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Author Topic: Finding What Was Already There  (Read 335 times)


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Finding What Was Already There
« on: September 10, 2018, 07:00:04 AM »
Dale was but a ruin.  Eadlyn had only ever seen it from afar, a distant remnant of years long past, dark and empty in the shadow of the mountain. But now it was something far more real, and in turns both haunting and fascinating. He’d have loved nothing more than to explore these ancient streets, to find all those marvelous little bits of history tucked around each corner, but now was not the time for that.  In fact, it was about as far from the time for that as one could possibly be.

He had dismounted his cart at the main gate and now walked beside Hazel, leading her carefully through the war torn streets, busier with activity than one might have thought possible from what small amount he had learned from the two elves who had directed him this way.  (He’d not expected to find elves here, of all places!) They’d not been willing to speak much of the dragon (hadn’t seen it, they’d said, but weren’t elves supposed to know about those kinds of things?), but they had told him the briefest possible account of the battle. Orcs had nearly destroyed what was left of this place, and had killed thousands, including some dwarf king he’d never heard of.  Must have been terrible for the dwarves, though...

The most selfish part of himself was relieved he’d been a few days too slow on the road. Oh, he certainly felt guilty for thinking that way, but it was the simple truth. He’d have done no good in a battle. But after a battle… He could be of some use here, if not of much.

Yet there lurked other, darker thoughts behind his forced practicality. He’d not asked after her specifically, for how did you barge your way into a stranger’s grief simply to ask him if he knew if Kat had survived? But he did search her out with his eyes as he walked, carefully maneuvering down what might have been a main thoroughfare of some sort. Here men busied themselves with clearing away chunks of fallen stone and…  were those blood stains on the paving stones??

Eadlyn could feel the blood drain from his face, and eyes darted away.  He forced his focus upon the men and women he passed, searching under workman’s caps and fisherman’s hats for familiar faces, but finding nothing more than haunted gazes.  And the more he walked, the more his thoughts turned to yet darker places.  What if she was dead? He’d been all but assuming she was alive, for Kat was a survivor.  Even if he’d not yet had the conscious thought of it, somehow his heart knew deep down that she was not the type to fall to orcs without a fight. But had she even lived long enough to face the orcs?  Even Katja could not have stood against a dragon.

A dragon! He’d never quite believed those tales that claimed such a beast was hiding in the mountain. He wondered how many had died thinking the same thing…

He paused a moment, leaning heavily against Hazel’s side. The old mare obliged him, and he allowed his eyes to close, focusing his thoughts on the steady rise and fall of her breathing, the comfort of life beneath the warmth of her coat, then with a gentle pat, he moved on, keeping his gaze ahead.  It was far easier not to look…

He’d been directed to a quartermaster, or the nearest equivalent, a Lake Man whose face he had known in passing, but whose name escaped his memory.   This was more business as usual, and he was easily able to work with this man, providing an inventory of his goods. He carried few things of immediate use, but things that would be needed before long.  Bolts of cloth and rolls of leather, for the most part.  There were a few special orders, spices from the south, an expertly carved rocking chair meant as a gift, a set of candlesticks, a few other odds and ends he’d picked up, but all of it was given freely. Everything save his own personal effects and his books.  And Hazel’s well-worn horse blanket, of course.

At long last, Eadlyn finally found the courage to ask after Kat, but the old quartermaster had only looked apologetic, explaining that some other fellow kept the list of the dead. 

The old man was quick to reassure him that he had not meant to suggest she was on the list of the dead. 

Eadlyn was hardly reassured...

With assurances for the care of his personal items, Eadlyn left his cart behind with the quartermaster and started off again with Hazel, seeking out the makeshift stable where he might find her a place to rest.  Perhaps someone there would have news.  Surely there were still innkeepers kicking around.  Innkeepers always knew everything…
 Played by Whitney

Tags: katja post-botfa 

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