Heat from the ovens below his attic room seeped through the cracks between the aged floorboards. Even at such an early hour, before the first twinkling of dawn brushed against the dark did only the Watch and a handful of yawning tradesmen wander the cobbled streets. His few things shoved into a weatherproofed pack, and borrowed linens left folded on the foot of the straw mattress, Ahiga quietly stepped out into the cold dark.
The warmth that had sunk into him from the stark living quarters was slowly pulled from his skin and clothing as he walked. Thin lips twisting, he welcomed the uncomfortable bite of the chilly air. Ahiga did not look to the trinket shop of the crazed woman, nor did he look to the quiet garden that, in the past months, he had found himself frequenting, if only in vain hope.
What was hope, but futility? He told himself he felt nothing. That feeling was weakness. He had not come to Bree-land to live in a warm attic and deliver mail for the witless flocks of Eriador. But his weeks of not caring turned into months of loneliness as he felt a fresh bitterness blossom deep in his chest. He had let himself get ensnared by the dark smile and verdant gaze that saw right through his pitiful charade only to wake up alone.
Swiping his mess of black hair back out of his eyes, Ahiga paid no heed to the few familiar faces he passed on his way to the South Gate. The revenge he had waited for so long had crumbled into aimless anger not long after the morning he had woken up alone. He had been so close, and he knew, he KNEW that the Elf had known he was there. Waiting for her in the dark with a poisoned blade and her name as a curse upon his lips, the Elf had stopped at the top of the path leading to the cabin beside the lake. She had stood there in silence, gazing down to the home of people who loved her, and her silent presence waiting patiently for Ahiga to do what he’d meant to overwhelmed him.
He hated her, hated her so much because he had to hate someone. And he had let her go. It would have meant nothing, taking her life then, and the next day she was gone — gone with purpose, just like the rest. He was empty, and aimless, and every child’s laugh, every whisper of a garden snake in the fields, and sweet summer rain fed into the anger that burned deep within his bones.
Ahiga did not stop as he reached the edge of the woods. He did not look to the trees where Leuca often lingered, or the gates of Durrow in the distance. He was going someplace, far away from Angmar, and Bree, and feelings he wanted to forget. The young man did not know where, nor did he think on it. For the time being, moving forward was all he truly needed.