Snapshots: A Summer Sunrise

A long absence due to multiple reasons! I apologize for the silence on my part and all I can promise is an attempt to try harder! If any of you didn’t know, the main reason is because the game I work for, Star Wars: The Old Republic, recently announced our preorders. Things are crazy.

I also admit to having hit something of an epic writer’s block; my brain would not let me come up with anything remotely resembling LotRO stuff for months. Well over 25,000 words of Mass Effect and Dragon Age II fiction later, I think I finally sated the monster that was that epidemic. Here are a few snapshots for you, giving you a little update on where all my little characters are at the moment!

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The sun’s rays gently crept along golden hair, kissing it into a brilliant glow. In time, pear-apple eyes slid open only to immediately squeeze shut again at the light’s intrusion. Rather than sit up, the young woman decided to lie in bed and enjoy the sun’s attentions. She had become quite adept at using her crutch, and she would once she rose – but there was a simple pleasure to be had in luxuriating in the sun like a cat. One she felt like indulging in at the moment.

There was a simple phrase her mother would tell her every morning; a saying she never understood until her recent injury. Don’t be impatient – life gives its gifts one day at a time. She closed her eyes and let her memory dance along the rays and back to Rohan. When she rose, she would take today’s gift of life and make the most of it…but not yet. For now, she reminisced.

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Dexterous fingers gently pulled black hair away from a sweat-slicked forehead. Already it was so hot, but Lempi slept soundly regardless. Tuija reveled in the quiet peace lying next to her sleeping daughter brought. In no time at all, she would awaken and be waddling all over the hall, trying to get into everything. Watching her grow and learn every day was the single most brilliant thing in Tuija’s life.

A small pang of sorrow laced through the serene moment as she remembered yet again that Michael would never see their daughter grow old. Well over a year had passed since he left them, and the pain had grown duller, but it would never completely leave. She could imagine his warm brown eyes crinkling as he twirled Lempi through the air, their laughter mingling loudly. The bittersweet joy of that false memory would be enough to get her through the day.

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She woke up indoors. Seeing a roof over her head instead of the sky peeking through leaves shocked her into bolting straight up. Skyrah stared around the room with wide eyes, looking much more like a frightened deer than an 18 year old woman. She relaxed when her eyes settled upon one of Luned’s props. That’s right, I’m home. Even when not spoken, the word “home” felt bitter to her. It wasn’t really home, but it was full of supportive – if unaware – friends. It would do for now.

Stretching, she rolled around a few times before standing up. Skyrah forgot how restful not sleeping on the ground could be for the body. The wind whistled through the leaves outside their window, eliciting a rare smile from her. It looked to be another beautiful day and for once she could enjoy it. If she couldn’t find herself a real person to love, trying to chase after a phantom, slightly sinister alternative just wasn’t healthy. Today was the start of a new chapter. Time to find Luned for some lessons…

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Deep blue eyes shuttered open, raven hair being shaken out of their view. Tegil scratched his bare chest with a sigh that quickly decided to evolve into a yawn. Another late night working, another piece completed. The changes in his life continued fascinate and elate him. Two years ago, if you had told him exactly where he would be on this very day, he would have laughed merrily and brushed it off. Such odd and fortuitous circumstances that led him to this small house!

He wouldn’t change a thing. Many of his peers back in Minas Tirith would dismiss it as another one of his “flights of fancy” but Tegil had found a new sense of self here in Bree-land. Scholarly pursuits for curiosity’s sake would always be a wonderful adventure for his mind, yet working gave him purpose he found nowhere else. While dwelling on these thoughts would be a lovely way to pass the morning, he sat up and swung his legs over the side. It was time to rise.

The mail he neglected to read last night taunted him from the table next to his bed. Foremost, the letter from his mother was set to the side for a more thorough reading outside. Next was correspondence from a fellow Sindarin scholar in town; the last was a payment. He quickly counted and portioned it. Every time he divided his earnings and placed half into the special hidden box, he couldn’t help but feel a small jolt of pride and excitement. Who knows where he’d be one year from now?

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Streeeeetch. Loriwen’s body pulled and then contracted back into a ball. Another day, another job. She felt a bit queasy…she hoped she wasn’t getting sick. Time to take it easy today. No point in getting dog-sick because she wanted to work as much as she could. Her legs plopped out with two thuds and lifted her from bed, over to the wardrobe.

Her mind drifted as she covered herself with clothing. Planning to have children forced her to take stock of how little carving she’d be able to get done once it happened. She’d been working a lot lately to compensate for it; perhaps too much. The lightheadedness and feeling cold (it was the end of Mede, she should never feel cold) agreed with her assessment. Time to drink some water and go back to bed for the day. You’re supposed to starve being sick, right? She thought so, anyway; never could remember. Hopefully Lori could stave off whatever she managed to saddle herself with – she idly thought that she probably caught it from the kids at the store last week – before it exploded. She didn’t get sick often, but when Loriwen went down, she was down in the worst way.

From the Hearth

I get inspired at 4 am. I don’t know why, but it always seems to happen this way. I’m also feeling the “snippets” style of writing right now! Here is how my characters spent their night: from their hearth.

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The fire flickered as someone stoked it; its benefactor retreated with a sleepy grunt, no doubt to their bunk. Newly invigorated, the flames set shadows dancing across a face faintly contorted with pain. Fitful rest would follow that one this evening.

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Gold and red twined together, their light quavering as quickly as the quill that continued to write in this late hour. It took another quick dip into its ink well before gliding across the paper again. Late or not, the letter would be finished before sleep took him.

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The hearth held no fire; in fact, the window was open – cool air moved the curtains to its own silent symphony. That same gentle breeze wafted across the two who slept: one Lossoth, the other half-blooded. The older stirred with pleasure at the temperature while the younger was merely content.

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Coals smoldered, casting their warm glow throughout the room. The light highlighted two figures, both adrift in their own dreams, sprawled along their bed. Hours earlier, both the fire and couple were ablaze; now, all three had tapered into languorous slumber.

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The fire pit was empty. For the first time in months, it didn’t feel the searing bite of flame. Its usual companion sat in silence, watching the nonexistent fire scintillate and dance in her mind. Hope began to grow as dim as her clothing.

At Rest: A Spring Twilight

It seems like yesterday since my last “At Rest” meme went out, but damn…it was actually a while ago! Started by the talented Laenlis, here’s yet another installment of my favorite device. I’m actually really, really pleased with the way these came out. ^_^

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Every time she shifted, dulled pain shot through her body. This time, it was more than just a slight interrupt to her dream: it woke her up. Long blonde hair, shockingly free of its usual twig-and-leaf decorations, had managed to tangle itself in the makeshift crutch she still insisted on using. It was functional enough for her purposes, so the healers didn’t argue it with her. Damn it all. She reached to begin to free the wood from her tresses. It was going to be another long night.

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As always, the young woman was asleep on the ground. Her head was cushioned by a fragrant pillow, and despite the relative warmth of the evening a handsome brown cloak was her blanket. No fire was needed thanks to the recent thaw; the only light that danced upon her face was moonlight, occasionally streaming through the growing leaves above her. Beneath the cloak, unbeknownst to any but herself, she clutched a note.

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Green blankets shifted, black hair fell in a new pattern. Next to the bed, a candle gave its last flicker. Its owner was negligent, once again, in snuffing it out before he fell asleep. The sudden lack of light caused the bedroom’s sole occupant to stir and mumble something incoherent – possibly not even in Westron. His eyes were closed, but behind them, he dreamed of laughter and family and joy. The black dress stood out in stark contrast against the white stone, causing him to grin widely to his mother. Her bright smile mirrored his own and they shared a brief, private look. She approved.

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Blue-green eyes slowly slid open and looked around the room. A yawn escaped her and she decided to see just how late it was. She stood up, bright hair tumbling to her bare shoulders. Idle thoughts of trimming it skimmed over her mind while she padded over to the window. Her skin glowed silver as she stepped into the shaft of moonlight and squinted into the night. It was seemingly still the dead of night. A low, deep murmur of unconscious discontent floated to her ears as her husband realized she was no longer lying next to him. She smiled and headed back to crawl into his arms once more.

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For the first time in a year, both denizens of the well-appointed room slept soundly. A tiny hand, so strong for its size, grasped out in its sleep and sought the larger woman’s hand. This woke her with a pleasant startle, dark blue-brown eyes quickly focusing on the child lying next to her. When all was deemed well, the mother pulled two of her fingers together; these were offered to the small hand, who quickly clutched them. A true smile, the rarest of sights from this Lossoth, blossomed. The sleepy lilt that set the smile askew soon overtook her whole face – the two slept in contented silence once again.

Bowmaiden: ‘borings?

The three of them somehow managed to survive for a fortnight. While it still burned like the fire of a thousand suns, Leuedai was beginning to manage the pain. It took over a week, but she finally convinced them to go look for some help…or at least a town. It’s not like Hobbits could lift her. It’d be up to her to get there, but she couldn’t just start hobbling in one direction and hope. That was a definite way to get killed, especially if there were more of these creatures lurking. If they were, though, it seemed like they would have pounced on her in her moment of weakness…

She heard a rustle and immediately pulled her bow, holding it horizontally and nocked. There was no way she would be able to defend herself other than shooting it once. The need to kill was quickly thrown from her mind as she heard familiar Hobbits voices chattering quietly to one another. Finally! They returned. She cleared her throat in case they didn’t remember exactly where the hidden shelter was built.

Daisy wrung her little hands once more, but her pudgy Hobbit-face almost seemed hopeful. “There ye be, Miss Loo! Do ye think ye can be moving today? Scary’s none too far ‘way, now, an’ they were right concerned when they be hearin’ about your leg, there. Even say some of your Tall Folk be up near the ‘borings!”

A familiar frown came to the dirty Rohirrim’s forehead. She had no idea what the “’borings” were. Lotho tried to explain quickly, stumbling over his words even more than usual. “B- it’s, uh, the north. To th’ north, Miss Loo. None too far a ride, neither. Oh, uh, not that ye’d be riding, what with your leg th’ way it’s looking.”

Leuedai grimaced as she rose, hands grasping her makeshift crutches with fevered strength. Even having her leg hang like it did was horrendously painful. At least the pain meant she was alive. This “Scary” wasn’t too far away, the Hobbits were only gone two hours or so, and she was sure they chattered for a good half of that when they reached the village. Scary was a horrible name for a town…

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Nearly all that rang through her mind was pain and weariness. Every step burned and her underarms were already bruised from the crutches – she could tell. The Hobbits told her she should rest and wait for her friends to “come ‘round this way.” There was no guarantee they would. Leuedai was gone for so long, she wondered if they thought she abandoned her contract. Why were they so north? Did the Hobbits need some snow shoveled? That thought brought a pained, savagely amused grin to her face.

The look must have scared Daisy, who had stuck with her through her doomed trip. She squeaked and hid her face in filthy brown curls. Lotho insisted they all stay, but no one could stop Leue. She would walk to these “’borings” by herself, crutches and pain as her only companions, if she had to. Getting back was her only concern. Whatever damage was done was not reversible at this stage. Daisy had over the past two weeks truly come into her own, she had to admit. The little Hobbit – she had to keep reminding herself that this “little” Hobbit was a good ten years older than her – had taken her advice to heart and fancied herself Leuedai’s healer. She refused to leave her “charge” and after taking the generous offers of food for the road with thanks, trotted alongside the tall, broken woman.

She was mindlessly chattering about something, probably food or babies. Leuedai didn’t really tune into it; she had to keep all her attention focused on one hobble at the time. Good foot forward, push with arms, place sticks carefully on road, push good foot forward. Every movement seemed like a painful eternity, but she would make it regardless of how long it took.

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((A few hours before the two would have reached Brockenborings, Leuedai and Daisy ran across the caravan of wounded Wayfarers and company. They – obviously – fell in with them.))

Bowmaiden: Damn.

((The story of Leuedai’s absence during the later part of the latest Wayfarer campaign in the Shire. Leuedai’s Hobbits were asked to assist some folk just south of Scary, and Leuedai asked permission to help them. As of when she left, all the Wayfarers had done was accompany a caravan and clean up the Smials, so it seemed rather harmless a request. Another installment, just over a fortnight later, coming up soon! This just seemed like an appropriate break point.))

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Bright pain, sharp and searing, laced up her leg. Damn it all, why now? Why here? Why with them? Useless and nervous. Surprisingly – or perhaps not so – they refused to leave her. That figures. Too scared to brave what only an hour ago was a simple forest and river. Her pear-green eyes shifted to glare at the corpse lying no more than a few feet from her. It already stunk, both of evil and of flesh that began decaying before it even died. A warg. Somehow she managed to kill it before it killed her; not before it maimed her and probably made her a cripple, but she won in the end. That alone was something to be proud of, but just as she began to think that again, her leg gave her a painful jolt reminding her just how much she paid for that victory.

The girl Hobbit – Daisy, right? – was nervously eyeing Leuedai’s thigh again. The chewed one. She grimaced. Guess it was time to see just how bad the damage was…she half expected one or both of them to faint when they saw it. She pulled her pant leg up slowly; barely an inch at a time, pausing every time movement caused another wave of nauseous pain. The first sight she was greeted with was blood. No surprise there. She unceremoniously wiped it away with a purple sleeve, grimacing and letting out a low curse when the next sight she saw was jagged bone and what seemed like a completely detached – torn, really – knee. It didn’t look particularly reparable, especially when out here. There was no way she would be able to walk on it, possibly ever again. She’d have to wait for some strength to return before she could begin fashioning something for her to use for walking. Some sort of crutch.

“Oooh, gracious me! That dinnae be looking any good there, Miss Loo.” Daisy wrung her little hands and bounced from foot to foot with anxiety.

Lotho did in fact faint when he turned at his twin sister’s exclamation. Well, Leuedai thought as Daisy rushed to make sure he wasn’t hurt, at least I know the girl isn’t entirely useless.

“He will be all right. Can you help me bind this?”

After another hesitant lookover of her brother, Daisy nodded. “Aye, I’ll be helpin’ ye.” She bravely walked over and began to help rip lengths of cloth from Leuedai’s sleeves.

Questions: Lists for the Day Ahead

The muse has been awoken, loud and clear. Writer’s block, over! You’ll see a few updates from me coming up, including a lot of explanation for Leuedai and a great little piece from everyone. For now, I just was inspired with another installment of “Questions” for you all! We all think before we drift off to sleep, and often we’ll tally lists or think about our day. Every question here is unlabeled, and not prefaced. Enjoy this tiny snippet into everyone’s innermost consciousness.

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…Oh, and potatoes and celery, and flowers…

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I… tomorrow. I’ll… tell tomorrow. I can’t believe it.

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Fold it up, then down, then stretch and twist. Up, then down, stretch and twist…

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I…thank you.

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Will I ever get back? I’m broken.

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…Shipment, tomorrow, noontimes. Bake pie…blueberry. No, not ripe. Blackberry. Yes…

OOC…Or is it?!: Sudden Changes

Tegil, still silently suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, has run away with the equally smitten Willow. The impetuous 19 year olds are on the hideout from almost everyone: Ceswyn, who Tegil has left abandoned and apparently pregnant through divine intervention; Ceswyn’s family, who will probably kill him despite this “miracle” not being his fault; and Cragg, who so wants them both dead on principal alone. They are hiding out – shhhhh! – in the Shire. They may already be married, no one is certain.

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Tarlanc,

My love, I’m so sorry for being a fool this past near-year. I am going to give up wood carving completely, sell the house and workshop, and we’re going to move back to my family’s farmhouse. We’re going to have as many children as we physically can, and then adopt a few Hobbits. I’m already learning how to cook! Also, please take this bundle of pants to the jail for Arion to pass out to the less fortunate; I’m only wearing dresses now. And I’ll never speak again unless spoken to. I apologize for not being a better wife sooner.

Love,

Loriwen

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In Korre’s now-permanent absence due to elopement, Leuedai has taken upon herself those duties left behind. Her lack of reading and writing was apparently a ruse: Leuedai is actually Rohan’s first fully fluent scholar. She speaks eight languages, including two variants of the ever-controversial Quenya, and is most concerned with the industrialization of the world as a whole. In fact, her thesis – written on fifty handmade parchments with homemade chalk – was on steam power and how the War could be won using it. She has also taken a new vow of celibacy and has become a teetotaler: she cannot let such distractions get in the way of her duties.

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Skyrah has taken up a new profession: lumberjack. She may be spindly, but her height helps with chopping down branches! While spending her nights at a campfire for a reason unbeknownst to all but two people, she has been doing pushups and other various strength-building exercises. She’s taken up with the Combe Lumber Yard, much to the chagrin of her family (who lives in Combe and disowned her). Overalls are now her favorite clothing, because of the convenient pockets.