The Family Line Part 25 – Fornost

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Part 25 – Fornost

ScreenShot00387The sky was dark. The moon was vailed but the stars twinkled about and gave their heavenly glow to the land. There were hills. Many hills filled with grasses and trees of many kinds. Flickering light came from a ways down a slope Theomin was on as he looked at the opening of the enclosure he was standing in. Three towers with stone bottoms, wooden tops, and thatched rooftops surrounded the enclosure. It was circular with one opening leading out and a platform for people to stand, watching whatever performance was going to take place. And they were. Many men, women, and children were watching Theomin. A roar like he had never heard before came from the crowd. Were they roaring for him?

Theomin stood there, his staff ready for whatever was coming. He felt stiffness in his back and right arm as they had not healed yet. Sweat poured from his head; he was not sure he was ready for what was to come from the group of six congregating in the center of the enclosure. He heard the crowd roar even louder and louder up to a panicle of intensity as they waited for what the Brenin was going to announce once all of the six were in the center of the enclosure, which looked more like an arena. Theomin took in deep breaths and with wide determined eyes was ready for whatever was going to happen next.

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Faint echoing voices awoke Theomin. He opened his eyes to see a thatched rooftop with poles supporting some kind of building. Everything was fuzzy and he could barely move his muscles. He heard more talking and saw a faint glimpse of movement to his left. He tried to talk but all he could do was mumble; his mouth was so dry, like having cotton inside, preventing him from saying anything discernable.

ScreenShot00356“Just lay there,” A woman’s voice came from the left of him in a deep accent unfamiliar to him. He looked in the direction of the voice and all he could see was a faint blur of a figure sitting next to him. Her hair was pulled back and she had painting on her face. Her skin was dark, much darker than that of Rohirrim women, “you are very weak.”

He still could not see anything but remembered he was not in Rohan anymore. As consciousness came upon him, he realized he was out for some time. He closed his eyes as the light was too intense for him and he finally whispered, “How long have I been out?”

The woman whispered to another who was standing there next to her, “It has been now seventeen suns since you were brought here.”

“Where am I?” he asked, now barely gaining his voice back.

“It is best you rest now. We will talk in the morning.” Another, who was mixing something in a mortar and pastel brought the concoction next to Theomin. She gently tilted his head to the left and had him breathe in the concoction. Soon, he was out.

ScreenShot00377Theomin woke the next morning. Not a soul was in the house where he was being kept. He slowly sat up. Weakness was not the only feeling he had. A horrible pain flowed through his back and right arm. He sat there at the edge of what looked like a table. He looked around at all the designs and patterns on the walls, pillars, and carpet. They seemed intricate and beautiful, in their own way. They flowed with color and arches and circles. There was nothing like it in Rohan. It was then Theomin realized he was in a circular room. There were no sharp corners to the building. Just curved all the way around.

With great pain and difficulty, Theomin hopped onto the floor. It felt warm with the skins of animals lying about, covering the cold damp earth. Close to the bed, between it and the door, a table stood with some loaves of bread and a cup of water. Quickly, Theomin hobbled to the table and grabbed the water and drank as much of it as he could. Some of the water splashed down but it did not flow down his chin. He reached up to his chin and felt a beard. It had grown while he was out. He finished the cup in just a moment or two. He then took the loaf of bread and chewed on it. The taste was so similar to the loaf of bread in Helm’s Deep he just stared off in the distance with the memory of eating his last meal there before heading off west through the gap. His thoughts drifted even more, thinking ever since he left the gap his situation had gone from bad to worse.

He snapped back to reality and looked at the light coming from the door. It was only a few feet away. He started walking slowly toward it with as much effort as he could muster, every step slightly easier than the last. He finally made it to the door. As he opened it, light poured in, brighter than he had ever seen. Theomin had to shield his eyes from the bright rays of the sun. As he continued outside, and his eyesight improved, he saw it was not sunny at all. It was overcast.

Just outside the door was a woman, seemingly standing watch. She looked in Theomin’s direction and then quickly helped him make his way out. She stood him up next to her and asked, “Are you okay, stranger?”

ScreenShot00384 (2)Theomin nodded. He was not sure if he could speak well yet. He looked around at the sight before him. Many circular huts lined the winding path around the small village in which he was. The village was situated on the slope of a hill overlooking a small green valley. To the north, there were many hills which had trees and covered in some grass.

The woman who helped him was clad in dressings he had only seen once in his lifetime. He remembered a woman back in the Elthengles many days past who wore the same type of dress. Back then, he wondered if she was a Dunlanding. If she was, were these Dunlandings who cared for him? The woman had dark face paint and had dark skin, brown eyes, and straight blond hair pulled to the back.

“Where…” Theomin tried to speak but his voice failed him. He cleared his throat and tried again, “Where am I?”

ScreenShot00363 (2)The woman spoke, similarly to the lady from the night before, “This is Avardin, stranger.” She started to head off down the hill. “If you would like to join me, I will tell our Brenin that you have awoken.”

Theomin followed behind the girl. She seemed close to his age but she almost looked far beyond his years. She walked confidently; more confidently than those women in Rohan, save Eashae in Helm’s Deep. Her stride made it tough for Theomin to keep up. His eyes drifted to the tall tower in the distance. He wanted to ask the woman about it but he was still on the mend and found it difficult to travel some distance. Instead he asked, “Please, slow a little. I am still weak.”

She did not slow. She continued along the same pace, “You need to strengthen if you are to continue on, stranger.”

She was right. He knew he had to strengthen himself if he wanted to continue north. He did not even know if they knew where he was from. No mark nor garb showed he was from Rohan. His horse was gone too. If the people he was with truly were Dundlandings, it was best to keep in the truth of where he was from. He only hoped they knew not where he was traveling. He then remembered what the ranger, Andreg, told him. He had to tell them of the rangers.

Soon they approached the Brenin, a large man covered in thick cloth and much like the girl he was with, had paint on his face too. He was tall and overbearing, like a large bear. Though he looked like a big surly ScreenShot00374man he was helping pass out food to the residence of the village. He looked up at Theomin. He whispered something to the other man giving out food and then approached Theomin. A slight grin shown on his grizzly face. “So this was the man we found not but seventeen suns ago,” he said in a deep raspy but soft voice while looking him up and down. It took the man a while to speak, making Theomin very uncomfortable. He finally spoke with suspicion in his voice, “What is your name, stranger?”

Theomin started to say his name but he stopped himself. He knew it sounded too much like a name from Rohan. He stuttered a few moments and all he could come up with was, “Fornost.”

The Brenin furled his brow a bit, “Fornost? That is an odd name for a person.” He looked at the girl Theomin was standing with. “Where have I heard Fornost before?” The girl, shook her head slightly, not knowing. “And how did you come to the Starkmoors, Fornost?”

“Uh,” Theomin thought, trying to think of the lie, “I was traveling with some rangers.”

The big burley man nodded, “With rangers,” he said thoughtfully. “And why have you separated from them? Were you banished?”

“No,” Theomin shook his head, but clearly not enjoying the interrogation the big burly man was administering. He was weak and could not think straight and not up for conversation, let alone having to lie. “I am traveling to…north.”

“And why are you traveling north? Report back on the Dunlandings doings?”

The man was perhaps too suspicious of Theomin. It was getting on his nerves but he dared not show it. “I am traveling north to speak with a ranger named Saeradan. I am to let him know they are departing.”

“They? The rangers?” the Brenin asked. Theomin nodded. “And where are they departing to?”

“I know not. All the while they told me of no charge, only that they needed to head south.” Theomin felt a little more confident as he was not really lying about the rangers’ quest.

“And you went with them with no knowledge of their duty? You either sound too loyal or too foolhardy.” The Brenin chuckled as did the rest of the men and women surrounding him. Theomin failed to see the humor in the Brenin’s jest. The big man patted Theomin on the shoulder very hard, almost knocking him down, “You have my permission to rest here until you are well enough to travel, Fornost. Those rangers were good people and any friend of the rangers is a friend of mine. We have food and a bed to sleep in. If you are tired of wearing this tunic we provided, we can point you to where your clothes are. I believe she is finished sowing the holes in your jacket.”

“Thank you,”

“It is our pleasure to house you. Eva, here, will take you around our village and introduce you to some of our people. She can also tell you about our village.” He looked at her and pushed him toward her. He felt like a wet rag just being pushed around by the huge man. “Take our friend, Fornost, and show him around.” The Brenin then went back to work, doing what he was doing before.

“So I am to show you around?” she asked, a slight displeasure in her tone. Theomin nodded. “I thought as much. I am usually the ‘welcomer’ in this village. Come, I will show you around.” They headed up the hill to a canopy with benches, almost like a theater style setting. “Our Brenin enjoys story time,” she started to say while sitting down, “His main idea is to entertain his village and make us all happy. Happy lives creates a happy village.” She looked around longingly, “It has not been used for a while though.”

“Why is that?”

“We had problems, of late, with a man claiming to be our ally but treating us as not but slaves. He has ScreenShot00364convinced some of the tribes to join in on his quest to burn down Rohan. We Dunlandings hate Rohan and it was very easy for some to join. It was very tempting for us to join in the war on Rohan. In the end, though, we saw that this man was giving us nothing but half-truths and lies about Rohan. We supported the war, but we sent no warriors. We do not even have warriors. We only have hunters and farmers and that is how our Brenin intends to keep it.” She stood up and walked slowly to the wall overlooking the valley. “But that traitor, he took our villagers as slaves to pay off debts they owed him. Debts that were created by this traitor in order to have slaves. Before he had schemes of his conquest of Rohan, there were no debts to be paid. Now,” she sighed, “much of our village is in debited to this ‘friend in Isengard’ and in time he will return with his men to claim more slaves.”

“How long has it been since he took slaves?”

“It has been a while now. Our Brenin feels like we can start rebuilding our community and go back to the way we were. Our village has changed and I do not think we can ever go back to the way it was.” The girl turned and took Theomin by the hand. “Come,” she prompted, “I want to show you ScreenShot00367 (1)something.” They made their way down the hill and past the Brenin nearby a market. They stepped up onto to a stage that looked much like an auction stage. There, in the center of the stage was a banner of the white hand. It was a dominant and ominous fixture to the stage, showing dominion the White Hand had on the village of Avardin. “You see that? That is his banner. It was placed when the head auctioneer doubted selling our people as slaves to him. They killed him and planted that banner as a reminder.”

“Why not remove it?”

She looked down and sighed. “We all have fear of what will happen if it is taken down. He came many times and he will come again. If he sees it removed,” she placed her hand over her eyes, “we do not need more here to die.” Theomin patted her on the shoulder with sympathy but felt it was not enough. He placed her in his arms to comfort her. At first she resisted but then gave in. She stopped crying and Theomin let go. “It is alright. The man I was to marry was one of the men taken to be slaves. His brother was killed by orcs.” She looked at Theomin, wiping away tears and changing the subject. “If you would like, when you are well, Arvel can take you to see where you were found.”

“Where is Arvel?” Theomin asked immediately.

“He is up where we just were with his dog. Why do you ask?”

ScreenShot00382I want to go now.” She looked down and then back up at Theomin. “If you are feeling well, then it is your choice. She took Theomin back up to the story telling area. There was Arvel, a white haired man but did not look much older than the woman Theomin was with. He was kneeling and petting his dog while feeding it some type of beef. “Arvel,” she said approaching the man, “this is Fornost. He would like to see where you found him.”

Arvel looked at Theomin. “Are you sure you do not want to rest more?”

“I am done resting.”

“So be it. We can leave now.”

“Careful, brother,” Eva said.

“I am always careful,” he stated in a cocky way. He turned and took Theomin by the arm, “This way, Fornost.” He took Theomin down past the auction stage and out past the stables.

A man called from behind, “Arvel!” Arvel turned as did Theomin. “Where are you going with that stranger?”

Arvel spoke up, “This is Fornost. He wanted to know where I found him. It will not take too long. Maybe half a day.”

“Okay, you still have hay to feed to the horses.” The man yelled back to Arvel.

“I will do that on my return.” Arvel took Theomin by the arm and walking continued south, just off the path, around a modest sized pond that a large rock was protruding out of. They continued on for a while, past trees and other paths that headed west. “We have to avoid this camp of orcs that has been here for a very long while. When Saruman decided on his conquest of Rohan, these orcs showed up. They have been taking supplies to Wulf’s Cleft. Recently, though, they stopped and I do not know why.”

“I want to see this orc camp.” Theomin insisted.

“I thought you wanted to see where I found you.” Theomin paused. “I had items that the orcs might have taken. I need them back before I continue north.”

ScreenShot00380Okay,” Theomin’s guide said. “I’ll warn you, they are a mean bunch.”

Not long after, they approached the orc encampment. It was small with only a two orcs patrolling the area. Arvel tried to find a spot where they could see the camp best. They hid behind a rock a little close to the encampment. It was not long after they reached the rock that Theomin found what he was looking for. His staff was laying on some boxes along with his sword. He also saw the pack for his horse but most important, he found Bragga. She was tied up to a cart and wearing some odd beak nosed dressing. Theomin breathed in faster and harder. He was visibly enraged when he saw all that he lost.

Arvel saw the change in Theomin’s character, “What is wrong?”

After a few moments, Theomin looked at Arvel and then back at the encampment. “I am going to get back my things.”

“What!” Arvel whispered loudly in protest. “You will kill yourself. This time I will not be able to save you.”

Theomin looked at Arvel. “I do not need saving. Last time I was ambushed. I am doing the ambushing this time.”

“I cannot help you, Fornost. How are you going to get past the orcs?”

Theomin looked at Arvel with fire in his eyes. He said with more dark vengeance he ever had in the past, “I am going to kill them. I am going to kill them all.”

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Note from author:

The story is, in fact, not ended. This part was always coming and I had planned it since the very beginning. My decision to write, “The End, my Skyrim quest generator ran out,” was to make a joke at the comment Andang made on episode 77 of the LOTRO Players News. I really appreciate the comments Zyngor and Andang left but I wanted to save my 2 cents until part 25 came out just to make it appear he died. I was going to wait another week but I just could not stay away from the story. I’m weak that way. So I hope I didn’t cause anybody unnecessary grief (yeah, right) that I killed off Theomin. He’s quite well as you can see 🙂

Sincerely,

Tim

2 comments

  1. Zyngor /

    Heh, you certainly had me going there…good to see Theomin is still kicking. Great work this week, especially on all the dialogue!

  2. timhedden /

    Thanks Zyngor!

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