Loriwen: Sneaking Out!

((I really don’t know what to say, I’m just on a writing roll recently. Yays! ^_^ Also, Laenlis, feel free to have him react however you so desire – this is just her opinion on what would go down!))

Loriwen Snowberry actually donned a cloak, pulling the hood over her bright hair. Not for warmth, but stealth’s sake. She hoped Tarlanc wouldn’t miss his hooded cloak; oh well, he was over in Snowflood anyway. He probably wouldn’t even notice, considering he wasn’t home! Looking through her windows conspiratorially, she slipped out the front door quietly. Hopefully the slightly too heavy and large cloak concealed both her trademark locks and the rather cumbersome pack on her back! She carefully picked her way through the village, hoping no one recognized her. The stick-strewn paths were immediately recognizable, like coming home. She slipped into the nearby woods with barely a “swfff.”

Was it a good or bad thing that the most exhilarating part of this whole experience was the fact that she snuck out? It’s not like she promised to stop, she just said she’d try. Here she was, sneaking off like some young kid off to try kissing for the first time. She scanned the ground, peering around with a trained eye. Sticks snapped, leaves crunched, and the woods smelled like wet earth. Loriwen was just beginning to get caught up in the beauty of the morning, and then the cool autumn breeze threatened to blow the cloak’s hood back. Pulling her hands up and dragging it down, she sighed and continued her mission.

She remembered precisely the length and width timber she needed as she picked her way further into the woods. The better wood – sometimes even some yew – made its way back toward the bear caves. The bears should be asleep anyway, right? If not, it’d be awful close. Time seemed to drag as she looked and looked. Loriwen had just began to give up hope of finding the right piece when her hearing – sharpened by “sneaking around” – quickly caught a sound she didn’t want to encounter: munching. Glancing around, alert as ever, she spotted a rather hungry looking wolf chewing on a thin hare. That did not bode well for her afternoon. Carefully tip-toeing backward, she stepped on a branch she thought she avoided. The crack echoed throughout the quiet woods and she held her breath. Oops. Sure as anything, the wolf jerked its head up. Of course, she was too close to run…too many sticks, this time of year, too. She had one option.

It was hard, given the too-large cloak and rather bulky pack, but adrenaline kicked in and Loriwen climbed that tree faster than she’d ever climbed a tree before. She was briefly reminded of the time she woke up in a tree; that was an interesting day. That’s the time she broke her foot, falling out of that tree. She still had no idea how she got up there… Quickly snapping back to the present, safe but fairly well stranded up in the tree, she watched the wolf stalk over and circle the tree. Thankfully, the damn thing couldn’t climb. The waiting game began. She’d managed to out-wait wolves before, and she could do it again. This wasn’t her first dance. Pulling out her flute, she began to practice notes with it. Oh, she was horrible at it! It did, however, tend to flush out smaller wildlife. Whether it was from their tiny squeaks of horror, or if she was actually some woodland goddess of the flute, she never could decide.

Loriwen sighed and continued her tooting. At a bare minimum, maybe she’d intrigue some hunter into figuring out if she was a dying Elf or something. It was times like these she wished she had a good bow, an arrow, and some actual grace to use it proper-like. She hoped this didn’t take too long, she did want to make her way into town to buy the keys for this clarinet. If this waiting game didn’t end in good time, she’d have to wait until tomorrow to do it. Well, what will be will be. Shrugging, she tooted one last time and put the flute away. Pulling a string from her pack, she giggled at it as she stuck two of her slender fingers into the loop. It was the string she tied around Tarlanc’s finger last night, while he snored away. He definitely had larger hands and fingers than she did. A soft smile came unbidden, and she gladly let herself drift off into rather inappropriate thought.

Around mid-day, two hours later from the way she judged the sun’s position in the sky, she was jolted out of a particularly nice reverie by some growls and shouting off in the east. She looked around, and sure enough, that ruckus had gotten the wolf’s attention more than she did. Crossing her fingers, she listened as she heard yelps and a man yell profanities. Shielding her eyes against the sun, she could barely see them through the sticks: brigands, about a two minute run away. A rather vile curse softly escaped her lips and she began to hope they would draw the wolf’s attention away instead of find her. She wasn’t particularly looking forward to being wolf-dinner, but she really wasn’t keen on the idea of being kidnapped. Tensely perched on her branch, she watched with the utmost alertness. Eventually a man screamed – not profanities, but a real scream. One of the wolves had clearly won the fight for food that afternoon. She winced, her stomach turning a bit as she tried to not imagine what was going on up ahead. Loriwen looked down, and saw her wolf shoot off at a dead run toward the still screaming man. No doubt to fight over innards or some sort…ugh, she just made herself sick again.

Realizing she needed to leave and now, Loriwen quickly shoved the string she was still holding into her tunic, near her heart, and quickly jumped the few cubits to the ground. The jolt of landing on solid ground shocked her a bit, wincing again at her knees. She turned to sprint off in the direction of the road, and ran smack dab into the tree in which she’d just spent the past few hours. Rubbing her nose, she staggered back. Still hearing the howls and hearing one man yell for the rest to leave, she knew she had very little time to get out of here – possibly broken nose or not. Sweeping around the tree and grabbing the piece of wood she had spotted earlier, Loriwen made a dead run for the road. Clumsy or not, feet not always listening to your brain or not, when your only options are “get kidnapped,” “get eaten by wolves,” and “don’t trip,” even Loriwen Snowberry doesn’t fall.

At least until she reaches the road. Her attempt to jump the rock wall did not end well, her left foot catching on a loose rock and throwing her off balance. Loriwen went down in a heap of wood, cloak, and limbs. Groaning and looking around from her spot on the ground, she realized she was a lot closer to town proper than she thought! Ugh, someone was going to recognize her for sure. She crawled to her knees and slowly stood up. Tested each ankle: right one, alright; left one, a little sore but she’d be able to walk fine. Finally out of danger and near a lamp post, she took this moment to lightly poke at her nose. Ouch! Maybe not quite broken, but that was going to look bad. It didn’t feel like she broke any of the bones or cartilage, but it still might take months to heal completely. That part didn’t bother her: she was used to constantly being on the mend. She would have to explain this to Tarlanc, though. A soft groan escaped her and she rolled her eyes as she imagined how it would go. He wouldn’t even yell, he wouldn’t even be angry; he’d just tell her how he wished she’d be more careful, for his sake. And she would feel horrible. Damn kind, loving man. Bending down to claim her bounty, a rather sturdy and bright branch of yew, she sighed. At least it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Slowly scraping her way back to Wildore, Loriwen Snowberry went home, where she would wait for the surely inevitable guilt trip that would soon come home.

Cedar-woman: To Work

Tuija shifted her body, pulling the sling she carried closer to her breast. Soft breathing made its way out, bringing a smile to her face. Lempi was asleep, and how; worn out after the activities of the previous evening. It was an unexpected surprise, meeting that young woman, that near-neighbor. When she – her name was Gilnes, no? – spoke the language of Tuija’s people, if only to say the standard greeting and farewell, it threatened to bring tears to her eyes. Remembering the conversation brought a wave of memories back to her, even as she walked now. She wished she knew this language more clearly, for she couldn’t describe her land properly – even to one who was a neighbor.. and now, ystävä. Friend.

She said last night that Forochel was beautiful. That it had “green sky, purple.” That the “snow sparkle like sun on water.” Those words were not adequate to describe her beloved home land. The snow sparkled like a million small diamonds in the sun, which peered down from a clear, deep azure sky. The cool air showed her that which should not be seen: her breath, in white whisps of fog. Her eyes watered as a frigid breeze blew across the camp, toward the lake. On the edge of it, children played on their luistin. The clean smell of never-melting snow mingled with the scent of her pot of stew, causing her to jump up and go to stir it as her mother and older sister laughed at her forgetting dinner.

Only one word in Westron – which she knew, at least – could properly describe the village of Sûri-kylä. Home. She ached for it, with every fiber of her being…but then the warmth pressed against her reminded Tuija of why she was still here. Her daughter. Half-Lossoth, half-Bree. Given names of both, Lempi and Aimee. Both meaning “loved.” Since her husband passed, she called her child by the name of her people, Lempi; so that the little girl would not forget she also came from Sûri-kylä. The large, beautiful village in the snow. In respect and love, she did take his last name, both her and her daughter. Lawson sounded incorrect next to their Lossoth names, but it would be what it was. Rememberance would be maintained.

Even with the Bree-lander’s name at the end of her own, Tuija was rightfully very wary around strangers. She had lived in Bree-town proper for almost a year, but never took up a permanent home or work. None cared for the strange foreign woman who was so quiet and spoke with the language of a child, and even fewer trusted her. Sure, there were offers of a night here or there; and some times, they were tempting. It was a lonely life, and Tuija felt the ache, the want of a companion. Yet every time she looked down at her daughter, she knew there needed to be more than the promise of one night and whispers in the dark. She needed a husband, if she were to ever bring a man into small Lempi’s life. A man who would love her as his own.

Loosening her shirt a bit as she walked, Tuija let some of the – to her reckoning – warm air breathe into her clothing. It was so hot here, how can the people stand it? Poor Lempi was already used to the warm climate, but even she felt some of the Lossoth blood coursing through her veins. She liked the cooler sling during this weather, their harvest breeze rustling through the mostly-bare trees. Soon there would be snow, and both of them would rejoice. For Lempi, it would be her first taste and touch of snow; for Tuija, it would be that small piece of home with which she could share with her daughter. If only for a short while.

The woman tossed back her shoulders, standing prouder and more hopeful with that thought. Soon their winter would arrive, and she would – hopefully – have more steady work. Her ystävä, Gilnes, had given her odd names. Heart-wood, Dar-steed. Said they often found work for those who needed it. Tuija needed it, and so she had walked south. She stood in front of the door of what those in this Dar-steed town told her was the Heart-wood Estate. Full of hope, and full of a burning desire to prove herself, she knocked on the door.