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Old 05-05-2008, 10:02 AM   #81
Animated Skeleton
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 50
shaggydog has just left Hobbiton.
Oeric stepped nimbly from tussock to tussock. His childhood years spent on the borders of this marsh had imprinted upon his mind the qualities of land and water which allowed the trained eye to step on semi-solid ground, as opposed to sinking knee or thigh deep in water, or worse, muddy silt. To the unwary or ignorant, these bogs could even spell death, if one should happen to tread unwittingly onto the treacherous, shifting and sucking mix of water and soil beneath. He breathed heavily though, more from nervousness than from haste. The land about lay in fairly flat, rolling plain, making it difficult to come very close to the budding camp without detection. That one of their members should be up and out in the marsh this early in the day was not really a surprise. Oeric assumed they would be sending out scouts, hunters, workers to gather whatever natural materials the marsh could provide for their building and cooking needs. But he had been foolish to have taken a path which exposed him more than was necessary.

He had thought originally to circle around to the far border where clumps of scrubby willow provided good cover for an approach. But the emptiness in his stomach had prompted him to choose a path which would take him past the berry patches. It was still early in the summer for many of the fruit to have ripened, but there might be one or two lingonberry bushes which he might have stripped of their bounty. He was no hunter and these last weeks had left their mark in the pinched lines of his face and the looseness of his clothes. What few bits of food he had managed to scavenge from the ruins of Sornís hall had long since been consumed. Even in his grief, Oericís body had persistently insisted upon being maintained, and so, he had chosen the path which had led him almost right into the arms of one of the newcomers. If the man hadnít fallen and alerted Oeric to his presence, any choice of how and when Oeric made contact with the new lordís people would certainly have been taken from him.

The searchers that came hard on the heels of the lone man had found nothing but air and water and the call of birds. Oeric knew though that he would now have to be much more wary, and his ability to watch the strangers undetected would be seriously hindered. As much as he wished otherwise, he determined to fetch his few belongings from the ruined shed and make his way into the heart of the marsh. There he could be fairly sure he could live, at least for a short while, unmolested. How long was very dependent upon his food situation. But, he thought with a grim smile, with so many near, and wagons of supplies, that might not be such a problem after all.
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