The Family Line Part 22 – A Forest Too Sinister

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Part 22 – A Forest Too Sinister

Sharp rocks, roots, and all sorts of forest things slid under Theomin’s back. His hands were bound as were his legs. He was being dragged, he knew not where. The forest floor was painful. With each moment that passed, pain increased ten-fold as he was being dragged. He had no way of defense. No way to ward off the evil that was dragging him. His staff was gone and Bragga was gone. Only a few glimpses of forest could be seen through the fibers of the sackcloth placed over his head. He was blinded by all else and those who were dragging him. From what he remembered, there was one dragging him and another who placed the sackcloth over his head. They were silent, not making a sound in the dense wood nor a whisper. They moved swiftly, even for dragging Theomin along the forest floor through the leaves.

At last, the dragging stopped. Just a few moments later the sack cloth was removed from his head. They were standing before him, dark creatures in tattered cloaks staring down at him. He saw no faces as they were vailed from site. A sudden fear and panic engulfed Theomin as he looked at them. Then one spoke in a sort of whisper, “For what purpose have you come into this wood?”

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ScreenShot00301A sudden very loud explosion erupted to the east. Theomin awoke as did all the other Rohirrim, and looked back toward the sound. As Theomin gathered his wits, his heart was pumping hard. The sound came from Rohan. The explosion was unlike anything Theomin had ever hear before. The closest sound that has ever come to that was the sudden clap of a thunder strike. The Rohirrim encamped in Forthbrond looked to the east as well. Their swords were drawn. Their bows were at the ready. Again, it fell silent. The sounds of night returned to the Gap of Rohan. The rays of the sun had not yet reached the horizon. It was still the middle of the night. Whatever was happening in Rohan, it must have been terrible.

Theomin laid back down and thought of his friends who stayed in Helm’s Deep. He hoped for their safety. Eashae and Kemel were good people, rich with good intention and honor. As the others in the camp fell asleep, so did Theomin but it was a light, unrestful sleep.

A man coughing in the background woke Theomin. Morning had arrived much quicker than he wished. He looked around at the other Rohirrim who were so used to the bustle of the camp that they stayed asleep and snored very loudly. Theomin just looked up at the sky, which was slowly turning blue from an indigo hue.

He ScreenShot00306stood up, stretched his back and then had the realization that he was in a different country. This was the part of the journey he dreaded the most as he had no knowledge of the Dunlandings and by the sounds of them, he did not want to know them. He stood up and wandered half asleep toward a bucket of water. He splashed his face with the cold water. The shock of the frozen water caught Theomin by surprise. He felt better, though, and determined to set of north.

He walked through the Rohirrim camp, looking at all the men who were busy feeding their horses, sharpening their swords and eating. He had wondered to where Betered had disappeared until he looked up at the guard post by the northern gate. There he was, much like the night before, staring out at the frontier of the gap.

“Starting an early shift?” Theomin yelled up at the guardsman.

He looked down toward Theomin. “That sound last night woke me and I have not slept since. I just took over and will sleep later.”

“Do you know what the sound was? It came from Rohan.”

“I know not. It was new to me. I have never heard the like. I am hoping my brothers in Rohan are safe.” Betered said.

“As do I.” Theomin agreed. “I will be heading out north soon.”

Betered nodded. “Remember what I told you. Trust no Dunlandings. They are evil creatures and care for not but themselves and serving that dark power in Isengard.”

ScreenShot00276“I will remember. Thank you.” Theomin turned. He was not sure if this was the last time he would see the sight of the Rohirrim or not. He just knew he wanted to emblazon the images of Rohan into his mind. He looked back at the barricades and banners of Rohan and kept that picture fresh in his mind. He closed his eyes, keeping the sight in his mind and then mounted his horse, heading north toward Dunland.

His heading continued on a path that wound a little, avoiding boulders and shrubs and brambles. Up into the hills to the north he continued. Often he wondered if being mounted was a smart idea but his thoughts were always ScreenShot00277pushed aside by his feeling of safety with Bragga. He was a man of Rohan. He just felt right on Bragga. As he continued up through the hills, the steeps continually closed in on him, his breathing was stifled, and his sight was greatly decreased. He had no choice but to follow the path as all the cliffs closed in on him.

As he continued north, his course continued into a strange wooded forest. It was dense, foggy and odd. “There is an odd feeling to this wood.” Theomin thought silently aloud to himself. “I feel not safe in here.” The air became even thicker. The hills surrounding the path disappeared and as the trees were too ScreenShot00278thick to reveal the steeps of the mountain sides. Strange trees, thick and unwelcoming, surrounded the path. Their twisted roots appeared out of the leaf laden forest floor and then dove back into the sick soil as if they were great serpents burrowing into the land. The forest had an ill feel to it, as if millions of malevolent eyes were gazing down upon him. The mist in the dense forest was so thick he was not sure if enemies would pounce on him.

Soon, he arrived at two very strange twisted thick trees. Strange lights appeared out of nowhere and disappeared around the trees, as if the trees themselves were haunted. The flickering orbs of light were most odd. Theomin had ScreenShot00279wondered if it was only his imagination, sleeplessness, or just the wood playing tricks on him. As the dark path rounded a boulder, a sudden frightening image appeared on the other side. A specter appeared out from behind the rock. An odd shaped head atop a floating body. The sight struck fear in Theomin. He quickly pulled the reigns of his horse but she bucked and threw him off. Bragga took off running away from Theomin. She was spooked as was Theomin. “Bragga!” He yelled as he stood up and then looked deep in the almond shaped dark eyes of the odd figure. Chill ran down his spine and with a abrupt fear he panicked. He ran as quick as he could not thinking of anything but the fear that almost ScreenShot00295petrified him. He ran through the dense wood as it grew thicker and darker, just to hide from the thing. He found a boulder and hid behind it, cowering in fear of the strange creature that had so terrified him.

He reached for his staff but in reaching for it realized he did not have it any longer. It must have fallen when he was bucked from Bragga. He pounded his fist on his leg as quietly as possible but with such anger, frustration, and fear. He was lost. In a dense forest. He knew not where to go. He had no staff to defend himself. He had no horse. For the first time since he left home, he was truly alone.

The thickness of the forest hid the hour. He stayed behind the boulder for a very long while. It felt late but the darkness of the thickScreenShot00297 canopy of the trees made it only feel that way. He looked back over the boulder. There was no specter. He had successfully run from it but at what cost? He had no knowledge of where he was. He emerged from behind the boulder and looked around. The limbs of the particular tree near him looked strangely like thin boney fingers reaching down for him. He turned and walked away from it, as the site instilled fear in him.

He wondered the wood, unsure of which direction he was heading. He just hoped to find a path someplace. Odd noises filled the forest. They were no noises he was familiar to back in Rohan. They were eerie sounds of strange birds, terrible howls of dogs or wolves, strange sounds as if a child was playing an odd flute. The forest was cold. Very cold. The chill was moist and thick and hit him right to the bone. It just did not feel right being in such a place.

ScreenShot00285He then heard a sudden crack of a branch behind him. He looked back. Nothing. There was nothing behind him. He continued and started hearing movement in the fallen forest leaves. He looked back again. Nothing. He only had his sword that Kemel gave to him back in Helm’s Deep. He pulled it out and just looked back, hoping that what ever it was would not harm him. He had not the skill to use a sword. Only basics. His heart pounded. There was nothing. No site of any animal nor any sign of a person. Theomin continued and soon came to a boulder. He looked up. There were branches that looked like odd boney fingers reaching down for him. He was back where he started. He panicked, “No!” he whispered as loud as he could. He then heard leaves moving behind him again. He looked back but there was nothing there. Then he heard the sound of a broken twig behind him. He looked. There was nothing there. The forest was playing tricks on him. He then heard more rustling leaves. They were coming closer and closer and then a sound as if a sick person had moaned just beside him. It felt as if electricity ran though his body as he turned and ran with all speed away from the sound. He ran as hard as he could through dense thickness of the forest, pushing away leaves and branches and getting cut by them in the process.

Soon, in what felt like a long while he looked up at a hill. There was a dim flickering of light coming from atop it. He felt saved! He cared ScreenShot00273not if it was Dunlandings. He just felt safe from the terrors of the terrible wood. He quickly climbed to the top but as soon as he reached the summit, there, crowding around large bonfires were black skinned orcs. They had a white hand splattered on their chainmail as if they were slapped there. They stopped what they were doing and stared at Theomin. Theomin just froze. For just a few brief moments they stared at each other, not believing what they each were seeing. Then one of the orcs gave out a howl. Theomin turned and ran back down the hill as quick as possible. He ran back into the thickness of the forest, now not caring what evils lurked in the thick denseness of it anymore. He looked back and saw the orcs perusing him, letting out snarls and wails as they closed in on him.

Theomin ran as fast as he could but his foot caught on a root he fell forward with a thud. He knew then that the orcs would surely catch him skin him. His last thoughts were of his family back in the Wold, and of his friends in Helm’s Deep. He thought of the little ScreenShot00308girl that he helped. His last few breaths were long as Theomin almost accepted defeat from the orcs. But they did not come. He looked back. There were no orcs. He sat up and stared into the blackness of the forest. Was it his imagination? He sat there confused then stood and turned. As he turned saw a black figure in the mist. Only the silhouette of it was visible just before a sackcloth was placed over his head. He was forced to the forest floor as his hands and legs were bound. Whomever tied his hands and legs had lifted his legs and dragged him though the forest floor. The rocks and roots hurt as he was continually dragged for what felt like a very long time. He could see almost nothing through the sackcloth that was on his head.

Finally, he was placed down. The cloth was removed from his head and he saw dark figures in front of him. One of them asked in a strange whisper, “For what purpose have you come into this wood?”

Theomin, afraid of telling his exact reason, explained cryptically, “I am headed north when I was waylaid by specters and orcs and I lost my way. I tell you I am not fond of this place and wish to leave as promptly as possible.” He looked into the dark cloaked hoods. “Who are you?”

Two of the dark figures turned and walked away. One stayed and watched. They were garbed in poor cloth, tattered and muddy. They did not look like the well to do but they were also not those terrible monsters that he had seen atop those flying beasts. The two who walked away were speaking to each other. As Theomin looked at the cloaked figure standing watch on him, he noticed a broach on the breast. It was a small white seven sided star, much like on the cloth in Bragga’s saddle bag. The bag that was, to Theomin, now lost.

The two came back from conversing and approached Theomin. “We are here on important business and ask you to leave as promptly as possible.”

Still shaken by the dark and strange figures before him, Theomin could not help but feel grateful they were not wanting to kill him. Reality then came creeping into his consciousness. He was lost. “I know not how to leave this forest. I lost my horse, my staff, and my way.”

One of the dark figures left and promptly returned with his staff. “This, then, belongs to you.”

A warm and welcome feeling covered Theomin’s body. A feeling he lost since entering the horrible wood. “My staff.” He smiled and received it. “And what of my horse?”

“We saw no sign of your horse. Do not wonder through the wood looking for it. This is a sinister place full of evil, not to mention orcs. We regretfully must tell you that you must forget your horse.” It was horrible news and the others who were looking upon him could see the distress Theomin had. “We will take you through the safest road out of this wood. If you are heading north, we will take you to paths that lead north.”

Again, a feeling of gratefulness filled Theomin’s body. “Thank you. Shall we move on now?”

“It is too dark. We must wait until the light of the day, what ever daylight we may see in this forsaken wood.”

Theomin nodded, “Tomorrow then. Thank you.”

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