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Old 02-14-2007, 11:19 PM   #345
Child of the 7th Age
Spirit of the Lonely Star
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One part of Lindir’s mind was filled with relief. Despite the slaves’ lack of battle experience and their assortment of ragtag weapons, they had actually managed to prevail on the field. They had killed or driven off the last of the slavers who had threatened to wrench away their freedom. For the moment, they could rejoice in their success.

Yet the hours immediately following a battle are never easy, and this time was no exception. Three companions of Lindir--Vrór, Rôg, and Dorran--lay among the injured, while Aiwendil was nowhere to be seen. Aiwendil’s disappearance did not surprise the elf. His earlier dealings with Gandalf had taught him that wizards have a way of vanishing at the most unexpected times. He supposed that the old man would soon reappear but where or when that would be he could not guess. Still, it was a bad time for Aiwendil to be missing. Carl was a tough fighter and had suffered only a minor scrape, but he had even less experience in the conduct and aftermath of war than either Aiwendil or Rôg. The temporary loss of Vrór and Dorran was even harder to take. Lindir missed both their counsel and friendship. .

Lindir had spent the past hour doggedly trying to organize the camp. He had done the practical things that were necessary: securing helpers for Athwen, bringing in the wounded from the field, and beginning the difficult job of collecting the bodies of those who had died. But the latter had proven to be an overwhelming task for the solitary elf. Gathering up the bodies of the two children who had been killed, he had carried them over to the makeshift byre, placing them gently amid the tangled boughs. They were too young, even by the standards of a mannish lifespan. Born into slavery, these little ones had come so close to winning a real life, but had been denied at the last moment. Could he have done something differently to stop this terrible thing from happening? Lindir’s mind circled feverishly as he asked himself this question.

Gloomily he reflected that there would be no grave or memorial for any who had fallen in today’s battle. The best that could be offered was a pile of cold ashes in a distant land. Lindir felt old shadows return: ghosts of memories from bitter wars fought in the First and Second Age that refused to slip away. In those hard times, there had been young victims too. He remembered one in particular: a young friend wrenched away from his mother’s arms and carried off or slain by one of Morgoth’s raiding parties. Sometimes it seemed as if the cycle would never end.
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