Joker 2018


Picture Challenge III



Five Ingredients II




Picture Challenge II


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Five Senses

picture challenge






Originals and Copies











Life and Death













Out of Place

Unexpected Adventure



Alphabet Story



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No Time

Yes, I do















History Repeating Itself


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Around the Fireside

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What If ...?

One Title: Your Story

A Fairy Tale, Middle-Earth style

Games People Play

Friends in Small Places

For the Love of his Master

Animals of Middle-earthRating: K+

Summary: Trapped in a rising storm, Aragorn and his party receive aid from an unusual source.

Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings belongs to JRR Tolkien. I'm just playing in the good professor's playground.

Faramir sighed as he rose to his feet, staring out over the plains before Minas Tirith. He paused at the window, observing the thick clouds that were slowly building on the horizon. He turned at the sound of gentle rapping on his chamber door. “Enter,” he called as he set his goblet down on a nearby table.

Damrod poked his head around the door. “Captain, all is made ready for the return to Ithilien. Beregond indicated you would prefer to leave as soon as possible so as to avoid the coming storm.”

“Yes indeed. Thank you Damrod.” The prince gathered his traveling cloak. “Is King Elessar still planning to accompany us?”

“Yes my lord. He is awaiting your attendance in his study.” Damrod smiled at his long time commander. “I suspect you are eager to return to your wife and children.”

Faramir returned the smile. “Very much so. I have greatly missed Éowyn and my sons. This fortnight break from council meetings is most welcome.”

The two men quickly exited the room and continued down the hall towards the king’s study. They nodded to the guard on duty as their presence was announced. Aragorn’s voice sounded from inside, bidding them enter. The king rose as his steward entered. “Are you ready to depart, my friend?”

“I am, lord. However, we should make haste for it appears the weather is turning against us.”

The three men left the study and hurried down to the stables. The wind had picked up in the meantime and was now whistling ominously through the stone paved streets. The sky had darkened considerably as well, blocking the sun and turning the day grey. Despite his warm cloak, Faramir shivered slightly, a feeling of trepidation washing over him. He mounted his horse as Aragorn led Roheryn from his stall. The great stallion pranced as his master led him into the stable yard and easily gained the saddle. Beregond and Damrod joined the steward and the king as they clattered out of the yard, heading for the gates of the city.

By the time they crossed the Anduin, the wind had strengthened to a howling gale. Leaves, small branches and dirt spun around the horses’ hooves. The four men pulled their hoods up to cover their heads as a pattering of rain began to fall. Soon however, the drizzle increased to a blinding downpour, turning the trail into a sea of mud. Even Aragorn’s keen sight couldn’t pierce the gloom and darkness that suddenly encompassed them. Lightning streaked the sky as thunder exploded overhead. Even steady Roheryn sidestepped uneasily as the storm built around the quartet.

“We must find shelter!” The steward shouted to make himself heard over the rushing wind.

“There is a cave up ahead on the left!” called back Beregond.”

“If it isn’t flooded,” added Damrod.

The four men urged their mounts on through the storm, peering intently at their surroundings, lest they miss the cavern in question.

“There it is!” cried Aragorn abruptly. He led the others under the low overhang and into the relative dryness of the cavern. Even though the stone was damp and cool, the protection offered was quite preferable to the deluge outside. The men dismounted and swiftly unsaddled their horses, relieving the animals of their burdens.

Damrod discovered a small cache of sticks, captured in a rocky outcropping near the mouth of the cavern, and quickly fought the dampness to build a spluttering flame. He slowly coaxed the small fagots into a meagre fire that hissed and popped from the rain still managing to work its way into their shelter.

Faramir crouched beside his lieutenant. “Is there enough wood at hand or shall I scour the back of the cavern for more?”

“It depends on how long this rain continues, my lord. We have plenty for now.” Damrod flashed a brief yet grim smile.

Éowyn stood staring out at the tree line near her home in Emyn Arnen. The wind whipped the branches into frenzy, sending leaves spiralling into the air. Rain lashed against the windows and beat down upon the roof of the cozy home she shared with her husband and children. Suddenly, she narrowed her eyes as a shadow detached itself from the forest and hurried across the courtyard. She moved to the door, swinging it open just as the visitor raised his hand to knock.

“Lord Legolas,” the lady of Ithilien exclaimed. “What in Arda brings you out in this storm?” She moved out of the way, gesturing for the Elf to cross the threshold and taking his dripping cloak.

“Thank you, my lady,” Legolas replied gravely. He removed the sodden garment from his shoulders. Water continued to trickle from his blonde locks down the back of his tunic. He turned his bright eyes to Éowyn, allowing her to see the worried reflected in their depths. “Has Aragorn and your husband arrived?”

“Nay and I am beginning to worry. They had hoped to arrive by midday and the time is now two hours past with no word from their party.”

“I feared as much. My scouts reported that the Anduin is overflowing its banks.” His gaze followed much the same direction as Éowyn’s had been for the last few hours. He ran his hand over his hair, his brows narrowed in thought. “Is there any place that they may have sought shelter?”

Éowyn frowned. “I am not certain. Faramir knows the country much better than I.”

Legolas nodded. “I understand.” He remained immobile for a few moments before shaking his head to free himself from his reverie. “There is a shadow in my mind. The last time I felt this was with Estel on the Quest.” He murmured the words as if speaking only to himself.

The lady came forward, placing a gentle hand on his arm. “What troubles you, my lord?”

The prince turned his head to meeting her grey eyes squarely. “I cannot shake off the sense that they are in danger. Are there any of Prince Faramir’s Rangers nearby?”

“Anborn and Mablung arrived earlier today to meet with Faramir regarding some new recruits for the Ithilien Company. Shall I call them for you?”

“Please do, my lady.” Legolas retrieved his cloak from the hook on which Éowyn had hung it. “Excuse me. I shall return momentarily.”

Éowyn watched the Elf duck out the door before donning a cloak herself and hurrying to the small barracks behind the main house. Anborn opened the door as she approached.

“Lady Éowyn, is something amiss?” the seasoned Ranger enquired as he drew the woman inside.

“King Elessar and Lord Faramir haven’t arrived yet. Lord Legolas is concerned for their welfare. He believes them to be in danger.”

“Does he require our assistance?” Mablung joined the conversation.

“I believe he intends to search for them. He asked that I summon you for him.”

Anborn glanced at his fellow ranger. “Should we ask Turin or Beren to join the hunt as well?”

“I know not. Did the Prince ask for any other Rangers, my lady?”

“Nay, he simply asked me to call you and stated he would return shortly. Then he slipped outside.”

“Conversing with the trees again, no doubt,” Anborn remarked wryly as he took up his quiver and bow.

Eowyn frowned at the statement. “This is hardly at time to make a jest.”

“‘Tis no jest, my lady, the Elf lord truly speaks to trees.” Mablung added as he buckled on his sword belt. “I would not believe it myself, except I have seen it with my own eyes.”

“It is conceivable that he is calling for aid from his own people.” Anborn added. “It would seem to be the faster means of conveying a message.” He handed a small pack to his friend. “We’d best be on our way.”

By the time the three had slogged through the mud, Legolas was standing under the eaves.

“Some of my scouts will join us. We must move quickly. Are you prepared?” the Elf enquired of the men.

“We are, my lord,” Anborn answered with a nod.

“Then let us depart. Lady Éowyn, it would be most appreciated if you could prepare warm blankets, clothing, and food against our return.”

“I will make sure all is ready,” Éowyn answered with a faint smile. “Please bring them home,” she added, uncharacteristic pleading in her voice.

Legolas bowed over her hand before darting into the trees with an easy running stride. The two Rangers quickly followed and were soon lost in the gathering darkness.

A sudden crash woke Faramir from the fitful slumber he had dropped into. Wearily, he blinked at his surroundings to determine what had fallen. Damrod ducked into the opening, his dark hair plastered to his face and neck.

“The water is rising. We need to move quickly.” The Ranger’s face and body were grim. Aragorn rose to his feet.

“We shall have to lead the horses. The footing is much too treacherous to attempt riding.”

The steward moved stiffly to join his king and friend. “The storm is still raging?”

“Aye, and it is getting worse. That crash was a tree felled by the wind. I wager there will be mudslides upriver if this continues.” Damrod spun to stare out across the sodden land. At the moment, lightning struck a nearby pine with an earth-shattering crack. The sound, coupled with the sudden clap of thunder, spooked all four horses and they galloped out into the rain.

“Roheryn!” Aragorn made to follow, just as the great tree split down its trunk.

“Look out, my lord!” Beregond shouted as the massive piece of wood came tumbling downward. The King leapt back, not a moment too soon to avoid being crushed by the heavy branches.

“Are you injured, mellon nîn?” Faramir asked as he knelt by his liege’s side.

“No, Beregond’s warning came just in time.” Aragorn rolled to his feet, surveying the barrier that now stood between the men and their freedom. “However,” his mouth twitched with wry humor. “I believe that our progress is now definitely impeded.”

The Ranger and the Captain of the White Company stared at King for a few moments, unsure if he were making a jest. Their answer came in the form of Faramir masking a snort of laughter as a cough. Rueful chuckles sounded all the way around as some much needed levity was interjected into the situation.

A few miles away, the same lighting strike attracted the attention of the small party of searchers. Three Elves summoned by Legolas had joined them shortly after they had left the house. “They were already in route. I have been sensing danger for the better part of the day.” The elven prince had explained noting the look of surprise on the men’s faces.

“We must be cautious. There is grave danger here.” Mablung warned as the wind continued to howl around them.

Abruptly a fourth Elf dropped from the trees and ran lightly up to his lord. His musical voice chattered briefly in the unknown speech of the Greenwood Elves before Legolas stiffened to attention.

“Come,” he barked, turning in the direction from which the scout had come. The two rangers exchanged glances before giving chase.

“What it is my lord?” Anborn called as they hurried along, their faces pelted with the cold rain and hailstones.

“Daeron has come across four horses. Two are injured but he believes the third may be Roheryn.” Legolas shouted back over his shoulder.

The six hunters struggled up a muddy hill and scrambled down the other side, slipping and sliding as they went. At the bottom lay a chestnut horse that Anborn easily recognized as belonging to Damrod. He dropped to his knees beside the fallen animal and carefully felt for the foreleg. He shook his head at the obvious deformity he felt.

“Broken?” Mablung asked.

“Aye, but I don’t see either the Captain’s mount or King Elessar’s Roheryn.” He paused as a powerful whinny rent the air. Both rangers spun to see the King’s charger pushing against Legolas’ chest. The horse obviously wanted the Elf to do his bidding. The prince placed a gentle hand on the stallion’s nose, murmuring softly in his own tongue. Roheryn bobbed his head as if he understood the words perfectly. Suddenly, he turned and galloped off through the trees. Even more surprising, was that then Legolas abruptly and without explanation hurried after him. The four Elves held a quick conference before following in their lord’s footsteps. Anborn caught Mablung’s eye and shrugged before picking up the trail.

Inside the cave, all four men were shivering in the knee-deep water. Although drowning wasn’t a concern, the cold certainly was. Since the storm showed no signs of letting up and the tree was firmly wedged in front of the opening, each was silent, contemplating the situation in his own mind. Suddenly a shrill screech sounded from outside and Aragorn leapt to his feet. Exhaustion forgotten, he waded to the entrance, water sloshing about his legs.

“Legolas!” he shouted. “We’re in here!”

Moments later the other three men could hear voices drifting through the blockage. “Anborn, Mablung,” called Damrod.

“Aye, is the Captain with you?” called back Anborn.

“Yes. We are uninjured, but we cannot move the tree and the water is rising.”

“Fear not, we have hithlain rope with us.” Legolas answered firmly. He could then be heard giving instructions to others in his own tongue. Faramir exchanged a look with his friends as the wood groaned. After a few minutes that seemed an eternity, the tree shifted sufficiently for the men to be able to squeeze their way out. Aragorn pulled his elven friend into a fierce hug.

“Valar bless you mellon nîn. How did you find us?”

“Roheryn. He led us to you.” The blonde prince answered with a gesture towards the stallion now standing calmly nearby. “He was most persuasive.”

Aragorn drew close to his horse and rubbed the nose fondly. “Thank you, my friend. Once again you have saved my life.” Roheryn whinnied softly, bobbing his noble head as if in reply.

“It would appear that the storm is abating.” Beregond spoke through chattering teeth. “Perhaps we may finish our journey with no further interruptions.”

“Lady Éowyn is awaiting our return.” Mablung said with a smile for the White Company’s Captain. “I would wager she’ll have water on for tea and warm blankets aplenty.”

“Then let’s not keep the good lady waiting.” Faramir stated as he too patted the faithful steed. “Shall we go home?”

“Indeed, we shall.” Aragorn answered as the little group headed for Emyn Arnen.

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