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Old 08-03-2011, 07:40 PM   #25
Galadriel55
Blossom of Dwimordene
 
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
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Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Galadriel55 is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
The donkey walked along the wide street. He would have slowed down and looked around more if it wasn’t for Ghalakrìd’s mood and the cumbersome cart. He has never seen anything as big as this city before. It was grand; the white walls shone in the sun. It was such a warm and pleasant day. Why did his mistress want to hurry? And why was she in such a bad mood when the weather was so lovely?

Ghalakrìd scowled at her donkey, who showed every sign of turning around again to study some other traveler. “Move on, Mule!” she muttered with a smack on the donkey’s back.

Now what have I done to deserve being called ‘Mule’? the donkey thought indignantly, but trotted along obediently nonetheless, his feet making a regular clip-clop rhythm on the cobblestones. They soon came to a wide square where many colourful stands were set up, their owners advertising their goods in every way imaginable.

Ghalakrìd scowled again. This was why she tried to make haste: all the good visible spots near the center and along the streets were already taken by other merchants. There was space for her wagon in the farther corners, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to sell half as many things there. People of Gondor did not buy that much from her as it was; they preferred to trade with their own kind. They trusted their own kind. They did not trust Ghalakrìd’s. Yet there was still smaller money when she was shunned off to the corners. If it only wasn’t for these wretched, rude, disrespectful children, these… – Ghalakrìd searched for a fitting description, and finding none, gritted her teeth. Nothing could be done to change anything now.

It begun with one lad. He had dark brown eyes that were unlike any other Gondorian’s. They were deep, but they were not grey; they had a true brown in them, with specks of gold. Grey for the treacherous waters, brown for the sure earth we stand upon… Ghalakrìd knew not why that simple village boy who didn’t even reach up to her waist made her heart feel warm. She almost smiled when she saw him. But then he said it, and her smile was cut short before it reached her lips. Rhûnwen. At first his voice was quiet, barely above a whisper. Then he called louder. And again. He giggled. Other lads and lasses, big and small, came running out from every house, every door. They came in front of her, not letting her pass through. And all were laughing and shouting one word. Rhûnwen. Ghalakrìd looked at the boy whom she was fond of a minute ago, whom she trusted – he was laughing with the rest, jumping around her cart. In this land, even the earth is treacherous. Then came the sticks. At least they weren’t stones, though this did not give much solace. And then… Ghalakrìd did not quite know what happened. Apples rolled on the dusty road. The children stepped on them, giving them no heed. These were her apples. She picked them from the wild trees.

Rhûnwen. It was becoming unbearable. ’Tis the noise they are making, Ghalakrìd made herself think, though she knew that it was not the noise, but the name. It seemed like the whole world was filled with arms flailing and sticks flying and din; Ghalakrìd alone stood motionless, looking with bitterness and a speck of hatred on the crazed children. She thought she would not have gotten away from that village if an old man didn’t come out to see what was happening. He called the brood away, and they reluctantly obeyed. The man did not help her pick up the fruit, not dirty and bruised. He looked mistrustfully in her direction and turned away. Ghalakrìd heard him say to the children as they walked away, “As if they haven’t killed enough of our men during the War! Now ‘tis peace, but they are unhappy still! Accursed Rhûnhoth!” And yet he stopped the youngsters. Hounds, not human children!

Only the donkey seemed to have taken real pleasure in the outing. He did not understand what all the fuss was about, but he was happy to eat one of the apples that rolled around him. He would have eaten another one, but Ghalakrìd, noticing in time, smacked him on the muzzle. She collected all the apples and washed them in a small stream before hurrying on to the city. She arranged them carefully in the basket, so that the bruises didn’t show too much. She did what she could. But the time she lost she could not regain.

Ghalakrìd lead the donkey through the market by a rope that she used as reins. It used to be white once. Now it had the same indefinite hue as Ghalakrìd’s dress. They went past a stand with loaves of fresh bread loaded on the shelf. They smelled delicious and looked so rich and crisp! But there wasn’t the money. Ghalakrìd would have to wait.

The donkey was of different mind. While Ghalakrìd was concentrating on looking around for the right place where they would park the wagon, he took a step towards the bakery and grabbed one of the loaves that lay closest.
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