Jan 23, 2020 11:55 AM
Orc Decima and Elf Macilnie in Arda
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There isn't much in the way of a road, entering or leaving the elven realm of Lothlorien. Small paths, here and there, kept passable only because wildlife find them just as convenient as the rare elf. The only real way south or north is by boat, or by a long detour east or west, or a slow pick through woodlands where someone inexperienced is more likely to get lost than not. No one goes east anymore, not since the shadow fell over the southern reaches of the Greenwood - Mirkwood, as those few who bother gossiping about the outside world call it now.

To the west and a bit to the north is, theoretically, a path through (more over) the mountains - the Redhorn Gate, the one usually used by the few parties visiting Lothlorien. The goblins of the Misty Mountains are supposed to be few, especially this far south, ever since their many wars with the dwarves, but the pass still has a reputation for danger and treachery.

Relevant to her, it is quickly becoming very, very cold, even under the high summer sun, and the only food around is what she's carrying. The streams at least are clear, flush with the last of the spring snow melt, and while they're bitterly cold they're not yet frozen.

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Macilnië wraps her braid around her neck like a scarf, shrugs the strap of her bag higher on her shoulder, and sets off along the stream.  The headwaters should be well up into the mountains, and she knows it will be nearly impossible to navigate by the sun or stars in the gloom.

As she walks, she keeps a close watch on the surrounding vegetation, ready to defend herself or gather food as the case may be.  She has several hours yet before it becomes urgent to find a good campsite, but she can stop if she finds anything to hunt or gather for food.

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The route's mostly plain and long and rocky. There's birds even this high up, many of them curious about her. She doesn't meet anything foul, even on her second day, when she's climbed past the last of the non-lichen vegetation and is skirting the summer's snow line.

Still, it's a gorgeous view, the fields and woods and streams laid out behind her, the mountainside banded with different colors of rock.

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Macilnië sings.  There is no one here to complain, and she likes the way her voice echoes off the rocks.  With no one around, she doesn't have to worry about matching anyone but herself.  The beauty of the view envigorates her, and she starts running over the rocks, almost dancing.

She runs and sings until she finds a hollow among some rocks to sleep in for the night.

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There's someone sitting outside the hollow when she wakes up. She can't really see them from this angle, just hear them breathing, moving occasionally.

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Macilnië wedges herself into a gap between two rocks and climbs up to the top, so she can look down.  She is nearly silent, but an attentive listener may hear a few pebbles fall.

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The person doesn't strongly react.

She's tall and sturdily built, and appears to be an orc, skin banded between light and dark like she was stitched together from two others. Her left ear is pointed and pierced with dark metal rings; the left side of her hair has been shaved to stubble and the right left to tumble in black waves across her shoulder; and a section of hair near her crown is pulled into a low ponytail. Her clothing is dark, browns and greys, carefully made and tended leather and padded cloth serving as armor, a patchwork bag flopping at her feet. She has a very large number of assorted knives tucked here or there, one sword at her hip, and a wooden staff leaning against the cliff wall nearby. Most of her face isn't visible.

She's filing her nails, at the moment.

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Macilnië adjusts her dagger in its sheath to make certain it will draw easily, and then, leaving her hand on the hilt, she calls out to the orc.

"Hello.  What is your name?"

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The orc glances up, grinning.

"I'm Agon," she says, her Sindarin accent clipped but still understandable. "And you?"

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"Macilnië.  Did you know I was here?"

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"You're a bit obvious," she says, still smiling.

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"Why did you seek me out?"

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She shrugs, humming. "I'm bored, and you're either very dumb or very brave but definitely not capable of just shooting me. Arrows are annoying."

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"Jumping out of a burning building requires neither bravery nor stupidity.  Do you have any particular reasons for assigning me those characteristics?  Which one are you currently assigning greater probability to?"

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"In case you hadn't heard, there's orcs in these mountains." She flashes her teeth. "Hear they're a danger to travelers. Most of your kind travel in groups - or at least walk more like someone who knows this land."

"Figuring you're probably brave. Don't strike me as stupid."

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"I appreciate the vote of confidence.  Are you wandering aimlessly in your boredom or do you have a specific destination in mind?"

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"Mostly exploring. Seemed more likely to find something interesting, that way."

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"What can you tell me about the terrain going forward?"

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"Gets rough and steep. Worse than this. Part of the path's above the snow line, and while most of the avalanches are done for the season, things are still unsteady. You'll have an easier time of it after you hit the crest, 'specially if old Redhorn takes a shine to you. Other side's steeper, but it's downhill, so it balances out. You're more likely to hit rain or even snowfall on that side, though this's been a dry summer so far. There's a group of ruffians camped near the base on the other side. Unlikely to bother a party, might decide a lone traveler's easy pickings, assuming they don't move on. Hunting's good this time of year, so the wild wargs won't bother you - those're a problem down in the foothills, sometimes."

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"Thank you.  Which way are you heading?"

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"Same way as you, for now."

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Macilnië considers for a moment, then climbs down from the rock by way of reply.

"I am open to suggestions as to what direction that might be."

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"Well, what're you looking for?"

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"Somewhere without elves."

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"Lots of places like that. Humans mostly, though they sometimes get elves passing through. I don't know if you'd want to live in an orc camp. Dwarves, but they don't like outsiders much."

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"Elves don't like outsiders much either.  Which do you like the best?"

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