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Games Upon the Sand...

Curugirion / May 13, 2013
So at last, the Mithdirith boarded the Gwingriel at Mithlond and cast off on a short patrol along the coast of Harlindon.

For some of her complement, this was a new and unfamiliar experience; for others though, it was a welcome return to that which they loved - the sea. One could see the vibrant joy on some of their faces - a steady contentment that gave the seasoned mariners an air of confidence that stood in marked contrast to those who were strange to the environment - they who walked more carefully, and held more frequently to the bulwark - especially when the sea was running with a swell, and the stiff breeze set Gwingriel at an angle to the norm! Nevertheless, as the first couple of days passed, all made an effort to adapt to life on board and a semblance of routine settled upon the vessel and her crew.

By dusk on the second day, the Gwingriel was already nigh upon a hundred leagues down the coast from the mouth to the Gulf of Lhun. The sail was brought in and the crew enjoyed a relaxed meal, sitting on the deck as the sun dipped at last below the horizon. As they sat under the starry vault, it was explained by the conin that the ship would sail coastward through the night; with the arrival of dawn, the day's battle training would begin. The song and laughter continued for a time, but once the meal was over, and the vessel turned her prow eastward to the unseen coast, the wardens of the herth became silent, as their minds dwelt on what was to come with the new day...

It came to pass that the Gwingriel arrived off the shore, the sky above the rolling wooded hills of Harlindon rosy with the light of the growing ascent of Anor. Briefed and instructed by the conin in the preceding few hours, the warriors of the Mithdirith now put the theory into practice. A wide cove sat before them, hemmed in on either flank by rocky cliffs, but with a more gentle grassy slope ascending before them, up to a wooded crown of wind-swept coastal trees.

Following the direction of Aearandir and Istuir, the herth - armed for battle - poured over the side of the ship, moving swiftly through the surf in the formations demanded as they surged onto the beach. Archers and wardens moved in concert, suppressing the hypothetical foes that sought to repel the beach landing, as they pressed home the assault, gradually scaling the hill before them.

The conin, time and again, would call out to describe unexpected events unfolding, so as to help throw the warriors off - to have them think and respond on the fly. Just when the Mithdirith deemed themselves to have taken the hill, fresh 'enemies' would pour from hidden openings in the cliffs, to threaten the wardens' flank, and to cut them off from the safety of the Gwingriel...or an overwhelming force would roll over the crest of the hill, forcing an orderly retreat, maintaining the protective shield formations and archery volleys that would offer the best hope of withdrawing unscathed.

Aearandir would tap members of the herth, indicating a wound by arrow, or spear, and procedures to treat the injured and bear them to safety had to be executed. The day wore long and hard upon the troops. When they were offered a blissful hour to rest and eat, all were hushed, breathing deeply, eating, slaking their thirst, snatching what restful meditation they could, before the 'onslaught' began anew in the afternoon...

The relief was audible in the gasps and sighs of the herth as Curugirion signalled an end to the exercises. The Mithdirith mustered to be appraised of their performance before being dismissed to clean both their arms and armour, and finally, themselves - their ablutions aided with the welcome presence of a fresh waterfall at one end of the cove.

The evening was to be given over to well-deserved relaxation on the beach; uniform was excused, and all were invited to dress in raiment more aptly suited to comfort, dance and repose. A feast was prepared, and cooking fire lit on the high strand, while provisions and wine were unloaded from the Gwingriel. As the sun descended to the west, kindling the sea with fiery light, the folk of the Mithdirith gathered upon the sand, coming together to enjoy each others' company...
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