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 A Captain's Tale...

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Cawres

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PostSubject: A Captain's Tale...   Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:27 am

Sit down, friend and stay a while. I can see you are weary from travel, so rest your feet and let's share some pipe weed and the warmth of the campfire. These are dark times for all the free people of Middle-Earth: let's lighten a few hours by sharing each others company and maybe a few stories....Aye, you have guessed correctly, I hail from the Riddermark. (*laughs)I see the question burning in your eyes...no, it is not unusual for the women of Rohan to bear arms and ride into battle alongside their men, yet for me this path has only revealed itself of late. As the shadow grows in the East, even the most gentle amongst us must lay down their lives of peaceful endeavours, of farming and baking and planting and sowing; instead we pick up sword and shield, to ride against the rising tide that floods our lands.

But the late hour has made me forget my manners: I am Cawres Aelydbrand, of the Westfold; Captain of Rohan. I was not born into this life of steel and blood; I never expected to be a shieldmaiden and captain, commanding the spears of men and sending them to battle and death. Yet just as little as we can know the path of Bema, the great rider, can we foresee the paths that lie ahead of us. Hear then my tale:


I was born on a small hamlet in the Westfold, Aelydsted, near the fords of the Isen. My father was the village blacksmith and often did I watch him smelt the iron ores in his furnace, face blackened with soot and ash, crafting the horseshoes that we use for our steeds. Much did I learn from him, for he let me wield the hammer and air the fire on many occasion. But it was my brother, Cawdred, who was apprenticed to him and who spent every day at the fire, moulding steel. Oh how I envied him! My own trade was taught me by my mother. She was the healer and herbwomen of the village. Like her own mother and grandmother before her, she searched the glens and marshes of the Isen for the precious herb shed use in her teas and bandages, to help those who were ailing. I accompanied her and learned the properties of the flowers, the roots and berries. Life was peaceful and steady in those days, but, occasionally, there were troubles: raids from Dunland or packs of marauding goblins from the mountains, but nothing that our bold riders could not deal with swiftly.
But time runs like a river and not even the Valar themselves can stop its flow. The shadow grew deeper and longer and the raids became more frequent and savage.
I had just merely come of age, when one day, a new threat appeared. A warband of large black Orc came swiftly in the night and stole many of our horses. Strangely, they took only the black ones, while mutilating and killing many of the others.

Now for the folk of Rohan, horses are like kin. Stealing them is the worst insult that can be issued to the sons and daughters of Eorl, but killing and harming them cannot be forgiven, and cries for blood vengeance! The men of the village, amongst them my father and brother, rode out to
the north, tracking the orc and the stolen horses. I remember it likeyesterday, that dusky morning when I waved to Cawdred, bidding him farewell. It is the last I saw of him! We waited, three days and nights in anguish for our men to return. On the third night, we heard a familiar sound: The hunting horn of our kin: They had returned!

But foul Orc trickery and betrayal, while we ran to meet our men, they came upon us in ambush, Goblins and hillmen amongst them. They ransacked the village, burning the houses and farms, killing many. We fought bravely, for even the women and children of Rohan are formidable foes, but there were too many. We fled to the Isen, and hid amongst the reeds and ferns. I did what I could to help my mother, healing those who were wounded and giving solace where I could. But my heart was bleeding, for my home had burned, and my brother and farther most likely killed. But this was no time for grief, the Orc were still scouting for us, and there were lives to save! But what to do? Where to go? My mother suggested we make our way north, to Isengard, to seek refuge with Saruman, who had in the past been a friend to Rohan. However, some of the elders mistrusted him as foul rumours had been heard about his dealings. Thus, we decided to seek help from our own and make our way to the mountains in the south and seek out Erkenbrand, a lord of the Westfold.

Ahh, my friend, little did we know what arduous journey lay ahead of us. Still today I cannot forget the horror of those days. The Orc tracked our paths and often were we attacked by scouts and small bands of raiders. It seemed as if our own lands were filled with enemies, fire and blood had taken the stead of green pastures and rambling rivers.
My mother lead us towards the Hornburg at Helmís deep, the fortress of our ancestors, for there, we hoped to find Erkenbrand and his Eodred. With grim determination we made our way across the mountains, ignoring grief, hunger and cold. Many friends and kin did we loose to the arrows of the orc, but we did our best to hold together. I assisted my mother in healing the wounds, and soothing the spirits, although my own was bruised and full of despair.

When we finally reached Helmís deep I had changed. I was no longer a carefree girl with innocent fancies. The loss of my home and kin and the horrors of the flight south had filled me with dread, anger and fear. Vengeance was on my mind and I wanted the means to seek it.
While the other survivors of my village found distant relatives and friends to live with and rebuilt their lives, I joined Erkenbrandís Eodred to learn how to fight, much to my motherís dismay.
I started as a simple knave, riding with the soldiers, tending to the horses and cleaning the weapons, while being instructed in their use.
I learned much: how to wield the sword and spear, how to thrust and smite from horseback, and the war cries of Eorl and Brego. I was not the strongest or fastest in battle, but I earned the respect of my peers, for I was sturdy and courageous. I took to the bloody work of a soldier with grim determination, but I forgot not my mothers teachings and honed my skills in healing and solace whenever I could. And there were many opportunities for that, for our days were filled with constant battle. Every year, the tide of enemies streaming into Rohan became stronger and more numbered. Rumours abounded: a Shadow was stirring in the east and an evil had returned to Angmar, in the far north
And Dunlendings and Orc were not the only danger that threatened Rohan. From within our borders, evil came and seemed to poison the minds and heart of noble men. Even our King, Theoden, who is loved by our people, seemed to wither and sleep, his advisors keeping sway over him.

Erkenbrand, the leader of my Eordred, is a wise and far-sighted man. He became suspicious of the number of Orcs and the constant evil sweeping our lands and he chose to act. He sent out riders to find the source of the evil that threatened our lands: To Gondor and Dale, to our allies and brethren, to seek answers.
At the time I was a young Captain, leading a small band of outriders and scouts. I was summoned and charged with the task to travel to Eriador to investigate rumours of the evil in the North. Where possible I should find allies, maybe in the men of Bree or the northern rangers.
With a heavy heart I accepted this mission. I bid farewell to my mother and my brothers in arms and rode out to the North, to seek the reason for my peopleís doom.

Ach, ÖI have been talking too long, lost in memories and the night grows deeper. My tale is at an end or maybe it is just beginning Iím still no closer to fulfilling my task and the path ahead seems long and perilous. Where will go from here? I do not know, but I fear that it will lead me to Angmar, for there I might find an answer to this evil. But I shall not go alone: I have met many companions who are of the same mind and heart as me, who love their land and want to rid it of the dark. Maybe together we will find the answers?
But enough of me, my friend. I have told my tale and the hour is late. But I donít feel like resting just yet. Maybe you have a tale to tell to pass a few more hours until morning?

_________________
Cawres Aelydbrand
Captain of Rohan
Knight of the Last Banner

It matters not how strait the gate,
how charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.
William Earnest Henley


Last edited by Cawres on Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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Meneias
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PostSubject: Re: A Captain's Tale...   Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:16 pm

Excellent story, quite short in length, and very detailed. Good Job Cawres, will be looking for more!
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