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Moth's Journal

17th Ringare

I fear I may have been somewhat paranoid last night, perhaps a little overtired. Although, since last night we have been attacked by obviously Dunnish rogues, which, frightening as this may seem, is pointing to Erethor’s being right about my peoples all along. Not that I am likely to admit that to him. And yet, ... and yet there was something strange and highly un-Dunnish about the whole affair. I do not like it.

It is past midnight and I cannot sleep right now. My dreams tonight are haunted. Each time I close my eyes, I see my mother, my grandmother, her mother before her. I dream of strange women years past, who I know are of my bloodline, women who wielded similar powers to mine. I am used to these dreams, usually, but tonight it is preying upon my mind for good reason.

Our journey today was interrupted by three hooded rogues, who did not speak to us, simply charged at us wielding swords, fully intending to kill us, I am sure. I think we were more aware of each others’ weaknesses this time ,having talked, at Hadrell’s insistence, about ways we could maximise our impact. I think the idea worked too, for we seemed to dispatch the rogues most efficiently and bloodily. I took care to put up a minor defence for myself this time, and aimed my magic at the poor fools who charged towards Hadrell and I, as discussed. For although Erethor had called for me to stay close by him, thinking I was in need of protection, how can one stay too close to a whirlwind of frenzied actions? I have not seen anyone move as fast. He does what he does very efficiently and it is hard not to be impressed, even though killing is involved. He felled the first foe almost before I’d blinked. But then, even Hadrell ran quickly into battle, smiting the poor fool I had stunned with my arts……and then I heard my home tongue being spoken, and my heart sank.

I shouted out to the one who was by now running away from a very single minded Erethor to surrender, or die in Dunnish, but to no avail. I didn’t see how he died, he was out of sight, but I can safely assume he died very thoroughly. I was supposed to be telling the Rider of my dread dark secret before reaching Helm’s Deep, how could I do so now?

I know it was stupid of me, but I had to see for myself, by pulling back the hoods of the rogues, I needed to know if I knew any of them. I also tried to distinguish any features of

their weapons and armour, I know this race well enough...; But there was nothing.

Hadrell had been fortunate enough to knock his opponent out cold. We took the opportunity to examine this one further and I stripped my gloves off for a peak into another time:

I am standing in a large hall along with many other people. Some are rich, some poor and in simple garb. There is laughter, there is drinking. The man I have touched is standing in front of me, no wait, he is stabbing at a man with his sword, stabbing him in his chest. The victim clutches his chest, gasping and then... my vision clouds...

It clears again and I see this man talking with the man he has stabbed/will stab over a pint. I strain to hear them talking but can’t quite make out the words. And then it darkens.

I told the others of what I saw, and we flung the bodies into the bushes for the carrion eaters to pick their fill. We then tied the stunned rogue up and slung him over my horse, I would ride on Erethor’s steed once more, so we could deposit the rogue with the authorities at Helm’s Deep, but we hadn’t gone far before we came across a traveller. He had a fine horse and cart, although the cart was missing a wheel. We gave what assistance we could and sent him on his way to the Jugglers’ Hall. He said he was a dealer in ironwork... railings... Erethor spent a while later, pondering over the tracks, but didn’t think they were linked to the rogues...

That was after we found out our captive had died through poison. To be more precise a poisoned pellet in their mouth. And we only found that out because Hadrell examined him thoroughly and I did something very stupid that I have never done before, nor do I want to do so again. I took my gloves off and touched the corpse.

I am looking through his eyes. I feel myself/him bumping along on the horse, seeing only the road. The horse stops, people muttering, voices, ours, I hear myself. The others... I hear another voice, the man with the cart, I feel confused, dazed. I move my/his tongue, feel a small hard object, taste something bitter, cranberry-like... I pass out. Or do I die? I think this is death...

I felt very wobbly when I came around a few moments later. The whole business of dying like that had affected me physically, I was definitely worse for wear. And I could still taste the bitterness. I begged Hadrell for water, but we had none, Erethor is the only person with a waterskin and he was busy tracking the steps and cart-tracks. So I chewed on a piece of dried fruit instead to lessen the taste in my mouth, and mentally noted that we really do need more waterskins, before telling Hadrell of my findings.

When Erethor returned, we discussed what had happened. I foolishly explained that this sort of behaviour was not standard Dunnish behaviour, but it was the comment to trust me, that I knew what I was talking about that I truly regretted. He must be a fool if he hasn’t guessed by now. Or maybe he’s waiting for me to tell him myself.

I cannot remember when it was, whether we were already at the Inn of the Crossing – we had decided to ride back for an hour or so to stay there, a choice with which Hadrell was not pleased, but both Erethor and I were adamant that we wanted to stay in an inn - or before when we discussed the strange rogues. Hadrell asked several questions about them. Erethor and I answered simultaneously, identically to each, it was as if we reading the other’s mind. We both knew they shouldn’t have been this far into these lands, we both knew that this was strange behaviour and we both knew that they weren’t simply rogues. Rider, you know your enemy very well indeed...

The inn was pleasant. The landlord was friendly and there was no one but us there. Hadrell looked at me and told Erethor I had something I needed to tell him, before leaving me alone with him. Damned Dwarf! He had promised me he would stay with me while I divulged my heritage. I will say I tried, I really, truly tried. But the words just stuck there, I couldn’t tell him, not now, not today. If truth be told, I don’t think I could bear to see the cold look on his face, or sit in an icy silence. Or the ensuing days of mistrust and chilliness. And then we ate and relaxed a little, before the damned Dwarf, whom I have learned to love as a good solid friend and I know was only doing this for my own good, disappeared up to his room, leaving me and the Rider sat alone. Again, I sat there a few moments, and still I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. I had nothing to say to him, what can you say? You’re right. My people are all ugly, uncivilised dogs, including myself and we all deserve to die? I do not know. I don’t want him to despise me. But I’m damned either way, and more so than that Dwarf! So I fled to my room, coward that I am.

Something else is puzzling me. From what I have seen of Hadrell and Erethor, there already seems to be a healthy respect between them, which makes my role as mediator redundant. I have had a nagging feeling that the reason Elbrian gave me for being here was far from the truth. Admittedly, he could not tell me of our quest, I would forgive him that, but to send me as a mediator is quite another thing entirely. Why could he not have simply said I was required for my abilities with magic? That would have been no lie.

I will try to get some rest now, perhaps now that I have poured out my fears I may sleep a little easier. But perhaps not, I still have that confession to make and soon.

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