The Family Line Part 5 – A Warrior of Great Renown

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Part 5 – A Warrior of Great Renown

ScreenShot00395Eotheron was a good friend to Theomin and his family. He and Theomin grew up together. They practiced swordplay and lore while studying in Langhold. Theomin did not find swordplay to his interest. He took to scholarly pursuits, lore, and words of power, though he had no way of channeling them without some type of staff. Eotheron excelled in swordplay. So much so that he was named, for a brief time, Champion of Harwick. Of course he was young at the time and was usurped by a much older and stronger guard. For a while, his knock down from the high pedestal bruised his ego somewhat but he took, then, to hunting boars on horseback and spending his time in the Wold outpost of Feldburg attempting to spar with any guard who had the gall to spar with him.

Though he was an enormous braggart, Eotheron would be the perfect candidate to watch over the family farm. A much better candidate than even Theomin. Theomin did not approve of killing things unless at the utter most need. With that, all Theomin had to do was find his dual wielding friend. He headed south to Eotheron’s home, situated atop a hill south of Harwick. A single windmill stood at the peak of the hill and a few yards below were two small modest homes; one house for the adults and one for the children. If Theomin ever had a second home, it would be Eotheron’s. It was exciting visiting as a child when he could. The tree-house and swing always made for an exciting afternoon as they “killed orcs and goblins” at the home while his family visited. Since his father was friends with Eotheron’s family, they spent many an afternoon visiting and weaving tales of adventures, though they never had any. If anything, during their visits they were more like bards than farmers.

Those days were over. Theomin was on a mission. His mission to find his family was only stalled to find his friend and convince him to take care of his adopted family. Though Eotheron was a good friend, he was a very eccentric warrior. He thought too much of himself and Theomin feared he would believe the task was beneath his great abilities. Eotheron was, of course, a warrior of great renown, or that was how he portrayed himself. Just the thought made Theomin roll his eyes.

Theomin approached the house on the hill. Children were playing outside while their mother was working down the hill selling provisions for the occasional traveler or currier from Floodwend. Their father was in the Harwick market place selling their other provisions. Eotheron’s sister, a grumpy girl of late, had situated herself just outside the house on a bench watching her siblings play.

ScreenShot00093Hail, Theomin!” The little boy in the tree house yelled down.

Theomin gave a wave to the boy. “Hail, do you know where Eotheron is this day?”

From the house, the girl’s voice spoke up with contempt seething through her voice, “I can tell you were he went.” Theomin turned to see Eotheron’s sister. “That braggart is off in Feldburg. They removed him once this week for trying to start sparring contests. That windbag is going to get himself in the Harwick prison.” She shook her head. “Again.”

Theomin sighed. Of course he would be out challenging guards. That is what he does best. He should have stopped at Feldburg first. Theomin thanked Eotheron’s sister and sped off on his horse to Feldburg. It was starting to get toward the afternoon as he reached Feldburg. He quickly dismounted and ran into the outpost, looking for the loudest boaster there. He was not there, though.

“Excuse me,” Theomin kindly approached a guard who was in the middle of eating. The guard gruffly looked up at Theomin. He had a chunk of food and drops drink stuck in his beard. He looked him up and down as if sizing him up. “Do you know where a man named Eotheron is? He is that egotist who loves sparring.”

ScreenShot00090The guard gave a slight chuckle and in a deep raspy voice he said, “I know who Eotheron is.” He stopped chewing on his boar meat to look at Theomin. With his mouth still full of meat he continued, “There was a small band of Easterlings who crossed our boarder early this morning. One shot an arrow and wounded a horse of ours. The captain sent him off to look for this band.” The man then laughed again while tearing into another piece of boar meat. “That should take care of our problem.” Pieces of chewed boar meat fell out of his mouth.

Shocked that they would sentence somebody to death like that, Theomin lost his wits, “How…Why…?” The guard looked back up at him and upon knowing the guard could snap him in half like a twig he then composed himself as best he could and had to ask, “Where is this camp?”

“Look to the east of here. Near the river. You will find your friend there, or pieces of your friend there.” With his mouthScreenShot00388 closed, he laughed an evil type of laugh.

Theomin jumped back on his horse. He had not much combat experience to speak of apart from mandatory sword instruction on Langhold. He did, however have some experience with alchemy. He decided he would attempt to track Eotheron down and somehow use some experience to intelligently save him from whatever mess he got himself into. Of course that was the plan.

The hour was growing later. Theomin approached the eastern boarder of Rohan. From a distance he saw an Easterling encampment close to the Anduin. “This must be the place.” Theomin whispered nervously to himself. He took in a deep breath and exhaled, trying to give himself courage for what he was about to do. “Now where is Eotheron?”

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With a lot of cunning and no small amount of grit, Theomin quickly snuck into the encampment. Using as much stealth he could he hid behind trees, palisades, and small tents. He had to wait until the Easterling guards passed, sneaking as quietly as possible.

He wondered what the Easterlings were doing in Rohan. It was an aggressive and brazen move to be inside the boarders of Rohan like they were. Not only did they make it to the eastern boarder but they also took a Rohirrim guard tower in the distance of the camp. Like the brigands who took Langhold, who was leading this band of Easterlings? What did they want in the Wold? Putting all of that aside, he had to concentrate on the task at hand as he knew once one of the guards spotted him, he would either be taken prisoner or killed.

Running into a large tent he looked around, hoping not to get caught as he had no way of defending himself. None of the Easterlings were in the large tent. For the moment he was safe and thinking how daft this decision of his was. Sneaking around, Theomin came upon a table that held something familiar. It was a necklace with an emerald pendant wrapped in golden feathers. He took the necklace, shaking with sadness as he knew who it belonged to. He knew he had not the skill to go look for the girl. That was ScreenShot00390when he heard footsteps in the dirt outside the tent.

He quickly leaped just out of sight at the entrance and snuck a look from the big tent opening. He then heard the familiar clang of swords. As the clangs continued two Easterling men ran past the tent. Theomin hastily ducked back into the tent. As they ran past he looked to which direction they were headed. He then snuck out and followed the two south of the tent.

Just a few feet from the tent, he heard a horrible scream coming from a guard tower in the distance. Then a similar black winged beast he thought he saw in Langhold a few nights past flew up into the gloaming sky. That time it was not his imagination. It was an actual dark flying beast but what he did not see the night earlier was the rider. It was cloaked in darkness from head to toe. As much as the rider of the beast scared him, the scream it let out filled Theomin with absolute fear sending a cold chill down his spine, as well as the two Easterlings he was following. It was such a loud scream Theomin had to cower and cover his ears with his palms. He then saw the light of a massive fire where the scream came from as the beast took flight. The guard tower was set ablaze. The heat from that blaze was radiating with such intensity that it could be felt from the tent Theomin was near. The beast then flew just over head. Theomin could hear the swoosh of the beast’s bat-like wings while it passed over him.

As Theomin recovered from fright, he noticed the two Easterlings he was following had their swords pulled at a man up against the wooden palisade. It was Eotheron who was trapped by the two Easterlings. Theomin ran back into the tent with haste. He looked for something he could use to help his friend. Not too far from the center tent pole was a gourd filled with sticky black tar. If he could smash the tar on one of the Easterlings and use one of the logs in the fire pits, he could light one of the Easterlings on fire, giving Eotheron a great advantage. Hastily Theomin picked up one of the gourds and quickly stirred it, loosening the mixture creating a liquid. He then in one hand picked it up and removed a log from the fire pit. He then quickly left the tent and snuck up behind one of the Easterlings. Eotheron noticed but before he could do anything Theomin smashed the tar on the left Easterling. It shattered, covering his backScreenShot00391 with sticky tar. Theomin then set him on fire as the other Easterling was distracted Eotheron punched him in the gut and knocked him out with the handle of his sword. The one set a blaze started screaming in terror. The blaze was much more intense than he anticipate. Before the Easterling could scream anymore Eotheron ran him through and thus ended his life.

Exhausted from the fight, Eotheron looked at his friend in amazement. “Theomin, why are you here? What are you doing?” Eotheron excitedly asked.

Theomin grabbed Eotheron by the furry pauldrons and exclaimed, “No time to ask why I am here or why you are wearing that outrageous outfit. We have to get out of this accursed place.”

Following, Eotheron admitted, “No argument from me. I think I got myself in over my head.”

“You think?” Theomin quickly retorted.

Theomin took Eotheron through the same path he took coming in hiding behind trees. The Easterling camp seemed surprisingly empty. They were both hearing clanging noises and screaming by where that screaming beast had and taken flight. They reached a barricaded area where horses were being kept. There was one Easterling guarding the horses.

Eotheron patted Theomin on the shoulder whispering. “We have to save those horses.”

“That is absurd!” Theomin gave Eotheron the loudest whisper of disapproval he could. “We will be caught.”

“Trust me.” Eotheron said with a smile. He snuck to the entrance of the enclosure and picked up a rock from next to his foot. He ScreenShot00383threw it at the other end of the fence hitting it and making a loud bang. The guard looked toward the sound and that was when Eotheron snuck up to him and slammed his sword in the guard’s back. All the guard could do was take a quick breath in with shock, tensed and then slid from off the sword hitting the ground with a dead thump.

“Will you STOP that!” Theomin, again, whispered as loud as he could. “I do not want to leave a count of bodies behind.”

“I could not help myself.” He then untied the horses and released them to the prairie.

Theomin half smiled and shook his head. “You’re mad.”

With wide crazed eyes Eotheron replied, “I know.” With that, they both ran off, mounted up and rode back to Eotheron’s house on the hill. A few of the Easterlings noticed but before they could mount their horses the horses that Eotheron freed grouped around the two fleeing friends and they were lost in the mix of stampeding horses. They had both escaped.

It was late by the time Eotheron and Theomin arrived at Eotheron’s house. The torches on the windmill were lit and the kids were finished playing and already inside the house. Eotheron’s sister was the only one still outside, asleep on the bench. They dismounted and gave a huge sigh of relief. They then, for some unknown reason unexpectedly chuckled as they did not know where to put their misdirected adrenaline. They just escaped death and they did not know how to cope with that so they just laughed it off.

“What a brainless act.” Theomin half jokingly and half seriously reprimanded Eotheron. “What were you thinking? And why are you wearing that ridiculous outfit? Are you a mercenary now?”

“Of course I am not. I am hoping to become a guard but nobody would recruit me.” He then took off his helmet revealing a bald head.

Before Theomin could continue he saw Eotheron’s bald head, “Ugh, you shaved your head? Why? Everybody had such love for your hair. If I remember correctly, so did you.”

“Uh, I…” he hesitated, “…a guard told me to.”

“A guard told you to.” Theomin said loudly, hardly containing himself.

Eotheron’s sister then woke from her sleep on the bench. She was very groggy and neither Eotheron nor Theomin could really understand her. All they could make out was, “Can a girl not get sleep here?” And then she mumbled some more unintelligible words before she entered the house and shut the door.

“Eotheron,” he started trying to whisper to his friend but could not find words for how gullible he was. “Do you believe everything guards tell you?” Eotheron just looked around for an answer. “Is that how they got you to invade the Easterling camp?”

His just shook his head in embarrassment, “I do not know. The guard captain challenged me to do that and without thinking I took their challenge. Please do not tell my family what happened.”

He thought that was the perfect chance to state his request, “I will not say anything if you aid me on a matter.” Theomin said, wryly. “I need you to look after my family for a few days while I am away.”

“Away?” Eotheron inquired, confused as the adrenaline wore off. “Where are you going?”

Theomin sighed. It still slightly grieved him to admit why. “I was told that I was adopted by my parents. I am going to find my real parents.”

“You could not tell?” Eotheron mocked Theomin which was well placed as he was mocked a lot that evening.

Taken back, Theomin retorted, “What do you mean? I had no clue.”

“Well, Theomin,” Eotheron continued, “You do not exactly look like your family. To tell you the truth, you do not even look like a man from the Wold. I just shrugged it off until I saw other Rohirrim while in Harwick. Nobody had dark hair like you nor do they have your lighter skin. Perhaps you are from another part of Rohan. The Westfold? The Stonedeans? I hear there are Rohirrim and Dunlandings living together there.”

Theomin looked down. “Huh, I suppose you are right. I hope I am not a Dunlanding.” They shared a small chuckle. “But seriously, that is why I will be away. I need to find my real family.”

“What is the point? You have a family who loves you and is proud of you.”

“I just have to, Eotheron. You know who your family is. I do not know mine. Not my real family.” Theomin admitted. His voice low with frustration.

Eotheron wanted to contest his decision but saw the gloom in Theomin’s eyes. He patted Theomin on the arm. “Alright, then I wish you all the luck in the world, my friend.” Theomin smiled. “I will make for your farm first thing in the morning.” He smirked. “Maybe now that I have a task this important I will not get myself into trouble.”

“I am sure you will anyway.” He smiled as Theomin tightly hugged Eotheron as a brother. “Good bye my friend. Take good care of my family and yourself.”

“I will. YOU take care too.”

With that, Theomin mounted his horse and headed north, back to his farm to say goodbye.

 

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