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.

=====

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.

=====

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.

=====

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.

=====

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.

=====

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. ^_^

=====

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.

=====

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.

=====

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.

=====

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.

=====

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…

=====

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.

=====

((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.))

=================

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.

============

…Oh, and potatoes and celery, and flowers…

============

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

============

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

============

I…thank you.

============

Will I ever get back? I’m broken.

============

…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.

—————

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

—————

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.

—————

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.

Before Dreams Take Me

We all think before we drift off to sleep, and often we’ll tally lists or think about our day. Every thought here is unlabeled, and not prefaced. Enjoy this tiny snippet into everyone’s innermost consciousness.

——

Please let me sleep tonight…

——

What am I doing?

——

Tomorrow. I’ll start tomorrow, I promise.

——

I have never wanted to break a promise so badly in my life.

——

…They’re not bad people.

Bowmaiden: Another Year

Long blonde hair caught on a branch and its owner groaned as she pulled it free. It was interesting that the Commander celebrated Fallowmath…he clearly wasn’t Rohirric. If anything, he was Gondorian. No other country could boast the ability to have black hair, height and a near-constant brooding aura like they could. Not that they were bad people, mind you; she’d met plenty of good Gondorians, and he seemed a sturdy enough Man. Either way, it was a little surprising to hear them speak of starting the fire. Her first instinct was to join in, but something held her back. This held her back.

She completed the small wood pile, fully knowing the fire wouldn’t last the whole week – hell, it wouldn’t make it through the night without her guidance. It didn’t matter; all she needed was to have this private time. A year ago this time, she was in her own land…with her family. The whole village came out for the starting of the fire. It was a special time. It would be ten days from tonight that she set out. She left immediately after the feasting, her parents giving her blessings and gifts for her journey in front of the flames. That’s when she was given her bow. It was well-made and strong…her father was so proud to give it to her.

That same bow was – as always – hanging from her left shoulder. She shrugged, causing it to wave around in the cool air. It was a lot cooler here, but the trees were more diverse. They even had a lot of pine, which was incredible. She actually managed to scavenge nothing but pine branches for her little fire when back home she would be lucky to have even one twig to offer to the flames. Striking flint and stone, her thoughts went as silent as the woods around her.

The small sparks caught the tinder and soon the flames licked and curved their way into the branches. Crackling and hissing were heard as fire invaded wood, turning the former tree into its own fuel to help continue its own existence. Pear-green eyes solemnly stared at the process with nary a sound. She said nothing, only moving from her sitting position to throw another small piece to help the fire in its quest to continue living. Late winter afternoon turned into evening, then eventually to night. Stars began to blink in the midnight-hued sky, watching down on her vigil with twinkling joy.

Hours passed, never moving from her spot nor speaking. Once the stars began to hide from the sun and the sky began to turn a soft pink did Leuedai speak. Her voice was rough with disuse and emotion. She reached to her side and pulled a small bundle of herbs from her pocket. If they were fresh, the smell of rosemary, thyme and sage would waft on the chilled, smoky air. The bundle was held with both hands, as an offering before the fire.

“I offer this to those who came before me, including those who yet live. I will return one day, and do as much good as I may before doing so.”

Her head bowed and blonde strands covered the herbs almost like a blanket. Another long, silent moment later, hair was torn from the dried green as the latter was carefully laid into the remaining fire. The flame took the offering with what seemed to her like gladness and the dried bundle immediately began to crackle. Green eyes watched until it had burned completely before rising and walking away without looking back. Perhaps it was to hide tears, perhaps it was just too cold. No one but her would ever know. So began another year.

Unexpected Conversations: Part Two

Once again, entirely her fault! Part two of what will probably be three. Maybe four, if this last part gets long. This is technically one scene, three characters. I pulled Lempi for one scene, then Tuija immediately after. Given the scenario, it made sense to just mesh them. 🙂

=======================

Every day, it seemed to be easier to wake up. Every night, it was even harder to go to sleep. Where was Sky? Was she all right? Did she need help? Was she alive? No mother should have to worry about where her daughter was. But here she was, trudging along in Bree-town, eyes constantly scanning for that familiar tall girl. Finally giving up her vigil for the day, Farra walked into the Mess Hall to warm up before heading out. Maybe even ale today; she was in that foul a mood. She sat down with a groan and signaled the person at the bar to bring her a drink.

A young woman, mid 20s most likely, sat across from her and began to carefully unpack a lunch. This would be a fairly normal sight in the Mess Hall, if the woman wasn’t so…foreign. Pale skin, rich blue-brown eyes, a whole lot of black hair piled on her head, wearing a furred tunic; she screamed “not from around here!” Farra stared for only a moment before being distracted by the bartender. A mug of ale plopped in front of her and she handed over the copper to pay for it with a start.

The out of towner kept her eyes politely averted and on her food. Farra was just about to ignore her in return when a sound erupted from the woman’s bag. At least, she thought it was a bag until the woman twisted it and pulled a baby from it. Now that was a handy little idea! She quickly looked down to her food, only looking up after another few minutes of silent eating. The baby gurgled away happily, chewing on what sounded like bread. On the upward tilt of her head, that was confirmed. A sudden wave of pain swept over her features. That was a baby girl.

Sky.

She wasn’t thirsty anymore. She shoved the ale away and got up quietly with a polite nod to the woman and child. Maybe she could make it all the way home before crying this time…

—-

Tuija was used to people getting up and leaving when she sat down, but that woman was different. She could almost feel the sorrow emanating from the stranger as a glance was swept down to Lempi before her hasty retreat. Whatever her pain was, the Lossoth woman hoped the Bree-land woman would be comforted somehow. Lempi whined and a small water skin was pulled to quiet her daughter; that worked, silent suckling replacing the noise.

Another woman sat down, this one much more relaxed and open. They seemed to recognize each other as outsiders almost immediately: long blonde hair nodded politely to coiled black. The blonde woman opened a pack with apple, cheese and bread, starting up a small conversation. “Cute baby, there.” She shined the apple on her sleeve and took a crunchy bite.

Tuija nodded politely as Lempi stared openly at the hair. She was no doubt chewing on it instead of her water skin in her mind. “Thanks to you.” She continued to quietly eat her own food, left over roast meat and pickled carrots.

Both women were quite content to leave it as that; they ate in silence, Tuija leaving first when Lempi began to fuss. Maybe she needed a change. Didn’t smell like it, but Leuedai wasn’t exactly an expert on children of any age.

The younger woman turned to watch with a curious gaze as the two departed. That was quite an accent, and her tunic was constructed in a way Leue had never seen before. She idly wondered where the woman was from as another glug of ale made its way down her throat.

What Lurks Beneath the Unspoken

New prompt! Oddly enough, the name was inspired by a line in RP that I typed out tonight (okay, it is the line). I was struck by it, and I may elucidate further on that in another post. Anyway, the meme is called “What Lurks Beneath the Unspoken.” While we all have relatively verbose characters (most of them, anyway) they still have layers of depth to both their personalities and what they say – or in this case, what they don’t say. This is a short exercise in the second of those. I’m taking a line each of my characters have said recently, and then in italics below, pointing out the unspoken subtext.

«≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡»

“Be careful.”
You know I’m not going to sleep half the time until you’re back in my arms.

«============»

“I’m jus’ tired. I’m fine. How’s yer apple boy?”
You and I both know I’m wearing myself into the ground, but I have proof. You’ve seen it. I can’t give up now.

«============»

“Everything will be all right.”
It will, for you. I’m withering but I will linger for you. Please find happiness.

«============»

“Good night.”
A stolen kiss or two will sustain us both for now. For now.

«============»

“I hate that cheese.”
We both know Butterbur began replacing the cheddar with Bree-brie within the first week of his noting I was giving it away.