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  • Class of '02 v5 : 2022 Now we are 20!

     Rholarowyn updated 1 day, 8 hours ago 10 Members · 72 Posts
  • Rholarowyn

    Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

    And with a slight lure of a hook, Bardy resurrects the BAP!

    Welcome back to TORC indeed!!! 🙂🙂🙂

    More to come soon…

    Dec 28, 2021 at 8:05 am
    • Bardhwyn

      Shield Bearer : 197 posts

      Eh, what can I say, old habits die hard. ☺

      Dec 28, 2021 at 9:37 am
  • Rholarowyn

    Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

    One good BAP deserves another!

    Emergency Consultation #2:

    Huddled around the computer for warmth and intrigue, the dim light from the screen illuminated the 3 eager faces. Rholarowyn, her Writer and her Muse were all enthusiastically reading each and every word written in Bardhwyn of Dale’s latest post.

    “I thought she said she was rusty!” The Writer replied when the 3 had finished. “I could only hope to be so rusty…”

    “Do you see how they all were carried away to Italy?” The Muse interjected with abounding enthusiasm and then broke into song… “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…that amoreeeee…”

    “Since when do you sing!?!” The Writer quickly interrupted!

    The Muse was not deterred, “We could go there! We could go now! OK maybe not Venice, but what about Assisi? You love Assisi! Such a quaint medieval town. Or we could go somewhere else…Alberobello perhaps? Remember those amazing white-tipped, coned shaped trulli houses…Oh and the wine there!”

    The writer, determined to regain focus, lifted her hand to silence the Muse. Well, not silence, but at least calm her down. Currently she was like a racehorse who had been held back the entire race, straining against the reins. However, now the reins had been loosened. Actually, the reins had been released entirely, and the Muse was free. Rushing into the wind of nonresistance. They were back on TORC. Anything was possible…

    “We are just fine right where we are” The Writer continued while glancing out the window. A dusting of snow covered the ground, and more was expected later today. “It’s a perfect day for us to stay inside, regroup, and reacquaint ourselves with each other and the boards….”

    In days past the Muse might have become temperamental, crossed her arms, and feigned silence but instead she rolled up her sleeves. “OK, we’ve only been here since January. I can work with central Arizona.”

    The two then turned to Rholarowyn who was pulling down on her snug tunic. Then, she adjusted her sleeves before looking up. “I think I put on a few pounds.” The shieldmaiden chuckled. “Doesn’t quite fit like it used too.”

    Thanks to the Muse, it only took a moment before Rholarowyn donned the exact same outfit in the next size larger. “Much better!” She replied then took a deep relaxing breath. “Yes, much…so, the Lady of Dale has suggested she and I share our stories. I don’t think telling her I have spent the last 6 years in the abyss of nonexistence would make for a compelling conversation.”

    She paused and then reflected. “I mean you two have had some fun. Muse you had that fling with NaNoWriMo back in November of 2018 and spent the entire month working on your book, Voce Del Velato. And great job completing it too!” Rholarowyn praised. “And Writer, you have had some full years as well. Two lengthy trips to Italy, becoming a caretaker for you aunt, and most recently, leaving California, the state where you were born and raised. I mean, I understand you both have carried on and have your adventures to share.”

    It was true, the three of them hadn’t been together for many years and while there was no awkwardness, there were some major gaps in their connection to each other as well as in Rholarowyn’s story which needed to be addressed.

    The Writer then spoke with confidence and compassion. “When I came to the boards originally, I only wanted to share my love of LOTR with others who felt the same way. I even came to the boards with a different username, Anewfan. However, I then became a Bard and soon afterward I wanted to become a Warrior Bard. To do that I needed to learn RP and get accepted in the Mithril Knight Guild. That’s when you were born. When the Muse and I first created you, we only knew a few things about you when we discovered your name, Rholarowyn. You were born in Rohan, moved to Gondor as a teenager, and were a cousin to Boromir. Oh yes, and most importantly, you were a shieldmaiden. This was your humble beginnings that the three of us put out onto the boards. From there and joining in the collaboration with many others, we discovered who you were. You became a Bard and a Mithril Knight. You went on many adventures and found family, (ok more cousins than you knew what to do with!) You even found love and discovered your sense of humor. You found your place then and we can do it again.”

    “Right!” Rholarowyn stood with renewed determination. “Let’s do this!”

    And the shieldmaiden entered the scene passed the point where Bardy had left it.

    Back to New Torc…

    Rholarowyn watched as Dorn, after taking her order for herbal tea, made his way back to the kitchen.

    “He looks exactly the same!” The shieldmaiden observed. “Do they ever age?”

    Rholarowyn then settled back into the chair and smiled, “It is good to see you again too!”

    A log slipped down in the fireplace with a thud, but it came to rest easily among the deep orange embers. Then the clattering of teacups being arranged echoed from the kitchen along with the smell of whole grain bread being baked. This reminded the woman of the assortment of goodies she had arranged upon the table.

    “The cheese is certainly from off the boards,” she offered, “and don’t worry about eating all of it. I have more. I’ve brought quite the stash from other places since I wasn’t exactly sure what I would find here.”

    Eventually the dwarf then returned with the hot water and packets of tea along with the drink Bardy had ordered. Placing the tray down upon the wooden side table, he asked with the same usual gruffness and a hint of affection.

    “Why’d you come back?”

    Raising her eyebrows, Rholarowyn was surprised by his inquiry though she first settled on the packet of Turmeric Ginger tea (good for the joints and digestion) and slipped it into the hot water before answering.

    “I am not sure, not entirely. I mean my Writer has been struggling to adjust to a Mac computer for the last 2 years. Finally, in complete frustration she returned to a PC just 2 days before I showed up. I don’t see that as a coincidence. But there was also curiosity, my Writer and I wondered what everyone was doing now, especially since this is the 20th anniversary of when the movies came out. I suspect some of it was sentimental too. I miss this place…”

    The dwarf cut her off there, shaking his head as he turned and walked away, the two warrior women could hear him mumbling about the foolhardiness of Mac’s and PC’s.

    The shieldmaiden’s gaze then drifted down to the dagger from Dale which Bardy had carried over and now rested on her lap. “I have this too.”

    Reaching out, she handed Bardy the intricately carved leather sheath which normally housed the blade. The Gondorian woman had been told, once in the presence of Bardhwyn of Dale, to present the blade first, then the sheath, and while she remained curious, she would not press for an explanation. Both had been turned over to her protection, along with that one simple, yet essential instruction and her sworn oath that she would return it to the hands of the one who had been deemed worthy to carry it…

    Dec 28, 2021 at 2:21 pm
  • Bardhwyn

    Shield Bearer : 197 posts

    Hello ’02ers and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

    We’re now officially into our 20th year!! YooHoo!!!

    Don’t be strangers, come say hi!

    Jan 2, 2022 at 9:54 am
  • Bardhwyn

    Shield Bearer : 197 posts

    BAP ALERT ‼ 😄

    In the large, rambling stately home that is the ’02 mansion, the conversation between two old friends continues…

    Bardy leaned over, taking the sheath and nodded. “I was wondering,” she murmured, “thank you.” She sheathed it, the blade slipping in effortlessly and she took a moment, inspecting the dagger further, her lips pressed in concentration. She sighed and sat back, lost in thought. After a moment, the Barding looked over at the Shieldmaiden, her eyes narrowing slightly.

    “Nostalgia and curiosity have brought quite a few travellers back,” Bardhwyn replied, “myself included and Thar, who is out but I expect him back at some point. I don’t think you’ve met him. He’s a bit rough around the edges but trustworthy,” she added with a smile and a slight blush. “And my writer is always fretting about computers, so I completely understand.” She held up the dagger. “As for this – seeing this is a terrific surprise for several reasons, but I’ll start by telling you story that unsurprisingly involves cheese and a very special dagger. I’d completely forgotten about this incident until now, so, thank you for the um…what’s the word…prompt? Yes, ‘prompt’.”

    “As you have gathered, Rho, I love cheese, most kinds if not all kinds of cheese, except for Gruyere as its called in the Writer’s world. In Dale we call it Drapth, and it’s a Dwarven cheese,” Bardhwyn grimaced and shook her head slightly. “I never liked it. But then again, I don’t care for most Dwarven cheese, but don’t tell Drak, he’ll just serve more of it to annoy me.”

    Bardy cleared her throat and reached for her cup of wine, taking a sip. “So why does that matter? Well, because cheese figures greatly in the history of one particular dagger, a dagger we used it to cut cheese, and by ‘we’ I mean my family, my father and three brothers.”

    “After the evening meal, we’d have a desert course and a cheese board served to us. I would turn my nose up at whatever dessert was offered; cakes, custards, pies, ices – you name it, I wasn’t bothered. I would only eat the cheese. It became a family joke, and once my brothers convinced our Dwarven servants to just drop the entire cheeseboard down in front of me at the table, seeing as I’d eat most of it anyway.” Bardhwyn chuckled to herself at the memory of the largest cheeseboard she’d ever seen being deposited in front of her.

    “One summer evening, my father was entertaining several important guests from the city, King Brand being one, along with the Queen and the Crown Prince, too – so this was huge affair. You may remember, we lived in the mountain most of the year, my father being the King’s ambassador to King Dain but come summer, father would pack us all off to the ‘big house’ and the Dwarven servants would go with us and he’d always throw a party the first few weeks upon arriving.”

    “The Dwarven servants were doing an amazing job that night; they worked so hard to make everything perfect. And we were all there, my brothers and I, all dressed in our best clothes, me in a frock with my hair piled on my head, and they were all in matching tunics, with their hair all combed and looking rather idiotic, but I didn’t tell them so. The evening must have gone well, because I can’t remember much of it until the Dwarves laid out the final courses, the desert and cheese, on this very fine, very old sideboard – I can still picture it, mahogany with the family coat of arms carved on the door panels.”

    “All the adults were deep in conversation, and not paying much attention to us children, so it was the crown prince, me and my brothers at the children’s table, nor were they paying attention the final course. Being impatient, I got up to inspect the cheese and noticed there was no cheese knife. I tried several times to get the attention of one of the Dwarves to tell them, but they were all rather busy, filling wine glasses and clearing dishes, and they dismissed me, telling me in no uncertain terms to ‘sit down and be quiet’.”

    “So, I decided to solve the problem myself and spied, high up on the wall of the dining room, a dagger mounted on a plaque covered in gold leaf and faded runes, so faded I couldn’t make them out. To this day I have no idea why no one saw me, but in the middle of this very elite dinner party, I climbed up onto a chair, then onto large armoire – in a dress mind you – and then free style climbed up the wall, using various mounted weapons and trophies as toeholds, to where the dagger sat, high up on the wall. I lifted the dagger off its display, safely came down, placed the dagger on the cheese tray and sat down.”

    “Now, the boys all sat and watched me do this, and said nothing, probably wanting desperately to see me get caught in the act. I didn’t though, which I learned later really made them angry.” Bardhwyn grinned and took a quick sip of wine.

    “Once the table had been cleared, and the wine glasses filled, the cheese board was then presented to the guest of honour, the King, with my father sitting immediately to his right. They were deep in conversation and the King blithely picked up the dagger, unsheathed it and began cutting the cheese, happily chatting away, while my father sat next to him, his eyes bulging out of his head, and easily turning seven shades of red.” Bardhwyn then stopped and giggled, like a schoolgirl. She held up the dagger and unsheathed it.

    “There was this moment when the King stopped speaking, realising just what it was he was holding. He turned at gave my father a look of astonishment, I think our Writers would call it a ‘WTF moment’? My father just shook his head, shrugged and began to laugh, saying, ‘I have no idea how that got there, but I think I can guess.’ They then looked down the length of the table to us children and my brothers, all of them in unison, all pointed at me.”

    Bardhwyn fell silent, smiling and chuckling to herself.

    “It seems I’d taken down the Royal Blade of Peerage, the dagger bestowed to my father’s house by the Kings of Dale almost a millennia ago, granting us our noble status. No one had ever explained that to me, I think I was only ten or eleven at the time, though I think Ellis and Lellwyn knew, and they didn’t say a word. I was disciplined, of course, but the Royal Dagger remained with the cheese board at the King’s request, saying ‘Leave it to the House of Bardhol to put their royal privilege to practical use.”

    “So, the Peerage Dagger has been in my family for nearly a thousand years, or so,” She held up the dagger, turning it slowly, “well, until it was confiscated by the Crown when my lands and goods were forfeit upon my exile. It’s a symbol, a very important symbol.”

    Bardhwyn stopped and took a long drink from her cup, her brow now slightly furrowed.
    “Before I say anymore, I must ask you: who gave this to you and when? And did they say anything else to you? Anything at all? Please, think carefully, Rho.”

    Jan 2, 2022 at 10:06 am
  • Rholarowyn

    Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

    Happy New Year to all the o2’ers! Yes, please come join in with the fun.

    Bardy, I want to check out an idea with you but would like to do so through email. Do you still have the same gmail account you used to use about 10 years ago? I remember that one. If not is there a way to send messages through this site?

    Interesting choice for the dagger history. I am going to need to do some thinking on this one…


    Edited to add:

    I sent you a connection request through this site. I am not sure what it does but perhaps we can exchange email address that way.

    Jan 2, 2022 at 8:17 pm
    • Bardhwyn

      Shield Bearer : 197 posts

      Hello Rho – no private anything on this site, now – it’s all transparent, which on reflection, I’m in agreement with.

      And connections are again, like followers – a badge! Other than that, they don’t appear to have a function.

      Email addies – give the one you got a test run, and I’ll look for it. 🙂

      Jan 2, 2022 at 10:56 pm
      • Bardhwyn

        Shield Bearer : 197 posts

        Oh, and don’t feel you need to get too elaborate with your response 😉 No pressure!

        Jan 2, 2022 at 10:59 pm
      • Rholarowyn

        Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

        I have sent the email. 🙂

        After a night of good sleep, the Muse is throwing out several good ideas to play with.

        Can you remind me again why Bardy was exiled? Also, was it just her, her and her brothers, or her entire family?

        Jan 3, 2022 at 7:40 am
      • Bardhwyn

        Shield Bearer : 197 posts

        Hi Rho – EMAIL SUCCESS !

        And let’s see if I can -> link her bio from oldTorc…

        All the members of her family died defending Erebor, so it was just her, and the reason is in the bio. 😉

        Fun – look forward to hearing from you. B

        Jan 3, 2022 at 10:01 am
      • Rholarowyn

        Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

        Ok I have sent another email and the link worked for your bio.

        Jan 3, 2022 at 10:35 am
  • parm…prmiller

    Citizen of Imladris : 34 posts

    Hello, Parm here.

    Joined in July of ’02.

    …and today I have read is J.R.R. Tolkien Day, and it seemed a fitting day

    to return to say, “Hello.”

    Very different Parm in 2022 than in 2002.

    I have shed well over 90 lbs, and enjoyed getting

    healthier and stronger than I have ever been before.

    Glad to greet you all, and look forward to excellent things in 2022!


    Jan 3, 2022 at 9:01 am
  • Bardhwyn

    Shield Bearer : 197 posts

    Greetings Parm! What an absolute delight to see you here on newTorc! Welcome!

    And congratulations on the new, healthier you! Such an inspiration 😀 Yes!

    Please make yourself at home!

    Jan 3, 2022 at 10:02 am
  • Rholarowyn

    Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

    Hi Parm and Welcome!

    We both posted our ABC poem to the Bards Guild on the same day back in 2002 and became members of the Guild during the same induction ceremony! It is good to see you again and congratulations on fitness journey! You are looking great.

    Sadly, I don’t see that the Bards Guild made the journey over here to new TORC.

    Jan 3, 2022 at 10:43 am
  • Bardhwyn

    Shield Bearer : 197 posts

    That’s only because no one’s created a thread for it yet. Maybe you two should team up and get it done! 😉

    Jan 3, 2022 at 11:15 am
    • Rholarowyn

      Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

      It doesn’t seem right as that was always erinhue’s realm. 😀

      Jan 4, 2022 at 8:45 pm
      • Bardhwyn

        Shield Bearer : 197 posts

        He was last here over four months ago, but I do understand. Erinhue was (and still is, I’m sure) a considerable tour de force ( and I was always a bit scared of him! ) Funnily enough, he was one person I always wanted to meet IRL but never managed it. And if memory serves, he lived in NYC which was not that far away from me back in the day. Oh well. I hope he’s well.

        * waves to The Bard Extraordinaire *

        Erinhue – if you stumble across this – consider resurrecting the Bard’s Guild and maybe MAYBE this decade I’ll finish my ABC’s and finally join. I started, I just never finished!


        Jan 4, 2022 at 10:32 pm
  • Rholarowyn

    Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

    Inside, small particles of dust danced in the sunlight rays now streaming through the window while outside birds fluttered about the seed feeder, which hung from a nearby tree. Leaves, deep green, swayed in the breeze, casting intermittent shadows against the clear panes like tiny, fast-moving clouds.

    Rholarowyn’s eyes remained fixed upon her friend’s face as the history of the dagger continued with twists and turns, humor and sadness.

    Bardhwyn stopped and took a long drink from her cup, her brow now slightly furrowed.
    “Before I say anymore, I must ask you: who gave this to you and when? And did they say anything else to you? Anything at all? Please, think carefully, Rho.”

    Her questions were not unexpected. The shieldmaiden turned her green eyes from her friend towards the dying embers.

    Where to begin…she thought. More or less…

    The room remained silent other than the occasional pop from inside the ancient fireplace. Rholarowyn was hesitant, though it was not due to lack of trust. In fact, the shieldmaiden surmised, Bardhwyn may understand better than most.

    Releasing her gaze, she turned towards her friend.

    “I will answer,” a slight concern growing in her voice, “But I need to know, was there anything else of significance that you were forced to give up due to your exile? Anything else specific to your family and their linage?”

    Jan 4, 2022 at 8:48 pm
  • Bardhwyn

    Shield Bearer : 197 posts

    Hello, Class of ’02! In true oldTocer style, Rho and I and having a good ‘ole time doing some lite RP here in this lovely place.


    But PLEASE – don’t let that put you off from just posting in here and saying ‘HOWDY’. By all means, pop in often. 🙂

    Ok Rho – here we go…


    “I will answer,” a slight concern growing in her voice, “But I need to know, was there anything else of significance that you were forced to give up due to your exile? Anything else specific to your family and their linage?”

    Bardhwyn laughed. “Anything else? How about everything,” she answered. “I was allowed to keep a handful of possessions, some clothes, an assortment of weapons, few enough to defend myself. That’s all…”

    They were disturbed by the sound of a door opening fast, so fast it banged against the wall as it swung wide. That sound was followed by a surprised but mumbled ‘oh, shit!’ and the padding of a dog’s feet, its nail clicking on the old, hardwood flooring. Bardhwyn’s attention lifted, looking down the room towards the servant’s stair, a smile blooming on her face.

    “There you are, I was getting concerned,” she said.
    “Yeah, took longer than I thought,” a man’s voice replied.

    “Rho, this is Thar,” Bardy said, motioning to the man who now sidled up next to her chair. He was dressed in riding leathers, and surprisingly wore no boots. His heart shaped face was set off by a neatly trimmed dark beard and shoulder length brown hair with deep auburn undertones. Beside him a large, black Great Dane, pranced, trying to get close to Bardy as well. The dog trotted around to the opposite side of her chair and thrust his head under her arm, jostling her cup of wine. “And this is Melkor,” she added with a chuckle, nuzzling the beast’s neck. Thar whistled curtly and pointed to the dog’s bed which sat next to the fire – a large fleece covered bed big enough for a small child. The dog obeyed, his eyes bright. Thar bent over and begged a kiss, which Bardy gave, happily.

    “Why did you come up the servant’s stairs?” she asked.

    “Muddy boots,” he replied, pointing to his stocking feet. “I’ve learned my lesson. Drak,” he said to Rho, “he’s a terror. Don’t cross him.” He then smiled and extended his hand to Bardy’s guest, “Welcome, Rho, a friend of Bardy’s is a friend of mine.”

    “Rho has delivered something,” Bardy added, handing Thar the dagger. He took it, whistling in appreciation. “Nice work,” he said, unsheathing it, “it looks like late Garald era”.
    “Close,” Bardhwyn said, nodding, “just before, the Gestal period, when Dale was more ‘war-like’.”

    Thar considered her comment, looking at the runes etched onto the blade – he pointed at them and she nodded. He then balanced the blade on his finger. “Very nice,” he added. “Does it throw well?”

    “I haven’t tried,” Bardy answered, grinning, “but don’t,” she added, anticipating him.

    Thar laughed. “Right, not in the main hall,” he said with a nod. “Another lesson learned, Rho. No knife throwing in the main hall. Outside only.”

    “It seems someone wanted me to have this,” Bardy said, holding out her hand, “Rho was kind enough to deliver it and we were just trying to figure out why.” Thar sheathed the blade and returned it to her, nodding thoughtfully. He eased himself onto the arm of her chair, and settled back, his interest piqued.

    “And?” he asked.

    “Rho just asked me … “she motioned to Rho, “sorry, you asked me specifically about lineage?”

    “I asked if there was anything else of significance that you were forced to give up due to your exile? Anything else specific to your family and their linage?” she offered.

    “Lineage?” Thar asked. “Oh yeah, you were upper-crust, once upon a time,” he added, chidingly.

    “Don’t start,” Bardy warned him.

    “Well, I can answer that,” Thar continued, looking over to Rho, “they took everything. They let her have the clothes on her back, some weapons that belonged to her father and brothers and a nice brand on her forearm to remember Dale by.” The disdain in his voice was clear, Thar had little love lost for Dale. “At least they didn’t brand her face. That’s one saving grace.”

    Jan 6, 2022 at 1:42 am
  • Rholarowyn

    Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

    His timing was unfortunate though Rholarowyn continued to watch, her eyes following his movements. His manner was pleasantly calm, and the new arrival was entertaining as he expressed his current understanding of the house rules. Also, the bond between Bardy and Melkor could not be missed.

    The warmth of her lightly, sweetened tea moistened her mouth and slid down her throat just as she set the cup down just as he spoke.

    “Well, I can answer that,” Thar continued, looking over at her, “they took everything. They let her have the clothes on her back, some weapons that belonged to her father and brothers and a nice brand on her forearm to remember Dale by.” The disdain in his voice was clear, Thar had little love lost for Dale. “At least they didn’t brand her face. That’s one saving grace.”

    The shieldmaiden tensed at hearing his scorn for Dale and without even thinking she drew a deep breath. Her muscles eased automatically with her exhale. Pulling one leg underneath her, she adjusted her position while she also adjusted the details.

    “I asked about other items,” she began carefully glancing down at the blade, “because… this knife was indeed given to me, but only after I was…well, tested.” She winched slightly, knowing the word tested wasn’t quite right, but to describe the cat and mouse game she had be led into was more than she wanted to share at this time. Yet Bardhwyn had a right to know at least part of the outcome.

    Her green eyes looked up at her friend as her voice broke the silence. “There were two other items from Dale, an elegant bow, and silver chalice. I did not know which held the most importance to your homeland.” She paused again, reflecting upon the past. “Of course, the bow should be, but, well, I chose the dagger, and I am not fully sure why…Once I made the decision, the dagger and sheath were handed to me along with the instructions I have shared with you.”

    Rholarowyn hesitated, unsure how to proceed. Would her next words evoke anger, vengeance, sadness, hope or perhaps some variation from the two sitting in front of her?

    She leaned forward resting her arms upon her lap. “What you may not know, there are some, and at least one in a high position, who do not believe your exile was just and want to correct it.”

    Jan 10, 2022 at 10:13 pm
  • Bardhwyn

    Shield Bearer : 197 posts

    Hello ‘o2ers ! How did it get to be the 12th of January already?!!

    More for our Rho:


    The effect of those words was immediate, like a lightning strike; Bardhwyn’s lips pressed into a thin line, and her eyes took on a cold, hard aspect; one that Thar knew well, the calculating look of someone capable of doing anything, good or ill, to meet the immediate need. She barked a disdainful laugh. “Are there?” Bardhwyn asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm. With a shake of her head, she dropped her cup down on a small side table and slid to the edge of her seat. “If you’ll excuse me, I need some air.”

    It was only after the door to the main hall slammed shut that Melkor let out a small whine and Thar let out a long exhale. He looked over at Bardy’s guest. “Well, I imagine that didn’t go as expected?”

    Jan 12, 2022 at 1:31 am
  • Rholarowyn

    Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

    It’s hard to believe we are already in the middle of January.

    Yay! More fun…


    Rholarowyn followed her friend with her eyes until the door slammed. The connection was then broken.

    Melkor let out a small whine and Thar let out a long exhale. He looked over at Bardy’s guest. “Well, I imagine that didn’t go as expected?”

    Raking her fingers through loose blonde hair. A few strands escaped and gently draped her face. The woman then uncurled her legs from beneath and leaned back.

    “I learned long ago…” she began, slowly turning her attention to the stranger. For a moment, just as he turned his head, a small spark of light reflected off the small golden hoop that hung from his left ear. Without thinking her memory was drawn back to another. His image rushed to the forefront of her mind. He too had worn an earring, though silver, but in the same ear. Rholarowyn’s gaze shifted from the present to the past as her eyes looked through the man and then beyond. Eventually a soft smile crossed her lips as she returned. His hazel eyes watching her.

    “Excuse me…” She uttered looking down at his stocking feet. Drawing a deep breath, she then felt the awkwardness release through her exhale. Sitting up tall in the chair, she began again.

    “I have not seen Bardhwyn for quite some time, but please, be assured, I would not have brought this news to her if I hadn’t done everything I could do verify the truth of it…Exile can be one of the most excruciating sources of punishment, and an unjust one can be devasting to one’s soul.” A jolt of ancient pain shot through her.

    Quickly, she returned her gaze towards the large wooden door and the realization hit that Bardy had taken the dagger with her. Had Thar noticed this? Turning back, she could see his concern. “Someone once told me” she continued carefully, “that anger can be an expression which comes from pain. I didn’t believe them at the time but sometimes I can see it, sometimes now…” The shieldmaiden paused, the echo from the jolt subsiding.

    “Thar, I would have been surprised if she had reacted any other way.”

    Jan 16, 2022 at 10:11 pm
  • GorthaurTheCruel

    Petitioner to the Council : 2 posts

    Hi all, I used to post as gorthaur_the_cruel on the TORC forums c. 2001-2003 (ish)!

    Jan 19, 2022 at 10:11 pm
  • Bardhwyn

    Shield Bearer : 197 posts

    Hey Gorthaur! Welcome Back! Pop in anytime and spam away, my friend.

    Ok Rho, another instalment to our little serial – I’m playing it as if they’re in a sort of limbo, a side-step from our on-board story lines? 😀

    Thar nodded and smoothed out his moustache and beard with one hand, while his other was firmly tucked up under his other arm pit. His eyes danced around the rafters of the room for a moment or two, as if he’d find the perfect reply hanging from some errant nail near the ceiling. He didn’t find one. He then let out a long out breath and slapped both this thighs. “Yup, she’s on point, I’ll give you that,” he said with a charming smile. Thar then got onto his feet, rubbing his right thigh with a slight grimace. “Old wound,” he said with forced grin. He whistled Melkor onto his feet and took a good look at this newcomer.

    To his eyes, she appeared travel worn, sure, but she carried herself as someone clearly trained and skilled. She was keen eyed, and he guessed probably very good in a fight; Bardy rarely took up with hapless types but, yes, her earnestness and her appeal: he could see Rho’s clearly not been around for a while.

    “Look, I don’t know you, you don’t know me, so I’ll be straight with you: you’ve not been here, what? A few hours, less than half a day? And already you’ve thrown some huge rocks into what has been, up until now, our relatively quiet little pond. We come here to get some respite from all that crap.” Thar motioned for Melkor to heel, and the dog trotted around the chairs, to his side.

    “You may have known her before I met her, I’m presuming?” he said with a shrug, while scratching the dog’s ears, “But I know her, let’s say ‘rather well’,” his smile betrayed his attachment, and even his protectiveness. Thar’s eyes looked over to the door, and through it, as if he could clearly see Bardy standing on the veranda; his eyes were ringed with genuine affection and care. “That woman’s relationship with Dale is complicated, more complicated than you can imagine. So, my suggestion would be to tell her what you know, repeat what’s been said to you, and then Rholarowyn of Gondor, step away. That is you, right? I may not know you, but I know ‘of’ you.” Thar’s eyes glinted and he walked back toward the servant’s stair, Melkor trotting next to him.

    “She’s out on the veranda, so go to her; If she wants to talk, she’ll stay. If not, she’ll walk off again,” he called out, over his shoulder. “And please, stay the night. Dinner’s at 7; the food here is amazing.” The door to the stair closed behind Thar and the large, gangly dog, leaving only the sound of the logs on the fire, hissing and popping next to where Rho sat.

    On the long, wide-open porch that fronted the large house, Bardhwyn was indeed, standing silently and closely inspecting the knife Rho has presented her, and through its inspection, she was arriving at far too many questions. As a test, she flung it and the blade sunk into one the veranda’s roof support, far to her right. She sauntered over to the knife, chewing one side of her lip, mulling her questions, before pulling it free; the blade was pristine. The knife was exquisite, and the gems that adorned the hilt were large and beautiful, generously set in gold with wired filigree work all around. The blade’s craftsmanship was superb, the double edge of the dagger tapering to an impossibly sharp point, and the knife and sheath looked aged and venerable. It was a stunning weapon, both ceremonial and practical, but it was a fake. As fake as the day was long and whoever made it was counting on Bardhwyn being none the wiser, nor Rho for that matter.

    “Curiouser and curiouser,” she whispered to herself.

    Jan 22, 2022 at 8:44 am
  • Rholarowyn

    Petitioner to the Council : 15 posts

    Hey Bardy,

    No need to figure out if the story line is an alternate timeline or not. I am going to end my time here on the boards. It has been fun writing together again, but it is time for me to let Rholarowyn, Mithril Knight, Warrior Bard of the White Tower, and Shieldmaiden of Gondor, go.

    Twenty years with a good character has been quite the run and longer than I ever expected. ❤

    *Raises a glass to the archer of Dale*


    While Rholarowyn didn’t appreciate the manner in which Thar had delivered his one-sided speech, she did agree with the solid intent of his message. Once he and the dog had departed, the shieldmaiden intentionally pushed herself up from the warm chair. A quick thought passed as she moved past the table still covered in fine foods and drink. She would leave all of what she had laid out, a gift for the household.

    It took only a moment to pull on her well-worn boots and tighten her Gondorian vambraces. Wrapping her deep blue, Mithril Knight cloak around her shoulders and clasping it at the neck, she then picked up a small bag of personal items. After retrieving her trusted pen, she ripped a blank page from her journal. A brief note was written, then she grabbed the few weapons she had brought, along with her treasured flute, a gift from Erinhue, many years ago.

    “Please give this to Bardhwyn.” Rholarowyn requested while placing the note upon the wooden worktable in the kitchen.

    Startled by her voice, Dorn almost dropped his oversized spoon into the large stock pot which was heating its contents upon the stove. The smell of fresh stew wafted through the air. The dwarf certainly knew his herbs! It took only a moment for him to compose himself. “You leaving already?”

    Her smile was filled with both sadness and gratitude. “Yes…it is time for me to go. I no longer belong here.” She paused reflectively. “There was a time that I did, but those days were long ago.”

    “Wait!” He mumbled, then quickly began maneuvering around the kitchen placing little wrapped tidbits of cheese, cured meats, cut vegetables, and a loaf of fresh baked bread into a bag. “Here!” he finally said almost thrusting the bag into her hands. But then he slowed down and spoke thoughtfully. “It wasn’t a mistake coming back you know.”

    “No, perhaps not,” she replied, contemplating his words. “I had hoped in my return I could reconnect with some, reconcile with others, but too much time has passed.” The shieldmaiden then tightened her grip upon the bag. “Please thank Bardhywn for the hospitality.” The dwarf nodded and then Rholarowyn turned and exited through the servant’s stairs.

    Far off from the Guild house, ethereal notes could be heard resonating off the billowy white clouds which clung closely to the nearby mountains. The sun, making its usual daily journey across the endless blue sky, was lowering in the west. Upon her noble, black steed and keeping in rhythm with the echo of Coraggio’s hoofbeats, Rholarowyn serenaded the tall pines, sentries of old, standing tall, guarding the clay road and guiding her way onward to new adventures…


    Jan 25, 2022 at 7:36 am
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