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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 3:51 am 
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"But what is the Shire really like?" you ask. Well, it's not unlike the world that you and I know.

They have a moon, of course--

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--and an occasional rainbow.

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They have fine dining establishments where one can gather with friends. (They have lots of these.)

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Fortunately, they also have plenty of activities to work off one's meal. (I mean besides slaying dozens of spiders, wolves, bears, and an occasional putrid slug.) Here my Elf character cuts a rug, er, paving stone with a pair of lively Hobbit lasses. (An Elf's' extraordinary agility allows him to clap while having a shield strapped to his arm.)

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What really makes the Shire feel like home, though, are the condominium complexes (like the Great Smials in Tuckborough)--

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--and the trailer parks.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:54 am 
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I'm now playing on the Landroval server and in a kinship (guild) with other members of TORC. Our kinship has the most excellent name of "Servants of the Secret Fire". My primary character is an Elven minstrel named Curulinde("Skilled Singer").

Today Curulinde's adventures took him to the Barrow-downs. Not a place for the faint of heart, or the low in level. Dying in the downs does have its benefits, namely, reappearing before the House of Tom Bombadil! :D

Curulinde danced and feasted with Old Tom, and made some merry rhymes. Tom was even so kind as to pose for a photo:

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"Where's your robe and boots?" you ask, well, I'd like to tell you that Tom rescued us from the barrow and sent us running naked over the grass, but that wouldn't be true, unfortunately. Alas, my armor (such as it is) was pounded into smithereens by some rather large and ravenous spiders as they feasted upon my corpse. Don't worry, I got better. ;)

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 Post subject: The Tale of Curulinde
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 6:53 pm 
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Foreword

Elves are long-lived. Indeed, they are virtually immortal unless they suffer a great accident, are slain in battle, or, in rare instances, die from grief. So how does one explain that an Elf, who may be thousands of years old, is still a lowly novice, i.e., level 1, at the time of the War of the Ring in TA 3018-3019? This proves to be a bit of a challenge in creating the back-story for an Elf, but, as you will see if you continue to read this post, not an insurmountable one.

The following is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek backstory for the Elven minstrel, Curulinde. It depicts Curulinde's transformation from a rather silly, if not outright foppish Elf into a grim, determined warrior.



The Tale of Curulinde


Curulinde Celeblammen ("Skilledsinger Silvervoice") came into this world late in the First Age of the Sun. A natural-born singer and storyteller, when Curulinde was young he would sing and dance at the slightest provocation, and often invented charming stories of birds and badgers and other creatures living by the rivers or in the forests.

Link: Song of the Badger

His parents (whose names are withheld to save them from further embarrassment) at first were very amused and thought it "cute" that their young son was so creative. However, they became concerned when their son's storytelling evolved into fantastic tales of goblins sneaking into their home to break a lamp before vanishing without a trace leaving Curulinde, or so he claimed, to take the blame. Still the exaggerated tales were fairly innocuous, and Curulinde seemed to have a happy and reasonably normal, if slightly dramatic, childhood.


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"A goblin did it"


Curulinde's family, a hard-working middle class clan living in the region south of the Gulf of Lune, owned and operated a successful textile business specializing in upholstery, and especially, window treatments. At last on the day that Curulinde came of age his father took him aside.

"Curulinde, my son," his father said, "one day soon your mother and I will be sailing West. On that day all of this will be yours." His father emphasized his point by sweeping his long arm across the showroom.


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The window treatment showroom


"What--the curtains?" replied Curulinde.

"No, not just the curtains, son, but our entire textile business!" his father replied.

"But I don't want any of that, I'd rather..." Curulinde complained.

"You'd rather what?" demanded his father.

"I'd rather sing!" he happily exclaimed.

It goes without saying that Curulinde's father was not pleased, not pleased at all, in fact. As a result of Curulinde's disinterest in the textile business his father strongly encouraged him to find his own way in life while his younger brother inherited the family business.

Life was not easy for the newly emancipated Elf. At first Curulinde waited tables in some of Harlindon's finer eating establishments, obtaining the occasional gig here and there performing for weddings, harvest festivals, coming- of-age parties, and events of that sort.


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A map of Lindon


One day, however, Fate smiled upon Curulinde when he was hired to sing at the birthday party of Celebrían, the daughter of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. His performance was so well-received that he became their house minstrel, so to speak, often performing for the Lady when she was sad and sought consolement, or was happy and wished to be accompanied as she played her harp and sang. There are still tales of the wondrous music they created together, the Lady's harp and Curulinde's soulful flute. (It is small wonder that these tales still exist, for it is Curulinde who persists in telling them.)


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Galadriel and her harp


Then one day Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel informed Curulinde that they were moving east to establish their own kingdom in a land beyond the Hithaeglir (or "Misty Mountains" as they are also called) lying between the Celebrant and the Anduin.

"That sounds exciting!" exclaimed Curulinde. "When do we leave?"

"We leave at week's end, my friend," answered the monotoned Lord, "but you will not be going with us."

"I'm not?" asked Curulinde as he struggled to hide the disappointment in his voice. "Does this have anything to do with your cat? I can explain that. You see, there were these goblins..."

"No, dear Curulinde, it has nothing to do with poor Lossmiriel," answered the Lady. She gave a quizzical glance towards her husband, who continued to stare vacantly at a potted plant. "Your days will be most blessèd, gifted one," she said, "but, alas, they will not be with us."


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Lord Celeborn contemplates the process of photosynthesis in a common house plant


There is an Elven proverb that states when Ilúvatar closes a door, he opens a window somewhere else. Curulinde had always interpreted that to mean that the Children of Ilúvatar should strive to have plenty of fresh air. On this day, however, Curulinde thought that perhaps the All-Father had intended him to jump out of one.

"No, you silly goose," Curulinde told himself, "those are but the promptings of Morgoth! I think I finally know what that proverb means. It means that when Ilúvatar opens a window, it is the window of opportunity!"


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The Window of Opportunity


After a short time of waiting tables and performing other menial chores, Curulinde received his next big break when he auditioned for and was awarded the role of Munkustrap in a production of the musical Cats on Lindon's West End. Cats ran for many hundreds, even thousands of years, becoming the longest running musical in the history of Middle-earth.


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Munkustrap and the Jellicle Cats

Link: “Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats" from the musical Cats


Curulinde was not totally unfamiliar with warfare, however. Late in the 2nd Age he was hired to perform with a traveling company for the Elven Service Organization ( ESO) to entertain the armies during the war between the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and the forces of Sauron.


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Robert Estel, a comedian on the ESO tour


One winter while his troop was on hiatus during the solstice holiday Curulinde had traveled north to Edhelion in the Ered Luin to perform at an engagement party when the city fell under attack by an army of Goblins,Trolls, and Dourhand Dwarves. It was there that Talagan Silvertongue recruited Curulinde to serve in the armies of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth.

Curulinde was astonished when he received the invitation. "Me? Fight in a war?" he thought. "Isn't that--dangerous?"


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The thought of going to war alarms Curulinde


But as the city of Edhelion burned around him, the shrieks and cries of Elves and goblins killing and being killed filled his ears, and Haerandir, the Elf who had hired him, lay in a pool of blood at Curulinde's feet, something deep inside Curulinde moved.

Curulinde kneeled beside Haerandir's body, and said a quick prayer to Elbereth as he claimed the fallen Elf's dagger as his own.

"Yes, Master Silvertongue, I will serve."


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"I will serve"

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 3:36 pm 
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In case you hadn't guessed, despite my previous claims to the contrary I did purchase and am playing Lord of the Rings Online. I'd be more embarrassed if I weren't having such a fantastic time. :D

My first glimpse Weathertop took my breath away. I cropped and reduced this image as much as I dare so please forgive me if it is slightly on the large size.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 8:37 am 
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Goldberry

O slender as a willow-wand! O clearer than clear water!
O reed by the living pool! Fair River-daughter!
O spring-time and summer-time, and spring again after!
O wind on the waterfall, and the leaves' laughter!

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 6:00 am 
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Here is Curulinde's report of one of his recent adventures:

After venturing deep into the Great Barrow Eragwar, Eriwyn, Grymnir, and Curulinde at last caught the Witchking of Angmar. However, after growing weary of Eriwyn's expressions of affection--

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--the Nazgûl Lord departed--

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--leaving our fate in the hands of another fell servant of the Dark Lord, Sambrog the Wight-lord.

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Matched against so great a foe, what is a humble minstrel to do other than to start singing?

Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!


Lucky for us, Old Tom was not out gathering water-liles for his pretty lady this day, and so was able to come to our aid.

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Weary from our battles, we paused for a moment to reflect on the day's adventure.

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Notes:

1. I should mention that Eriwyn did not physically embrace the Witch King nor did their lips ever touch. (Or so I presume, because I cannot actually see the Witch King's lips.) She claims she was blowing him a kiss goodbye before we sent him to the abyss prepared for his master.

Knowing, however, that there are some ladies, who find the Witch King irresisitable (What did you think, Alys, is the Witch-king h0tt?), I always keep a few bottles of Athelas in my satchel should their passions be stirred beyond control. After all, it takes a lot more than a minty mouth wash to cure the Black Breath! :shock:

When the black breath blows
when death’s shadow grows
and all lights pass,
come athelas! come athelas!
Life to the dying
In the king’s hand lying!



2. Prior to our fateful (for Sambrog) battle at arms, Eragwar challenged the Wight-lord to an arm wrestling match. (See the image above.) Sambrog declined, claiming that his bursitis was acting up. I don't mean to imply that Sambrog was chicken, but we did notice that he was molting. :roll:

Now that I think of it, I never did find out who looted the [Beak of the Wight-lord] ? I understand that this item can be made into a musical horn by a craftsman with expertise in that field. :D


Warning: Some parts of Curulinde's tales may be slightly embellished. The mark of a truly great minstrel is how cleverly he can embellish a story without making it seem completely implausible.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 1:02 pm 
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If I ever signed up to this I would lead to child neglect, wife neglect and divorce !


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 2:36 pm 
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Aye, it is highly addictive. I have no children, or I would not play, and I am doing my best to maintain the balance, devoting proper amount of attention to Goldberry and my household responsibilites.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 3:27 pm 
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But neglecting HoF, I might add.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 7:33 pm 
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Neglecting? Nay, Lady Mahima, you've just haven't been visiting the right threads. :D

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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 12:20 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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The game has been getting very good reviews:

http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/middleearthonline

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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 7:53 pm 
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*sleep-deprived and slightly bleary-eyed*

Yes, "Moving to Middle-earth" is quite the appropriate name, which I suspect Alatar knew all along. I've been spending far more time playing than I had first intended or imagined I would, but I confess that I am having a blast. And yes, Mahima, I will now admit that I do not frequent HOF as often as in the past, but I have not totally abandoned you so do not lose hope of ever seeing Sleepy Tom again. :blackeye:

After a few weeks with the small kinship of members of TORC, who are militantly casual (if that's possible) with a very loose form of organization and leadership, I have moved to a more progressive kinship composed of people who want to enjoy a broader experience of what LOTRO has to offer.

My present kinship is much like Rivendell in that it has a happy mixture of all that anyone could enjoy. It has a strong, active leadership of people with both gaming and roleplay experience. Its growth rate has been so strong that the officers recently decided to discontinue recruiting new members for fear of losing the feeling of extended family that many of us presently enjoy.

I'm very much enjoying my role in the kinship. I've rapidly developed a reputation for my humor, and especially for my story-telling ability. (See the two examples posted earlier in this thread.) The minstrel class has been most appropriate for me. I've also become known for my extensive knowledge of Tolkien lore, most of which I've gained since joining TORC four years ago. The knowledge and scholarship of the folks I encountered on TORC inspired me to expand my Tolkien library and to read, read, and read books by and about Tolkien and his works.

I'm currently reading The Silmarillion for the ninth time on my lunch breaks at work, and Ents, Elves, and Eriador at home. When I finish EE&E I plan to read The Children of Húrin, followed by a couple of the volumes of HOME that I have not yet read.

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 6:10 pm 
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:)

Sounds like you are having a lovely time, Tom. Am glad, though do miss you on our usual threads in Bag End.

BTW, I am in sacramento right now.

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 10:44 pm 
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:welcome: to California's Central Valley and Sacramento, the City of Trees. I moved here from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area 20 years ago this coming August.


It recently occurred to me that the reason there are so many trees here is because people need them for the shade they provide during the hot summers. :sunny:

Maybe we can have a Sacramento moot sometime. :)

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 8:30 pm 
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Curulinde shares another tale of his adventures...

At the end of a long day there is no sign more welcome than that of a comfortable inn where one may enjoy food, drink, a song or story or two, and afterwards, a soft pillow and a bed where may one stretch out one's weary arms and legs. The Prancing Pony in Bree is a particularly popular place among battle-weary adventurers.

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The innkeeper is a kindly, if somewhat absent-minded fellow named Barliman Butterbur. His ale, for those who enjoy a hearty brew, is particularly strong.

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"The Pony", as it is often referred, occasionally hosts figures of renown, even if the innkeeper does not recognize them as such. Recently I have had the opportunity to share stories with a Man named Strider, who has a somewhat dubious reputation in the Bree-land. (It is greatly undeserved in my opinion.)

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Strider is an Elf-friend fostered in his youth by Lord Elrond in Imladris after the untimely passing of Strider's parents. He knows many legends and histories of the Eldar. "The Song of Beren and Lúthien" is one of his favorites.

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(continued in the next post)

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 8:32 pm 
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Another frequent guest at the Pony is a wanderer dressed in grey. Mithrandir he is called by my people, but the Bree-folk know him as Gandalf. Do not let his frail and disheveled appearance fool you. Mithrandir is a great power for good in Middle-earth.

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But Strider and Mithrandir have not been in Bree for some time, gone to places in the East, or so it's said, and the Pony is often filled with adventurers, craftsmen, and performers from near and far. The Pony is so popular in fact, that it is often difficult to find the accommodations that one prefers.

Recently I have found myself lodged in the Perrianath Room, said to fit four comfortably. Athough the bed frames are old and worn, the mattress, linens, and pillows are all curiously brand new. I wonder why that may be?

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The room does indeed fits four comfortably, that is if you're no more than four feet tall. :roll:

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:20 pm 
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Curulinde made his first visit to Imladris: its splendour is beyond words. I thought you all might like to see Curulinde before the business end of the Hall of Fire. (You'll note that he's wearing his best robe for the occasion. ;) )

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:22 am 
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Curulinde has reached level 35, and to denizens of Middle-earth that means one thing: HORSES! (At level 35 one becomes eligible for a series of quests that allow one to purchase a horse. Think of them like earning your driver's license. They originate on a horse farm north of Bree.)

Horses (for Elves and Men) and ponies (for Hobbits and Dwarves) come in four shades: Bay, Blood Bay, Chestnut, and a light brown shade I can't recall the name of at the moment. Meteor is a Bay. Unlike Bill the Pony, for which Barliman Butterbur was charged 12 silver pennies--and that being three times the going rate--horses in LOTRO cost 4220 silver pennies. :shock:

However, having his eyes on the prize from when he first heard the price of ponies early during his travels, Curulinde scrimped and saved so that when he reached the pivotal level he'd have sufficient coin. So, without further adieu, I'd like to present Curulinde and Meteor!

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In case you're wonding, this is in the NE portion of the Shire bordering the Brandywine River. And, as you can imagine for a horse-lover like me, owning a horse in LOTRO is the coolest thing ever!

Noro lim, Meteor!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 2:17 pm 
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Meteor is a Bay. Unlike Bill the Pony, for which Barliman Butterbur was charged 12 silver pennies--and that being three times the going rate--horses in LOTRO cost 4220 silver pennies.


It's the exchange rate what gets ya every time. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:02 am 
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I am still very active playing LOTRO. All five of my characters have attained the level cap of 50 and are Grand-masters in their various crafts. Soon the first expansion will be released, Mines of Moria, where we'll get to battle the denizens of Durin's former stomping grounds. We'll also supposed to be getting our first peak at the Golden Wood. I can't wait!

If case anyone's interested, I've written a few travelogue-type pieces on Thorin's Hall, Rivendell, and Forochel and posted them at TORC. (Click the links!)


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Lore-master Galengorn Greentree and his pet cat, Beruthiel, pause for a pipe of Old Toby in the Mathom House in Michel Delving.

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