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Old 02-15-2007, 02:47 PM   #348
Hilde Bracegirdle
Relic of Wandering Days
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Once the immediate threat of the slavers' was dispersed, the heavy cost of the battle made itself keenly felt, and Carl walked about the camp stunned by what he saw, as all were trying to recover a sense of equanimity. He searched for his friends only to find them missing, or injured. So few were unscathed. But most distressing it was to learn that Vŕor had spent the initial assault buried in the tunnel, while he himself had stood just a few yards away, absorbed as he was in leading his handful of archers. Oh how his mind fixed on the fact, as so many regrets rose to his mind while his thoughts drifted.

But when Lindir spied the hobbit's aimless meandering, for Dirand had by now left him to look after his own friends, the elf had quickly set Carl to work with the others who could still heave and carry. Together they gathered all the dead, along with the shields and weapons they found strewn about the camp. And a morbid debate quickly broke out over whether they should distribute the such items as the dead slavers' boots or tunics. The hobbit shuttered, shying away from speaking his thoughts on the matter. And he quickly left, seeing the young man in whose care he had left his pony Stumps. But the dark haired fellow could not look the hobbit in the eye, for he had lost track of the animal through no fault of his own. And the sad tale soon spilled from him. Very early on in the battle, the confusion proved too much for the docile natured beast, and he had been so nervous that the man admitted, he could not afford to ride him, and so had dismounted. Terrified Stumps, once free of his burden had fled toward the east.

Carl closed his eyes and hung his head for a moment, before lifting them again to meet the young man's apologies. Quickly dismissing the former slave's acceptance of responsibility, the hobbit declared it his own fault. He should have reckoned on the old farm horse not taking well to battle. Frankly, he felt as if Stumps was not the only representative of the Shire to be of that disposition today. Walking slowly back to were the pyres now blazed in the dim light of dawn, he stood watching the flames, as he fingered the stone in his pocket. He should never have assumed any of them would have been safe. Taking out his replica of the old woman's stone, he looked at it, his heart brimming with bitter sorrow. Just then he felt a hand on his shoulder.

“What are you doing with one of Brenna's stones?” Dirand asked gently.

“I don't know anything anymore” Carl answered. And moving forward he laid the stone that he had made when sitting beside a cheerier blaze, in the embers at the base of the pyre before turning to his new friend again. “I had hoped that I could have learned about her and why she made such a stones. Any chance that you know why she did?”

“No, not really,” the old man mused, shaking his head. “Perhaps out of some sadness?”

Carl nodded mutely, and after a moment he spoke again, “You were good Dirand, to try to help those children even when the bones of your arm had gone so awry.”

“Nay Carl. I'm not so good. And is any one of us, when it comes down to it? After all who as else is there to look after me in my old age, but those self same children.” And as the hobbit stared up at him in disbelief, Dirand's sober expression bloomed into a mischievous smile, and he winked at the farmer.

Carl smiled weakly. “I think you are a far site kinder than you pretend to be, Dirand. And you'd make someone a good gaffer some day, though I have my suspicions you'd act all unwilling at the start! You're as soft as a downy chick, you are!”

"Well, you can think what you like about me, today. But don't say I haven't be straight forward with you. And if you think that I'm all that soft, then I think you the most simple soul I have met in a long while. No offence, mind. It is a good thing, by all acounts."

Last edited by Hilde Bracegirdle; 02-27-2007 at 10:59 AM.
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