Narrator: *It is the morning of March 21st,
and there was still no help from Mordor. Madurz and Ashgaz had
gone to the Hill of Seeing to have visions. They walk down the
the Portage Path to the foot of the falls. Undecided what to do,
they talk a while in their makeshift camp*
Narrator: *A man, weatherbeaten and worn, comes out of the woods and hails them. Ashgaz retreats to a distance but stays ever watchful yet unseen*
Neithan: Hail, stranger! What brings you here?
Madurz: *she looks up and hopes nothing spoken has fallen on his ears*
Madurz: *her expression turns worried on purpose and desperate*
Neithan: *He ponders her*
Madurz: *she backs away from him*
Neithan: Stranger, how come ye here, alone and unprotected?
Madurz: i have escaped with my life on such lands of turmoil and evil
Neithan: By what name are you called?
Neithan: *he waits for her to answer*
Madurz: *she tries to think fast*
Neithan: For a stranger so bold to come here alone, your tongue seems to fail you...
Madurz: forgive me...but i am not quick to trust
Neithan: Have you come here from the south, a refugee fleeing the orcs?
Neithan: Ah, then I can understand a bit of this
Neithan: But still so far north... quite a journey for an unprotected woman with not even a steed upon which to ride
Madurz: i am no stranger to wandering
Neithan: Ah, a wanderer, without a name....
Madurz: have always fancied it...but times are different now
Neithan: But while you will not give me your name, I will give you mine, and I see you have the better part of the bargain
Neithan: My name is Neithan
Neithan: I live hereabouts now....
Madurz: and alone you are as well
Neithan: Yes, very much alone now
Neithan: Since you prove so obstinant at first meeting, I will have to call you by a name of mine
Neithan: It is an Elvish name
Neithan: and suits you quite well
Madurz: *she smiles lightly*
Neithan: Since you are so stubborn, I will call you Mistwen
Madurz: i may like it better than my own and keep it
Neithan: Which means erring wanderer
Neithan: My lady, are you sure you are alone?
Neithan: I sense something here...
Madurz: we are at the seat
Madurz: and yes i am alone
Neithan: But you seem to be alone. Are you sure you do not have a companion nearby?
Madurz: sadly no
Neithan: Then perhaps it is just the place...
Neithan: Did you take the seat?
Madurz: *she tries her best to seem a vulnerable and innocent woman*
Neithan: Did you mount the stairs and sit upon the Seat of Seeing?
Madurz: *shakes her head* no..it has tempted me but i am too afriad
Neithan: You might not like some of the things you would see
Madurz: i came here wanting to do it...but just camped here instead
Madurz: yes i know
Neithan: I watched you as you came down the Portage Path to this place. You talk to yourself
Neithan: Why do you do this?
Madurz: *her expression doesnt show it but her insides freeze...did he know truth all along and intend harm or capture?*
Madurz: when you travel alone for so long...one self can be good company
Neithan: *he looks at her warily*
Neithan: Come, my lady, I will take you to my camp
Madurz: where is your camp?
Neithan: Not far from here
Neithan: *he takes her through the woods to a lean-to made from brush and trees*
Neithan: This is the humble abode of Neithan
Madurz: *she follows..she doesnt know what to expect when she arrives..perhaps doom...but she might gain information..she should have just killed him for he was alone and made on her way*
Madurz: its not bad
Neithan: You look skinny enough, Mistwen. Would you like some food?
Neithan: *he laughs*
Madurz: *smiles* yes
Neithan: *he goes over to a rack made from two trees tied with rope*
Madurz: *she wanted to seem hungry for it..dependant on him*
Neithan: *he takes some dried meat and brings it to her* Here, eat
Madurz: *looks to him with thankful eyes on purpose* thank you
Neithan: *he gets a bag made from leather* Drink this. It's water
Neithan: That is it, unless you wish dried berries or fish
Madurz: *she lifts it to her mouth and sniffs it unnoticed by him then drinks*
Neithan: The berries were gathered last autumn. You might find them stringy and tough. *he laughs again*
Madurz: this is fine thank you
Neithan: My furnishings are simple, as is my fare
Neithan: Seat yourself and tell me of your journey
Madurz: i sure wish my spirits were as high as yours
Neithan: *he points to a log seat inside the lean-to*
Neithan: *he laughs loudly* My spirits, high? hahaha
Madurz: *smiles* well they seem to be
Neithan: Mistwen, you jest with me
Neithan: Tell me of yourself and perhaps my spirits will rise
Madurz: *at any cost tries to keep the subjects away from herself*
Neithan: *he chews a piece of dried meat and looks at her*
Madurz: women do not have much as an exciting life as men...however...now all i wish is for it to be as dull as it was
Madurz: *laughs lightly*
Madurz: are you of Rohan?
Neithan: Stranger, life is not dull here, but it is.... shall we say.. peaceful
Neithan: Nay, my lady, I was once of Gondor
Neithan: *he takes a seat on the ground and sits there cross legged, holding the piece of dried meat in one hand*
Madurz: *perfect* i didnt think so..i am of Rohan
Neithan: Wanderer, it matters not to me from whence you came. I desire only peace
Madurz: you asked to know about me
Neithan: But you have told me nothing....
Neithan: Only that you were of Rohan
Neithan: *he chews slowly, the dried meat tough in his mouth*
Madurz: *she brought on her best defenses now..her eyes slowly began to well with tears*
Neithan: *he stops chewing and looks at her*
Neithan: Say on
Madurz: there is much destruction now..death like i never thought i would see...and hope..hope i fear is gone
Neithan: *he goes back to chewing*
Neithan: *he watches her, not trusting her, hardly taking his eyes away from her*
Madurz: people i know are dead...homes lived in burned..
Madurz: i'm sorry *wipes eyes*
Neithan: There is no peace. There is no hope left
Neithan: The Enemy grows stronger while we grow weaker
Neithan: But I have left it all
Neithan: *he forgets the meat in his mouth*
Neithan: *suddenly remembers he is in the company of someone and quickly swallows it*
Madurz: constantly i dwell on how we are outnumbered
Neithan: *suddenly begins to feel uncomfortable. A look of guilt goes fleetingly over his face but then he smiles quickly*
Neithan: *he thinks... she claims to be of Rohan, and yet she is here, far from home and unattended... a strange woman*
Neithan: Then why are you here, why have you left your home, why did you not stay and help them there?
Madurz: i fear death with come to those in waiting...i look at the other women...we are constantly moved in hiding from place to place..arms full of children...
Madurz: they will have the biggest fright when certain death comes to them..i feel i have more of a chance alone and moving
Madurz: i may sound odd i know
Neithan: Where will you go from here?
Madurz: i dont know...it seems to have become more hopeless..i wanted to turn to the seat for help...but fear overtook me
Madurz: what about you?
Neithan: I came here for peace. I found none, for I sat upon the seat and looked
Neithan: *his voice trails off*
Madurz: *worries about what he might have seen...but thinks it may help her*
Madurz: i suppose i would be overstepping if i asked what you saw
Neithan: What would it matter now?
Madurz: then you saw nothing bright?
Madurz: no glimmer of hope
Neithan: I saw all of the lands in flame, war all about..... and I saw her...... her funeral
Neithan: She was called Luinwen of Gondor
Neithan: She is now no more *his voice almost sobs*
Neithan: Nothing matters anymore
Madurz: *nods* your love?
Neithan: Yes.... she was, at one time
Neithan: But nothing matters, nothing. The world will end
Madurz: i can imagine how dark your life must be without her *she thinks of Khamul*
Neithan: Do you know what my name means?
Neithan: Neithan means "The Wronged" in Elvish
Neithan: My life was empty before she died
Neithan: *he wonders why he is telling this to a stranger but since there is none to hear and he cares not anymore. It has been so long since he talked to anyone, since he left Gondor in late June the year before*
Madurz: i'm sorry
Neithan: *he sighs*
Neithan: There is nothing anyone can do to help me now
Neithan: Are you sure you are not from Gondor, came out to look for me by stealth?
Madurz: your spirits arent high at all i'm afraid
Neithan: That you do not have a party lying in wait somewhere to kill me even as we talk?
Madurz: i assure you i am not from Gondor
Neithan: But now I care no longer, for I have seen her dead today
Neithan: So what is my life to me?
Neithan: Of course you cannot answer that *he says and a wild look comes over his eyes*
Madurz: *she thinks...her situation...life is empty without the one you love...but she however had the devotion to the Nazgul and her Lord*
Neithan: Yes, I saw her dead... and I saw other things
Neithan: Minas Tirith destroyed
Madurz: *she gasps on purpose*
Neithan: And here I stay in the woods, but I cannot go back. I can never go back
Neithan: *he laughs wildly* Because of my name!
Neithan: *he puts his head in his hands and sits there laughing*
Madurz: i am confused
Neithan: *he stops laughing and looks at her* All right, Mistwen... I think you have seen strange things and heard strange tales in your life. Do you wish to hear mine?
Madurz: if you care to tell it..i will listen with interest
Neithan: You look upon a brave soldier of Gondor *he pauses, and begins to laugh*
Neithan: You are alone with a man with a price upon his head. Does that bother you?
Neithan: *he laughs again*
Madurz: a price upon your head...yes..somewhat *a perfect answer for a "scared" Rohan woman*
Neithan: *he gets up and walks over and looks down at her as she sits upon the log seat*
Neithan: Somewhat bothered?
Madurz: *looks up to him*
Madurz: i am a very cautious woman
Neithan: Yes, a man with a price on his head. A dangerous criminal *he laughs wildly*
Neithan: You think me mad, don't you?
Madurz: *she would fight this man to the death if need be with help from Ash and then be on her way but she is from "Rohan"*
Madurz: *she cowers and stammers*
Madurz: i dont know what to think
Madurz: but i beg of you not to harm me
Neithan: *He moves away from her, laughing again, and goes back to sitting. He gets another piece of meat out of his pocket and chews it*
Neithan: *between bites of food he says* I will not harm you
Neithan: For I want peace, and no trouble
Madurz: *she exhales with relief*
Neithan: You want my tale?
Neithan: I will tell it to you then
Neithan: I used to be a soldier of dignity and valor
Neithan: I loved a woman
Neithan: But my friend Hallas loved her more. We had words
Neithan: Always words... and sometimes fights
Neithan: But I will tell you. I never would have killed him on purpose
Neithan: *he puts the rest of the piece of meat back in his pocket*
Madurz: then how did he die?
Neithan: I killed him
Neithan: An accident
Neithan: We were both in the same company, under Captain Vorondil, my friend
Neithan: Vorondil and I had been friends since boys. We played together when were lads. We rode together. We shot our bows together when hunting
Neithan: I was loyal to him as he was to me
Madurz: *she clears her throat and gets from nowhere a heaviness in her heart*
Neithan: My name should be "Cursed" instead of "Wronged"
Neithan: For everything I love dies
Neithan: *he sighs, but seems more sane*
Madurz: why do you speak of Elvish names?
Neithan: My ancestors were of the Faithful from Numenor, settled in Middle Earth, many centuries ago. There are many with Elvish names in Gondor. I am what you call a Dunedain, or was
Neithan: We worship Eru and revere the Valar and we make friends with the Elves, but now no man is friend of mine
Neithan: It happened at the bridge... at Osgiliath
Madurz: *heaviness weighs deeper her heart*
Neithan: In June... I was an archer at the bridge
Neithan: When that... that.... thing came by like a great horseman of darkness. No one knew what it was.... it was like we saw it with our minds but nothing was there
Neithan: And I shot wildly, and my arrow found the back of Hallas
Neithan: I still do not know what this.... thing... was
Madurz: *her heart pounds* what did it look like?
Neithan: A great fear fell upon us... and it was like one moment we saw it... all in black, a great horseman... and the next moment it was nothing... but a great feeling of dread
Neithan: And it came on us and few could withstand, for our minds turned to fear and madness
Neithan: Boromir, the son of Lord Denethor, was in charge our defense, but even he could not withstand it, and the thing passed
Neithan: But while it was there, I shot in fear and wild confusion, and my arrow foudn Hallas' back and it was known by all what I had done
Madurz: *her dream flashes in her mind again then fades*
Neithan: And then the captain, Vorondil, my friend......
Neithan: They all thought I had done it on purpose because Hallas and I had fought before
Neithan: The killing of a comrade brought penalty of death, even though I was innocent
Madurz: that is horrible fortune
Neithan: No one would believe me, and Vorondil tried to take me prisoner
Neithan: He drew his sword, and in wild panic I drew mine for the fear was still upon me that I had experienced upon the bridge. Then we fought... and then I killed him too, and one other before I fled
Neithan: That is my story. That is all
Neithan: *he gets up from his seat and looks towards the south*
Madurz: *she places her aching head in her hand while he looks away*
Neithan: *he says softly* Ai Elbereth....
Neithan: May the Valar have mercy upon me!
Neithan: *he stands in silence looking towards the south, his back towards her*
Madurz: *she looks up and stands and moves over to him* it wasn't your fault
Neithan: My grief is more than I can bear
Neithan: If I had had any honor left I would have fallen upon my sword
Madurz: in these times so many feel this grief
Neithan: At night, the thought comes to me.... "Fall upon your sword, and end it all in honor"
Neithan: But then I think, is the death of a coward any honor?
Madurz: you do not need to kill yourself...
Neithan: But surely, I sometimes wish to die
Madurz: death comes to us all..
Neithan: But then sometimes, I wish to return to Gondor
Neithan: That was my thought after I came back from the Seat of Seeing
Madurz: *she searches his eyes and finds no comfort only unease*
Neithan: *his words have fallen in a rush as though he was confessing something, and perhaps he does wish to confess*
Neithan: Mistwen, tell me the truth. Where are you going when you leave this place?
Madurz: my jpurney probably would have taken me to Gondor
Neithan: To Gondor....?
Neithan: That is a three days journey from here by boat
Madurz: i said would have..
Neithan: But not now?
Madurz: if i felt i had the time to do so....i fear the end..if not the end for men..then the end for me
Neithan: Why the end for you?
Madurz: *she scoffs* how long can a woman, alone and scared make it?
Neithan: Perhaps I will go to Gondor. Perhaps I am tired of hiding in woods like a criminal. Perhaps they could use another archer or swordsman *he says it to her almost defiantly*
Madurz: in times like this the men stick together
Neithan: For when Minas Tirith is devastated and the forces from the Nameless Land overrun the countryside, will they really mind a murderer?
Neithan: Too long have I been a coward and afraid to go back
Madurz: *constantly flashes of her dream enter her mind*
Neithan: Too long I have sat upon the seat of seeing and my heart tells me to go back
Madurz: then you must follow that
Neithan: Let me not die a coward's death by my own sword but let me die defending what remains of my people!
Madurz: you have much to offer Gondor...a body of strength..
Neithan: It matters no more anyway for I will fight a hopeless fight
Neithan: If you should wish to go to Gondor....
Neithan: I have a fishing boat just below the falls of Rauros
Madurz: you would take me?
Neithan: Aye, Mistwen, especially if you are the same as I... Without hope and seeking death
Madurz: *she nears him and places her hands on his shoulders*
Neithan: For even Luinwen killed herself in grief for Hallas and not for me
Neithan: I can always use another hand at rowing the boat... *he clenches his teeth*
Neithan: Come then, with me. I will pack food enough for both of us. I have dried meat and I can catch fish as we fish along the shores of the Anduin
Neithan: We will make good time, for the current is swift and when it is slow we will paddle
Madurz: then to Gondor we shall go...and you shall aid them in this fight..by fist, arrow, sword *she winces and grabs her head as a flash from her dream comes to her that she hadnt remembered till now*
Neithan: Yes, to Gondor to fight a hopeless fight and to dream a hopeless dream
Neithan: When shall we start the journey? The day is yet young and I have little here to keep me
Madurz: *she lags and only hears his voice as if distant for visions plague her mind*
Neithan: *He notices she seems lost in her own thoughts, as he is lost in his*
Neithan: *He comes out of his own thoughts... his memories... and turns back to the lady*
Ashgaz: *returns from the Seat of Seeing, having lingered there in thought, to find the lady talking with a stranger*
Neithan: To Gondor and die in a hopeless fight?
Neithan: To die in a hopeless fight... it seems a waste for you, but not for me, a condemned man
Neithan: I will load enough food and waterskins
Neithan: Come with me to my boat... it is but a short journey
Neithan: *he packs dried meats and berries and waterskins... takes a line to fish with*
Neithan: *Gets his bow and what few arrows he has left. He had sworn never to fight again after the death of Hallas, Volondil and the other man, but he had always kept his old weapons*
Neithan: *He goes deeper into the lean-to and comes back with a bundle*
Madurz: *she followed closely with him*
Neithan: *he unwraps the bundle, and draws from it a sword with a black blade* This is my sword, Marad
Madurz: *steps closer and looks to it*
Neithan: *he also takes a sheath for the sword and fastens it to his belt. He puts the sword in the sheath*
Neithan: I am ready
Madurz: *she presses her knuckles into her eye sockets for there is a stabbing pain*
Neithan: If you are ready, come then
Ashgaz: *moves closer to the lady, still unseen*
Ashgaz: *sends her a silent message: My lady, do you really intend to die?*
Madurz: *she breathes heavily and get his message but it is echoed and accompanied with mists and visions in her mind*
Neithan: *He waits for her to tell him if she is ready.. he seems impatient now to begin*
Madurz: *hears her loves cry in pain from her dream*
Ashgaz: *silently to Madurz* Have you given up on Khamul? Are you abandoning your return to him?
Madurz: *she shuts her eyes tightly seeing black...when she opens them...she sees red*
Madurz: *her feeling is strong...it weighs her heart..it pierces her mind*
Madurz: *she struggles hard to process and maintain this within her*
Neithan: *seeing her silence, he feels his impatience to leave growing*
Neithan: *he puts the bundle of supplies on one shoulder and his bow and quiver upon the other*
Madurz: *she summons strength to keep it in and use her wits*
Madurz: *her words seem grated with pain* forgive me....i suffer from headaches
Neithan: *he kicks dirt over the coals of the fire still burning in front of his lean-to*
Neithan: *He thinks about his life, his boyhood friendship with Vorondil, his old commander whom he killed in madness and fear in a battle of swords*
Neithan: *When he was trying to escape, after being falsely accused of killing Hallas, an old enemy who had stolen his love, Luinwen*
Neithan: *It was an accident... he knew that, but still he had been accused of murder and had to flee for his life*
Neithan: *he thinks how he had seen Luinwen's funeral from the Seeing Seat.... dead by her own hands, out of despair for Hallas, but not for him*
Neithan: *Now he was Neithan... "The Wronged"*
Neithan: *he thinks.... Everything I ever loved dies because of me*
Neithan: *he takes out his sword from its sheath... Marad... Meaning "Doomed"... and looks at it*
Madurz: *she tries to straighten out and moves to catch up*
Neithan: *he puts his sword back in the sheath and with a sigh of resignation, he goes down the hill towards the place that he keeps his boat*
Neithan: *he walks rapidly and calls back to Mistwen* Keep up with me!
Madurz: *she follows...and behind him her fists clench and she grits her teeth*
Ashgaz: *takes Madurz' hand gently as he follows with her*
Madurz: *her mind paints graphic pictures of dark red*
Madurz: *Ash can sense something terribly wrong*
Madurz: *he feels it moreso through her touch*
Neithan: *the boat is tied to a tree along the bank*
Ashgaz: *shudders at the anguish that flows into him from her touch*
Neithan: *He steps in the boat, and reaches a hand out to help Mistwen*
Neithan: Come along!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz lingers hesitantly on the shore, unseen*
Ashgaz: *Water...so much water*
Madurz: *mentally to ash she sends certain messages to him...you will be safe...let's go*
Madurz: *takes his hand*
Madurz: *she swallows hard to touch that hand*
Ashgaz: *holds tightly to Madurz' hand and gets in the boat with her*
Neithan: Take your seat in front of the boat and when I give the word, untie the rope that holds the boat
Neithan: You will find a paddle in the floor
Ashgaz: *he continues clinging to her hand, taking comfort in the human touch, until she must untie the rope*
Neithan: *Neithan is behind and Mistwen is in front in the boat*
Madurz: *Ash sits in front of her and she makes sure he is safe*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz' heart pounds at the boat's rocking...he thinks how there is nothing supporting them except water...so much water*
Ashgaz: *Any little problem and they will all be in the water*
Neithan: *he notices that the boat lies in the water lower than it should with the combined weight of Mistwen and himself*
Madurz: *he is small so she can maneuver with him in front of her*
Ashgaz: *He finds his vision failing...there is only bright shining water all around him*
Ashgaz: *The light hurts his eyes*
Neithan: *Being a former Dunedain and knowing these things, he feels suspicious again when he notices how low the boat rides in the water*
Madurz: *she notices this too and thinks maybe ashgaz should go in the middle but then worries he might rock into the man*
Neithan: Mistwen, you must be heavier than you look, for this boat seems to hold too much weight for two
Ashgaz: *He remembers stories of hobbits drowning in the river*
Neithan: Now let us cast off if you are settled Mistwen
Neithan: Mistwen, are you settled?
Madurz: *thankfully* i brought my pack...*when she lifts it she tells Ash to move to the middle and that is where she leaves the pack as well*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz stiffly scoots toward the middle of the boat, afraid to move*
Madurz: *the heavy pack balances the boat*
Ashgaz: *He trembles as the boat rocks with the transferred weight*
Neithan: *he feels something strange... something like unto the feeling he had at the bridge of Osgiliath when the strange thing... the dark horseman that no one quite saw... except in their minds... road across*
Neithan: *but nowhere near as strong as that feeling of horror and madness*
Ashgaz: *He hopes they cannot hear his hard breathing...he tries to catch his breath*
Ashgaz: *Groping blindly, he finds the pack and, clinging to it, settles next to it*
Madurz: *sends another thoguth to Ash now..i dreamt last night...of Khamul..his wound is severe..*
Neithan: Mistwen, take care lest you capsize us when you are moving your pack
Neithan: *he takes his oar and waits for her to take hers*
Madurz: *let this thought strengthen your courage...we ride with his attacker...but do not yet make a move*
Ashgaz: *replies silently* I know, my lady. I could tell when I saw him in the vision
Ashgaz: *stifles a gasp*
Neithan: Mistwen, we have to paddle so to move backwards and on to the main course
Neithan: It will not be long before we catch the current
Madurz: sorry *she begins to paddle*
Ashgaz: *He touches his unseen dagger*
Neithan: *the boat moves out of the shallow water and into the main current of the Anduin*
Ashgaz: *He looks toward the man, who is only a blurry shape to him*
Neithan: *the water is not swift yet so they must paddle*
Neithan: *his mood seems to become even madder* Now we row to death
Ashgaz: *His chest tightens...will he be forced to kill at last?*
Madurz: i fear we do
Neithan: To death! To death!
Neithan: But we may as well be merry for we have nothing to lose
Neithan: *He throws his head back and laughs*
Madurz: *she lowers her head to hide her disgusted expression*
Ashgaz: *wishes he were also rowing to death...it would be better than this tormented existence*
Neithan: For I am a criminal and you are a wanderer, and we both go to our death in the ruins of Gondor, to fight the Nameless Enemy in a hopeless fight
Madurz: *she thinks of the dungeon with Khamul*
Madurz: *thinks of her pretty white dress with spilled blood*
Ashgaz: *He feels horror at the thought of attacking the man, but also rage at his master's attacker*
Neithan: *moments of silence pass as they row*
Ashgaz: *He hears Khamul's cries for help in his mind and anger swells within him*
Neithan: *He says after falling silent for some time, contemplating his past and his future and the enevitable doom* Perhaps we should sing
Neithan: Or I will sing
Neithan: It is a song of the elves....
Ashgaz: *Then he remembers crying for help himself while Khamul bent over him...and Khamul causing his tongue to cleave to the roof of his mouth*
Neithan: *he begins to sing... a song in Elvish...*
Neithan: A Elbereth Gilthoniel, silivren penna miriel
Ashgaz: *He hugs himself and wishes to see his master...he can never seem to be very angry at him in his actual presence*
Neithan: o menel aglar elenath! Na-chaered palan-diriel *he continues to sing the Elvish hymn to Elbereth*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz clamps his hand over his mouth to stifle his cries of pain at the Elvish invocations*
Neithan: o galadhremmin ennorath, Fanuilos, le linnathon nef aear, si nef aearon!
Neithan: *he is comforted by the song, and the strange unseeen presence he has vaguely sensed for some time is not bothering him*
Neithan: A Elbereth Gilthoniel! o menel palan-diriel le nallon sí di'nguruthos! A tiro nin, Fanuilos!
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz has curled into a ball with his hands over his ears and is rocking back and forth*
Neithan: A! Elbereth Gilthoniel! silivren penna miriel o menel aglar elenath!
Neithan: *he stops singing, and his mood seems softened*
Neithan: Mistwen, do you know the meaning of this song, the words?
Madurz: *Elvish speaking has never bothered her..she even would say she was quite fond of it...but coming from him...the voice of the man whom she wrongly believed to be her love's attacker...she wished to cut the words from his throat..then he stops...she looks up..supposed to be of "Rohan" she says* no
Neithan: Mistwen, I plan to sing it much during our three days journey downriver, for it brings me comfort, even joy
Ashgaz: *Madurz feels the slight weight of Ashgaz' head against her back as he falls forward in relief at the end of the song*
Madurz: i have not a problem with that..for if it brings you comfort..then do so *smiles sweetly*
Ashgaz: *He quickly picks himself up and puts his head down on the pack*
Madurz: *consider it your last song*
Neithan: Then I will do so, Mistwen.... Gilthoniel! O Elbereth! Clear are thy eyes and bright thy breath! Snow-white! Snow-white! We sing to thee In a far land beyond the Sea.
Madurz: *smiles when she felt a reminder of Ash*
Neithan: *and then he concentrates on rowing*
Neithan: *hours pass mixed with periods of silence and his singing songs of the Blessed Realm, and Elbereth*
Neithan: *To the East is the Nindalf/Wetwang swamp, and to the west are the Mouths of the Entwash*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz is curled up exhausted, resting on the pack*
Neithan: *many long miles of swampy marsh-like land on either side of the river*
Ashgaz: *When will they be able to leave all this cursed water?*
Neithan: *the current picks up and the little boat goes faster*
Madurz: *she is glad the pace quickens*
Neithan: *he says* We are making good time.. if we keep rowing like this with a strong current... two days journey should bring us to the Osgiliath area
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz is too frightened to move*
Neithan: What will you do when we get there, Mistwen?
Ashgaz: *thinks* Two day's journey!!
Ashgaz: *thinks* And I could be travelling towards the Shire right now
Ashgaz: *I could be nearing my family and Mary by now*
Ashgaz: *But I will never see them again*
Madurz: what shall i do? i know not yet...perhaps join in the battle
Ashgaz: *buries his head in his arms*
Neithan: What I plan to do is take the boat to shore about a mile north of Osgiliath and then we will make our way on foot
Neithan: But we must be ever careful, for the land is crawling with enemies
Neithan: Mistwen, have you a weapon?
Ashgaz: *sends a message to Madurz* I will let nothing harm you there
Neithan: Mistwen, can you shoot a bow?
Madurz: *i know Ashgaz..i know*
Neithan: Do you know the archers' skills?
Neithan: *ever the sound of the paddles dipping in the water as they make their way southeastward on the river*
Madurz: i know very little *she knows a lot but thinks like a typical Rohan woman* i am better with a sword
Neithan: I am a better bowman than I am a swordsman
Neithan: *his thoughts go back to Hallas and his death at the bridge on June 20 of the year before*
Ashgaz: *Swords...weapons...it is all so foreign*
Ashgaz: *Why must the Big Folk always fight each other?*
Neithan: Mistwen, if we come to a bad place in Gondor, I will let you use my sword, and I will use what arrows I have left
Neithan: But until then I will keep Marad
Neithan: *more paddling and silence and the sun begins to sink in the west*
Madurz: alright...thank you *mistakenly believing that Neithan's sword was used to wound Khamul, she thinks of the irony..to use the sword that wounded her love....she prefered to use it on him*
Neithan: *he asks her* Should we try rowing all night or drift with the current?
Neithan: I say trust the luck of the current and move with the river by day and night
Madurz: whatever gets us there faster...*renewed drive and glad they have a boat..she thinks their arrival home will be soon..and anyway it would be sooner than expected*
Neithan: I need little sleep
Ashgaz: *shudders at the thought of trusting a river. How can you trust something made of water?*
Madurz: as do i..i go without it often
Neithan: The moon will be full tonight, and we can see
Neithan: I will stay with the paddling. If you need to sleep, do so, for your arms must be tired by now
Neithan: Ah, Gondor... ever nearer we go to Gondor
Neithan: It was once a beautiful land, but last I saw upon the Seat of Seeing, it was no more
Ashgaz: *Hopes that fate will never befall the Shire*
Neithan: Mistwen, you do not seem to have any joy in this trip
Madurz: i appologize..my headaches are extremely bad today
Neithan: Mistwen, there is nothing I can do about your headaches. I am not a healer
Neithan: *suddenly he straightens up in the boat, still holding the paddle*
Madurz: i know..it's alright..i am used to them
Neithan: *It is night now and the moon shines up above*
Ashgaz: *Ashgaz can see better in the dark*
Madurz: *watches him*
Neithan: But what is that, that darkens the face of the moon and the stars of Elbereth?
Ashgaz: *though the moonlight is still painful*
Neithan: *he tightens his grip on the oar, and points to something in the sky.... a flying creature of black... darkness against the moon*
Neithan: A Elbereth, what is that?
Madurz: *she looks up to where he points*
Ashgaz: *squints to look up at the creature*
Neithan: *a feeling of fear comes upon him and he almost drops the oar... the same feeling that was upon the men at the bridge on June 20, 3018 of the last summer*
Ashgaz: *sits up suddenly*
Neithan: *he sits there in the boat, gazing at the sky, stricken in terror*
Ashgaz: *Wants to shriek at the Nazgul to come and take them back to Khamul*
Ashgaz: *if it is a Nazgul*
Neithan: It is a fell rider upon a fell steed!
Neithan: We are surely doomed now!
Madurz: *her heart begins to pound...looking for them?*
Neithan: *but the flying beast wheels and passes over them... going ever westward*
Ashgaz: *tries to send a message to the rider saying who they are*
Neithan: *he seems relieved*
Neithan: It has passed now, but it may be back
Neithan: Let us make for shore!
Ashgaz: *sits up and clenches his fists, deciding whether or not to shriek after the rider*
Madurz: *she shuts her eyes tightly and exhales...the man takes it for relief, but it is sadness*
Ashgaz: *gives up on it*
Neithan: Mistwen, help me turn the boat towards the shore
Madurz: *she wants to kill him for sure now*
Neithan: Paddle now!
Ashgaz: *His heart lifts with relief--they are going to land*
Neithan: We will hide in the trees along the shore for a while
Neithan: And then we will resume our journey
Neithan: *they paddle towards the gentler water along the shore*
Madurz: *an image of her giving him a powerful blow to the head with the ore flashes in her mind and she blinks..then paddles*
Neithan: Truly, I feel this black thing will drive me mad!
Neithan: I have had dreams about it ever since we faced it on the bridge... in all my wanderings....
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