I was right. Now Hadrell doesn’t trust me either. That much was apparent
at the breakfast table, with his obviously pointed comments about Dunnish rogues.
By this point I had had more than enough and left the table in a furious temper
–a tactic, which Iaurnarwen has since assured me, is most definitely a
feminine trait. Hadrell rushed after me, trying desperately to undo the damage with
apologies but it is too late. I know he does not trust me.
I would rather he had simply taken a knife and thrust it into my back. It would
have hurt less.
I see now that there is no point in my being here. I am useless against those
who would battle against us. My magicks are pointless, they take too long to work
and have little if no effect when they do. All around me I see the others fighting
gallantly and yet I, I can do nothing to aid them. And when I try to help, by
perhaps looking to staunch the flow of blood from our poor mule, I am told no by
Erethor. Perhaps he thinks I am looking upon it as a meal? Or as a way of
deliberately hampering our journey by failing and instead killing the beast?
This fight with the pack of dogs tonight has shown me how pathetic I am. Nothing
I could do would help. The word frustration cannot even begin to describe how I
feel. Perhaps I want too much too soon, power takes time. But how much time do I
have before something or someone reaches me with tooth or blade before another can
intervene? Perhaps it would be better if there was no intervention.
I can’t take much more of this, and yet we have so far still to travel.
Each night it becomes harder to hold back the tears and feeling of loss the further
I distance myself from my little rooms in Minas Tirith. My books never doubted my
good intentions, nor were they quick to judge me. I felt good, I excelled at what I
did. I had friends. I think I had friends. I know that were it not for
Iaurnarwen’s timely arrival, I would feel truly alone. Instinct tells me that
I cannot leave the party of my own free will – but I would sooner take my own
life than have the Rider cut me down.
Yet today he gave one of the rabbits he had caught for us to a stranger, a
vagabond. That is not the action of the heartless. And Hadrell is of good heart
also. No,no it must then be me, my fault, my past deceits and my unspilt Dunnish
blood. There is no way I can start afresh. Part of me cries out that it would be
less trouble to the others if I were out of the way, no more need to watch my
actions, no more need to watch their backs ……
Gandalf, if it was indeed you that spoke with my master, where is this strength
that you say the journey will give me? For at this moment I have none of my own
We travel further still, towards cold and bleak places. We are well-stocked with
provisions from Tharbad, no doubt these will be easily stretched with whatever
comes the way of a well-placed arrow or two. Iaurnarwen and I shopped for some
provisions, herbs, in a small village on our travels. We talked as we did so, about
the manipulative ways of what some might call the fairer sex. It seems there is
little fair about the games we are supposed to play. And although I appreciate why
they are played, for in general we are viewed as weaker, I doubt I could learn to
play these games well. If nothing else, my time as a man has taught me to say what
During these travels, I have noticed that there is something peculiar about
Starfire – he is far more intelligent than the few other horses I have come
across, certainly he has far more spirit than the docile sweet beast who is serving
me well. I assumed until now that the bond he and Erethor shared was simply due to
the time they have spent together. But after last night I am not so certain, I
think it runs deeper than that. I found myself resorting to approaching Starfire
last night in the hope of stirring the Rider, for he was nowhere to be seen; it was
time for his watch and I was exhausted. I know he reacts to his mount’s
presence, Starfire’s whinny has summoned him before, the night I tried to
"read" the key - I thought it may work yet again. So I approached the
beast, a little nervously, I have to admit, for although he is a beauty, I do not
doubt his capability to look after himself, while he is without his rider and I was
somewhat worried that his rider’s prejudices against Dunnish folk might have
….hmm…perhaps rubbed off?
He let me approach without any fuss. Not a whinny, not a sound did he make. So,
perplexed, I half-jokingly asked him to find Erethor… and he did. Trotted
straight over to him and woke him, almost as if he had understood each word.
It fares ill for the pack mule, though. The poor creature was set upon by one of
the dogs, and looked as if it would die, before Erethor’s interventions.
Perhaps it would have been kinder to let the beast die, for we may well be unable
to journey from this place til the mule recovers at least enough to be able to
move. Then, we may be able to manage by sharing the packs out to the other horses
until it has healed fully, but if we take into account there may still be people
hunting for us, it would be foolish.
And now to add to the misery, it seems Hadrell has managed to rip one of our
tents, the night will be cramped and the tears I choke back must remain so for yet
another evening. For I will not shed them in front of others. I have shown weakness
Too much travel and sleeping out in storms and rough places has been the
standard for the last day or so. And yet there was a moment when I felt at peace,
at ease, calm. Our route has taken us towards the downs, where apparitions have
already shown themselves to Hadrell, and plagued myself and Iaurwenawen with
strange sounds. I may have appeared unnerved by the thought of what the Downs might
hold –but I know better than most the effects of being shown other times and
places. Here, I should tread warily, for if my hands are prone to the effects of
the past in daily objects, who knows the effect this haunted place may have on my
mind? We chose to spend the night in the ruins of a building in the woods rather
than travel further into unknown and haunted surroundings.
I found a mosaic there, an illustration of an animal, a quite exquisite mosaic,
so I spent a little time replacing the tiles as they once were. The nature of the
animal depicted quite eluded us all, so I decided to "read" the work
– I was no use at anything else, I might as well keep myself amused somehow.
I saw feet, not unexpectedly, and many different people, and an elven figure in
green, as if he were the host in this once fine house, this strangely fine house in
the middle of the woods.
When I slept, I dreamed of him, watching over me, stroking my hair – the
first friendly touch I have felt since leaving my brother behind – and I felt
calm, as if no harm could come to me here. I wish I knew who this figure was, I
could perhaps thank him somehow, for he alleviated my melancholy for a little time
at least. But he is most likely nothing but a phantom of the past, a dream, no
On another, brighter, note our pack mule is recovering, despite the poor beast
being laden with our luggage – I had to move my packs onto my own steed, I
didn’t want to think I was adding to its hurt. Yet the Rider left his own
heavier pack on its back, which struck me as odd. Surely it would have been kinder
to relieve the animal of some of the weight? Still, I suppose he knows more of
these things than I, although a part of me wonders if he deems the mule too
unworthy. Perhaps it would have a different story if it was his beautiful
steed’s life in question?
My my, but I’m a bitter little mortal today.
Perhaps Hadrell should not have mocked me so openly. Still feeling somewhat
useless, I raised the question as to why I had not been included on watch, and in
doing so, voiced my thoughts on how useless I was……
And then from nowhere, or maybe from a need to set straight the friendship that
has gone awry somewhere, Hadrell launched into a tirade of how brave I was, how I
stood up against my enemy with my poor weapon skill and pathetic little wooden
stick – oh, the courage that I showed. Who does he think he’s fooling
with his exaggerated singing of praises? Thankfully his singing proper has recently
improved. I suppose for that small mercy I, no, indeed we all, most especially our
elven friend with her exquisite sense of tune, should be grateful.
Ah well, I am sure there will be many more delights yet to come.