The Price Of Peace

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The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:27 pm

"For blood price I will skin alive every man, woman or child Of Rohan!" -Hakon The Strong, The 4th Age

The war of the ring was a victory but the cost was high, particularly to the world of men. The Dwarves survived but were content to fall back into obscurity when their home under the lonely mountain had been liberated after the Battle of the Five Armies and with the resulting death of Smaug.

The elves left for the Gray Havens on their ships and only a few remained in Middle Earth. It is the world of men that had faced the brunt of the Orc armies brought together by Sauron and Saruman. Sauron was defeated utterly when two hobbits tossed it into the fires of Mount Doom and destroyed Sauron with it.

Men of Gondor and Rohan had suffered grievous losses including King Theoden and his only son who was killed due to Saruman's treachery. Denethor the steward of Gondor and his eldest son Boromir also died and the 4th age was born. Eomer was now King of Rohan and ruled Rohan along with his wife Lindariel, daughter of Conleth and Serethiel who returned to the ruins of Gehenna and rebuilt the village stone by stone. Aragorn had taken the name Elessar as his own and ruled Gondor with Queen Nauriel, eldest daughter of Conleth and Serethiel. Baren, their only son decided to go back to Mirkwood with his bride Princess Ithilwen to live with the elves there who had not yet departed Middle Earth. However they moved to Gehenna when it was rebuilt and live their still with their family.

Rhovanion and the Northmen however had to contend with Orcs and worse things that raided their home and villages for as long as they could remember. They asked for no help and gave  none during the wars of the 3rd age. Due to this all trade with them had been halted and resources focused upon rebuilding instead. This caused them great difficulty as they relied on medicines and other things that no longer would come now that trade with them had been suspended. Hakon, The Strong, one of the major leaders of the Northern clans would not stand still for this and as a result Rohan and its people were raised almost endlessly. To vie for peace Eomer had set up a meeting with Doroth, Claw Lord of the Blue Bear Clan but one of his horsemen let loose a knocked arrow by mistake and it hit him in the throat and he died without even drawing his weapon. The fight that followed almost took Eomer's life but the result was a grave dishonor to the Northmen who had banded together since and built great strongholds out of wood and stone to launch sorties and raiding parties against Rohan and all along the plains. In a last ditch effort for peace Elessar himself and the Queen visited them in Rhovanion. They were well received however, the Northmen had a long and great respect for the Dunedain and knew who and what Elessar was.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:59 pm

Nauriel sat tall in her saddle. Despite the years that had passed she still remained as beautiful as ever and she still carried herself with the same strength that she always had. She may have been the mother now to five children and a wife and queen, but she was still a fighter at heart. It had been extremely difficult at first for her to adjust to life after the war, but as always she was quick to learn. She learned more of politics in that first year than she had ever known and within a year and a half she could easily hold up her end of an argument even against her husband. They remained passionately in love and as a result they quickly had two children under the age of 1.

Over the next few years Nauriel gave birth to three more daughters, leaving Elessar and his son Eldarion greatly outnumbered. When Nauriel became pregnant for a sixth time (seven including the miscarriage she had before the war) she and Elessar hoped it would be another son. Nauriel went into labor on a cold winter's night and almost immediately there were problems. For 18 agonizing hours Nauriel struggled. Her screams of pain echoed through the halls of the palace and everyone feared she would die. With the last bit of strength she had left she gave birth to a stillborn son and then collapsed into an unconscious state where she remained for three days. Laenaya, their eldest daughter, had feared her mother was going to die and tried to comfort the others. Miraculously, Nauriel survived and recovered, though she and Elessar were told she would never become pregnant again.

Nauriel and Elessar had both struggled for everything they had and thus they instilled in their children a sense of humility and respect. Their children were polite and supported one another and were beloved by everyone in Gondor. It was clear as the girls got older that there was going to be many suitors seeking their hands. Laenaya was now 18 with Eldarion's 19th birthday nearing. Since coming of age she had found herself inundated with letters from potential suitors and she couldn't attend a ball or party without being surrounded by men seeking her hand. As Laenaya matured she looked more and more like her grandmother, whom she greatly admired, and rumors of her beauty spread far beyond Gondor and Rohan. Unfortunately for all of the men who sought her hand Laenaya had shown no interest in any of them. Along with her grandmother's looks and her mother's strength, she had inherited their wild spirit. She longed for adventure instead of marriage, but she knew as the eldest daughter she had a strong duty to her family.

Nauriel glanced over at Elessar as they neared the stronghold. After the war and everything they had been through they wanted nothing more than peace throughout Middle Earth, but it seemed that the peace they had sought and found briefly was now gone. She could sense the tension in the air...it was thick and caused her to shift ever so slightly in her saddle. In a sign of good will they had come unarmed...something that made her very uneasy.

"Are you sure we shouldn't have at least brought long daggers?" she said in elvish in a whisper.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:28 pm

Rhovanion is a mix of dense forest and rocky hills. Not as flat as Rohan most people traveled on foot and the winters were long and harsh this far North. The Northmen were supposedly mixed with the blood of the Dunedain but they lived no longer than most men. However many grew tall and broad and learned the axe and the spear as boys and even girls.

The Retinue that followed Elessar and Nauriel watched as the massive wooden gates were opened before them. They creaked loudly as they exposed the interior of the stronghold. The wind blew across them and brought with it the biting cold that came down from the Northern mountains. Their cloaks fluttered behind them as they moved past the gates into the stronghold. Now inside men and women in furs and leathers watched them warily as they passed.

Elessar turned to face Nauriel as they rode past bearded faces and fur covered heads. "I do not think that daggers would aid us much here wife, and we can not afford another...accident," he added. He like Eomer but also knew him to be rash at times. He was glad he wasn't here. He did not fear these people. Killing them here would not gain them what they wanted. He smiles at Nauriel, her eyes looked for danger. Even now, after all this time she looked after him and it warmed his heart.

"You are very beautiful today, my queen. It would be a shame to get blood on that dress," he quipped.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:10 am

Nauriel was not comfortable about this, but she remained relaxed and calm as the gates opened and they were allowed inside. Immediately, people turned to look at them and Nauriel could hear their whispers. She could only hope her husband was right and they had nothing to fear from them. Even after years of living in the palace, Nauriel's intensive training still remained as strong as ever and without really realizing it she began to casually scan the area for any signs of danger. It was her husband's playful comment about her dress that caused her to look back over at him. She smiled a little.

"Well, it is a new dress," she replied playfully. "And blood is so difficult to get out."

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:49 am

Her levity against his own gave him strength and confidence. She always seemed to do that when she knew he needed it. She was beautiful and regal as she sat her horse. One of her father's bred animals that could outrun his easily.

"Our children would never forgive me my love of anything happened to you," he said affectionately. Even after all these years he felt a strong love and passion for Nauriel. She would give him no more children but almost losing her as well as another son was something he could not fathom.

"Do you remember when I first asked you to come with me, do you recall where we were?" He asked her as the large wood and stone keep loomed up ahead of them. There were
many fires in front of large tents on both sides of the frozen dirt road. Many had heads on poles outside of them. These people were angry and their resolve strong he thought.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:54 am

OOC-Is he speaking of when they first met or for this diplomatic journey?

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:03 am

Ooc- first asked her to go at the archery range?

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:06 am

OOC-Ok, that's what I thought but I just wanted to be sure.

IC-Nauriel's eyes twinkled a little as she smiled over at her husband. "Of course I do. How could I possibly forget? It was in Gehenna. You had wandered in and were this handsome stranger that everyone was talking about. We first met out in the village market, but you came to my parent's house to see me. I was practicing archery and you crept up behind me and frightened me and, I might add, made me miss my shot."

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:43 am

He chuckled lightly at her words, his love and joy for her seeping through the coldness of his body. Elessar had no fear of death however he did fear for Nauriel. "Did you know then that you'd steal my heart so completely? The first time we made love," he continued but her attendants behind her shifted when he began, suddenly interested in their conversation.

"I thought my heart would pound from my chest. Did you know how hard I'd fall for you then? You seemed so...sure of yourself," he added. The main keep looked almost ominous, a small mote was dug around it and sharpened posts stuck out of it toward them at odd angles. There were more than a few heads stuck upon them and not all of those were men he saw. Their scouts had already told them what to expect but seeing them now was unsettling and he glanced over to Nauriel who saw what he saw but looked away. Her attendants behind her gasped audibly and he thought he heard one or more of them wretch, and not just the women, a few of his guard as well. Those that watched them pass sneered and glared murder at them, even the children.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:22 pm

Nauriel blushed slightly and glanced over at Elessar with a little smile. She remembered their first time very vividly. It had been unlike anything she had ever experienced and though each time since then had been incredible, nothing had compared to that night.

As they rode further in to the stronghold Nauriel looked up to suddenly see long wooden spikes. On the ends there were human heads. Most of the eyes were still open and the faces were splattered with dried blood. The sight was extremely unsettling for Nauriel and Elessar would sense her growing uneasiness. She glanced over at him, but said nothing. She knew they needed to remain calm and strong.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:38 pm

Finally they arrived at the keep. It looked more like a long house than a keep but it has 2 floors and there were Windows every few feet along the top with shutters that were wedged open. A line of men, Elessar and Nauriel saw Hakon among them, his furred helm had the horns of some large beast that stuck out the side.

Elessar nodded to his queen and he drew rein and then dismounted. The moment his feet touched the frozen ground drums began to beat. Loud, deep drums that a man behind them and to the side played as Elessar drew closer to them. Hakon's son Gulbrandt was there along with other clan leaders that Elessar had met before.

"Hold here Nauriel," he said in elvish, a language these men did not know. Jesnal, the Wild came up quickly to stand in front of Elessar and he backhanded him hard. The blow staggered him to his right a step and as several of his men and Nauriel to looked to start forward he held up a hand to stay them. The tall, rotund man grunted then gave way for another, Tugion, the Reaper, dressed in black furs with a painted red face. He Backhanded Elessar the other way and the blow nearly put him to his knees. Elessar was taller even than these men but they all had thick arms and broad chests. He nodded silently and stepped aside for Azrion, the Terrible who grabbed him by the shoulders and head butted him. That time Elessar did fall, his vision swam but he got right back up without brushing the snow from his back. "Ul, tor, Elessar they all intoned in deep voices when he stood so quickly. Obviously impressed and the Hakon came up to him. A massive man who handed his thick great sword to his son then stood before Elessar. He seemed to just be standing there and he waited looking at Elessar. Not sure if he would be struck again Elessar decided not to wait any longer and he punched Hakon hard in the stomach. The large man doubled over and fell to a knee and growled as he took in breath. He stood and Elessar backhanded him so hard he fell, and spat blood from his mouth that landed very near Nauriel's feet. Hakon stood again and then came right back up to Elessar. As if that were some signal they all began to laugh uproariously then he held Elessar's shoulders then pounded on them affectionately.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 5:39 pm

Nauriel rode beside Elessar as they entered the keep. She glanced around her slightly, but her attention was drawn to the group of men before them. They were broad and tall and wore thick furs. They were bearded and their hair was kept longer and looked unkempt. Nauriel dismounted with her husband and was surprised by the drums that suddenly began to beat. She glanced at Elessar and nodded when he told her to stay where she was. She stood there and watched as another man came up to stand before him. She wasn't sure what to expect, but when he backhanded him she gasped and felt anger surge through her veins. When he did it again she nearly stepped forward to do something until Elessar held up a hand to stop her. She watched the rest of the exchange with anger growing. However, when her husband then punched one of the men in the stomach she began to fear for his life. But before she could look for weapons they were laughing and she quickly realized this was some sort of greeting or test. She stepped forward and looked at him.

"Are you alright?"

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:03 pm

There was rough talk between them but after a few minutes Elessar nodded to her and they were led inside, Elessar leading Nauriel and everyone else. Large wooden timbers framed the walls and the entire building smelled of smoke, stale sweat and burning meat. Women in hide tunics held baskets or pitchers of ale as they were hidden to sit at the large long tables. Minstrels played drums, wooden flutes and an odd string instrument as they say and were served by the women. Hakon sat with his wife Anja to his right and his son Gulbrandt to his left. Anja was quite tall with strong looking arms and a full bosom and she was dressed in a bleached hide dress with lapis inlays and a bit of aqua embroidery. She had long, nut brown hair and looked like she wanted to speak to Nauriel but couldn't get away to just yet.

The men spoke in hushed tones as they ate, some kind of beef on thick bones and a leafy vegetable that tasted salty. From the talk Hakon reiterated the error of Eomer and how important those medicines were to his people. Many had died due to the lack of them and peace was an unlikely companion for them s far as he could see it.

When one of Nauiriel's attendants stood up, Anja sat down in her place, she wore a headpiece of leather, silver and lapis and her hair was coarsely brushed back and hung down to her waist.

"You are...Nauriel, I am called Anja, " she began in hushed tones as the men spoke. "My husband speaks of his strength but I am weary of burying our sons and daughters in the name of honor. I would treat with you Queen of the white city if you would have s mind to listen," she said with words that did not sound all that friendly.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:43 pm

Nauriel followed Elessar and the other men inside with the others following behind her. She gazed around her at the large wooden timbers. The smell was unappealing, but she felt her expression neutral. She sat down at one of the tables beside her husband. Since the end of the war, Nauriel had not really eaten much meat and so she presence of so much of it was unappetizing, but she forced herself to politely eat. She wanted to join in the conversation that the men were having, but she had a strong feeling that that wouldn't be appreciated here. After a while one if her attendants left but the chair wasn't left empty for long. She looked up and suddenly Anja was there. She listened to her but what she said didn't sound overly friendly. She bit her tongue though and looked at her.

"Yes, I will listen."

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:20 pm

The woman accepted a pair of ales in large leather lined wooden mugs and slapped one down in front of her. A bit of ale sloshed out into her face and onto her dress. Anja toasted to her and when Nauriel picked up the mug Anja struck it with her own and sent more ale froth flying at her.

"Peace between our peoples is like a snow blossom Nauriel of the Gondors, men will talk and beat on their chests but it is us women who will seed a meaningful Union that will end this needless killing. My son, Gulbrandt is of an age to marry, I've heard that one or two of your daughters are of the same," she said and then remained silent to let her off handed suggestion sink in.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:07 pm

Nauriel winced a bit when the mug of ale was slapped down in front of her. She could feel drops of it hit her face. She politely picked up the mug when Anja toasted her, and tried not to say anything when more ale was deposited onto her new dress. She took a little sip and surprisingly it was quite good. She had just taken another sip when Anja suddenly began to hint at a marriage between one of her daughters and her son, Gulbrandt. She coughed a little because her surprise had caused her to inhale more of the ale than she had intended. When her coughing ceased she looked at Anja.

"My husband and I do not want to force any of our children into marriages," she replied as politely as possible. "We want our children to marry for love, as we did."

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:19 pm

Anja sneered at her. "Love...pah," she scoffed. "You married a Dunedain, your Brother a Princess and your sister a King, your family has secured power, do not speak to me about love, I've buried more than I care to and those that adorn the battlements are an abomination of humanity. My words to spare those that can be spared have fallen on deaf ears Nauriel, and Gulbrandt is a strong man. His seed will bring you many grandchildren I assure you," she added.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:24 pm

Nauriel tried not to blush from her words. She did not truly know how to respond. She was certainly not in favor of this, but she knew that she was treading a fine line. She and her husband were there for diplomacy and these people were already very angry. The last thing she wanted to do was to say something that would ignite a spark of war.

"I am sure that he would," she responded carefully. "However, this is not a decision I can or would make on my own. I would need to discuss it with my husband."

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:33 pm

Anja listened but she also looked at her more...warmly. "Nauriel, even I can see that your body still holds beauty, very much so," she said as she reached up to touch her left breast. "I have been able to sway my husband's mind in our bed many times," she told her as if she knew what she was talking about. "This bond is necessary to save lives and avert a war. Show him the truth of it and invite us to meet these daughter of yours," she said plainly.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:41 pm

Several hours later Nauriel found herself finally alone with Elessar in the room they had been given. Thankfully, there was a fireplace which warmed the room. The room was sparsely decorated and furnished. There were fur rugs on the floor and on the bed. Nauriel continued to think about what Anja had said earlier. She sighed softly and looked over at her husband from where she sat on the bed.

"Anja spoke to me at dinner," she told him. "She wants to arrange a marriage between her son and one of our daughters in order to avert war."

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:03 pm

Elessar had not been able to find a common ground with Hakon and he was very frustrated. In their rooms the fireplace was massive and their bed pallet was covered in furs as well as the floor space in front of the fireplace. He sat on the floor watching brush out her long, dark hair and listened to her words. He nearly chuckled at what she had said as their daughters were just as strong willed as his son was.

"They are welcome to try, you know as well as I do how many suitors have called upon your daughter Nauriel," and he knew he didn't need to speak the name of which one it was. "I've seen the same look in her eyes that I saw in your own so many years ago," he said as he shifted to start kissing her exposed thigh. He wore not a stitch most of the time in their bed and tonight would be no different. Nauriel normally wore a shift or night dress and he lifted up the hem of it to feel out her willingness for sex. Being in a strange place sometimes made her feel odd about it and tonight there was much in her thoughts as well.

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:12 pm

Nauriel sighed and shook her head as she thought about Laenaya. Her eldest daughter was so incredibly beautiful, but she had turned down every single suitor thus far. She was still young though and she hated to think of pushing her into a marriage for political reasons. She felt Elessar's kisses on her exposed thigh and while she did not encourage him, she did not stop him either.

"I just wish Laenaya would show some interest in any of the suitors who come to see her. I hate the thought of pushing any of our children into marriage."

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:25 pm

Elessar was somewhat sore still from the minor beating but he lifted her shift a bit higher still to expose the mass of hair between her legs. His lips grazed closer toward the inside now of her thigh.

"You can't force any of them but a little encouragement I would not want our children to be unhappy," he added and paused as he looked at her. This was really troubling her, he thought and he abandoned touching her between her legs and straightened deciding that she was not in the mood to make love to him tonight though he knew he was. He curled up behind her to lay on his side on the bed.

"Why, has Anja said something more to you that you are not telling me?"

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:32 pm

Nauriel would not have denied her husband, but she was glad that he realized that she was not in the mood tonight. After he lay down on his side of the bed she laid down as well so she was facing him. She sighed softly and reached out and gently brushed back a piece of hair from his face.

"She said that love had nothing to do with marriage and pointed out that my brother and sister had each married a princess and a king. But they too married for love."

She was quiet a long moment before speaking softly again. "What if this is actually our only hope of securing peace though?"

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Re: The Price Of Peace

Post by Conleth on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:46 pm

Elessar was tempted to touch her breasts over her shift but held his hand back and kept it where it was. Peace needed to be desired by both sides. These people wanted to be appeased and Elessar did not agree that that was more important than the lives their pride was killing. They were a cruel uncouth people.

"I won't have it Nauriel, our children deserve their own future and their own choices. I won't have these people goad us into forcing any of them into anything. We all fought for that, but none of these people did, I'll not dishonor what we fought for by giving in to this," Elessar said vehemently almost angrily.

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