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Tauriel's Story Chapter 10 - Krasnagora

Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Apr 13 2016, 10:09pm

Post #1 of 8 (1541 views)
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Tauriel's Story Chapter 10 - Krasnagora Can't Post

This chapter is laying the groundwork for the next phase of the story. All previous chapters can be found on my blog, https://hobbitized.wordpress.com/fan-fiction-the-hobbit/tauriels-story/. Feedback is greatly appreciated!

Krasnagora

Tauriel and her companions rode for the rest of the day and into the night, stopping only long enough to let the horses rest. Although tired, none were sleepy. The were-wolves had them unnerved, which kept them alert. Grigore in particular wanted to keep moving. He was anxious to find out what happened to his Elf companions, as well as Mattias. He constantly scanned the river banks, looking for any sign of their fate.

Shortly after dawn they rode past an area where the river was divided by a huge rock formation. Made of granite and of a triangular shape, the rock stood ten feet above the river. The water foamed and swirled as it flowed around the rock. “It is as if this rock was put here to divert the water,” Tauriel marveled.

“Some say that,” Grigore mused darkly. “Some say the Avari did this, to bring water south to Cuivienen. Others say Morgoth planted the stone to send water to the Easterlings who followed him.”

“And what do you think?”

“I think it was fortunate for the people of Taras,” he replied. “I followed this stream 200 years ago, and it led me to Taras. So, I suppose it was fortunate for me as well.”

Tauriel’s eyes followed the water rushing south. “Do you ever think of returning?”

Grigore took a deep breath, his eyes also turned south. “I think of it often, especially now.” He eyed the banks closely. “I see no sign of wreckage – they must have passed through.” He dismounted and led his horse to the water’s edge. “We can stop here for breakfast. I see plenty of fish.”

Tauriel and Alatar got a fire started, while Grigore and Zeka cast a net. The horses grazed peacefully while the fish cooked over the flame. Tauriel had gotten over her aversion to eating meat; even so she still preferred the honeycakes. She sat on the ground, gazing east at the Orocarni mountains in the distance. “What is the city like?”

Grigore sat next to her and pointed at two mountains. “The river comes down off the peak on the left. Krasnagora starts at the base of that mountain, and runs between that one and the one to the right. That’s the biggest gap between the mountains, and the ground is most fertile there. Now, you can’t see it just yet, but behind that gap is another, smaller mountain, which is where most of the people live. The Ironfists carved terraced streets up onto that mountain, and into the sides of the other two. The city is nearly vertical; quite an amazing sight. The houses are built from stone quarried from the mountains – they are all red, of course.”

“How many live there?”

Grigore shook his head. “It has been several years since I was last there. At that time there were several hundred people, but I’m sure the population has grown considerably since then. The mountains offer some protection from the Variags. There are watch towers, and a regular militia stands ready – both men and dwarves.”

Tauriel smiled, but it was a sad smile. “It appears they have good relations with the Dwarves. It was not so back in Mirkwood. I don’t know if things will improve much before I return. There are still many hard feelings between King Thranduil and King Dain of Erebor.” She thought of Kili, lamenting, “If only.” She looked up at her companions, realizing they were watching her. They were unwilling to pry, but all three knew there was more to her story than she’d ever told. Perhaps now would be a good time to explain.

“There was a young dwarf – Kili, nephew of Thorin Oakenshield. I don’t know how much of this you’ve heard….” She looked at her companions, but they said nothing. “Bard told me that when Thorin and his Company came to Laketown, he promised to share the gold with the town in exchange for aid, but after the Dragon was killed he broke his word. A member of the Company later told Bard that Kili argued with his uncle. He wanted to help the survivors.” She smiled warmly, her eyes revealing her feelings. “He was – not what I was told Dwarves were like. He wasn’t greedy or secretive. But in the end he was loyal to his uncle and King.” Her mood shifted, instantly becoming somber. “I tried to save him, but I failed. He was killed right in front of me.”

The only sound that could be heard was the swirling of the river and the crackling of the fire. Even the birds and insects seemed to be quietly listening. Alatar nodded in sympathy, while her Elven companions were almost confounded by her confession. Finally Zeka broke the silence. “Did you love him?”

Tauriel blinked and stammered, “I – am not sure what I felt. I cared what happened to him, I grieved when he died.” She shook her head. “I even defied my King in order to follow him into battle, and for that I was banished.”

Grigore looked up sharply. “Banished? For helping a Dwarf?”

“There was more to it than that. King Thranduil believed this was not our concern, but I persuaded his son, Legolas, to join me.”

Zeka gasped. “He wasn’t killed, was he?”

“No,” Tauriel replied guiltily, “but the battle changed him. He ended up leaving. Perhaps I should have gone with him, but ….” She couldn’t explain why she didn’t follow Legolas, but the answer was clear.

They continued on their journey, and on the fourth day reached a place where the river was shallow. “We can cross here,” Grigore said as he coaxed his horse into the water. The days were getting warmer – soon it would be summer, but the water was still cold. It rose high on the horses’ legs. The mountains were much closer; Tauriel could see parts of the city, cut into the mountain just as Grigore described. More surprising were the mountain goats, climbing nimbly up the near-vertical mountain slopes. “They are amazing,” she exclaimed!

“Yes,” Alatar agreed, “they are beautiful creatures. Raised by the Stiffbeards, you know.”

“What are they like,” Tauriel asked, “the Orocarni Dwarves, I mean?”

“Oh, well the Ironfists are the strongest Dwarves you’ll ever meet. They reportedly can break rock with their bare hands, hence the name.” Alatar began to chuckle. “And the Stiffbeards are, ah, unusual – but also gifted craftsmen, very kind, and very loyal to their kin.”

“I can’t help but think about the Blacklocks imprisoned in Mordor.” Tauriel glanced at Alatar. “Can anything be done for them?”

The wizard sighed. “I do not know what it would take to free them. But I will tell you this: The Blacklocks will never forgive this injury. They will take their revenge when they are able – and it will be brutal.”

“Are you planning a rescue?” Grigure came alongside Tauriel. “Because if you did, they would name you ‘Khuzd-umral,’ Dwarf-friend for all time. In fact, from what you’ve told me you should already be named Khuzd-umral.”

“That may yet happen,” Alatar declared. “We may need to help the Stonefoot Dwarves. Preventing their capture is most important.”

The next day they reached the base of the mountains. The field Grigore described stretched to the east and was divided by a road down the center; the two halves were further divided between wheat crops and grazing pastures for horses and cattle. A wall curved around the fields, starting and ending with a watchtower. A large gate stood at the east end of the field, while the north and south walls each had a smaller gate. Streets and buildings could be seen above the walls, carved into the mountain just as Grigore described. They moved slowly, taking in the sight of Krasnagora, when they heard a familiar voice. “Alatar! Grigore!” They looked to their right just as Mattias came running down a stairway. He disappeared behind the wall, but a moment later appeared at the southern gate. They heard him speaking to the guards as they approached the gate. “They are the ones I spoke of – they bring important news!” The gate swung open, allowing them inside.

“Mattias,” Grigore called out, “it is good to see you alive. When my companions didn’t return I feared the worst!”

“They chose to return to Cuivienen.” Mattias was wearing a uniform just like the other guards, made from red fabric covered in fine maille. His chest and arms were protected by heavy leather, embossed with a symbol for the city. He still had the boot axes, but also a longbow. “I joined the tower guard and have been watching for you. The Elves asked me to give you their apologies, but they were concerned for their kin.”

“There is no need to apologize for them.” Grigore looked visibly relieved. “I am glad to know they arrived, and completely understand. Still, I am grateful you have told me.”

The horses were left outside to graze and drink from a pool of water in the field. “You must be tired, and hungry.” Mattias gestured for them to follow him. They climbed steep stairs and walked past buildings of a simple, yet elegant design. Not ornate like Elven homes, yet Tauriel felt there was still something pleasing in the straight lines of the structures. They came to an abode where a half-circle topped the doorway. An elderly woman was tending a fire outside. “Mother, these are the friends I spoke of. They just arrived – can we feed them?”

“Of course.” The old woman stood and ushered them inside, bidding them to sit at her table. She brought out apples, cheese, and a pitcher of cold water. “We will have more for supper. Now I must get to the market, if I hurry I should be able to get a nice bit of mutton,” she explained.

“Please,” Tauriel begged, do not trouble yourself for us.”

“It is no trouble,” she replied before leaving.

“Do not worry,” Mattias added, “it is the custom of my people to provide for guests. Hospitality is very important to us.”

“And we thank you for welcoming us into your home.” Grigore stood and saluted his host. “So,” he asked as he sat down, “your trip was uneventful?”

“Indeed.” Mattias handed a tinderbox to Alatar before sitting down. “We saw no one along the river. I am grateful for our Elven companions. They stood watch at night, so we could sleep. Will you be joining them in Cuivienen?”

“No, I must return to Taras as soon as possible. Pallando returned five days ago with disturbing news.” Grigore told Mattias about the were-wolves, Khamul, and the disappearance of the Stonefoot Dwarves.

Mattias listened intently, shuddering occasionally at the barbarity of Khamul. “All descendants? What of Andriev?”

“Pallando is watching over Taras.” Alatar had been smoking his pipe during the talk, but decided to join in. “The village is in good hands.”

“I asked Minya and the other Elves to do the same,” Grigore added. “But this is why I can’t stay long.” His face was etched with worry. “We need to speak with the Dwarves, can you arrange it?”

“I am not sure,” Mattias admitted. “A few weeks ago the Dwarves closed the gates to Kamen-Zal, and have not left their caverns since. No one knows why – at least no one knew at the time.”

“What of the goats, then?” Tauriel looked at Mattias. “Do they not come out to attend them?”

“I suppose they would have to. And I’ve heard there are secret doors in the high peaks.”

“With Dwarves you can be sure of it,” Alatar chuckled.

“I know of one Dwarf,” Mattias continued, “he brings cheese and copper items into the city. Gave me these boot axes, too.” He pulled one from his boot and smiled proudly as he handed it to Tauriel. “We are on good terms.”

“Do you think he’d be up there with the goats?”

“It’s possible,” Mattias began, but was interrupted by his mother. She was outside, shouting at someone. He hurried outside, followed by the others.

“Does this bird belong to your friends?” She was waiving at the eagle-owl, who was perched above her terraced garden.

“Yes he does, mother.” Mattias turned to Grigore and whispered, “Say nothing to her of this threat.”

“My apologies if he startled you,” Alatar said as he approached the bird. “It seems he found some mice in your vegetables – I hope they weren’t pets.”

“Pets? No,” she exclaimed, “if he wants the mice he can have them. But I need some potatoes and leeks.”

“Then let me help you,” Alatar offered, “and don’t fear the owl. He will not harm you, or your vegetables.”

“You are making stew,” Mattias guessed. “That will take a few hours. I would like to show my friends around the city.”

“Yes, that is fine,” she said as she took the vegetables from Alatar. “Dinner will be ready when you return.”

Mattias gestured towards the smaller mountain. “Then let us be on our way.”

Proud member of the BOFA Denial Association


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 14 2016, 12:20am

Post #2 of 8 (1518 views)
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Developments [In reply to] Can't Post

I had no idea originally that your story would be so involved. I was sure that you were shooting for something like six chapters or so. Events are moving in fascinating directions.

I still find it strange to hear Slavic-sounding names for your Avari Elves. On the other hand, such names might work well for Rhûnnic (Rhûnic?) Dwarves.

"Things need not to have happened to be true.
Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure
when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."


- Dream of the Endless


Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Apr 14 2016, 3:17am

Post #3 of 8 (1511 views)
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I had no idea either [In reply to] Can't Post

The other fanfics were about 8 chapters; but this one still has a few more to go! I confess, I'm "road-testing" some ideas in this story. I've been reading about Celts, and apparently they were spread out all over Europe, even into modern day Hungary and around the Black Sea. Some of that is working its way into this story, as far as the names go. I know I was originally thinking "Eastern" as in "Eastern Europe." Anyway, hope you like it!

Proud member of the BOFA Denial Association


ThorinsNemesis
Lorien


Apr 15 2016, 8:57am

Post #4 of 8 (1495 views)
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Your depiction of the city of Krasnagora is very interesting, [In reply to] Can't Post

As if it was made by both Dwarves and Elves; by the way, I always thought that, since the Blacklock Dwarves were closest to Mordor, maybe some of them would choose to ally with Sauron, thus becoming the Wicked Dwarves (I think that was mentioned somewhere). However, the idea that most of them were captured and imprisoned in Mordor after Sauron's return definitely sounds plausible as well Smile.
By the way, since Tauriel is at the Orocarni now, any chance she might see Cuivienen? Or, at least the leftover forests from it? Wink



Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 15 2016, 2:00pm

Post #5 of 8 (1485 views)
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The Inner Seas [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the idea that the both the Sea of Rhûn and the Sea of Nurnen are remnants of the ancient inner sea of Helcar, as illustrated in Karen Wynn Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle-earth. I just don't see a reason why we shouldn't speculate about the possible existence of another such leftover, perhaps near the southern end of the Orocarni. Such a body, fed by the waters of the Red Mountains, might even still mark the site of Cuiviénen where the Elves first awoke.

"Things need not to have happened to be true.
Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure
when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."


- Dream of the Endless


(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 15 2016, 2:01pm)


Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Apr 15 2016, 5:33pm

Post #6 of 8 (1474 views)
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Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

It just seems to me that, based on Dain's response to Sauron, that they would have to be coerced (though I suppose even the Dwarven race would have its sellouts). The next chapter will get into that a bit more. As for Tauriel making it to Cuivienen, well that's not really part of the plan, but Grigore may have to make a painful decision in that regard. I suppose Elves could have helped build Krasnagora, they have better relations with Dwarves in my story at least. I based the city on Petra in Jordan, with a little of the cliff-dwellings of Mesa Verde as well. They are not as ornate (especially the cliff-dwellings) but they are still impressive - I wish I had a picture to show you, fortunately there's Google. My hubby & I are talking about going to Mesa Verde next year. I love the idea of a vertical city, very different! Hopefully the next chapter won't take as long to write, hopefully.

Proud member of the BOFA Denial Association


Elarie
Grey Havens

Apr 18 2016, 6:41pm

Post #7 of 8 (1444 views)
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You've got me hooked [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm late to the party but I've just read your whole story so far and I'm completely enthralled. Anxiously awaiting chapter 11 and looking forward to seeing the city and (hopefully) meeting a dwarf or two. Also, I loved your descriptions: the tree bridge was beautiful and those were-wolves were truly scary and creepy, and I'm so glad you brought the blue wizards into the story, what a great idea. Can't wait for more. Smile

__________________

Gold is the strife of kinsmen,
and fire of the flood-tide,
and the path of the serpent.



Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Apr 19 2016, 1:47am

Post #8 of 8 (1435 views)
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Thanks so much! [In reply to] Can't Post

That means alot to me! I'm working on the next chapter & will have a few more to write after that, and I'll post them here and on my blog. Thanks again!

Proud member of the BOFA Denial Association

 
 

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