Part 51 – Flight
The evening was dark and quiet out in the field of the Kingsfell. Coolness and a gentle breeze was about and a still feeling was out in the fields. Starlight and moonlight were all that washed the scenery of the Kingsfell in ethereal light. No bird nor any other animal were on the plains of the Kingsfell. They were all off in their dens or holes or nests resting in the warm embrace of their kin.
Not Theomin. After the speech his father gave that night, he found the family of his, the family he had sought for many long weeks, were going to war. Not just some tiny skirmish but a war with men who, many years ago, took the city of Annuminus for their own. In two days, they were to trod off to the city to retake it. The life of peace he had hoped to have after finding his family had been erased, destroyed by the fear of war, battle, and death. That feeling, the feel of death and loss, fell on Theomin like a dark shroud. They hoped for Theomin to be skilled at killing. He felt he was not. They wanted him to be ready for battle. He felt he was not. War and battle were not in him. Back at home he was a farmer, not a warrior. The world of the Marshalls, his family’s world, he was not meant for. So instead of standing with his new found father and brothers and his bretheren within Esteldin, he ran.
He ran out the west gate of the compound, desperate for freedom from the shroud of death they were all going to inflict on themselves and the others condemned to fight the war. He passed the sentry at the west gate, “Where are you going?”
“I cannot breath in there,” was all Theomin could say but not sure where he was running off to as he panted in fear of what his family was about to do. He passed small hills to the left and right and through a slight field of grasses until he ended up at the crossroads that led to the dwarves, the elves, and to Fornost. He stood there as he placed his hands on his knees and breathed in and out quickly, releaved he was out of the shackles of inevitability of battle. His only hope was to go away, far away. He needed to go home.
“Where is Bragga?” Theomin asked himself aloud as it then dawned on him, “Othrikar.” He looked in the distance toward the old dwarf city deep within the hills nearby the Kingsfell. All of his thought was to take Bragga and ride south. But he remembered it was not a safe trek to the dwarf town. He did not want to risk being mauled by a bear or killed by an orc. Those orcs that were becoming more of a problem up there. With no real way to defend himself, he knew there was not a safe way to approach Othrikar. He had to abandon that thought for the night to focus on a safer path.
He then looked south and thought about the elves to aid his refuge. They were friendly to men and wise beyond any years counted by men. If he did not want to go to war, he hoped that their wisdom would aid his father and brothers in understanding he was completely against it. As he staired south, his feelings of the elves melted away as he knew Feredir was undoubtedly in league with his family. He knew they would inform Feredir of his whereabouts and he would in turn inform Athegdir or his brothers. With reluctance, he knew his only chance to get away and stay safe for the night was to go to that farm of Gatson’s. It was not far to the east, just a few minutes walk from the crossroads to the farm.
The windmill was still spinning gently in the breeze as he marched his way toward Gatson’s Farm. Nobody was out, no farmer nor farmhand was seen around the farm house. The land was still. He remembered there were farm houses further on the road. He had to make for them quickly, remembering Feredir saying the night belongs to the orcs.
He snuck around Gatson’s farm and tried to sneek past when he heard a deep voice from behind, “Well,” Theomin paused in terror, “well,” he closed his eyes hoping it was not who he thought it was, “well.” Theomin turned around. There, just next to the house, standing at the edge of it, stood Gerald. “At last, we have found our quarry.” At that, two other guards of Bree flanked Gerald and drew their bows. “Do you know how difficult it has been to find you? Two of our men are being treated because they were terribly wounded. One lost an eye and the other has a terrible infection. We lost our good captain, whom by all accounts, was the star of our fine city, and a good person to match.” Theomin started to back away slowly but Gerald stopped him, “so slippery you think you are. You feel you can escape but you don’t realize you are caught with no where else to go. Before I had no factual reason to keep you in prison. You did not kill my brother but father did not know that. When Thanncen broke you out of prison you became fugitives of Bree. People always rally behind the law when fugitives are on the loose. And now I need no reason to keep you in prison. The whole town of Bree knows who you are. Your likeness has been plastered all around Bree. Every man, woman, and child will be looking for you. Good people who would never think to bat an eye angrily at anyone would rather see you hang for the simple crime of escaping prison. They need not any reason or what you did in your past to deserve death. They always wish the worst upon you, and we will deliver you to them like a gift. There is no place to hide. No bastion of hope. Once word spreads out of Bree of the escape of the man who killed the mayor’s son, all of Eriador will be on the look out for you.”
“What happened to them?” was all Theomin could get out.
“What happened to who?” Gerald said.
“To Thanncen and Saeradan.”
“After they allowed you to escape, we captured Thanncen. He told me he knew the whole story around how my brother was killed. Well, I could not have him talking around father as he would ruin my whole story. So I broke his jaw.” Theomin had a look of disgust in Gerald as the man continued, “Do you know how difficult it is to break a jaw? It is not the easiest thing to break. Bone can be difficult, sometimes. Other times, like with arms and legs, if just takes a simple snap with a hammer or a club,” he said in a casual way as if he was conversing with a grocier. He snapped his fingers, “then the job is done. No mess, unless the bone slices the skin open. But jaws are different. It is difficult to snap a jaw and not kill the person. It took many attempts with my fist but he just continued to talk. So I layed his head on the grave there and pounded it with a club. It took three tries while these two held him down. It worked.”
“And what of these two you are with? Do they not know you are lying about who killed your brother?” Theomin asked.
“These two?” he pointed to the guards who still had their bows drawn on Theomin. “These two were with me from the beginning. Your friend, Thanncen did me a favour. Captain Thistlerose, Tom, and Will had no clue as to my plans and had no ill will toward you. Because your friend killed the captain, Will and Tom are now your enemys too. Funny how things work.”
“Then who killed your brother? Was it you?” Theomin asked, expecting the answer to be yes.
“You mean Thanncen never told you who it was? Eleswith never told you the tale of her and her secret lover whom she loved until his dying breath? What a sad fate that someone can’t trust even the closest friend whome he trusts most deeply. That’s the thing about trust. It can be shattered so effortlessly with just a flip of the truth.”
“You don’t have to believe me,” Gerald said so happily. “Just planting the seed of doubt is enough for me so I can see it blossom in your firtil mind just before I break your spirit,” he looked at Theomin with such gleeful evil look that it shook Thoemin, “and then I break you.”
“There will be no breaking of anybody, Kronog,” a voice came from the path leading to the house. Gerald turned and standing there was a man dressed all in black, wearing a black hood and wielding drawn bow pointed at Gerald. It was Saeradan, “or should I call you, Gerald.”
“So, it is Saeradan, the one who escaped. You caused quite the damage when last you met my guards,” Gerald said calmly. “It matters not,” he voiced a command to his guards, “Kill him first.”
“Ah,” Gerald said happily, “my tainted flower has returned.”
“I am no flower of yours, Kronog,” she said with a scowel on her face.
“Nor am I some kind of flower,” another woman’s voice came from the other side. It was a woman baring a shield and a sword.
“You will not touch them,” another voice, softly said. Feredir came holding his bow to Gerald.
“You will leave this land and ner return,” another, deeper voice commanded Gerald. Athegdir, Sergee, and Teryndir came up. Athegdir was still in the outfit he was wearing at the party, blue with a wintery white look of snowflakes. Sergee had sheethed on his back a longsword and Teryndir bore two small blades at his sides. Athegdir bore no weapon on his person, which showed the confidence he had in the command of his people, “This is my son, Enedion and you have no right to threaten him or his company. What ever wrongs they have done to you have been forgiven.”
Gerald looked upon the man with such an anger and confusion, as if he was a child wanting to throw a tantrum, “By who’s authority do you command me so?”
“I am Athegdir, one of the Marshalls of Annuminus and you have threatened my son. Turn, now, and go back to the home from wence you came. Tonight, you leave with your life. Do not make us take it.”
Gerald, out numbered and out witted, looked at Athegdir with a burning hatred. He then turned his glance over to Eleswith and finally to Theomin and pointed threateningly, “I will never forget this night and you will come to regret that.” He then looked at his two guards, who were obviously sweating with the brief standoff they had. They withdrew their bows and placed their arrows back in their quivers. “Come,” Gerald said as he and the two other Bree guards marched west along the road, scowling at each of the men and women from Esteldin.