Moments: 100th post

“Everything’s put away. I’ll start on the molds in the morning,” called Ris as she hung up her thick leather apron and shook out her short, strawberry blonde hair.

“That’s fine! Thanks for the good work,” responded the forge master, glancing up from his bench.

Raising one hand in a small wave the young woman unbuttoned the collar of her coveralls with the other. “Good night, then!”

Slipping out the shop door she took a deep breath of the frigid air, the smell of Bree only partially ruining the moment. Swinging her satchel of tools over her shoulder, Risala strolled past the guards at the South Gate and set off for home.

The thought brought a euphoric smile tingling up from her toes and stretching up the pink corners of her mouth. Home. She not only had one, but a reason to be there.

– – – *** – – –

A month and a half. Mira kept telling herself that it wasn’t that long, but the first night with Rath gone felt like an eternity. She could wait that long. Not much else could be done.

Leaning against the door frame she watched Thamon’s small body rise and fall with steady breaths. For not having a drop of his parent’s blood in his veins Mira was amazed at how similar to the Ranger he was. He was beautiful, the little boy, in all his vitality and willfulness. Even after  being brought to the relative safety of Bree-land, the spark of a new fight lit in his eyes every morning.

The dark Eryn Vorn wolf that curled up next to her son blinked his yellow eyes open to look to her. The small knot of trepidation that had begun to wind in her gut loosened. A moment passed between them. Then the animal closed his eyes and Mira closed the door. Yes, she could wait a month and a half. She’d wait as long as it would take.

– – – *** – – –

The last rays of the Gondorian sunset shimmered and reached across the horizon where the sky embraced the sea. Tossing her soft, blonde waves of hair over her shoulder, Feira’s face inched closer to the ivory pages of her book, squeezing as many words as she could into the last few moments of light. A final burst of pale gold shot across the sky before the sun winked away, and the girl snapped the volume shut with a triumphant flourish. Chapter complete.

The winter had been a mild one. In spite if the brisk wind that washed up the sea cliffs Feira pranced ahead, barefoot and balanced atop a low stone fence that ran along one side of the road. Novel secured in one hand and slippers swinging in the other, the young woman danced ahead to a song only she could hear.

Lalaith’s most recent letter had been sent. There was nothing new to report, but Feira’d thought it would be nice to send one anyways. Two more weeks till visiting day.  In spite of occasionally seeing Lalaith, and her brother suddenly being more interested in her life, an ounce of loneliness trickled through Feira like an sip of bitterly cold water.

Tugging at the empty locket that hung around her neck Feira looked out to the sea. He had disappeared. Stood her up. The few, wonderful days of Lhainan’s company only made the ache of being left worse. He would have shipped out by now. Maybe she’d never know why he hadn’t shown.

Frowning, she shook her golden mane and pranced forward atop her perch with determination. There was no good in wondering. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Humming the secret, celestial tune, Feira turned her eyes to the heavens as she made her way home. Careful to not miss one, she looked to each star in turn, just in case.

– – – *** – – –

The wind did not drive as fiercely up here. Finding a handhold in the ice Eruviel pulled herself up over the cliff’s edge. The thrill of the climb faded as she fixed the thick of her cloak beneath her and turned her emerald gaze out. The night was darker, being so far north, but the frozen realm glittered as a swath of color danced across the obsidian sky.

The freezing air pricked at her lungs as the Eldar took in a deep breath. The sensation was fleeting and she did not mind. The silvery chime of a delighted chuckled spilled out of her. Hugging her arms across her chest Eruviel plopped back to lay in the tuffs of snow blanketing her perilous perch.

Oh, but it was good to be back in her own body! She meant no disrespect to Abiorn, or males in general, but she very much liked her body without the hint of scruff and extra parts between the legs.

The green and violet hues shifted and changed above her. It was mesmerizing. She reached for the notebook in her pocket to make out a sketch for Anya, but stopped. She reached a second time for it but stopped again, even though she’d gotten so far as to have the notebook in her hands.

Eirikr’s letter could wait. Every word she wrote him felt burdened; the beauty lost in the black and white of her parchment. If only he were here to watch with her. She didn’t need any words spoken, nor small touches, though she would not protest the latter. No, she only wanted his company, and the quiet understanding that might have been shared between them, looking out over the crystal wonderland that was Forochel.

Fitting the book back into her pocket Eruviel stood on the precipice and let down her hair. She allowed the bitter, rising wind to wash over her as the silken swirls of lights swam and danced to a distant tune she could just make out. This land was beautiful. While missing an audience of two, the moment seemed perfect. And it stretched on and up, as infinite as the vastness above her.

In Exchange


Eloir waited patiently as Eruviel fit the bridle over his ears. The destrier had been unusually still the whole time she had packed her saddle bags. Fitting the reigns over the pommel of her saddle the elf stopped for a moment, looking down to her delicate hands as she balled them up into fists. The faintest tremble took over her hands, and the muscles in her arms grew weak. She had one more thing to do before she left, and by Orome she prayed that she was doing the right thing.

“Wait for me, my friend,” she whispered, smoothing a hand down the dark grey neck of her horse. Shifting the bow on her back she turned and strode down the path to the road. Every step that brought her closer to the square of Glaston was a tug to straighten her high, open V’d collar, a brush at her braid, a deep breath that sent a solemn and confident air swirling about her. Crossing over the bridge she could not help it as her shoulders sunk as the young boy came into view. His new mother walked away, arms hugged to herself. Eruviel had spoken to her briefly the day before, and though she had given no details she knew Amiraen understood.

“You must be Thamon,” she said evenly as she approached. Eruviel ignored the knot that rose in her chest. Though he lacked Daran’s amber eyes she could see the same conviction that lingered behind the storm of emotions on his face.

“Yes. You are Miss Eruviel, then?” he asked quietly, dipping his head.

Eruviel studied the boy with a somber expression as she stopped. “I am, young one,” she said as she offered him the most graceful of curtseys in spite of the blades fixed on her hips. “I wish we could have met under happier of circumstances.”

Thamon nodded slowly as he walked towards her with caution. Extending an arm to her he offered her a knife. It had been one of Daran’s. He closed his eyes, his lower lip quivering. “Please, I took one of yours. . . and I wish for you to take my life in exchange.”

Eruviel’s eyes brimmed with moisture as she took the knife. Resting a hand softly on his shoulder she nodded. “If that is what you wish.”

The boy sucked in a sharp breath. “I-I am sorry.”

Studying him a moment longer she turned and motioned back the way she had came. “Walk with me?”

Thamon flinched when she touched his shoulder and slowly nodded, following her quietly with his head hung low. “Yes, Miss. Eruviel,” he whispered as he stayed close to her.

Eruviel strolled forward at a leisurely pace as she lead the boy down the street. “How is your mother coping with your wishes?” she asked, her tone both sad and sweet.

Thamon shook his head slowly. “She did not agree. . . but my decisions are my own. I took something from you, and I can never give it back.” A tear escaped down his cheek, the sight of it planting a pang of guilt that slowly grew in her gut.

Eruviel glanced down to him with an indecipherable look. “It is a great loss. Killing can become so easy,” she spoke quietly, “until you realize that life is the most precious thing one has.” Turning to head up the path to her large, secluded yard she nodded to him. “How old are you, Thamon?”

The boy looked back up at her, the tear betraying his steel mask of emotions. “I am nine; would be ten in a couple weeks.” He looked around the yard a small smile forming on his face at the near haven-like home . . . . But he remembered where he was, and why he was there, and the smile quickly faded. “J-Just do it Miss Eruviel.”

Eruviel stopped in the shadow of the path, the moonlight reflecting in her eyes. “Do you know who Daran was?” she asked as she turned to face the lad.

Thamon nodded slowly. “I know a lot about him. I was forced to follow him for awhile.” He stared up at her. “Miss Eruviel . . . I don’t want to be rude.” Another tear followed the path of the first as his dark blue eyes searched hers. “Take my life. I don’t want to be here anymore. Please,” he whispered. “All I can think about is the day I loosed that arrow.”

Eruviel turned her head to peer down at him. “Very well, Thamon. Kneel,” she said as she unwrapped the dagger he had handed her, letting the cloth drop as she inspected the blade.

Thamon stared at Eruviel for a moment before bowing his head. “As you wish,” he whispered quietly as he fell to his knees. Looking up proudly even as tears poured down his face, the boy locked his gaze on hers. “Do it.”

Eruviel slowly lowered herself to her knees, and putting one hand on Thamon’s shoulder set the tip of the blade against his side. Looking him in the eyes she whispered, “Thamon Thranuin, son of Arathier and Amiraen, I hereby pass judgement on you.”

Thamon stared at her with a hardened look, flinching again as she pressed the knife against him. Taking in a ragged breath he waited, nearly motionless for her to end things.

Eruviel ‘s expression remained solemn and almost mournful. “And so, for having slain the warlord Daran, captain with the Free People in Angmar in an act of self preservation, and without malice . . . do give you mercy. You are forgiven, Thamon.”

Thamon stared at her and shook his head. “No!” he shouted miserably, his hands grabbing at her’s that held the knife. “I deserve to be punished! I am a monster. I am no better than anyone in Angmar.” His jaw trembled. His whole body trembled. “I don’t deserve it.”

Eruviel’s armed hand did not budge as her eyes narrow. “Daran was born the son of an Angmarim captain. Do you know how many good men and women he had killed by the time he was your age? He struggled with the guilt and memories for years, but he vowed to be a better man than those who had trapped him in that world.” She tucked a crooked finger of her free hand under his chin. “You did not kill him because you wanted him dead, Thamon. The only one punishing you is yourself. Forgive yourself and live in his memory. Daran was a hard man, but a good man, and strong. He understood.”

The boy’s chest heaved and a sob clawed up to escape his throat. Clinging to her Thamon collapsed forward, burying his face against her shoulder. “I-I’m no better . . . I’m no better.” he muttered as he cried. “I-I’m so-orry, Miss. Eruviel. I-I never meant t-to. I didn’t want to!” he shouted.

Eruviel let the dagger fall from her hand and she wrapped her arms around the boy, drawing him onto her lap as they sat on the path. “It’s alright, Thamon,” she said quietly as he wept. “You’ve just showed more honor than many do in their lifetimes. You are a good boy, and you’ll be a great man,” she whispered as she smoothed her hand over his dark haired head. “I am sure of it.”


(All dialogue taken from in-game RP and edited for tense and exposition.)

Remembering: Refuge

Red Sky

Nearly every light in Durrow had been blown out for the night as Eruviel made her way down the cobbled path. A crisp wind moved through the bare branches above her, foretelling the coming of snow. She stopped at the gate to the Tenorbekk cottage, second thoughts flying through her mind. You should go home. You were fine before; you can be fine now. The house was dark; a small refuge on the side of Ruby Lake, and her eyes drifted for a moment to the wagon. No. What would they think if any of them walked out in the morning to find her sleeping in the bed of the wagon?

She had been having a lovely week. Several commissions sat in her pocket, Arylieth had insisted on stealing all her dresses to mend and touch up, and no one had died. A far better week than that of the ones prior to Evendim. And then as she had just ordered her first cider in weeks, Arathier had appeared beside her.

Eruviel forced her feet to work as she walked slowly into the yard, pulling her bow and sword belt off before she reached the front steps. She waited there on the stoop, her hand resting on the door handle, staring at the wooden door in the dark. The last time she had shown up like this Anya had been awake, and the elf had slipped in through the young woman’s window. Eirikr had reprimanded her for that later, telling her to used the front door next time. Eirikr.

Turning the door nob she slipped inside the house, the only sounds within being the sleeping breaths of the three Tenorbekks. Eruviel quietly closed the door behind her, careful to have not let in too much of a draft, and she silently set her things down on the rug. The small front room was warm. She had not realized how cold she had gotten on the walk from town. Glancing over to the slumbering forms of Abbi and Eirikr, Eruviel tip-toed the few steps over to the couch, snagged a folded blanket and laid down across the cushions, hiding her face in her arms.

We found him, Eru. We know who killed Daran . . . He wants to meet you. Could you, please . . . .

The news had shot through her like a bolt of electricity. She had tried to move past it. Why did he have to tell her? Why could he have not just let her be? Evendim had come at the perfect time. It had forced Daran’s death, and the murders she and her neighbor had stumbled upon out of her mind. No mourning or worry about the troubles in Bree-land; it was just Anya, just Abbi, just Eirikr. But Arathier had found her tonight.

He had told her that one of the strongest men she’d known had been killed by a child. While she felt like laughing, hot tears rimmed her eyes. Daran had been right in his letter. It really was strangely poetic. But now Arathier and Mira had the kid . . . and the kid wanted her to take his life for what he’d done. Just a child; no older than ten. It reminded her of the broken bits inside of her. It reminded her of the brokenness of Angmar. What would she do when she met the boy who had grown up in so much anger and hate, and now desired his judgement to come from her hand? Maybe, she thought, that what she feared most was that she would see Daran in the boy, as he had been all those year ago.

A pain twisted in her chest as she pulled out her hair ribbon and wrapped the blanket around her. She had promised to see him. To talk to the boy they called ‘Thamon.’ But what could she say? She knew what Daran would say . . . and that was probably the best place to start.

One of the boys rolled over in their beds, and Eruviel froze, not wanting to make any more noise than she already had. After a moment passed she found a small pillow and hugged it beneath her head. A tear escaped out of the corner of her eye. She should have gone home. Home was safe, and most of the time she enjoyed the quiet, but not tonight. She feared if she went home tonight she wouldn’t come out for days. She couldn’t count on Exio noticing her absence and breaking into her home again to force her into the sunlight.

No. She had work in the morning. Just tonight she would rest on the couch till twilight, then she would sneak out again. She could be strong tomorrow. She would give Ris swordsmanship lessons, and hunt and be back in time to make lunch. She had tomorrow to smile and be all right, and to work and return to some resemblance of a routine. But she didn’t want to be all right; not tonight. She didn’t want to fall prey to loneliness, and the despairing memories that came with it. So Eruviel curled up on the Tenorbekk couch and drifted off to sleep on the tear-stained pillow, dreaming of not so distant people and and very distant places.