Bittersweet: Answers in the Cold

The wind of the storm beyond Suri-kyla stung the freshly healed skin of her cheeks as she walked. Eruviel’s pace quickened as she approached the Ferry only to come to a stop at the start of the short pier. Staring out over the bay she searched the waters. For answers? For comfort? Shaking her head, she yanked off her gloves.

Perhaps she should have told Cedoric when he asked, or Eirikr because she should have. Because she wanted to. But then again, what good would it do? Another trouble to have on the mind. Another burden for something that may or may not come. Her cloak followed the gloves, then her wrap followed by her heavy fur-lined coat. The wind catching her braid and the ribbon that struggled to keep it bound, Eruviel yanked off her boots and socks and walked to stand on the far end of the pier. Cold cut through her shirt and lined trousers to bite her healing flesh. As bitter as it was the chilled air washed over her, filling her chest with the clean, spirit-filled air, and awakening all of her senses.

But I will just say this: to ever trust the word of the Angmarim would be a deep betrayal to my people… She had wanted to run after Beth and ask her what she had meant. Why she had turned away. But then her thoughts went to Angmar. What was waiting for her, sought for her at night now that the link had been broken in the fire, and what she wished was still. What she wished with all her heart was still beyond those borders.

If you were alive you could have helped us. Attacked them from behind. You would have known what to do. Eruviel wrapped her arms around herself, and squeezed her eyelids shut even as hot tears escaped. A hundred men, their bodies broken and burning in the fires illuminated the back of her eyelids, mixed with glow of the river of molten rock. This is not the time. They will get through this. Somehow we will make it. We always do, don’t we? Keep him out. Keep him out.

He had been there again, waiting in the shadows of the trees in her dreams, filling her paths with traps. Having found a clearing she had banished the scene, all for the hill, and surrounded herself with light. All night she could sense him, waiting, but he could not get through. Then daylight came.

A warm body pressed against her leg. Looking down, Hano sat on the dock beside his golden eyes gazing up at her. Letting out a cloud of breath in a sigh, she knelt down beside him, and returned the nuzzle he gave. “Thank you. It is good to have another voice of encouragement in my head…. Or look,” she added with a little smirk.

Hano nipped at her pointed ear, and Eruviel petted behind his. “It’ll work out, won’t it? Of course it will. We’ll just beat Tuma… again. Find the daughter, beat the warlord, keep Panja alive… But if things go badly, you and Kemp go. Promise me. Keep away from any fighting, hmm?”

The wolf grumbled, and licked the Elf’s face. She laughed, most likely the response he had hoped for, and kissed the top of his head. “Let us head back. There will be a meeting, and I promised not to disappear.”

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