The Hunt for Randir - "Taking Action"
In slow motion, Daerundros beheld the chaos-of-an-argument happening before her. Her eyes flicked towards her counterpart Minyelaírë as her left hand shot up to the small and readied hand crossbow on her side. With a swift movement, less than a second, she had fired it. Amlarad staggered as the bolt cleanly penetrated his thigh. He grimaced in severe pain and doubled over, helpless on the snow.
'Randir!' Daerundros yelled, and she fell to her knees and swiftly tried to remove the bolt and staunch the bleeding. Yet Amlarad pushed her hand away and pulled it cleanly away from his wound. He planted his hand on the wound firmly, though the pain dimished him greatly.
'Take this as sign that my words and threats are true.' Minyelaírë said warningly. She hung her crossbow back into her belt, securely.
'You wound my body; yet you understand little of my spirit. You cannot wound it. The gods know it, and his hour shines upon me now. The Mariner. You cannot halm me, lest you evoke a higher wrath.' Amlarad declared, and he limped away and slammed himself into a tree. He fell to his knees, weakened.
"Rhaich! Umbar faica! Nortor! Heren aica!" Daerundros shouted curses in quenya as she ran after Randir, desperate, 'Randir... no... no... You cannot die... you cannot die...'
But Amlarad laughed in a humourless fashion and regarded Daerundros with compassion, 'I will not die, lest I choose to. That is the grace of my people.'
Suddenly Minyelaírë appeared from behind ''he will live." she declared, placing her hand on the man's shoulder. Daerundros disregarded Minyelaírë completely, her entire attention affixed to Amlarad's well-being. Amlarad staggered away from Minyelaírë, the Noldo-maiden following him at his heels. Daerundros desperately opened her pouch and took out a small phial of Athelas and a bandage. But the man would not stop. He vainly tried to navigate his way down the very steep slope, yet he was hampered by his poor stance.
'No!' Daerundros yelled, 'You are not jumping down that cliff. I will not permit it.'
Minyelaire peered after them. She did not move. She watched as Daerundros restrained Amlarad gently and Amlarad breathed sharply in pain as he looked quickly at the approach of the crimson assailant, as Minyelaírë had begun to move.
'Thou warnest me and I warn thee now: By my blood and the royalty of my mother's father I declare that if thy kind will enter the forest of my kin, I shall seek thee out first and bring thee down. Do not follow me, mortal. Do not speak of me, mortal and neither shalt thou give knowledge to anyone. If one West-Man crosses the border to the lands of my birth...'
Amlarad regarded her steadily, his eyes flicking as they acknowledges every word of her's succinctly.
'I will return and take what is thy dearest.' She said finally. However, Amlarad replied with a quavering voice. 'I shall hearken to you. And I shall propose this; If you wander the lands of Arnor, and my folk espy you....we will aid you, and fight for you, as ever. As will I, if we are to meet again this side of the Hithaeglir.'
'Such is my duty.' Amlarad added, looking at her seriously. He then tore his gaze away from Minyelaírë and slumped in the snow, now fully diminished. But Minyelaire is striken with surprise by the man's words. She frowned and sheathed the sword Dhêorl that screeched up as it is placed into its scabbard.
Minyelaire then said, 'Remain where thou and thy kin are. Do not come to the Uttermost South of the World... and thou shalt live.'
Adressing then Daerundros, she looked at her and told her, 'Arivien made out a way and the hound hath returned. We continue when the fourth sun falls from this day on'
And so Minyelaírë slid down the steep cliff and wandered off back towards Hollin, shivering slightly.
Daerundros, however, panted, eyes wide from having observed the exchange, until she finally remembers what she is supposed to do and takes her bandages and dips them into some curative ointment. Amlarad had slid into unconsciousness and seemed to be barely breathing.
'Please tell me you will live, Randir.' she wept, looking sadly at Amlarad. She took this humble, kind man into her arms and cradled him in them: He now had her full admiration, after managing to best Minyelaírë so easily in a contest of words, though he had paid the price of it by getting himself injured, 'Please do not depart...'
How did it come to this? Why did it come to this? Her own sister-in-arms, not caring of her own feelings, simply tried to slay Amlarad for pleasure... She was confused now, her mind spinning as the tears slid down her cheeks and froze in the cold icy air. She now knew... Minyelaírë was incapable of Empathy. Merciless, cruel, egoistic... jealous.
After a while of hopelessly lying in the snow, Amlarad stirred and opened his eyes.
'Thank goodness you are awake...' Daerundros whispered. Amlarad closed his eyes again and slumbered, his dour face etched in pain.
Daerundros wiped some sweat off her brow as she continued tending to the nearly-fallen ranger, wrapping her bandages around his afflicted leg.
'Accursed snow! I cannot tend to you like this...' she cursed, realizing that they were still up in the mountains and danger. Amlarad opened his eyes once more, this time with some clarity; her statement stirred some dour pragmatism in his mind, his senses now keenly aware of the poor situation; of the snow and cold air, and the dangerous height; '...this...cannot do.'
'No, this will not do at all.' Daerundros replied. She stood up and gathered her scattered belongings, all fallen from the desperate tension. She then offered Amlarad her hand. Amlarad shook his head a little to gather his senses and looked up at the slender hand.
'Hurry, you will freeze to death in the snow!' Daerundros said urgingly. Amlarad grasped her hand willingly, his thick weathered fingers grating against her own slender ones, 'Aye...your wisdom is proven aright, my dear lady.' He heaved himself upright, and his back buckled in pain, and his thigh burned hot with the wound.
'You cannot walk like this...' Daerundros whispered, creasing her brow in concern.
'The tree. Take me to it.' Amlarad gritted his teeth, 'No, guide me. Guide me my lady. I will not wholly diminish myself.'
Daerundros sighed. Amlarad leaned heavily against her, his heavy mass and broad shoulders collapsing. 'Guide me.' he repeated. Daerundros did not buckle from the weight, having endured much worse. She then guided him to the nearby tree. Amlarad panted and slid his hand over the ice-ridden bark and grimaced as he unslotted his bootknife with difficulty and thrusted it into the bark. Daerundros did not react as the shards of the ice flew to her chest and bounced off her armour with a clink. He breathed deeply, his grim face hardened as he eyes the task ahead. He then slammed his palm against the handle, forcing the blade further beneath the bark. He gruellingly continued, each smack sagging his form in weariness. Daerundros eyed Amlarad with a frown.
'Have you fibres and the like to lash, my lady?.' Amlarad asked, holding aloft an snow-reinforced piece of bark. Daerundros, having been sifted into her own thoughts at that time, quietly said in a low voice, 'Minyelaírë is far too tainted now... far too tainted... I cannot save her anymore...' but as Amlarad's voice rang in the air her head snapped up, 'Fibres? I do not think I have any fibres...'
He nodded wearily and replied, "I ought to have some... nettle lashings..." Amlarad thrusted his hand into one of his pouches and pulled out a coil of nettle-cordage, 'Take this a moment, my lady.'
Daerundros frowned as she took the coil of fibres. Amlarad opened his travel-robe and revealed his thigh, the leader leggings punctured by the wound, yet bandaged well by Daerundros' skill. He then placed the bark piece onto his thigh, numbing the pain, and held out his hand as Daerundros quickly handed him back the cordage. He secured it by wrapping the coil around his thigh several times until it was securely in place...
It was the dead of night. Daerundros looked worriedly as she watched Amlarad limping over the threshold with determination. Yet something was wrong, he seemed to be faltering with each step, and if he would continue... Daerundros sprinted just in time to catch him as Randir, the Grim ranger, stumbled and falterd, doubling over. The massive weight was almost too unbearable for the Noldo, yet the strength of her people prevailed in her and she managed to hold her own against him.
'You cannot possibly walk on like this.' she frowned. Having no other choice, Daerundros, with a bit of struggling, shifted Amlarad in such a way that he was being carried piggyback. She grunts as the heavy weight comes down upon her. However, her five-thousand years training prevents her from stumbling too much, and she prevails. She walked on slowly, striving to get to somewhere safe, yet though she visible struggled to carry him to safety. A laugh escaped her lips; 'This is the queerest thing I have done... in my five thousand years existence.'
And so they walked on in the moonlight, the carrier of the vessel, Tilion, gazing down upon them questioningly as Randir's cloak flew in the wind. The Star of Eärendil shined down upon them, twinkling merrily.