Bittersweet: “And If He’s Gone…”

Listen to me!

Eruviel turned into the room, two mugs in hand. “Ah. Here,” she said, lifting both vessels, “I got a cider and an ale, not knowing what you prefer.”

Lomiphel threw herself onto her bed and leaned against the headboard. She kicked her shoes off and stared at the Elf. “Whichever.”

Eruviel set the mugs down on a nightstand, and moved to sit on the next bed after quickly looking over the room. “Barliman should really consider adding more sitting rooms.”

Lomiphel just stared at her. “Well?” she said after a few moments.

Eruviel looked back at her. “Well… what do you want to know?”

“‘All that shite about reasons.”

“Ah, yes,” said Eruviel with a nod. “Well, I was not after your father, but the other spirit inside of him. Saving Anyatka was our first priority, but before things got out of control I was attempting to help your father get the upper hand.” She frowned, and looked to the mugs. “He was in there, I just could not reach him in time.”

“What are you talking about?”

“My shite reasons,” Eruviel responded frankly. “There were two in that body of a man. Delostor, and Parmanen. One was your father, the other was a sorcerer that wanted to kill my human sister and use her body as a vessel for another.”

Lomiphel frowned as she worked this out, and it was clear that this was the first time she had heard of this. “My father is my father. He was always who he was.”

Eruviel shook her head. “Not always. He might have been who he was, but who he was was not his true self. He had a journal from when he was younger, before they put the Black Numenorean inside of him.”

“My father is a Black Numenorean,” said Lomiphel slowly.

Eruviel frowned at her words. “… Was. I do not know what he wanted at the end, though I did see Parmanen, the real him when you were mentioned. I do not know where his journal went to, but I remember much of it, if you would like me to write it down for you.” It was not all truth. The journal sat at the bottom of Eruviel’s box of letters, beneath the box of trinkets that held the glass rose and black powder, but there was no reason for the Elf to ever tell her that.

Lomiphel frowned back. “Why should I trust your words?”

Eruviel shook her head. “I have no reason to lie to you about your father. I am part of why he is gone, so I feel as if I at least owe you the courtesy of sharing the little of him I know. Whether you choose to believe me or no is for you to decide.”

“Fine, then,” Lomiphel responded. “I will accept whatever you wish to hand over.”

Eruviel nodded, and pulled a notebook and pencil out of her right pocket. Taking a moment to think, she jotted down several lines before tearing out the page and offering it over to the young woman. Tomorrow I will have seen twenty summers…. “Here. I remember the last entry the best. I remember him writing about how he missed the sand and the sun, and hated the smell of orcs.”

Lomiphel took the paper and looked at it for a moment.

Eruviel sat quietly, watching her.

Lomiphel looked up and dropped the paper to the bedspread. “I do not know what I am supposed to do with your memories of his words.”

Eruviel shrugged. “Whatever you like. Burn them for all I care. I just wanted you to know the truth from where I stand. I am sorry I could not save your father.”

Lomiphel stared at the paper. “You think he could be saved?” she asked abruptly.

Eruviel’s frown turned serious as she studied the woman more carefully. She understood when people did not like to think of their loved ones in the past tense, but not now. Now it was unnerving. “I think he could have been, yes. Everyone deserves a chance.”

Lomiphel continued staring at the paper. “You believe that this Delostor could be removed? And if he’s gone, I would still have a father left over?”

She felt as if her blood stilled in her veins. Is. “If we could get to him, yes. Delostor is dangerous, but if I could draw Parmanen to the surface, give him control, there is a chance that would give us time to see it done.” It took all of her self control to attempt to appear unphased as she tested for the woman’s reaction.

Lomiphel looked up and seemed to come back to herself. “Oh. Yes. Too bad, though. That it’s too late.”

Eruviel managed a small, sympathetic smile. “That it is. While I do not expect it, do forgive me for failing in that. I would have liked to have met the real man, and see if any of who he was had survived.”

“Well, no one can meet him now,” said Lomiphel with a nod. She stood and walked over to open the door. “Thank you for your time.”

Eruviel rose to her feet, and followed her to the door. “You are welcome. Thank you for your patience. Be well, Lomiphel.” Lomiphel merely nodded, and Eruviel quietly slipped out of the room and into the hallway.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She walked all the way through town, and out the South Gate, having seen none of it. Voronwen nickered as she passed the stables, and it took only till she reached the eaves of Chetwood for the steed to catch up with her.

“And if he’s … And if he is gone….” 

With all of her might Eruviel wished to believe Lomiphel had misspoken. She wished to believe the young woman’s words that it was too bad, and too late, and that he rested beyond the veil of death. She wanted to believe so bad that it hurt.

Anyatka... They had all gone to save the young woman. She knew all to well that if the enemy did not stay dead, they would come back with a vengeance. Abiorn, Eboric, Eirikr…. Gripping at the wolf cloak clasp at her neck, Eruviel turned. Grabbing a hunk of Voronwen’s mane with her free hand, she swung up into the saddle, and it took no command from her for the horse to know to leap forward into a run.

They would be all right, she knew. She would get there, windblown and without a proper excuse, and she would find Anya as she always was. The sooner she knew and saw, the better. The others, too, she knew would be well. But she would have to tell Eirikr, as much as she didn’t wish to…. No, she would tell him, but later in the evening after she set her last wards about the two houses, and when she was more collected and not feeling as if a foul spirit bore down upon her. Now there were too many ‘what if’s’. Tomorrow she would take the vial, and find Atanamir, and start putting her worries to rest.

First section is taken from in-game RP, and has been edited for tense and exposition.

Thank you, Cwendlwyn, for playing Lomiphel!

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