Part 70 – To Part
Darkness fell on the land of Evendim. Shadows danced around on the walls and grounds of Annuminus while the flames flickered their illuminating light. Stars above too, flickered up in the heavens as the moon, bright and fully, slowly rose over the distant hills. A chill breeze came in from the north like the feeling of a cold crisp wintery air that started to sting at the bare hands and face. The feel of the air was curious as the seasons had not yet approached the winter.
Though the cold winds blew on the city, the wardens of Annuminus, those under the charge of Thoemin, rushed about with the newly acquired stocks of food delivered from Ost Forod. They placed bear and the meats of stags in cool storage and the others like dried nuts in another. Greens were a rarity in Evendim, though there was plenty of fertile land to harvest crops and such. But the threats that had crept about for years made harvesting almost impossible. So, at that point, they had to settle on the nuts and meats that Ost Forod provided them.
Through the process of deliveries and storage, any down-time Theomin had he continued to wonder. He sat in sadness at his actions toward Eleswith. His every memory of Annuminus was tied to his time with Eleswith for they were an almost unbreakable pair all the way from the Lone Lands. Her brash nature, though at first made him nervous, was what he missed the most. He likened her nature to that of a sword, sharp and direct but a good ally at his side and the only true companion.
Theomin tapped on the table, lost in thought and did not see Herion approaching him. “We are nearly done with the storing of the food. I look forward to going inside. This bitter chill is making my bones ache.” Theomin only nodded in acknowledgement. “By daybreak this place will warm up, I’m sure. Tis not like Esteldin. We seem only to have the warm breeze flowing through that pass. This cool wind makes me uncomfortable.”
Again, Theomin nodded but finally spoke up, “Rohan is always warm and humid. I am not yet used to the dry nature of this land. It dries my skin and makes me itch.”
“We all are used to the dry air. It makes the heat much more tolerable. Humidity gives heat a vengeance that I cannot bear.” Herion paused for a while as he looked away. “Why did you force Eleswith to leave? She was a good friend to you, me, and…” he paused for a beat, “…and Taidir.”
Theomin as silent for a short time and then spoke up, “Before we arrived in Esteldin, Eleswith and I were imprisoned for a crime I had not committed. At the time I had not a clue who committed the crime but blame was squarely put on me. It was not me who committed the crime but Eleswith. She murdered the mayor of Bree’s son and had not the care to tell me.”
“She wanted to, Theomin. She insisted on it,” said Saeredan as he came from the gate. “I explained to her you needed to know the entire circumstance around why she did it.” He came close to Theomin and looked squarely on in his eyes. “She had not the intention to do it but the order to.”
“What do you mean?” asked Herion.
“He means,” Theomin started, “that she was hired to do so. The mayor’s son, Gerald, had his brother murdered. She was hired to do it as she was,” Theomin looked around to find the correct words but he came up short, “she was in the murdering business.”
“She explained to me that she had no love for murder. It was out of need to survive,” Saeredan explained. “Some people kill for the sport of it. Some to defend themselves and their families. She was hired because she could do it, not because she loved it. It was because she was good at it. She owed Gerald a debt. A debt that could not be paid. He took her in, fed her, and housed her. She had no coin or way to pay her savior so he hired her. At first she could not bear it but after a while, she became numb to it. She said she always justified it as bad people that she killed.” He looked down with sadness, “But it was not always bad people she killed. They were only people who owed him a debt that was not paid. Like her it was a debt that they could not pay. So he sent her out to do what he had not the stomach to do.” He looked down with pity, “Poor girl. She came here to look for peace but she has been caught in this, as you say, murdering business. All blame is not to be placed on her but on Gerald alone. He is the monster, not Eleswith.” He looked at the hills about the city, “Now she is out there, again cold and alone, shunned from this city. And you,” he pointed at Theomin, “you pushed her out. You pushed her away. She may be a hard firebrand at times, but you know she can be as soft as silk and just as delicate.”
Climbing up on the hills and looking back on the city that she helped retake and defend, Eleswith continued to look silently and solemnly at her one hope to finally lead a life away from the horrors of Gerald’s orders. Tears flowed from her eyes but she did not want them to stream down her face. She continued to wipe them away one after the other as, again, she felt alone.
The freeze of the cold air coming in from the north bit bitterly at her exposed arms. She sat chilled as the chill froze her bones and she shook. Her teeth chattered as she continued up the hill but realized the hills were chillier. She decided to descend down toward Men Erain and hunker down in some of the ruins that hopefully were unoccupied and blocked the cold harsh winds from freezing her.
Within a half hour, she made it to the ruins and next to the wall and leaned her back against the wall. The wind was not as terribly cold there but still no cover could be found. Sighing, she looked around, hoping it was not her new home. That she could still return to the city was a hope she had. Still, he knew how angry Theomin was with her. Her actions caused his pain and she was deeply sorry for that. She looked up at the sky. The moon shone brightly in the sky and she thought to herself.
Sorry I hurt you
So sorry for what I have done.
I am so sorry
Sorry I pushed you
Sorry I pushed us apart.
Wish I could come back
Tell you I’m guilty
Guilty for what I have done.
Find you and tell you
I should not to have torn us apart.
Why is it not so easy?
Why does it hurt so in my gut?
Why is it not so easy?
Why does have to be this hard…
…to shake this haunted nostalgia.
Eleswith sat back, defeated. She felt her veins burning as it felt like her blood was on fire with the feeling of loss for her one friend who kept her around and away from the cruel deeds of Gerald. Again, she began to weep when behind her she heard, “Eleswith, you must know something.”