Shiona Anklebiter, Fighter

Shiona wasn't always an anklebiter, though it was probably in her blood and she never knew it.

She'd lived with Granny Took just outside the Old Forest for a long time. Granny Took had been something of an oddity herself, living alone on the edge of the Forest, cultivating Old Toby pipeweed and selling it in Bree and other far off places. So Shiona was already well travelled when she moved to Michel Delving, and well used to the company of Dwarves, Humans and Elves.

Maybe that's why she could never settle and found herself now, years later, crouching on top of the snow-clad hills overlooking the Ettenmoors, keeping a wary look out for Orcs while she worked to heal an unfortunate (and pretty stupid) young dwarf who obviously thought he could take on a whole warg-pack single handed.

So much had happened since she left the Shire. So many adventures, battles won and lost, new friends made and old friends gone, some forever. This is the story of Shiona's journey through Middle Earth.

Just a scrapbook of hastily thrown together memories in no particular order, jumbled together and bulging at the seams - much like one of her kit-bags really.......

6 Feb 2010

3. Spiders and swords, part two

The blade of Shiona’s new sword glinted in the sunlight. “I must admit, it is very handsome” she said, turning it around in her hand and admiring the engraved hilt. “Shame they don’t make hobbit sized ones. This is making a deeper groove in the path than my club did!”
“Oh, stop grizzling and get a shift on” said Aldefrith. “I want to make Agamaur by nightfall and we’ve got to collect your moss from the Bog Lurker nests as we pass through Haragmar.” He stopped briefly and studied the short Halfling with the long sword. “It’s not going to be easy – you do know what Bog Lurkers are, don’t you?” he asked.
Shiona shrugged “Some sort of bird?”
Aldefrith turned slowly and headed off down the path. “Some sort of bird!” he muttered, shaking his head in disbelief. “Nope, they’re not birds” he called back “They’re insects, and  big ones at that”.
“Well, anything’s better than those spiders” said Shiona.
Aldefrith seriously considered putting the Halfling completely in the picture then grinned to himself and walked on in silence.

As they reached the brow of the last hill, they could see the boggy marshland of Haragmar stretching before them. Here and there, small pools and ponds glistened red in the sunlight.
“What’s making the water that colour?” Shiona asked.
“No idea” shrugged Aldefrith, “but it’s known as the circle of blood and that’s where we’ll find your moss. Beyond that is the red pass and beyond that, Agamaur.“
Aldefrith frowned slightly “Nasty place, Agamaur. Come on, I think I know where this moss is”……

……The sun was sinking behind the hills around the marshes as Shiona pushed the last lump of moss into her bulging bag. All afternoon she hadn’t heard a single bird call, nor yet seen any sign of the inhabitants of the huge nests she’d been crawling around. An early evening mist was beginning to rise from the boggy waters, reflecting red in the setting sunlight and adding to a growing feeling of unease that she couldn’t quite explain.
“Shiona! Here! Quick!”
Aldefrith’s urgent call pierced the gloom from somewhere off to her left. Something didn’t sound right. Grabbing her sword she scrambled down towards the source of the cries.

The sight that greeted her stopped her in her tracks for just a second. Gathering all the wit & courage she could muster, she hurtled down towards Aldefrith. A huge bug like creature on thin legs as tall as trees was bearing down on him, trampling him underfoot while a living root writhed and snapped, lashing at him repeatedly and binding itself around him.
“Help me Shiona” he called. “I can’t hit it – the root’s trapped my arms, can’t breathe!” Desperately recalling all she’d been taught, Shiona pointed her sword at the thing and screamed an incantation. The thing recoiled briefly, stunned, as she raced across to the root, slicing though it where it emerged from the earth. Aldefrith, still held tight in its’ grip, fell to the ground and lay still.

As Shiona began frantically cutting at the dead root a sharp blow sent her reeling backwards, tumbling down the hill as spasms of pain rippled through her body. Hauling herself groggily to her feet, she was vaguely aware of the creature, rising high above her. With her last reserves of strength, she murmered another incantation and then slipped into darkness……..

………“You Ok love?” A concerned voice forced it’s way into Shiona’s consciousness.

“I really thought you were a goner there for a minute. You got the Bog Lurker, though, look!  Repulsive things they are, can’t stand ‘em!”.
Shiona desperately tried to focus on the voice, gradually making out the shape of a dark haired young human female standing by the carcass of the beast that had attacked herself and Aldefrith. “…Aldefrith, where is he?” she asked urgently.
“Whoah, careful now” the girl replied. “There’s no-one else here, I only saw you”.

Shiona started to scramble back up the hill. “I left him up there”, she panted. “He’s up there, the root attacked him, I couldn’t free him. We need to cut him free…”
The girl pulled her back. “Stay here and get your breath back. I’ll go and look”. She disappeared into the gloom and returned minutes later. “Nope, nothing” she said. “Just pieces of root”.
Shiona slumped dejectedly back on the ground. “It’s all my fault” she cried. “I should have saved him. I could have healed him but I couldn’t think straight! Where is he? I don’t understand why he’s not there”.

“Look”, said the girl gently. “Animals could have taken his body – or maybe others found him alive and took him to safety. I’m heading into Agamaur. Come with me & we can ask there”.
“No”, said Shiona. “I’m going back to Ost Guruth – we left there this morning together. There might be news of him there. Would you do something for me though? Would you ask in Agamaur when you get there and let me know if you hear anything?”
“Sure thing”, laughed the girl, “though I’ll need to know who you are! My name’s Clianor”
“Shiona” said Shiona, rising unsteadily to her feet. “Ouch!” she grimaced as she felt a myriad of cuts and grazes opening themselves up again. Clianor grinned. “That’s gonna sting in the morning!” she said. “Take care now”
Shiona watched as the girl turned and headed towards the source of the ominous red glow in the sky. She scanned the marshes one last time then turned and with a heavy heart headed back towards Ost Guruth.

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