Part 99 – Battle in the Ruins
Thwap, two arrows slammed into the heads of half-orc sentries stationed outside of the old ruins of Ost Alagos as Theomin, Magla, Sergee and Eleswith ran up with Teryndir and Eotheron behind all ran toward the entrance of the ruins. Far behind were Estonethiel and Helesdir as they shot off their arrows at half-orcs sentries they saw above. Theomin and then Eleswith were to the left and the Magla and then Sergee were on the right as they snuck into the ruins trying to stay beneath notice. Eotheron and Teryndir were last, heading down between the two groups. The two groups secured the rooms on either side and then continued.
The main pathway led down towared bridge that separated the ruined gatehouse from the main fortification of Ost Alagos. Eleswith shot a bolt at an orc that was walking over the bridge as Helesdir downed a sentry stationed atop the ruins. They headed down and across the bridge toward the main ruins.
Theomin sliced down an orc while a half-orc approached Theomin. Eleswith killed that one and kicked down another. She drove her sword down the head of the one she kicked down as Theomin ran his sword down another half-orc. Through all of it, they remained unnoticed.
Magla passed them up and rounded his way to the other side of a wall and smashed the head of an orc with a ping every time it hit the skulls of his enemies. While Magla did that, Sergee waited to kill any enemy that slipped past Magla, which seemed like none. He was almost certain he was not going to fight at all when finally, one came from the side. Sergee ran and drove his sword, Gud Methen, through that one as Magla smashed another across the head. As they continued, they too remained very quiet.
Teryndir snuck up past Magla and Sergee up to an unsuspecting half-orc. He covered its mouth and stabbed it through the back. He then quietly eased it down as Eotheron shot another one in the head with is bow. Two more arrows flew past and downed two others. They quietly snuck through the ruins just like the other teams.
Teryndir and Eotheron soon reached a small clearing surrounded by the ruined walls and held a small orcish tent. On the other side of the clearing was a woman tied up on the far end as well as a man tied up beside her. Teryndir started to walk toward them, “Teryndir,” Eotheron whispered, “stay back…”
A club swung and hit Teryndir in the stomach and then straight up at his face. He flew to the side of the ruined wall and landed with a thump. Eotheron stood back but the enemy already saw him. He was a larger person, not an orc or a half-orc. He was dressed in a man’s outfit but had a mask covering his face. He said nothing as he dropped his club and removed a large, great axe. He swung it at Eotheron. Eotheron barely deflected the blow as the man quickly swung around and met Eotheron’s swords with such a force that it knocked him down. The man walked over to Eotheron, almost strolling with cocky confidence.
“Hay!” Sergee yelled to the man. The man looked over as Sergee started to swing his sword at him. The man swung his sword hard, ripping Sergee’s sword from hs hand as the man kicked Sergee with lighting speed.
A sword hit the man’s back. It was Eleswith’s sword. It did nothing, not pierce his armor or even rending it. The vibrations of the sword hitting a solid object made her drop her sword as the man backhanded Eleswith to the ground.
Theomin tried to attack him but the man grabbed Theomin at the throat and picked him up. Theomin tried to swing at the man but he was too far. Theomin’s finally resorted to droping his sword and grabbed at the man’s hand around his neck. Eotheron kicked the knee of the man as he dropped Theomin. The man kicked Eotheron back, sending him to the wall. He tried to swipe at Eotheron but Eotheron ducked and rolled out of the way. With shier force, the man swung his heavy sword and with each block, Eotheron stumbled back.
From the entrance to the clearing, Magla flipped his hammer so that his spike was facing outward. He then ran and slammed the spike into the armor of the large man. It drove through his armor as the man cried in pain. With great force, the man punched Magla down hard. The man removed Magla’s hammer and threw it to the ground. He tried to get his vengeance on Magla when an arrow then pierced the man’s armor but it did not seem to penetrate through. Another arrow hit the man’s leg. That one pierced his leg as he yelled out again in pain. He ran to Helesdir and Estonethiel. Estonethiel ducked but the man hit Helesdir as he fled the ruins. Magla ran after the man but another came from behind a wall. He was not as bulky as the other one but held strange stones in his hands. He only raised his hands up toward Magla as a burst of lighting seemed to come from the stones, sending Magla to the ground. Before Magla could regain his wits, the man with the odd stones had vanished.
Estonethiel came to Theomin and hoisted him up along with Magla who was close to him. Magla and Theomin then came to each person and helped them up. “I cannot believe it,” Theomin said with awe as he held his neck in pain. “Each of us are much more skilled than many others that we have faced and yet he was able to best each of us.”
“Who was that man?” Helesdir said, “I assume he was a man.” Each person looked to Estonethiel for an answer.
“I know not who he was,” Estonethiel said as she knew she was referring to her. “I know he was not trained by elves or men. He was trained by one who relies on bruit force, who knows how to use his swings to cripple his opponents before killing them. Such strategies are not taught by man or elf and as far as I know, not even by dwarves. I would gather that it was taught by orc or uruk but beyond that I cannot tell you.”
“And how about that other?” Magla asked as he recovered from the shock. “The one baring the strange stones and the lightning.”
“Those are rune stones,” Estonethiel said. “The keeper of the runes can be a powerful force. What is odd to me is that man does not possess the skill to use such a weapon. Some dwarves are known to use runes but it is elves that are most skilled at the rune stones. Which leads me to this odd question. Who amongst the elves would want to cause harm to men?”
After some coaxing Teryndir, he finally awoke and sat up, “What hit me?” he asked dazed from the hit.
“We know not who it was,” Theomin said as he helped him up. Theomin walked over to the woman tied up as Sergee went to the man. Theomin untied the woman as she lept to Theomin to hug him.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said. “I knew not what that brute would do.”
“Your friends outside this place said you came from Combe,” Theomin said.
“Yes, I was. I was kidnapped from my home while in the middle of the night. My three boys and I were asleep when a large man, that same man whom you faught earlier, picked me up and led me out,” the lady from Combe said.
“Do you have any idea who he might be?” Eleswith asked.
“No, I don’t. My husband has the same build but he passed a few seasons ago,” she said slightly silently.
By then Sergee had already freed the man. As he stood up the dress of the man sent chills down Theomin’s spine. It was the same leather tunic, leggings and red cape as the Bree guards. He had hoped the city guard had not recognized Theomin. “I was on watch at the gate of Bree when I saw her being carried off,” the guard said. “They traveled through the Midgewater Marshes at speeds I could not believe. I could not keep up and started lagging behind when I was apprehended by orcs. I knew not where I was being hauled off to until they set me next to her.”
“Do you know why you would be kidnapped like this?” Sergee asked.
“I don’t know. I have not but these little boys. I overheard something about a trap for someone. I know not who. They kept it low so I wouldn’t hear. When they saw I was listening, they moved away from us and went elsewhere. I’m sorry, that’s all I know.”
“Well, a few good hunters have followed your trail,” Theomin said. “They are waiting outside.”
“Can you help us home?” the woman asked Theomin as she grabbed his hand.
“I am very sorry but our road lies to Weathertop,” Theomin said. “We stopped here because we were the only ones capable of rendering aid to the men outside the ruins.”
“Who came to aid us?” the woman asked.
“You know,” Helesdir said, “I believe we had not asked their names.”
“Hunters and builders they are,” Theomin said.
“Hm,” the woman said, “I wonder if it’s old Morgan who came. A bower he is but he is also a rather skilled hunter and tracker. I’ll bet it is him. And he has come to save me.”
“Morgan has had quite the interest in you,” the guard said. “That may have helped in his decision in aiding us. Or aiding you rather.”
“What ever it is, I thank you for your aid,” the woman said with a smile. “I am Millie Cartwrite. When all is done at Weathertop, please come to Combe. I would like to reward you with at least a good meal, even if we have not much to offer. I know you may feel awkward coming, but please do so. Saving me and our guard here,” Millie began to weep as Theomin wrapped his arms around her. He felt her shake with fear as if the kidnapping had suddenly dawned on her, “Saving us is such an extraordinary thing for you to do. That is the only way we can repay you. Please say you will come.”
Theomin smiled and looked to his companions. They all gave a nod as if it was okay. “We will come to Combe. When our task in Weathertop is done, we will come. I trust eight is not too many for you.”
“Certainly not,” Millie smiled, “We will meet at the Combe and Waddle Inn. Much dining and laughter we will have there. Then you can tell us of your visit to Weathertop. Such an exciting venture that will be.”
“It shall be,” Theomin said. “Let us leave this place and have you meet up with that Morgan fellow. I am sure he is excited to see you.”
“Wait Theomin,” Helesdir said as he looked out towards the east. “Come, look at this.” In the fading light of the sun as the horizon glowed dark orange and deep red was a tall hill that stood above all the rest. Ruins it had atop it as it looked important and very ancient. It was still quite far from them; over hills and valleys far to the east. “There lies the hill that we are looking for. The Great Watchtower of Amon Sul,” Helesdir said in awe. “We are not far from it. Perhaps half a day’s ride.”
“Then let us make haste,” Theomin said. “We will return Millie back to her people and make camp somewhere east of here.
The company of eight along with Millie and the Bree guard took the short journey out of the ruins. They passed toward the gate to a waiting man. Indeed, it was Morgan who was waiting for Millie the entire time. He praised Theomin and gave a big gleeful handshake to Theomin. “I know not how to repay you,” he said with excitement.
“She has already given us payment. She invited us to the Combe and Waddle Inn for dinner and enjoyment.”
“That is our payment for such an extraordinary thing you have done.” Again, Morgan shook the hand of Theomin and wrapped his other hand over, shaking his hand with both hands. “Thank you for all your help.”
The eight companions soon left the company of five as they made their way west toward Combe and The Warriors of Eriador continued over the Weatherway and toward a safe place to camp for the night. They wound their way around from the bridge into a small dale of which they continued on until they found a safe place to camp with high hills around and large boulders for shelter.
No fire did they have over the fear that the large man and the elf with the runes might return. So they huddled up with Eleswith and Helesdir the closest. Estonethiel and Sergee lay close together as well, but with some space between them. Teryndir was the furthest away along with Magla even further. Eotheron and Theomin sat at the edge of the camp as they looked out.
“What do you believe we will find in those tunnels?” Eotheron asked Theomin.
“I know not,” Theomin said. “We were thinking it might be some sword as they mentioned a weapon. Could it be one of those seeing stones? A seeing stone was there at one time, as Estonethiel pointed out. Could it be a mechanism of war? A catipault? I am not sure what.”
“What ever it is, it had better be worth it,” Eotheron said.
“It will be,” said Theomin. “After we do this, I am hoping to return home.”
“That news warms my heart,” Eotheron said with lifted spirits. “Then may this quest end soon. I long to return to my home and my family. I even miss my sister, if you can believe that,” he quipped then had a look of longing. “A long journey this has been.”
“For me too, Eotheron,” Theomin agreed. “But Rohan is my home. Not Eriador.” He looked around with a smile, “Though I may return one day.”