Fall of Talia

Middle-earth time is:
Nighttime on Sterday, Day 6 of May.
Real time is: 21:21:03 MDT on Wed Oct 01 2003.

Anduin Vale, North of Lorien
As night descends the transformation of light resolves only into duller shades of grey, the fall deterioration only adding to the suddenly oppressive feeling that only darkness can bring. Lorien lies to the south, and to the west, the Misty Mountains cannot be seen, though their presence is undeniable. The gently sloping ground could easily divert weary feet downwards to the east and north where the ground seems to be more stable. Spring time glistens with the promise of new life that even the darkness seems to anticipate.
The night sky still dumps copious amounts of rain down onto you. The nighttime spring air is warm and humid around you. The moon is waning gibbous.

Contents:
Talia
Dialagos
Kathalis
Gothmog

There is no nightengale song this eve, no cicada buzz, not even the haunting sound of the batwings in hunt or the comforting crackle of a campfire. There is just the steady sound of rain upon the earth, and for a small patrol of elves huddled beneath a large shade tree: rain upon the leaves.

Five elves, seated upon the wet ground speak little, but watch much. Though the weather limits their sight greatly, their own cloaks pulled tight about them, limit others from spying them as well.

The figure to the northern side of the elven camp fire, A tall elf, capped in a cowl of brilliant white, Speaks in hushed tones to his fellow's as he scans about. "Be wary me friends, This eve is strangely quiet. I like it not." Even though his voice is hushed, concern can be gleamed from the tones in Kathalis' voice.

Cold fog raises from the distant river and creeps along the ground. It muffles all sounds, all the already quiet voices of the night. The chill of the fog penetrates even the warm cloaks. Fog creeps ahead, pooling in small valleys and reaching over the rolling hills.

The dark of the night brings out a small patrol of elves not used to leaving there safe haven of there land, but when they are called upon to do so they do set out. One in the patrol is the Knight Dialagos he stands leaned against a tree lightly his cloak wraped around him tightly he seems to be scanning with his eyes although they are keen and tuned they even have a hard time seeing in the weather and shroweded darkness of this place.

As the landscape changes from wet to wet and foggy, a collective shudder seems to pass through the elves. One rises from a damp resting place and takes a few halting steps away from the group, though a fist is raised, motioning the others to stay where they are.

The Knight-Protector Talia pushes the hood back onto her shoulders, and though no expression can be read upon her countenance, her face, and even the ancient elf-stones upon her brow, are dark in the starless night. She waits, still and wary.

As the strange errie fog begins to roll in apon them, Kathalis slowly stands and scan the area about them. Ignoring or perhaps not catching the knight protector's order to remine where he sit. His hand sliping down to slowly, quietly slip his blade from its sheath. His eyes dart over towards Talia for but a moment before looking out once more into the dark.

Through the soft blanket of the fog comes a new sound: that of horse hooves. It appears to be coming from afar, but with the way fog scatters all sounds it could be anywhere, and seems to come from several directions at once. Even though it is just a horse, it sounds foreign, alien to this place, and somehow jarring to the ear. The sound becomes clearer, more prominent, and not as much because it grows louder but rather because the other sounds, all the quiet mutterings of the night, fall silent at its approach.

The noise of the horses hooves upon the ground is well known to one of the elves in the patrol, and it catches the attention of the knight Dialagos quickly enough his, and he stands straight as the fog rolls in thicker it seems his vision too poor for bow his hands reach for sheeth and blade and quickly it is in hand, and with the other he reaches back for a leather shield strapping it to his arm his eyes and ears seem to scan the area, but they lend glance to the Knight-protector as well.

Whether demon or cart pony, the sound of hooves is enough to loosen Talia's sword from its sheath. After so many days of waiting in this lonely rainy realm, all the elves are now on edge, and on their feet. But the Protector is not hasty and takes a few more steps forward. Her shield is still on her back and her right hand rests on the hilt of her sword. Her left hand fidgets and reaches absently for the fastenings of her cloak as she listens, not trusting to sight in the fog and wet.

Kathalis shifts nervously, his gaze shifting this way and that, trying to determine exactly where the sound is coming from. He lifts his shield into a defensive position as steps along side his beloved, Talia.

Against the milky curtain of the creeping fog a distant dark shape appears. As it approaches, it gaines the shape of a tall man on a huge black horse. It is but a silouette, for the rider is darker than any night you have ever seen, a void of total black cut out of the dusk, not yielding to any light. The feeling of chill creeping under the cloaks and along the skin grows stronger as the figure approaches.

As the horseman appears out of the fog, Kathalis turns to face him, his eyes narrowing as he attempts to focus on the being on apon the steads back. Remaining in a defensive stance.

Despair falls upon the visage of the brave Protector and at last she unsheathes her sword, though the blade seems heavy and cumbersome in her usually sure grip. "The Lady was right," is all she says to her companions - her voice cracked and broken. Then she inhales deeply, straightening her posture and lifting her chin. With a shrug, her shield falls into place as she struggles to find her voice again.

As the Elder-knight and Protector look on to the noise and draw weapons all together with weapons ready and wait all though unsure. Dialagos looks on towrds the sound, but his mind fall upon the words of the protector asking of hi true of heart, and he seems to be, but even the strongest will bends, and Dialagos finds it hard to keep his strength ready in his sword arm. He looks on, and no words come to anawer Talia only an unsure nod, and he goes back to findind his will and strength.

Closer now, the horse look less ethereal. It is a great black stallion with rippling muscles, but it walks with a slight limp and on its chest is a fresh wound which looks like it was left by a swipe of a clawed paw, with blood caked over it. But there is nothing ordinary about the rider: cloaked in black robes and dark shadows, with a great horned helm on his head, his visage yields nothing but total darkness to the eye. Robes billow in the wind, and shadows tear from their fraying edges and fly into the night, small patches of darkness slowly fading in the fog. At his side is a tall tower shield, also black, except for the nine runes arranged in a circle around the center, where a hideous skull of some fell monstrous creature is affixed.

Kathalis mummers a soft prayer as he looks apon Gothmog taking a slightly back step, his eyes going steally, Leveling his blade at him.

Talia chances a glance over her shoulder, towards Lorien, and it seems to hearten her somewhat. Her hand finishes fumbling and her cloak falls to the ground. Like a lightning flash, she is revealed in her uniform of shining, pure white and for a moment, the elf-stones on her brow flash to match. A voice finds its way back into her chest and she takes a step, "Turn aside! You will find no welcome in these lands!"

Looking on to the both of the Dialagos seems to find his place, and he slowly steps away from the tree he had been resting on not very many moments ago. He steps out taking the position in the middle of the two other elves his cloak is undone giving his body free movement. He nods in agreement to the protectors words. His sword is now raised in defense position.

The head turns, and the helm upon it leans forward, like it should be if the rider were to look down at the Elf on the ground. But there is no face under the metal visor, no eyes shine in the darkness, only a black void which draws the eye into its depth filled only with choking despair. Yet, out of the void, a voice speaks, and it echoes in your mind as much as in your ears, "I care not for your welcome. Step aside, and let me pass. Your time will come later."

"Go back the way you came, and we will let you go in peace. But you will not go further West." Talia raises her sword as a sneer enters her voice and anger begins to mingle with the fear in her steely blue eyes.

Kathalis steels himself for what is to come, perparing himself for the creatures advance, Holding his blade low, readying for an attack against a mounted foe.

As this challenge is delivered, the black-gloved hand of the rider dashes into the darkness of his robes, and a moment later emerges holding a longsword. Against the black robes it gleams with pale cold light, like a shard of ice. A powerful aura of cold emanates from it, and starlight breaks on the blade and reflects in all directions, stabbing the eyes like tiny sharp ice crystals. The rider raises the shield, and the eyes of the skull in its center light up with unholy red glow.

Looking forward still as Talia speaks again the rider who seems to be darkness in it's truest form. Dialagos finds he is full of fear, but that him and this patrol are standing between the here and the land he loves. He stands straight and readies for an attack to any of the elves. "We shant let you pass." His voice all though in his mind is unsteady comes out pure and full.

Talia blinks and turns her gaze aside as the cold blade of the Nazgul is revealed. She looks long upon Kathalis, next to her, and then to the trio of elves holding position behind. "Hold," is all she says to them, though arrows are at the ready. Facing forward again, she lifts her own sword up and forward in answer, though hope remains that the creature will turn back the way he came. She is still now, like a coil ready to spring and her golden hair lifts in the breeze. A glimmer of ancient pure light shows itself on her brow, when starlight is able to break through the clouds.

Kathalis speaks in a cold steally voice, "You shall pass no further. Turn back now." remaining at all times by Talia's side. His gaze his steady yet resigned.

As the figure draws sword and shield seeming to readie for a fight if needed, but as Dialagos steps forward he hears the words of the protector and all that is done instead is his cloak hood is set back giving a better view of the long hair and shining lightbrown eyes which gaze steadly.

"Last chance. Do not challenge death, and let me pass", the words fly out of the dark void one by one, stabbing in your ears like daggers. The horse edges forward, cautiously now, but the black-gloved hand raises the cold blade.

Upon realizing the creature has no intention now of turning back, Talia's expression falls again to gloom. She closes her eyes and sweeps her sword arm down in a quick cutting motion. Before she has even finished, grey-fletched arrows cut the night with hissings sounds as they make way for the Blackness.

Kathalis steps forward holding his shield up before him, placing himself slightly before Talia.

The arrows dive into the black void, and vanish in it, just like the starlight which touches it perishes forever. A cruel strike of the sharp spurs sends the black horse charging forward, toward the Elf who delivered the challenge. The gleaming ethereal blade draws a downward arc through the whispy fog, and its trail sparkles with tiny crystals of ice as it falls toward the Elleth... But another Elf stands in her place.

The arrows wistling through the air the sound brings Dialagos back to his guard his sword being raised and his shield close to his side ready for defense, but he doesn't step forward yet knowing the protectors order were to hold his postion for the moment. His eyes seem to bun brighter as he watched thinks of the woods anger mixes into him in bits. He regains focus and watches closely for orders
You attack Kathalis with your Longsword...
Your attack against Kathalis severely wounds him!

Kathalis gets slamed backward by the downward slice of the Nazgul's blade. Crying out in pain, Kathalis drops to a knee. Only years of training and sheer dertimination allow him not to drop his blade, he attempt to regain his feet lunging out with his blade as he does.
Kathalis attacks you with his Longsword!...
...and you parry his attack with your Longsword!

As a blow meant for her lands upon Kathalis instead, a cry - a war cry - escapes from the Protector of the Golden Wood. The cry seems to set free the lucid elven light from the stones on her forehead and they blaze forth now with the same ferocity with which the Nazgul swallows the light. She slings aside her shield and takes a two handed grip on her blade, "<UNINTELLIGIBLE SPEECH> Then, with a prayer to Elbereth on her lips she lunges forward in a fury of steel and light, aiming not for the rider, but for the already wounded steed.

The swords clash, and the cold blade, now stained with red, stops the elven sword and pushes it aside. As the rider raises his sword again, the blood on its tip fades and disappears, as if the blade itself drinks it up. "Come not between the Nazgul and its prey, fool", hisses the black apparition. Urged on by the impatient hand, the horse steps forward, its bloodshot eyes look past the elf who is kneeling right before it, only the maddening pain reflects in them. Towering above the wounded elf, the rider holds forward his shield to deflect the incoming blow, while the pale longsword falls down again with great strenght.
You attack Kathalis with your Longsword...
Your attack against Kathalis terribly wounds him!

Looking to the Protector unsure at first knowing his place is to fall back as she has requested, but knowing she and the elder will need help Dialagos nods, but moving back to the tree he had been by, and there he stands, but deciding he must help he straps shield to his back, and reaches back taking his Longbow off his back, and holding it in his hands at ready.

Kathalis gets taken off of his feet by this blow and falls to the ground. He attempts to get up, and to his feet attempting to pull back for the fiend. pulling his sword up into a defensive position.
ARB: Kathalis has "passed" on his turn to attack.

The sound that escapes from Talia now is an unnatural blend of a growl and a cry as her feelings as wife and soldier are placed at odds. "<UNINTELLIGIBLE SPEECH> she cries to the elves in the safety of the trees, while trying to find a way between Kathalis and the Nazgul. Her eyes still blaze, though her shining garb is now grey and sodden with mud.

A hiss, full of hate and menace, escapes the unseen lips in the dark, and the horse's ears twitch in pain. It presses forward, not bothering to step over the fallen elf, probably not even noticing him. The rider already turns his attention, and his gaze, to the elf-maid who now stands before him, determined and alone.
You attack Kathalis with your Longsword...
Kathalis parries your attack with his Longsword!

Looks forward with a look of anger at not being able to do anything only watch the battle which goes on infront of him, but as the dark figure attacks the wounded elder a feeling of compleate helpless comes upon him until the Protector yells for him to fire. He quickly grabs for an arrow stringing it in the arrow. He aims for the figures sword arm. He pulls back the string and breathes once before firing.
Dialagos launches an arrow...
Dialagos's arrow flies wide, doing no harm.

Kathalis gets knocked aside by the charging horse. Spinning with he slashes out attempting to drive his blade into the beast leg before with all the strength he can muster it can get to Talia.
Kathalis attacks you with his Longsword!...
...and he misses!

Talia swings her sword before her now in a crossing pattern, but does not retreat from the advancing horse, hoping beyond hope to distract the Nazgul long enough for Kathalis to find safety. "Enough!" she cries in her heavily accented Common before lunging - both arms providing force behind the blow aimed at the horse's chest.

The arrow whisles through the air and again vanishes in the darkness surrounding the rider. It does not even make a sound as it strikes the black shape, as if there is no substance for it to hit. Talia's sword again bangs on the massive shield, and the hideous skull twists into a sneering grin, its glowing eyes stare back at her. "Still alive, worm?" hisses the rider as he kicks his steed in the side again, forcing it to sidestep from the path and out of the way of the elven sword. Reaching down, he stabs with his blade, which sends out a ray of cold light from its point, like a precursor of the strike.
You attack Kathalis with your Longsword...
Your attack against Kathalis mortally wounds him!

The thick fog flashes briefly with the glow of a single distant lightning strike, and shortly after thunder rolls through the vale. It starts as a low rumbling, growing steadily in fervor that fails to fade. Soon, it is a dull roar, and the air itself begins to tremble as a strange breeze stirs the fog into swirling vortices. Suddenly the grey canopy tears, rent asunder by a wedge of violent wind.
Thus does a new dark shape become visible, this one borne aloft upon massive wings. It is an eagle of the north, and though the night obscures its true scale, it is clearly large, even amongst its brethren. The air groans in protest against the force of the bird's tremendous frame, guiding it out of its dive to swoop low along the ground. Great amber eyes focus upon the Black Rider, and the hooked beak cracks open to emit a feral hiss; yet the avian turns toward the injured elf, Kathalis. Large legs descend, their long toes grasping carefully onto the warrior to carry him away from the threat, whether he wishes it or not.

Watching the weather blow his arrow off wide the Knight cringes and a small growl escapes, but it is soon gone and another arrow knocked tryin now to provide the elder a moment to escape this, and go on. He quickly pulls the string back this time aiming for where the chest would be on this figure going now for a bigger target. He glances to the protector and says a small preyer to his arrow and it's flight befor letting it loose.
Dialagos launches an arrow...
Dialagos's arrow flies wide, doing no harm.

As the great bird snatches the prey away from him, the rider turns his face toward the dark sky, and lets out a terrible shriek, the sound of great hatred which rends the ears and numbs the mind.
Gothmog looks to the sky and lets loose a long and shrill scream.
A shrill and high-pitched wail, full of despair and evil, echoes over the area.
Dialagos loses his grip on his weapon and it slips to the ground.
Dialagos puts down a Longbow.

As Gwaihir sweeps in and snatches him away from the Nazgul's clutches, Kathalis' head slumps forward as he fades into unconsiousness.

Talia's elf stones go suddenly dim as Gothmog's strike is true and finds Kathalis. The tip of her sword falls to the Earth. Her chest and shoulders heave as she struggles for air. "Aye! Elbereth!" the words seem to find her lips, born on the wind, on the wings of the Eagle who bears her husband to safety, but just as quickly they are doused and she falters - the demonic voice of the Nazgul seems to echo off every blade of grass and find way directly to her head. She cannot lift her sword and she shakes herself, trying to keep her eyes upon the enemy.

As a figure grows big in the sky, and suddenly known to Dialagos can see the form of one of the great Eagles a small smile forms in his mind as the elder is picked up, but it lasts not long as the shriek pierces the air, and seems to get inside him. The strength to holds his bow is lost and to stand is only barely held on. When the cry is gone it rings in his ears, and it takes great focus to reach out and grab his bow into his hands.
Dialagos Picks up Green-Blue Elven Longbow.

The dark-feathered eagle turns south, disappearing into the fog once more. Still, the mood of the air remains disturbed, and the fog continues to swirl and churn, bludgeoned by great waves of wind. A low drumming--the beating of the great raptor's wings--can be heard circling to the east.

The wraith lowers his head to gaze at the elleth again. His hoarse voice comes out in bursts, like terrible laughter, "His death pains you. Was he your friend? Your lover? You will join him soon enough." He leans forward in the saddle, then suddenly slams the elf-maid in the face with his heavy shield.

Talia flies backward from the force of the blow and a new cry escapes her body - but this one is different. It is a cry like to that of a child; one of pure pain and innoncence. The ancient warrioress and lands upon the muddy ground in a heap, rattled to the bone. She coughs and wipes away phlegm and blood with her sleeve, then pushes herself to her feet. For a moment, she recoils from the cursed form, but it gives her momentum and she uses that and the weight of sword to make an uppercut to towards where the rider's femur should be.

Now taking his Longbow, and placing it quickly back on his back . Dialagos looks to the figure with a small growl he goes back reaching for his LongSword Arogith from it's sheeth, and standing back up to full height he straps his shield back to his arm

The elven blade strikes the shield and slides along its surface, but the strong push carries it forward, and it sinks into the darkness. There is no substance there to stop it, and piece of the black robe torn out by the blade slowly fades as it flutters away into the night, from a patch of black it becomes a vague shadow and then dissipates into the fog. The rider pushes aside the blade and the hand which holds it, and his own sword stabs forward, its pale glow gathering at its point as if it too is eager to tast blood again.

At point blank, it is hard to miss. Or to dodge. And Talia gasps as the blade pierces her side, though the sound is muffled by blood rising in the throat. Her proud, stricken face shows no fear now, only anger and hatred. She lurches backward, out of the way of another attack to gather what strength is left in her fea. Glowering at the blackness, she coughs again than raises her voice to sound the retreat, "<UNINTELLIGIBLE SPEECH> Her voice cracks, "<UNINTELLIGIBLE SPEECH> Steady, somewhat, she plants one foot in front of the other and waits for the final onslaught.

A sudden gale from the eastern sky sweeps away the fog like a curtain, revealing the returned eagle, which has apparently left Kathalis elsewhere. Its piercing eyes are locked upon the Rider now, its beak opened wide to emit an air-rending screech--like the very scream of nature itself toward this unnatural thing. Its wings, folded close to its body, now unfurl, beating against the air to both slow its rapid descent and bludgeon its foe with wind. Momentum carries the enormous creature into the Rider, its lethal talons ripping madly at the black cloth and whatever lies beneath.
Gwaihir attacks you with his Eagle Claws!...
...and he hits! Ouch!

The Knight growls loud as it as well pierces the air, and he runs forward with swift foot of the elf he does charge. Dialagos readies shield placing it infront of him for defense, but his charge is stopped in ernest. Please no I can't leave you alone." He says knowing that the consiquenses of his words could be grave, but even as he thinks this the eagle swoops down and attacks. His mind made very slowly to this. "I shall worn Lord Celeborn." He says his voice sounds saddened and longing to help, but he turns away, and makes his way towrds the brush.

The dark shape distorts as the talons rip into it and the wings buffet its shadowy cloak. The horse neigns and stumbles for balance, its hooves slipping on the ground made wet by rain and blood. The rider lets out another shrill scream, and swings his blade above his head toward the eagle.
You attack Gwaihir with your Longsword...
Your attack against Gwaihir moderately wounds him!

The eagle pays a price for its brazen attack, the wraith's sword cutting across its belly, leaving shredded brown feathers to float alongside tattered black cloth. With labored strokes of its enormous wings, the eagle rises again into the sky, though little time passes before it banks hard against the air, the wind over its wings roaring in defiance as it circles around to prepare for another stoop.

Talia, also buffeted by the windstorm raised by the Eagle, shields her face with one arm; her once golden hair, now a mantle of mud and gore, whipping about her face. But quickly, she takes advantage of the distraction calling to the hesitant elf, "<UNINTELLIGIBLE SPEECH> The servant of Celeborn then turns back towards the foe, and, forgetting all manner of defense training and offense tactics raises her blade high over her head, then lunges forward, driving with what stamina she has left.

Distracted by the attack from above and gripping his unsteady mount, the Nazgul does not react to the desperate attack of the elf fast enough, and the sword finds a way between the metal scales sewn onto his horse's protective armor. Was it not for the wounds which weaken the hand wielding it, this would be the end of the black stallion. As it is, the blade wedges itself between the scales, and red blood spurts out around it.
The shadows swirl, the darkness distors and reaches down like a black wave falling onto his foe, and at the crest of the wave the sword sparkles with its cold glow.

"Lorien!" is the cry the Protector utters as the blackness engulfs her. To the last her eyes are filled with a fierceness that can only be born from millenia of grateful servitude to a cause. As the silver arc of the Nazgul's blade completes, her legs give way and she does not clutch her wounds, allowing blood to seep forth, staining the before untouched clean of her white tabard. When the dust settles, a life-fled form lies where once stood the Champion of the Lord and Lady of Lorien. Her sword is still gripped tightly in her hand.

Seeing the elf-maiden fall, the eagle screeches a mournful cry and breaks early to attack, turning swiftly toward the wraith in a rapid descent. The enormous bird makes no attempt at finesse, but instead uses its great mass and speed--like that of a hurled boulder--as its primary weapons. Pulling out of the dive just before it reaches the ground, it spreads its wings, the feathers at the tips splaying outward to grasp the air like fingers, turning the whole of the avian's momentum toward the horse and rider.
Gwaihir attacks you with his Eagle Claws!...
...and he misses!

Gothmog reaches down with his shield arm toward the fallen elf, a movement which saves him from the impact of the eagle's wings which only knead the air above him. The black-gloved hand almost touches the golden hair, but, as the momentum carries the eagle forward, the rider springs up in the saddle and sends the gleaming blade in a swift stab after him.
You attack Gwaihir with your Longsword...
Your attack against Gwaihir lightly wounds him!

An animal screech of pain comes from some place deep within the eagle's chest as the sword clips a wing. The strike disturbs the bird's flight, and instead of taking to the air again its talons dig into the earth, bringing it to a halt. Standing awkwardly upon the ground, the eagle beats its wings to turn swiftly to face the wraith. Towering to the height of nearly three men, the eagle hops forward, its wings continuing to drive waves of air against its foe. Its hooked beak snaps viciously toward the horse and rider, the tongue within waggling as it hisses.
Gwaihir attacks you with his Eagle Claws!...
...and he misses!

The order for retreat was given, but it seems was not heeded, at least not completely as shadows move through the night back to the place where the Protector lays, now seeming almost peaceful as a few stars peek through the eagle sized holes in the clouds. Quick, dexterous hands seize the body and it is born away to the brush which shudders for a few moments then is still again. Any sign of the elves being here is erased, save for the blood upon the ground.

Against the vicious beak, the rider raises his shield, and the nine runes on it glow and sparkle as it absorbs a heavy blow. The horse jolts forward as another command hissed out by the rider stabs into its ears. By sheer luck, its iron-shod hooves step over the body sprawled on the ground. The rider raises his sword over his head, crowned with the black helm, and brings it forward in a sparkling arc.
You attack Gwaihir with your Longsword...
Your attack against Gwaihir badly wounds him!

The arc of the swing cuts across the eagle's exposed chest, driving it backward as it screeches in pain. The angle of its wings changes, and it rises swiftly, lunging forward over the rider, its talons again raking madly at the space below as they pass.
Gwaihir attacks you with his Eagle Claws!...
...and he misses!

As the eagle raises away from the blood-thirsty blade, the Nazgul sends his mount charging forward, toward the West. The few remaining elves, grieved at the loss of their champion, make no attempt to challenge the black rider. The swiftness of the charge apparently takes even the eagle by surprise, for his claws swipe through the air where the black wraith was a moment ago but is no more. The sound of a galloping horse and the feeling of bottomless dread and terror all fade away as the Nazgul disappears into the night, leaving behind the vague aura of creeping despair, and a lifeless body on the blood-stained wet ground.

The eagle disappears swiftly into the fog, perhaps to give chase, perhaps to recover from the battle.