Eáránë – Moving Between Games
This is a role-playing attempt to tell an old friend from Lord of the Rings Online what games I had played since leaving, then returning to that game. How many can you name? This post was prompted by the delightful player Sangahyando, when we met at the what the website LotroSource, eventually became.
She sat, staring into the fire, waiting for the barmaid to return, willing herself not to turn and confront whoever it was that was watching her. Yet as surely as she could feel eyes on her back, she also could sense that whoever it was held no malevolence towards her.
She took opportunity in the bustling of the barmaid to cast her gaze around the room, and saw him sitting there, telltale shavings curled at his feet. Blonde hair, almost bleached white in the sun, blue eyes, guileless, an open, youthful countenance. “Sangahyando!” she exclaimed.
“Eáránë! It is you!” he replied in kind.
She chuckled, and yet there was a wisp of sadness in the sound. “Yes, Sanga, it is I. Come, join me!” And she motioned to the empty seat beside her. “Goodwife!” she called out to the barmaid. “Another for my friend here!”
Putting away his whittling knife, he readily came over and joined the elf at her table. “Eáránë, it’s so good to see you again!” he said, clasping her hand.
“Aye, it’s good to be back, Sanga,” her eyes swept the near empty room, “even if things have changed.” Her skin was cool to his touch.
The blonde youth sighed. “Things have changed. People have moved on.” But then he smiled wistfully. “But that means that they are off having adventures, rather than simply sitting around talking about them, eh?”
Eáránë laughed, and clapped Sangahyando on the shoulder. “Leave it to you to see the good in all things, Sanga!” she grinned. “And through it all, wherever our lives have met, that time can never be taken from us.”
“Well said, well said,” Sangahyando said. Silence settled around them where the only sound was clatter from the distant kitchen and the crackling of the fire in the large, sheltered hearth. Then, in the quiet, Sanga leaned forward, catching her with the intensity of his eyes. “Eáránë, where did you go?”
She sighed then, and settled back in her chair, giving a small smile of gratitude and a few coins as the barmaid brought the mugs of cold ale. She sipped her beer as Sangahyando fiddled with his own cup, and waited for her to speak.
Finally she did, and she looked him full in the face as she began. “Ah, Sanga… you ask where did I go. Better you should ask where did I NOT go.” He raised an eyebrow quizzically, and she shook her head, not in remorse but in wonder. She drew herself up and spoke softly to him, her fingers absentmindedly cradled around her mug.
“Oh, Sanga, the places I have been since last I was at the Source. Places that I can scarce believe were real, and yet I was there, I saw them with my own eyes, felt their breezes on my face, smelled the blood of their sacrifice.
“There were places I went that was full of mystery and melancholy, and the pull of purpose was strong and clear, but I felt as if I alone existed in those worlds, as though all others were just pale thought. There was only a single story in those worlds, one tale, and it was mine alone, and it was too lonely, too empty, for me to stay. No one marked my passage in those worlds.
But then, there was another place, unlike anything that exists in this world.”
The blonde youth looked at her questioningly, and she saw the doubt in his face, but she continued on.
“I cannot explain it, Sanga, how I came to find myself there – in at totally different world, in a place beyond the stars.” He started in amazement, but she did not stop. “Yet, I was not alone. There were others there, no more nor less fantastic than we, who were in the grasp of an epic struggle of light versus dark, that tore the very fabric of their world apart.”
“Like the threat of a Dark Lord?” Sangahyando queried, struggling with his amazement.
She turned her eyes on him then, and they held great sadness. “Would that it were, Sanga,” she said, shaking her head slowly. “But the division of the people – regardless of race – was torn between two factions, and there was great good and great evil done in the name of both. Betrayal, desertion, and abandonment were rampant. Everywhere there was a sense of greed and a great thirst for fame and notoriety. Although there were craftsmen of great skill, and cities that would spring from dust to thrive, and adventure for all against dangers that beset all, few could see beyond the lines of battle that pitted brother against brother, son against father, and always, always, soldier against commander.”
“Then, why did you stay?” The blue eyes questioned.
Eáránë sighed. “Because, Sanga, there was always hope. Always. There was talk of a great force the bound all living creatures together, and through which all life flowed. I found myself in the midst of an outlaw sect that believed this Force would heal the wounds of all, and their vision and selflessness was the spark of hope upon which all that is unknown hinges. But alas,” she sighed again, more deeply, “they were undone by their own attractiveness. So many false padawans came, so many misguided masters strove for attention, that the words of hope became as diluted and manipulative as those factions they had sworn to overcome.
“I finally could take no more, and when the last of the sect I had joined had given up and moved on, I could stay no longer. I wandered aimlessly for a while, and visited a few lands for a short time, but nothing existed there that caused me to stay – no stories, no tales, nothing but combat and killing.” She frowned distastefully.
“But then, another world called to me, one I had visited before, but had never found a foothold. This time, when I entered the fabled land of Azeroth, it was with a group of friends who had already made the journey from Middle-earth to this world of magic and mayhem.”
Sangahyando frowned himself, thinking. “I believe I may have heard of this… Azeroth…”