November 6, 3019

Lilandra portrayed by FreeFall
Vardamir portrayed by Eowyn
Frodo and Guard portrayed by Hobbitness
Narrator and Aldir portrayed by Wraith

Narrator: *After leaving Lilandra, Aldir seeks Vardamir in the stables, where he finds him brushing a horse. Aldir wants to be quick in telling Vardamir his decision, for he wants to go back and spend the remaining hours of the day with Lilandra*
Vardamir: *Vardamir brushes one of the dark horses, the curry comb making long strokes upon the horse's back*
Narrator: *He walks through the open doors of the barn and sees Vardamir. Then walking over to the stall, he leans on the side of the wall partition* Vardamir, I have reached my decision
Vardamir: *he looks over to him and stops brushing* Good day, my friend. What is your decision?
Aldir: Though I think it is a sure route to death *he says in a low voice* I will go with you
Aldir: *he sighs* Lilandra now gathers food from the storerooms of the kitchen to take with us upon our journey
Vardamir: Good, good! How will you explain your absences to the others?
Aldir: Lilandra will tell them that I have fallen suddenly ill. We will fold blankets in the bed and put the covers over them so that any who might look inside will see the form of a man lying there
Vardamir: Splendid! ...I do hope she folded up many a blanket, for indeed your circumference of your waist is great. *he chuckles*
Aldir: Vardamir, only you could make a jest as we embark upon a journey that is fraught with death
Vardamir: *he shrugs* To die laughing is better than to die crying, I suppose.
Aldir: *a look of impatience crosses his face* What time will the horses be ready?
Vardamir: Two hours past dusk, I will have them saddled and waiting.
Aldir: I will meet you here then. I would have a few hours yet to remain with my wife. Now farewell until then
Aldir: *He turns and leaves the stables*
Vardamir: Farewell, my friend. *he resumes brushing the horse*
Aldir: *He goes back inside the house and walks to the door of Frodo's room. Then receiving permission from the guards to enter, he walks into the room and closes the door behind him*
Frodo: *With the carved horse at his side, Frodo is putting the finishing touches to Ceolwulf's parchment with the Elvish prayer and the border of wild horses*
Frodo: *He pauses periodically to touch his ring and try to sense Ceolwulf*
Frodo: *"Where are you? Where are you?" Frodo calls desperately in thought. At first he can sense nothing, but then an overwhelming rush of pain and despair sweeps over him from Ceolwulf's mind*
Frodo: *Frodo's eyes sting. "Don't worry, my friend. We're coming for you." But the answer is an incoherent moan*
Frodo: *Frodo can well imagine Ceolwulf's state, having experienced it himself. But he tries to put the image of a dying Ceolwulf prostrate on a cell floor from his mind*
Frodo: *If he thinks of this, or of Ceolwulf being prodded by orcs just as he and Sam were the day they were captured, Frodo is sure he will go mad and be good for nothing.*
Aldir: *He looks at Frodo, who sits in his chair as he strokes his Ring and stares idly at a parchment*
Frodo: *Deep in thought, Frodo hardly notices when Aldir enters*
Aldir: *he clears his throat to get Frodo's attention*
Frodo: Oh! *turns to Aldir* I didn't see you come in. *pause*....Well...?
Aldir: Master, I came here to say goodbye
Frodo: What? I'm coming with you!
Aldir: You cannot. You would put a burden upon us that would jeopardize our errand *he says sternly*
Frodo: A burden! *indignant* I have faced my share of enemies in the past, Aldir! I can brave this danger.
Aldir: You cannot ride a horse, so one of us would have to carry double. It is not possible for you to go
Aldir: A double burden upon the beast that bore you and a double burden upon Vardamir and me to protect you. Stay here, Master, and should someone ask where I am, tell them that I am ill and keep to my room
Frodo: Then...then...*covers his mouth, glances at the horse again, realizing he will never see Ceolwulf again*
Aldir: If we should allow you to go with us, when your absence would be detected, a great hew and cry would ensue and searchers would be set upon our trail. You would doom us to death by your presence
Frodo: Oh Elbereth! *he sighs, agonized* I do so want to come with you! But I are right
Aldir: But who will miss a slave or two? Perhaps they will think we have only gone to the tavern, there to drink our fill and becoming too intoxicated, there remain
Aldir: Master, stay here, and protect us by your silence
Frodo: *nods to Aldir, then turns back to the parchment and adds a dedication at the top: "To my brother Ceolwulf, from Frodo Baggins of the Shire*
Frodo: *rolls up the parchment and ties it with a ribbon*
Frodo: I will, Aldir. I will say you are ill. May the Valar speed you on your journey.
Aldir: *He thinks to himself... Why would this halfling, whom he dislikes, dare to ask them to take him with them?*
Frodo: Be careful, and come back!
Frodo: *hands Aldir the parchment* If you have room, give this to Ceowulf. It is his copy of the Elvish prayer, like the ones I made for you
Frodo: *Ceolwulf
Aldir: *He looks to Frodo and wonders at the strange fate that has bound him to this small creature, and he wonders in his mind, what cruel trick has fate played upon him... but his face does not betray his feelings*
Aldir: *He takes the parchment* Thank you for your blessing, master. I will give the parchment to Ceolwulf after we have secured his safety
Frodo: Thank you. *He stares intensely at Aldir, feeling that he should say something to him, do something...but he knows not what*
Aldir: Much depends upon you and your words while we are gone. When it is known that Vardamir does not come back, tell any who should ask that he must have run away and that he is such a worthless slave that you do not care enough to send out searchers for him
Frodo: *smiles faintly at the untruth of those words, but nods* Yes, that will be a good cover. I will say that.
Aldir: And, Master, I ask you one more thing... while I am away, will you look after my wife?
Frodo: *gravely* Oh, of course, Aldir. Is there anything special I can do for her?
Aldir: Until I return, ask for her to sit with you in quiet and say such things as you can think of that would comfort her, and if I do not return.... which is a sure possibility, I leave her in your care
Frodo: *How can I comfort her when I am losing the only loved one I have left? Where will I find the strength to comfort her? But I must...and I shall.*
Frodo: *nods* I will do my best to comfort her
Frodo: and I will see to her care if not come back.
Aldir: Perhaps then if I do not return, you will have sorrows aplenty to share
Frodo: But do come back, and bring Vardamir back!
Frodo: Oh...wait...Vardamir must leave, and Ceolwulf
Frodo: I keep forgetting...that it is not as it used to be *weak smile, fighting back tears*
Aldir: Vardamir will not be back, Master....
Frodo: *quietly, strained* I know...and Ceolwulf will not be back
Aldir: For he must of needs tend to Ceolwulf and guide him in the journey
Frodo: *nods*
Frodo: *tries to brighten his tone* But you will be back, for you are strong and intelligent, and there will be no loss for your wife to grieve *manages a smile*
Frodo: *An image of Rosie Cotton slips into his mind...the smile vanishes immediately*
Aldir: I will be back if I can, if I live. Do not tell my wife of my doubts. Do not burden her unduly
Frodo: I will say only things that could comfort her
Frodo: *It will help to pass the hours of waiting, Frodo thinks*
Aldir: Then, should I not live to come back, try, if you can, to see her safely to the north
Frodo: *pales*
Aldir: But now, Master, I would go and say my last farewells to her and tarry with her until the night grows nigh
Frodo: Wait...Aldir...I am a pawn in their hands. I never know where they will put me next. But I will try to send her home...where exactly is it?
Aldir: Our home, at least what was our home, lies to the south in Lossarnach, now under the control of the enemy
Aldir: Take her to Arnor, which lies north of your homeland
Frodo: *nods sympathetically, overwhelmed with guilt. None of this would be happening if he had fulfilled his quest*
Frodo: I will take her to Arnor, if I can
Frodo: ....But you will come back!
Frodo: But yes, go to her now, and may Elbereth light your way tonight.
Aldir: Perhaps.... perhaps not. Only try, Master, to see that she is safe
Frodo: I shall.
Frodo: I always try to see that you all are safe...but it did not work this time...
Frodo: *not wanting to break down in front of Aldir* Good luck...yes, go to your wife. I will take care of her.
Aldir: Farewell, Master, and *he looks down, his eyes boring into him* I know that you will try to honor my requests *he turns, walks through the door, opening it, and then walks down the hall to the room he shares with his wife*
Aldir: *Aldir opens the door to his room, sits down in a chair, unrolls the parchment and begins to read it, while he waits for his wife to join him*
Aldir: *Some time passes, and then he hears a knock at the door. He puts the parchment on the small table by the chair, gets up and opens the door*
Frodo: *Left alone in his room again, Frodo continues trying to contact Ceolwulf through his ring. "They won't let me come," Frodo says in thought. "I can't keep my promise to find you!"*
Frodo: *"But I sent you something. And Vardamir and Aldir are coming to rescue you."*
Lilandra: *she stands in front of him with a large bundle wrapped inside the table cloth*
Aldir: Here, Lilandra, let me take that *he says as he goes to her and takes the large bundle from her arms*
Lilandra: that should be everything love *she says as she breathes heavily*
Lilandra: no one saw
Frodo: *Frodo hears no response from Ceolwulf and grows alarmed. "Ceolwulf! Ceolwulf! Can you hear me?"*
Aldir: *he carries the bundle over to the wardrobe against the wall, then opens the door and puts the bundle inside*
Lilandra: blankets and linens are under the bed
Aldir: *Then he walks back to her* You should sit down
Frodo: *Frodo feels Ceolwulf's mind making a great effort to respond. Ceolwulf's voice sounds weak and raspy in Frodo's head: "...yes..."*
Lilandra: *she stares at him and smiles sadly*
Lilandra: when are you to leave?
Aldir: The bundle was far heavier than it looked
Aldir: Two hours after nightfall, we must be away
Lilandra: *her head lowers a bit* i see
Aldir: But we have this time together at least
Lilandra: *nods and tries but finds no consolation in his words*
Frodo: *Frodo leans his elbows on his desk and clutches his head in his hands. "Why did you do it?" he cries in thought. "Why did you have to kill the orc? What will we all do now?"*
Aldir: *he takes her by the hand and leads her over to the chair where he had been sitting*
Aldir: Sit, love, and rest
Lilandra: *she moves to the edge of the bed and sits*
Lilandra: *her shoulders slump*
Frodo: *At the words "we all" Frodo feels Ceolwulf's mind flinch. For the first time Frodo hears Ceolwulf's thought give a tortured moan: "Elfhild!"*
Aldir: Let us not be so sad at this parting, for it will not be long
Lilandra: *she bites her lip and looks to him* you have spoken to the others?
Aldir: *he sits down on the bed beside her* Yes, I have talked both with the shakh and with Vardamir
Lilandra: good
Lilandra: *she bites her lip harder..consumed with worry again*
Aldir: How do you feel now? Has the sickness passed?
Lilandra: yes love...nerves are making my stomach hurt but i am all right
Lilandra: this is to be expected
Aldir: Then lie down upon the bed and rest a while
Lilandra: *she lies back on the bed and look up at the ceiling*
Frodo: *"Oh, Ceolwulf," Frodo sighs inwardly. He wishes there were something he could do for him. Perhaps there is a way to console him through the ring? Frodo tries, but cannot tell if it has any effect*
Aldir: Lilandra, do not let me see you this way! Do not let me have this memory to carry with me when I leave!
Lilandra: what is it you want to see Aldir?
Lilandra: *she darts up and stands*
Lilandra: *she puts on a fake smile and bends and get the blanket from under the bed*
Aldir: A face that tries to smile and a mouth that bids me good fortune
Aldir: *He rises from the bed, goes over to the wall and takes the sheathed sword from its hook there. Then he pulls the sword from the sheath and holds it up in the air* See how it gleams? See the sharpness of its edge!
Frodo: *"When they come for you tonight, Ceolwulf, do not worry, because they will not get far with you. Vardamir and Aldir are coming. But do not tell anyone! They come in secret. I could not stop them"*
Aldir: It will stand me in good stead and will do the work that is needed to be done. Do not worry about me when I have such a sword in my hand!
Lilandra: *she stands up holding the bunched blanket in her arms...and looks to him and the sword...she swells with pride and sadness at the way he looks holding it*
Aldir: Worry about me when I bow my head willingly in servitude and forget that I am still a free man of Gondor
Frodo: *"..but I admit I didn't want to stop them. You will all be safe, and you will travel far away from this accursed land with Vardamir." Frodo pauses. "Farewell, my brother."*
Aldir: I can feel the power that lies in this sword *he says as his eyes begin to gleam with a strange light*
Lilandra: *she smiles and her voice is cheery and false* come then me turn this blanket into a sleeping replica of you *her voice shakes on her last words*
Aldir: *He seems oblivious to her words as he gazes at the sword in his hand*
Frodo: *Ceolwulf's mind spins and reels, unable to absorb all this information. Frodo can sense his confusion. "It will be all right," Frodo says, "but we must say our goodbyes now."*
Lilandra: *she turns her head to face him and sees that he seems lost...she fills with dread of higher forces and looks to her ring*
Lilandra: *she whispers* oh doom
Aldir: *He seems to see nothing but the sword he holds in his hand, and her words seem to come to him from somewhere far away for as soon as the sword was in his hands, he felt a fey mood come over him*
Aldir: I must go to the Master's room when darkness falls and take Ceolwulf's sword for him, for I deem that these swords share a bond, a bond of power
Frodo: *"What?" Ceolwulf asks dazedly. "What...well....then...goodbye, Frodo."*
Lilandra: *the blanket falls from her hands and she backs up slowly and lays back upon the bed and curls up without expression*
Aldir: But there is time enough for that *he says and sheaths the sword and hangs it on the wall* What... what... did you say, my love?
Lilandra: *her words escape on a raspy voice...low and monotone*....nothing
Frodo: *Ceolwulf's mind seems to beg to be allowed to rest. "Goodbye, Ceolwulf. May the Valar protect you!" Frodo says gently.*
Aldir: Aye, the blankets, the blankets. I will help you mold them into a shape to feign my form, but there is time enough for that, later
Lilandra: *she hugs her knees to herself as she lay on the bed*
Aldir: *He walks over to the bed and sits down beside her*
Frodo: *Frodo remembers how he was able to heal Ceolwulf once, through his ring. Perhaps it will work again. He concentrates on his ring and tries to increase Ceolwulf's strength*
Lilandra: *her hand lifts to his back but stays about an inch away from touching him and then the hand clenches to a fist*
Lilandra: *she remains strong and uncurls herself and sits up*
Lilandra: everything will be fine
Aldir: Yes, Lilandra, that is what I have been telling you
Lilandra: *nods* right
Frodo: *Frodo climbs onto his bed, buries his face in the pillow, and falls asleep quickly, exhausted from sorrow*
Lilandra: *she tries so hard to form hard ice over her heart so that she would not feel pain or anything else but her love for him has made her heart so blazing hot that the ice seems impossible to come..and now his arms reach for her*
Aldir: Lilandra, look at me, and come into my arms
Aldir: *He reaches his arms out for her*
Lilandra: *she cannot help but give in and she moves into his arms and rests her head on his shoulder*
Aldir: Lilandra, it will be well. Do not worry
Lilandra: that is such a hard thing to ask...i always worry when you leave...but this times seems so much harder
Frodo: *Frodo dreams of the horrible time when Sam, deprived of his will and reason, was made to torture him. But then the dream changes and the victim is Ceolwulf, and Frodo is the one who has tortured him*
Aldir: Just stay with me a while, so I will have this memory of you to take with me, and I do not want to see tear-stained eyes, but eyes filled with the greatest love
Lilandra: the greatest love Aldir
Lilandra: *she wraps her arms around him tightly*
Frodo: *After only a few minutes' sleep, Frodo wakes up and is afraid to sleep again. He reaches out with his mind and tries to hold onto the feeling of Ceolwulf's presence as long as possible*
Frodo: *and to aid him in any way he can*
Lilandra: please come back to me Aldir *her words are so desperate*
Lilandra: I love you so much
Narrator: *The remainder of the afternoon passes, and slowly the sun begins to set in the western horizon*
Aldir: *Two hours after nightfall, Aldir says to Lilandra* It is time
Lilandra: *her heart shatters but she nods*
Lilandra: yes love
Aldir: *he rises from the bed and walks to the sheathed sword. Then, taking it from the hook on the wall, he attaches it to his belt* I must have my cloak
Lilandra: *she sits up and grabs it and walks over to him..staring up with wide eyes filled with love*
Aldir: *He takes it from her and puts it on* Now, the bundle
Lilandra: *each step she takes feels heavy and painful and she lifts it and brings it over to him*
Aldir: *He goes to the window and pulls back the shutters. Taking the bundle from her, he lowers it outside*
Lilandra: *her aching heart pounds more and more and her mind screams a little louder and her breathes become more labored*
Aldir: Now one last kiss, my darling, and I must go
Lilandra: *she hopes he leaves before she breaks down.....for she felt one of her turns coming on*
Lilandra: *she chokes out* yes darling
Aldir: *he pulls her into his arms and kisses her*
Lilandra: *she lets her arms, heavy as they seem, slide over his shoulders and she kisses back desperately*
Aldir: *His lips lingers on hers as long as he feels he can stay there, then he releases her and moves towards the window*
Aldir: I must go the way of the bundle, my love
Aldir: Close the shutters behind me
Lilandra: *she moves to the window*
Lilandra: *she presses her fingers to her lips, still fighting tears*
Lilandra: ...i..i love you Aldir
Aldir: *She can see his form outside, a vague shadow as it bends down and picks up the bundle and is quickly away*
Aldir: *A short time later, Frodo hears a soft knock at his window*
Lilandra: *she dies inside and gives into her breakdown*
Frodo: *Frodo starts and looks to the window*
Frodo: *He gets up, still not letting go of Ceolwulf's presence, and opens the shutters to see who is outside*
Aldir: *A low voice says* Master, quickly now, Ceolwulf's sword!
Frodo: *whispers* Where?!
Frodo: *looks around by Ceolwulf's bed*
Frodo: oh *runs his hands over his face* right in front of me!
Frodo: *He takes the sword, which is almost as big as he is, and lugs it over to Vardamir*
Aldir: *Outside, Aldir waits in the cool night air. He looks around furtively, expecting at any moment that a harsh voice will boom in his ear*
Aldir: *Aldir takes the sword and whispers* Close the shutters
Aldir: *He belts the sword to his right side and hoisting the bundle upon his back, he disappears into the night*
Aldir: *He hurries to the stable, hoping that no grooms are about seeing about the horses, but he thinks that unlikely at this hour of the night* Vardamir *he whispers*
Frodo: *Frodo closes the shutters and leans his head against them for a moment to catch his breath, then goes to look for Lilandra...still trying to sense Ceolwulf*
Vardamir: *In the darkness of the stable, Vardamir approaches from the shadows, leading three horses, saddled and bridled.*
Aldir: Here, Vardamir, help me put this bundle upon the back of the spare horse
Vardamir: *he walks over to Aldir and assists him with putting the bundle upon the horse's back and then straps it down*
Aldir: Come, we must be going
Vardamir: Aye... the quest awaits... and perhaps danger and death, but most of all, adventure.
Aldir: An adventure? *he says* An adventure! *he repeats* I left my wife and safe bed for adventure! You fool!
Aldir: I would rather share a journey with a snag toothed troll than you!
Vardamir: *he laughs softly, a merry sound in the somber night* Well, you are stuck with me, it seems.
Aldir: And much is my misfortune! Now let us go, or do you want to talk all night?
Vardamir: Nay, my friend. You know we must depart quickly. There is no time to talk, though I know you would stand here and do so all night.
Aldir: Which is the horse you have chosen for me? Give me its reins quickly!
Vardamir: *he hands him the reins of a strong, muscular horse* This one is yours.
Aldir: *He takes the reins in his hand* Now you must guide me. I do not know where this gate is that you told us about
Vardamir: It is on the west side, across the courtyard. Come, I will show you.
Vardamir: *he walks out of the stable, leading the two horses, trying to travel as silently and quickly as possible*
Aldir: *He leads the horse by the reins and follows behind Vardamir and the two horses*
Vardamir: *Soon, they get to the door in the wall. Vardamir stops and walks over to it, taking a piece of wire from his tunic. He bends down, working the wire in the lock, and soon he is able to open it*
Vardamir: *he walks through, leading the two horses, and holds the gate open for Aldir*
Aldir: *He leads his horse through the gate, then closes it behind him. The gate closes slowly, creaking on its hinges and then the lock closes with a rasping noise, startling the horses*
Aldir: *He whispers to Vardamir* Why did you not tell me the lock was so loud!
Vardamir: *he whispers back* It's your imagination - you are hearing things.
Vardamir: *He leads them to the main street of the third level of the city. He crosses over to the south side of the road, leading them behind buildings and other such cover as they can find*
Aldir: *He starts at every noise that he hears and then looks around, expecting to see guards of the city aiming spears at them*
Vardamir: *he whispers* You are certainly jumpy tonight. What? You have become soft in your ease? *They walk east, heading towards the gate of the third level, which lies beyond the mountain spur*
Aldir: Soft? *he mutters under his breath*
Vardamir: Aye... soft and fat! *he chuckles softly*
Vardamir: *The dark form of the mountain spur soon looms just ahead of them, and they must pass through the tunnel leading to the other side*
Aldir: Fat! Soft! Vardamir! You forget yourself!
Vardamir: Too much sitting around by the hearth and eating walnuts has caused your girth to increase in size! *they pass through the tunnel and the third gate lies just head*
Aldir: *He decides that there is no point in trying to match wits with Vardamir, for he has always lost in the past*
Vardamir: *They pass through the third gate and walk down the road to the second level of the city... once again, keeping behind buildings and what cover they can find*
Vardamir: *They walk west upon their trail, beneath the mountain spur, and to the gate to the first level of the city, which lies to the south*
Vardamir: *Continuing their journey, they head down the trail, keeping off the main road, until finally the Great Gates stand ahead of them. Before they get to the gates, however, they quickly mount their horses.*
Aldir: Vardamir, let me talk to the guards. Your quick tongue will get us into trouble!
Vardamir: Very well then! *he whispers* We will see how you fare.
Guard: Halt! Who goes there?
Aldir: Two men of the City. We are going to the tavern in Newburg
Guard: If there are only two of you, why do you have three horses? What does your third horse carry?
Aldir: Ah, my good man *he says and leans over the side of the horse to look at him* We bear gifts for the ladies of the tavern. Fair wenches are they all
Guard: *smirks*
Aldir: Surely, you have seen their beauty? And that you know that they are all too willing to grant their favors if the gifts are right *he chuckles wickedly*
Guard: Aye! Fair wenches they are indeed, and eager to please! *joins in the wicked laughter*
Aldir: Then let us pass, and do not grieve the ladies of the tavern for they are eager to see us and receive our gifts
Aldir: The spare horse is in the event that we might want to take one of the ladies to a more private place *he leers*
Guard: Ohhhh *smirks* well then best of luck to ye! You might have taken two extra horses, seeing that there's two of ye!
Aldir: My friend is skinny. His horse can bear two, while I am more heavy. The spare horse is for the wench that I choose *he laughs and smirks*
Guard: ahhh you prefer wenches with a little "meat" to them, a little *traces hourglass figure in the air* "substance! Ha ha ha!
Guard: Good evening to ye, sirs!
Aldir: Aye, that I do, for the more the meat, the more the enjoyment!
Aldir: Thank you, and a good night to you!
Vardamir: *He chuckles* Aye, a good night! *he rides through the gate and on the road, heading towards Newburg*
Aldir: *They ride towards Newburg for a quarter of a mile and then turn, and swinging a wide arc away from the city, they head east*
Aldir: *Then Aldir rides his horse up beside Vardamir's and together they travel on the road towards Osgiliath*
Aldir: Vardamir, you know we are not going to live through this!
Vardamir: Well, with all the food that you have brought to eat, at least we will die well fed! *he chuckles softly*
Vardamir: *Then with a mad laugh, he knees his horse into a trot, laughing all the way*

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