Part 72 – Amathwyn’s Web
The day drove by with no incidents. The two travelers passed through Men Erain and up past the Colossus, passing over the Brandywine River. They continued up the hills of Parth Aduial and over down past the two ruined villas that stood atop the western and eastern hilltops. Theomin continued to have memories of the places where he, Eleswith, Herion, and Taidir bitterly fought the orcs that had since, for some reason, disappeared.
By the late afternoon, they reached the crossroads of the Canadiach. They had been quiet for the most part on their way but soon Amathwyn finally had to speak, “I remember the last time we ventured through here. It was on the eve of the Battle for Annuminus,” she looked down almost with fond remembrance. “I remember that day well. Such an exciting day that was.”
“I remember that day not so fondly. It was just before the battle. Fearful I was of what would happen.” He was silent for a few beats. “I still think of that day it is never a fond memory.”
“It was for me,” Amathwyn said. “It was the day just after that we took the city for all of Eriador.”
They remained silent for a while as they traveled along the road east toward the North Downs and by evening, they had reached the pass that led toward the North Downs. They camped at the gate for the night, only eating a few bights of the bread which Amathwyn packed in her satchel.
“I have been meaning to ask you this for a while now,” Amathwyn said. “What is with that scarf you bear around your neck? It seems out of place to me. It does not match the cloth you wear and the hairs on the side are slightly odd.”
Theomin told of Amandwyn and her time caring for Theomin before she fell ill. He told her of the scarf that was found in the chest. “I wear the scarf in honor of the woman who cared for me so long ago in Rohan.”
“Tell me of Rohan,” she said as she lied beside Theomin. “Is it a wondrous place?”
“There is a no place like it. None that I have traveled through anyway. The open plains of the countryside is immense and the sea of grass stretch as far as your eyes can see. The open plains are prime for horse riding and my people do that the best.” He went on to tell of the Rohirrim and the aid they rendered him on his way through the West Emnet. He also told of the aid Kaymel gave Theomin to aid the poor girl’s mother in returning.
“That sounds quite wondrous. It sounds as though you are no stranger to danger.”
“I am no stranger to it but that means not mean that I will ever be fine with it. I do not foresee any danger on our quest to return to Rohan, though there are a few places we are to be extra careful.” He looked down at Amathwyn as she started to drift to sleep. “I can also foresee my family being quite happy when they set their eyes upon you, Amathwyn.” He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and lied down to drift off to a quick sleep.
Theomin awoke quickly. Another nightmare frightened him awake. He sighed and looked around. Amathwyn was nowhere to be seen. He stood up and looked around but only after a moment or two of looking for her saw her coming up the side of the hill behind the ruins. “Where did you go?”
“Can a girl not have but a little privacy?” she asked.
“Oh,” he said with slight embarrassment. “Are you ready to head off?”
“Ready when you are,” she said.
Soon, they snuffed out their fire, gathered their belongings and were off. For the remainder of the morning they rode through the creepy fields of Fornost. The strange area full of barrows and old dead monuments of old gave the bright pleasant morning a more foreboding and unforgiving feeling. By midmorning were out of the fields and on their way south on the slight path down the Greenway road.
As they passed the crossroads of Breeland, Fornost, and the Kingsfell, Theomin remembered his brief but pleasant time with Feredir. The elf was invaluable to his search for his family. Though it ended not like how he expected, he would always remember the elf as being a great guide and friend through the journey through Trestlebridge and the Kingsfell.
They headed up the road toward the Kingsfell, east up the hill past ruins here and there. It all reminded Theomin of when they arrived in the North Downs and the memory of Eleswith. How much he trusted her and how she betrayed his trust. He missed her so but could not shake his distrust in her. It was a damp cold cloth on the warm memory of her. He continued to wonder if he had been too harsh to her but how could he think greatly of her when she poisoned their friendship with her lies.
His feeling came throughout the trip up through the pass of Annundir and approaching fields of the Kingsfell.
“I remember playing here with Teryndir,” Amathwyn said staring down at the small stream passing under the wooden bridge they were crossing over. “We spent hours walking up and down this river.” She gave a slight chuckle as she continued, “At least we thought of it as a raging river back then. Tis just a stream but for us, it was an adventurous raging river of death.” She smiled up at Theomin, “Those times were what I would miss the most of the North Downs. It was the grand times I had with Athegdir’s son that brought me much joy.” She looked sad as she continued, “Now Teryndir is cold and distant. I know not what tainted his heart like it has, but it was not over the death of his father. He had been distant for many a year.” She looked distant and almost regretful but then looked back at Theomin, “Ah, listen to me. Let us continue before tis too late.”
They continued through the Kingsfell, past the farms, lonely as they were, and past the mill of Gatson’s farm. It was late by the time they reached the crossroads, reaching the gate up near the compound of Esteldin but Amathwyn stopped as if her attention had been caught.
“Wait,” she said. “Did you hear that?” Theomin looked around trying to hear something. He could hear nothing but the sound of wind in the breeze.
“I hear nothing,” he said. “What is it you heard?”
“I heard a muffled cry just south of here.”
“Are you sure? I hear nothing.”
“Is somebody in distress?” she asked. “Hello?” she yelled south and waited but heard no call. Her concern drove her to dismount from her horse and run south.
Theomin yelled out, “Wait, Amathwyn!” He pulled Bragga south and tried to follow her but soon lost track of her. With much reluctance he had to dismount too and followed her. “Wait, Amathwyn. Wait, you are running too fast!” he yelled as he ran toward her. He continued to run though slight strings of stickiness trying to look for her. The darkness of the night made it all the more difficult to follow her. “Amathwyn, where did you go?” he yelled out. “This is not funny if it is only for a jest!” He then heard movement within the layer of sticky strings. He quietly said as low as he could with fear in his voice, “Amathwyn?”
A spider as large as a dog then leapt out from inside the web of strings. Theomin fell as it attached itself to Theomin’s body as he drew his old rusty sword and stabbed at the spider. He stood up as quickly as he could but another spider shot a string of hard sticky rope at his legs, making him fall again. With the strand of web still attached to the spider, it ran into its layer, dragging Theomin behind it. Theomin tried to slash at the creature but managed to slice some of the webbing. He continued to slice at the webbing as it detached. He cut through the web holding his feet together, freeing them.
Theomin stood and tried to run out but another shot a web at his legs, tripping him again. He rolled over just as the spider sprang toward Theomin. He stabbed at it, killing it but another sprang at him. It bit Theomin’s leg. He screamed in pain as he stabbed the creature. It too screamed in pain as it died right there. He stood up again and limped toward where he thought the exit was.
He then heard thumping. Thumping coming from ahead of him. It was the thumping of multiple legs hitting the ground. He backed away with fear as another spider leapt on his back. He pulled its leg over him and slammed the spider onto the ground. He then ran it through with his blade but as he was doing that he saw an enormous spider creeping its way toward Theomin. He tried to pull the sword loose but it was jammed into something. He had to leave it and ran away from the spider. It continued to gain on him as it bumped him from behind. He fell on his stomach just in front of a dead decayed body of some poor dead ranger. Alongside the body was a blade. He picked it up and slashed at the great spider, chopping off its leg. He tried to slash at it again but it was too fast. With a front leg it pushed Theomin with such a force that he flew back. With a good grip, he held tightly to the sword. It made for Theomin again but this time, he stuck the sword just between the mandibles of the spider. He attempted to pull the sword out but his sword caught in its mouth. That sword too was lost to the spider as it let out a scream and flailed about but retreated into its hole.
Then from behind another leapt on top of Theomin. He reached back but did not feel a spider. He felt hair. He pulled it forward. The person fell onto the ground and let go of a small dagger that had come loose from the person’s hand. Theomin dove for it, and as the person jumped atop Theomin, he turned and ran it through the person’s stomach.
A loud woman’s scream in pain came from the person. Confused, he tried to see in the dark of the spider hole but it was too difficult. In his mind, he tried to recall the scream. At that instance, he knew who it was. It was Amathwyn. She shook her head and just said “I’m sorry.” She repeated it over and over as she looked at him as he picked her up and took her out of the spider hole.
“Rest easy, Amathwyn, I will find help,” Theomin said as he attempted to bring her to Esteldin.
“There’s no time, Theomin.” A tear rolled down the side of her eye. “Leave me.” She grunted with pain as she continued to say, “Leave me here.” He stopped and placed her on the ground.
“Why?” was all Theomin could say as he saw Amathwyn laying on the ground dying. “Why did you do it?”
She pulled him closer with her last amount of strength and whispered, “Teryndir will kill…” She gave out one more breath as her body went limp, finally succumbing to the wound. There, Amathwyn died.