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Old 04-29-2008, 09:36 AM   #73
Animated Skeleton
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 50
shaggydog has just left Hobbiton.

Oeric lay still under the wool byrchan, eyes closed, yet awake to the early morning call of birds in a nearby hedgerow. Sleep had been long in coming the night before, but had quickly deserted him with the new dawn. The thin veils of his eyelids did little to block out the red light which now slanted over the crest of a small rise in the distance. They did nothing to block the pain which burned within him, hotter than any sunrise. The various wounds of his flesh were healing, some well, some not so well. But he took no notice of these at all. No healer, no herbs or salves could relieve the excrutiating pain he felt though, for it was one of the heart, or perhaps of the soul. Falsely, he pretended that if he remained motionless, still and dead like the stump of a felled tree, the pain would subside and the numbness which sometimes washed over him would take its place. He forced himself to think on the events of the day before, the unexpected and unwelcome arrival of the newcomers. The intruders upon his grief.

But were they really unwelcome? Could they not be, in fact, the unlooked for answer to his inner most plea? Could they not relieve him of his burden forever? Would it not take but one word from his mouth to these ignorant trespassers to lift the yoke of knowledge and responsibility from his shoulders? For surely their leader was a man of some status, a lord or eorl. Yes, one word was all that was required.

To let go forever, though – could that thought be endured? Was not the pain all that was left him now? To lose even that was unthinkable. With a grimace, Oeric opened his eyes wide, letting the bright rays of the sun temporarily blind him, refusing to blink away the tears which sprang up and threatened to spill over. No, he knew he could not let go. Not yet.

Throwing off the blanket, he folded it carefully and stowed it away under the pile of rotting straw. He knew if any knowledgeable tracker had given the ruined byre even a cursory glance, it would be more than evident that someone had been making use of it for shelter. Still, the ghosts of his boyhood held sway and he had decided, even after the events of yesterday, to make use of the tumble down structure until developments might require that he take to sleeping under the stars again.

What those developments were to be, he could only guess for the moment. The new arrivals certainly meant to stay; their activities of the day before made that clear. As for the other one, well, Oeric would simply continue to keep a wary eye on him. Oeric assumed he too would be aware by now of the happenings at the hall. What course that one would pursue though, was unknown to Oeric, neither did he care over much. Their brief encounter a short time ago had been enough to establish that neither one wished to share confidences with the other, and Oeric was content to leave it at that. As for today, he would keep his eyes and ears open and make no hasty decisions of what, if any, steps he would take based on yesterday’s invasion. Whatever this lord’s people would make of the discoveries which lay hidden in the ashes, and which were bound to come to light sooner or later, and whatever action the lord might then take, Oeric knew not whether he would laugh in glee or drown in his own tears whenever such time might come that he should enlighten them.
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