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Old 06-16-2006, 09:50 AM   #51
Feanor of the Peredhil
La Belle Dame sans Merci
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Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
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Degas sat in a tall backed chair by a roaring fire, listening to the sound of rain pounding the roof and trickling through the ceiling to tap its way musically into pots. He could smell a simmering stew and strongly wanted a bowl or two to fill his complaining belly as he stared into the flickering flames.

"I'm sorry, young lord."

He looked up into the deeply etched face of the innkeeper's wife. She'd spent the last hour with the boy, feeding him broth and keeping him warm until he fell asleep.

"Is there no way?"

"Unfit for work as he is, we just can't afford another mouth to feed." She gestured toward the dripping ceiling and the patchwork furniture, all comfortable and worn with long use, no one piece matching another.

"But he will be fit! He's sick and weak, but you can tell by the sight of him he hasn't always been nor will he be for long."

"I am sorry."

Degas tried to look through the thick glass of the window. It would still be light had the storm not come. Clouds had moved in as Degas rode, covering the sky and bringing dusk hours early. He'd rode onward more quickly, hoping the storm would hold off. He'd been yet a half hour short of the next town when the rain began to pour in slanting sheets. The road flooded with small rivers of mud from the saturated fields along it and Degas dismounted to lead his horse more sure-footedly. He'd stumbled over the boy, sprawling into the muddy road. His horse, finicky though she could be, had remained calm. Degas rolled over, wiping mud from his face and opening his mouth to the sky, expelling both dirt and water with a disgusted spit.

He'd groaned when he saw what had tripped him and knelt beside the boy, wiping mud from him as best he could, being himself covered. He'd been breathing, but he was cold, and his breath came short. Degas had given him a mouthful or two of fresh water before tying him to his horse. They'd walked for twenty minutes in the pouring rain before finding a small cottage with lit windows.

"Ye'll find The Roadside yonder, down that road a bit." Degas had followed the direction in which the old man's finger pointed, turning off of the main road and walking through ankle deep puddles for a half mile or so before finding the rickety inn. He'd hoped to find lodging and food for the night... though he was only an hour or two from Farlen's lands, the weather was nowhere near passable for travel. The only light on the roads came from flickering lightening and the ditches were treacherous, running heavily with water and plant debris. He would continue on in the morning after finding a caretaker for the boy. Or so he had hoped.

Now... the innkeeper and his wife had discussed it at length. They couldn't keep the boy on and no-one in the area had the means for it any more than they did.

He'll have to come... but he can't ride. Degas considered the implications. He could not, in good conscience, leave the boy to fend for himself. He could not even leave him, sick and helpless, with money in his pocket and call that passable help. It was his duty to help and protect those who had need... Degas wondered at the boy's story; why he had been travelling alone, how he had fallen sick, how long he had been on the road before Degas had found him. No, the boy needed help and Degas could offer it.

Eodwine would understand the delay... he hoped.

Last edited by Feanor of the Peredhil; 06-16-2006 at 07:07 PM.
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