The evening sky glimmered as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. They were a days’ ride from Tharbad; Eruviel’s friends had made good on their end and now all that was between them and their destination was Moria and the Golden Wood. Sparks sprung up to join the night sky as logs from the campfire cracked and fell in the heat.
“From the few messages I received, not much has changed in Moria since we last went through except for a few more open passages. Let us pray it stays that way.”
Eirikr nodded. “Do you think it is best to return that way?”
Eruviel’s eyes searched the heavens for a moment before returning to him. “To be honest, I am not sure. I think that decision should be left for after we go through. The High Pass has been clear, and should be in fair weather this time of year, but the Beorings would know more of it. Both ways have been safer as of late, but are not without their dangers.”
Eirikr nodded again. “They would know,” he repeated.
Falling silent, she studied him for a minute. “How are you doing?”
“Fine,” said Eirikr shortly. “Just fine. And yourself?”
A corner of her mouth curved up ever so slightly. She knew better. She could see it, and sense it, but she would not press him. “I am well. Infinitely better, now that we are out here.”
She watched him for a moment longer before turning her gaze back out. “I assume we will get an early start tomorrow?”
“Certainly,” responded Eirikr with a nod. “It’s refreshing out here. Both of us can be early risers, and we might as well make as good time as possible.”
Eruviel smiled, and sat forward to fasten the top flap of her satchel. “I can take first watch if you would like. Of the two of us I am probably more willing to rise early, so you should rest.”
Eirikr gave her a look. “Are you certain?”
That look. She took but a heartbeat to correct an unguarded expression before turning her smile on him. “I am. I will wake you in a few hours.”
Eirikr nodded and stood to fetch his bedroll. “Thank you.”
“Of course. You’re welcome.” Rising to her feet, she pulled out a new, freshly waxed string to replace the one already on her bow.
Settling down, Eirikr stretched out on his back. With his hands beneath his head, he studied the sky, snug in his bedroll.
She only glanced to him once or twice as she collected a few things. Rope for a small trap, and the notebook containing the unsealed letter Saffron had entrusted to her back in Dol Amroth. Adjusting the cord that has taken the place of her hair clip, she gave him a small smile before turning to head for a boulder at the edge of their encampment. “Rest well, Eirikr.”
“Thank you, Eruviel. Remember, wake me in a few hours.”
“‘I will.” Setting her things down on the stone, she waited a short time, listening till his steady breaths had slowed and she thought him asleep. Never leaving sight light of their camp, she set a trap on the trail just below where the horses were tied. Though the ride had not been a hard one, she rubbed the sleepy animals down and set an apple out for both of them.
Gathering enough wood to keep a low glow to their fire, Eruviel made sure the man was covered to ward of the growing chill before finally settling down on the boulder. So close to Tharbad she did fear any brigand or orc attack. It never hurt to be cautious, though, so she nocked an arrow against her bowstring.
Letting out her hair she forgot about the notebook resting on her knee as her bright gaze moved up above them, her ears keeping watch. Yes, she would wake him in a few hours… well, several would be closer to the truth. Unless he woke on his own, she would leave him to his slumber till before dawn. He needed the sleep more than she did. She could sleep tomorrow night. For right now all the rest she needed could be found right here in the fresh night air, being near him, and being beneath a glistening sky of stars that shone down to fill her eyes, unhindered by city walls and city lights.
We are on our way, little one. We won’t keep you waiting much longer.
~ ~ ~
Thank you to Eirikr’s player, Cwendlwyn, for the RP and plot!
All conversation has been taken from chat logs, and edited for tense and exposition.