‘What was lost shall once again rise,’that is what the Elders tell me, but I know little of their efforts to reclaim our ancient ruins from both foes and nature itself. I do not see how we can even begin to combat the threats we face. Ever does a dark smoke rise to the north, beyond the Ram Duath, and the scouts tell me the passes of Angmar send chills down their backs.
And now orcs prowl the woods near our camp. Mother says we will soon have to break camp and head for Esteldin. That’s where Father was taking us before he died. I hope there will be other children there; I've never seen another child before. Mother says it is because now, with the war, all our people are stretched so thin protecting Arnor, that it is hard to find the time to raise a child; so most folk don't bother. I think it’s because they're afraid any child raised in these times will die far before their time.
I don't know why mother calls these lands Arnor. Father was supposed to teach me the history of our people, but now that he's dead I don't know if I shall ever learn.
We're on the move again and my feet are starting to hurt, but Mother says we must push on or risk facing the Orcs again. I hate orcs; I wish they'd just go away...
We've been going for four days now and some of the women are starting to fall behind, like me. Two of the Elders got into a fight about where we were resting. I think one of them wanted to leave us here, but Mother told me that was absurd, so I guess I'm wrong...
They're right behind us now; I can smell them. The Elders are walking with their weapons drawn. We all saw the fire in the distance last night and foul voices were on the winds. The others say we can't risk a fire ourselves, but Mother is starting to get sick. She is the first person I've ever seen sick; she says it is rare among our people. I hope the orcs will go away soon so we can have a fire again and she can start getting better.
Wargs! I saw one in the bushes. It was great and big, much bigger than a wolf. It looked right at me, and I at it for several moments before one of the Elders slew it with his bow, but not before it let out that awful howl.
The Elders have started running now. They're trying to get us to go faster but most of us can't, especially Mother. She's looking worse every day... I can hear them chanting. They must have heard the howling of that warg because they caught up to us really fast. A few of the Elders stopped running with us and stayed behind. I think they're going to die like Father did...
We can't go any further. We've come to the foot of some mountains, and we just can't move anymore. The rest of the men pushed us towards the back of a cave and moved to the entrance. I hope they can keep the orcs out, but I think there are too many.
I see them now: orcs. They're all black and nasty, like Mother said. She says the men will hold them off, but I don't think they can. I wish I could help them, but I need to keep Mother safe; she's too sick to fight. The men are yelling battle cries as they fight off the orcs. Many orcs died, but it seems their numbers are limitless.
Some of the orcs have broke into the cave. There was a large one looking at me. I threw a rock at him and he snarled as he began coming towards my Mother and I, saying evil words that I could not understand... I covered my eyes and held Mother tight; I did not die, or at least I didn't feel what I expected death to be. I opened my eyes and saw that the orc was dead, an arrow through his neck...
An old bearded man was standing over the corpse carrying a great bow. Aside him stood another tall man garbed in brown. He wore his hood tightly over his face as if to hide something. They both offered me grim smiles and proceeded to move about the women and check them over for injuries. At this time three more men entered the cave. One was garbed in a green robe loosely hung about him; he had a shifting gaze. He began searching among the fallen men looking for something. The next was a tall man. He had a mask over his face, but after planting his spear into a struggling orc, he removed the mask and offered me a grim smile. Like the first two men, he then proceeded to check over the women.
Next, I saw a man, not as tall as the masked one, but a few inches shorter. He spoke briefly with one of the elder men from my group before directing him to the cave exit. Afterwards, he caught my gaze and approached me at a slow pace. He offered a kind smile to my mother and directed a shorter, green-eyed woman to see her taken care of. He kneeled before me and spoke softly, ‘What is you name, my child?’
‘Tarchies son of Tarentor and Melinum,’ I replied.
He then stroked his beard for a few moments before speaking once more, ‘Well met then, Tarchies. Tell me, would you like to come with us to Esteldin? There are other children there your age, and I believe you and your mother will be happy to call the refuge home.’
I thought for a moment before answering, ‘I will not go unless you promise me you will get my mother and me there safe. Otherwise, I'm afraid we will have to go on our own.’
The man raised a brow for a moment, and I grew worried, but after a few tense moments he broke into a light chuckle, ‘Very well, Tarchies, you have my word that I shall bring both you and your mother there safely.’
I smiled for the first time in a long time and thanked him heartily. ‘Who are you men?’ I asked.
He did not hesitate in his reply. ‘We are Rangers, Dunedain of the North. The same as you and your people. I am Orendir and this is my band of Dunedain warriors - Radestel Company. We bound ourselves together many seasons ago so that we might better protect these ancient lands from both Angmar and Mordor, and preserve the bloodline of the Dunedain, so it might thrive into the Fourth Age and survive this war. Does that answer your question, young man?’ he asked.
I replied after some time in thought. ‘Indeed it does,’ I said. He smiled once more,
‘Good. Now that we have met one another, perhaps we should get you to Esteldin, eh?’ And with that we journeyed to the hidden refuge...