First, There Was Fornost . . . .

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Eruviel could not decide what had hurt worse; the moment when the armoured troll’s massive mace had struck her, sending her flying across the chamber, or the impact when she landed hard on the ground, her bruised arm and cracked ribs taking the brunt of the impact. Yet, by the grace of the Valar, they had all survived.

Pulling a small wafer of lembas from her saddlebag she looked up to watch her three companions sitting by the campfire in the camp of the Free-People. Breaking the bread into four bite-sized pieces, she rubbed her stallions nose affectionately before carefully making her way back over to rejoin her fellowship.

Anyatka and Canderas were having a quiet and presumably tender conversation as she approached them. “Please, ignore my interruption, but here,” she handed them each a quarter of the elvish waybread. “You will need to eat. This will tide you over till we return home.” Anya accepted the food almost reverently while Canderas happily took his portion, quickly devouring half of it.

Torlach, having sat down on the opposite side of the fire turned down Eruviel as she offered him his piece, though he was not unkind about it. Words were exchanged, bidding each other good night, and the Elf gracefully and carefully moved away from her friends to the corner of the ruined, walled square. She could taste iron as she slid slowly to the ground, biting her tongue to keep silent as pain raced through her body. Finally seated, she let out a small sigh of relief. The ride back to Bree-town would be a trial if her group decided to travel hard. But she would keep her face stern and as emotionless as she could. She would not have Anya worrying over her. Not with Eirik and Canderas also injured, nor while Faethril, the spirit of Aeron’s wife still dwelled within the young woman. Fornost had been a close call, but the next leg of their journey might prove to be a greater challenge.

She could see stars glistening down from above the haze and clouds. Rainion had seen this, so many years ago. For a long time she had feared Fornost, maybe more than she had ever feared the Barrow-downs. But now that she had helped release spirits bound within the broken walls, now that Aeron had risen from Anya’s body and they had spoken face to face, she no longer trembled as she sat on the ancient ground where so many before her had perished.

“So this is what you died for, my brothers,” she whispered to herself as she looked around the area littered with tents, cots, and weary soldiers. The quiet that surrounded the camp seemed to have been well-earned, though hard-won. Eruviel had not expected to find a camp this far into the blighted Fields of Fornost.

Glancing back to her companions a small smile crept over her wearied face. Torlach sat alone, and silent as usual. She still did not understand the man, but in spite of their glareing differences they had fought well together that day. His might in battle had surprised her, and she was grateful. He was brutal and bloodthirsty, but he also proved to be exceptionally skilled and efficient and that was what mattered.

Canderas had moved to sit behind Anyatka, wrapping his arms around Anya to comfort her as she fell asleep against him. Eruviel averted her eyes, looking up once more. The only warmth she felt hid under her own skin, primarily where her injury had begun to swell. The cold of the stone that held her upright was the only thing that embraced her, creeping past her armour and beneath her padding. Pulling up her hood she leaned her head back and closed her eyes. Drifting into a light sleep, she pushed it all out of her mind — every ache, every pain, and nearly everyone.

 

(I forgot to save the rp chat log, so a few minor liberties were made.)

 

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