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Old 03-27-2008, 06:23 PM   #41
Groin Redbeard
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Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Erbrand moved across the rolling plains at great speed. The excitement had been building during the last few days away from Arlburg, and finally he was less then a league away from Scarburg. He was not usually this excited over these things, but the days away from his hometown had made his heart anxious to see the roofs of a town. For the first time in in two years he had known true happiness, nothing weighed him down as his horse carried him over mounds and open plains.

The thunder of the horses hooves blotted out the rattle of his possessions, slung across the horses back. He had crossed the river Snowbourne this morning and rode easy ever since, but his horse had proven restless and some of it rubbed off on him. His axe was slung on his back with a leather strap, and it gave him the feeling of a hunter just about to bear down on his prey. He clenched both of the reigns in his hands for a while before he slowly brought the horse to a stop. Just ahead of him was a great camp. Erbrand spurred his horse on, but at a much reduced pace. He dismounted his steed and led it up to the outskirt of the makeshift camp.

Erbrand cupped one hand to his mouth, "Hello in the camp!" he cried, not quite sure what do to. He looked uneasily as some of the faces peared towards him, he wondered if he had done the right thing shouting out instead of just waiting for someone to come.

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Old 03-30-2008, 08:32 PM   #42
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Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Javan went down beside Eodwine towards the others with mixed feelings. He really did want to do was the eorl asked, but he felt terribly embarrassed about going down and speaking to everyone. However, he did not hang back as Eodwine walked straight to the opening of the baker.

Javan stopped when Eodwine did and cast a nervous glance around. Everyone was there. Dinner had been finished long ago. Ginna and Kara were in the makeshift kitchen, apparently cleaning up after the meal. His eyes lingered silently on them a moment, envying they’re relative solitude, away from everyone else.

“Friends,” lord Eodwine said, raising his voice slightly to catch everyone’s attention. “I have something I would like to say.”

The talking ceased and all eyes turned to them. Javan swallowed slowly. An impulse told him to look down, but instead he lifted his head slightly and looked up at lord Eodwine.

But before Eodwine could say anything further, a thumping of hooves on the dry ground outside turned all of their heads and attentions away. Javan turned all the way about as a man’s voice cried out from the darkness.

“Hello, in the camp!” There was a slight pause from within the tent, and then Eodwine went out.

‘Oh, bother,’ Javan said to himself, and then changed his mind. This would at least delay the ordeal of having to stand in front of everyone and say something. Not that he did not wish to swear his promise to lord Eodwine, but he thought he would feel awkward before everyone that he knew so well.

‘But he told you,’ Javan thought, as voices around him began to murmur and speculate about the newcomer outside. ‘You need to stop worrying about what others think, and you must begin thinking about other people instead of yourself.’

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Old 03-31-2008, 05:37 PM   #43
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There was a tall man on horseback, dressed as a peasant; which was odd, for peasants did not generally ride horses; that was the way of the Eorlingas, the knights of the King. So either this man had stolen his mount, or had made something of himself. Or, perhaps, he chose to dress poorer than he was. Eodwine doubted that he had stolen his mount; horse and rider seemed too used to each other.

"Hail, friend! I am Eodwine, Eorl of Middle Emnet, lord of Scarburg Meadhall, humble as it now seems no doubt. How are you called?"
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Old 03-31-2008, 07:17 PM   #44
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"Hail lord Eodwine," Erbrand said in response, holding up his hand in friendship.
"My name is Erbrand," he said walking closer. "A herald came to my city of Arlburg and told us about your plight. I have come to offer my help in rebuilding your hall in Scarburg.

"I have a strong back and I'm not afraid to work and when the Meadhall is complete I will make you such products that I can make. I can craft leather well and am renowned for it in my home town of Arlburg." Erbrand now stopped his speech and paused for a minute.

"I am sorry sir for my rambling," he said. "I know this must sound strange to you, and I will understand if you turn me down, seeing how little you know of me. I will be happy to come in the morning, or at a more fitting time to talk about such matter, if you wish."
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:01 AM   #45
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"Nay," said Eodwine, "I would not ask you to sleep under the sky another night when we have at least tents here. I can tell by your speech that you are an Eorling, and if you are a leather worker, and strong, we have need of you. Welcome!"

Eodwine offered his hand to Erbrand in welcome. The man had a strong hand, as he expected. All the better.

"Come, there is much going on at the moment, and one more witness to a vow would not be amiss. It will give you a sense of how we do things here. And," he turned and smiled to Erbrand, "we have vittles to spare, for supper was put on the board not long ago."

Eodwine introduced Erbrand to the folk of his house, had Léof take care of his mount, and showed him to a table where food and ale was brought to him. Then he returned to Javan, and bent down to get close to his ear.

"Are you ready still, Javan?"
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:26 PM   #46
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Javan stood waiting for Eodwine, standing to one side to be out of the way and not in the center of everyone’s attention. He watched discreetly as Eodwine greeted and welcomed the new comer and invited him in. As soon as food had been seen to, Eodwine came back to Javan.

“Are you ready still, Javan?” Eodwine asked quietly in his ear.

Javan answered quickly, without giving himself to think about it and feel nervous again. “Yes, sir.” He didn’t tell Eodwine, but he wanted to get it done with as quickly as possible.

Once more, Eodwine asked for everyone’s attention and prepared to begin.
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:56 PM   #47
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When all had quieted and turned to Eodwine, he began.

"Friends, on this first of many days in Scarburg, Javan and I will swear oaths to each other, and you are witnesses." Without hesitation he turned to Javan and said, "Javan, do you swear by your own life that you will never give up trying to become a man of honor?"

"I swear," the boy replied, his face as serious as ever any there had seen it.

"In return, I Eodwine, Eorl of the Middle Emnet, swear by my life to treat you as if you are my son until you achieve manhood."

Then he turned to those who watched. "You have heard our oaths. All who will be wardens of our oaths, say 'aye'."

One thundrous 'Aye!' was spoken by the crowd. If any refrained from it, it did not matter. The House of Eodwine was united by this vow, drawn closer as a kindred, if not by blood, then by purpose, which oft is stronger in the end. Perhaps it did not seem such a grand purpose, raising the expectations of one boy from vagabond to man of honor, but it was a good purpose nonetheless, and would be a good foundation for other purposes yet unforeseen.

Eodwine smiled. "Then let the mead horn be passed around and let us celebrate this occasion!"

Rowenna was quickest to lay hands on the mead horn, and quickly filling it, offered it first to Eodwine, her eyes shining. She said no words, but the expression on her face was one Eodwine had not seen there before, as if she had for the first time decided to twine her fortunes with his own. He was glad of it, for she had seemed cold and forbidding to all until now. She was fair to look upon, he thought, as he watched her move away to Javan who of course deserved a small sip, and then to each of the others standing near.

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Old 04-02-2008, 08:37 AM   #48
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Erbrand shook the Eodwine's hand in friendship braking into a large smile, relieved at the friendship of such a mighty lord. Eodwine then led him into camp with some talk about a vow being taken by someone, but what he said about supper sounded more interesting to Erbrand. He had not eaten since breakfast.

Eodwine led him around to shake the hands of his household. Most of them were friendly and had smiles on their faces save for a nervous looking boy in the center of all the attention. He was shorter and much younger than Erbrand; he stood around four feet tall with scruffy brown looking hair, just what Erbrand had looked like when he was a boy.

Erbrand’s horse was then taken from him and food, along with drink, was brought to him at a table. After thanking the lady who had brought the food to him, in a quiet manner, he chewed slowly at the delicious meal, trying not to attract attention, but everyone’s gaze was soon focused on the small boy that he had just met. In a minute Eodwine and the young boy, whose name was Javen, swore oaths to each other. Erbrand smiled and clapped gladly when everyone cheered, glad to have arrived at a moment of such a joyous occasion.

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Old 04-03-2008, 06:57 AM   #49
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When the women of the house had served food to all, Modtryth managed to find her husband at last. If he had only been talking with Garstan, she would probably would have exploded right away, but seeing the ostler Léof and the smith Harreld in their company, she restrained herself. She greeted the other men politely, then turned to her husband.

"Stigend", she said firmly, "we will talk before nightfall. And this time I'll make sure we'll talk it through properly." Whether his answer would be a protest or an agreement, she did not want to know, but hurried away in the next instant. If he had answered the wrong way, she would not have managed to keep her usual calm.

She was furious with him. The man had obviously no sense at all. She had seen how high he had made Cnebba climb, and of course the boy had been eager to do it. Anything could have happened. And all this only because he has some unsolved issues with himself, she thought darkly, I will...

"Modtryth?" Kara asked. Modtryth had almost run into the young cook. She smiled. "Oh sorry, I was too deep in thought", she replied hastily. Kara returned the smile and did not ask anything. The two women made their way near the makeshift kitchen where the other women were having their meal. The children were also there, eating and chatting. Modtryth cast a long glance to her son, who only returned a half-annoyed smile.

"Modtryth! We were just talking about the leather-worker from Aldburg. What do you think of him?" Frodides asked in greeting.
"I have barely seen him yet. I did not notice anything special", she replied. Then she smiled. "Is there something odd about him that I should have noticed? Or were you merely gossiping?" she asked, looking at all the women assembled there.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:48 PM   #50
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Evening
Supper had been finished and many hands made light work of dirty plates and ale cups, which pleased Frodides as much as it frustrated her to have so many folk underfoot.

With the passing of the sun, most folk were tired enough to ready themselves for a night of well earned rest. But Eodwine and Falco went for a stroll around the rim of Scarburg. The crescent moon shown clear in the night sky, giving off dim light, creating faint shadows here and there.

"This is where I stopped and listened to you and Thornden going on about the tree," said Falco.

"Never heard you."

"Of course not," Falco replied matter of factly.

They moved on, not talking. Falco puffed his pipe while Eodwine was left with his own thoughts. For now he was not interested in thinking much, but looking about and seeing how things looked at night compared to day. They came to the scar.

"It was just after I turned the corner here that I saw those boot prints."

"I would take a look but we've no light. But tomorrow."

They walked farther, leaving the lower land, almost swampy, rising to sand and rock; poor soil for farming.

"Eodwine," Falco broached between puffs, "as you know, I've threatened to go back to the Shire before." He puffed some more on his long stemmed pipe.

"Yes?"

"It's time I was going is all."

Eodwine nodded. He had been sensing a pensiveness in the hobbit, who was more given to idle chatter. It seemed a done thing.

"You will be missed."

"Aye, an' I'll miss the lot of you Big Folk. Almost as much as you'll miss me." Falco grinned.

Eodwine laughed. "No doubt."

"Well, I just wanted you to know. I think I'll turn in now."

"As you will," Eodwine said. "I will walk a bit farther before I find sleep this night."

He stopped to watch the hobbit stroll away, past the ruins, and around to their makeshift camp.

The ruins. Bones. A woman and child. Before he was aware of it, Eodwine's feet began to take him there.

He was quiet as he walked in the midst of the rack and ruin. Though the others had turned in, there was still much sound of talk and bed-setting noises coming from the camp; they did not hear.

He found them, two skulls shining dully in the moonlight, . He knelt down by them and thought of another time and place when he had also knelt, finding three skulls. What man had need of seeing the naked skulls of his own wife and children? The passing years did not stanch such pain. Tears came to his eyes and his belly ached with it. Who were these two, he wondered? Who had done this ill deed to them? Had they even known they were here? What had these two been doing here?

A footstep. He looked up suddenly. The woman's ghost! No, it was Rowenna. Eodwine rose to his feet.

"What are you doing here?" His voice was hoarse.

"I - I saw you, lord and -" She said nothing for a moment. "I thought to see if anything was amiss. I am sorry, I should not have disturbed you." She turned suddenly to leave.

"You need not go."

She turned and faced him again, her hands folded at her waist, fidgeting. "You came to see the corpses?"

"Aye."

"May I see?" Her voice quavered.

"Surely you do not wish to-"

"It is like my father's house after the brigands destroyed it."

Eodwine's breath caught. This young woman had lived through the same tragedy as had he. He lifted a hand to her.

"Yes. Come."

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Old 04-10-2008, 06:06 AM   #51
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The work of cleaning up after supper had been finished faster than Ginna and the other women normally managed back in the kitchen of the Mead Hall. Perhaps it was the unfamiliarity of their surroundings that spurned them on, not wanting to spend more time than necessary in the relative inconvenience of their makeshift kitchen. Or perhaps they were all eager for the rest they deserved after a busy day. Whatever the reason was, Ginna was simply glad that she had more time to herself.

Kara was preparing for bed when she noticed Ginna was still up, seemingly in no mood to sleep. She understood, Ginna guessed, that I'm still thinking about what we talked about a while ago. And she smiled inwardly at the concern Kara conveyed through her eyes.

"Do you want to take a walk outside? I'll come with you," Kara offered.

Ginna shook her head. "You're tired. And I won't be long." She quietly crept out of their temporary lodging, careful not to wake those who were already asleep.

Most of the household had turned in for the night. The first few stars had started to appear in the clear dark sky, and a light breeze blew. Ginna wrapped her arms about herself. She walked slowly, silently, taking no stock of her surroundings, preoccupied with her thoughts. Kara had meant well, but contrary to what they both thought, that Ginna needed to talk, it seemed to only aggravate her guilt and shame. Now that she had confessed her wrongs out loud, she realised even more how selfishly she had acted. And Harreld did not deserve any of that. She should have been honest to him, and to herself, from the start.

She had not talked to him for a couple of weeks now, and she missed him terribly. He wondered if he would ever speak to her again - didn't Kara say a conversation would help? She could swallow her shame if only it meant she and Harreld could go back to how they used to be, as friends. It would neither be easy nor instant, she knew, but it was a journey worth taking.

And suddenly she could not suppress a laugh. Ginna, Ginna, you're turning soft. Before she was given to Eodwine's keeping she would not even think back on hurting a man when she got all she wanted from him. Why the sudden change? Did her father actually succeed in his aim for sending her away? Her father, it was all her father's fault. If he had not been so distant, if he had not kept pushing her away when she needed him . . .

All this time Ginna had let her tears flow freely, but at the thought of her father her very eyes seemed to dry up. She looked angrily at her surroundings, as though each rock bore his proud face. Then her anger turned to uncertainty. And then to fear. That was one downside of growing up an only child, sheltered and protected - she could never be allowed to wander alone. She had absolutely no idea where she was, and how she was to go back.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:36 AM   #52
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Dan carried on walking. It had been two weeks now, since he had slept in a proper bed. He had no mount to speed up his journey, as Drúadain (or Drughu, as they called themselves) were not riders. For one thing, they were completely the wrong shape to ride anything but ponies, which more often than not could not bear their surprisingly large weight.

He had been walking through the wide open plains and navigating through marshland for many days now, and it had unsettled him at first. It was not that Drughu were agorophobic (in the way of open spaces) by nature, but that he was not used to a place with so little trees. He missed the dense forests, full of life, bursting with colours and sounds. The early sea breeze rustling through the tops of the trees and bringing that salty smell to the sharp noses of the Drughu. Now there were the rolling hills in one direction, and festering marshland in the other. But he had grown used to this monotonous grass, and the rare simbelmynë, a stark white speck of light in the green background.

He remembered what his old uncle had told him as he had prepared to leave, "Find Eodwine. He has only become an Eorl recently, and wil be glad of what assistance we can grant him." He looked forward to meeting this Eodwine, and had heard of his kindness, so he was not worried at all when he crossed over the border into the Middle Emnet. He had reached the Mead Hall, when he was told that Eodwine and his group of followers had moved to Scarburg. And now he was there, and the plains before him were lit by a crescent moon, giving them a pallid glow. And now he looked through the few trees he had passed to behold Sacrburg in its full glory... and stopped. Instead of the cheerful abode, lit in the night for the weary traveller, he saw that the whole hall had been burned to the ground. It looked like the work of Dunlendings to him. That evil race of Men that had fallen into the submission of Saruman. He was distraught. Where was Eodwine now? Had he perished in the burning? But as he looked closer he saw a baker built nearbly. He breathed a sigh of relief.

He walked towards it happily, but just out of the corner of his eye, he saw a flash of white amidst the trees. His curiosity got the better of him. He ran towards it, and he saw a girl, crying. He went closer and realised that it was actually a young blonde-haired woman, and she looked like she had just finished crying. He came up to her to comfort her, or at least find out why she was so far away from anyone else.

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Old 04-11-2008, 12:28 PM   #53
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The festivity’s eventually died down and Erbrand was led away to his tent. However before he lay down to sleep he went to check on his horse, Traveler. After he bade Traveler to rest, he picked up his possessions, two large saddle bags, from a man called Léof.

Erbrand took them back to his tent and withdrew his sleeping roll. He leaned against the pole of his tent and looked up at the sky, it was filled with stars and they shone bright. Today had seemed like a dream to him, lord Eodwine was a strong man and Erbrand had not expected him to be so accepting of a mere stranger. He smiled as he remembered the smile of the lord’s face.

The noise of crickets and frogs were loud in his ears and he gazed at the marsh behind him. Not exactly ideal, but still, he reckoned he could get quite a few stoat pelts from there. His stared again at the stars above him and then his eyes shifted to the wide open plain ahead of him; presently his thoughts traveled back to his home of Aldburg.

Aldburg was a large city in south Rohan, near the roots of the Whit Mountains; there Erbrand dwelt with his mother and father all of his life. However, it never felt like home, not since his beloved friend died on the outskirts of the Firien Woods. Being in the service of lord Eodwine was the best chance that he would have to build a home for himself.

He sighed heavily at his own thoughts and the lights dimmed in his eyes as his expression mellowed. He yawned wide, lay down on his mat, and soon was deep in sleep.

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Old 04-12-2008, 09:22 PM   #54
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In the ruins

Rowenna picked her way through the rubble and reached out a hand to Eodwine's extended one. Just as she grabbed his hand she stumbled and landed against him. She was softer than he expected, and lighter. The smell of her hair got in his nostrils, and he did not mind it.

"I am sorry," she said a little breathlessly, righted herself, and let go of his hand. "Where?"

"Over there." He pointed.

She crouched down and extended a tentative hand to the woman's skull; but drew her hand back before she touched it. She balled her hands into fists and held them fast against her chest, staring at the skulls. Eodwine noted that she shed no tears for all the intensity of her expression.

"What happened that day," Eodwine asked, "the day the brigands came?"

She let out a shuddering sigh. "They waited until dusk when the chores were almost done and none of our neighbors were near to see. They came in the dark and quickly found my father and me. He they killed in cold blood but me they took. I think I was their goal, for we were not rich, having little silver or gold. Once they had me safely away they burned our homestead around the corpse of my father. Then they made me their plaything. I learned that it was their way, and I was one in a long line of young women, except for one thing. They had all died quickly. I guess I do not have it in me to wilt and die. I did what I had to, to survive."

Eodwine watched her and pitied her. The whole time she had not looked at him, staring still at the skulls; but her words had been painfully clear.

"How was it for you?"

Eodwine sat on a bit of stone and let out a deep sigh himself. She faced him now, the sickle moon lighting her face, wide eyed and open, and very serious.

"I had been in the War fighting for my lord and captain off in Gondor. When we had the vcitory, I celebrated with the other soldiers. It was weeks before I returned home. I was eager, more eager the closer I came to our farm. But when I came home, I found that home had left me. It was a burning heap, and my wife and son and daughter were reduced to bones in the fire that had blazed. I had lost everything, I had not the heart to stay and work that land. After burying their bones, I left and have never returned."

"You loved her."

"Yes I did. Very much."

"You never remarried, in fifteen years."

"That is so."

"Why not?"

"For fourteen years I preferred her memory to the company of some other woman. But when I was created Eorl of this small realm, everything changed. I need an heir to rule after me. 'Tis the way of things among our folk, as you know." She nodded. "So I need a wife."

"What do you -" Rowenna hesitated with her next question. She had been bent over, looking at the skulls, and had straightened only a little when she had faced him. Now she drew herself up and regarded him with more vigor. "My lord, what do you seek in a wife?"

"Why?" he smiled. "Would you play matchmaker?"

Her eyes widened in surprise. Then she shook her head. "No, lord! I would not ever do such a thing! 'Tis not in me!" She looked away at the skulls and up at him again. "I have been watching you, lord, since I came among your folk. You are unlike any man I have known, except maybe my father-"

Eodwine chuckled. "You are saying I'm the only man you've known, old enough to be your father?"

"No! No! You make light of me." She frowned. "I should not have said so much. I should leave."

She got up suddenly to go. Eodwine did not want her to leave.

"No, stay. I am sorry. Please say what you wish, I will not make light of it."

She stared at him. "Do you mean it?"

"Of course."

The intensity in her face heightened. "You are a better man, lord, than any other I have known. I would not settle for a mate who was any less than you."

Eodwine suddenly understood; or thought he did. But she was so young! He could be her father. He coughed self-consciously.

"You honor me greatly, Rowenna. Thank you. I - I hope you find such a one."

She stared at him as if stung. Then she turned away suddenly.

"I must go. Good night."

She left quickly. Eodwine watched her go back to the women's tent. He thought her very pretty, and perhaps desirable. But her way had been so direct, so clumsy. It was as if she did not know herself well. Her emotions had seemed at odds with her words at times. Most interesting. Most interesting indeed. With much shaping, he considered, perhaps she could make a good wife.

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Old 04-14-2008, 07:46 PM   #55
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From the corner of her eye Ginna noticed a man approaching. She could see that he was short, much shorter than she was, but of strong build. At that distance she could not properly see his face, much less discern if he brought help or harm.

Her first immediate thought recalled memories of Ritun and Lefun. Frightening they seemed at first, but they proved to be kind and gentle. But a mere couple of weeks ago, had she not almost been killed in the hands of strangers? Such an experience was not only difficult, nay, impossible to forget, but it also taught one to be more careful.

Ginna was torn. She wanted to trust the stranger, but could she trust enough to put her life at risk, especially in these unfamiliar lands?

The strange man was coming closer. Ginna felt her whole body tense. She took a deep breath. And then as casually as she could manage, she ran off, unknowingly taking herself farther from the others.
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:40 AM   #56
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The tracker

The young woman ran. Dan was surprised. He wondered why she hadn't even waited to introduce herself.
"Wait!" he called, "Don't go!"
But it was too late, she was gone. But Dan was curious. IT seemed to him that she had suffered a bad experience, which made her far more cautious than a normal person would be.

But she seemed a bit lost and bewildered, and Dan, owing to his race's extremely good sense of direction, he knew that he could help her. After a quick moment of indecisiveness, he ran after her. Now, contrary to their looks, the Drughu were excellent sprinters. They might not be as good as the dwarves, but they were similarly built, and had the same strengths. But whereas the dwarves were heavy and slightly cumbersome, the Drúedain were far more agile. And anyway, even the least fit Drűg could run for hours on end. They were tireless. He used his extremely good sense of smell to find out which direction she had gone in, and then ran parallel in the silent way of his race. He overtook her and then waited just beyond a clearing, which she ran straight into. He appeared out of nowhere, right in front of her, and said to the panting woman, "Hello. I am Daghan-turi-Dan of the Drúedain of Drúwaith Iaur, and I have come to help the people of Eodwine's house. Why do you run from me as if I was a savage Dunlending? And why are you so far away from anyone else in this inhospitable country?"

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Old 04-15-2008, 02:44 PM   #57
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Rowenna

"I hope you find such a one."

The words rang over and over in her head.

"I hope you find such a one."

She lay on her mat, her eyes wide open and stinging. No tears came. They never did. Her breathing was quick and sleep was far from her.

"I hope you find such a one."

She had as much as told him that she wished to be his wife! She winced. You little fool! she said to herself now. For once you thought that it would be good to be completely open and say all your heart; and what does he do with it? "I'm not the one for you. I hope you find such a one." Oh the bitterness of it!"

She decided that it would be the last time she was ever open like that, ever again. Never again!

He had rejected her! That was what it was. The humiliation! Her face burned and she gritted her teeth. Never again!

This was worse than being used by some careless boor of a brigand!

At first she felt ashamed of her latest thought, feeling that it was not so; but she could not bring herself to admit it to herself, and without knowing quite how, came to the defense of her own thought. It was worse because he should be better! He should have understood her more, cared for her more! Bolstered with that thought, her shame turned to wrath. She would show him. She would win him. She would study the ways of these other women and learn how to be womanly and winsome in their Eorlingish cultured way, and she would use her wiles to win him. And once she had one him, then she would rule him. Yes. That would be the way to have vengeance. She would learn to be nice and happy and bright of smile and eye.

She thought about the other women, and their ways. Sleep remained far from her as she thought and planned and rehearsed what she would do, what she would say, how she would act. It would start with the dawn. She would show him.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:08 PM   #58
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"Hello. I am Daghan-turi-Dan of the Drúedain of Drúwaith Iaur, and I have come to help the people of Eodwine's house. Why do you run from me as if I was a savage Dunlending? And why are you so far away from anyone else in this inhospitable country?"

Ginna could not speak at once. She was panting heavily, hands on knees. She had never run at such a pace for such a distance before, and not with danger (or so she imagined) in close pursuit. And now she was to hear - from a deep, guttural, far from comforting voice - that this strange man had come to help?

She felt her heartbeat slow, her breath return, and she stood straight. The man was looking up at her with concern.

"I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have run, I wasn't supposed to run, I thought you would mean no harm, but you see--" and suddenly tears fell from her eyes. She quickly wiped them away. He came a step closer.

"It's alright, you need not tell me if you wish not to."

Only then did Ginna fully see just how strange the man appeared. He had a wide face, deep-set black eyes, thick brows and a flat nose. His wide mouth was stretched into a reassuring smile. However unlovely he may have looked, he had already shown the kindness that lay within. She smiled back at him.

"Did you say you were looking for Eodwine?"

He nodded. "Are you from his household? Why are you so far away?"

"I could not sleep so I decided to walk around and I . . . " she looked away sheepishly, "I got lost."

"Don't worry, I can help you return. But it's some distance away." He led her out of the clearing, back towards the direction from which they came.

Ginna laughed. "I shouldn't have run," she remarked.

They walked the rest of the way without speaking. Ginna did not know what to say. Her companion, for his part, respected her silence. There were more stars in the sky than when Ginna set out - she had been away for a while. She wondered if anyone had noticed that she had gone, and if they were now looking for her. She felt a surge of guilt. They were tired enough without the task of searching for her adding to their burden.

Soon the ruins of Scarburg were in sight. To Ginna's relief, no one seemed to be up and about. She found her voice.

"Thank you . . . "

"You can call me Dan, but I do not know your name."

"Thank you, Dan. My name is Ginna."
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:19 AM   #59
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Everything had passed so quickly and she had had to see that Cnebba indeed went to sleep. It had been an exhausting day for the boy and she would not have him running around when she discussed his upbringing with his father. Now he was there, sleeping beside his parents. His light snoring could be heard in the silent night, as well as the voices of the crickets and the lonely owl.

"Stigend?" Modtryth whispered. "Are you still awake?"
There was a silence. "Stigend?" she asked again.
"Yes?" came the answer, at length.
Deaf old dog, she thought. "I want to have a word with you."

He seemed to recognise the tone of voice. He nodded seriously. "About what?"
"Come, let's go a bit further away. I don't want to wake the children, or anyone else."
"Of course."

They stopped when they were still close to the baker, but out of earshot if they talked in low voices. Stigend did not ask anything, he probably knew his wife well enough that he knew she would tell him what was the matter soon enough, he would not need to prompt her.

So, she asked, rather bluntly, "Why did you make Cnebba climb there? What were you thinking?"
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:21 PM   #60
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Dan saw the ruins and felt lower in spirit than he had all day. He had never been here before, but it looked like it would have been such a nice place before its burning. He went towards the old mead hall. As got nearer, he could feel the dust and ash that was being blown by the wind. He could smell in it the fresh straw from the thatched roof, and wood, and... what was that? Human? Someone had been burned alive inside.

Dan entered the hall, a desolate shell of a place, and saw a figure stooped low over something. He went closer to take a look, and the man did not move a muscle. What the man was looking at suddenly became clear. A skeleton. He was filled with horror and dread. He looked closer at the man, and noticed by his posture and clothes that he must be important now, though it was not always so. He looked like a man that had suffered great hurt, or the loss of someone dear and was still recovering.

"Excuse me, sir," he asked, "Are you Lord Eodwine?"

The man rose. "I am." The Lord Eodwine tilted his head as if surprised in some way. "Strange it is that a stranger passes alone by our tents with so many folk and comes to this ruin to greet me, and yet I sense that you are friend rather than foe, so I greet you. How are you called?"

Dan replied as best he could, "Mīn nama is Daghan-Turi-Dan Warg-bana a ic gelađie ţē in hǣtst mec Dan," he said, trying his best to speak the Rohirric language. He had learned a bit on his travels and hoped that he had correctly said, 'My name is Daghan-Turi-Dan, but I invite you to call me Dan.' It wasn't exactly the phrase he would have used, but his knowlede of Rohirric was limited, and he wanted to make a good impression. At this Eodwine looked taken aback, and Dan assumed that this was because he had never heard a Drűg like himself talk at all, let alone in his own language. Indeed, many had thought his people a savage race, no better than the Dunlendings, or even worse. But the Dunlendings feared them, and woulld only attack them if they greatly outnumbered the Drűgs. Like in the case of my father, he thought. But he could not faulter now. He continued, but this time in Westron, "I come from Drúwaith Iaur, or what you folk call Old Púkel land, the homeland of our people. I have come, one of the last from that land, to help you rebuild your eorldom, and claim back all that your people have lost. And to ask for an alliance between our people." There he stopped, waiting for an answer from the Eorl, or at least a comment.

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Old 04-21-2008, 08:57 AM   #61
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One of the Druadan! And speaking Eorling! Eodwine was startled all over again. But this Dan appeared to be as he claimed. Still, he had not answered Eodewine's question; but then again, Eodwine had spared him the need. An alliance? That would take some thought.

"Then I welcome you, Dan of the Druadan." Eodwine said. "Let us leave this ruin and find a more friendly place to talk."

Eodwine led the Druadan away from the wreckage, toward the baker where there were tables and seats.

"You speak of alliance, and I honor you for it. However, any alliance with someone outside the borders of Rohan must be made with my king, Eomer, in Edoras. We will talk of that later. For now, I say thank you for your offer to help rebuilt Scarburg. Would you like food and drink?"

With that, Eodwine found himself in conversation over a meager repast, for the Druadan did not ask for much. Presently, Eodwine yawned cavernously.

"I fear I am very weary. Would you like a place among the men to sleep?"

The Druadan demurred, preferring to sleep in the open, in a place he would choose. Eodwine bid Dan a good night and crawled onto a mat in the men's tent, and forgot about everything for a few hours.

BEGIN NEW DAY: JULY 9, YEAR 15, FOURTH AGE

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Old 04-21-2008, 12:46 PM   #62
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Erbrand woke up to the accidental clanging of pots and pans. He sat upright, scratched his unruly hair and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. The dew was still clinging to everything and only the faintest shred of light was coming from the eastern sky.

As Erbrand stepped out of his tent he flung his short wool cloak around his shoulders to protect him the early morning chill. The others in the camp were beginning to wake as well, he recognized a few faces from last night, mostly women who were getting utensils necessary for breakfast; he did not see the children from last night, probably still in bed at this hour. However, there was one person that he had not yet seen, he was lying a good distance away propped up against a tree. The man looked shorter than Erbrand was and younger, but more worn and weather beaten than himself. The man seemed to be awake, but it was hard to tell from that distance.

Presently Erbrand began to feel silly just standing and staring at everyone. His gaze was again drawn back to the man under the tree and their gazes locked. Seeing how rude it would be for him to simply ignore the fellow, Erbrand approached the fellow. As he drew nearer he could see that the man was not from around there, it was still hazy and dim and the shade of the tree most of the figures features from view.

"Hello sir," said Erbrand "I'm arrived last night so forgive me if I don't know your name, mine is Erbrand." he held out his hand.

The figure stirred from his position so that Erbrand could see his face. The word Dunlending sprang into his mind and already the what comfort he had in meeting him was gone, but Erbrand did not move. His hand was still held out, but his mouth and fell opend and he stood as if dazed, looking rather stupified.

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Old 04-21-2008, 03:26 PM   #63
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"Hello, I am Daghan-Turi-Dan," said Dan, and seeig the look on his face said, "But just call me Dan, like most people do."

The man who was now known to be called Erbrand had looked at Dan strangely before. Even though he had tried to hide it, he looked nervous. It must be because he had never seen a Drúedan before. Or was it something else? Erbrand probably thought that he was a Dunlending, or something of the like, which Drűgs, to their horror, are often mistaken for. Anyway, he was determined to prove that he wasn't a mere savage.
"I am one of the Drúedain." At the blank, open mouthed look, still pasted on the man's face, he assumed that Erbrand had never heard of the Drűgs before. "We are not your enemies. We are, in fact, the ones who saved your folk as they crosssed through our forest in the War, far to the East. Many call us the Wild Men, or Goblin men, but we are far more civilised than some, bear no resemblance, whether physical or mental, to orcs whatsoever. In fact, they are our sworn enemies." Suddenly he snapped to attention.
"Ok, so that is what I am, one of the last of my race still living in ourr homelan. And what about you Erbrand? I can tell you have only ridden here in the last day or two, and what is your business in this place?"

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Old 04-22-2008, 08:50 AM   #64
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Eodwine

When Eodwine rose and prepared himself for the day, it seemed to him that the ruin was less ominous somehow in the new day's sunlight.

As he walked about, it seemed to him that his folk (it still seemed strange to call them that) were already busy about their tasks, and seemed to be happy to be in Scarburg. That was a relief to him.

Today Falco would be leaving them, and it was important to make sure that everything went well in that regard; and Harreld's smithy would have to be built today; but there was a more pressing matter. Some unfinished business needed to be taken care of.

Eodwine found Rowenna near the baker, helping with preparations for breakfast.

"Rowenna, a word. Come with me."

She looked up, her eyes widening. Her brow furrowed. "I must tell Frodides."

"Aye. Do that. I will wait."

Rowenna nodded and went to Frodides and explained with gestures toward himself. Frodides' hands went to her hips with a look and roll of the head and set of the body's frame that said, "that man!" Then she nodded and said something brisk and not so cross, which Eodwine took to mean "hurry back when he's done with you."

Soon Rowenna had returned and watched him expectantly.

"Come with me."

Eodwine walked briskly to a point halfway between the baker of and the ruin, where not much was happening. He turned and faced her.

"Rowenna, you asked me a question that I did not answer last night." She said nothing but swallowed, her face all seriousness with not a little worry. "You asked me what I seek in a wife. I will tell you. I seek a woman who can give me an heir, will obey her lord, will rule her maids and servants with justice and mercy, will host my guests with graciousness, and above all-" he paused. "Above all, Rowenna, she must be one who cares for those of my house as if they were her very own kin. Such a woman I seek for a wife. I hope I do not seek in vain. However, I will take no less a wife than that. Are you answered?"

She looked at him and did not flinch from the way he was holding her with his eyes. "Aye, lord, I am answered."

"Good. You may return to your work."

She left him. He wondered what she would do with that news. He had meant it to be daunting. Last night she had named her ambition. Now she knew what it would take to achieve it. He wondered what to expect. Time would tell. And he hoped that she noticed that he had not named a single trait of bodily appearance.

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Old 04-22-2008, 11:14 AM   #65
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Erbrand was much relieved at Dan's response, he had heard of the Drúedain in his hometown of Aldburg as well as the Dunlendings, who he was taught to fear. Erbrand's face turned from fear to wonder, Dan spoke the common speech with ease, but Erbrand could still catch a slight accent in his voice.

"OK, so that is what I am, one of the last of my race still living in our homeland. And what about you Erbrand?" Dan asked, "I can tell you have only ridden here in the last day or two, and what is your business in this place?"

"I'm a leather craftsman from the town of Aldburg." he responded feeling more at ease, "I hope to work for the lord Eodwine when his hall is rebuilt, but until I can put my craft to use I will first help with rebuilding the hall." Erbrand surveyed the ruins of the building.

"Well, it was nice to meet anyhow, Dan." Erbrand said at length, "I still reckon I'll see you today, and perhaps we can talk more tonight, I have some questions to ask you about your homeland." Erbrand waved farewell and walked back towards his tent.

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Old 04-22-2008, 02:39 PM   #66
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Stigend woke up with the first rays of sunlight reaching the canvas up above. He heard Kara and Frodides being already at work. He was once more awed by their resourcefulness and dedication to their master and the whole community. Where would the world be... where would we men be without women of that kind?

That thought brought one particular woman to his mind as he still laid down in the ground feeling Cnebba's breathing on his neck and the boy's little fingers holding his tunic. He turned carefully as not to wake up the boy and looked for his wife only to see her gone as well.

Last night she had wished to have a discussion. She had asked rather bluntly, "Why did you make Cnebba climb there? What were you thinking?"

Stigend had kind of seen that one coming. He had looked at his wife into her eyes and tried to get the thing over with as smoothly as he could. This hadn't been exactly the first time they had had this kind of discussion and Stigend knew only too well how they normally ended.

“The lad needs confidence... and practise… and I knew he could do that. Let’s not raise an issue about this… All is fine my dear.” He had settled his right hand on her shoulder and pressed it carefully giving a light smile to her.

Modtryth hadn't smiled. "Confidence maybe. But not danger. He seems capable enough to get himself in trouble - you should not put him in more danger or encourage reckeless behaviour in him."

"But he has not been running wild in the scar without our leave or done any other reckless things - like Javan." At that moment Stigend had suddenly stopped. The swearing of oaths was clear in his mind. "I mean... I wouldn't like to see Cnebba facing that kind of situation. And he has done some valuable work under his father's supervision by helping us pull up the baker. Remember he needs confidence not only of himself to what he can do but also the confidence that the others will have a higher regard on him. It's fine I told you." Stiigend still managed a smile but he was clearly more uncomfortable as he had been just a moment ago.

"I would not let my son behave like Javan has. Never." Modtryth had answered him in a most serious manner. Her tone had been firm and proud. "I know, probably better than you do, that he has the need to be respected. But is there no other way to achieve it than by making him do reckless tricks that will, in the worst case, inspire him to do it again, without his father's supervision?"

Stigend had sighed even if he had been trying to pull on a brave face. He had just felt that he was going to lose this one as well. But he had still made a brave effort. "Don't you think we're both thinking of his best? We just see what is reckless differently? I thought I was encouraging him to do work for the community, to the Mead Hall... But maybe you're right... like you always are." At that point Stigend had frowned under the gaze of his wife. "I'll promise no climbing... for a while." Stigend had managed to flash a smile but was only faced with Modtryth's stern eyes. "But I'd like to see him help his dad and Garstan... all of us... with Garmund. They should take some tasks, easier tasks that is... To foster them the right way." He had ended hopefully.

There had been something unreadable in Modtryth's expression. "Maybe he should help you, yes," she had answered at length. "And as for his tasks, promise me you won't make him do anything dangerous that he would consider fun and retry in his free time when no one is looking after him."

Modtryth had been looking tired and Stigend had seen his chance there. He had promised and they had gotten back to their places.

Suddenly Stigend became aware of a strange voice talking somewhere to his left... it was speaking with that new man, Erbrand. He got up quietly as not to wake up Cnebba and walked out from under the baker only to see Erbrand walking away from the stranger leaning to a tree. He was about to approach the strange-looking man when he saw lord Eodwine coming forwards from the other direction nodding to the stranger.

"Good morning my lord!" Stigend called the approaching lord Eodwine. He was about to continue by asking him whether he had slept well but then thought the better of it after remembering the bodies in the burnt down hall and Eodwine's reaction to them. So he just started slowly towards him and the makeshift kitchen where the women were already getting a breakfast ready to be served.

"So some felling of trees today, right?" he asked lord Eodwine as they were close enough for him to speak with a normal voice.
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:39 PM   #67
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Dan looked around him at the green leaves of the trees, rustling in a the gentle breeze. Even though it looked calm, Daghan-turi-Dan had a feeling that today was not an ordinary day. It would take hard work and determination, but if everything went well they'd all be ok. He could see people coming out of their tents and looking at him strangely, and then disappearing again, back into their tents or into the main baker.

He realised that many of these people had hadn't met him, or didn't even know who he was, or what he was doing here. He would need to find a way to introduce himself. By now it was mid-morning, and almost the whole site was awake and getting ready for breakfast. Dan decided that the best thing to do would be to go right to the baker and meet everyone. And besides, he hadn't eaten properly for a long time, and he needed to sate his ravenous appetite.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:37 PM   #68
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"So some felling of trees today, right?" Stigend asked as he came into the baker.

Eodwine looked at him, saying nothing at first. He wondered how many objections he would have to negotiate in order to see clear to getting the new hall built of stone.

"What would you fell trees for? And where would you get them, seeing as I refuse to let these few be felled that line this property?"
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:25 PM   #69
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Stigend was waiting for the accompanying smile or something but it never came. He was stunned by his lord's reaction, indeed he couldn't believe his ears. Now where from is the wind blowing today? The lord he had learned to love and respect as a well-mannered, polite and open had basically scorned him. But what he had just said was clearly no joke as he didn't smile. What have I done to deserve this?

Stigend couldn't answer his lord. The only thing he was able to say was an "erm..., well..., uhh..."

There was something he didn't quite get. Houses were built from wood to be sure. There were exceptions to that like the legendary Minas Tirith he had heard of, or the Great Hall in Edoras but even that had required a host of skilled craftsmen and even more manual labourers to finish. And there had not been any talk of the Mead Hall been made out of anything else than wood. And what about the trees here? "seeing as I refuse to let these few be felled that line this property". Now where did that come from? How could I "see" his refusal as this is the first time I hear of it? Stigend tried to remember everything from the day before but couldn't recall lord Eodwine saying anything of the sort to him or to anyone else around him that day for that matter.

Finally he braved himself to talk.

"Excuse me my lord... but I don't quite understand. My last day went by building the baker so I may not be as knowledgeable of any recent plans. And I don't need be, I admit. I'm sorry to have asked... erm... uhh... I just thought it would be a natural thing to make the Hall from wood... I mean from what would you make it with us... I mean with these people... us, well..." Stigend fell silent for a moment as he found himself babbling and facing a dead end. "Oh, I'm sorry. Please my lord, do not take my words as an offence as that's not what they were meant to be."

Stigend looked at lord Eodwine tentatively as to see what would follow. Or is he just having too much trouble? Those skeletons in the ruins seemed to move him a lot... Oh my, I should be somewhere else right now... The worries of the lords are not for the subjects to muse about...
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Old 04-25-2008, 05:58 PM   #70
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Eodwine

Eodwine was smiling inside the whole time, but kept his face straight. He hoped that he could hold back a twinkle in the eye just a bit longer as Stigend visibly wrestled with his own curt reply. When Stigend had finished with a difficult apology, Eodwine finally broke into a smile and cuffed Stigend on the shoulder.

"You need not ask fear having given offense, my friend. I have not spoken much of it, but now that the old house is in ruins, it came into my mind that I would rather build a hall of stone, since we have the Scar so nearby. The trees are scarce here and I like them, tall and graceful as they are lining the edge of this land. I've seen the Scar up close and I am sure there are big rocks of great number in those rough half-hills that we could move and fashion as we wish. And once we have done that, we can see to hauling wood from trees that may be felled from the swamps, to make walls and other such woodwork inside. What think you?"

Rowenna

She bit down on the smile that had formed on her lips even as she walked away from Eodwine, back to the baker. She felt like twirling around like a little girl! He had told her what he sought in a wife, and why tell her unless he meant that she might become that one day? She had not felt so happy and light and full of hope since before the brigands!

She busied herself with the various tasks Frodides and Kara set her to, and did notice that they seemed to look at her a little differently, especially Ginna, as if they saw something in her that they usually did not see. She did know that the typically straight face, or even frown, that she normally wore, had been replaced by a smile that she seemed unable to remove from her face. She felt like singing! But she kept herself quiet and did her chores, most happily.
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:04 PM   #71
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"I've seen the Scar up close and I am sure there are big rocks of great number in those rough half-hills that we could move and fashion as we wish. And once we have done that, we can see to hauling wood from trees that may be felled from the swamps, to make walls and other such woodwork inside. What think you?"

Stigend rubbed his thin beard and looked thoughtful. "Hmm... that's quite a task..." He looked at lord Eodwine and then returned the smile. "It seems Garstan needs to do a lot of teaching..."

Stigend kept his reservations inside. They could possibly bring the rocks to the site even if that would be a feat indeed. But to break and shape them with no oher professionals around but Garstan? And did Garstan master that kind of engineering in the first place? How about the stone foundations already at the place? They were made for a wooden building but a stonehall would require much more solid foundations...

Stigend was about to nod towards the makeshift kitchen for a breakfast when he decided to address one of his concerns aloud.

"But if we are going to use wood from the swamps it would be even more important we get the trees to dry early enough. I understand we need all the strong men to carry the rocks but I hope one day soon after we have enough material for Garstan to start working you would assign me a few stout men to go and fell the trees and carry them here... They can dry while we work here but if they wait there they will not dry by themselves."
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:40 AM   #72
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"What are we doing today, mum?" Cnebba asked.
"Are we starting the construction work?" Garmund guessed.
"Yes, the contsruction, or at least the carrying of the wood or stone or what they're going to build the hall of will begin today.
"Stone?" Garmund asked, "Are they going to the scar?"
"How could I know?" Modtryth replied, smiling wryly.
"Can we go with them if they go?" Cnebba asked.
"No. The men have more important work than looking after you. Besides, there's plenty of work here at the camp and you're needed."

The boys gave each other a grudging look. "It's settled", Modtryth said firmly. She was not going to make amends. However, she was slightly concerned if the boys were going to do as they were told. Better to keep them busy today.

"Now, off you go, unless you wish to help me with hauling water? But don't go anywhere far, for you might be needed soon." The boys ran away quickly. Modtryth couldn't help smiling.

Her smile faded when she remembered the discussion last night. She had not said to Stigend about projecting his own hopes to the boy. It had not felt appropriate at that time, but now she thought she should have mentioned it. Well, the next time there's talk about it...

She was coming back with the water buckets, when she saw something. Cnebba and Garmund were sneaking after a strange, stocky man - a Wose perhaps? she thought, not amused - who was probably pretending not to notice them. "Cnebba!" she said in warning, ruining the game. The boy glared at her, then turned to the odd man he had been shadowing.

He looked at the odd man's face, a little frightened. Garmund backed one step away at the look of the peculiar face. It was difficult for the boys to say if the man was smiling or angry.

"Hello. I'm Cnebba," Cnebba said in a small voice.
"He is son of Stigend, the carpenter", Garmund added in a serious tone of voice, "I am Garmund, son of Garstan the Stoneshaper. What is your name?"
"And what are you?" Cnebba asked quickly, before the stranger could answer the first question.
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:36 AM   #73
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Oeric

Oeric lay still under the wool byrchan, eyes closed, yet awake to the early morning call of birds in a nearby hedgerow. Sleep had been long in coming the night before, but had quickly deserted him with the new dawn. The thin veils of his eyelids did little to block out the red light which now slanted over the crest of a small rise in the distance. They did nothing to block the pain which burned within him, hotter than any sunrise. The various wounds of his flesh were healing, some well, some not so well. But he took no notice of these at all. No healer, no herbs or salves could relieve the excrutiating pain he felt though, for it was one of the heart, or perhaps of the soul. Falsely, he pretended that if he remained motionless, still and dead like the stump of a felled tree, the pain would subside and the numbness which sometimes washed over him would take its place. He forced himself to think on the events of the day before, the unexpected and unwelcome arrival of the newcomers. The intruders upon his grief.

But were they really unwelcome? Could they not be, in fact, the unlooked for answer to his inner most plea? Could they not relieve him of his burden forever? Would it not take but one word from his mouth to these ignorant trespassers to lift the yoke of knowledge and responsibility from his shoulders? For surely their leader was a man of some status, a lord or eorl. Yes, one word was all that was required.

To let go forever, though – could that thought be endured? Was not the pain all that was left him now? To lose even that was unthinkable. With a grimace, Oeric opened his eyes wide, letting the bright rays of the sun temporarily blind him, refusing to blink away the tears which sprang up and threatened to spill over. No, he knew he could not let go. Not yet.

Throwing off the blanket, he folded it carefully and stowed it away under the pile of rotting straw. He knew if any knowledgeable tracker had given the ruined byre even a cursory glance, it would be more than evident that someone had been making use of it for shelter. Still, the ghosts of his boyhood held sway and he had decided, even after the events of yesterday, to make use of the tumble down structure until developments might require that he take to sleeping under the stars again.

What those developments were to be, he could only guess for the moment. The new arrivals certainly meant to stay; their activities of the day before made that clear. As for the other one, well, Oeric would simply continue to keep a wary eye on him. Oeric assumed he too would be aware by now of the happenings at the hall. What course that one would pursue though, was unknown to Oeric, neither did he care over much. Their brief encounter a short time ago had been enough to establish that neither one wished to share confidences with the other, and Oeric was content to leave it at that. As for today, he would keep his eyes and ears open and make no hasty decisions of what, if any, steps he would take based on yesterday’s invasion. Whatever this lord’s people would make of the discoveries which lay hidden in the ashes, and which were bound to come to light sooner or later, and whatever action the lord might then take, Oeric knew not whether he would laugh in glee or drown in his own tears whenever such time might come that he should enlighten them.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:53 PM   #74
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Erbrand knelt over his possessions outside the flap his tent, and spread them on the grass about him. He stood still for a second surveying the objects closely before he brushed some tools aside and withdrew from the pile some thin rope. He thought that he had left it behind in Aldburg in his excitement to leave, but thank goodness he didn't a rope would prove invaluable in the days to come. He wasn't a good shot with the bow and most of the animal hides that he obtained were either from snaring animals or haggling the hides, for a small price, from the herdsman outside the city.

Erbrand placed the metal tools, needles, and such, back into his pouch so not to lose any of them. He tied the pouch shut and tossed it back into the tent. He then turned around and started tying a complicated knot at the end of the rope forming a loop. The Sun was now clearly visible in the eastern sky and the whole camp was aroused. Erbrand had seen lord Eodwine talking to a man, that he heard was called Stigend. Erbrand had picked up a couple names while listening to some of the people speak and gathered that Stigend was married to a women called Modtryth, who worked in the kitchen, and he also gathered that Stigend was a carpenter by trade.

Lord Eodwine and the carpenter were talking a ways off near the runes of the hall. Stigend was constantly glancing at the marshes and seemed very excited when he did so. However, Eodwine kept pointing to the scar, and Erbrand guessed that they were discussing the proper ways of building the new hall.

He saw Dan was walking about and surveying the camp. Their eyes made contact and Erbrand waved in acknowledgement and forced a crooked smile; Dan replied in the same fashion and went along minding his business. Two boys soon were running after the Drűg, as Dan described himself, and soon were talking to the man. Erbrand smiled and gave a quiet chuckle at the fearless curiosity of the boys, so unlike himself when he first saw the man.

The knot was finished and he held it up for him to get a closer look. It was tight, it would be strong enough to trap a small animal such as a stoat, and Erbrand was anxious to find out what lived in the marshes. He hesitated for a minute and then proceeded cut the rope into to two unequal lengths and began making a similar knot on the longer end: one rope to catch small animals one rope for larger animals.

He stopped for a second and hugged his stomach with his left arm. Erbrand was not accustomed to waiting so long for a morning meal and his stomach ached, but he would get use to the procedure within a couple days. He coiled the ropes into two coils and hung them on the door of his tent. There would be little time for setting snares up during the day, nighttime would be the best time for him to set them up.

A delicious aroma was in the wind and he glanced over at the kitchen where the women were hard at work preparing breakfast for the men. He tried to figure out which one would be Modtryth, and who the others might be.

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Old 04-29-2008, 03:28 PM   #75
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Javan did not really wake up very late. In fact, it was still early, but most of the others had already gotten up and were beginning their day. He half sat up and craned his neck to look about. Thornden was gone from the tent, as well as the other men-at-arms that they’d shared with. Javan leaped up and hurried into his clothes. He did not want to be the last person up and about and be able of being accused of being lazy and over sleeping.

In a moment, he came blinking out into the sunlight. He stopped to yawn and stretch. As his arms came down, he caught a whiff of breakfast cooking. His stomach reminded him suddenly of how little he had eaten the day before. It still believed it had to make up for his missing the mid-day meal.

Breakfast could wait, he decided. He wanted to make himself useful before eating. He looked around. Not many people were doing any work yet. The women folk were preparing breakfast and Léof was tending to the horses. Javan’s face twisted slightly, mirroring his uncomfortable thoughts. He felt shy about approaching Léof and offering to help. Talking to Léof about helping with horses would have to wait.

He caught sight of Modtryth then. She was carrying two heavy wooden buckets full of water. She paused to call to Cnebba. Javan started towards her immediately, reaching her before she had started forward again.

“Can I help you with those?” he asked.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:23 AM   #76
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It was morning. Horrible, bright, bitter morning. It seemed that so many other mornings had dawned just like this one - unkind, unfriendly, unwanted.

While all the rest of the earth rejoiced in new found strength after a night of peace and rest, Saeryn and her horse went on with weary, stumbling steps. They had not slept. They had not rested. They had only pressed on for mile after mile. The darkness had veiled them from unfriendly eyes and the moon shone kind, cool rays to light their road, opposed to the hot, fierce light of the sun.

But now the sun was back. The day would heat up quickly, and unless they came to water soon, or to the eorl’s new land, Saeryn was sure either her horse or herself would collapse for want of drink.

How was she going to explain herself? Not only her sudden, unexpected arrival, but also her condition, her appearance, and where she had been for the past month. She didn’t know.

The road made a bend up ahead into some trees. Her horse pricked up his ears and lifted his head a little. Extra life came into his step and he quickened the pace. Saeryn lifted her head as they entered the shadow of the first trees and then sat up straighter when she saw the crooked gate. Just as she passed through it, Saeryn drew rein and stopped.

She looked down the incline before her, viewing the burnt ruins of the hall and the tents, baker, and the rest of the camp. Disbelief filled her face. How could this possibly be the Eorl’s new holding? But there they all were. She could see figures walking about, their day already begun.

Her horse caught sight of the other horses before she did. He raised his head and whinnied loudly. Some of the horses below raised their heads from their hay and whinnied back, briefly, before returning to their breakfast.

Saeryn shook her head slowly and allowed her horse to go forward again, starting down the incline towards the encampment.

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Old 05-01-2008, 01:23 PM   #77
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A lone horse and its rider entered the camp. Erbrand stood up and watched as the figure dismounted, it was a girl. She was slim and weather beaten and looked more tired than her horse that had borne her over the plains; by the look of her she had traveled far. Some of the ladies at the kitchen stopped their work and stared at the girl in astonishment, and he saw that she was no stranger to them. Erbrand did not go up to the girl to greet her like he had done with Dan, for he was nervous with strangers and would only talk to them if it was unavoidable.

He left the camp and headed towards the marshes to be alone and wait for breakfast, which would probably be delayed in being ready. The marsh was long, wide, and had many trees scattered across it in clumps. He sat down on the grass and surveyed the long landscape before him. He rubbed his fingers between his hands at the thought of the lady he had just seen, she was beautiful and had an heir of nobility about her. Certainly not like any other girls that he had known, it was strange how much he thought of her from just a glance.

A flock of birds suddenly took flight from the marsh; Erbrand watched them fly away. He was just about to leave when something caught his eye. Right from the place where the birds took flight a young man appeared, stooping as he walked forward. Erbrand watched the man with interest as he began to come closer, the man was tall and garbed like any other farmer in Rohan, but Erbrand could not see his face he was still too far for that. The man had not seen him yet, and tried hard not to be noticed. A terrible thought hit Erbrand: what if this was the man who destroyed the hall? Erbrand glanced back at the burned hall and then back at the young man, who was still trying to get closer.

For better or for worse Erbrand made up his mind to bring the man out of there. He leapt forward into the marsh, trying to find a solid path to run on, but within a few steps he stumbled and lost his footing. A splash was heard when he fell in the water. The figure had heard it and darted away before Erbrand could regain his footing.

“Hey you, stop!” Erbrand shouted, knowing full well that it was futile.

He made his way out of the muddy water and ran back to the camp. His boots sloshed as he ran back and his eyes burned with anger and embarrassment. A man dressed in armor saw him coming and watched him, looking half amused. Erbrand ran up to him and without saying hello began to speak.

“I’ve seen him,” Erbrand began, “Down in the marshes a young man was creeping up to the camp trying hard not to be seen. He fled when I tried to catch him.” Erbrand pointed towards the marshes, and he could just make a figure out at the other end running away fast.

“There!” Erbrand said clutching the guard’s shoulder, “Do you see him?”

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Old 05-02-2008, 09:02 AM   #78
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Eodwine

While Stigend and Eodwine discussed the needs for the new Hall, Garstan came up and said, "Lord, we have another guest. Or mayhap I should say a friend returning to us."

"Oh? Who? Garreth Smith?"

"Nay, lord, 'tis the Lady Saeryn."

Before Eodwine could muster any kind of reaction, a man at arms brought Erbrand to Eodwine. The newcomer looked a mess. And he seemed excited.

"What is the matter, Erbrand?"

"I saw a stranger out in the swamp! Could he be the one who burned down the ruin?"

"Stigend, you and Matrim go get Thornden and have him rally the guard!" Eodwine turned back to Erbrand. "Show me where!"

"Aye, lord! This way!"

So it was that Erbrand and Eodwine were beyond the edge of Scarburg proper when Saeryn arrived.

"He was here, lord!"

There were muddy tracks in the swamp, but little to be seen of anyone. They followed the tracks a little way until they were lost in a pond. They searched the muddy perimeter of the water, which was difficult because it was often difficult to determine where water began and land ended. Both of them were muddied almost to their knees before they finally called it off.

"He's escaped for now," Eodwine said. "My thanks for using your good eyes this morn, Erbrand."

Thornden and the others arrived but did not seem too keen on getting as wet and dirty as Erbrand and Eodwine.

"What news, lord?"

"There is someone out here, but we lost his trail in the mire."

"We should post guards," Thornden said.

"Do so, at your discretion. Erbrand and I need a good washing. After which we shall have time to gather our wits and figure out what we will do today. Not to mention learn what brings the Lady Saeryn to us."

Eodwine and Erbrand left Thornden to his work, and headed back to the tents.

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Old 05-03-2008, 09:08 PM   #79
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Saeryn

Saeryn allowed her horse to stop when they came to the bottom of the incline. His head was craned about towards the other horses and when she drew rein, he whinnied again. Searyn felt a slight flush slowly rise in her face. People were looking towards her now. Already, curiosity was already shoving its way at her. She pressed her lips hard together and tried to tell herself she didn’t care.

She swung down out of the saddle, trying to look dignified, but when her feet touched the ground, her knees collapsed beneath her halfway. She winced and grabbed hold of the stirrup and used it to help her stand straight. When she looked up, she saw Léof standing at her horse’s head, already holding the reins.

“Léof,” she said, a smile flickering briefly over her face. “Give him some water, please.”

With her horse looked after, Saeryn had no obligation or reason to keep her from going in and meeting all of them. She turned again to face the camp when all of the sudden, she felt a rush and a weight thrown at her legs, and little arms encircled her waist.

“You’re back, you’re back!” cried Lčođern. “Did you go and visit Lady Linduial?”

Saeryn smiled a real, genuine smile and took Lčođern’s hands. She shook her head. “No, I did not see Linduial, although I would have liked to.”

“Oh,” Lčođern’s face fell slightly, but she immediately brightened again. “We’ve had so many adventures while you were away!” The little girl launched immediately into a detailed account of all that had passed, beginning with the very morning of Saeryn’s departure, telling about Rilef, the twins, and what had happened concerning them.

Saeryn listened and nodded at intervals to show that she was listening, but her eyes lifted every now and then to look over Lčođern’s head towards the camp. She noticed anyone insight that she knew, taking stock of their actions and their glances, wondering who first she would talk to, or who would talk to her.

But, to her surprise, it was someone with whom she was not acquainted that first approached her.

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Old 05-04-2008, 02:27 PM   #80
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Eodwine

Eodwine took his time walking back to the tents. Saeryn was back. Why? Had she been with the queen in Edoras, or elsewhere? If she had been with the queen, why had she not sent notice of any kind in two months, unless she had wanted to have nothing more to do with them? But here she was. Did she return for him? He was not sure what to think, and was not in the least certain whether he dared or cared to hope. The irony was not lost on him that just this morning he had as good as told Rowenna that he would consider her for a wife if she became more of what he wanted in one. And now here was Saeryn, to whom he had virtually proposed; and she had refused. He liked to tell himself that it had been a matter of timing, that she might change her mind some day, but he had never been sure he could believe it.

"Lord?"

"Hm? What?"

It was Erbrand. "I said, had anyone seen the prowler before this day?"

"Oh! I am sorry. I was lost in thought. Falco, the hobbit, saw tracks yesterday, but that was the first sign of prowlers. Please excuse me, Erbrand, it seems there is a newcomer to greet."

"Aye, lord."

Eodwine picked up his pace and Erbrand fell behind, but continued to follow him, even as the distance between them grew. The man was probably curious about the maiden with the noble bearing. It was understandable. Who would not be?

There was Rowenna, having stopped in her kitchen duties; she was walking toward Saeryn as well. Eodwine wondered what that might mean, if anything.

Rowenna

Rowenna was still full of smiles and the flush of hope from Eodwine's word to her when she heard of the newcomer. None had spoken to her about this maiden before now, but many of the others seemed to know her. 'Saeryn of the Folde,' they called her. Rowenna had asked Kara quickly about her and had been told that she was of noble birth and had fled from her brother who sought to tame her, and had become hostess of Eodwine's house for a time until she had left, for reasons Kara did not say.

Well, Rowenna decided that she could stand to learn a thing or two from someone of noble birth if she was going to become the wife of an eorl some day, and it would not hurt to make a new friend. She wanted to make a good impression on this Saeryn before anyone else could say anything to dim Saeryn's view of her. She was especially interested in this Saeryn, as someone who refused to be tamed; that gave them something in common, it seemed to her, something on which to build a friendship. A stray thought leapt into her mind that this young woman might be a rival for the eorl's affections, but she banished the thought from her mind in her newfound hope for a friend.

Léof had handed her horse off to another, and was coming toward her. Rowenna passed him by without a word. She could see that the little girl Léođern had already greeted her and was talking at a gallop while she paid the girl attention but glanced over her head as if looking for someone. Rowenna walked up to them as gaily as she knew how.

"Hello, Saeryn of the Folde, I am Rowenna. Welcome!"

In the moment of silence before Saeryn answered, Rowenna noticed that she was very pretty, and the mizbite of a thought came buzzing back into her head that here was a rival; Rowenna ignored it and gave Saeryn her best smile.

Eodwine

Eodwine saw that Rowenna had hurried out from the baker and walked right by Léof, and had stopped in front of Saeryn. He frowned. What was this? What was the girl up to? He slowed his pace. Léof came near.

"What news, Léof?"

"Saeryn has returned. She asked for water. I am getting it."

Eodwine nodded. Normally that would be something Rowenna would have seen to right away, but she had not waited to be asked. Strange. What was she up to? Would it be best to interrupt their greeting, or to wait until it was done? Right there and then Eodwine decided that he preferred to greet Saeryn with a crowd of others around. So he stopped and waited about fifteen paces from them, and Erbrand stopped by him. Others were coming and halted also, creating a half circle into which it was obvious that Saeryn would be welcomed. Eodwine folded his arms and waited, keeping a smile on his face.

Last edited by littlemanpoet; 05-04-2008 at 02:36 PM.
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