The set of blades clashed and sparks flew overhead. The blunt sides of the two swords pressed against each other, locked in a duel.
A man and a woman recoiled and drew their blades back, grinning. The man lunged forward, but his attack was easily parried to the side—as an aggravating insect. The woman side stepped, spun around and took a graceful swing. In a frantic haste, the man flicked his blade upward and blocked the oncoming blow. They both laughed.
The man dared a Savage Strike.
The woman dodged it. She flew at him, eyes ablaze and hair whipping behind her.
He blocked it with ease..
The fight lasted for an hour at least. Each opposing side was unable to achieve the upper hand. Finally, as a feeble last effort, the girl rose her sword—feeling like leaden stone in her tired grip—and swung. The man was too slow.
The pointed the tip of her blade under his chin. The man looked startled; then she lowered her sword and he raised his hands in mock defeat.
"You win, Gwen." He mopped at the sweat dripping from his brow.
"Best two out of three?"
"I'd think we've tired ourselves enough for one day. Let us return home."
The man Skyrvr and Gwenyfier the woman, stalked the gravel road the twisted and groveled. Thorin's Hall was ahead, as soon as they were to reach Noglond, the Stable-master would surely lend them horses. They would arrive tonight, in the least. The sun was beginning to set, and the stony background of Ered Luin glowed with a certain age-old beauty. Set stones had been placed diligently by the dwarves to make the walls of Gondamon, and in interior had been left untouched and had been allowed to age with the years unending.
No matter how may times Skyrvr and Gwenyfier laid their eyes upon the Dwarf antiquity, it always took their breath away.
Mathi stood the greet them at the top of an ancient-looking staircase the was in the middle of the stronghold.
"Middle-earth grows pleasant indeed!" the hearty dwarf exclaimed, embracing them both as a long forgotten friend. "For Champions we now have plenty!"
"We journey to Thorin's Hall," Gwenyfier explained. The Dwarf listened intently with glistening eyes. "Haste is a matter of importance. Do you have any horses to spare?"
"Aye, Sigdan I'm sure could spare you two. What, if I may dare to ask, allows for such haste?"
"A relic long lost has been unveiled," Skyrvr said lowly, glancing at Gwenyfier, "and those of which know of its existence are few. It would be best if the matter were to remain untouched and silent."
Mathi's eyes grew wide. "Alas! the First Age renews itself yet again! And not for the last, I wager. Sigdan the Stable-master shall lend you the horses you desire. He is in the stables now, I am sure."
"We thank you, friend," Gwenyfier said with a nod and went with Skyrvr down towards the stables.
"Perhaps you had said too much," Gwenyfier hissed as they walked side to side towards the stables.
"Only as much as haste should allow," Skyrvr grinned, "now hurry. The Longbeards dread to wait, I wager."
Before Gwenyfier's hasty friend could smartly respond, the sound of a bellowing war-horn sounded above Gondamon. Gwenyfier and Skyrvr immediately drew their weapons by pure instinct. They each dualwielded a shining blade in each hand. In their friendly spar, they chivalrously fought with a single sword, though they always brandished a second as safety had it. They each held one in their Main-hand and another in their Off-hand. The man was left-handed and the woman right. Mathi's loud voice bellowed over the terrified citizens below.
"Gondamon is being laid siege upon!" he exclaimed. "Get everyone indoors! Skyrvr, Gwenyfier! Won't you aid us in your artisan swordsmanship? The Blue-crag goblins shall not be very relenting, I'm sure."
"They are goblins, then?" Skyrvr shouted back, calling upon his hidden reserves of Fervor. Gwenyfier called on Ardor and a blaze shown in each of their eyes. The bloodshed of the wicked were by far amongst their gladdest desires. Their mighty zeal for justice gleamed clearly in their posture.
"Goblins, Dourhands, Orcs, and amongst other foul things of which there is no name," he told them, "we surely cannot fend them off ourselves. Surely you will aid us?"
"Gladly we shall!" Gwenyfier shouted. Then she turned to her friend. "Give me the Emblem."
Skyrvr handed her a wrapped package roughly the size of a large fist. It was heavy padded with clothes. "Get everyone inside. Instinct tells me that this Siege is not one of pure cold-bloodedness. They're aware of what we have. Now hurry! get the citizens indoors. We'll defend these walls ourselves, dead-on."
"What of the Guards?"
"Send them away as well. Tell them to secure the commoners, if worse comes to worst. The enemy shall not come into these walls."
"And if Ignithor and his beast is amongst them?"
"Then we shall deal with them accordingly."
"Very well, hide it efficiently. Should we lose it; I should haunt you in your afterlife, wherever it should be."
Gwenyfier gave an unforthcoming chuckle and swiftly ran off, her feet bound only by leather straps. The Elf ran diligently and ever so graceful. Skyrvr turned around and ran, sheathing his blades for the sake of safety.
"You there! Guard!"
A large, blunt man wearing rather dirty, unappetizing armor. Skyrvr scanned the man carefully, comparing his own heavy armor to his. As Skyrvr's blue metallic coat of arms sparkled in the setting sun, this man's armor was almost purely tainted brown with rust. He turned around from his post of the eastern gate and glanced uncaringly at Skyrvr. "Oi? An' who 're ye?"
"Captain-General Champion Skyrvr of the Free Peoples, Protector of the Threshold in Isen and guardsmen of the North-downs, Bree-land, Ered Luin, and Celondim at your service. Have you any such title?"
The little dwarf recoiled at the amazing stature of the man before him. He squinted. "Aye, ye may be a defender o' Ered Luin', but ye ther' are a Man, if meh eyes o' old don' deceive meh."
"Yes, Master Dwarf. And Bilbo was a Hobbit I'm sure, but your race stood by him, did they?"
The Dwarf coughed. "Might ye be watin' meh time, masteh? If ye ain' gonna be helpin', ye bes' be goin'. 'Dis is no figh' for a Man."
"Allow me to put this bluntly," Skyrvr smiled almost eerily. "My friend and I are more then capable of warding off this fleet of troops. Call your men to protect the threshold of peasents in Gondamon. If the worse shall happen, then you shall defend them with your lives. That, Master Dwarf, is a direct order from Eru himself."
A little extravagant, perhaps, mentioning the God himself, but it seemed to break the attention of the Dwarf. With a grunt he waddled off bellowing orders to his men to retreat from their positions. Puzzled, they obeyed. Skyrvr himself waited at the entrance of the stairway. Gwenyfier descended and met him there.
"And where is Mathi?"
"He was too stubborn, Skyrvr. He's firmly rooted at the entryway of the basement. He says that the Enemy should have to plow through him first, if not then his own people."
"That old ass," Skyrvr chuckled. "Too hotheaded for his own good, perhaps. Now, we await for the oncoming siege."
At that moment, as if by pure chance, or perhaps by luck or some greater divine force, a poison dipped arrow flew feebly through the air, missing Skyrvr's nose by only a few inches. The duo drew their swords accordingly, and saw the first wave of troops.
Three spear-wielding goblins and two keg-master Dourhands. Skyrvr almost had to drop his weapons and clamp his mouth to stop himself from laughing out loud. Was this truly the uttermost force that Angmar could conjure? Idiocy, he told himself. Almost suicide, it seemed.
Gwenyfier efficiently waged a Champion's Challenge and drew their attention to herself with taunts and spiteful sayings. Skyrvr roared and swung his blades to create almost a Blade-wall. The goblins fell dead at their feet. The keg-masters roared as a large explosion was thrown their way. As the grenade hit the ground, Skyrvr braced himself and lowered the visor of his dark blue ceremonial helm. He braced himself, as did Gwenyfier. They lunged forward and quite easily disposed of the duo of Dourhands. They had forged an alliance together, which much was apparent. And the reason, it seemed, was to collect the Emblem of Mairon. But that they would not get, as long as the Captain-General Champions drew breath that was.
Enemies and evildoers poured into Gondamon from all sides. At the moment seeming only to be Blue-crag Goblins and the Dourhands. But as hours passed, and Skyrvr and Gwenyfier began to tire, the troops changed race, it seemed.
As they thought they had earned rest at last, at least for a moment, the floor beneath them began to vibrate. They were thrown off balance, and a mighty roar sounded overhead. A rather large, infuriated Troll Wound-taker stood at the Western Entryway of Gondamon. His spiked club raised high, there were Death-mongers surrounding him, using their dark necromancy and summoning bound spirits and demons. The Champion's moral decreased considerably.
"Your troops are mine!" the Wound-taker roared in an inhuman tone. It was almost as if two voices. A feral snarl positioned in the Common-tongue and a pitch too low to comprehend. A shadowy aura came over it. It was not a Troll found in the mountains. It was a dark, inbred Troll possessed by Saruman and brainwashed to love the feeling of bloodshed. Such a mighty creature should not be subjected to such torment, Skyrvr groaned in the spirit.
A small fleet of ghosts surrounded Skyrvr and Gwenyfier, their spears pointed inward towards them. Bound unwilling soldiers of the Eorlingas, it seemed. Their armor and decorated cloaks said it so. The Death-mongers conjured them and possessed them against their will. They also seemed to be restraining the raging troll with unseen bonds. A hologram of a short Dwarf appeared. He was garbed in black and crimson armor, spiked and jagged with blood. Its shoulders were jagged and unsymmetrical. His helm was white and a long beard sprouted to the ground. A large ax was clasped firmly in his hands. Skyrvr snarled.
"Skorgrím," Skyrvr growled menacingly. Gwenyfier curiously remained silent.
"Skyrvr," Skorgrím bowed. "As you may have noticed. The Wound-taker beast which you see before you is not a natural troll."
"Indeed, I see," he glanced again at the armored monster. "What do you call it?"
"It has no name, but it is in fact a Troll of Moria. This beast is masterful elite in its craft."
"And what may that be?"
"Destruction," Skorgrím retorted. "You know what we come here for. And you know that we shall have it. Please make this easy; death of the innocent is not so freely dwelt upon."
Skyrvr almost chuckled, but restrained himself. "The Emblem of Mairon is not with us, indeed Melkor should have it."
"Melkor's fall is natural knowledge, Skyrvr. Do not take me for a fool. For you found such a relic in the depths of Keheledul. How you came upon it I do not know. But all that matters is that you have. It is of no use to you. Please, allow me to take it from your hands."
"The Emblem of Mairon belonged to Mairon," Gwenyfier intervened.
"Mairon died whence Sauron died, fool!" Skorgrím stomped his foot in anger. "They are the same, Elf-maid. I have not come here to argue who may be who. I come for the object itself."
"You shall not have it," Skyrvr grinned.
From a gentle cue of his hand, he and Gwenyfier threw aside their swords and as swift as a mockingbird, slung their bows from their back and pulled the strings faster than the eye could see. Their arrows were spent on the Death-mongers and the hologram of Skorgrím disappeared, along with the free Rohhirim Soldiers. But, the bonds of the angered Troll were unbound and it swung its large spiked club into the earth before them. They leapt out of the way, Gwenyfier being faster than the Man. They rained hell with their arrows upon the Troll, but they stuck in its scaly skin and stood fast there. The Troll was unbothered and swept the club across the ground, similar to Skyrvr's Blade-wall.
Skyrvr and Gwenyfier once again were forced to leap back, this time towards the stairway. The Troll was going to be difficult to deal with. Gwenyfier roared a battle-cry and bounded towards the Troll, picking up her blades and tossing her bow aside. She swept them across its leg, and it tore off flesh and showed white bone. The beast roared loudly in pain! It's leg gave out, but it swung its club lazily, and Gwenyfier—being unwarned—was hit fully and was sent reeling into a stone wall. She cried out and then was silent.
"Gwenyfier!" he shouted after her. The Troll knelt to both knees. In his fury, Skyrvr picked his weapons from the ground and avoided another hasty swing from the Troll's massive weapon. He stabbed the monstrous fiend in the side with one blade and took a wide swipe at its chest with another. He swung himself out of the beasts' blind rage and retreated behind it. He leapt up, and held firmly on its neck. He retrieved footing on its iron shoulder pads, and used both his blades to gorge both eyes of the Troll. It screamed horribly in agony.
"You anger me, Champion! Slaughter me and be done with it now! Do it now!"
Without hesitation, Skyrvr shouted "I am Justice!" and beheaded the Armored Moria-Troll. It stopped its horrible squeal, and dropped to the ground with a loud thud. Its body twitched involuntarily and its head lie near the side of the stairway. Mathi came running down the stairs, as fast as a Dwarf could run, and his eyes widened when he saw the slayed troll and Death-mongers littering the battlefield. Dourhands and Blue-crag Goblins were slain nearer the entries. Then his eyes fell upon Gwenyfier.
Skyrvr ignored his Dwarf-friend and ran over to Gwenyfier. He scraped off the stones the littered the floor around her, and examined her motionless figure. He felt for a pulse near her neck, but felt nothing.
Tears began to swell up in his eyes. Then sadness turned to anger. Skorgrím…
He put his head against her check to find a heart beat.
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
Immediately, hope was abundant in his mind. He held her and shouted her name.
Then she stirred. "…Skyrvr?"
He laughed and helped her to her feet. She dusted herself off and Mathi came to congratulate them.
"The peoples of Gondamon thank you, friend Man and Elf. You are forever welcome in our city. Take these horses as our token of appreciation. For you've fought long and hard with renown. We are forever in your debt."
"The walls have crumbled, certainly," Skyrvr apologized.
"Aye, but I'd much rather repair then rebuild. Now, where is that Sigdan…?"