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Old 06-12-2015, 05:11 PM   #1381
Legate of Amon Lanc
A Voice That Gainsayeth
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In that far land beyond the Sea
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Legate of Amon Lanc is wading through the Dead Marshes.Legate of Amon Lanc is wading through the Dead Marshes.Legate of Amon Lanc is wading through the Dead Marshes.Legate of Amon Lanc is wading through the Dead Marshes.Legate of Amon Lanc is wading through the Dead Marshes.Legate of Amon Lanc is wading through the Dead Marshes.
A day in autumn, Year 18 of the Fourth Age

On that unusually cold October morning Hilderinc had overslept for the first time in what must have been months. And that despite his usual trouble with sleeping. But last night, he had somehow managed to fall into deep slumber the very moment he lay down, without the need to take his usual evening stroll around the Mead Hall. Maybe it was the hard work they'd done that day, even though Hilderinc had been proven time and again that his sleeplessness could not be cured merely by making his body feel tired. Maybe it was the cold that seemed to creep through the evenings and mornings on that autumn, and made many of the men feel like bears ready to winter. Whatever the reason though, Hilderinc had slept long and dreamlessly also for the first time since they had returned from the war in the East.

When he opened his eyes, he saw the sunrays coming in through the window, cold shafts of waning autumn light. It was not too late, but it was certainly very late by Hilderinc's standards. Only a few of the soldiers were still in the barracks. The room had been rebuilt and rearranged in the past years, its state now being much better and far more comfortable than when they first arrived. Even Scyrr had stopped complaining about its state, even though now he was about to change posts once again. Hilderinc hoped for the man's sake that this change was going to go more smoothly than the last one.

He quickly got himself up, trying not to lean against his right arm. A memory from the last war, a farewell gift from two Easterling warriors and their wain. It didn't hurt as often anymore, but there were times when it betrayed him. He still felt he got off lightly, however, and he tried not to think much about it.

Hilderinc marched out of the barracks. Most of the men were already done with breaking their fast and buzzing around Coenred and Thornden, who were to divide the tasks among them. Everything was getting ready for lord Athanar's departure, which was due soon. Hilderinc found himself strangely glum as he sat down to eat his porridge. He had grown, in his own way, fond of Athanar's men, it was his longest standing post since the end of the Great War. But the same could be told about Scarburg and its people. He still was not sure why chose to remain behind instead of following Athanar to a new place, but when the lord had asked, Hilderinc's response had come unhesitatingly. Only later he had begun to wonder, a rational men he counted himself to be, to think about the reason he was sure had to be hidden somewhere. But it seemed to elude him, and maybe not actually wishing to know, he had pushed it aside.

"Alone as usual," roared Scyrr who was just carrying his own bowl away from the table. "Some things never change, do they?"

Hilderinc looked up at him, raising his eyebrows. "Happy to be leaving?"

Scyrr paused, dropped his empty bowl on the table and waved his hand around. "Happy to leave these behind. You're happy to stay, huh?"

Hilderinc shrugged.

Scyrr leaned closer to him. "You know what, maybe you are getting old. Old men can get, you know, weepy about things." He narrowed his eyes, staring at something on Hilderinc's head. "Is that grey hair?"

"Might be," Hilderinc took another spoonful of porridge. "Maybe you should leave old man to his breakfast, so I can help you packing."

"How kind of him," Scyrr poked another soldier who was passing by and pointed at Hilderinc. "He wants to help us pack."

"How about you help with packing," said the soldier, Fearghall.

"I have packed my share already yesterday! Can't some of the lazies from the Hall do something for a change? Why should I rush!"

"Because the lazies lit the fires and cooked up breakfast for you?" Hilderinc suggested, chewing. "And maybe also because it's the Captain's order?"

"I'm sure you will be happy to become the Captain once we leave," Scyrr growled. "I can already see you enjoying bossing the folk around. Too bad I won't be here."

"I doubt I will become a Captain," Hilderinc replied. "I do not think anybody has even thought of that. And what would be the purpose of it, anyway?"

"I wouldn't put it past this Thornden or Eodwine siss-"

"Scyrr," Fearghall put his arm on the soldier's shoulder.

Hilderinc swallowed the last spoonful and rose up.

"You will be gone soon enough," he said. "Then you can complain about the new place and new folk all anew. But if you want a friendly advice, you are going very far, and different land usually means different manners. Take it slow. And you can tell the same to Áforglaed, too."

Now it was Scyrr's turn to raise his eyebrows. "Didn't you hear, man? Áforglaed is staying with you lazies here."

Hilderinc stared at him for a moment. "Really? That's news to me. How comes?"

"He decided yesterday, unless I am mistaken," said Fearghall. "I overhead him talking to the Captain."

Scyrr grinned. "I bet it has to do with one of the lovely ladies from nearby..."

"That is just gossip," Fearghall dismissed him.

"Indeed," Hilderinc said. "Haven't you and Baldwic especially been trying to court some of the farmers' daughters before, and yet it does not make you stay..."

"Not me, I was just watching over the boys," Scyrr objected. "Making sure they don't get into trouble with the local muck-rakers. As for Baldwic, that girl of his got married off, as it were. Her daddy probably knew what he was doing..."

"Hey, Scyrr," Fearghall once again cut the flippant soldier's speech. "That is not a nice way to talk about Baldwic. Besides, the way I heard – though I do not lend much ear to rumours – it was Baldwic who ended it with her."

Hilderinc shrugged. Rumours did not interest him, either. But Áforglaed was staying... he did not know what to think about it, but in some way, it was good. Athanar's men had really changed during the years of their stay in Scarburg – most of them, anyway, he thought, looking at Scyrr. Most of those who previously resented the place had grown fond of it, and it became their home, and there was no longer a distinction between men of Scarburg and men of Athanar.

Just what I have been saying from the beginning, Hilderinc thought to himself, picked up his bowl and carried it away to the kitchens, looking forward to another cold, but pleasantly busy autumn day.
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