Ondoher and his men looked into a dark ruin. Ondoher gave some quick and low commands to search the land for enemies around the perimeter.
In the center of of the ruined buildings was tied Mablung. He was nearly unconscious and could barely move nor speak. Ondoher approached quickly when he saw him, and motioned for a few others to enter as well. Arveleg and Hurin approached from the South, while Turin, Malbeth and Hirgon approached from the East and Ondoher entered from the West, followed quickly by Turgon and Thorondir. As they approached, they quickly saw that they were not alone. Haradrim entered the crumbling building from all sides. Quickly, arrows were fired from both sides of the field, but none found a killing blow.
Turin saw two bow men and feared they would run off before he could charge them, and so quickly wheeled his mount around and charged the both of them, striking them both down without mercy. Meanwhile, Hirgon and Malbeth were fighting the enemy just north of Turin, and they were fought back, and Hirgon was injured, but Turin wheeled about again to ride down the enemies of Gondor. “For Mablung!” cried Malbeth as they were sticking the enemy down swiftly.
Meanwhile, Ondoher gave orders for Turgon and Thorondir to secure Mablung and stay guard as he charged northward to bring down two captains of the enemy. He was parried once or twice, but their spears were no match for his horse and keen lance.
It was near mid-battle that Bareth finally arrived on the battle field from the North. While still in the perimeter, he had tripped over some roots, but he was able to arrive in time to see a Harad bowman who was firing down upon his brothers-in-arms. He posted up behind him, and with his shield up, managed to fight the enemy back and shove him off of his perch, casting the bowman down and he died there. “Mablung!” Bareth cried. “Mablung!”
In the South, Arveleg and Hurin had noticed that they were quickly followed by another bowman, and while burin laid down some cover fire, Arveleg charged in quickly and dispatched the enemy.
It was not long before the Haradrim were all laid low, and the men of Gondor quickly lifted the waking Mablung from his resting place. “I.. didn’t expected… ugh!” He winced as they helped him onto Ondoher’s Horse. “…to see any of your ugly mugs again!” He breathed heavily from the horse.
“You didn’t think you would get rid of us so easily, did you?” asked Malbeth.
They also helped Hirgon onto the mount of Turin.
“Come quickly, men,” urged Ondoher. “We may have slain these, but who knows what enemies could be nearby?”
They silently fled that field of battle, and traveled many miles before finally choosing a resting place. There they tended to their wounds, and set a camp fire and prepared from some well earned rest.
So it was that Mablung had his first true rest in days.
When they all awoke the next day, Mablung spoke of his ordeal with the Easterlings. Instead of dragging him along, they instead found this ruin, and tied him there to die. Fortunately his wounds had not been so severe from the battle, but it was a long time without food, regardless.
Then, Ondoher regaled the tale of the siege of the Dunedain fortress. “It appears much has happened in my time away,” affirmed Mablung. “I am happy to see you all still living to tell of the tale!”
After their morning meal had been consumed, Turgon finally asked something they had all been thinking. “Where do we go from here? We have not heard from our allies in some time, so we do not know of what battles there are to fight, not of where we might do the most good. I think also that we could all do with some rest.”
Ondoher thought for a moment. Turgon was right. They had no idea where to proceed from here. They had been in these northern lands for some time, now, and there was no clear agenda that he could see. “We do need rest, I agree,” said Ondoher. ”I think it would be wise to maybe locate a local haven that we can take that reset in, and from there, strike out to the enemy from there. Perhaps if we locate ourselves in a place like this, we could also be contacted easier.” He pulled out a map from his satchel. “Amon Sul was taken long ago, so that would not do. Eregion is not bustling often anymore either, due mostly to the War of the Elves and the Dark Lord. Bree could be a good place, but it is not necessarily going to be friendly to Soldiers from a far off Kingdom.”
Ondoher went on like this for some time. The men all made a few suggestions, but none could really be counted on for certain without knowing the exact lay of the land. “We need a place that our Northern Kin would be welcomed and could send messages hither and yon.”
It was then that Bareth spoke up. “What of Imladris?”
Arveleg chuckled. “Ah yes! Let’s just walk right into… oh what was the name they call it.. Ah yes, the Hidden Valley. It will be a snap!”
“Now, don’t be so antagonistic, soldier,” responded Hurin. “The Hidden Valley it may be, but Rivendell is far from impossible to find. I will find it myself, sir.” He turned to Ondoher. Clearly this man was determined.
“Then go forth, Ranger of Gondor,” declared Ondoher. “But return swiftly of any news! We cannot sit here in the wilderness forever! I will give you till mid-day tomorrow, then we must move on.“
And with that, the young ranger was off like a deer, leaping into the brush. They waited in that same area for the rest of that day. They hunted as they needed, and made sure to keep an eye out for enemies, but nothing was seen. The night fell, and the next day came, and no sign was seen of Hurin. Then Mid-day came. Still no Hurin. There was a tension in the air, s Hurin was not a bad ranger, for certain. He was one of the best ones they new.
“Well, leave it to Hurin to be the one ranger who can’t range,” quipped Arveleg, trying to ease the tension.
“We will give him two hours more,” Ondoher asserted.
The first hour passed. Still no word from Hurin. The second hour passed. Nothing. “We must move on, men,” the captain stated reluctantly.
They gathered their things and began heading north. “I guess Bree will have to do,” thought Ondoher. The injured were placed on horses, and the company traveled on for an hour, when Turin turned around to casually check behind. He saw the trees move about, and then out of the bushes came Hurin himself.
“There you all are!” took me nearly half an hour to find you! Where are you off to?”
“Well, we were headed to Bree, if you must no.” Responded Ondoher. He approached the ranger and stood before him to a great height, looking much taller than the young man. “Why did you not return hen I specifically gave you an order!”
“Well, I was pressing my self harder when I thought about returning, but then I just felt that fate was smiling on me, so I went further, I checked every path and by-way I could. Elves are particularly difficult to follow, even in groups! Just as I was about to give up, I was suddenly surrounded by elves! ‘What brings you here?’ they asked, menacingly with their powerful bows at the ready. ‘My companions and I seek the shelter of Imladris,’ I said. ‘ my captain Ondoher sends me. We have injured men and need shelter!’ Then they changed their tune! They knew of you and our deeds, and quickly told me the best way to return without leading enemies to the Hidden Valley.”
Turgon turned to Ondoher, whispering, ”You do realize he deserves a promotion for this, right?”
“Not without making him sweat, first, “ replied the captain, subtly. Then he turned to Hurin. “Take us there. Double quick! You haven’t convinced me out of calling you a fool yet!”
So it was that Hurin quickly and quietly lead the brigade to Rivendell. There, they were welcomed by Elrond Half-Elven, and Mablung and Hirgon’s wounds treated. They stayed there for weeks. It was in this time that Mablung was healed of any remaining wounds. Hirgon would need a bit more time to mend, but he was on his way.
It was also in this time that messages from Dunedain and other companies in the North were attained, giving Ondoher a much better idea about the conflict as it stands. Ondoher Also found that his men were at their best when he was there in the thick of the battle, leading by example. The last few battles taught him this, so he will certainly use that to his advantage.
Turin also found that helping to return his Brother in arms to safety gave him this feeling for patriotism that none could extinguish. His charging in will certainly allow him to fight harder.
From the Elves, Turgon learned much, and became deathly accurate with his bow. Arveleg and Hurin also gained Elf Bows from the elves that were made in the style of Minas Tirith. Arveleg also found himself a horse as well. This would make following Ondoher a bit easier to do.
After a few days of rest, Ondoher did eventually give Hurin a further promotion. He was not a fully Fledged Ranger Captain.
Now, with more gear at their disposal, and more intel, Ondoher and his men could more effectively assist the Rangers of the North.