Ages Past - A Story From Loraq's History

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Imara:
*One evening about a small campfire in the Misty Mountains over a mug of warmed cider, Loraq tells a tale of his past to those kinsmen who are gathered.*

I remember numbness and the chill of the snows as they melted around my body.  The reaches of the Misty Mountains outside Lothlórien were always harsh, particularly the winter seasons.  We'd lived there for years, decades perhaps, thriving in the hardship of the land and eking out a meager life of pleasant tranquility.  Those days were a sort of bliss that I doubt I shall ever know again.

I remember the tickling of fresh snowflakes upon my lashes and the kiss of the winter breeze on my face.  We'd gone to live in the mountains to be apart from the world, those of both man and elf.  After long years working to the aid of the men of Gondor, defending their lands from the tides of the Orcs and men of Mordor, I wanted no more than a time of peace to enjoy the days with my family.  Too long had I lived in the shadows, too long had my life been defined by a few feet of steel.

I remember the feeling of wetness upon my cheeks, blood perhaps, or tears, who can be certain after so much time has passed. I feared in those early days that I might be losing something of myself, some integral part of the creature I once was before the struggles in Gondor.  Those days were ugly times, butchery even of orcs can wear on the soul after a while and too many of my long days had been spent working the blade rather than the forges.

I remember the crackling of fire far below me, the creaking and sputtering of wood as our small home was consumed by flames of my enemy's craft.  Often I'd told her we should leave, there was word that the forces of the witch king were stirring in distant Angmar.  She loved our home though, I realize that now as I think back, at the time I'd thought her unwillingness to leave merely a fear of the dark times of battles past.
 
I remember the terrible smell of searing flesh and the stinging of smoke in my eyes.  Other than these few memories, the day my family died is a blur.  The orcs had come upon our home while I was hunting, I've never been too amazing with a bow and thus it was long before I returned.  I found them there, over her corpse among the flames, laughing I think... though now I realize that may have been only some maddened figment of my imagination.
 
I remember the snapping of bone beneath a blade, the terrible moment of resistance before flesh gave way to the plunging of a sword, the screams and death rattles of slain foes.  The orcs died around me, to this day I cannot say how many, only that they died and that I was sorely wounded.  I sat there on the cliffs above my burning home, nestled in the snow, unmoving for longer than I can make sense of now.
 
Though its been explained to me that I arrived on the edges of Lothlórien, I've no recollection of how I arrived there, it is said that my wounds were dire and that I was bed ridden for near a season teetering on death's door.  Who can say what gave me the will to live, perhaps it was the same loathing that now burns in my breast for all the witch king's minions, perhaps it was the want to see my love avenged, or perhaps my body merely maintained the will to push on longer than did the rest of me.
 
One way or another, from that day on my war with the forces of Angmar and Mordor has been a personal one, in time perhaps the shadow will see me consumed in my own loathing for them but until then I can only wish that my blades stay perpetually wet with orcish blood.

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