The Cheiftain's Heirloom|
It had been a few weeks since they had gathered in Rivendell, and set out on their mission to aide their Chieftain in the south. Lord Elrond had told them to make for Rohan, toward Helms Deep. Aside from a few minor setbacks, like a horse losing a shoe, and then having to locate a farrier to tend to the horses hoof, they had made steady progress. Now, they were coming to the southern end of Eregion, the land of holly, and had made camp for the evening.
Megilcova, one of the younger Dunedain who had gathered to aide their lord, stood watch as was his present duty. It was his turn to stand watch, and he hoped that nothing would go wrong. While Halbarad could be quite patient, he knew their temporary leader wouldn’t like being woken at night due to a disturbance.
A twig snapped somewhere in front of him, and within a second he had an arrow fitted to his bow, watching for another movement.
“Put the bow down, laddie. I am no orc!”
A harsh voice cut through the air, but it wasn’t loud enough to rouse the other rangers.
“Step where I can see you and I will,” Megilcova replied.
There were a few moments of silence, before heavy footsteps carried the mystery speaker into sight. He was a short, long black beaded stocky man. The beard itself was braided in places, but even so reached the stranger’s waist.
What is one of Durin’s Folk doing here on his own?
Megilcova was a little stunned that the dwarf was on his own, and lowered his bow though his eyes roamed the surrounding area. Are there more dwarves around?
“What were you doing, coming here?”
Right now, he was a little curious as to why he had found a dwarf walking toward their camp, and a younger one at that. There would be a reason, the dwarves didn’t leave their hidden cities very often.
“I only came this way as I need some help,” the dwarf replied.
Megilcova raised an eyebrow though he knew his hood likely obscured it.
“In the middle of the night? Would have been better had you appeared when we were all awake. There is little I can do to help you right now, I cannot leave my post.”
Indeed, even he knew the importance of keeping watch while they were travelling to meet up with their Chieftain. These were lands they were not so familiar with, and there had been signs of wargs in the area – namely droppings – they had learned this early in the morning. Where there were wargs, there were usually orcs nearly or goblins.
The dwarf shook his head.
“I wouldn’t be travelling on my own if my friend hadn’t been caught… when I saw that campfire I knew there was a chance that I had found someone who might be able to help me out.”
Megilcova shook his head.
“I can’t make that call. I can however ask Halbarad to speak with you, and see what he thinks, when he wakes up.”
The dwarf frowned.
“But.. if we wait there is a chance my friend won’t be found alive.. if at all.”
“I’m sorry, but Halbarad won’t be up for at least an hour. As I said, I cannot act on my own, it’s not something I am allowed to do. Besides I would only cause worry were I to vanish from my post, people would wonder where I am. You’ll have to wait with me.”
Even then, there is a chance that Halbarad won’t be able to help him. Megilcova did want to help the dwarf, but he knew that he couldn’t go against Halbarad’s orders, since Halbarad was leading them into the south to meet with their Chieftain.
Sunrays filtered through the branches above all the tents as the sun rose over the land of holly trees. The first sounds of movement in the camp were those of people stumbling in their tents as they sought the exits.
Megilcova looked toward where the dwarf, who had not given a name yet he now realized, was resting. He hoped that the dwarf had gotten some sleep, considering he would have some explaining to do once Halbarad was up and about.
“Anything to worry about over the night?”
Megilcova flinched, turning to look at the older ranger. This man’s face was more worn and the grey eyes showed the wealth of experience he had with traversing the wilds, something Megilcova’s own lacked.
“Only one thing, Halbarad,” Megilcova replied, before pointing with the end of his bow at the still sleeping dwarf.
“He appeared a few hours ago, saying that he was looking for help. Our campfire brought him to us.”
Halbarad glanced at the dwarf.
“Does he have a name?”
Megilcova shook his head.
“He has yet to tell me.”
“I’ll find Leglinn. He’s good with the people in the shire, as well as the dwarves that pass through there. We can talk to him at least, see what he needs help with but if it takes us in the wrong direction I will have to refuse.”
Megilcova shook his head.
“I had an idea actually while I was keeping watch, something that we might be able to use to our advantage…”
Halbarad raised an eyebrow, and motioned for him to come with him.
Once they were a little way from the camp, Halbarad turned to him.
“I know most of your ideas are useful in some way, and I believe that was why it was suggested that you come with us, so I would like to hear it, but I figured in the camp wasn’t the best of places for use a thing.”
“I was thinking. There are certain things that identify who our Chieftain is, right? What if we were to copy one of them, to confuse the Enemy in case one of us should fall into their hands? That way they might think they have him, when in truth, that Dunedain would know that his was a fake?”
“I assume you’ve given thought to what we could copy then?”
“Presuming that like all dwarves he can craft jewels, I was thinking our Chieftains’ ring.”
That he knew would be a clear indicator as to who the man might be, considering most knew of the Ring of Barahir’s significance.
“Then it is most useful that we seem to have attracted the attention of a dwarf. The old Ring forges are only a few days travel from here, and perhaps, he might be able to make use of them. Perhaps we shall have to help him, on the condition that he in turn helps us with the things that we need.”
“I think he will help us, he seems to have been quite willing to listen to what I told him earlier, provided there wasn’t an arrow pointed at him.”
“Then when he wakes, I will speak with him on the matter.”
Megilcova nodded. I can only hope that he’ll agree with the idea that I have put before him. They would all get something out of helping each other after all.
Several hours later, Megilcova found himself and a few other Rangers moving out from the camp, in the direction the dwarf, Bosi, had coming from. They moved almost silently, stopping every so often to listen for any sounds that might give them away.
Eventually they were able to find the camp, and moved forward, using the shadows to hide, before arrows rained down at the orcs at Dorollas’ command. When wargs were sent to herd them out, arrows soon dispatched the beasts as orcs came swarming up the hill.
“Come on Bosi,” Megilcova murmured before he left the group of rangers who were fighting in earnest now.
Megilcova took a rather roundabout path to get to the camp where it was resting in the valley, and by the time they were near, he had noticed the other dwarf was indeed in there.
“We must stay silent, we cannot fight them all off at once,” he said as they slipped into the camp. “We don’t need them coming swarming back down because they hear fighting.”
He kept his bow ready in his hand, an arrow fitted to the string. It would be quieter than trying to fight with sword or axe against an orc. Bosi fidgeted as they walked, and Megilcova knew the dwarf wasn’t enjoying sneaking through the camp.
It’s not in their ways to sneak about when there is fighting to be done. That was one thing he knew about dwarves, and he was gladdened that Bosi was following his lead.
Finding a lower spot in the rather crude cloth fence that seemed to be the border of the camp closest to where Glosi was, Megilcova lifted the cloth from the ground and slipped under once Bosi had made it through.
Megilcova moved forward to check that the surrounding area was clear of all the orcs, and nodded for Bosi to get Glosi out of sight before he stopped keeping watch from the shadows.
A quick conversation in Khuzdul followed between the two dwarves, and Megilcova listened as the two made their way toward the border cloths and under it. Once he knew they were gone out of the camp, and he heard footsteps coming their way, he hurried to get out himself.
“Follow me,” he murmured, before setting off quickly through the bush, hoping the two dwarves would be following him.
It took a few days for them to find a forge that the dwarves said was able to be used to create the rings, though they were drawing closer to Enedwaith now. Halbarad had been relieved, all the rangers knew, when Glosi told him this forge would do the work, they’d tried several already that hadn’t seemed to look like they were in bad disrepair.
Megilcova, and several others had to surrender a knife each for the rings, but Megilcova thought that was a fair price to pay, and now they were waiting for the rings to be done.
The dwarves did not leave the forge aside for rest, and always one stayed in there to keep an eye on the rings and their work. None of the rangers were allowed into the forge while the work was being done, and that was a frustrating thing, considering they’d been there several weeks.
Finally, both the dwarves emerged from the forge, and all the rangers turned to look at them. Bosi had the rings in a clear bag, which he handed to Halbarad.
“Here you go, there’s enough to go around, as promised.”
Halbarad nodded, taking the bag.
“Thank you. I hope that you run into no more orc packs on your journey to the Blue Mountains.”
“They won’t be catching us unaware again, don’t you worry.”
Megilcova watched the two dwarves disappear from sight, and walked over as Halbarad called them all over.
“I know most of you were wondering why we helped the dwarves, and what was in it for us, but Megilcova came up with a way to confuse the enemy, and since the dwarves appeared, it seemed the ideal chance. Megilcova thought that were we to make copies, of the Ring of Barahir, we might be able to fool any of Sauron’s puppets that should find us. They will know of this ring, and I am thinking if one of us were to have it visible whenever we find his minions, they will think that that Dunedain is of course, our Chieftain while we know not.”
Several of the Dunedain were nodding at this idea.
“Unless there are Sauron’s agents in the area, you are to keep the ring entrusted to you hidden from all eyes. Now come, and collect one each!”
Mgilcova stared at the ring that he had picked out of the bag. It was a perfect rendition of the Ring of Barahir, and he knew that the dwarves really had mastered their work.
Well Aragorn, seems that luck is on our side now, and in a few months, we will be with you as well. He turned to saddle his horse, knowing it was time to ride out once more, for Rohan!