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Old 09-23-2006, 11:46 AM   #201
Hilde Bracegirdle
Relic of Wandering Days
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: You'll See Perpetual Change.
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Hilde Bracegirdle has just left Hobbiton.

This land was hard, and the people inhabiting it appeared tough, like the plants that grew here. Even the eyes of animals, the dim lamps of the night, today struck Carl as strange and rather unnerving. In truth, he felt as if he had lived all his life as a blind man and deaf as well. Surely, all the hardships in Lotho’s day, and even when Sharkey had the Shire in his grip, didn’t compare to what these people had endured for years on end. Never were hobbit families torn apart and children cast into lockholes like this - not that he didn’t suspect Sharkey would have tried such tactics, had he been around a bit longer.

But Shae’s tears had been bitter ones and Carl saw that despite her bravery she had not a callous heart. Still nothing seemed simple here, and his “I’m sorry” had sounded so very thin and insubstantial, against the sadness of her confession. He guessed that it wasn’t just the necklace; it was her brother himself that Shae felt she had lost. What else would have brought about the silent tears in one so seemingly fearless?

Remembering Dorran’s explanation of the stone Athwen found, Carl withdrew it from his pocket, holding it thoughtfully in his fingers. Such symbols and tokens were made for family members that had been wrenched away. For remembrance, he had said. The necklace Shae lost, had held the emblem of the White Tree, and on the stone was a tree also! Perhaps Shae had made it to remember her brother by, or to leave as a sign for him? Carl wondered briefly if she would be angry with him for having carried it away from that place. And he fancied too, that however unlikely, perhaps the brother she missed might have left it for her. And that she might smile to see it.

Carl held the stone out to the woman. “We found this stone near the caves, and I’m thinking it might mean something to you, seeing as it has the White Tree on it. Not as good as finding your necklace I’m afraid, but have you seen it before?”

Shae wiped her hands on her clothes before taking the stone in her fingers, holding it up to examine it in the moonlight. “No,” she said, with a wistful trace of a smile as she turned to look at the hobbit. “Even still, such things are not uncommon. Perhaps one of the newcomers to our group made it, leaving it at that camp.” She hesitated, looking again at the stone. And following her gaze, Carl saw a single drop of dark blood trace its way over the side of her palm.

“You are hurt!” he said reaching up to point out the droplet to her.

But the woman awoke quickly from her study, returning her hands to her sides before he had the chance. “It is not a new wound, but does not heal well,” she stated matter-of-factly. And Carl felt from her voice as if suddenly some great-uncharted distance had arisen between them. Had he said something amiss? “May, I keep this?” Shae asked, unexpectedly.

Now if a slender lifeline had been thrown to the hobbit in dire need, he would scarcely have been quicker to grab at it. “Why certainly you may,” he said without thinking things though, while at the same time trying to recollect the stone’s markings in his mind eye. He could not believe he would hand the thing over so easily, but was pleased to find that he carried a clear picture of it in his head. And so he removed the teeth of self-reproach, knowing that he remembered the stone well enough, though he dreaded letting Miss Athwen know of his gifting it away. Still, he must brave any tongue-lashing the gentle healer might choose rightfully to give, and let her know too, about Miss Shae’s hand.

Last edited by Hilde Bracegirdle; 09-25-2006 at 03:38 AM.
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