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An Unsettling Discovery, Part 1 (by Leafblade)

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(Chatting with Wharf inspired me to post the LOTRO stories I wrote based on the escapades of my family and friends while playing the game. This first one I wrote quite a few years ago.  I did not continue it until a couple years ago after a hiatus.  As the names are fictional to start, I'm not going to bother taking time to change any of them.)



(This was written quite a long time ago when my daughter and I were in the kinship Mischief and Merriment. I am using it now as something of a prologue or introduction for some stories involving the Order of the Tower Guard, the first installment of which I just completed today.)

An Unsettling Discovery (short story)

He knelt beside the dead body. Flies were gathering already. The wounds were similar to what he had seen on the other bodies not far away. More to claw and fang than edge of blade were the wounds owed, he thought. Strangely, while mangled the bodies had not been feasted upon by the creatures that killed them.

“It almost looks like the globsnaga infestation around the wounds, doesn’t it?” a youthful maiden's voice asked from a pace behind him.

He looked at the telltale reaction of blood to the fungus already spreading outward from the wounds. He rested his cheek against the elongated handle of his halberd as it stood in front of him. He should have closed the man’s eyes but touching the body was a risk he dared not take. “Yes,” he finally responded with a grim scowl. “Yes, it does. That’s not what worries me though.”

“That they were killed by creatures but are uneaten? That the globsnaga fungus is outside of Moria?” the young voice asked. He stood up slowly, remarking for a moment how quick his daughter was in her attention to detail. He glanced at her for a moment before turning back to the body.

“Good that you noticed, but no. Though that is a concern. Notice the marks upon his bracers? What little you can make out still on his chestplate? Look to his helm where it came to rest just over there as well.” He gestured to each in turn before returning both hands to the weapon standing at attention before him.

Antwanette took note of the heraldry and while vaguely familiar to her, she did not know to what it belonged. She glanced to her father with raised eyebrows asking for more information.

“This is Ruthamar.” He wondered if the name would have meaning for her. His daughter was gifted in her gathering of knowledge and lore, but animals and nature were her domain. He continued on. “It’s no common man-at-arms that lays before us here. The free peoples have lost a champion. He was good. As were his companions.” He frowned again at the body, his mind still mulling over the significance.
He stood straighter for a moment, removing his helm and holding it under the bend of his arm at his side. "Ruthamar of the House Tarma, Champion of the Free Peoples, may your passing into the Halls of Mandos be swift." With those words he bowed his head for a moment in silence before replacing his helm. His voice continued briefly before trailing off, “He was very very good…”

Silence hung in the air for a moment. “Greater than the mighty Leafblade?” Antwanette asked. He peaked around the haft of his halberd at her for a moment, a grim smile piercing his solemn expression as he took in the smirk shining brightly from his daughter’s face. The morning sun shining down through the trees added a brilliance to the lightness of her hair. She was becoming a young woman. That she could attempt humor in such dark circumstances spoke not only to her maturity but to the trials she had already faced. He rolled his eyes dismissively away from her and snorted, “By far, my dear.”

Antwanette glanced around with some alarm, gripping her wooden staff more firmly. “Should we be on our guard? Should we be away?”

Leafblade took in a deep breath and sighed, his eyes absently peering through the trees up the slope ahead of them. “No, no I don’t think so. If whatever killed Ruthamar were still here, we would already be dead.”

Antwanette found her father’s words chilling. That she could already be dead on what she had thought to be a routine morning patrol through the Dimril Dale shook her.

“Still, we should be away,” Leafblade continued. They began making their way back down the slope toward the river. “Let's find Toolajit and Odencrantz. There is a riddle here that needs solving. Lady Rose should hear of it."

Not far away, eyes of malice had watched from shadow.

To Be Continued…



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I gave up trying to keep up with these as you posted them, so I've decided to start again and read more carefully. Excellent! Give me more! Oh, you already have. :-)

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