Waiting on the War

The thud of the heavy door echoed as it closed behind him. Making his way into the guest suite, Peldirion shed his weapons and cloak in the entry, not bothering to put them on the rack that stood not four feet to his left.

“You’re back.”

“And you’re still here.”

“Yes, sir,” said Halethon as he rose to his feet. “A second lesson?”

Peldirion set into working at the buckles on his arm guards. “No, this was sparing with another knight. A rather talented one, too.”

Halethon did not bother to hide his amusement as he walked over to help his lord with his armour. “As talented as your ‘cousin’, cousin?”

“An entirely different set of skills, I assure you,” Peldirion grunted, shooting the man a dark look.

“It’s not like you.”

“What isn — Augh! Dammit, man!” he cursed as Hailthorn removed his leather vest with a rough tug.

“Hmm, mace?” asked Halethon, undaunted by Peldirion’s withering glance.

Peldirion merely grunted again as the man inspected his back.

“Impressive. That was a well-aimed shot. Seems things they say about the Swan Knights are true.”

Walking away, Peldirion shrugged and stretched his sore, muscled back as he made for the pitcher of water on the table. “I’ve had worse. He’s a good lad, and a good fighter. We’ll be sparing often. Does no good to twiddle our thumbs as we wait.”

Halethon huffed, and shot him a wry smile. “Speaking of twiddling thumbs….”

Peldirion glared over the rim of his glass.

“I’m just saying,” he said, holding his hands up in surrender.

“I know it’s been a while. Don’t read too much into it.”

Halethon chuffed out a breath as he went to pick up Peldirion’s scattered things. “Too late for that.”

A gleam in his dark eyes, Peldirion kicked off his boots and refilled his water glass. “It pleases her to do as she wishes, and it pleases me to let her. There are no strings, thank the Valar. She and I are merely crossing paths.”

Sighing, Halethon shook his head. “You know best, sir.”

Plucking a towel from the back of a chair, Peldirion threw a fur cloak over his bare shoulders. “Don’t give me that look.”

“Your brother taught me well. Just do me a favor, and don’t get yourself into trouble? You have plenty of time for that after the war.”

Peldirion shook his head. “I haven’t let a woman cause me trouble since I cracked Megorin’s jaw those years ago. I have no time for such things now.”

Halethon fixed him with another look. “You told me to hold you accountable in all things,” he said quietly, suddenly not the man’s subordinate, but his equal.

“It is private, and will remain so,” Peldirion replied with a firm, unwavering tone. “What goes on does not, and will not interfere with my duties. And since she is not the fire to refine my soul, I am going to go bathe, and wait on the war that has tempered it.”

Exchanging looks, Halethon nodded, satisfied, and Peldirion nodded out of respect for the man before disappearing through the door.

Bittersweet: Waiting

The energy in the hills around them had shifted. The breeze smelled sweeter, the birds had returned, and the woods had emptied of their unwelcome guests. It was quiet. Almost too quiet.

Having climbed up one side of the manor of Ravenhold, Eruviel sat on the roof, perched atop the the high peak over the front gable. She felt like a gargoyle, quietly considering the darkness that proved a better shroud than the black cloak on her back. Where had they gone? What had they wanted? Most of all, had they gotten that looming, mysterious ‘it‘?” Of all the other thoughts that filled her mind, those were the most prominent.

She’d never seen Orcs that well outfitted. They had been exceptionally organized, and well fed. She didn’t care about her already healing scrapes, but if one of the villagers or people she loved had been harmed . . . But they hadn’t. None of them had.

Futility. The first word that came to mind when she thought over the whole situation. Knowing all that she did, Eruviel was still not satisfied. It all seemed pointless. The smallest thought that it had all been a joke made her blood boil. There were too many unanswered questions; too many holes that made her wonder what was beneath it all. What was it they wanted?

The sound of a soft thud reached her ears. Turning her head, she looked behind her to the far side of the building. Kids. The estate was overflowing with towns people, and she imagined there were more than a few who wished to sneak off. Letting out a sigh she turned back to her watch, and the view. If another on patrol found the escapee, so be it, but she knew the level of danger in Durrow had, for the moment, returned to normal.

Just a few more days, and the gates would be opened. A few more days and she would have the freedom to leave. A few days would not wash away all the tracks of such a large force of Orcs. She hated being in a cage, but a gilded one with room to stretch her legs made her wonder how easily it might have been to break down the bars. But there was nothing to do now but get by till the Freemasons dug them out. It would do little good, sitting and stewing, if further action required a clear head.

Swinging her legs over the side, Eruviel leaned back to recline on the tiled slope to watch the stars disappear and wait for the sun to rise. The spring festival was likely to be used to encourage life to return to normal. It would be nice to have a few days of not constantly being on high alert. Yes, she could wait a few more days . . . .