Through Another’s Eyes

The ever-lovely amimain with another prompt. Didn’t do all my characters this time, but these two (particularly Lori’s) just spoke to me. :3

We get chances to develop our characters’ personalities all the time, but it’s rarer that we get to develop how our characters are perceived by others. Write about your character from someone else’s point of view. That someone else cannot be any character that you play.


She nodded politely to the woman, her fake smile softening some when her eyes drifted over the baby sack. Such a weird little sack, but it fit such a weird woman. Kind of practical, when you really thought about it: hands were free, but the baby was still pressed against you. The baby inside was absolutely adorable. It made sense, though. Such a gorgeous and exotic woman would bring forth such a beautiful babe. Shaking her head as slight jealousy built, Dori Wheeler made her way back from the road.

There was nothing wrong with the woman, except for her being a widow already. Such a shame! When she said who the father was, that shocked Dori. Michael Lawson went up north and married himself one of them Lossoths. That was right weird, but yet fit. He was always about going off and finding stuff. She was a right sorta woman, though. Mourned him properly, a whole year, and seemed keen on respectable work while she settled herself into life here. Still didn’t know why she didn’t take the baby up north again, back to her family; but who knows. Those people way up there were beyond Dori’s understanding: who would ever want to live in permanent snow, eating fatty meat and having to stay huddled around a fire? Ugh! Just the thought was troubling.

That baby was better off here. Nice, normal weather; nice, normal folks. Nice and average. Hopefully that woman would find a man again. No shame in marrying again when you’re widowed. Not after a year and not when you’ve got such a little one. Trick there was finding a man willing to marry a woman already having a babe. Men were proud creatures – she smiled fondly to her own husband’s set of clothes at that thought – and it was hard for them to accept a kid not of their blood as their own. She was darn pretty enough that Dori was sure even that Too…jah? Too… uh? Bah, she couldn’t pronounce that weird name. She was sure she could snag someone, even with broken Westron. Too pretty not to attract someone’s eye, no doubt.

Must be nice to be so pretty. She ran her hands through her brown hair with a sigh. Time to make some bread. She rolled up her sleeves, pondering the latest bit of gossip.


Emmett Beetly looked through his window, across the street. His neighbor slowly – almost comically – pulled plank after plank of wood into the house. No woman should be able to do that; they were sturdy pieces of wood, a man should be helping her bring them inside. Where was that foreigner she was living with? Oh, pardon him: her husband. They got married. Most in town were convinced that their gallivanting about had gotten her with child, so they married quietly…those rumors hadn’t been proven true. Yet. She stayed slim as ever, almost a month later. And hauling wood. No self-respecting pregnant woman would haul wood around, even her.

She was a walking scandal these days. Bah, most days? Try her whole life. He almost felt bad for her. Well, at first. Having no ma, supposedly – supposedly! – she was some foreigner as well, but no one ever knew. Crazy Rojer Snowberry just left one day, and years later just showed up with a kid. Never married again; according to him he did marry her ma, but no one around here believed him. Poor Lori Snowberry, stuck with her da’s reddish hair and being really clumsy. People still thought there was Dale in her da’s family. Red hair wasn’t Bree-hair.

These days, she brought all the scandal on herself. Did ever since she ran off for a whole year and lived with the Hobbits. Most were wary when she moved into Wildore, but they didn’t say anything. She stayed to herself, worked in her little garden, and didn’t bother nobody. Just an old maid. Like she should be, at her age. Minus that woodworking and whatnot. It was bad enough she walked around wearing pants most of the time, going to the Pony and Cask, drinking more than any respectable woman should drink. Then that foreign man started coming around: that was the talk of the town when everyone realized it. That was not something you did: living with a man, not married? Everyone knew what was going on there, too. They weren’t stupid around here. On top of that, not only was he not from Bree, people said he was a sailor on top of it. Rowdy, unreliable types, they were.

If a woman her age got it into her head she was somehow court-able, the least she could do was find herself a nice, local widower. Not some questionable sailor from another land. At least she started wearing dresses sometimes, and wasn’t drinking so much. Days like today, though…it was like a relapse. Tunic and pants, hauling large pieces of timber around, sitting on the stoop in the freezing cold as she drank deeply from one of her large mugs. It wasn’t right. Even if they were all married proper-like, she should be getting with child and cooking and wearing dresses. Indoors. None of this still working nonsense. Bah. He shook his head. Nothing to be done for it. At least they did the respectable thing and got hitched. Nothing anyone could say now. He went back to scrubbing the dishes.

Dreams: The Past, But Not

((Expect a dream from every character in the next day or so. Some deal with their pasts, some will highlight a part of themselves they didn’t realize was there, some are completely random. I hope you enjoy this little series. I was just struck by it last night. :3))


“Come to dinner, darling one!”

A short little girl – no more than four – heeded her mother’s call, bright golden-red hair bouncing happily into the farm house’s main room, blue-green eyes twinkling with anticipation. “What’s dinner, ma?”

The tall and usually stoic woman looked down to her daughter and couldn’t help a soft smile. Her Rohirric accent was still thick, even years after leaving her people. “We will have stew tonight. Now go, call your father and wash up.” She swayed gracefully back to the fire, stirring her concoction one last time; her daughter pranced away with much the same grace, calling for Daddy.

Reality swirled around them, but no one seemed to mind; the next Loriwen knew, she was sitting at the table, a few years older. Her hair was in pigtails, like she hated, but she had to look nice for mourning. She didn’t mind, if only because she was so sad, herself. She had only met her Uncle Thurwald once, but he was a real nice man with great stories and the best laugh of anyone ever in the whole world – well, except for Daddy. They were going to wear black all week and she had to look nice. That meant no playing outside or sneaking woodcarving behind the house when Mommy wasn’t looking. Her parents stood up and held each other, then parted on one side and motioned for her to join them. She quickly hopped down from the chair and rushed over to be comforted.

As soon as she reached them, everything shifted. Loriwen felt the same, yet she was a young woman getting married. She didn’t feel very happy for it, but it was a good match. He didn’t care about naught but inheriting his parent’s farm; she was just too old by the village’s standards to stay single any longer. It wasn’t normal. They both agreed, as childhood friends, to stay just that: friends. It was acceptable enough, giving small kisses in public and never expecting more from the other. As they kissed, they froze. It seemed as though they stood still while time flew away from them.

When they parted, both were older. Holt was beginning to grey early, only thirty-two. She herself was almost thirty. He was off to work in the field again, working on keeping the squash safe from the impending summer – it had been a horrible spring with too much rain. How did she know that? She just did. He walked off, and she waved; then quickly rushed to change and go into town. Once she walked out the door again, the door became the door to the Pony. She was suddenly carrying a small basket that only had a few loaves of bread in it. Unfortunately, she managed to walk into a scuffle on the porch of the Pony, and she was quickly and unintentionally pushed off the edge. Landing with a thud, everything changed again. Suddenly a strange man – she knew his name was Tarlanc, somehow – walked over with his friend Brant. Brant, she knew if only by face; he was one of those rich Heartwood boys, the one that managed to get himself lost for a long time. Gossip spread fast amongst the housewives. She would know, she was often the butt of it…what with her still not getting with child. The stranger with dark hair and eyes that seemed to shift reached down to help her up, and she couldn’t take her eyes away from him, even as it seemed like he couldn’t take his away from her. Where their hands touched, it was like an ember: a long-lasting and smoldering heat that, with the slightest provocation, would ignite into a flame. Everyone, even that rich boy Brant, faded away completely.

Then they were behind the Pony, hidden by trees. Weeks had already passed somehow; he looked at her, calling her “Loriwen” as he always did. He was the only one who ever called her by her full name. It made her knees weak every time. He held her hand in much the same manner as they did when they met. She already talked to Holt, he didn’t care she was sneaking around with the strange Gondorian sailor; not in the slightest. He’d snuck around with other women, too. But Holt didn’t know the true decision Loriwen came to in that moment. She looked up to Tarlanc – so much taller! – and caught her breath once again. She was running away. Staying in a friendly but entirely dead marriage was something she couldn’t do; not now, not that she found someone who made her feel so alive. Her hands reached up, grasping the grinning man by the long, dark hair; she yanked him down for a rather passionate kiss.

When they parted, she was in Dol Amroth. She didn’t know how she knew, given she had only ever heard stories of the port town, but this certainly fit those descriptions and she just knew. Her tall man had already pledged himself to her, and they walked by the docks hand in hand. Even that simple act, with the sea salt and warm ocean breeze washing over their senses, made her heart soar. She closed her eyes, standing on the end of a pier as her scandalously new betrothed (or husband? He certainly acted like it was the latter) protectively wrapped both arms around her waist.

Loriwen’s eyes opened, and she saw ceiling. All which had just happened played through her mind at lightning-fast speed, ending when she blinked a few times. A yawn finished off her confusing reverie, and she turned to see a bare shoulder illuminated by the silvery moonlight. Her eyes drifted over to his face, jaw agape as another loud snore escaped. It was still the face from her dreams. Dreams. It was just a dream. A convoluted, entirely made up dream. Well, at least they ended up together in it. She smiled and quietly brought a hand to his forehead, brushing her hand down his face, cupping it quietly. She’d always run away with him, if given the chance. They were meant to be together. Scooting up to kiss his forehead, she snuggled back into him. His arms automatically went around her protectively – just like in her dream. Loriwen went back to sleep, hoping she would dream of a future this time instead of a completely disjointed past.

Lost Family: Getting to Know Each Other

This submission is in PDF form for two reasons.

  1. It’s entirely too long to be posted on my.lotro, and it’s not the kind of piece I can break up.
  2. It’s far more comfortable to read it in black on white serif font instead of whatever my.lotro is conjuring up at the moment.

I hope you enjoy this latest piece. If it’s not working for some reason, I’ll throw it up on or something.

Link to story here.

The Shieldmaiden and the Carver: Return

Rojer’s horse trotted into the stable of the inn in which he stayed previously, the rider wearily falling off and neatly landing on his feet. The stocky but lean man patted the horse and grabbed his large satchel, heading out into the night air with a tired gait. He headed into the inn with little else on his mind but sleep.


Ceolwyn trudged to her regular spot, tired after yet another unplanned dinner with a suitor she couldn’t even pretend to think about finding interesting. Her mother just would not give up. Her younger brother finally had come of age, so she was hoping beyond all hope that he would begin to divert their mother’s meddling intentions. Maybe she could encourage it, somehow…

She tossed her sack in its usual spot, her eye catching a new horse sticking its head out the stable. I recognize that horse… Her shield hand immediately flew up to her neck, feeling the cord and amulet through her shirt. Ceolwyn dropped her shield and sword to the ground, walking up to the horse slowly. Sticking her hand out, she let the horse sniff and lick her hand to catch her scent. “It’s alright, you sweet thing. I won’t hurt you.” After gaining the horse’s tentative trust, she began to stroke its nose, petting him softly. “What brings you back here, hm? I thought he was gone forever.”

“Sorry to disappoint.”

Whipping around at the sound of that low, confident voice, Ceolwyn actually jumped a little. Not expecting him to be right behind her, she flushed bright pink at being caught talking to his horse. She locked eyes with him, standing straight as she looked across to them. Now that she wasn’t preoccupied with training, she realized they were the same height. Did that make her tall, or him short? His lips were already curved into a smile: a bit of confidence there, but still a genuine smile. His eyes, a deep green, shone with the same warmth. The bags under his eyes, though, told the story of a long journey. She knew that all too well. She tried to keep her cool mask on, but a small smile made its way out.

“Um, hello. Back from your long trip?”

His smile grew to a grin, making the bags under his eyes all the more apparent. “Yep, I finally got back from Gondor. Nice place and all, but wouldn’t want to live there. Too stoney and too watery.”

Never the master of pleasant conversation, Ceolwyn stood quietly, practically staring at him. His fiery red hair, his deep green eyes, his previously well-kempt facial hair (it hadn’t been touched in days), his rather foreign facial structure. She eventually realized she was staring without responding. She was grinning, too. “Oh, uh, you look tired.” She immediately winced in her head. What are you doing?

She was greeted by a laugh in response. He chuckled loudly, crossing his arms. “I suppose I would, wouldn’t I? I only got up this early because I wanted to see if you had disappeared on a scouting or whatever it is you’re training for. Say, I’m going to get a late breakfast. You want to come along, or should I bring it out here?”

Opening her mouth to protest, she turned her head to look at the shield and sword carelessly tossed upon the ground. Slowly closing her mouth, she pursed her lips. She should train, she really should. But now that they were actually speaking to each other, the only thing she wanted to do was continue speaking. That had never happened before. She had talked to interesting people before, but he was different somehow. Managing to steeling her face back into her neutral expression, she turned back to him and nodded.

His smile turned into a smirk, one corner tugging up more than the other. “You can tell me where to go then, Lady Ceolwyn.” He swept into an elaborate bow that surprised her so much that she didn’t even give him a look at the use of “lady.” Her surprise must have broken through the mask of indifference that she tried to hide behind, because when his head lifted, he laughed again and gave her a warm smile.

Pursing her lips specifically to not smile at his laughter, she nodded and went to safely stow her items near his horse. After that, she lead him to the quietest inn in town. The “quietest inn in town”, not so surprisingly, just happened to be the one furthest to her house. Interesting. They both sat down quietly, ordering water and whatever left over breakfast food they’d kept. Any questions the barmaid may have had were very quickly swallowed under Ceolwyn’s glower.


Rojer gave the barmaid a friendly enough smile, furrowing his brow in a little confusion at the way Ceolwyn scowled at her when she gave them a curious glance. After the young thing trotted off, he leaned forward on his crossed forearms. “What was that for?”

She looked confused. “What was what for?”

He tilted his head thoughtfully, inspecting her features with no attempt at hiding what he was doing. Her proud cheekbones stood underneath dark bags, the dark bags framing those beautifully bright blue eyes. Her hair was wild, and he wondered if she had ever actually pulled it back once in her entire life. It tumbled down her back in long, golden waves. After a long moment, he dragged his gaze back to her eyes and kept his head in the curious tilt. “You scowled at her. Why?”

Ceolwyn was clearly trying to work out some sort of answer, her eyes widening slightly then looking down at the table. Her jaw worked a little and her hand involuntarily rose to her neck, splaying across her collarbone. He sat patiently, enjoying this side of her: he could see a normal woman, not just an angry lady with a sword. A lock of hair fell into her eyes, making her blink. She shoved it back, her eyes focusing again on him. “She talks.”

He couldn’t help it as a smile spread across his face; the first thing that came to his mind just sprang from his lips. “Of course she does, everyone talks.”

He almost immediately regretted it as her cheeks flushed a little and a spark came to her eyes. She put both elbows on the table and leaned forward. “You know what I meant.” She didn’t look even remotely amused as her hands found her hair and her fingers ran through it. Her head ended up between both palms as she looked away from him, sighing. “What am I doing here? I should be training.” She made another movement – graceful as the last – as her head tilted back, giving him an ever-tantalizing view of her throat. The view, unfortunately for Rojer, was fleeting as her head then hung down.

He sensed he had to do or say something quick, or lose this opportunity forever. Panic set in, and his confident nature began to melt away as he imagined that. Say something, you complete moron. His jaw worked, then he coughed to clear his throat. “So, um, what are you training for?” He held his breath as he watched her think quietly to herself. It was his last gamble. Would it work? Oh, he hoped so.

RP Prompts: A Secret Revealed!

((A great one-shot with Lori yesterday. This is a response to a lovely prompt by the ever-awesome Pumrya. The original post can be found here. After a conversation with Helvia the other day, Lori was given instructions to go visit Helvia’s uncle to ask if he could help look up information about her parents.))

Loriwen shielded her eyes as she carefully continued up the stairs, one step at a time. She’d gotten used to going up stairs normally, but in the case of this exceptionally tall staircase, she wanted to be careful. Lori went up the stairs one at a time, planting both feet firmly on each step. Falling down this staircase would not end well, and the last thing she wanted to do right now was get seriously hurt. Not only was she teetering on the edge of discovering a thirty year secret, Tarlanc could come home any day now. She had just read Kendry’s letter this morning, it came in the mail as well as the politely written note asking her to visit the archives in Scholar’s Stair. A ship sank. Not only did a ship sink, which of course was a horrible tragedy in and of itself, but it apparently had old friends of his on it. He would be devastated, and the last thing he needed when he got back was a banged up her.

Finally reaching the top and taking a couple more steps forward, she turned around and sighed as she looked down at the mass of stairs. That really would have been quite the fall. Shrugging to herself, she turned back around and quickly made her way over to the door of the archives. Taking a deep breath and holding it, she walked into the archives with crossed fingers.

–Later that day–

He told her it was good news. They had found something, something in the tax records. When her father claimed her as his daughter, said she would inherit whatever he had, her mother’s name had to be written down for it to take effect. Helvia’s uncle wrote it down for her, and now Lori sat safely in her yard, looking at the carefully folded page. She didn’t dare look at it until she was home. She wanted to wait until Tarlanc got back, but this was not the time to be gushing about news like this. He was dealing with tragedy, not something as silly as a thirty year old woman who just now realized her mother’s name may be in tax records. Ugh, she really was such a dolt at times.

Squaring her shoulders and pushing her hair back from her face, she held the note with both hands and slowly opened it. The words hit her like a ton of bricks.

Ceolwyn of Edoras

Edoras! Edoras…Edoras?! Her mother was Rohhiric?! Lori looked at the paper in disbelief. She knew it wasn’t wrong, Helvia’s uncle was as precise and methodical as Helvia herself. It had to be right, but that couldn’t be. It just couldn’t. Setting the paper down with shaking hands, Lori’s hair fell into her face again. The afternoon sun caught it, making the hair glow even more golden than red. Lifting a hand to grab the largest lock, she inspected it in the sun, watching the hair shift from a light golden-red to a bright and shining gold as it moved. Maybe he was right, she did get her hair from her mother after all.

Keeping one hand holding her lock of hair, she lifted the page back to her face with the other. Ceolwyn of Edoras. What an odd name. Lori tried her own name in the style of Rohirric and Gondorian tradition. At least, she thought it was tradition. She’d certainly read enough dry books consisting of “Gárulf, son of Gárhelm” or “Beren, son of Barahir.” They wouldn’t constantly go on like that for no reason, she thought. Books were stories, it’s true, but stories always have a tiny bit of truth in them, no? Loriwen, daughter of Ceolwyn.

Lowering the paper again, Lori leaned against her large maple tree and kept her eyes focused on her hair. Slowly letting each strand fall out of her grip and onto her collarbone, she continued to play with it. It was her mother’s hair, as far as she knew: the golden hair of the Rohirrim. It certainly wasn’t normal Bree-hair. Suddenly all the teasing and annoyance she endured growing up was worth it. She may have had straw-hair as a little girl, but it was her mother’s “straw hair.” Lori allowed herself a small smile.

The Shieldmaiden and the Carver: Time Apart

Sitting in the boat, Rojer could not stop thinking about her. Everywhere he looked, he thought he saw Ceolwyn’s blue eyes peering at him. Perhaps it was hope, he didn’t know. He’d had a couple of girlfriends—who hadn’t in Bree?—but none of them affected him like this. The only time he wasn’t completely distracted by her was when he was carving. Channeling all his energy into his craft, Rojer began to make more and more intricate pieces when resting at night.

He eventually made it to Gondor. It was everything he expected, and at the same time, somewhat less. Minas Tirith, which he saw from a distance on his boat, was more grand than he could have possibly imagined. The rest of the landscape was rather…bland. Rojer expected a little more in the way of beautiful cities, less in terms of countryside. Although there was more danger than he would have cared for, with Corsairs attacking the boat. The crew was clearly prepared for such an event, locking the passengers in the hull and taking care of the problem with efficiency. Many days later, they finally reached Pelargir. The large port city was much more than he imagined, with all manner of people walking around. While quickly making his way to his contact, an old man who knew his grandfather, Rojer wondered at the sights.

He finally made it to the old man’s place, heartily greeting him and sitting down to discuss the dreadfully boring details of a stall from which to sell. Some time later, they clasped hands in agreement and Rojer gave him the proper amount of coin. Retreating to his room to rest after a long week’s journey, he sat by the window and thought once more of the blue-eyed woman. A small smile came to his face as he imagined sitting on one of those docks with her, silently enjoying the breeze.


Ceolwyn sighed, going through her exercises as normal. Once again, she wasn’t invited to go out on an exploratory run. She knew she wouldn’t be invited for a long time. It made her quite angry…she worked harder than most of the people who went. Just because she wasn’t as much of a natural didn’t mean she wasn’t aware of her duties! She knew what she was doing, her movements precise and exactly what she was taught. The pride and zeal were there; what was she missing? Angrily waving her sword through the motions, Ceolwyn finished for the day. Breathing heavily, she walked over to her pack and pulled out a cloth, wiping her face. The amulet that odd man gave her a few weeks ago fell out, bouncing off her boot and into the grass.

She reached down to pluck it from the ground, giving it a discerning look as she rose. It really was beautifully made. The rose looked so soft, and the branches around it were boldly carved. There was even a perfectly burrowed channel through which a string or leather tie could be pushed, making it a necklace instead of just a token. Why would someone buy something like that for someone like her? Ceolwyn turned it in her hands, blinking quickly as she noticed a small etching on the back.

R. Snowberry

Her eyes narrowed as she read the tiny name. Snowberry? Who is Snowberry? That sounds like a horse’s name… She shrugged and packed it back in her pouch, going to reach for her shield. However, she stopped mid-reach, a look of realization dawning over her features. Plopping down on the ground and pulling the amulet back out, she gave it another turn-over. Not seeing anything further, she stood up and stalked into the inn where the strange man had stayed.

============================ Continue reading “The Shieldmaiden and the Carver: Time Apart”

The Shieldmaiden and the Carver: Silent Meetings

Rojer Snowberry was a woodworker of small renown in the Bree-land area, mostly working on large furniture and carpentry. As a hobby, and occasionally to make money, he would carve small trinkets. After some years of being a young bachelor, he decided to head off to Gondor and ply trade with the large stash of trinkets he’d carved. He was a bold and brash young Bree-lad, as most are. Packing up and waving to his mother, he headed off.

When he finally reached the Gap of Rohan and was granted passage as a merchant, he stopped in Edoras to refresh himself with supplies for the trip further to Gondor. When he stopped to eat some luncheon, he noticed a young and fierce woman through the window with piercing blue eyes and long but tangled golden hair. She was sparring by herself, fiercely attempting to fight the air with a worn shield and sword. She was fairly good, certainly better than Rojer; but she was clearly not a warrior. He quietly watched her as she wore herself out, eventually finding her way to the same tavern.

She grinned as she walked into the tavern, showing a fierce expression as she sat down much like any man would, and ate the food placed in front of her fairly fast. He couldn’t help but watch her, never having seen a woman quite so interesting. Being sharp, she quickly noticed his gaze on her and narrowed her eyes menacingly at the strange man with fiery red hair. He turned back to his soup, still looking at her out of the corner of his eye as she eventually finished and walked out. He sat for a long time, struck by the strange woman with weapons and blue eyes. After a long time of thinking, he noticed laughter growing behind him. Turning and giving an inquisitive look, he saw an old man laughing in his direction.

The old man’s laughter died down and he shook his head. “You, young man from far away.. has Ceolwyn, daughter of Eadgifa caught your eye? Ahahaha.” The old man seemed exceptionally amused.

Rojer, suddenly defensive, leaned back against the table and turned to face the man. “What if she has?”

“Ahh, that woman wants no man.” The man waved his hand dismissively. “She wants to fight, even being Eadgifa’s only daughter and eldest child. A shameful woman. Usually the eldest is willing to accede to their mother’s wishes. But that one? Pah.” His hand turned into a pointing finger, wagging in the air. “Mark my words, young man from far away: that lass will only bring trouble.”

Being the young and bold Bree-man he was, Rojer pulled up a mug jauntily and drank deeply, finishing it. “I like trouble.”


The weather had kept Rojer from heading onward in his journey for a few days; the summer rains on the plains were too much to navigate. He had trouble sleeping the last night, and it wasn’t entirely due to the inadequate bedding he rented for his stay. The fierce determination in the eyes of Ceolwyn, daughter of Eadgifa kept popping into his mind. Something about her struck him. He had to know more about the woman who refused to settle and instead chose to fight. Waking and splashing cold water on his face, he headed downstairs with a purpose: breakfast. Breakfast, and to watch Ceolwyn practice again.

Rojer settled down outside under the part of the roof that jutted out this time, holding his bread and mug of milk. Ceolwyn arrived shortly thereafter, making a point to ignore Rojer as he sat there, watching her curiously. After an hour or so and one long-empty mug of milk, she finally threw her shield down upon the ground and stalked over to glare at Rojer from above. He looked up, giving his best coy look.

“What… do…. you…. *want?*” Ceolwyn breathed between heaves of air. Sweat and rain dotted her face, her training clearly strenuous.

Rojer continued his coy expression, tilting his head. “Can’t a simple man in a strange land watch a beautiful woman practice without being threatened?”

Not expecting an answer of the flirting variety, Ceolwyn’s brow furrowed and she took a step back. She pointed her finger directly at Rojer, water from the rains dripping off it. “What… do you mean?”

He leaned against the wall, extremely pleased that his plan worked. “Exactly what I just asked: may I watch you practice? You’re beautiful when you concentrate.”

A sudden flush coming to her face, Ceolwyn whipped around and grabbed her shield. She continued to practice in silence the rest of the day, never again acknowledging Rojer’s presence. He didn’t need acknowledgment, though. He gladly watched the woman whip her sword in the air, cutting through rain and silence.

The tradition of untalkative companionship, her fiercely slicing the air and him watching intently, continued for as many days as the rains stayed. It was a total of four in all.


The fourth night was just as sleepless as the rest, but it was productive this time. Rojer spent the night carving a small amulet, no more than the size of a coin. It was a beautiful rose, slender and soft, encased by strong branches. Tucking it into his pocket, he smiled as he went to breakfast that tired morning. He ate his breakfast inside, packing up the horse and graciously thanking the innkeeper for being such a wonderful host – uncomfortable beds or not, it was the polite thing to do. He led his trusty Bree-horse around to the spot where he normally would sit and watch Ceolwyn practice.

Ceolwyn was already practicing, her motions a bit less fierce than usual. Sensing someone coming, she ceased sparring and turned around, sheathing her sword and lowering her shield. Looking over to the horse, her face was a mixture of emotions…above all, confusion. By the time she looked back toward Rojer’s face, her own was already masked in neutrality once again. Nodding in acknowledgment, she made no move toward him.

Pulling his hand out of his pants pocket, he hid the amulet in his palm. Walking slowly toward her and raising his hand as if to shake on a deal, Rojer gave her a disarming smile. “Thank you for allowing me to watch such a beautiful woman as yourself and for not running me through.”

Wary but not entirely distrustful, Ceolwyn dropped her shield off her right arm and held out her hand to shake his. As their hands pulled apart, Rojer left the amulet in her hand. When her head immediately ducked down to inspect it, he took the opportunity to swing up onto his mount.

When she finally looked up at him, silent questions written on her face, he responded. “If ever you wear it, think of the odd foreign man who watched you spar in the rain.” Not waiting for a response in kind, Rojer patted his horse and trotted off to find trade in Gondor, leaving the bewildered and beautiful shieldmaiden behind.


Ceolwyn watched the rather peculiar man trot away until he was entirely out of sight. She looked down to the amulet in her palm, inspecting it curiously. A beautifully carved rose set in the background, surrounded by strong branches. She carefully tucked it into her sack of belongings and continued her training.

Loriwen: Defective

Loriwen stumbled blindly out of the healer’s hall, staring at her feet silently. Her cursed, cursed feet. Her cursed, cursed brain! What was she going to do?! Go home, that’s what. That’s what she was going to do. Go home.

She made her way, one step at a time. She watched both her feet carefully: left, right, left, right, left, right. Knowing what she now knew about her clumsiness, she didn’t know how she’d ever be normal again. When it was just bad luck, everything was fine. It was a joke! Aha, Lori fell over again! Aha, Lori ran into that doorway! What a clumsy, silly woman! But now…

Now she was defective. It was her brain. It didn’t talk to her feet right. Something was wrong with her. She was broken. What was she going to do? Every step she took, she consciously made the effort to keep it aligned with what she thought was the right spot. Left, right, left, right.

Everything had changed. She pulled her hand up to her forehead, wincing at the dull throb her head had obtained. Loriwen gingerly touched the bruise that no doubt already graced her forehead. Ah, the forehead that only mere hours ago held a normal brain. A forehead that only mere hours ago was fine. A forehead that only mere hours ago was being kissed by Tarlanc.

Loriwen stopped dead in her tracks.


How was she going to explain this to him? How do you look someone in the eye, and say “Hi, there! My brain’s screwed up?” How do you look someone you love in the eye and say that? What.. what was she going to do?! He knew she was clumsy, he didn’t care. He kissed her bruises – the ones about which he knew, anyway – and seemed to only care about her being more careful. But now…now things were different. Her brain was broken. She was damaged goods. Why would someone like him want to be with someone like her? He wanted children, she wasn’t even sure yet if she ever would. Especially after what she saw tonight. Pain, agony, tears. She didn’t want any part of that! But.. would he still want children with someone like her?

Loriwen’s eyes slowly filled with tears as the next thought dawned upon her.

What if it’s hereditary?!

Oh, no. What if … well, she never knew her mother! Maybe that’s why her father never told her about her mother! What if her mother had it?! Could … is that where Lori got it from!? Did she die from it? Is that why he never told her? So he wouldn’t scare her? Let her live blissfully ignorant until one day, she just stopped being able to function properly?

Panic quickly setting in, Lori sat down on the ground, breathing heavily. She looked up to the sky, eyes wide. She had to locate that Northern Star. She just had to. Where was it, where was it, where was … ah, there it is. The breath she didn’t know she was holding escaped her. Watching its faint but steady glow, she slowly began to relax. After a while, the cool but humid summer air began to stick to her skin and she sighed. Getting up very carefully, she straightened her body and wiped away the tears that had fallen in her descent.

Her eyes closed, she took a steadying breath. She could fall apart when she got home, but for now it was late. Outside of town proper or not, it wasn’t safe for her sitting on the road, crying. Logic dictating her movements, if not her thoughts, she began to move back toward Wildore. Left, right, left, right, left, right. Every once in a while, a small tear would make its way down a cheek.

I don’t want him to leave.

A Promise: Birthday Visits

Morning visits

The early morning sun glistened off her strawberry blonde hair, making it seem more blonde than red for once. The face her hair framed was surprisingly solemn, her teal eyes sad as they scanned the ground for any tripping obstacles. The bright red flowers she carried popped against the light blue shirt she wore.

Loriwen stepped into the cemetery. It was just as devoid of life and empty as it seemed the day they brought her father here. He insisted on being laid to rest in this old cemetery. His father, and his father’s father, and all the rest were buried here and he did not care if it was a run down plot or not. She looked around with a sigh. The day itself was lovely, warm with a breeze and sunny, yet the trees surrounding the cemetery made it dark and uninviting.

The shade engulfed her as she walked over to a stone. Bright red flowers already graced the plot where her father lay, and a sad smile sprung to Loriwen’s face. Anna was here today. Shaking her head a little bit, she placed the flowers next to Anna’s and gazed at the stone for a while.

Rojer Snowberry of Bree
26 Solmath – 16 Mede
55 years

This is always odd at first. Where to start?” Loriwen sat down in front of the flowers, never taking her eyes from the tombstone. “I mind as well start out with the obvious. I miss you. I always miss you. I’ve taken to writing Grams letters; I hope that isn’t too crazy.” She poked one of the flowers, tracing her finger along the petal. “My woodworking is going better than ever. Have a lot of people who know my name and I get letters from many folk in the area, asking for various things to be made. I made a maple lute a few weeks ago. It was lovely, stained dark and white ivory turning keys.”

Mmm, I suppose something I should probably mention is the farmhouse. I sold it. Couldn’t handle that much land and house on my own, and old Wheatley was keen to pick it up. He gave me a more than decent price for it, think he felt bad for me. Still was a good deal for all of us involved, he got to almost double his land and I got enough coin to buy myself a small house with a small garden. Well, more coin than just that, I have a bit of a savings now. It’s good to have padding involved, makes any emergencies that may happen less of a hassle.” She absentmindedly scratched the top of her right hand, sighing to herself when she snagged a bit of a bandage.

She looked down at the hand, fixing the wrapping and looking back up to the stone, a rueful expression on her face. “Still being a clumsy, crazy old woman. That will never change. Do you know I managed to get a black eye from a book a while back? Absolutely unbelievable. I was writing a letter to Grams and tipped my chair back, and hit the bookcase. Looked up to make sure everything was alright, and bam! My right eye took over a week to heal.”

She shook her head, laughing hollowly. “Ah, that will never change. I’ll always manage to get myself into barely real situations. Whether it’s falling off a bridge, being punched by a book, or even as far back as when I got myself stuck in that tree, you know I’ll find an even weirder one to top the last.”

You know, I’m thirty today. Seems so old to my eyes, then again most younger people these days end up married around half my age. Leastways, they did back when I was that age. Seems more and more folk are shacking up and not marrying at all or they’re waiting until they’re older. Times change quickly, it seems. Folk who travel from the South and from the East bring dark words and stories with them. It’s becoming more dangerous around even Bree-land. It’s worrisome, but what can I do? I’m a simple wood carver with a serious case of bad luck.” A memory struck her and she stopped speaking. Slowly exhaling, she brought her hand from the flower down to the grass and ran her fingers through it as if it were hair.

Continue reading “A Promise: Birthday Visits”

Letters to Grams: Stars!

June 28
Loriwen Snowberry, 6 Long Street, Wildore, Bree-land


Oh, Grams. Stars! I’ve never professed a love of them before tonight, but how I wish to proclaim it this late night. I had just finished draining my bath, was settling in to relax for the late evening.. and a knock at the door! Tarlanc showed up, quite unexpectedly, dressed up all fancy. He even brought a bottle of wine from far away to share. He wanted to get my approval of his outfit for Friday. The dance, that is. Such a silly notion, of course. He could show up to the dance wearing a dirty and ripped farming outfit, for all I care. It was a wonderful sight to see, particularly when it was unlooked for! He even had someone else cut his hair and trim his beard. It was a bit of a funny sight, me being so used to seeing him unruly and roughly kempt. He kept hinting at seeing my dress, but I held firm. He shall not see it until Friday!

We shared mugs of wine, given that I have no interesting glasses or anything of the sort. Too easily breakable, don’t hold enough liquid. Leastways, that’s how I’m seeing it. It was quite a peculiar wine, from distant Forochel. He said it was…ice wine? Ice wine, yes. Cooled the body, which is always good on a late summer day. It reminded me of winter, with the fresh, clean and cold taste it had. Apparently he has a second bottle stashed away, and he said he’d keep it until winter comes around. To compare, that is. I still can’t believe Tarlanc has never seen a winter. To only have seen snow from a distance? Ah, what a shame! While it can be a bit too cold for me at times, snow is still dreadfully fun to play in. We’re going to try to create some snow-fish when the first snows fall. That will be a day to remember, just as tonight is.

Ah, tonight! Grams. Grams, I am so happy. We’ve known each other a scarce month, but there is this connection. Everything is an ease to talk about, even the more difficult things. He spoke of his uncle tonight, a steadfast and hearty man. Spoke of his death, as well. I can tell his uncle was a true hero of his…I wish I could have met the man. Apparently a fish hook caught his leg and it caught an infection that took over his body. It sounded slow and horrible. They actually do let dead sailors into the ocean when they die at sea.. I had no idea it was actually true! When he told me, I tried to comfort him, but I guess it’s so far in the past that it’s a distant ache, much like what happens when I think of you and Dad. Something that will never heal completely, but not something that one breaks down over every time they think of it.

Then he asked me about Dad, if I ever visit him. That is coming up next Friday, isn’t it? I always visit on his birthday, and on mine. Actually having a group of adult friends to talk with and have a birthday party with is new to me, very new to me.. I will make sure everything is set up the evening before, because I want to make sure that I have all the time I need in the morning to visit. I could visit another day, but that’s not the promise I made. We’ll always celebrate our birthdays together, even in silence and without cake. That is not a promise I will break.

Ah, now I think of important but sad subjects. I have a rather peculiar question for you, Grams. I know you can’t answer it, stars, how I wish you could… Ah, stars! Now I am reminded of the part of my evening that was so wonderful. Forget the question, it’s not important. Stars, stars, stars. After drinking our mug of wine each and having a rather tender and simple conversation about berries, we headed outside to look at the stars. Laying down in the grass, the warm summer air surrounding us, nothing between us and the naked sky…it was perfect. He began to name the constellations in his tongue, most of which I couldn’t pronounce properly if my life depended on it! Such lovely names, regardless of my inability to speak them. I will remember the northern star’s name, though. Fornel. A lovely and simple enough name. I certainly won’t be able to find it again, all the twinkling dots look the same to an untrained eye! He promised he would find it for me if ever I asked, he’ll be my compass. Actually, he got a weird look on his face when I asked that, but I didn’t press. It’s as if my question was a different question to him, very odd. I was just asking if he’d find a star for me!

I think my arm is near ready to fall off, and I really should head into bed. I will simply end my telling of this wonderful evening with the following statement: everyone should fall asleep with the one th beneath the stars at least once. Nothing is more relaxing, more fulfilling, or more romantic. I’ll now go (alone, don’t you fret) to bed, and sleep the rest of this wretchedly short night away. Tomorrow, I need to make the final adjustments to my ales and head into town to clean Mother’s earrings. That will be a busy and fun day, to compliment the wonderful night I just had. Good night, Grams.

Your little pumpkin,