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Old 03-13-2004, 12:58 PM   #221
Amanaduial the archer
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On the first floor of one of the houses, Fid was systematically ripping open all the drawers on a chest with little care for mess, whilst the owner, a woman, ancient to Fid's eyes, cowered in a chair in the corner. He tried not to look at her though - from experience, he had found things became alot harder if he looked too closely. The outlaw hummed tunelessly to himself, grinning as he dropped whatever he deemed of value into the sack - they could sell it later. We have indeed been lucky to get a village of ancients... he thought gleefully. And if he could find anything truly valuable, how pleased Vlad would be...

Outside, a shout took Fid by surprise and he dropped a crude mug as he jumped, the crash and sudden movement making the woman whimper slightly. Fid moved quickly to the window, still trying not to look at the woman, and saw Melost stumble away at a blind sprint. Vlad made a slight movement after him, but the drama was not yet over. Fid watched with a kind of morbid amazement as Khalad, apparently seized by some kind of madness, suddenly shouted to no-one in particular, "No! I will be damned before I do this!"

All around the Gondorian, farmers and outlaws alike froze, Jaheira turning slowly where she stood and the farmers gaping. Only Snyd was apparently unconcerned - Fid could hear the tinkle of glass and a small, gleeful laugh as if Snyd had found somethng of value. But Khalad was not finished yet.

"We just fought these Orcs, saving this village!" he yelled at Vlad, apparently releasing a river of pent up desperation and anger at the outlaw leader. "Do you have no sense of pride left? No joy over this deed, over the valour shown? Is your sense of honour and righteousness so dead, its voice silenced by your countless crimes?"

Fid cringed quietly and stepped back a little from the window like a kicked dog. He admired the Gondorian somewhere in his heart, but it was a different kind of admiration than that he felt for Vlad and Jaheira. Fid aspired to be like them, because that was the kind of life he was living, it was the kind of life he had been forced into and didn't know how to get out off - if he could be like Vlad, the leader, fearless and heartless, of a band of outlawed villains, able to do whatever he liked, it would be an achievement, a way of looking back at Jaheira who had scorned him and proving he could do something right. But Khalad was different; his was not the harsh and wicked cunning, but...valour. The word came into Fid's mind, surprising him, and he realised what powerful connotations that word held. Valour. Bravery. Honour. Goodness. Khalad may have been snobby and silent and Fid did not think he had had more than five words out of him directly, but, he suddenly realised, Khalad was a better goal to strive for....

"No longer will I stand idle and watch as you walk further down the path of a villain, committing atrocities that I thought only Orcs were capable of! Are you no better a being than them? I will follow Melost, for where ever he runs to it can only be better than this!"

Fid gaped as he heard the last of Khalad's words, and the things he had done suddenly hit home. Murdering, pillaging and looting, take all sorts against people's will...suddenly the outlaw felt like a child again, crying and lost in the darkness, alone and not knowing how to get away from the beasts that crowded in on him. And the demons in Fid's mind were crowding closer than he had ever thought possible. He wanted to go home. Images of the long ago place he had called home suddenly welled up in Fid's mind - it was not a kind place, not a good place, for it had been, for the most part, with the trickster and fraudster who had taught him as a clever youth to steal, beating him and shouting at him, subduing him to the cringing dog he was now. But before then...what had been before then? Fid had been only eight when he went away with the thief, and the images were hazy...

A smoky room, smelling of peat and woodsmoke...small children, younger than Fid, laughing unrestrainedly as they played...adults smiled at them and Fid as he sat amongst them and they danced around him, playing some game he didn't know the rules of...approval, laughter, kindness....outside, a flag flew, of Gondor or Rohan, one or the other or darkness, no death, no destruction...and old woman smiled at Fid from the corner, opening her arms wide to embrace him...

Fid whirled around to the woman in the corner and she cringed again, but he did not mean her any harm now. Tears welled up in his eyes as he seemed to see in every line of her face the features of his grandmother...

Stumbling from the room and half-falling down the stairs, he burst out the door and yelled after Khalad as he ran, "Wait! Wait for me! I'm coming as well!"

Last edited by Amanaduial the archer; 03-14-2004 at 03:37 PM.
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