Narn I Auros

Circa Third Age 1200 Lairë, Eregion

by Eonwë-(Valar)
May 10th, 2020

Auros and his group arrived at the grove by midday and began to set camp. On this scouting mission, only five of them had been sent: Meneltir, Auros, Malril, Aldawë, and Curulin. The others were on different missions, and this would not require a larger group. A contingent was coming through Eregion from Lothlorien, and they were expected to rendevous for a joint mission before moving on. Auros' group would make camp in the grove, while the contingent from Lothlorien would make use of the nearby ruins. Auros had objected, declaring that the ruins should offer enough cover for both groups and allow for a better defense, but Meneltir refused, saying their group needed to remain mobile and assist from outside in the event of an attack on the ruins.

"They will be here tomorrow, " declared Meneltir, "and we need to make sure the ruins are secure before their arrival. We need someone to quietly pass into the ruins, inspect them, and then patrol the far side before returning, to make sure we don't have any surprises nearby."

Auros looked around. Curulin was already taking up a sentry postion, Malril was setting camp, outlining the firesite with stones, and Aldawë was preparing to fetch some water from a nearby stream. Auros gave a small smile as he looked back to Meneltir. "I guess I'm volunteering." Meneltir smiled and gave him a pat on the shoulder.

Aldawë couldn't help but add before he wandered to the stream, "I assure you, my friend, your sacrifice shall not be in vain! Camp will be set and a meal prepared ere you return!"

"And if you hurry," shot in Curulin, "Aldawë might even leave some for you!" Everyone laughed.

"Well then, by all means, I should set to my task." Auros left the cover of the grove and stepped into a field of red flowers. Sword strapped to his side and bow in his hand, he snuck through the tall grass quietly to the ruins, and after a thorough check, he moved on eastwards. The ruins of a stone gazebo remained not far from the tower walls, the dome collapsed within and later cleared to the outer edges to act as a makeshift wall. Further out he went, until the ruins were in the distance, and carefully he scouted a wide semi-circle along the eastern edge of the ruins, checking for any signs, whether of animal, elf, orc, or atani. There was no sign of campfires in the distance or nearby, no evidence that anyone had come through these grasses for days. Determining the area was safe for now, he made his way back towards the grove, intending to cut north of the ruins. The sun had set already and the full moon was high in the air as he came within range of the tower. He caught on the wind a faint voice, and was compelled to investigate.

As he drew closer, he realized it was not just a voice, it was a melody. Whoever it was, was singing, with no care for who or what may hear. He crept through the tall grass as the voice became clearer. She,.. yes, definitely a nis,... was singing a version of the Ainulindallë, of all things, in the middle of this wilderness. He came to the wall of the gazebo, and in the center she stood tall, her voice ringing out into the night. The moonlight cast a pale glow upon the dais, but about her head there sat a fiery halo. Auros was... captivated. He had no other word for it. Dressed in the garb of the guards of Lothlorien, her hair lay unfurled about her shoulders. She bore with her a short, broad-bladed sword and a bow, and no doubt had a knife hidden as well. Her eyes fell upon him, but she did not stop singing. For a time Auros was lost in those clear, piercing eyes, reckoning not of the time while she sang. When she ceased, it was as if he awoke, and looking at the moon in the sky he was uncertain. She too looked at the moon, and then back at Auros, and without words it was as if they both understood that they must go. Auros faded back into the night as the nis made her way back towards the tower ruins.

Morning came, and Auros and his companions rose to begin the day. Meneltir left the camp to speak with the captain of the Lothlorien contingent, and returned a couple of hours later. "How was the perimeter when you scouted last night, Auros? Did you notice anything odd?"

Auros thought for a moment as he was securing his pack. "No, as I reported, there was nothing odd. The ruins were secure, and nothing larger than a dog has been through here in days."

"So, you did not notice the contingent from Lothlorien came in last night rather than today?"

"Of course I noticed," he said matter-of-factly, not looking up from his pack. "You asked me if there was anything odd. I see nothing odd with a group of trained soldiers arriving earlier than expected to an infrequently used outpost to ensure the area is secure."

Meneltir looked closer at his friend. "I see." Meneltir let the silence sit for a moment. "One of the guards was out at the gazebo early this morning, and found a red flower. I couldn't help but notice as I looked around from the top of the ruins that these particular flowers are almost exclusively outside of our camp."

Auros still did not look up from his pack. "That would seem odd."

Malril, beginning to read the situation, kept his head down, and carefully delivered, "Perhaps it was the wind?"

"The wind," Meneltir said dryly.

Aldawë did not hide his smile, "Or a bird!"

"A bird," Meneltir said, almost letting a smile show.

Auros calmly said, "Did the guard see a bird?"


Looking up from his pack at Meneltir, his expression unreadable, he said, "then it must have been the wind."

Looking Auros in the eye, he said, "Indeed. I am indeed impressed. By the wind, of course." Turning to leave the grove, Meneltir said, "The guard who found it,.. she had a similar theory." Then he left.

Curulin, who had remained silent so far and watched the scene play out, came up to Auros and quietly said, "If 'the wind' had been thinking more clearly, 'the wind' could have simply said it got caught in his boot." Then he walked off after Meneltir, chuckling to himself.

A meeting was arranged between the two camps within the ruins later in the day. A contingent of 12 had come from Lothlorien: 9 neri and 3 nissi. Now Auros was concerned which nis had found the flower. When his eye lighted upon the one he had seen singing in the night, however, he had no doubts she had found it, though she tried not to look at him. Her hair was now secured at the back, and in the light of day it appeared to be a deep brown that belied its crimson tinge. He closed his eyes for a moment. He had not been expecting this kind of distraction, and less expected he would act on it. When he opened his eyes, he caught her looking away. She had not expected it either.

Both groups were brought together and brief introductions were made, though some faces were familiar among the Lothlorien contingent. For this intriguing nis he was given the name Annuniel. After a short time given for intermingling, the briefing was called to order. The most recent scouting reports from both groups were shared, and then the joint mission was discussed.

"A band of orcs is looking to spread its influence into Eregion and harass the peoples of Minhiriath," the Lothlorien captain began. "With the troubles plaguing the Dunedain of Arnor from the North, and troubles on our side of the Hithaeglir with an enemy in Dol Guldor, we cannot afford to have orcs roaming unopposed in the lands north of the Gap of Calenardhon. We need to find and eliminate this threat."

"We've determined they must be setting camp somewhere near here, " Meneltir said. "we'll be sending riders out over the next couple of days to ensure we are not come upon at unawares, but once we've narrowed down the location of the camp we'll be narrowing it further on foot. After some discussion, Captain Thilras and I have agreed we will be utilizing the ruins as a joint base of operations."

Auros' group broke camp and brought their things from the grove to the ruins, and then Auros volunteered to be one of the riders. Before the riders went out, Meneltir admonished them, "No heroics. Find out what you can, keep an eye out for any nearby threats, and report back." Auros nodded, and off they went. Several yards out, Auros glanced back for a moment, and from one of the parapets he thought he saw... shaking his head he turned back to his task.


Auros tightened his leather bracers as he walked back into the tower. Nothing. No sign of anything. The other riders had fared the same. In a couple of days, they would be sent out again. Unconsciously he scanned the room as he does the field of battle. She was nowhere to be seen when he walked in, and he didn't see her on guard duty. Why am I even looking for her? he suddenly thought to himself.


It was late, and Auros could not sleep. He was going to be leading a scouting team as they were finally getting closer to the target, and he was going over his path in his head. He got up, and with a wave to the guard on duty walked down to the gazebo for a little distance from the tower, hoping to clear his mind in the fresh air. He sat on a flat space in the wall of rubble, facing out into the night, unconciously surveying the land around him for any intruders. The faint scent of niphredil and elanor floated to him on the gentle breeze.

"Did you come for an encore?"

He started and looked back. He had been so lost in thought he hadn't noticed her approach. Worse, he didn't know how to respond. She smiled. Her hair was down again. He had managed to keep busy for several days since their first encounter. He was focusing on the mission, as he had always done, which was also convenient for him.

Seeing his hesitation, she added, "Of course I got your flower."

"I had thought so," he said.

"Is that all you can say?"

"Flowery prose is not among my talents."

"And so you use real flowers?"

Auros smiled, "I suppose so."

As she spoke, she slowly made her way to the center of the dais. He still sat on the wall, but now was facing inward. "And so the proud Noldo, whose forebears are the greatest wordsmiths in Arda, has no words for me?"

"What words would you have from me?"

"What words would you offer?"

"Narloth, I --"

"I am Narloth, now?" she asked, with an amused smile.

Auros paused, having said more than he intended, then chose to press on. He knew that if he missed this opportunity, he would not take another, even if given it. "Yes, for so I have named you in my heart."

"Now you speak of your heart! And you say flowery prose is not among your talents! Must we verbally fence continually to draw each word from you?"

"Nay, this should not be combat. For that suggests one of us should lose, and if we are together, we should both win."

"So what would you have it be?"

"A dance. A partnership."

"Ah, so you have no words to woo me with, but you can dance?"

Auros silently rose and came to Narloth in the center of the dias, took her hand, and whispered softly "It would be better to stumble in a dance than to constantly have swords drawn."

Quietly she said, as she looked into his eyes, "and to what music would you have us dance?"

"To the music you sang the other night. I still hear it in my heart."


Auros tightened one of his leather bracers as he looked out from the top of the hill. The others were at the foot breaking camp: Malril, Curulin, and one of the Silvans from Lothlorien going by the name Celebdae. Gripping his wrist, he ran his fingers across the design carved into the leather, the emblem of his house. A skirmish a couple of days ago resulted in a gash across it, and since his quarry ended up dead, his trail went cold. He would need to wear metal bracers next time.

Aldawë was in a group scouting westward, and Annuniel was in a group scouting southward.

Malril climbed up to Auros. "We're ready to go." Malril followed Auros' gaze. "It's fine."

"I know."

"Good. Then you can quit looking to the south and we can get back to work."

"I am working." Auros looked at him skeptically. "That's all you're going to say?"

"If you want a joke, wait for Aldawë." Malril smirked. "I had my fun the first day. When it's time, I'll be there to say congratulations. Besides, I'm the least of your worries!" Malril jumped down, leaving Auros to ponder those words as he also descended the hill.

A couple of days later, they came across an orc camp, lightly manned. Auros was about to send a messenger that they had found it, when he overheard one of the orcs talk about having captured "the tall elf" as he held off for the others to escape. Listening to the discussion and realizing the orcs spoke of Aldawë's group, Auros and his team fell upon the camp with great fury. The orcs were too few, too few for a camp of this size Auros thought, and could not respond to such ferocity. One of the orcs remained alive, and reached for a sword as the other elves busied themselves with the remnants of the camp. As the orc gripped the scimitar, Auros stepped on his hand.

"You must be the leader. I saw you bellowing commands to these others, not that it did you much good."

"Spare me! I can take you to the prisoners! I can help you free them!"

Auros knew this orc was simply looking to lead him into a trap. In a haughty voice, watching the orc with the eyes of a predator, Auros said, "What makes you think I need you to take me to them? We few conquered your base easily enough!"

The Silvan was about to speak up, but Curulin held him back.

"My army ---" Auros began.

Seeing no advantage in parley, the orc turned to derision. It's face contorted into a vicious grin as it laughed, "'Your army', lordly-sounding Elf? We know you are small in number. We have watched you as you have tried to watch us, and so we have divided you. We are hundreds! Thousands! Soon we will surround your tower!"

Auros persisted, "Do you think we are blind? This is the land of my people! There is no path we do not know, there is no shadow our eyes do not pierce!"

Again the orc laughed, "This WAS the land of your people! And when we emerge from your own grove to drive you forth from your ruined towers, all of my people will gloat over your fallen!"

Auros smiled. The one truth Auros needed in all of the orc's lies was that there was an attack coming from the grove. Motioning to the Silvan, he said "Report to the tower. Quickly. Let them know what to expect. Curulin, recall the team in the south. You all get to the tower." Both nodded, leaving Malril and Auros alone with the orc.

With a stern voice, Auros commanded the orc to release his grip on the sword. Grudgingly, the orc did so, and Auros lifted his foot and kicked the sword away. "Now," Auros sheathed his sword and drew a large hunting knife. "I'm sure you have many orcs. Maybe as many as thirty if your captain can manage to keep you all from turning upon eachother. I have little doubt you've captured an elf, maybe two. That much I overheard, and I have every intention of retrieving them from your real base camp, but moreso, you have one of my friends in that camp, and if you have him, you either got lucky or he's in bad shape. So," Auros crouched down in front of the orc and stabbed his hunting knife into the ground. "since I can't take any chances on his life, you're going to tell me exactly where your camp is, locations of guards, how many prisoners and where, and if you tell me the truth then on my word you shall be free to slink back into your hole in the mountains hoping that you never see my face again. However, if you lie to me in any way, great or small,..." The orc saw in Auros' eyes a flame that threatened to consume him. No more words were necessary.


The night was quiet at the tower as Meneltir looked towards the grove. The new moon left only the light of the stars by which to see, if see one could. A sea of night lay about the ruins, washing up against the stone, but it seemed darker from that direction. No torches were to be lit tonight. It was only a moment of sudden foreboding that caused Meneltir to get behind a wall as an arrow suddenly flew by and clanged against a brick. He called to the sentries to get down, and suddenly another arrow flew by. No targets could be seen for the sentries even if they could raise their bows.


Auros and Malril arrived at the orc encampment. No torches burned, only a handful of small campfires, and it seemed as if the tree branches themselves, though sparcely populated, were woven together to reduce the light. Auros had come across the remainder of Aldawë's group. It turns out Captain Thilras was leading that group, and refused to let Aldawë stand alone. They'd found the camp, but then were spotted and Aldawë and the captain were captured. Aldawë was struck by an arrow and dropped his sword, and when the orcs left it behind these two went back to pick it up. Auros shared the information he obtained and pointed out the hidden guards.

"This is a clear-cut mission. No witnesses. Get to the captives, free them, and raze the camp. Any orcs that fall here will be orcs that cannot join the attack on the tower."

"So there were two groups?" one of the Lothlorien scouts said.

"Yes," Auros said hurriedly. "Either one was manageable, but they were working in unison to draw us out. Now let's get moving."

The group quietly dispatched the hidden guards at the side before sneaking in and dispatching the ones inside. Carefully they snuck through, quietly eliminating any orc that could sound an alarm, until they arrived at the prisoners and found they were guarded in a tent. The captain had his eyes closed, possibly unconscious, but Aldawë was already trying to loosen his restraints as furtively as he could. Auros signalled the two Lothlorien elves to go set the camp ablaze. When they had gone, he nodded to Malril and they drew swords. When the alarm for the fires went up, they cut through the side of the tent and charged through. Auros rammed into the first orc, knocking it down and brought his sword down on a second. As he moved to the third Malril finished off the first and confronted the fourth. As the last one tried to flee Malril threw his knife and struck him down.

Auros cut the captives free, seeing a bloodied bandage around Aldawë's arm. "Any idea why they kept you alive?"

Aldawë shuddered, "If their provisions are anything to go by, fresh meat. It looks like they were getting low, and we were getting too close. They couldn't keep us off their trail for too much longer, so they struck a deal."

Auros stopped him, "Yeah, a second group of orcs."

"How did you find us?" Captain Thilras asked.

"One of the orcs in the other camp was more cooperative. We need to go."

"What about our weapons?"

Auros looked around, then turned over one of the orcs with his foot. It was wearing the captain's sword. "Well, looks like one of your captors got too greedy."

"As for you, Aldawë." Malril pulled out Aldawë's sword and held it out to him. "Try not to lose it over a flesh wound next time, would you?"

"Furthest from my mind," Aldawë said.


The orc archers were now harrying the southern group trying to rejoin the elves in the ruins, as other orcs now were storming the ruins, scimitars drawn. The Silvan Celebdae had arrived as the arrows began to fade, a warning too late. Such was the situation as Auros came upon it. He signalled to the captain to split up, then to Malril and Aldawë to follow him. The three of them then snuck up close to the orc archers.

"Are you up for this, Aldawë?" Auros asked.

"You came for me. The least I can do is put myself in danger again." Auros looked at him. "I'm fine. We'll win, I'll take a few days to recover, we'll do it all again. Let's go!" They caught the archers off-guard, and with the other orcs in the ruins, no one was left to aid them. The southern group was able to reach the ruins and aid in clearing out the orcs. After an intense night, the battle was won. Once morning came, riders went out to inspect the field and secure the orc camps. No more resistance was met. Auros led the parties and made sure there was not one stone left upon another in the camps.


Auros sat leaning against the wall of the watchtower, tired. Annuniel was knelt down next to him, but when she saw Meneltir coming she hurriedly got up. Meneltir gave her a smile, which almost made her blush, but she straightened herself and walked away.

Meneltir spoke, "Scouts reported seeing a creature moving furtively in the distance, giving us a very wide berth, but heading east to the Hithaeglir. It looks like an orc."

Auros didn't need to look up. "It's of no concern."

"Are you sure?"

"I gave my word."

"And what if it comes back with friends?"

Auros stood up, "I gave my word, and we saved Aldawë. If our paths cross again, then nothing else is owed,... but I think for that one, it shall be some time before he musters the courage to leave the shadow of the mountains again."


The time had come for Auros' group to be on their way. The contingent from Lothlorien would remain behind and fullfill their own tasks, some heading further north.

It was evening when they had gathered up their horses and prepared to depart, and as they were about to mount up, Narloth came out of the ruins, The rest of her group had conspicuously found other things to do. Auros', conspicuously, had not. Auros walked up to Narloth, looking for not just something, but the right thing, to say. As always, she wore the raiment of a guard of Lothlorien, but her hair was down, adorned with a single red flower. If the light of the full moon gave her a fiery halo, the light of the setting sun set her hair aflame. Auros looked into her eyes. He had no words, but with her, he didn't need them.

"I will be in Imladris by winter," she said.

"As will he," Meneltir said, putting his hand on Auros' shoulder.

The group mounted. Aldawë nudged his horse over to Auros and whispered quietly, "Now give one last longing look back, and ride off into the sunset."

Malril rode over. "We're riding south."

"Oh yeah. Well, just try to look heroic then."