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Moth's Journal

19th Ringare

The Rider knows now of my origin. I have no idea of how he feels about travelling with a Dunlending, or indeed having one help him on this errand. But I am alive and unharmed, and while I know that our views may differ greatly, and that I may make remarks about the prejudice that we hold for the other’s culture, I owe him an unspoken apology for thinking so unfairly of him. I even feel sympathetically towards him, for, having travelled through his lands, I can understand the discomfort and mistrust he must feel in mine. Perhaps there may even come a day when our races can work side by side with no animosity, I would like to think so. But that is not a day I am likely to live to see, for they are so proud and we are so stubborn. Perhaps, too, the lack of a leader over the clans makes a difference, we are so likely to bicker and fight with our kin, why should we care otherwise? The other lands all have their kings, and yet we have no-one in a similar role. Unruly children, that is all we are.

But I too am stubborn and proud. No apology shall be made, and I will show him my people as I see them. And yet……I wish it had been my voice that told him, not that of a stranger…….

On the morning of the 18th we rose early. No one else was about, and Erethor took the liberty of cooking breakfast, which disturbed the poor landlord greatly until recompense was offered. And then, when we were alone once more, we dallied over breakfast, for the first time discussing our feelings about the quest. Erethor was adamant that we were being watched by Tarquilan, and I divulged the vision I’d experienced when I held the parchment that had first summoned me. We tried to explain away why each of us had been chosen. I can only guess that my visions and my magic combined are the reason I am here. Hadrell is unsure as to his role, I think he is being foolish in this, for he is a stalwart companion. He would not let a thing happen to Erethor, of that I am sure. And Erethor? Well, he is a Rider, he is swift with the bow and talented in the ways of the road, woods and plains. Oh yes, and he is a man of importance to the future.

My observation that I felt like a pawn in a game met with some agreement. We had all been sent by people of importance to us. None of us had been told the entire truth, if indeed any truths had been told. I think that talk left us all something to think about on the ride to Helm’s Deep.

The Hornburg was as I had expected from what I had read, only so much more obviously defensive a place, despite the defences still being rebuilt. We rode up to it to be greeted by dwarves. I am not sure that their comments about Hadrell were at all kind, for they chose to speak to Erethor in preference to one of their kin. Erethor impressed me, however, with his choice of answer. For he recognised their lack of acknowledgement, and made sure they knew how fine a dwarf Hadrell truly was. As we rode in, Hadrell explained to me that it was the beardlessness which they mocked. I think they both thought me stupid then, for I could not understand that, in the same way they could not understand the glass sword in Minas Tirith.

I spent some time then with Hadrell and several other dwarves. I had no wish to impose my company on the Rider, and had decided to spend the night in the dwarven dormitories. Although I spent rather more time there than anticipated for in the Eating Hall, Hadrell took great pleasure in introducing me to a number of rather fine dwarvish ales, none of which I could politely (or willingly even) refuse. I cannot remember the last time I have tasted beer quite as fine. Stories and songs flowed as freely as the ale, and pipeweed, too was shared around, although I refused this pleasure – I can only take this masquerade so far!

Alas, I fear that Dwarven ale is more suited to a Dwarven constitution. I retired to bed early, and only then with the support of my shorter companion – as an aside, I must remember that if I do make this mistake again, I should choose a drinking companion of somewhat higher stature for those moments when support is required. Hadrell eventually succeeded in depositing me in the dormitory, where I barely remember crawling under a blanket, before drifting off into a deep slumber.

I woke today to blinding light and a pounding in my skull worthy of any Dwarven warhammer, and insisted upon Hadrell bringing me some ale before thinking about moving. Although thinking may have been the inappropriate word to use, the way I felt this morning. We met up with Erethor and went on our way. The travel was slower today, I was barely able to stay on my horse and the poor pack horse was weighed down with all the armour and food upon it.

On our way Hadrell found a gold nugget in the Isen. He seemed to think it was indicative of good luck. Perhaps it is, it would be good to think so.

We kept on the road and stopped in the late afternoon at the roadside with a group of ten Dunnish travellers. They, unlike the previous group we’d met, were unarmed and looked harmless.

So we stopped by the roadside as they greeted us in my native tongue. I replied, as neither Hadrell or Erethor know my language. We spoke a few moments before I asked them to speak in Westron, for my companions did not understand our speech and it would be rude to continue. It was then that the man I had spoken to at first mentioned something about my obviously being Dunnish. I think my heart stopped for a moment. There was a silence that could have lasted forever, though in reality only a second or two. I waited for something to be said, but there was nothing and I couldn’t understand it. I still can’t. Have I proved myself enough? Or is it that he is simply ignoring the fact, under the pretence that it is easier to deny my being Dunnish? Or is it because I am a necessary item to take along on this quest? Oh, there go my own prejudices again. I should learn to give him the benefit of the doubt.

We fell into the common tongue, and it was decided that we camp with these folk. Our conversation raised some very interesting observations, especially after we shared our food with them. It appears that a few days past a heavily laden cart, similar to our description passed through this was, followed by five Dunnish horsemen, and then another three. This worried us somewhat, and while we thought we ought to warn someone of there being some trouble, we knew not what trouble was at hand or what to do. There was no way we were letting Erethor out of our sight for over a day, and while I offered to compose a note for the Dunnish travellers to take to Helm’s Deep, where they were to head in search of work, Erethor flatly refused this option – he is highly wary of a written message falling into wrong hands.

I offered to take first watch with Thindor as he introduced himself, and spent a while talking of my home – it seems he knew of my family and was able to tell me that although my father is gravely ill, my grandmother and foster mother are well. Grandmother is still utilising her healing abilities and delivering children, which hardly surprises me. And my brother is doing well. I think that I should visit them while I still can, I may not see them again.

It will be hard returning home. I have not been there for a good seven years, and there are many tearful memories of that place that I have chosen to forget. The resemblance to my maternal family is also great and I can see that I may have problems in the future with this. Hadrell and Erethor are not stupid, nor blind. However, I can almost certainly rest assured that women are not figured highly amongst the enemy of the Rohirrim!

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