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  1. #1

    Total Immersion - The Stroke of Midnight



    As Frecwain slowly makes his way home (with all hope, I think), I want to return for a time back to my most favorite dwarf and Minstrel, Brimbur. Since his long road to Esteldin and his return home to Thorin's Hall, I have done very little with this toon. In fact, he has not even leveled since his grand adventure. I thought about bringing him back several times, but chance and time would not allow it.

    Well, now is a perfect time as any.

    TOTAL IMMERSION RULES

    1. Travel: I will only travel on foot or by regular mounts and absolutely no swift travel horses or map recall use. This can be waived when conducting toon upkeep, such as visiting a settlement to level. Except when in a quest, lair, dungeon, combat, etc, I will walk everywhere - I will allow myself to run for short periods of time, however, such as trying to run away from an enemy.

    2. Chat / Speech: I will always stay in rp character at all times during Chat. I will chat in OOC when it is necessary however, since there are times I might want to talk to someone out of game.

    3. Food and Rest: I will follow the LOTRO day/night cycle closely and force myself to rest at a safe location such as an inn or in a town if such an inn is not available. The day/night cycles are:

    Dawn
    Morning
    Noon
    Afternoon
    Dusk
    Gloaming
    Evening
    Midnight
    Late Watches
    Foredawn

    I must rest during the night cycles of Evening, Midnight, Late Watches and Foredawn each day (or at least camp/rest for four cycles each day/evening). I can hang around an inn, for example, and rp a bit with other players, but no going out into town to shop or craft, etc. This is to simulate my character actually resting. During the rest time I must eat a meal of some kind - Brimbur is not unfond of good food and drink, and so he will try to enjoy a morning breakfast and dinner each day.

    If I am away from a town or settlement, things will become more tricky. I will attempt to find a safe spot to camp for the evening - this means halting my journey and actually sit my toon down for rest.

    4. Promoting Realism: This rule is a catch-all for such things as no jumping off high cliffs, swimming with armour on, jumping around while I am moving, jumping every fence I come across, etc.

    5. Level Restrictions: For reasons that will be explained later, my toon, Brimbur, will be equipped with an XP Disabler - he can only gain xp during quests that will be followed for the story. He cannot gain xp by crafting at any time, unless it is a crafting quest. I will also restrict my defeating of mobs to a minimum - so no going after every mob I see. I will only target mobs that are in my path or ambush me. Additionally, Brimbur cannot advance past the level of 14th during his adventure.

    6. Death and Defeat: Since I love a challenge, I will add in a harsh rule for myself. Brimbur cannot be defeated by any means during the story - should this occur, he will be considered truly dead. To track this, I will periodically post screenshots of the Survival titles as I receive them, beginning with "The Wary", which you gain when reaching level 5 without being defeated in battle. This is followed by the Undefeated (level 10th), the Indomitable (level 14th), the Unscathed (level 17th) and finally with the Undying (level 20th).

    7. Arms and Armour: I will begin Brimbur equipped with gear gained during the Intro portion of the game. After that, he may only equip or use equipment gained via mob drops or gained by the completion of quests. So, he may not craft gear for himself, or purchase gear from a vendor or the Auction House.

    8. My Tale: As always, I will keep a log here on this thread of my travels. I will not partake in any quest that is not detailed in the general story line. This will probably limit my level advancement considerably. For sake of the adventure, I will be using the Shire calendar during the story:


  2. #2

  3. #3

    Chapter One: A New Beginning – 14 Forelithe, 3018 TA

    The return of Brimbur to Thorin’s Hall was not met with the exact fervor and excitement as the young dwarf had expected, or hoped for. It did not even cause a disturbance in the halls. In fact, much to the dwarf’s surprise, no one seemed to have noticed he had left (except perhaps Rúnulf, the proprietor of the keep tavern, who was glad to have a respite from the young dwarf’s endless dribbling and tales, even for a little while). The guards at the hall gates only bowed low (out of respectful regard to who they assumed was a new arrival in the hall and not of recognition) when he made his way up the long path to the halls, and paid him no more heed. Sadly, it seemed to poor Brimbur that most had forgotten entirely about him.

    Even his chamber within the halls seemed not to have missed him in the slightest when he stepped into it after so long. Perhaps it had a few more cobwebs and dust clinging to the bed, wardrobe and table, but it was precisely as he had left it two or more months ago.

    It had been the 12th of Rethe when he had so grandly disappeared from the halls only to reappear nearly two months later, out of the blue as if were. Of course, Brimbur was quite excited to find listeners to his latest adventures on the road to Esteldín the very first morning after his return. And what fines tales of his adventures did he have to tell! There was the terrible hunt for the dreaded Wolf of Waymeet, and of course the Battle of Narrowcleeve. He shook with excitement and hardly slept that first night, so eager he was to tell those tales.

    However, much to his surprise, he found that very few of his kinsmen in the halls had the patience or time to hear of tales concerning brigands in Shire, of some mad boar in the Chetwood, or of the terrible Orcs of Trestlebridge, which even now remained under siege by their foul ilk.

    Most of his fellow dwarves listened politely (more from respect or humour than of genuine interest) to his tales; yet most often than not, the talk soon turned to more uncomfortable things. Of his kinsmen, Brimbur found those of the beardlings, to whom he had fostered a comfortable friendship with, the only willing audience to his stories of adventure.

    The general talk within the halls bore many strange rumours and tales, of queer happenings in the world outside of Ered Luin. Each night as he sat in the drinking hall, Brimbur met many strange folk, some dwarves but many others not, from distant lands that now took to the roads. Many were troubled and some spoke only in whispers of strife and worse, but all was ominous and disquieting.

    Much, it seems, had changed since he last left his cherished halls and there were many things that was troubling. Goblins were said to have crept back in the Blue Mountains, and wolves now prowled the borders of the Shire. Yet none of this he saw or faced against on his return home and even less so did he see in Thorin’s hall itself.

    And so Brimbur soon returned to his normal ways, more or less, and he settled into a rather dull routine. He hung his sword above the hearth in his chamber, taking it down late in the evening to lovingly clean its surface and to remember his old friends. And slowly his thoughts drew less and less upon his grand adventure until they became only a distant memory to the young dwarf.

    Time drew on. For two long years he went as such, without any notion or motion of adventure or excitement. He remained a bit peculiar and considered rather odd among his kinsmen there, but he did not seem to mind. The dwarves of the hall did not bother him much. He was frequently out, chatting with the growing numbers of folk from distant lands, or the beardlings of some of the poorer dwarven families, or wandering the snowy hills of Thorin’s Gate.

    To all that would listen (which was infrequent at best), he talked endlessly of his adventure and of joining the crafting guild in Esteldín, proudly showing the finely crafted pendant (bearing an intricate carved circularly-entwined design) he always wore round his neck. Most of the dwarves in the halls cared little for his stories, for their thoughts and eyes were turned the darkness that seemed to be creeping into the world around Ered Luin.

    Only among his friends of the beardlings did he find a willing audience. Late into the evenings as the snows fell atop the mountains outside, they listened intently and awestruck to his tales more than once, sometimes calling for a retelling or two. And all this Brimbur gave gladly.

    One early spring evening he was seated at a long table in the crafting hall. He had been chipping away carefully and lovingly at a fine agate stone had had found while strolling out along the lower slopes of the peaks above the halls. His beard was perhaps a bit longer, but it was as red as ever before, but there was a queer weary sense to his jovial self now.

    Truth be told, since Brimbur’s return to his beloved halls, he begun to grow somewhat mundane and even bored, full of tiresome drudgery. In fact, though he would never admit it, had had slowly grown very tired of his cherished halls. His days remained the same over the long months and years, a drab and humdrum of colorless activity. Despite his love of the halls, he actually missed the road, the camaraderie of dear friends, of another adventure. Often he thought of the Shire-bounders, of Laerlin and Darramir, and of course of old dour Tharonin.

    ‘An adventure…yes that’s it,’ he said hopefully as he set down the gem atop the table and tugged at his fine beard. ‘An adventure is what is called for. I grow tired of the all the dourness of these halls. It has been too long since I took to the road and seen my old dear friends. Perhaps a visit to Bree is order?’

    He looked up at a scowling and murmuring dwarf who stomped past through the crafting hall. He watched the dwarf disappear up the long steps towards the Great Hall and then slid the gemstone into his pocket and leapt to his feet.

    Within his personal chamber just off the Great Hall, Brimbur sat down at the small round table and glanced about. Then he stood and slowly opened the heavy doors to his wardrobe cabinet and drew out a fine tunic of crimson-coloured leather and matching cloak. He laid them down onto the table and then drew his cherished sword from the mantle with care. He grasped the hilt of the sword and then drew it from its sheath. In the dim light of the chamber candles, the blade flickered with a small wisp of flame along its edges.

    ‘Crafted long ago for the wars against the terrible Witch-king of Angmar, or so they say…’ he whispered. ‘You took me all the way to Esteldín and back…and you shall go further my old friend!’

    He took off his crafting clothes and hung them into the wardrobe, mindful of their creases. Then he quickly donned his fine tunic and cloak, clasping a belt with a silver buckle round his waist. Finally, he fastened the sword scabbard at his side and turned to gaze at his reflection in the mirror.

    ‘Too long from the road…’ he said quietly. ‘You have grown soft as porridge!’

    He laughed and then turned to extinguish the candles between two fingers. Stepping from the room, he closed the door behind him and walked slowly through the darkened halls. He found his way into the drinking hall, where Rúnulf was tidying up from a grand feast the previous evening. The dwarf groaned slightly as Brimbur came strolling into the hall, a wide grin on his face.

    ‘A drink perhaps my good friend!’ said Brimbur as he sat down upon a stool. As Rúnulf came round the bar, he eyed the young dwarf with suspicious intent, but Brimbur only laughed and drew out a few copper coins. ‘I have a long day, or days as it were, ahead of me, master Rúnulf. A bit of wine will do well to fortify me for this task!’

    Rúnulf gazed queerly at the young dwarf and even forgot for a moment the flagon of wine he had just poured. Something in the peculiar dwarf’s voice made him stop and gaze at him for several long moments. Finally, he set down the wine but said nothing, turning to carry a tray full of mugs off towards the back.

    Brimbur sipped the wine and looked about the empty hall in silence. When Rúnulf returned shortly, the young dwarf leapt from the stool to his booted feet. Draining the wine, he pushed the flagon across the bar and smiled broadly. ‘Ah, the finest wine this side of Rivendell!’ he said with a laugh. ’Well, I must be off, master Rúnulf, I should not see you for a spell, I think, but fear not! I have not forgotten my tab for the week…’

    Brimbur took out a small number of coins and placed them onto the bar, then turned to stroll from the hall, whistling a happy tune as he did. Rúnulf watched the strange young dwarf, then sighed once more and turned back to his work, grateful for the silence once more.

    Nearing the outer gates, Brimbur stood for a moment listening with a smile to the deep-throated singing of dwarves somewhere off in the Great Hall and the even more distant clangs of hammers upon anvils. Then he passed through the great doors and into the falling snows outside.

    There in the dim light of the evening stood a pair of dwarven guards, shivering in the chill, cold air. They turned hoary beards to the young dwarf who swiftly bowed low with a wave of his arms. 'Hail my fine fellows!' he exclaimed loudly. 'A fine night for a stroll through the mountains, wouldn't you agree?'

    The dwarves did not seem to partake in Brimbur’s excitement and only shook their beards and muttered darkly at him. But Brimbur did not mind; he set off quickly with another low bow and a song in his voice. His eyes turned to the waning moon in the sky as it sank behind the high snow-capped peaks of the mountains and smiled.

    Onwards he strode as the walls of Throin’s Gate fell away behind him. As he started along the road, he did not entirely know where it would lead him. Yet he seemed to not have a bother about such trivial things. He as happy simply to be on the road once more after so long – and what an adventure it would be, he thought! Even more heroic that the first, no doubt. That he was sure of.

    Only once as the deep gloom of the tall mountains fell about him did Brimbur slow his pace. He shivered slightly as the sound of a hooting owl rose and echoed into the dark air and over the snow-swept hills along the road. His teeth began to chatter and his voice caught in his throat; he coughed and then snickered to himself.
    ‘Only an owl, you fool! Now, would it be a wolf, that is something I have a great experience in facing!’

 

 

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