Events, and How They Unfold

WARNING: This post contains Evendim spoilers! If you don't want to know, stop reading now!

I wake up with my head pounding. I cautiously open an eyelid, but the spear of sunlight that is thrust into my unsuspecting eye quickly makes me close it again.

To pass the time while I blink furiously, my brain goes through its usual early morning checklist: Who am I? Where am I? Whose arm is this? And, perhaps most intriguingly, why is it green with 'Sauron 4 evah!' gouged into the flesh?

Memories start to return, in a hazy jumble. A festival in the Shire, some dancing, and then the inevitable pub crawl. Some bar bets, then a dare, and a midnight pony ride to Ettenmoors. Mooning the enemy. A vague realisation that not all the inhabitants of Middle Earth take that as an insult.


I carefully lift the arm, and slide myself out of the bed. After a quick search, I start clambering back into my armour, freezing as bits of it clonk together. The continued rhythmic snores from behind me goad me back into motion.

The left boot squelches alarmingly as I thrust my foot home, but I carry on anyway, worrying less about who used it as a makeshift latrine, more about how hungry they might be if they wake up.

Finally I sneak out of the door, putting on my hat to shield myself from some of the glare. The world turns a dingy yellow colour, so I whip the hat back off again, and squinting at the brim I find a note attached, which turns out to be written on the back of an RUI ticket. Great, one more and I'll have to go back to Eogar and re-take the horse riding test!

Eventually the letters stop swirling around the page, and settle down long enough for me to read.

'See Aragorn, Rivendell.'

Aragorn... Aragorn...? A face floats blurrily in my mind. Ooooh, yes, tall chap, stubble. Cute, in an unwashed sort of way, a bit too intense for my liking though. A destiny is all well and good, but it won't buy a girl a new dress.

Still, I ought to go and see what he wants, he paid me well enough last time, and I really need to replace these boots.

So I head over to the stable master, where a long and distressingly loud conversation takes place, frequently punctuated by his gesturing at one of his ponies. Recent modifications are pointed out, such as the scrape along its flank, and the arrow sticking out of its rump. Considerably more money than usual changes hands.

Eventually, however, I am on my way. The wash of fresh air in my face starts to clear my head, and by the time I see Rivendell in the distance I am starting to feel a little more like my usual self.

I find Aragorn easily enough, moping about in the grand entrance hall to The Last Homely House, and after some brief small talk he launches into one of his slightly melodramatic 'woe is me' speeches.

It seems he's lost some bauble or other, and really wants it back, and soon, because he's about to slope off on some super secret mission or other. I consider telling him that's its not all that secret, what with him and half a dozen others blabbing about it to all and sundry that pass by, but the reward he's offering is good, and the smell from my boot is starting to peel the paint off the walls.

I accept, and after a bit of running about on errands, he sends me off to see a friend of his, who might know where to find the bauble. The friend is miles away, lounging about by a lake, but luckily I have a map of the way there, and the journey seems to take no longer than a click of my fingers.

Aragorn's friend, Calanglad, turns out just to be the middle man, and a bit of an unscrupulous one at that. Before he'll set up a meeting with the person that actually knows where the bauble is, I have to do a bit of skivvying for him and his mates. Cart some boxes about, pillage some corpses, collect a load of rubble, all the usual stuff.

Eventually they run out of things for me to do, and Calanglad announces he's set up the meeting, with some ancient hermit woman living behind a waterfall. I trudge off to find her.

For some reason, the sight of all that water pouring down turns my movements sluggish and jerky, and I have difficulty aligning myself with the narrow gap in the rocks, but eventually, more by luck than judgement, I manage to squeeze through.

The cave behind it is quite pretty, as these things go, although personally I'd have decorated it slightly differently. A few more throw cushions, a few less snakes, just little touches here and there.

Gwindeth, the ancient and oddly blue woman I've come to meet, turns out to be a little full of herself, and more than a little fond of name dropping. Like everyone else I've run into today, she wants something from me first. Next time I pass a mirror, I'll have to check that no-one tattooed 'sucker' on my forehead after I passed out last night.

The first thing she wants is a load of lizards offed... I guess fur coats are out this season, and the scaly look is back. I head to the island she mentioned, and engage in my attempts at extinction. It doesn't take long, although by the end my leggings are pretty scorched... a heads up on that little trick of theirs would have been nice!

As I'm paddling in the shallows, to make sure that I've fully put myself out, a Guardian comes sprinting past, and throws himself face first into the lake, only to vanish in a stream of bubbles. I figure it'll only take another thirty of these meatheads to attempt to swim the lake in full plate armour and I'll be able to simply walk across on the bridge of bodies.

I get back to the cave, and Gwindeth gives me what she describes as a much more important task. Something to do with statues. To be honest, she kinda droned on a bit, and I zoned out, but the fate of Middle Earth depends on it, or something. Anyway, some Elf further up the coast has everything I'll need.

So off I go again, alternately squelching and chaffing, to see the Elf. I'm quite intrigued at what great and powerful talisman he'll have for me, so you can imagine my disappointment when I'm given a bucket and scrubbing brush. I look at them, quizzically, and back up at the Elf, but all he'll say is 'It's the pigeons, see!'

Back off to the island, and yet another swim. I make a mental note to suggest that, at least until the Guardians have finished their lemming-like endeavours, someone builds a few bridges around here.

Once I reach the statue, the purpose of the bucket and scrubbing brush make themselves clear. With a sigh, I fill the bucket, and set to work. Some people get to save Middle Earth by going on grand adventures and performing heroic deeds. I get to do it by ruining my manicure removing centuries of calcified pigeon poop. Oh what a tale I shall have for my grandchildren!

After several hours of scrubbing, a vaguely man-like shape can be discerned, if you squint just right, and I figure that'll be good enough. It's not like the subject will be popping by to check or anything.

I check my notes, and see there's supposed to be a second statue, but thankfully that seems to be missing. I dump the bucket under a bush, and wonder where it could have vanished too. I recall the bloke that wanted those bits of rubble waffling on about statues, so I trudge off to see if he knows anything about it.

It turns out that he does, and as luck would have it he's just finished reassembling it from the various bits I'd brought him earlier on.

I stand back and give it a quick appraisal. I don't want to seem overly critical, but either I've been meeting all the wrong men, or that bit is actually his arm, and should in fact be attached to his shoulder. A quick bit of rearranging, a dab of superglue, and things are a bit more in proportion.

Which just leaves muggins here to lug it back to the island. How exactly I'm supposed to swim with half a ton of marble over my shoulder I'm not entirely sure, but perhaps I can rig something up, or built a raft. Maybe a few dozen water wings on its arms and legs.

Luckily, all my worry is for naught. Turns out the Kings of old were just a bunch of cheapskates, and the statue is made of pumice, so I use it as a float.

With both statues more or less restored, I plod back to Gwindeth, who it turns out still isn't satisfied. She wants something else, but is clearly too embarrassed to ask for it straight out. She just makes veiled references to what women want most of all, and gives me a subtle wink.

Well, I'm sorry, but I left that in my bedside draw, and its not really something that I loan out. But I promise to pick her one up next time I pass through that part of town, and seal the promise with a bow. That seems to satisfy her for now, and finally we get down to business.

It seems that the bauble Aragorn is after is just where some ancestor or other of his left it, which by pure coincidence is also in a bedside draw, in his old house.

Of course, it's not quite as easy as that, because the ancestor, not really thinking straight on account of having just received a prophesy of his impending demise, asked Gwindoline to design the security system for the place, to keep it safe until his heirs came back.

And true to form, she decided to drown the entire place under a lake. What is it with these eternal types? I mean, normal people like you and I, we settle for a padlock and a discrete 'No Trespassing' sign. But not them. Oh no. It's got to be bubbling lava pits and great fiery letters saying 'Beware of the Balrog!'

And, apparently, it has another teensy tiny design flaw, quite apart from the whole issue of damp. When she un-floods it, the hordes of robbers it was designed to keep out can all go rushing in, with enough lead time to not only ransack the place, but to also set up lots of ambushes.

All she has to say about that is 'Perhaps you'd best bring some friends.'

Perhaps I'd best sleep on the whole idea. Perhaps it'll look less like a suicide mission in the morning!


Back to the Callia and Co main page.

Find out how I play three characters at once.

Read the story Dear Evil Devs, A Thank You!

Read the story Events, and How They Unfold

Read the story Uberocity Killed The Elf... Twice!

Read the story Callia and Co Explore Angmar

Read the story Oooo, What's In Here?

Read the story You Only Had To Remember One Thing!

Read the story Popularity Isn't Everything!

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