“Come on you slow poke! I will beat you if you don’t hurry.” The tall, brown haired, young girl teased as she dashed towards the barn that was obscured by hills.
“What? You don’t think that I can catch you? I am faster then the wind.” A slightly shorter, skinny boy, who was around her age, shouted. As he left the house running, he promptly tripped on a root and lay there for a minute laughing. When he looked up and glanced around he didn’t spot his friend. He shouted. “Talurien, wait for me! You know our parents say that we aren’t supposed to go alone! Its dangerous”
Hearing nothing, the young boy, Zaradanoric, sprinted towards the barn at top speed. As he arrived he looked around for Talurien but didn’t see her in front of the barn. Quickly, he checked around the well and the nearby woodshed but he didn’t find anything. That left Zaradanoric one place to investigate so he looked around at the summer evening sky before ducking into the impending gloom of the barn.
Inside the barn it was unusually quiet. He waited a moment for his eyes to adjust to the gloom before he raised his voice and said, “Talurien! Where are you!”, at this point Zaradanoric was quite concerned because it was not like her to disappear quietly. Suddenly, from the other end of the barn he heard strange, guttural shouts moving in his direction. As he ran the other way a bearded man stepped foreword from the shadows of an empty stall and spoke.
“Thank you child, you have delivered the two greatest hostages in history! Children of the Dùnedain will be powerful tokens to reclaim Nan Amlug. Captain Shagrad! You filthy orc. Come here and take this brat with the other one!” Spoke the man in a condescending tone. He smiled victoriously.
Zaradanoric was filled with rage. It boiled from his straight brown hair down to his toes. Spotting an axe stored on the nearby wall, Zaradanoric did something quite impulsive, even for him.
He mustered all his speed in a mad scramble to the wall towards the axe. Surprised, the tall bearded man leaped back in shock, stumbling into the approaching orc captain. This momentary confusion gave Zaradanoric the time he needed. He grabbed the razor sharp axe and swung several times at his foes.
“Aggg!!!” the tall man yelled as one of the hits landed. The orc captain began to speak only to be suddenly silenced. As a war cry’s echoed behind him, Zaradanoric dashed towards his home screaming at the top of his lungs.
“Father, Rathgan! Come quickly. There are monsters in the barn, they have Talurien, we need-“ He shouts of help suddenly turned into those of sorrow and rage as he confronted the sight of his home for the past eight winters being burned to the ground. As he walked around the blaze looking for friends or family, he saw two swords on the ground . As he hefted the hilts, Zaradanoric realized that they were the swords of his father and those of Rathgan, Talurien’s father.
Looking around quickly, Zaradanoric quickly spotted a mass of bodies. He dashed over and began to claw through the bloody masses searching for his family or Talurien’s family. Suddenly his bloodstained arms were weakly grasped and Zaradanoric saw it was his fathers. He bent down and wiped the blood from his father’s face.
His father weakly gasped “Zaradanoric, we were betrayed. The local tribes betrayed us to the hill men from Angmar. No son.” Eguald gently pushed his sons hands away from a bleeding wound, “It is too late. Both our family and Rathgan’s were slain. Rathgan fell next to me and a spear has pierced me fatally. Go son, go and find the Earth-kin. They know that you are Dùnedain and they will hopefully protect you and honor their pledge. They will get you to safety.”
“But father, they took Talurien. They will kill her if we don’t save her!” Tears brimmed in Zaradanorics eyes as his father’s hand went limp in his grasp. For the entire world to hear, Zaradanoric screamed. It was the scream of one who had had everything taken from him, one who had his last hope brutally snatched from him. Tears streaming down his face Zaradanoric ran towards the barn still screaming bearing both sword fragments hunting for revenge.
When he reached the structure, it was empty save for the body of a massive, headless orc captain. Zaradanoric quit screaming and stooped to pick up the axe that saved his life. He shouldered it and headed east with tears in his eyes. He traveled east and away from his home and all he knew and loved. Zaradanoric numbly trod across the foothills headed east towards the Earth-kin camp bearing only his weapons.
Two days later, Zaradanoric was desperately stumbling towards the east. He was hungry, thirsty, tired, and being chased. The day before a pack of wolves had picked up his trail and were tracking him since then. As he tripped nearer to the mountain range he heard the wolves closing. Desperation seized him and he placed on a final burst of speed, which amounted to a slow trot, and fell to the ground exhausted. The wolves close in for the kill and one began to pounce when Zaradanoric thought he was hallucinating.
The wolf fell to the ground with a massive arrow growing out of its chest. Suddenly light sprang into the grove and tall, skinny giants entered. They drove off the wolves and gathered around Zaradanoric. As the shock of the past three days and the exhaustion of his trek fell upon him he collapsed to the ground.
He felt rough hands picked him up. As he began to move he realized he was being carried and he handed his pennant to the giant.
Upon observation Zaradanoric heard the giant speak.
“This is Eguald’s son. Something must have happened to their post. We must take him to Estildin, they will know how best to care for him” These were the last words that Zaradanoric heard as his world faded to black.