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Old 10-10-2006, 11:55 PM   #221
Reflection of Darkness
Brinniel's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Polishing the stars. Well, somebody has to do it; they're looking a little bit dull.
Posts: 2,897
Brinniel is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Brinniel is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Brinniel is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
“I am sorry, Shae. I was wrong. Gondor did not fail us, you did not fail, we will not fail.”

Shae stared at Khamir curiously. She could hear a hint of sadness in his voice, perhaps of defeat. The woman couldn't help but wonder if she were partly the cause of this. She had argued so harshly against his decisions, perhaps enough to turn many of the other ex-slaves against him. It was true- she had been right all along and Khamir wrong- but this was not the reaction she expected.

Khamir spoke up again. “I admire you....your bravery.”

Shae couldn't help but blush at these words.

Me, brave? That was something she always had a hard time believing.

She was surprised at the one-armed man's kind words. Had he spoken the truth? Was she really becoming a different person- one of bravery? As Shae watched Khamir turn toward the others, she realized she was not the only one to have changed over the last several days. The man's face remained unreadable as he listened closely to an ex-slave, Hadith, speak.

Not all changes are for the better.

Shae's focus returned to the situation in front of her as Kwell lunged his horse towards Hadith, Dorran only just grabbing his reins in time. Shae stepped forward, next to Khamir, and listened to what the Rider had to say.

“I understand more than you realize. I grew up on in these parts. We called the plantation the “Iron Cage”. The hunger, the Orc whips, living like a beast….my life was no different than yours. Our family escaped onto the Ash Plain just as you hope to do. Only they never made it further than that. No one could agree on anything; each thought they had the only answer. When the slavers came, they killed my father and mother. Out of seventeen, four escaped. Still, my sister and I were lucky. We journeyed to Rohan and made a new life. ”

Shae's eyes widened at this story. She had no words to express her shock.
"The king sent a former slave to us?" whispered Khamir, sounding just as surprised.
The woman could only glance at him and shrug her shoulders. As Dorran continued to speak, Shae noticed the slightest of scars on his wrist- a brand. She had been the first to tend to the man the previous night.

How did I not notice the scar before?

Shae felt a new admiration for the man. A Rider of Rohan Dorran may be, but was not much different from her. He had been a slave before too. And yet, he managed to start a new life, away from the plantation- even get married. If he could do it, surely Shae and the rest of the ex-slaves could too.

Final words were spoken, and satisfied enough, the ex-slaves allowed the Fellowship to join their camp. By now, daylight had well arrived, bringing with it a bright new day. Shae was searching for a place in the camp when Carl approached.
"Will you be joining us, Miss Shae?" he pointed towards the campfire where the Fellowship and a few select ex-slaves sat planning. "You were such a help to us last night-- we would appreciate any thoughts or ideas."
Shae hesistated, then gave a nod. "Very well. I will join you."
The halfling gave a smile, then hurried back to the circle.

As the woman walked towards the campfire, she caught a glimpse of Khamir and came to a halt.
"Do you not intend to join in?" she questioned, gesturing at the Fellowship.
The one-armed man gave a snort. "I was not invited, like you."

Shae stared hard at Khamir, frowning. Was the man who had led the ex-slaves all these years- the one who had kept them alive- simply going to give up and pass the torch to someone else?
"You are no failure, if that's what you think," she said to him. "You made a mistake- we all do. There are still those who believe in you. I do. Come join us by the circle. You say we will not fail. Then come, and see to it that we don't. For years we have relied on your leadership- and even with the Fellowship here, we still need you." Shae paused, breaking into a warm smile. "Right now, you may see yourself out of place. But do not think for one second you can steal my role as outcast." The woman turned around and found a seat among the Fellowship, between Vror and Beloan. She only hoped Khamir would follow.
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