?"

    I reached for the map in my pack.

    "Sarnur, it is called, yes?" I asked.

    He nodded. "It is believed that they lie in wait, growing stronger as each season passes. On my way through the mountains, I witnessed signs that the time they will be unleashed grows near. But I did not have time to be sure."

    I looked to Deverell and, when she nodded, I said, "We will journey there and see."

    Candaith nodded, "Good. You may find yourselves following our path, finding signs we have overlooked and seeing to troubles that have sprung up in the time since my brothers and I had first passed through."

    "We will begin the journey tomorrow, once we have each taken rest and treated our ailments," I said.



    We reached Candaith's camp and found the horses safe. We brought them to water and a better place to graze.

    We each took turns at watch, allowing the others much needed rest, and Deverell's poultices and remedies worked well to ease the wounds we carried away from battle. We rested through the remainder of the day and the night that followed.

    The next morning we gathered ourselves for the long road ahead, bidding one another a safe journey. until the fortunate day when we might meet again.


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  15. #115

    Obstacles - Part 2



    We had mounted up and begun easing Dandi and Dancer southward, when we heard Candaith call out.

    "Scout Kaleigh, a word."

    Deverell and I looked to each other a moment. She then urged Dancer to keep walking, while I turned Dandi back toward the camp.

    "Your friend, Deverell, is very brave," Candaith said, once I had returned.

    I smiled. "I had no idea how much before this, but you speak truly."

    Candaith raised an eyebrow, "Never in battle before this?"

    "Only during a fight or two we had in the Weather Hills on the way here, at least to my knowledge," I replied.

    "I see."

    He said no more for some time, and I was just about ready to turn Dandi about and rejoin Deverell, when he spoke once more.

    "The road you both are undertaking has become much more perilous than the one you meant to take," he said.

    I sighed and nodded. "I know, but we will take care while traversing it, I promise."

    "See that you do," he replied. "Remember that the Enemy is now actively working toward their plan, and you are likely to come upon obstacles too great for the two of you to tear down. Your friend, being new to battle, will not be able to advise you in this, so you will be your greatest counsel. When in doubt, find a way to circumvent challenges too great for the two of you, and move on to other things you can manage."

    "We will," I assured him.

    He looked at me sternly for a few moments before finally nodding.

    I nodded and waved my farewell to him before turning Dandi back toward the south and walking her away.

    From over my shoulder I heard Candaith say, "I am most grateful you both found me here."

    I sighed and smiled, while keeping to the southward path.

    As am I, my friend...



    I trotted Dandi to catch up to Deverell on the hills leading southward, toward the Great East Road. Weathertop loomed over our shoulder, a monument to the narrow victory we had won there.



    We spied some goblin camps in the valley below and decided to skirt them by going westward, letting the peaks of the hills we traversed give us cover.



    Deverell brought Dancer to a halt and waited, so that we could ride together for a bit.

    "So what did Candaith wish to tell you that was not meant for my ears to hear?" she asked, with a smile.



    I looked away, toward the road we were nearing.

    "He said you look pretty when you are flustered," I replied, with all the solemnity I could muster.

    She smacked me on the shoulder that the skeleton has raked with its decaying nails, and I winced.

    "You do not want to have to treat this again, do you?" I smiled at her while rubbing my shoulder.

    "Out with it, then! Unless, it really was meant to be private..." she trailed off.

    "It was nothing like that, I promise you. He said much the same as Lord Gildor, really. And how lucky I was, to have you with me."

    She lowered her hand, and her expression eased a bit. "That is all? Not the part about being flustered?"

    I lay my hand on her arm. "Had he said that, I would have been forced to correct him by saying you look that way all of the time. Save for when you are smacking me, that is."

    We both laughed, and our laughter helped to chase away the horror of that terrible night...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  16. #116

    Obstacles - Part 3



    We reached the Great East Road and turned onto it, heading westward.

    Our road would be a long one, I knew, and we were still recovering from the ordeal just past.

    "There is an inn not far off down the road, where we can take some rest," I said. "It lies near the border of Bree-land."

    "A rest would be welcome," Deverell said.



    We reached the Forsaken Inn in the late afternoon and stopped, deciding that more rest now would leave us stronger for what might come in the days ahead.

    "Tomorrow is a new day, girl. We will be off when daylight breaks," I whispered to Dandi.



    I had not had reason to come this way for some time, but the Inn was still quite a sight, though a welcome one for the weary.



    "Let us hope that it does not rain this night," said Deverell.

    "Oh, not to fear." I smiled. "Rain is quite rare in these parts."



    We went inside, and I made to fetch us a room while Deverell saw to our things. There was a man standing at the bar, so I waited patiently for a few moments.

    When he saw me, he said, "I am just waiting for more swill, lass. Go on ahead."

    I smiled at him. "Thank you, sir."


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  17. #117

    Obstacles - Part 4



    I then turned to the innkeep and said, "I would like a room, with a roof, please?"



    Both Deverell and I were most grateful for that discretion later, as a storm began to bluster in the early morning and was still at it when we meant to leave the next day.



    The two of us stared glumly into the clouded and darkened sky.

    "We really should cover some ground today," I said.

    "I suppose we should," Deverell sighed.

    When I saw her gaze move back to the door of the inn, however, I took hold of her wrist and pulled her toward the stables.

    "Come on," I said. "It is not like we will get any more wet now."



    We made for the stables, though we dreaded the reception we would receive from the horses regarding what promised to be a rain-filled day of travel.



    I stroked Dancer behind her ears. "I am sorry, girl, but we dearly need to take to the road today."


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  18. #118

    Obstacles - Part 5



    She cast a baleful look my way as I whistled for Dandi, who was braving the rain to graze a bit on the sparse grasses near the stables.



    I hugged her about her neck. "I am so sorry, girl. I will make it up to you, someday. I promise."

    She pawed at the ground and nodded her head in agreement, as if to make sure I would remember that last bit. Most everything she did found its way to my heart.



    We set off into the rain and the wind, heading westward and into Bree-land.



    Our journey together seemed already to be a long one, but the true storm was only just beginning, I knew...



    ...yet I looked forward, with hope for the opportunity to make my atonement, and to shed the burden that I have carried, for good...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  19. #119

    Obstacles - Part 6



    The only opportunity the storm afforded us at the moment, however, was a means to catch our death.

    I beckoned toward Deverell and pointed down the road leading toward the homesteads, south and east of Bree-town.

    When she had caught up to me, I said, "There is no use fighting this storm any more today. We can take rest at my home and gather things for the coming journey."

    "That sounds like a wonderful plan to me!" cried Deverell, as she swept some of the rainwater from her face and flicked it at me.



    We turned southward, onto the homestead road, and made for shelter.



    We gained the rise that overlooked the Graventry district, to which my home belonged. I turned to look back at Deverell and smiled.

    "We are nearly there. You can see my home from here."



    Once we had reached my home, we brought the horses to the stables and brushed them dry.

    Having gotten them settled in for the night, we brought our packs back to the house, to set by the hearth so they might dry out overnight.



    "You have a lovely home, Kaleigh. I can tell even through all the rain," Deverell said. "You should have had me over long ago."


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  20. #120

    Obstacles - Part 7



    "I know, and I am sorry for that," I said, looking back to smile at her. "I do not often have people over, I suppose. But, for now, let us get out of the rain."



    I began walking toward the house.

    "Why is that?" I could hear her ask over my shoulder, but I continued on, wanting to get inside and out of the cold.



    After I had opened the door and let Deverell in, I stepped back for a moment, for another look...



    ...would this be the last time I would see my home?



    Once we had gotten out of our wet things and set everything near the hearth to dry, I let Deverell have free rein over my wardrobe, to be prepared for any climes into which our journey might bring us.

    As I worked on some letters, an idea began to come to me...


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  21. #121

    Obstacles - Part 8



    I let my mind wander, over the roads and paths that we had taken together, and what we had seen and had done...

    ...then, my mind went back to darker times and darker roads, and I felt a chill come over me. Icy tendrils woven and clinging...

    "Kaleigh?"



    "Kaleigh!"

    I jumped, startled by Deverell's voice and her presence before me.

    "What are you doing?" she asked.

    "Oh, I had an idea is all, to make a record of our journey."



    I took up the map lying before me on my writing desk and one of my quills, and I began to make notations upon it.

    "This is an art that my dear friend, Madaelin, taught to me. It is something she learned while on her journeys into southern lands while visiting family," I said, with a smile.

    "If only you had arrived a day early when we met in Bree-town," I chided her. "You could have met her, and many others. She was there for the 'revelry', as you term it."



    When I reached for another quill lying in a phial of differently colored ink, I noticed Deverell edging around my writing desk.

    "No, no, no! Not before it is ready!" I laughed, swatting at the air before her, to keep her away.

    She laughed and went back to the other side of the desk, before beginning to wander about the drawing room, looking over my things. I went back to work on my map, while keeping a watchful eye out for any more mischief.

    "You really do have a lovely home," Deverell said, after a time. "You should let others visit and see it more often."



    "Thank you," I said softly, as I looked up to reach for another quill.

    "Oh, my dress!"

    Deverell stopped, looking alarmed. "Do you mind? It is so lovely, I could not help..."

    I smiled at her. "I did not mean it that way at all, truly. What I meant to say was that you wear it so well, and far better than I. And that I should just gift it to you, which I think I will, as the small payment toward the very large debt that I owe you for joining me on this endeavor."

    "Kaleigh, you needn't feel that you owe a debt to me," she said.

    "But I do, and I will atone for it," I replied.

    She looked at me for a moment, before she smiled once again. "Fine. This dress then, and nothing else!"

    "We shall see," I said, smiling at her.


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  22. #122

    Obstacles - Part 9



    After a few more minutes, I beckoned Deverell over to me.

    "I think it is done. What you you think?" I asked, holding the map for her to view.



    "I wonder where our road might eventually lead, and where you will mark the ways we will have taken," she mused, tracing our path thus far upon the map with her finger.

    "I guess we will find out beginning tomorrow," I said. "But enough of this for now. Let us go to the sitting room and take our ease for the night."

    I set the map down on the desk and took Deverell by the hand, leading her to the sitting room.



    We chatted into the late evening about other things, setting aside all that was involved with our endeavor for the night. We knew that our road must move inevitably forward on the morrow but, for the remainder of the evening, we dwelled in the past, under the light of more pleasant moments and memories...



    When sleep began to finally claim us, I led Deverell to my bedroom.

    "You can sleep in here. I will rest by the hearth," I told her.

    She began to protest. "Kaleigh..."

    "Here," I said, firmly, before breaking into a smile. "Do not make me turn you out into the cold."



    I had my way, of course, and finally went to sleep in the sitting room by the fire.

    I slept soundly and did not wake until the morning.


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  23. #123

    Obstacles - Part 10



    We awoke the next day and went outside to find that the storm had finally passed, while an early Autumn morning was waiting to greet us. We took hold of each others' hand, while also taking in the morning's beauty for a moment.

    Deverell squeezed my hand. "It looks to be quite a day," she said with a smile.

    I hugged her to me for a moment before setting off for the stables.



    "We best make for the road, before the temptation to leave it for another day grows too strong," I laughed.



    We fetched the horses, settled our packs upon them, and made ready for the road. As we began to set off, I turned to take one last look at my home, before turning Dandi onto the road leading away from the homesteads.



    We soon joined up with the Great East Road and turned westward upon it, making for Bree-town.



    We approached the southern gate of Bree-town mid-morning. "We can stop for some supplies for the road while here and check the post," I offered.

    "Very well," said Deverell.

    "But no delaying our journey like the last time we were here," I smiled at her. "That will not fly today!"

    I rode off into town before she could respond.


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  24. #124

    Obstacles - Part 11



    We stopped by the town vault, where I found that a parcel awaited me. I brought it outside, into the sunlight, and began to open it as Deverell looked on.

    "What is it? What is inside?" she asked, pretending to be nosy and a bother, all on purpose.

    "Never you mind," I laughed, while peeking inside so that she could not see. "Oh!"

    "What? What is it?" she persisted, as I withdrew a piece of parchment from the box and read it.

    "How very nice," I mused loudly once I was done, smiling at her and folding the parchment before tucking it into my pocket to Deverell's dismay. I put the parcel into the pack I had brought with me.

    "What was in it?" she asked once again, teasing me.

    "Never you mind! A surprise for later, perhaps, if you behave better," I grinned. "We should go to the market and fetch what we need for the road ahead."

    "Of course," she nodded.



    As I turned and began to head toward the market square, I felt someone open my pack and begin rummaging through it...



    I twirled and smacked Deverell's hand away while laughing. "Enough! To the market now with you!"

    At the market we fetched some rations for the road and other supplies for the journey.



    It was mid-day when we left Bree-town behind us and took to the road again. We left by the Western gate, going westward on the Great East Road.



    We came upon Adso's camp in the late afternoon and decided to remain there, having earned our rest for the day.


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

  25. #125

    Obstacles - Part 12



    "Greetings, lasses!" called out one of the workers, as we approached a small stable.

    "Good day, sir!" I said. "Might we leave our horses with you for the evening?"

    "Most certainly!" he replied. "I will take care of them for you, do not worry."



    I brought Dandi over and dismounted from her, handing some coin over to the stable hand. "For both of ours, please," I said, gesturing toward Deverell and Dancer as well.

    "Of course," he smiled, taking the coin.

    "We will be off early in the morning on the morrow." I said.



    After the stable hand had walked the horses off to water, Deverell asked me, "What is this place? I have never been this far west of Bree-town."

    "Oh, this is a merchant and traveling camp, run by one of the Shire," I said. "Unless it has changed hands by now, but I do not think so."

    I looked around for any I might recognize, while Deverell watched quietly.

    "Yes, there is Master Adso," I said, gesturing toward a hobbit who had spied us and beckoned us over. I waved back to him and nodded.

    "I did some Scouting for him, a long while ago. Come, let us go give him our regards," I smiled.



    "Master Adso, it is wonderful to see you once again!" I greeted him, as we approached.

    "Good day, Kaleigh!" he said, "And good day to you, too... Miss..."

    "Deverell," both Deverell and I said at once, causing the three of us to break into a laughing spell.

    "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Master Adso," Deverell finally said when she was able.

    "How are things," I asked Adso, while looking about. "Business seems to be going well for you all here."

    "Not bad. Not bad at all!" he smiled. He then looked to me with a bit of eagerness and said, "Still, there may be some work for you both here, if you still have an interest in such things?"

    I looked at Deverell quickly and then said, "Oh, I am sorry, but our days are accounted for now, at least for a good while. We are traveling westward, and into the Shire, in fact."

    "Mmm... the Shire. I wish I had the time to go back more often, but obstacles have a way of rising up and getting into the way." he mused, more to himself than to us.

    Deverell and I looked on quietly until he came to notice us once again. "Oh, no matter then, but I thought I might ask, just in case," he smiled.

    "Perhaps upon our return," I offered, wishing I had more to offer in the moment.

    He held up his hand and said, "Think no more of it. The run of the camp is yours, and know you both are welcome here, anytime."

    We offered him our thanks and parted, heading back toward the stable.



    I fetched the pack into which I had secreted the parcel from the post in Bree, while Deverell looked on.

    "It is time, then, I think," I smiled at Deverell.

    "Time for what?" she asked.

    "For a little something to celebrate how far we have come thus far on our journey," I replied. "Follow me."


    Currently running The Spirit Gauntlet, during which no fate is unimaginable...

    'Legendary' Items - Tips, Tricks, and a Guide to the 'Grind' - a Legendary Items guide! (And a new Imbuing guide! and Essence guide!)

    The Life and Times of Kaleigh Starshine: Curing insomnia, one reader at a time, and a proud resident of The Cottage of Pen and Play

 

 
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