TI Vol 16 Chapter 17-1

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The river became narrower and narrower as they sailed down. The group had sailed from the tributary into the main river. Most of the movie characters were still thinking of Galadriel. There was no blaming them as the Lady of xx was a powerful psyche force user. Even the players got affected when they weren’t being cautious. The good thing was they had their own psyche force users to protect them. The movie characters on the other hand were exposed to Galadriel’s influence.

They sailed for a few more hours on the river and had a quick meal on the boat. The shores were still green. Further ahead were white snowy mountains. The water was clear and green like jade. It reflected trees on the shore. The scenery was perhaps not that of the heavens but it was a rare sight compared to Earth. Many of the players lost themselves in the scenery.

One person looking at the strange trees on the shore suddenly yelled. “Hey, look over at the shore. I seemed to have seem a group of people ran by.”

The rest of the group immediately turned their heads. The trees were densely populated. They couldn’t make out anything behind those trees. Aragorn rowed the boat and said. “Don’t make such a big fuss. They are the Uruk-hai. They are chasing us from the shore. That’s why we must arrive at the waterfall before they caught up. We will be safer once we reach there.”

And so, the group could see shadows of the Uruks on the rest of the way. The boats made several turns down the river. The Uruks would need some time to cross the river. Evening, the group camped on the a place without trees on the shore.

“We will take turns staying on guard. Three people a team, an hour each team. The Hobbits don’t have to. We will rest for five hours then head out at dawn. While on the boats, we can take turns rowing and resting. We will have a bigger chance of getting away from the Uruks.” Aragorn pushed the campfire with a stick and said.

The players had no objection and the movie characters too. Something happened during their rest. Boromir suggested the Fellowship to head to Minas Tirith, a city in Gondor, and a post defending against the forces of Mordor. From there, they would regroup then strike out for Mordor.

Aragorn disagreed with Boromir. The two argued over this topic nonstop. It came to a point where Aragorn expressed distrust in Boromir.

That was merely an interlude. The rest of the night was peaceful. The group headed out on their boats as the sun came up the horizon the next day. They sailed down the river again. Several days went by in the same manner. The trees on the shores had become less and instead, stone structures took their place. The terrain turned from plains to valleys.

An hour later, Aragorn suddenly yelled. “Look, the Argonath! Long have I desired to look upon the kings of old. My kin.”

Two majestic statues appeared at the end of the valley. It was a miraculous sight for two statues hundreds of meters tall to exist in this world. The statues were carved on the sides of Anduin. Any man would feel minute standing in front of them.

“They are really… splendid!” Zheng loudly exclaimed. The rest of the group also exclaimed.

Imagine that when the boats sailed past the two statues and they were less than the height of the statues’ toes. The size of the sculptures could only be described as a miracle. Everyone of them held their breath and gazed upward as they moved past. Long after they had sailed past, the Fellowship still turned their head around. This magnificence could only be experienced and not told.

Aragorn said. “Such an honored, noble and brave person, my kin, surrendered to the temptation of the One Ring…”

The boats sailed past the valley and witnessed the grand sculptures of man. Then they reached a roaring waterfall.

The group disembarked on the shore. They set up a camp instead of marching ahead.

We cross the lake at nightfall. Hide the boats and continue on foot. We approach Mordor from the north.” Aragorn said as he sorted the gifts from the elves and their food.

Gimli said. “Oh, yes?! It’s just a simple matter of finding our way through Emyn Muil? An impassable labyrinth of razor sharp rocks! And after that, it gets even better! Festering, stinking marshlands, far as the eye can see!”

Aragorn looked at Gimli and nodded. “That is our road. I suggest you take some rest and recover your strength, Master Dwarf.”

Legolas suddenly came near them and said. “We should leave now.”

Aragorn replied. “No. Orcs patrol the eastern shore. We must wait for cover of darkness.”

Legolas said. “”It is not the eastern shore that worries me. A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind. Something draws near… I can feel it.”

Before Legolas finished his sentence, Merry said. “Where’s Frodo? Frodo is gone!”

Sam was half dozing on the ground. He instantly jumped up and looked around anxiously. Aragorn and Legolas headed into the forest near the shore.

The players knew that in the original plot, Boromir fell to the temptation of the One Ring at this point. He wanted to seize the ring from Frodo. However, the Uruks would ambush them. Boromir died saving the Hobbits and the rest of the Fellowship.

Zheng met eyes with the players. They nodded to each other. There weren’t anything else to prepare for. The three psyche force users had scanned the Uruk’s number and location and sent the images to everyone’s mind. Zheng drew out Tiger’s Soul. He flipped himself onto the Nightmare. The others also readied their weapons or stood up.

Zheng said. “Heng and Xuan stay here to protect the psyche force users. Team Northern Ice Land and team Africa each leave one person behind… The rest of us get ready to fight!”

Aragorn had found Frodo by now. Frodo held out the ring on his palm to Aragorn. Aragorn overcame the temptation and didn’t take it from him. Frodo said he would go to Mount Doom by himself and destroy it.

“Ah, how great… kindness and courage, innocence and dream. Reality is cruel but without these noble feelings, it would feel lacking when you crush it. That’s why things of beauty are the best when it comes to destruction.” A voice interrupted Aragorn and Frodo.

Aragorn turned around abruptly as he drew his sword. He had activated his battle Qi because that voice gave him the illusion that a blade was placed right on the skin of his back. It gave him goosebumps.

A handsome man stood on top of a tall pillar behind them. He looked at them with a kind smile. There was no trace of threat from that smile. Yet, his eyes were cold as ice.

The pillar was eight meters tall. There were no other structures around. How did he get up there without making any noise? Aragorn didn’t sense anything happened. This realization sent a chill down his spine. If this man wanted to assassinate him, he would be dead without a chance to resist.

“Oh, they have come. Well then. Keep this courage of fighting for your friends. We will meet again.” He smiled. His figure moved ever so slightly then he disappeared. It was as though he was never there.

Zheng was running over on his Nightmare.


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