The Family Line Part 9 – To the Tower

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Part 9 – To the Tower

ScreenShot00547Rain came very quickly that day. Soon, Theomin and Bragga were drenched. The rain made the road difficult as it made the slog through the mud very tough for his horse. In the distance, the Gondorian tower had disappeared through the thick fog laden rain that covered his surroundings like a blanket.

Not too far from the Elthengels was a small outpost to the north and a farming community to the south. There was no path nor road that stretched from the Elthengels to the tower. He exited the path just past the outpost and the first thing he saw were a few houses. Those must have been those farm houses Amandwyn was mentioning in her journal. It was also where the man she loved was from. A bit further to the east crops were burned and other houses were burnt to ashes. It looked like it had been attacked. Theomin did not see anything moving but did not want to investigate for fear of an orc attack. The clouds looked as ominous as the clouds during the attack on the Elthengels. Some unnatural force was driving the clouds, making them linger.

ScreenShot00450A sudden thumping in the distance startled Theomin. The thumping was getting closer and louder. He drew his staff and kicked his horse to run faster. Soon, he must have made it out of the thick fog bank as his sight greatly improved. Approaching him was an orc riding a warg. Theomin quickly threw a fireball at the orc. The warg rider did not even pause as it continued after Theomin. It circled around Theomin, wanting to swipe at him with its filthy orc sword but Bragga was truly as great as his father told him. The horse ran faster and banked tighter than his other horse ever could. The orc missed and Theomin threw another fireball at the orc. That one burst on the orc setting it aflame to the point the orc collapsed to the ground, rolling around burning alive. It finally stopped,ScreenShot00456 succumbing to the relentless fire which covered its body. He looked around for other warg riders roaming around where he was. There did not seem to be any. He patted Bragga and rubbed her mane. “Good girl.” He whispered.

The fog soon lifted enough to see he was close to his destination. He was unsure what to expect from the tower as he has never been into anything Gondorian other than the small ruins just north of his farm where he played hide and seek with his mother and his sister. The tower was much larger and more ominous than he expected. It must have been beautiful back when it was under charge of Gondor. The aged and decrepit look gave the ScreenShot00458whole area an unwelcome eeriness. The tower was situated next to a small pond at the base of some short hills to the south. The ground was muddier than the surrounding soil because of the saturated pond ground. The rain did not make the riding any easier. As he closed in on the tower, he noticed there was a small contingent of orcs stationed just outside of it. Theomin quickly dismounted as he did not want to be a tall target for the orcs to spot from far away. He sent Bragga away, crouching in the brush outside the tower.

“What are these orcs doing here?” He whispered to himself. “Okay, now what am I going to do?” he said as he had never alone faced so many orcs before. In his mind he thought of all the skills at his disposal. The deadlier the skills were, though, the more attention they would attract. He knew that there was no other way he could get into the tower by sneaking in it. It looked like the only way in was blocked by the orcs.

ScreenShot00548Theomin low crawled toward the unsuspecting orcs. When he was close enough to engage the orcs he counted to three. “One,” he put his hands flat on the ground and his staff at the ready. “Two,” he breathed in a deep breath and readied his legs. “Three!” Before they saw anything he stood up, and raised his staff and then slammed it down sending down a blinding flash of lightning. The small band of orcs fell quickly to the shock and flame. Quickly, he readied his sticky gourd firebomb. A few more orcs emerged from the tower. It was no sooner than they emerged that Theomin threw the firebomb at them. It hit the top of the tower entrance and rained down fire as he then sent out fire balls at them. They succumbed quickly. Theomin then sent out a whirling tornado. Lightning flashed, striking yet more knocking them out. He readied himself for more orcs. Without surprise, more ran out. They were orcs withScreenShot00563 bows. Theomin had to dodge them but one came right at him. As he flinched he mistakenly threw up a sign of power, covering him for a short time from the arrows. He took that chance to charge the orcs as they readied more arrows. His shielding receded just as he reached the orcs he swung his staff, knocking the orcs out before they could ready their orc swords. Inside he saw an orc ready to fire off another arrow. Theomin sent out a blinding flash, which blinded and confused the orc. He ran over to it and smashed the orc in the head with his staff, sending a bolt of lightning, killing the orc. He stopped and looked around. A pile of orcs were lying on the ground.

He stepped backScreenShot00564, hitting the wall in shock. He covered his mouth and thought about what had just happened. As he looked at the dead bodies of the orcs he started to wonder what he was becoming. The quest was turning him into a killer. Theomin was started to hyperventilate as he thought of himself as becoming something he was not. He tried to breathe in through his nose and out his mouth as much as possible and collapsed on the ground.

He buried his deep horror of killing and tried to take a few moments to reclaim his wits. With resolve he remembered that he went to the tower for a ScreenShot00560single reason, and that was to finally get answers. He took in a deep breath, looked up, and then climbed the stairs which lined the western wall going up around, then a platform heading north toward the second set of stairs on the eastern side. Theomin climbed the stairs half expecting resistance which never came. He looked around the tower. The higher he climbed the more he expected to find something. He was not sure what he was looking for but there had to be something that tied the tower to his past. The third floor held books and maps strewn about on the floor. The fourth floor had ruined walls with a half covered picture of a man and to his right, a swan. “Why the knight and the swan?” he thought to himself. Theomin knew the fourth floor held nothing of interest to him. He walked back down to the third level. Looking at the books held no answers. Maps held nothing specific on them. Book shelves had nothing but old ScreenShot00552books on them.

Theomin’s hopes of finding clues was shattering. He sat with his back to the book shelves. He had gone all that way for nothing. In frustration he shoved some books out of the way and that was when he saw it. Under old books and papers was a map. It was just the very corner a map of middle earth much like the rest of them but had markings that were hardly visible. He pushed all the books and strewn papers out of the way. It was a map of Middle Earth with circles. One of the circles was where the Gondorian tower sat. There were hash marks next to each circle, possible signifying a number. Number one was just east of a place called “Fornost.” Was this a map of locations? Was it a map of someone’s path? He picked up the map but as he lifted it the map tore. The dampened environment and the bad conditions in the tower corroded the map to the point Map of Middle Earthwhere it was immovable. He dropped it not wanting to damage it more than it already was. He thought for a few moments. If he had a piece of coal he could simply copy the numbers on another map. He had no coal. Quickly, he found some wood. He lit it on fire for a few moments and put out the flame. He retrieved another map and transferred the locations onto the other map using the burnt wood as a writing instrument.

Rustling came from below. Steps followed after them and then grunts. “Where’d they all go off to?” Said a voice. It was a deep, grunting, and raspy voice. “The master said they’d be right ‘eer.”

There was silence and a sniffing sound from below. He heard another voice speak up, “What is it?”

A deeper voice grunted, “Man flesh.”

Theomin copied as fast as he could just two points. The place east of Fornost and the other in a wooded area called the “Trollshaws.” In the quietest manner he could, he rolled up the map. He stood and looked over the edge of the floor. Down below were two orcs searching around. He heard them talking amongst themselves about the dead orcs down below and the master not being happy. It was very hard to make out what they were saying but that was what he gathered. Then, his foot must have flipped a rock next to the edge of the floor. Before Theomin could do anything about it, the rock fell. There was complete silence as if time itself advanced in slow motion as he saw the rock falling toward the orcs. SMACK! It hit the head of one of the orcs. It grabbed its head as the others looked right up at Theomin.

“Get that filthy bugger!” one yelled. Two orcs ran up the tower stairs.

ScreenShot00554Theomin let loose a fireball, consuming one. The other was coming as fast as it could and drew its bow. Theomin ducked behind a pillar just as an arrow flew past. He used wind-lore to slow the orc but he had to incapacitate the filthy orc. He quickly dropped a sticky gourd down the center of the tower. It shattered catching the orc below on fire. It screamed for a few moments then became silent. Theomin then ran toward the orc on the stairs. He started get a fireball ready but the orc leaped onto him and held Theomin’s arms down, trying to bite him. Saliva was dripping from the foul mouth of the orc as its face drew closer and closer to him. With his legs Theomin pushed up on the orc, flipping it up and around off of him. It fell to the on ground and scrambled trying to bite Theomin’s leg. He moved his leg and stuck the end of his staff into the mouth and down the throat of the orc. It stopped with shock on its face and just gargled as it was drooling a little. Theomin calmly removed a sticky gourd from his pouch and gently placed it inside the drooling mouth of the orc. He withdrew his staff and smacked the orcs mouth closed. It started to incinerate from the inside out.

Theomin ran down the stairs, as the orc was screaming and yelling out in pain. He made sure no other orcs were around. He clenched the map very tightly as he quickly exited the tower. He blew his horn to summon Bragga. His horse trotted toward him, almost happy to see Theomin. He quickly mounted it and was off away from the Gondorian tower. He looked back on it as it disappeared in the dense fog laden rain and Theomin gave an enormous sigh of relief that he did not have to go back there and do what he did again.

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