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Old 08-03-2008, 02:37 PM   #198
Illusionary Holbytla
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!

Scyld rose shortly after morning’s light and stretched, much as he had any other day the past month. A whole month – yes, it had been that long now. In commemoration he decided to take a short walk before hunting down some breakfast. Unswervingly his feet took him down to the cleared ruin of Sorn’s hall. Gone, just as it should be. In this he had not minded serving the Eorl. Erasing Sorn’s mark was a worthy purpose, and so he had willingly spent the last month working here. And still he was not entirely sure of his purpose among these people. Just what did he hope to accomplish? And to what end? He had spent nearly his whole life scheming, waiting for something better. With Sorn’s death and Linduial’s escape he had felt some temporary satisfaction, some brief but real deeper feeling. Temporary. Then he had come face to face with the reality that he was adrift in a wide world, with no one knowing of or caring about his existence. So now he was here. Working, and working hard, to help the new Eorl build his hall from the ruins of Sorn’s estate. Was this to be his purpose? Simple work to occupy his days and ensure that at those days’ ends he would have food in his stomach and a place to lay his head?

No, that was for Nydfara. Nydfara might be satisfied with such a simple life, but Scyld could not be. He could not be satisfied, because he could not trust the simple pleasures such a life might afford, nor the people involved in it. This then brought him full circle to the original question: why was he here?

Consciously removing the thoughtful frown from his face and the troubling questions from his mind, he began a circuitous route back to the baker, nodding a cordial good morning to those he saw on the way. This was a remarkable skill of Nydfara’s that Scyld had not previously thought himself capable of. As ideal a servant as he always made himself seem to Sorn, his cynical sarcasm and biting wit had remained fully intact in his dealings with Sorn’s underlings, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the circumstances. Nydfara, however, was far warmer than Scyld ever had been, always ready to lend a hand, polite towards the ladies of the camp and companionable if reserved towards the men. He remained slow to talk and quick to listen, and thereby had learned much. The patterns and undercurrents in the camp were many, but as a boy avidly studying a colony of ants Scyld had come to make sense out of their actions – as much sense as people willing to serve others’ needs above their own and governed by emotion could make, that is.

Take, for example… Rowenna. The corners of Scyld’s mouth twitched upwards at the sight of the serving woman as she emerged from the curing shed with a side of meat. There was a woman with some depth to her! It was common enough knowledge (and therefore easily enough learned) how she had been ‘rescued’ (somehow the term stood out as dubious in Scyld’s mind, though he did not precisely understand why) from the outlaws and brought under Eodwine’s ‘protection’ – again, a dubious term; Scyld doubted such a woman needed much protection. Here was one who knew the ways of the world. Such similarities might have led a different man to seek alliance, but Scyld could trust no equals and would suffer no partners.

As they were headed the same direction, Scyld (or was this Nydfara speaking?) held up a hand in greeting and adjusted his course slightly to meet her. “Good morning to you,” he offered as a greeting. “Busy already, I see?” He asked, indicating her burden. Small talk, how it galled him – but Nydfara was good at small talk, even if Scyld hardly cared for the answer. It did, however, amuse him not to offer help carrying the meat – he was sure she had it well under control.
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