Instantly, Rowen, Jack, and Sabor had loaded their bows. Jack jumped up on Dragon, scanning the darkness with his elven eyes. Just beyond the reaches of his lantern-light, Jack could see little flickers of the light reflecting in the eyes of numerous creatures. Suddenly Dragon whinnied and reared, causing the lantern to fall and smash.
They were plunged into complete darkness.
Soft sounds of swishing fur told them that the wolves were encircling them. Rowen grasped the ground and found the candle-stub from the broken lantern. She relit it quickly, only to realize she was nose to nose with, not a wolf, a warg. It snorted, putting out the candle once again. Rowen screamed. She could feel the hot, putrid breath of the creature but was too paralyzed to move. Abruptly she felt someone grab her around the waste and hoist her up onto a horse. Rowen could vaguely tell it was Sabor – his clothes seemed to have a sort of sulfur smell to them. It was so dark that it was almost impossible to see anything.
They began to ride away from the sound of snarling wargs… but something was missing.
“Jack is back there! Sabor, turn around!” Rowen shrieked.
She panicked a second as Sabor hesitated a moment, but then he turned Dragon around and galloped back to the struggling Jack. Upon locating the yells of Jack, Sabor jumped off and began to fight. Rowen grabbed a knife hanging off Dragon’s saddle and began to hack at the oncoming wargs – luckily they were few. It seems they were going after an easier kill for the moment.
Jack was encircled by three wargs. Fortunately, they were taking their time and not outright attacking him. He heard with despair the sound of his horse’s hooves beating, running…away from him. After about 30 seconds though, he heard them returning. Suddenly Sabor was at his side, vending off the wargs. They fought back to back. “Just like old times, eh Jack?” Sabor called over his shoulder.
It was then that a sudden and brilliant light blazed through the forest. In truth, it was only the lighting of a regular flame, but after being in such darkness it seemed to shine out incredibly. Then Jack and Sabor saw the bearer of the flame: Rowen had managed to light a branch on fire in the chaos. The company saw that they had indeed been fortunate: it was a very small band of wargs that had attacked them. Rowen pulled out of a small pouch around her waist hot coals. How they had been heated or how they remained heated and did not burn through the pouch was a great mystery to Jack and Sabor, but there was little time for question at the moment. Rowen hurled the pieces of coal at the wargs, causing the smell of burning fur to permeate the air putridly. But as the wargs shook off the coals, dry forest brush began to ignite. Soon flames had engulfed an entire tree. This worked to the advantage of the company, for soon the wargs had retreated back into the denser hollows of the forest.
Though a few sparse patches of brush had been dry and caught fire, the main part of the trees were wet with rain, and the fire did not spread far. Jack, Rowen, and Sabor resumed their journey with a makeshift lantern, and soon the road broadened enough for light to be shed from the distantly rising sun.
Up ahead in the road, the swift trot of a horse was heard. As it neared, they saw it was a beautiful tan horse, and upon it road a man holding a lantern. “Halt,” Jack spoke firmly, trying to discern whom the man was. The man halted and raised the lantern to his own face in a gesture to show he was not an enemy.
“Peace, travelers. I am looking for a man by the name of Sabor. Would this be one of you?”
“Depends on who’s asking,” Sabor returned, looking at the man suspiciously.
“I am Richard, though your business is not with me. I bring news from the Lady Austel.”
At this Sabor stiffened slightly, but showed signs of recognition. He paused a minute though, as if contemplating whether he was positive to following the information of this source, but none the less bid Richard to continue.
“Orcs patrol north of you, scouting around Anduin and skirting Mirkwood. She warns you be wary. I myself can advise this, for I had a near encounter myself.”
“Sabor,” Jack broke in, “If you took Dragon, you and Richard could ride ahead and find out what’s going on, scout a path for us… anything to help. What do you think?”
“Sounds good to me,” replied Sabor with ease, “I’ll see you in a few days.”
“Be careful Sabor,” Jack added with a friendly punch in the shoulder.
“Aren’t I always?” Sabor returned with a grin as he mounted Dragon. A moment later, Sabor and Richard galloped away north.
Once they were out of site, Jack felt a rough shove that sent him to the ground. He looked up to the annoyed face of Rowen.
“Hey! What, you just decided I’ll tag along to wherever your going, speaking of which I don’t even know where we are going though you certainly seem to know but just aren’t telling me, I think you owe me an explanation as whats going on here! Who’s to say I’m going to come with you any-“
Rowen aggravated statement was cut short as Jack grabbed her around the legs and pulled her down. Once on the ground she tried to get up, but Jack pulled her back and tried to pin her down, laughing. Rowen pushed him off, but he pinned her again. After much struggle, they were a tangled mess, each unsuccessful in pinning the other until their arms were twisted and their faces a few inches apart. Jack, smirking triumphantly, spoke up superciliously, “I say so.” To which Rowen had no answer.
Chapter 1: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9127.html
Chapter 2: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9141.html
Chapter 3: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9184.html