Where are you?
Where are you?
I have not seen you since you returned from Dale. I have gone to the house you purchased before you left for the East, but you are never there. I miss you, bróðir. Where are you?
It sounds insane, I know, but I have decided to go to Evendim. There is something there that I must find. I would tell you what I am looking for and how I know it is there, but you will think I am crazy. Besides, I need to get out of the Bree-lands and Buckland just is not far enough and I have heard it is beautiful there.
I am not sure when I will be leaving. There is no pressure to get there; what I seek is not being sought by any other and it has lain there for a thousand years. I would like for you to come if you would. Come find me, Eirikr. I need you.
If you find this at the Pony by chance, know that you will not find me in Folchet anymore. Some things happened, Eiri, and I fear I did not handle them very well. Though how would you handle a living dead man? I know how Anric will handle him. Anric will kill him. He will see it as his duty to help him leave this world by any means possible. He joined us first and foremost because he needed to be sure Aeron found his place with the dead. I know that now. I had always been so curious why he was willing to believe me when he heard the purpose of our journey. Why he was willing to risk his life for some girl he just met. He needed to see Aeron and Faethril pass on.
He left me, Eirikr. Anric left me because I cannot love only him. I want to love only him. Right now, I want to love only him because if I don’t have him, then all I have is him and that will not do. He will have all of me and I will not be able to temper the need I have to love him. What will become of me when all I have is him?
Morty says he doesn’t need love. Not romantic love. The love of Esthyr is enough for him. And the baby. He is having a baby. Well, not him, of course. That would be impossible. He is not the one who is going to have the baby, but I am sure you understand what I mean. And, anyway, all he needs is his children. He does not need Cal. He does not need the love of a woman. He “loves” many and he cannot love just one.
Will not, he should say.
But children grow up. They go their own way. It isn’t the same as someone who knows you and loves you and will always be by your side. Everyone wants someone like that. Someone who understands what you are trying to say before you yourself understand it.
And he says he cannot love me the way I want him to love me. How does he know how I want him to love me when I do not even know myself? Eruviel, Aeron. They say I do not want the a man who would wanders. But is sex the same thing as love? Can you have sex without love? Cwen seemed to believe it was possible. Sex is just a physical act, isn’t it? One night stands do not mean you must love the person.
He said it was a one night stand.
My cheeks just flushed. I feel the damn heat as I sit here and I hate it. Why am I so easy to read? Is it just easy for him to play me so? Is he truly cruel and uncaring and simply deriving a sick pleasure from tormenting me so? Does a lack if a heart mean he is incapable of love or that he simply does not love me?
Why can’t I just let him go?!!!!!!!
I realize I am writing crazy. Perhaps I should burn this so no one can discover such crazy thoughts. But I simply cannot understand it. He spent so much time telling me no. There were plenty of reasons why he told me no.
He did not sully virgins.
He could not love only me.
He would not when I had a good man like Anric.
I would love only him.
But, I do love Anric. I love him still even though I know he has left me. He just left me there in the meadow outside the West Gate. I hurt and I hurt Anric because I could not love only him. What does that say about me? Am I no better than Morty deep down, unable to save my love for just one man?
Is it so wrong that I want them both? Love and affection and attention and someone who knows me deeply and intimately without even touching me before? Someone who takes my breath away?
Is that asking too much?
*sent tied to the leg of a very put out bird*
This is to nowhere, because I do not know if it will ever find you on your journey. I guess I could have written to Eirikr, but he’s so sullen and all too worried about Ninim to pay much mind to something as small as a rosebush. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Anric’s home is actually under the mountain. Luckily there is an opening above it so that I can still see the sky. I think that I would go mad there otherwise, being so cut off from the rest of the world. He loves it, though; he always jokes that he’s either half-Dwarf or half-goat. He seems perfectly at ease beneath the mountains in the vast caverns with their twists and turns. I still get lost going from his home, just off the square, to the gates of the neighborhood. He keeps encouraging me and telling me that I’ll find my way. He reminds me so much of Morty the way he nurtures me. He believes in me in a way no one else has, except maybe you.
Speaking of Morty, I wrote him before we left to inform him of my absence (not that he cares) and to inquire about the rosebush (he took it back). When I first saw his reply, I admit that it crushed something delicate inside my heart. I never imagined he would take the bush back! I’m certain he just does not wish it to die, but I was coming back. I was going to take care of it.
I just wanted to know how often I needed to come back and tend it – it was my excuse to come back and tend it. Eruviel, I do not know how to read him now; he wrote as if I was going into the Dark Lord’s realm never to return. Anricwulf is being very understanding about all of it. He promised we could get a hearty bush to plant outside his home, but no matter what we get, it won’t be the Dalish Charm. It won’t be Morty’s own creation. I feel like I’ve betrayed him somehow: he left one of his children with me and I neglected it. But I am being foolish – it’s just a flower, right? It isn’t as if I was out shopping with Esthyr and lost track of the girl.
I wish you were here. I wish Eirikr was here and that this whole mess was behind us and everyone was safe from harm. Things here feel like they should be that way: trouble-free and happy. Anric is traveling a bit less, but we find things with which to occupy ourselves within Durin’s Hall. There’s always a bustle and the fires always burn. Snow fell yesterday – so much for spring! It was just a light dusting, though I could only imagine what it would have looked like on the burgundy petals of those rosebuds. Would a chill like that kill them? Can such a delicate thing survive the cold stone of the mountains?
Dwarves aren’t as interested in drawing and painting as Elves and Men. They prefer statues made of their heavy stones and metals. I’m just trying to fit in, really. You would think it wasn’t all that hard since the trade between Erebor and Dale had strong ties. Yet, I never really saw that part of things. I never dealt with not knowing what someone was saying as they laughed and stared at me. I never found myself a minority among a strange people with foreign customs. I always faced the selected Dwarves my father brought home to banquet. They were on Man’s turf, just as they were in Bree.
Now I am on their turf. And of all that I might have learned in my homeland, my little Dalish charm isn’t getting me very far.
My dearest brother,
So you are here now. That makes this awkward. That I write to you and you are just a short walk away in your room at the Pony. That I write to you letters that you will probably never see!
I know you do not wish to stay here, Eiri, and that you long for your wife back in Esgaroth. And I know that you will not leave the Bree-lands without me. You truly believe that Father will send someone for me, but I don’t think so, Eiri! What purpose would such a waste of manpower serve our father? He sent you, yes. The expendable son that already refused to follow in his footsteps. Do you ever wonder if he even expects to see you again?
Eiri, I think you should stay. I think you should stay here with me and make a life in Bree. We could send for Ninim and Abbi and life could continue as if it were never interrupted! You could fish and hunt; I could work on my sketches and learn how to paint. Abbi could find something here, Eiri. People read books and write stories and there is no standard for decorum other than what we set for ourselves. Father could no longer send men to drag you out of your own home. His lash does not reach this far.
Think about it, Eiri. I beg you to think about it. You are stubborn, but I am stubborn, too! And I know you will not force me to do something I do
A loud knock on the door startled Anya and a single drop of berry red ink dropped to the parchment of her journal. She dabbed at the blotch with her fingers as she returned the quill to the jar. The knock came again, loud and insistent. In her haste, she nearly tripped over a boot left by the entryway and fell into the door.
“Who is there?”
“Anya, it is me.”
Trying to hide a frown, Anya let Eirikr into the house. He wore his hunting leathers with his bow slung over his back. His normally stern face held a level of curiosity as he looked around the Bree-land home full of Elvish decor. Without waiting for an invitation, he crossed to the table to look at an unfurled map of the North Downs. His eyes perused the towns and his finger traced the outline of the mountains bordering the land. “This is detailed. Did you draw this?”
Shaking her head, she said, “No. It is one of Eruviel’s. I do not know where she got it.”
Nodding slowly, he smiled up at her briefly. His eyes shifted to the open journal she had been writing in and her heart dropped. Let him pass over, she prayed, but his gaze did not waver. He reached out to pick it up and started to read.
“That is private,” she said softly, more nerves in her voice than anger.
“It is addressed to your dearest brother. Is this for Abbi, then?” Without waiting for an answer, Eirikr continued to read. His brow creased as his eyes traveled across the page and when he came to the end, he flipped it. Finding the next blank, he started turning them back until he was at the beginning. Anya held her breath as he slowly turned each page.
His mouth moved agonizingly slowly as he read: “A loud noise and then some pictures in my head. Then Morty was there. I was in my room in Bree and the sun was rising…” and “Perhaps it is a good thing that Aeron comes out to face him…” He set his mouth in a hard line and continued to stare at the last page for several moments. Anya waited for it to come, her eyes downcast and her heart racing.
“You-you seemed to have more feelings for this Mossfoot fellow than you let on, little sister,” he said finally in a voice so low it could barely be heard over the fire. “And he merely toys with you?”
She shook her head.
“But it seems this is the truth.” He turned back and reread the last lines of that entry that never should have been seen. “You choose very strong words, little sister. Words that are indeed unfitting of a Tenorbekk.”
Anya continued to stand in silence. She felt answers hanging on the air unformed between them and she did not want to grab the wrong ones.
Eirikr continued: “I am not sure what to think of this. He seems like a decent fellow, from what I’ve seen. He did not show any inappropriate behavior toward you, and he seemed genuinely pleased to meet me. He-” He looked down at the page again and flipped back. “He stayed with you? The only one after your injury. He seems to want to protect you. I can even see his refusal to take advantage of you as just that: he is protecting you, sister, from the gossips and the rumours that can ruin one’s life worse than you can imagine.
“But to have you feel this way when the Man can never return your affections – I do not like it, Anyatka. It is not healthy.”
Anya still did not speak. Her eyes fell to the tabletop.
“Why do you smile?”
“Because things have progressed, brother. I am learning. Loving without wanting. And,” she blushed, “though he will always have a place in my heart and who knows what the future will bring, I think I am starting to move on.” Her finger traced a pattern on the surface of the table. “You interrupted the last entry. It was very inconsiderate of you to do so.” She looked up with the small smile curving the corners of her mouth. “If I had finished, I would have written of a man named Canderas and how he makes me smile.”
Eirikr stood up straighter at that. His eyes, so alike Anya’s in shape and color, showed an alertness that accompanies good news tinged with a shadowy uneasiness. “Canderas? Have I met this man?”
Biting her lip, Anya looked up and searched her memory. “I do not think so. He had been away for quite some time on the warfronts to the north.”
Sighing, Eirikr regarded her for a minute with an unreadable expression.
“I will introduce you as soon as I can, I promise.”
Nodding, Eirikr’s looked down at the journal in his broad hands. He gingerly placed it back on the table and turned to face her fully. She could tell his mind was at work, perhaps running through the many faces that pass through the Prancing Pony each evening. A small ‘v’ formed between his brows and she laughed.
“Eirikr, it is not so bad,” she reassured him as she moved to take his arm. “Would you rather me in tears bemoaning the evils of men? Eruviel found it so upsetting after a time.”
His brow raised speculatively. “Perhaps. That would mean that I would not have to worry about you when you were alone. Or, not alone,” he added with a smirk.
She patted him on the arm, her head tilted in sympathy. “Brother, I am not a little girl anymore. You can stop watching over me; I will be fine.”
He grunted and pulled her to him in an embrace. “Never, little whelp. I will always look after you, though I must admit you need it less and less. Which brings me to why I came.” He cleared his throat softly. “I have sent a letter to Ninim explaining that I have found you but I will be longer than anticipated. I tried to make it rather vague, but she will understand.”
Anya looked up at him with searching eyes.
“I will give you time, little Anyatka, to prove that you can hold your own here. And I need to see that you are well.” He cleared his throat. “After speaking with some of your friends, I realize you have a journey to go on before any decision is made. I would be here for that journey. And perhaps take it with you.”
Her eyes lit up and she hugged him tightly. “Eirikr, I love you so much. I could not risk you injured or worse. I would never forgive myself.”
“And neither would I, were you the one to fall into peril and I nowhere to be found. Anya, you have my bow to protect you. One more will only increase the odds of survival.”
“We shall discuss it, brother.”
He nodded as he looked down into her stormy grey eyes.
“Yes, Anyatka. That we shall.”
[OOC: Snows days = multiple post days!]
Eruviel shakes her head slowly. “Anyatka, no good can come of being in love with a man who has multiple lovers. I don’t want you to become a broken-hearted remnant of his.”
Anyatka smiles sadly over at Eruviel. “But it’s too late,” she murmurs, a sad resignation in her voice. “I will not leave him, though he lock me outside of his door like an unwanted dog.”
My dearest brother,
I woke up beneath the morning stars in Raenarcam’s home and I remembered. I tried to keep it from him; I didn’t want to betray him and go against his warnings. I promised him not go to looking in the Downs and I didn’t, Eiri. I didn’t go to the Downs, I thought I was safe.
Now they say there are these people inside of me. A man and a woman. Eruviel is disturbed and worried. Lina thinks I’m crazy. I fear others are beginning to think that as well. Maybe I am.
There are these moments when I am one place and suddenly I am another. They can be small, innocuous. Like when Eruviel and I accompanied Carndan and Kaleigh to the Old Greenway Fort to draw
an image they found there. I remember being high on the wall, climbing to get a better look at the relief. It was raining and my foot slipped; then I was on the ground, perfectly fine and they were all staring at me, asking me questions about Fornost and the kingdom of Arthedain and a man named Aeron.
And then – there was an incident and I scared folks, I guess. Eruviel told me of it. I attacked Mr. Torlach. She said he didn’t even deserve it! That I demanded the necklace from our failed journey and that I said ‘he’d die’ if he didn’t have it. I can only guess that ‘he’ may be this Aeron person. Things are getting out of control and I don’t even remember them happening!
And then Morty. Eirikr, I tried not to, I really did. It hurts so much to see him with her. I know he’s gone back to her, I can feel it in the air when I’m around them and now I find myself always around them. I think it’s worse when he’s about. The episodes. I forget much more when I’m around him, and he has no necklace like Torlach. I feel such emptiness; I didn’t know my heart could hurt me so. And when he found out that the necklace was from the Downs. I knew. I knew he was connected to those dreadful tombs. And now I know and he knows and I’m afraid he’ll never speak to me again. I promised myself I would not cry over him any more and that I’d just value his friendship, but now *the words are blurred from splotches*
If I lose his friendship over this, it is only my own fault. If he wants Orchil, he can have her. If he wants every damned woman in this town except me, he can have them. I will remain as I am. Perhaps it is a good thing that Aeron comes out to face him. It lets me forgot for a time that I am not even good enough to be one of his whores.
PS – I will definitely never send this one to you, brother. I can see the murderous intent in your eyes.
How are you? How is Ninim and the Long-lake? Is the view of the sun setting over the waters still pretty? I miss the summers spent there with you two. When I can swim.
I have a confession. This will come as little surprise to you. You know me well. And always have. I think it surprises me. I know it makes me very sad. But then I forget what is making me sad. And then I remember.
Eirikr, I am scared.
Something happened on the trip. We went to an
achient ancient place but there were Dwarves. They were not nice. I remember one appeared behind me and I remember Falros stabbed him. I remember the feeling of dread when Teiblanc found the place for the Necklace. I cannot remember much that happened after a loud noise. A loud noise and then some pictures in my head. Then Morty was there. I was in my room in Bree and the sun was rising.
It is hard to think sometimes. I got upset and had to stop for a while. I do not remember getting so upset at things.
I think Teiblanc must have left us. She and Torlach did not get along very well. They argued over everything from the start. And Falros does not like Elves. I was shocked to see him at all. He is a good man, Falros. When he killed the Dwarves, he killed them to save me. He was so different than when in a tavern. And not all of it was about his new feeling toward me. I know he used to hunt bandits. But to watch him work. He is a totally different person. He becomes so cold.
I feel bad that Teiblanc was alone against them, Torlach’s meanness and Falros’s coldness. But she left us and I think the loud noise was her
Eirikr. Bad things happened. I am starting to remember them but I do not want to. I see things in my sleep. Sometimes I see them when I am awake. I try not to tell others. But I think they know. Something happened at the Pony. I was sitting, conversing with a Man. Fervur. He is from Dale, too! Eruviel came. Torlach came. I started seeing things that were not there: Dwarves, bloody hands, rocks and dirt falling around me. I do not want to see things anymore. But if they are not real how can I make them go away? I think I cried. I cried right there in the tavern. I did not want them to hurt me.
When I stopped seeing things, I was back home. In bed again. I am so tired of bed. The nice man was there and Eruviel was there. They took care of me. We had a picnic. There is a little pond near Eruviel’s house and we sat on the shore. I miss you. We let Fervur stay – he fell asleep on the floor before the fire. He made me smile.
But brother, I hope this goes away. I do not know what is wrong with me, but I want to see real things again. I want to know what is going on around me. I do not want to see the past.
My dearest brother,
I don’t know who I am any more. I feel so lost. In such a short amount of time, I have gone from a spoiled, selfish merchant’s daughter to a near destitute vagabond scrounging for survival with batted eyelashes and bated breath. Someone leeching off of near strangers for such basic needs as a roof over my head and warm food in my belly. For fancy robes on my back.
I hate that I have become something I loathe. I’ve become our father.
The lines between kindness and manipulation have begun to blur. Misdirected, I have gutted one for an advantage over the other. This passionate need to fight for what I want has destroyed what I want. I want friends, I want family. I want to be loved. But they seem to simply slip through my grasp. I can’t trust myself to differentiate between friend or foe anymore. I am not prepared for a world such as Bree. I feel like I have lost something, and more than just a friend. All to protect myself against the dark rumours that he himself perpetuates by justifying them.
I do not know whether to feel justified or suffer from the terrible loss.
He’s in my head.
He is in my head; I know he is and I do not want him to be, but I do not want him to not be, either. Eirikr, is this how it is like with Ninim? Do you want her so much it hurts? I cannot think of you before her; you are one. Together, you make a whole. How did you know that she was your other half? That together, you would be right?
And what if Ninim hadn’t been Ninim, but a person with a past and a face that everyone believes lies? What if someone you trusted told you not to trust her, though she had already told you that people would say precisely that? Who would you believe? Her? Or the rest of a town?
No, I am not prepared for a world such as Bree.
Thus, I am going on a trip. Miss Teiblanc found a necklace that might lead to a treasure and we are going to go seek it. I’m going on an adventure! I am nervous, maybe a little scared, even. But I feel like I am in good hands and cannot foresee any terrible grief that might befall us. Teiblanc is leading us and Eruviel, with whom I now live, wanted to come, too! A man named Torlach is sponsoring the trip; he is something called a Ranger and I feel perhaps a little disturbed. He once saw a bracelet I found on the road and threatened to relieve me of my hands as a penalty for stealing Ranger relics. He is rather frightening, but since then he has bought my art and been very pleasant. It’s down-right wonky.
Falros had agreed to come along at first, though since then we have had a
figh falling out. He warned me that Morty was just playing mind games and manipulating me—his words stung more than I could admit. So I stung back and made as if I were using Morty. I tried to make it seem like I had no emotional attachments to him and that Falros was worried over nothing. But it circled back and bit my heel; he no longer trusts me so suddenly I changed. He didn’t know who I was any more and neither did I. I feel absolutely terrible about what happened—Falros is such a simple man. I did him a grave disservice by giving him my complications and I am so sorry for it.
What should I do, brother mine? How can I fix this—is it even possible?
My dearest brother,
There was a light dusting of snow the other day, though none of it stuck around for more than a moment. I thought about the Mountain and how the sun would gleam from its peak all year round. How it reflected in the surface of the lake. I try to forget those things, but often they sneak into my thoughts when I least expect it.
I do miss home. You. Little Abbi. But I am not so alone any more. I am making friends. Me! Can you picture it, Eirikr: little Anya sitting in a tavern surrounded with jolly, sociable folk drinking ale! The thought of it would have been preposterous a year ago. But, not any more. I have met many interesting people and all seem to wish to live life to the farthest extent of their abilities. And everyone is so kind here. It makes me wonder what is so wrong with our family that we could never have such freedom.
There is Falros, so boisterous and funny. He used to fight brigands in the Bree-lands and now spends his days merry-making. Father would have thrown him out on his rear the moment he walked through the door. I like him, though. He has a kind heart — kind enough to assist me after a night of rather poor choices when it came to drink.
Next, there is Miss Teiblanc, an Elf like few I have met before. She reminds me a little of the daughter of Lord Haeron. You remember, the one with the silvery hair that could not stop smiling at you that evening at banquet? Father had said she was young and foolish for her kind. I think Miss Teiblanc is young for an Elf and I do not think that is a bad thing at all. She still feels connected to us here and I do not see her looking down at me as I have felt most of her kind do.
Another Elf-maiden, Eruviel, has offered me refuge in the form of her spare bedroom. I cannot believe my fortune! Living with an Elf! Abbi would be so jealous. He always said he wanted to live among the Elves and learn their secret to the undying life. Though, I always wondered if that was because of his fortunes. I worry about him, Eirik. Promise me you will take care of him even though you are busy with your new life with Ninim.
And then there is Mr. Morty Mossfoot. He is the town grave-digger and suffers greatly, though I do not think I have an inkling of all of the burdens he bears. You would probably not like him very much. Father would probably gut him. Come to think on it, so would Mother. He says he is not ashamed of the way folk warn me of him, but I cannot help to think how isolating it is. You see, he’s a bit of a “lady’s man” as one woman said. He flits about from lady to lass, appearing to never settle, though he said he was betrothed before it was discovered he had an illegitimate daughter. My, how I re-read this and find it quite the terrible account of his character. I do not feel as though this is the person -I- know. I see how he loves his daughter. How he took the time to help me find housing before I met Eruviel. How he allowed me to drag him into the Chetwood to find a lost pet. How he looks when he thinks no one can see.
Perhaps you will frown and say that is not what a Tenorbrook does in society. I can hear Father’s voice in my head: “A Tenorbrook does not consort with grave-diggers and mercenaries! A Tenorbrook does not spend her time in town taverns and cavorting about a forest at midnight! A Tenorbrook does not find herself alone with a man!”
But am I a Tenorbrook any more?
I have my doubts that I will be welcome in our parents’ home. Once this would have terrified me. What have I if not the shelter and benefits of our father’s “love”? How can I possibly survive without his benevolence? How could a stupid girl like me be able to live in the world without him?
But enough of that. You know who our father is and what he is like. I do not have to tell you.
Now that I do not have to pay for a room, I might consider trying to find someone traveling East to bring these letters to you. I want you to know that I am okay. It is the least I can do after what I have done.
All my love,
Your little Anyatka
My dear brother,
I write this in my journal. The one you made for me last summer for my twenty-second birthday. I still remember the face Father made when I opened your package. I know that you will always love me no matter what I do.
So I hope that you understand why I left, though I doubt now that I will ever be able to see if you do. I am lucky to be sitting here by this poor excuse of a lake looking north to the walls of a town sitting on a sloping hill. It is nothing like Dale, here, Eiri. I do wish you could see it. I wish you were here beside me.
Then I would not have to regret never saying good-bye.
I know I cannot send this to you. The roads we traveled grew increasingly dangerous. Just yesterday, my caravan was attacked and now I am alone. I do not know what happened to Bookie. I ran so fast, Eiri. I never knew I could run so fast.
I want to come home. I want to see you and Mother and even Father again. Abbi and Thyrna. I miss you all.
I send you my love. Across all the vast stretches of country between us, I send you my love with all of my heart.
Wish me luck, big brother. I can’t put off going into town any more. I’m out of food and days are growing colder.