Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Adventures of Elladan's Outriders -- Episode 33.2

Return to Evendim

Sterday, 14th of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
Thorenhad, Bruinen Gorges, the Trollshaws
The Northern Bree-fields
We were awoken in the early hours by a drenching downpour and had to seek what shelter we could under a rocky outcropping among the boulders of the High Moor. This did little good thanks to the great wind which drove the rain right into us so that, although the tempest eventually passed to the southwest, we were all soaked and miserable. Worse still, the Sun never came out to warm our stiff bodies but stayed hidden behind those beastly clouds which had descended on us yesterday morning. I hope I do not develop a cold from all of this maltreatment.

We crossed the Bruinen river around noon then tried to make up for the time we had lost from cowering under a rock all morning. My cold legs seemed to drag like lead, but we managed to reach the Elf-camp of Thorenhad just after sunset. The evening was chilly and cheerless as the place was uninhabited and a biting north-wind refused to let us sleep. There is no sign of Elladan or Elrohir.

Sunday, 15th of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
Barachen's Camp, Somewhere in the Trollshaws

The sneezing woke me today: my own sneezing. True to my usual luck, I have come down with a head-cold thanks to walking all of yesterday in wet clothing under the loving caress of a winter breeze. Nephyn wanted to make me some hot soup for breakfast, but both Gaelira and Lagodir insisted we had lost precious hours yesterday and could not afford the delay.

We followed the Road west through the gorges and into the woods. Nothing of note happened except we had to continually call Lagodir back or catch him up: the Man keeps getting ahead of us as if he's being driven by a whip. No doubt he's just anxious to get back to Tinnudir where his kinsmen are struggling to hold back the lackeys of Angmar, but we can only go so fast. My aching body won't let me go much faster than a weary stroll.

We're camping at the outpost kept by the Elf Barachen tonight. He gave me some herbs for my tea which cleared my head well enough that I feel I can get to sleep. I normally have no hope of dropping off if I can't breathe through my nose properly.

Monday, 16th of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
Ost Guruth, the Lone-lands

I felt no better today than I did yesterday, despite Barachen's herbal tea. Apparently the Elves can cure all manner of sorcerous hexes and wraith-spells that freeze the body and enslave the soul, but no one can cure a stuffy nose. Typical.

Anyway, we crossed the Last Bridge within a couple of hours after setting out from Barachen's Camp. It was a long, boring march from there to Ost Guruth and I have as little to say about the westward journey as I did when we had passed eastward by the same road many days ago. The only good news was my head began to clear a little and the Eglain (as the folk who live in the Lone-lands call themselves, you may remember) welcomed us back with open arms. Apparently things had improved in those parts substantially since our escapades with Narhuel way back when, and they were most grateful toward us for it. I was plied with various medicines and given all of the hot onion soup I could eat. And yes, since I know you are wondering, Dear Reader, the onion soup was indeed made with green onions, just as I said it would be! Even Lagodir cracked a smile when I told him this. It might have been the first time I've seen him mirthful since before we left Rivendell.

Trewsday, 17th of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
Somewhere in the Lone-lands

I haven't the foggiest idea where we are other than knowing we are headed in the right direction. Ever since we left Ost Guruth at dawn we've been trudging westward. While the land has been slowly marching by it seems as if we're going nowhere: everything looks just as bleak and bare as it did twelve hours ago! The only bit of good news is my cold has pretty much cleared up, so I should sleep well tonight. Lagodir wanted to continue walking well into the night hours, but the rest of us out-voted him on the matter.

Hevensday, 18th of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
The Forsaken Inn, the Lone-lands

Does this place never change? I would swear the exact same people are still here in this rickety old building as when we last passed this way which, according to my journal, was exactly three weeks ago! There was no room for us so we slept out-of-doors, but honestly I didn't mind: I'd rather not think what sorts of vermin might be infesting the bed-rooms of this establishment.

Before you ask: No, there were no drinking-contests between any members of the Company.

Highday, 19th of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
The Southern Bree-fields, Bree-land

It was good to see Bree-town again, even if it was only briefly and mostly from without. Gaelira would not stand with us putting up at the Inn for an evening out of fear that our movement back toward Evendim might be noticed and reported, so we made camp instead. We still had to go into town to obtain supplies, but we left that to Lagodir and Drodie, who would stand much less chance of being recognized by anyone. I did my best to imagine myself reclining at ease in the Pony, which was easier than usual since the weather was quite pleasant today.

Sterday, 20th of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
The Northern Bree-fields, Bree-land

The weather continued to co-operate today, although I'm beginning to think whatever battles may be going on at Annuminas might be well over by the time we ever get back there. Once again we were not allowed to rest within the walls of the town (Trestlebridge) so as to keep our position a secret. I have a new pouch-full of tobacco thanks to Drodie's trip to the Bree-market yesterday, so I am content. Lagodir is becoming noticeably irritable and keeps urging us to make speed. He should try being three-and-a-half feet tall and on a cross-country march sometime, especially when everyone else is nearly twice your size.

Sunday, 21st of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
Torogethir's Camp, at the Edges of Evendim

We passed swiftly and silently through Trestlebridge in the early hours of the morning today so as not to make a stir. From there it was several hours of steady marching north up the Greenway then into the Fields of Fornost. That place was still dire and sickly, but it was also quiet and did not seem so threatening. We passed through unhindered, although I felt we were being watched the whole way.

We reached Torogethir's campsite well after sundown, for Lagodir is constantly pressing us to move farther and faster. Tempers have been flaring a bit today as all of us are becoming more than a little road-weary. I'm glad to be finally going to sleep.

Monday, 22nd of Solmath, Year 1418 Shire-reckoning
The Island of Tinnudir, Evendim

It was a long trek from Torogethir's camp to Tinnudir, but under Lagodir's Lash (as Nephyn and I have begun calling the Gondorian's incessant demands to hurry) we covered the entire distance in a single day. When we finally reached the Rangers' camp at dusk we found it in a very different state than when we were last here: everyone was grim and quiet. Calenglad, their leader, greeted us with kind words, but nary a smile ever crossed his lips during the entire exchange. The situation in Annuminas was apparently quite bad, and we resolved to go to the front lines first thing in the morning. Gaelira also asked whether she might still find Mallacai on the island, but Calenglad shook his head.

"The Elves left some time ago," he said. "They proved very capable warriors when they joined us in forays against the Angmarim, I'll not deny it, but there were not enough of them. Also, frankly, I suspect they had other business of their own here about which they would not speak to me."

We quickly prepared for sleep. I don't quite understand everything being discussed, but it sounds for all the world to me as if tomorrow we will be charging headlong into a live battlefield! I will try to stick close to the others and do what I can, whatever happens.

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