Eden the Rogue, Chapter Six: Eden The Wronged


"Dumb, dirty, stupid, freakin’…"


"Oh, Eden! You stopped a menace to our town?! Oops! Wrong menace!"


"I swear, once I’ve got that trunk, I’ll see it’s put to use…"


"An’ then I’ll run away and they’ll all be like, "Where’s Eden? Where’s Eden?""


"Erm… if I can interrupt your hateful rambling for a moment?"

Eden spun around – forgoing his usual stabbing frenzy on meeting a new friend – and beheld a strange warrior. He must have been wearing over a hundred pounds of sheer plate armour, and over two hundreds of pounds of armour polish. He shone so brightly it almost appeared like he was on fire. Eden shielded his eyes, "Geez, looking at you is like staring at the sun, you know that?"

"Good," The warrior grinned, "Just as a sun paladin should be. My name is Belebeth, and I need your help."

"You need… my help?" Eden was dumbfounded for a moment, but this soon gave way to irritation, "Let me guess, you’re here to slay Bill, right? For the glory?"


"Well, listen here. Bill might just be another notch on your mace, you great and mighty warrior from the east that I don’t know about yet, but to me he’s everything! I need to slay Bill so that my hometown finally accepts me again! Understand?"

"Listen, knave," Belebeth scowled, "I have already fought Bill…"

"I knew it!"

"… and now I’m in trouble. I’m wounded. I need to flee."

Eden was stunned, "You… lost to Bill?! You, a sun paladin?" On seeing Belebeth nod, Eden suddenly felt very defenceless. Each shadow the trees around him cast suddenly looked like big, hungry trolls. On taking a closer look at Belebeth’s armour, Eden noticed several huge, trunk-shaped dents.

"Will you help me reach my recall portal?" Belebeth asked.

As it happened, it didn’t appear that Belebeth needed much help reaching his recall portal at all. Even not at his full strength a sun paladin is a deadly foe, as much of the Trollshaw’s wildlife found out. Fortunately for Eden however, Belebeth still felt the need to reward him as they found his portal.

"The Chant of Fortitude is a very useful ability, Eden. Use it well. I see that you are already invoking a hymn however…"

"Yes," Eden replied, idly waving his hand through the black aura that surrounded him, "Is that a problem?"

"Not at all. You can keep a chant and a hymn going simultaneously. It’s like throat singing, give it a try!"

Awkwardly, Eden attempted to incorporate the new chant into the hymn he was already reciting, singing both songs simultaneously, one line after another. After a few false starts he finally mastered it, and the aura that surrounded him shone with a new golden glow. Eden felt his head, woozy from the forces of light and darkness clashing inside it, "Ugh, now I know how that Dizzy character felt."

A few short goodbyes were exchanged, and Belebeth disappeared through his recall portal. "I wonder what a sun paladin was doing in these parts," Eden thought to himself, "Shoot. I forgot to ask him if he was the one who had left those tattered paper scraps all over the place. Oh well, at least we didn’t run into --"



Quick as lightning, Eden whipped around and thrust his daggers out at the first thing he saw. Bill, stood over Eden in his terrible, foul-smelling majesty, slowly felt at the two horrific wounds that marked his chest, gave a confused, "Whuurga?" and keeled over backwards, the felled tree in his hand falling like a… felled tree.

Eden stood over (or rather stood beside – even prone Bill was remarkably big) his supposed enemy. Thinking back over his recent adventures, Eden realised that what he saw as one of his biggest flaws – wildly stabbing at anything that sneaks up on him – was in fact one of his greatest strengths, because it had just earned him, in his mind, the love of Bree.

"Yes!" Eden cheered, "Bill is vanquished! Now all that’s left to do is to return triumphant, with… my… trophy…" Eden’s gaze fell on the humungous tree trunk, "… Oh, by Aule’s nostrils, this is going to be painful."


"Eden! You’ve returned!"

Panting and exhausted, his leather armour soaked completely through with sweat, Eden groaned and heaved as he dragged the enormous tree trunk through Bree’s town square. The mayor watched him incredulously, remaining silent until Eden shakily addressed him. "One… one vanquished, Bill… I-I mean one Bill, vanquished. I need to sit down…"

"Eden," the mayor said as he stooped down to Eden’s slumped body, "You have done this town a great service. I thank you, and Bree thanks you."

Eden managed a weak smile, "Does that mean I can use the stores again? I could really go for a potion of greater healing…"

The mayor grinned, but said grin soon turned to an awkward grimace, and even before he started to shake his head Eden knew what was coming. "Well, I wish I could say yes, but you see…"


"You have to look at it from my perspective," Said the mayor soothingly, "While I thank you for your recent service, I still have to think about all the crimes you have committed previously. After all, this is but one act, and there’s no guarantee that you’ve truly put your thieving ways behind you…"

Eden was silent.

"I suppose, if we received proof that this wasn’t a chance occurrence…"


Eden cast his gaze across the dank, mossy lobby of the ruined tower he had entered, and sighed. Unlike Bill, he had heard no rumours regarding a shade terrorising Bree townsfolk. If this shade truly was a threat to Bree, it was certainly a low-key one. With resignation, Eden unsheathed his daggers and walked down the tower’s corridors…


"WHOA!" (stab-stab-stab) "Hey!" (stab-stab-stab) "Aren’t you meant to be on level five?!" (stab-stab-stab) "That’s sneaky!"

Finally setting his eyes on the figure who had appeared behind him, Eden saw that it was not a shade, but a seer. The seer, a young woman who wore a long, cashmere robe and a smile wider than the Great Sea, declared, "Genuflect, my friend! You stand in the presence of the great Xanodann!"

"… Xanodann."

"Xanodann the mighty! Xanodann the powerful! Master of all! Leader of men! Well-liked by animals!"

"Stop stealing lines from Tyrian 2K,” Eden snapped, "Tell me, Xanodann, what would such an obviously powerful and mighty seer be doing on the first level of Amon Sûl?"

"Well --"

"Furthermore, what would such a powerful and mighty seer be doing on the first level of Amon Sûl, wounded?"


Eden chuckled, "Those rats certainly bite hard, don’t they? Couple of dozen of those and they might even break the skin!"

"Silence!" Xanodann pointed down one of the tower’s dark corridors, “Take me to my recall portal. I wanna go home."

"My pleasure," Grinned Eden, walking ahead of Xanodann, "To be honest, this area is rather beneath me now. I’m used to greater perils. Someday you’ll underst -- ARRGH!"

Without warning, a bolt of pure arcane energy had screamed from the darkness, knocking Eden off his feet and leaving a huge, smoking hole in his leather armour. Skeleton mages! Life’s little reminder that you’re not invincible. Taking his opponents more seriously, Eden called, "Alright! You want trouble?! I’ve got a bag of it right -- GWAARGH!"

Without warning once again, a second manathrust tore through Eden, this time from behind. "Manathrusts don’t ricochet!" He gasped to himself, "What did that?!"

Turning on the spot, Eden noticed that Xanodann had her hand out, her cheeks beginning to flush red. "Sorry," She mumbled, "I-I was going to get that skeleton and… you were in the way?"

"That almost put me away, you fool seer! I want you to keep your hands in your pockets for the rest of this fight, you hear me?!" An arrow from a skeleton archer plunged into the back of Eden’s armour. Barely noticing it, he turned and snapped, "I’m coming to you later, be patient!"

"Well, here we are," Said Xanodann on spying her recall portal, "I thank you for guiding the great Xanodann to her location, and…" Xanodann trailed off, realising that her erstwhile guardian was simply staring at her darkly, "Ah… here! Have an identify spell, on the house!"

One quiet and subdued magic lesson later, the great Xanodann had vanished.

Eden reluctantly saw the great utility his new identify spell gave him, and spent the best part of an hour sat in a corner of one of the better-lit rooms of the tower, going through his belongings. He made a few interesting discoveries: His new cured leather armour was rather cold-resistant, one of his daggers was oozing green slime (why he didn’t notice himself he didn’t know) plus his jewellery – every single piece – was completely useless.

Also, he identified his boots as the Boots of Tom Bombadil, but he wasn’t quite ready to give up his sobriquet for them.


"A fellow rogue! Hello!"

"Another one?!" Eden was dumbfounded as a thief approached him. This tower was more populated than Bree was! Still, it was nice to meet a fellow rogue. "What is your name, fellow agent of the night?" Eden asked melodramatically.

"Gunydir Quiggins," The thief replied. So much for melodrama, Quiggins, Eden thought to himself.

Compared to his previous escorts, Gunydir’s guarding was a simple and short affair, with no enemies to speak of at all. Pleased for the change of pace, Eden was in high spirits as they approached the recall portal. As payment, Gunydir taught Eden a few of his personal exercises, granting a boost to Eden’s dexterity.

"Thanks for the tips," Eden nodded, "So, what are you doing around here anyway?"

"Oh, I’m here to join this gang," Gunymir responded, "Their leader just got put down by one of their former members, Eden. Boy, are the knives out for him! Literally! Bye!" Before Eden could reply, he had vanished.


"Hello? Anyone wounded? No? … Wow."






Eden staggered backwards in surprise. That last cut he delivered seemed to be against something particularly hard. Looking at his fallen opponent, who he believed to be just another skeleton mage, he soon noticed that the robes it was clad in were both pure black and seemed to become loose and ethereal around their edges. Its staff, too, had a strange, dark and powerful aura to it. Was it possible that this was the shade?

"Well… they certainly don’t build great and terrible undead foes like they used to."


When Eden had made his way back to Bree following his victory over Old Man Willow, he entered with pomp and circumstance, assured that his troubles were over. When he made his way back after defeating Bill his entrance was more subdued, but he remained hopeful. This return to Bree held no fanfare at all; Eden slouched into town, the shade’s staff dragging behind him. It almost felt like too much trouble now.

Thanks to his quiet arrival in Bree, the group of townspeople stood around the tree in the centre of town did not immediately notice him. Noticing the secretive expressions the group wore, Eden stealthily hid himself behind a corner to eavesdrop on their conversation.

"I swear! I saw him while I was out hunting; he’s coming, and he’s got the staff!"

"Impossible! The shade should’ve done him in, easy!"

"That’s what you said about Bill, but that wasn’t a problem for him either!"

"I’ve heard that he’s gained new allies from the east! He’s been seen with sun paladins, anorithils… plus, I’ve heard a rumour that he massacred his old gang too! What are we going to do with him?!"

"People, people!" Eden recognised the voice of the mayor among the chattering throng, "You’re forgetting – this is Eden. He’s not some mighty warrior, and he won’t keep beating these odds forever. The poor sap; he actually thinks we’re going to forgive him. When he shows up with the staff, I’ll tell him that I actually meant the staff that the Master just got, down south. He’ll believe me, the fool…"

Eden’s teeth ground together. He felt strangely numb, unsure of what to do. Some people, he imagined, would hide themselves in their room and write terrible poetry. Maybe I should as well, he thought bitterly. I will… once I’ve got some of that mayor’s blood to fill my inkwell


Eden turned. Grim was stood behind him, "You go into a flurry-frenzy, and you’ll prove everything they’re saying about you."

"Can it, Grim," Eden retorted, "Aren’t you a necromancer, anyway? I thought you’d like corpses all over the place."

Grim didn’t miss a beat, "Not really. When people are killed like that all they do is moan as ghouls. Oh, I’ve been wronged. You’ve killed me! Revenge! Plegh. I prefer people who die from dementia or pipeweed fever. Much more fun to talk to."

"Well, what do you suggest?" Eden grumbled, "This entire town hates me! What resolution can there be to this that’ll make me happy if not a massacre?!"

"Whoa there, you’re on the verge of becoming a reaver, Eden!"

"If only."

"Actually…" Grim thought, rubbing her nose, "You’ve always talked about moving to Minas Tirith, haven’t you? A fresh start. Maybe you should start thinking about it more seriously!"

"A fresh start…?" Eden mused to himself, "You always hear about people leaving the big city to go live in the countryside, but leaving the countryside to go live in the big city?" After a moment’s thought, he shrugged, "I suppose it’s worth a shot! Plus, when I’ve earned enough money down there I can buy Bree and turn it into a mold farm. Heheh."

Taking up a satchel, Eden took one last look around him, "Well, goodbye Bree. It’s been real. Oh wait," He added sarcastically, "No it hasn’t. I hope you rot. See ya, Grim."

"See ya! … Hey, wait! That’s my satchel!"


Eden was so busy muttering angry nothings to himself, imagining all sorts of horrible things happening to Bree’s population, that he almost bumped into the apprentice mage that was walking in the other direction. The mage shared Eden’s method of dealing with unexpected guests, although in his case he repeatedly knocked his assailants on the head ineffectually with his staff rather than stabbed them.

"Who are you?" Eden grumbled, rubbing a number of fresh bruises on his head, "What brings an apprentice mage out into the wilds?"

"Ahh, my story is a sad one… I should not trouble you with it, my friend." The mage melodramatically cast his gaze into the middle distance, not noticing Eden shrugging his shoulders and continuing on his way. When he finally did notice his absence, he hurried to Eden’s side again and repeated with a glare, "I SHOULD NOT TROUBLE YOU WITH IT, MY FRIEND."

With a rattling sigh, Eden shrugged, "Fine. It is no trouble at all! Please tell me!"

Launching into his prepared speech, the mage continued, "Well, if you insist… I am a novice mage, as you might have noticed…” He waited for Eden to look suitably impressed. On getting no reaction, he continued, “… and my goal is to be accepted by the elves of Angolwen and be taught the secrets of the arcane."

Eden smiled, summoning up a faraway look in his eyes, "Ah yes, Angolwen, I have called it home for many years…"

"You’re an archmage?!" The apprentice squawked incredulously.

"No, I’m just messing with you. Who are the elves of Angolwen?"

"The keepers of ar…" The apprentice caught himself awkwardly, tugging the collar of his robe, "Err, I do not think I am supposed to talk about them… sorry, my friend…” Another theatrical gaze into the distance, another total lack of response from Eden. The novice mage was getting rather fed up with Eden’s lack of appreciation for his showmanship, but he continued nonetheless, “In any case, I must collect fifteen magic staves, rings or amulets, and I have yet to find -- umph!"

Eden had cast the staff he found on the shade’s remains at the apprentice – right at his face, more specifically. "I’m not helping you with your errands, boy," Eden scowled, "Take that one, it was useless to me, and be thankful you’re even getting one out of me."

Having vented his bad mood at the poor mage somewhat, Eden made to turn and stalk away when he heard the mage’s flabbergasted voice over his shoulder, "Holy… dip! This is Angmar’s Fall! Where did you get it?!"

"Angmar’s… Fall?" Eden said in confusion, "You mean it’s not just a regular staff?"

"Oh yes, my friend, this is indeed a powerful staff!" The mage enthused, "I think that it alone should suffice to complete my quest! Many thanks!"

Eden was caught off-guard by the mage’s gratitude. He had believed the staff to be a long, wooden red herring, but it seemed to have some value after all. "Well, I cannot use it anyway…" He mumbled apologetically, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Ah yes! I am so glad!" The mage grinned, "I will be able to go back to Angolw… err… Oh well, I guess I can tell you; you deserve it for helping me. During the dark years of Sauron’s reign, more than one hundred years ago, Gandalf the Grey worried that…"

Eden nodded repeatedly, the mage’s voice slowly dissolving as his attention waned. "Why do mages have such funny shoes?" He thought to himself, "Maybe he miscast a spell and it made his toenails grow funny and… I’m babbling. Babbling in my head. Not that I can say much about funny shoes anyway, with Eden’s Guile here. Hmm, I’m kinda hungry. Think I’ll have pie for dinner tonight. Ritch and mushroom."

"… many people are accepted there but I will arrange for you to be allowed inside." The mage finished happily, "Aren’t you happy, Eden? … Eden? … EDEN!"


"Were you paying attention? I said you could come and visit Angolwen!"

"Visit Angolwen?" Eden pondered, "Hmm. Well, as much as I’d like to hang around a bunch of archmages, phasing and teleporting here and there, summoning fire from the skies, warping the fabric of reality, I don’t think a country bumpkin from Bree will really fit into the milieu… unless…" Eden suddenly realised something. Fixing the mage with a steely glare, he asked, "Wait. Do they have shops in Angolwen?"

"I… I imagine so." The mage shrugged, "Why?"

"No reason," Smiled Eden, slowly backpeddling from the apprentice mage, "I suppose I better go introduce myself to the mages… make some trades… thanks again!"

"Wait, don’t you want to know where Angolwen is?” The mage called after Eden, “You’ve got to go west, then…" The mage’s voice faded out of earshot.

Finally, a break, Eden thought happily to himself. Rather than travel the length of Middle-Earth to start a new life in Minas Tirith, he could simply travel to the city of mages instead! Beyond the simple benefit of being able to trade again, living in Angolwen could pay additional dividends… "I think that when I become the most powerful wizard in all of Arda, I’ll make a great big thunderstorm over Bree. That’ll teach ‘em. Heheheh…"

He hadn’t heard the mage’s directions, but this didn’t bother Eden. Rogues have an uncanny sense of direction, and Eden felt that his was especially good – his parents told him that he ate a compass when he was little.

"This looks like the way to Angolwen," Eden said to himself, "Some grandure! You’d think a city of mages would have a better entrance; this is barely a hole in the ground!"


"Now, I just need to find a signpost… geez, Angolwen’s a freakin’ labyrinth."

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