To Dale: Dialogue

“You are all right, then? Not harmed?”
“Nothing that I cannot recover from. I cannot believe you are here. I have waited for so long.”
“I know, deore. Please forgive me for taking so long.”
“But you found her? Your sister?”
“Yes.”
“Is she…well?”
“Anya is…different. Than the girl we know, that is. She has touched a different realm and I fear some of the people she has involved herself with are dangerous. They make me uneasy. There are a few who love her and will protect her with their life. She is fortunate, the little whelp.”
“You should not call her that, Eirikr. She is a grown woman.”
“You know as well as I that she is hardly grown. She ran away from home for goodness’ sake!”
“Eiri, she had reason. And she will learn.”
“She will end up hurt, or worse. She is playing a game and does not know the rules. But I don’t know. I could be worried about her over nothing.”
“You do worry, my love.”
“I spend most of my time worried about you. And I had good reason to do so. Ninim?”
“Yes?”
“Will you be honest with me?”
“Of course. Always, Eirikr.”
“Did he touch you? Is the child–”
“Eirikr–”
“Ninim. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry.”
“Eirikr, please. I-I can’t — I couldn’t stop him. I tried, I swear to you I tried.”
“Shh. Ninim, please don’t cry. I am sorry I wasn’t here to protect you. I’m sorry, love; please don’t cry. He won’t hurt you any more, I promise.”
“Y-you killed him.”
“I had to. You understand that. You do.”
“Eirikr.”
“I just–just tell me the child is mine, Nin.”
“You left so quickly. There was so time…he was here the night they took you. Not here. There. At the house. Oh, Valar, our house–”
“Nin, I am sorry.”
“Our home…”
“Eirikr. The house. Our home.”
“We will rebuild, I promise. We will have a new home. Land. There are lakes in Bree. And trees. We will have quiet. Peace. And a family.”
“A family.”
“A family. A real family.”
“If the child is not yours–”
“Then we shall find a good home for i-what was that?”
“He kicked. Or, at least, he tried. There is not much room for him to move.”
“That was…that was the child?”
“Yes.”
“He just kicked my hand. I just felt him kick. He kicked me.”
“Yes?”
There was a long silence.
“Our child just kicked my hand.”
“Eirikr, I told you I cannot know…”
“Our child, Ninim. He- he is a part of you. That, well, that makes him a part of me, too.”
“But–”
“No, Nin. Hush, love. I will protect you and him. Both of you.
“I promise.”

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