The Hollin Gates closed behind them, the air reverberating from the thud echoing through the vaulted chamber. Eruviel had no intention of turning back, and though she knew it to be irrational she felt trapped in the dim light of Moria. The caravan moved further into Durin’s Threshold, and Eruviel pushed the ridiculous notion of claustrophobia out of her mind as she looked around the great space with a small, familiar smile. She had a number of positive memories of this place, and she chided herself for already failing to take her own advice.
“Are we going to walk the whole way, or are we able to procure goats to carry us through?” said Eirikr, smirking as his question snapped her out of her thoughts.
“Of course, my friend,” she nodded, being careful to conceal her lingering discomfort for the cave. “The week here would be more uncomfortable, and seem far longer if it were not without the favored beasts.”
And amused grunt was all she received in reply as Eirikr nodded, taking a moment to give the room a thoughtful look-over. Norlin had already unhitched his goat from the wagon laden with boxed goods and he waved back to them as he haggled with the Stable-master known as Fith for a replacement.
“Do not let Fith rob you. He does not adhere to the set prices other stable-masters do,” Eruviel chuckled as the two of them walked over to the happily squabbling dwarves.
“I know how to haggle,”Eirikr replied, snickering at her.
“That is why I will have you get a goat for me as well,” she replied in Sindarin, slipping Eirikr a small coin pouch as they stopped behind Norlin. Rolling her eyes slightly with a smile for the pleasure of the dwarves in front of them she added, “Fith doesn’t much care for the Eldar, but he thinks men are hilariously fascinating.”
Eirikr arched a brow curiously at her but as soon as she clasped her hands harmlessly in front of her and backed away several paces Fith’s face lit up. Diverting her eyes, Eruviel listened as Eirikr battled with the dwarven Stable-master for two large goats. Her restlessness finally settled when a laugh emerged from her human companion as Fith made a quip about her that she could not quite make out. Laughter was good. A long road laid ahead of them; one that grew darker the further on they pressed. She sensed the weight that grew in Eirikr, and he needed to keep his spirits up. They both did.
“Do I even want to know what he said about me?” she asked with a smile as Eirikr led over two tall, thick Moria goats. She noted that he had gotten the best pair Fith had.
“No, not really,” he chuckled, rolling his shoulders as he handed her a set of reigns.
The sable-haired goat with brown horns stared at her with an amused glint in it’s pale gold eyes. Slowly chewing a mouthful of hay it followed her lazily back to the wagon train. The beast was strong, but looked as if it could care less as it glanced around at the duo and other goats. Eruviel almost swore that she smelled a hint of ale on the creature and as she stepped into the saddle a sharp laugh escaped from her. If Falros had been a goat . . . .
Eirikr shot her an amused look as if she were crazy, but then smiled and shook his head as he stepped into the saddle of his own hairy, walnut-brown mount. “Norlin, where is the first stop?”
“The Dolven-view, master Eirikr,” the portly dwarf rumbled as he hefted himself into the seat of the wagon, the springs beneath him faintly creaking. “Ya two better keep your eyes open. There ‘ll be goblins to be avoidin on the way.”