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Autor Thema: Travels of Festus, the Red  (Gelesen 192 mal)

Offline Isaac632

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Travels of Festus, the Red
« am: 31. Aug 2017, 20:29 »
At last, scrambling around in these ruins underground has paid off. Ever since my capture by the dwarves, it would seem that a massive goblin raid has chased most of my captors off. That's when I made my escape. That's not to say I ever made it out of the mountains, but at least I'm no longer trapped in a cage to dig through rocks all day for being a trespasser. In fact, I dare say I've only gotten even more lost in these tunnels. These dwarves have much better eyesight into the dark than I do, that's for sure. Thankfully, I've found a blank book and some ink to write in while I search for a way out of here. Now, what to ruminate on, to take my mind off of this dreary place?

Ah yes. Thoughts of home. I remember my days above ground when I was younger. An aspiring mage, hoping to join the Istari--and for a time, I did roam among the wizards of Middle Earth. Not really as a member, but more an accomplice, who would travel around and gather materials for study. Of course, that didn't last long. The Archwizard Saruman clearly knew that I lacked the focus and attention span to pursue his line of arcane studies. I was too busy mingling with folk of many regions and communities to be of any use, so he sent the Grey Wizard after me that I could be detained and then personally "rehabilitated" by Saruman personally.

Naturally, I fled. I've always admired Saruman and his lot, but the thought of him completely overtaking my mind and will still terrifies me to this day. I fled to one of the most elusive places in Middle Earth to escape Gandalf, but even in Rivendell, the Gray wizard still found me in the company of the elves, drinking wine and lounging as I usually do. Instead of taking me back to Orthanc however, he decided instead to tell me that I was no longer to be affiliated with the Istari, though I still claim my title of "The Red" as a matter of pride. The Grey wizard then took his leave, and so I spent months at Rivendell, hoping to serve the elves instead. Needless to say, they allowed me to stay only out of pity, as I didn't have much purpose in myself. And I really liked their wine, too. Its still my favorite kind. So much, that they had to install a lock on their doors so I couldn't get in, actually. I'm not sure what that was all about.

I see a light over there. Could it be a shimmering beam of hope in the endless void of loneliness? At long last, is freedom ahead? I'm glad I remembered the Candlelight spell, so that I could make my way through these jagged rocks, dust, and rubble. I should keep an eye out though. I may have evaded those wretched goblins now, but if the rumors are true, they could crawl out of the dirt at any time. I need to keep moving.

Offline Isaac632

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Re: Travels of Festus, the Red
« Antwort #1 am: 6. Sep 2017, 22:22 »
Ah, freedom at long last. And now I no longer need to strain my eyelids to write in my journal. Life is good again. No more surviving on charred blind fish and boiled spider eggs. No more sitting on rocks, no more sleepless nights with strange noises. Middle Earth must have changed so much while I was stuck here underground. Next time, I'm staying away from the mountains. The dwarf folk there are too stiff of brow and heart for my tastes.

Of course, my destination now is Imladris, the hidden city of Rivendell, but just to get there, I've had to cross the plains of mankind. Something awful has happened in Rohan. Last time I checked, the rivers and ponds were blooming with life, but some foul witchcraft has turned all of the water into blood. The wildlife here was all sickly, pale, and thin, and all of the plants were dying. Flies, maggots, insects, and other vile creatures came to take the place of once beautiful and innocent animals.

I inquired a farm of the peasantry about this plague of blood. Some of them say that it was the blood spilled over from their clashes with the hillmen recently, but others claim it to be the work of goblins who have cursed the lands with pestilence. Rohan must gather water from their dirty wells now, and I cannot imagine how that can help them survive the next winter, what with all of their grain crops needing as much water as everyone else. Even the inn in one of their towns was flooded with drunken wretches, desperate to quench their thirst. A den of sickness, it's become.

Now I have more reason to alert the High Elves of Rivendell. I'm so close to their borders now, but I must sneak in quietly in my beast form. I'm no fool. Elrond has his home locked up tighter than a miser's purse. But I must appeal to him for the help of Rohan, I must! Maybe I could start with a whisper to his daughter, Arwen.

Ha ha! Yes, Arwen. Most beautiful and fair maiden I've ever seen in all of my days, she is. It's not flattering her to appeal to Elrond for help that I'm worried about. Thanks to Saruman's tutorship, I do have a few tricks for buttering up royalty. I shan't get carried away though. Her love may be all too eager to beat my face in if he ever finds me saying the wrong words. Well, if he ever comes back from Gondor, of course. This is a tempting opportunity... No. I must place the needs of Rohan above my interests. Besides, I don't think her father will take kindly to my... more underhanded way of asking him for help.

That was way too close. One of the downsides to my beastform is how bright my fur coat becomes. Not to say that my robes are any better, but in a world of green and white, I should have waited until later this autumn to hide in the leaves. I sneaked past the guards though. These elves should really work on practicality instead of beauty in their architecture, no? These "gates" have bars so wide, it's a wonder that the elves themselves don't just walk right through them.

Now, isn't this a grand sight to behold? There's a new guild of magicians in Rivendell building up, and I thought that the Istari was enough. No, no... these Loremasters, however, they lack the finesse of the Istari that I remember. It doesn't mean their works aren't impressive though. Wind, Earth, Water, Light... They seem to pull power out of the fabric of nature itself in the most beautiful way. And I've spied on a training session of the lot of them combining their powers together. That was the most exquisite display of power I've ever seen. These elves... They never cease to amaze me with their skills. How I do envy them. I bet they have that secret magic to turn wood into gold, yes. I wish I could turn wood to gold.

The Palace is just up ahead. Glorious splendor as always. Ivory and gems encrested everywhere. Such luxury! And I can already taste that fine wine they brew inside. But I must focus. While these wielders of power reign in a utopian paradise, the world of men is stricken with a terrible storm of illness and poverty. It is not right. It is not fair. I must find a way to Elrond's throne and appeal to him to send whatever aid he can. Who knows? Maybe I might earn myself a place back at his side, too. Or maybe I can join the Loremasters Guild as they call it. I doubt they will appreciate the affinity of my fire magic though. But it is all worth my effort. Balance must be restored to nature, and to Middle-Earth. It is up to me, now. Gods wish me luck.

-Festus, the Red.

Offline Isaac632

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Re: Travels of Festus, the Red
« Antwort #2 am: 9. Sep 2017, 02:45 »
Things have gotten so much worse. I successfully appealed to Elrond for help. I told him about the plague of blood in Rohan, but he has sent me along with a few accomplices back to the area for further investigation. When I returned to Rohan, the blood of the rivers had become so thick and pungent, that every living thing save for insects have fled the area in terror. I had never seen such a vile state of decay like it... Until we followed upstream to Ithilien.

It was an entire land devastated by The Plague. No doubt, in the wooded lands between Gondor and Mordor, a truly evil presence has been made known here. The water, the trees, the grass and wildlife, everything has turned to the color of blood and rust. Whatever has happened here? This was once the most fertile place, teeming with life and peace. Now it has become a desolate wasteland, and it's a wonder that I have not yet been killed stepping foot into the area, choking me with the foul stench of death.

Even the sky has been poisoned, I fear. In the dull reflection of the muddy, brown waters of Ithilien, the dreadful haze of The Plague has turned the sky a bright scarlet, and so the ground hurts to behold with my mortal eyes. As if the filth of the ground reached for my eyes to pull them from my sockets, the sun now emits an aura of pink, like the pale, spoiled flesh of an animal given a profane light.

What lives here now, are only the orcs, who live here to hunt all manner of vile and repulsive creatures, that appear to have grown large and fat off of the decaying lands. In this ruined land, the light of the plunder they've made off with from the previous denizens shines the brightest of all.

Needless to say, this is no work of ordinary witchcraft. Not by corrupted shamans, bloodthirsty beasts, or terrible storms could this spreading pandemic come to fruition. The scouts of Elrond have already fled, vomiting and sick from the sight of this abomination. I must head for Gondor at once, and warn The King of this evil. The Plague of Blood is by far the most sinister and most depraved act of malice I have yet seen.

Offline Isaac632

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Re: Travels of Festus, the Red
« Antwort #3 am: 11. Sep 2017, 00:55 »
There may be hope yet to put an end to the Plague of Blood. Gondor welcomed me into Minas Tirith eagerly so that he and the city folk can hear about some of my adventures. It pained me to disturb them with news of Rohan's decaying stature. The imagery of their neighboring allies falling into ruin easily sent some of the peasantry into a mad panic that was only quelled by the tower guards patrolling the streets. I was immediately escorted to the house of Denethor, Steward of Gondor and its High King. Hearing of this spreading plague, Denethor tore his robes and clothed his hair in ashes, grieving for the suffering of Rohan. By his king's orders, Denethor has sent a dispatch of men to Ithilien at once, of soldiers and clerics to send aid and relief to the starving men of Rohan. As for me, the king has a much more important mission.

Into the black lands I took flight, with a company of knights and alchemists, to Cirith Ungol where the red rivers seemed to be flowing from. Ashen Mordor is every bit as dark and repulsive as I have heard, the air reeking with sulfur and charcoal. The orcs there made no effort to hide their presence from us, as they seemed to be rejoicing in their vile accomplishment. The walls of this tainted bastion have been stained with blood and oil, painted to glisten and shine in the darkness as though taunting us.

I have never liked orcs. They are hideous mockeries of nature with no more wit than stone. Their best known emotions are brooding unhappiness and boundless fury. Angry and asleep; those are the two emotions of the orc. Rarely have they smiled or laughed the few times I've seen them for myself, and never for good reason. Permanently disfigured, hunched over, mangled are their bodies, with a staggering stride like an ape. An orc's only merit is their being greater than lowly goblins who scurry on the ground on all fours like skeletal beasts.

The smell of their blood gushing along the grounds where me and my men slew them was of poison and rotten eggs. Every step of the way to their vile fortress, I've had to strain my mind and focus my power to burn every last one of them. Not out of a lack of discipline which Saruman had complained of before, but because an odd presence continuously sought to distract me from the task set before me. It was an ancient whisper of an ancient king, speaking with unnatural calmness and boundless authority. It encouraged me to rampage through Cirith Ungol, impressed by my powers over fire. Tempting it was, the thought of letting my powers run amok, but I had allies fighting with me, and I sought not to burn them by accident.

At the top of the tower, I found my enemy. There it was, the source of the plague. A silhouette of a man, with sword in hand, vigilant and patrolling in front of an altar. The altar glowed a sickly green, leaking a vile slime about the whole place with the help of some profane Morgul sorcery. When it found me, I had to face him alone, as the orcs were many, and the other men had to hold them off so that I could reach the keep.

The phantom stared at me grimly, and then advanced as I made for the altar, his unholy shriek rippling my soul like a storm front. Staff and steel clashed for the fate of mankind, and the whispers of the kingly apparition continued to sap me of my focus. In my last moments of battle, I could only avoid the sting of its poisoned blade by releasing my indignant rage. In a show of furious defiance, I released the last of my remaining power and burned the place to ashes with a scream of my own. My determination felled the wraith, and sent the altar gem careening to the ground far below, shattering on impact. At long last, the evil spell died down and the corruption ceased.

My fellow soldiers came to join me at the top of the tower to see if I was well, when the phantom's robes slowly rose back from the ground with empty, hollow laughter. I must have made for a wonderfully challenging opponent to this sick, twisted ghost. In the back of my mind, I knew that I could not defeat the likes of this wraith, and if anything, I merely entertained him with the display of my abilities. Before I could pursue the shadow, a great beast fell upon the keep, blowing us all back with its tattered, rotting wings. The phantom leapt onto its neck, and off he went, careening into the black sky.

Rohan and Gondor should be saved, but I do not feel like I have won this battle. Something about that otherworldly tongue remains in the back of my mind. My memories of it are morbidly curious. And then the ghost whom I dueled was merely toying with me, trying to move me to release my powers. His interest in me was uncanny and sinister... I must get out of this place. In Gondor and Rohan, I should seek some rest. It has taken nearly all of my mental strength to purge the land of this accursed gem. I fear to come to this evil place ever again, lest my next spiritual battle be my last.

Offline Isaac632

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Re: Travels of Festus, the Red
« Antwort #4 am: 30. Sep 2017, 22:59 »
I arrived home to Rivendell, to rendezvous with the High Elves, who greeted me with open arms. Before me, they prepared a marvelous gathering where kings and princes from far and wide came to feast and mingle. Master Elrond has always been quite a charmer, hosting these luxurious parties both to display his wealth, and to improve relations with the other nations of the Free Peoples. For me, the partygoers also raised their goblets, and we drank to my victory at Cirith Ungol, in celebration of the vanquishing of the Plague of Blood.

As I ate and drank, and talked with many a Lord and Steward, I could relax at last. The nightmare of the battle was over, and once more I could breathe an air, clean and fresh. I did my very best to keep my wits about me, denying myself of too much wine, so that I could watch my tongue easily before these aristocrats, and keep silent on matters that I need not dwell on.

All was well and splendid, when to my surprise, a troop of elves came to me, the tallest of them calling to me from within the spoiled presence of the princes. It was the Archmage of the loremasters, who came to see me, having heard both of my heroic deeds, and of my intention to come before them. How he knew my desires, I couldn't imagine, but I was overjoyed to follow him and his fellow students into the green fields, where I would show them what I could do.

My first parlor tricks were not as amusing to the elves as I hoped. A will-o-wisp, a shape-shifting between fox and man, a brilliant display of multicolored sparks--they all made the loremasters chuckle with growing contempt. No kidding--these ones wanted to see the full extent of my abilities. And so I asked of them to prepare a group of barrels and hay stacks for me to target, just as they did when they practiced bending the winds and rains. For the first time, the loremasters beheld my arts--my incantations and mumblings bringing a grand eruption of flames from the grass beneath the targets. A raging vent of flames opened up from the ground before me to incinerate the training targets, devouring them and reducing them to bright ashes. It caused a great commotion all around, as the loremasters hastily conjured the clouds to put out the roaring flames before they could reach the partygoers and their kegs of flammable drinks.

I was quite embarrassed. I guess I didn't know what to expect, displaying such a different elemental prowess compared to these ones. The archmage of the loremasters muttered to his students, and the students to one another, while I stood there, looking over the grains of charcoal and soot. Then he approached me, speaking reluctantly of denying that I join them in their studies. He explained to me, with honesty and truth. The loremasters were sworn to combat evil forces, with the blessings of the Ainur granting them the knowledge of the natural world. And so, they were forsworn to using the powers of nature in the defense of the elven realm. There was no place for a wielder of such a profane and destructive force as fire, said he. The presence of this form of magic was a sign, that though my heart and mind were somewhat trained in the arts of magic, my mind was incomplete in its knowledge, and my heart was burdened with a dual nature that I had yet to restore balance to. And so, I am not yet prepared to join the guild of the loremasters, until I resolve both of these issues.

Coming back to the celebration at hand, my mind drifted away from the joy I had in being watched by the loremasters, and towards what had been revealed to me through fire and smoke. I was cast away from the Istari long ago, before my training could be completed. Where could I finish my studies? And the weight on my heart? Perhaps I am not as aware of it myself. I have always felt somewhat lost, ever since losing my right to be among the Five Wizards as their servant. Again, I have heard a whisper in the back of my mind--a Black Speech that somehow pieced itself together in a way I could understand. And yet I knew not what it meant... The memory of that apparition clashing with me still haunts my mind. Something about him... Causes my thoughts to return.

As I tried to drown out the dark voice from my mind with wine, Lady Arwen took notice that my smiles and laughter were silenced, and so she took me away from the banquet, putting me to bed. All that night long, I could still hear the faintest of whispers of that ancient spirit, pervading through my dreams, echoing within my spinning head. What is he saying? What are the words? What do they mean?