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.

Wandering Poet: Small Victories

He awoke from his dream with a jolt. He was in a new tent? Eyes slowly cracked open, a wince accompanying them. The cut on his temple was still fresh, and hurt when he opened his eyes. The smell of incredibly boring mash finally made its way to his nostrils. Dinnertime? Already? Did he really sleep the entire afternoon away after that brutish man slugged him? Where did they take him, now? The air smelled…rotten. Ugh, the food was not even remotely appetizing, but at least it was nourishing. He could hear his stomach calling for it…so could his food purveyor. A feminine yet deep and unamused chuckle drifted across the cool air.

“Eat up.” She placed it on the floor next to him and untied his hands. He could eat with his hands, which was a great relief, but he knew he couldn’t do anything else with it. She made it abundantly clear last time that she was not above stabbing him and then tending to his wounds if he tried to get around her. He was no hero, so he wasn’t going to call her bluff on it. Rolling his shoulders and stretching his neck, he sighed. Nothing to be done for it, he just had to eat and then get tied back up.

Her deep voice cut through the air again, sharp and displeased this time. He froze mid-reach for the food and finally turned his squinting gaze up to her. She walked over, peering only inches from his face. “Did he do this?” She unkindly poked the growing bruise. He winced and nodded. “Sodding fucker… Applewood’s boys can’t do nothin’ right. I’ll have him run out for this. Told him no harming the merch.” She finally, mercifully, got out of his face so he could continue eating.

She was gone, the food was in his stomach, and his arms were again tightly bound to his sides. This was not at all pleasant, but at least it seemed like the guy who smacked him around earlier was getting in trouble. Small victories…take them when you can. Perhaps they’d even let him have some more water as an apology. Heh, not likely; but it was nice to dream. He twisted his head and leaned his right cheek against the wood behind him. He could practically feel the nasty hit on the left side of his face growing. It and the back of his head were intermittent in their throbbing. To say he had a headache would be a massive understatement.

He took this time to think. Again. That’s all he had to do. He even ran through old Sindarin conjugation tables at one point; anything to keep his sanity in check. The one thing he didn’t want to think about was her. That he couldn’t handle. Not knowing if she was all right, not being able to tell her it wasn’t her fault, not being able to say… argh! This is why he shouldn’t think of her. It hurt too much. His head hung with a sigh. The constant back and forth of pain between back of head and cheek eventually serenaded him to sleep.

Wandering Poet: Kidnapped!

One eye opened, the other still wincing in pain. His head was throbbing. He could hear it, feel it. Thud. Thud. Thud. How hard did they hit him to knock him out? Merileth always did call him thick headed; suddenly the loving jest seemed more a curse. Thoughts finally started to surface above the haze of dark and hurt. Reason began to take over. Where was he? Who had him? Why? He shifted as best he could in his bound state. At least they didn’t gag him. Then again, if they didn’t gag him, he could only assume that meant they knew no one would hear him even if he did try to call out. He briefly considered trying anyway, but the thudding from the back of his head told him that was not wise. More comfortably leaning against the pole he was tied to, he began to actually think.

Where was he? He sniffed the air. Why did he just sniff the air? He wasn’t an Elf or hunter. He had no idea where he was, short of “in a tent.” With dead grass below him. Which meant he was outside. He knew that already…

Who had him? He heard a few names, but they were all lost in the jumble of unconsciousness. He’d have to listen more carefully…hopefully they wouldn’t drug him. That would make figuring out who had him and why fairly difficult. A quick flexing of his muscles proved no good. They had him lashed up well. These people – bandits, crooks, mercenaries? – were clearly of a higher caliber.

Why? A million reasons, most of them fanciful and absurd and he knew it, flashed through his mind. He had no idea. His head leaned back against the pole and then he hissed and let out a near-silent curse in Sindarin. That was not going to heal fast. Hopefully it wasn’t broken or cracked. They really hit him hard.

Some stomping and quiet talking outside his tent jolted him quickly out of his self-query. An ear perked, head stupidly jolting to toss raven hair away from it. He winced at the sudden pain and wooziness that action caused him before blinking a few times to refocus. Focus. Why are you here? He listened as best he could.

“…Think it’ll be workin’ out?”

“I dunno. It better. Can’t believe … without asking me first … talk.”

“What happens iffen … up?”

“Tha’s a real … redhaired bitch doesn’t pay … no idea. Murder’s not … my back enough a’ready.”

His eyes widened until it hurt too much to do that, then they closed shut with a weary sigh. It was the men harassing her. His eyes shot back open. Was she all right? He suddenly tried to get up, groaning at the pain and settling back down against the ground. She had better be safe.

She had best be safe. He didn’t know what he’d do if she wasn’t, but he didn’t even want to think about it. She just had better be all right. His jaw set and, despite the pain it caused, he kept it clenched. It’s all he could do, but it was something.

He could do nothing else but wait.