Part 95 – The Fracturing
“I refuse to stay with this murderer,” Helesdir yelled out to the rest of the group.
Helesdir was among his other Warriors of Eriador: Theomin, Magla, Estonethiel and Teryndir whom was very weak and just recovering from his poisoning ordeal from the orc valley of Nan Wathren. Amongst them, also, was Sylderan of the Twilight Company and Aggy Digweed of Trestlebridge, and of course Eotheron, friend of Theomin. They were sitting and debating the future of the company and whether to move on to finish the quest it started on or to leave and go back to Annuminus but as the debate dragged on, it changed from the quest to the mistrust they had in Teryndir.
“Teryndir has changed, Helesdir, I wish you can understand this,” Theomin begged.
“I have seen not but ill tidings from this man. He has robbed us. Once he left us, he sentenced us to death. We lost Eleswith and you almost lost me. Estonethiel has gone blind and Sergee is not progressing from his wounds. We are not in a good way, Theomin, and it is the result of Teryndir,” said Helesdir.
“I do agree with Helesdir,” Estonethiel said. “He has been not but a weight dragging us down.”
“I thought you were on his side, Estonethiel,” Theomin said.
“My position on Teryndir is only whether to convict him to death for his actions. Get me not wrong, I believe he should not die for his deeds, but he should also stand a trial for what he has done. I have no trust in him,” Estonethiel calmy said.
“And I believe he should die for his crimes,” Helesdir said. “I refuse to be part of the group if Teryndir is in it.”
“And we cannot progress on our quest without Teryndir’s help,” Theomin said.
“Why is that?” Magla asked. “Why do we need him to come with us?”
“He holds one of the Amar Calad stones. It seemed to say, in the parchment with the Scepter of Annuminus, that we need all three to open the door to the chamber this great weapon holds,” Theomin said.
“Why can we not just take it from him? Why does he need to bring it himself?” Helesdir asked.
“That would be a very bad idea,” Estonethiel said.
“Why is that?” asked Helesdir.
“The Amar Calad cannot be past along like some mere trinket,” Estonethiel said. “Those who wield it now are only able to because of some spell or curse placed upon it long ago. If it was to fall into the hands of another who is not worthy, ill tidings will be wrought upon that person so long as they possess it.”
“How do you know so much about this stone?” Teryndir weakly asked.
“It is a story passed down by all elves,” the elf said. “We know of the tails of Celebrimbor and the forging of the three stones much like we know of the three great rings of the elves. We also know of Isildur taking the Amar Calads and handing them to his Marshalls of Annuminus and how they have been passed down from generation to generation. We elves know of many things about the Amar Calad but tell not all who we meet for why should we?”
“Then how do we get the three stones to the door, wherever that door is?” Helesdir asked.
“All three have to go to it. Theomin, Sergee, and Teryndir, for they are the only ones with the bloodline that the Amar Calad will allow. No others in this company, or even this compound, may take them, even though they are related by blood or bond,” Estonethiel told them.
“Then I’m leaving,” Helesdir said. “I am not one of the ‘chosen three’ and I will not be in fellowship with this company that will allow such a terrible man like Teryndir to be apart of it.”
“Please reconsider,” Theomin pleaded. “Teryndir has changed.”
“I would like to believe that but I can’t. I can’t believe you,” Helesdir said. “Magla, I know I can’t force you to come with me but are you coming with me anyway?”
Magla thought for a while. He was deep in thought for a while until he finally responded, “I will go with you. I too feel Teryndir has not changed but unlike you I don’t feel so much hate for him that I would kill Teryndir.”
“Perhaps you need to talk to Teryndir about this,” Sylderan said. “Is your only feeling toward this group soiled by the presence of Teryndir?”
“Yes, it is,” Helesdir said.
“Do you trust Theomin and his opinion?” asked Sylderan.
“I do,” Helesdir shrugged.
“Then why can you not trust what Theomin has to say?” Sylderan asked. “If he has been not but a trustworthy person, why can you not believe him?”
Helesdir thought for a while. “It is not that I don’t trust him, I can’t trust Teryndir and that is where I will leave it.” He looked at the others as he finally said, “Upon the morning, Magla and I will leave. I am sorry, Theomin, I really am. But so long as Teryndir is in this group, I will not.” He began to leave along with Magla.
“Other than getting rid of Teryndir, is there anything we can do to keep you with us?” Theomin asked.
With a few moments of thought and a slight saddened breath of a chuckle he said, “Yeah, for Eleswith to return to me.” He then left with Magla as the rest of the group stayed in the library.
“I am sorry for what I have done. I poisoned our group against me,” Teryndir said with much sadness in his voice.
“Why did you not say anything to Helesdir?” Theomin asked.
“What could I say. There is not a word that I could say that would convince him otherwise. I am also still too weak to argue with anyone.”
“Perhaps he will calm,” Eotheron tried to convince Theomin. “He is still grieving for the girl I went into the valley to find. Maybe he will leave but he may come back. If he does not, leave him be. He is making his own choice and so is Magla.”
Theomin sat for a while, thinking about what to say. He then looked at Sylderan, “Are you staying Sylderan?”
“I am afraid not, Theomin of the Wold. My time is coming to an end. I need to return Aggy Digweed to Trestlebridge. I and my company have awarded her a very safe passage back to Trestlebridge with the protection of my guard. I will then return to the lady of the Golden Wood. My search has proven fruightful and I have my safest path for my breatheren of Lorien to take to Mithlond.”
“It is too bad. You proved a great deal in that orc valley.” Theomin sighed as it felt like long ago. “And in Eregion.”
“By the way,” Eotheron said. “I am still a little shadey on what you were doing in the orc valley in the first place.”
Aggy Digweed spoke up for the elf, “Sylderan here was just passing through when he felled an orc that was passing from Nan Wathren on south. He knew it was odd for an orc to be moving like that by himself and all the way from the safe confinds of Nan Wathren toward the lands of Bree. So he looted the body and found the note instructed to be delivered to Gerald of Bree and a ransom of a hundred newly forged steel weapons upon the delivery of the man from Rohan. He remembered the one whom he saved in Eregion and somehow knew it was you. So he delivered it to the people of Trestlebridge. Only I was able to take him to Nan Wathren. The others feared that place. Because of tails passed on from those who ventured into that place and hearing of those that never returned, they felt too much fear and worry.”
“Well Teryndir and I thank you for saving us,” Theomin said. “And Sylderan, thank you too. If it was not for you, that ransom would have been delivered and I would probably be on my way to Bree by now. It was my honor to meet you once again.”
“It was our pleasure to meet one of the barrers of the Amar Calad. Never before had I met one until now. Now, I have in my presence all three. I am over joyed by this new fortune. This would make my passing into the west even more precious and more complete.” Sylderan began leaving with Aggy behind when he turned, “By the way, how did you pass from the Wold of Rohan to Eregion? I never could figure that out.”
Theomin smiled. He was happy to give the elf some advice. “I went by the way of the Gap of Rohan,” Theomin said.
“That would mean you had to travel through Dunland,” he said astonished. “You are a brave man, Theomin of the Wold. The Dunlandings are no friends of the men of Rohan.” He started to leave again but then stopped one more time to give one last piece of advice, “If I may, do not take the road through Moria. I may yet take the pass through the Gap of Rohan. It will be longer, but it will save lives. Thank you again, Theomin.”
Aggy came to Theomin and smiled, “See you around.” She then left with Sylderan.
The rest of the three Warriors of Eriador remained, along with Eotheron. Theomin looked at the rest of the those that were there. “Are the rest of you still with me?” he asked with hope.
“You know I am always with you, at least until we return home,” Eotheron exclaimed with a smile.
“I am too,” Estonethiel said.
“I am with you, brother,” Teryndir said weakly.
“I am glad,” Theomin said with half a smile. “I only wish Helesdir and Magla felt differently.”
“They may yet,” Estonethiel said.
Theomin stood for a moment as he looked at the many maps strewn about the table. “Where is that parchment that held the map and riddle?”
“Last I saw…” Estonethiel said with a little tinge of a giggle, “…which is a little funny if you think about it…it was in that book of yours, which is in the saddle bag of your horse.” She waited for a response from the others. “Did you understand my joke?”
“Yes, I am going to the saddle bag now to retrieve it,” Theomin said. “I feel there is something about the map and serpent that I am missing.” Upon that, he left the library.
“Hm,” Estonethiel said, “I thought that was a good joke.”
“I got it,” Teryndir said with a smile.
Theomin walked the central courtyard of Esteldin as the sun started to set. He felt the slight tinge of wind blow in from the west as he continued on toward the forecourt of the compound. The lamps were being lit and the shopkeepers began breaking down their little kiosks about the edges of the forecourt. He finally approached the small stables and walked up to Bragga.
“How are you girl,” Theomin said as he patted his horse. “We have been through much, have we not? You are still with me, right girl?” he asked. Bragga rubbed her nose on Theomin as if she was happy to say ‘yes.’ He gave her a good hug and placed his forehead on her. “I miss our times together, girl. I hope to have more like this.”
After a little while, he finally went back to the saddle bag and removed the book from it. He opened it and flipped through the book until he came to the page the parchment was placed in. He looked at it and it confused him just as much as when he first layed eyes on it. He placed the book back into the saddle bag and went to hug his horse again.
“Be a good girl,” Theomin said and then continued, “as if I have to tell you. You are always a good girl.”
Theomin took the parchment with him to his tent where he was to sleep that night. He layed down and opened up the map. “There has to be something about the serpent and the map, but what?” He looked at it a little while and whispered to himself, “Naglangon said the serpent were the tunnels under the earth of Eriador but I fail to understand how they tie into that the map and the serpent.” He layed on it when Helesdir came up to him.
“Are you eating, Theomin?” he asked.
“I will be soon. Do you know what there is to eat?” asked Theomin.
“Salty pork, again. I throughally enjoyed it the first I tasted it. Now I am not so sure,” Helesdir laughed.
“I am sure if we were out and about for days with no food, we would find that salty pork as delicious as the first time we tasted it,” Theomin quipped.
“I suppose you’re right.” They paused for a little before Helesdir started up again. “Magla went to the crafters court with Eotheron. They seemed to become fast friends. He found that hammer I used the other day to be quite fitting for him. He said something about adding something on one of the sides of the hammer. I can’t wait to see what he is doing.”
“I suppose you had not brought a little meat my way. I am slightly starving,” Theomin said.
“Ha ha, I thought you would never ask.” Helesdir stood up and went a slight way to retrieve the meat. “The other plate was Magla’s but he didn’t want to eat. He was too excited about his new hammer.”
“Ah, thank you.” The plate was a few slices of salty pork along with a steamed potato and a carrot on the side.
As the two ate, Helesdir asked about the happenings that took place while he was in the orc infested valley near the Meluinen. Theomin told him of the orcs capturing of Teryndir and the jail cell where the dead dwarf sat. He described in great detail about the disgusting sounds of the maggots and the flies on the dead flesh of the dwarf to which Helesdir insisted he stopped talking as he was not enjoying his food as much.
The two then moved on to talk about Eotheron and his finding of Helesdir. Theomin was not surprised at how great of a warrior he turned out to be as he fought the worms in the valley. He knew Eotheron was a great warrior as he always seemed to be. It shocked Helesdir when Theomin told him they were friends from back in Rohan.
“Are you serious?” Helesdir said. “Why had you not included me in this conversation.”
“I thought Magla would have explained it to you already. He was with me when he explained his whole trek from Rohan to here.”
“No, I suppose Magla was keeping that from me,” Helesdir said suspiciously.
“I doubt he was keeping it from you. Do not forget there were other pressing matters to attend to than explaining Eotheron.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Helesdir said.
Theomin and Helesdir both stayed quiet for a while until Theomin spoke up, “Please do not leave. What if Eleswith returned? What then?”
“I suppose I would stay, but that is not happening. She is gone. Food for some worm or scorched remains are all I’m thinking she is,” Helesdir said coldly.
“Please, Helesdir,” Theomin said shocked. “How can you be so cold?”
“If I was to grieve far less, I would have to be this cold. I have grieved for far too many in my life at the behest of those filthy orcs in the Lone Lands. I will not let this one drag me down as well.”
“But you two were close. Very close I thought,” Theomin said, still in shock.
Helesdir turned away and tried to forget but had a difficult time doing so, “No, if you want me to remain here with you we must not talk about her. I will not be dragged down again. I have grieved enough, please do not force me to grieve more.”
Theomin placed a hand on Helesdir’s back, “Okay my friend. Let us talk of other things.” The two talked more through the evening about Rohan and the similarities between the Lone Lands and the Wold. They spoke of it for so long that Helesdir fell asleep while trying to talk about the Lone Lands. Theomin quickly followed Helesdir’s lead and fell asleep too.
A wide open field appeared in front of Theomin. Small hills were about here and there, dried and brown. An old road continued on east and west as Theomin could see in the distance a large hill. It was the hill of Weathertop. Very massive it was and at the base, not far from Theomin, two were fighting orcs. They were Helesdir and Eleswith. Soon, a massive shadow appeared on the ground. It was a flying creature. As he looked up he could see the great Naglangon as he flew just above him and over toward the towering Weathertop. The drake flew to the far side of the hill and then a sudden voice whispered to him in his right ear, “Serpent.”
That was enough to wake Theomin from his sleep. It was foredawn and a slight warmer wind blew from the east and and warmed up Theomin. He rose up with the parchment and made his way to the eastern pass of Esteldin. He walked up the path as he thought of his dream. It was the second time he had that dream and he felt it had to pertain to something. He sat down at the edge of the small cliff facing the rising sun in the east as it was the best light he could have had to see the writing on the parchment.
He continued to look at the picture of the serpent and the map and then looked at the paper itself. “There has to be some way to find that opening.” He looked at it and held it up to the sun. There were no secret words or numbers on the parchment. It was a very thin paper, though. “Very thin indeed,” he said impressed. He folded the paper and saw the words on the other side of the paper. He thought for a moment and then folded the map so it was transposed on the serpent. The serpent and the map of Eriador almost matched perfectly. “Tail open wide,” Theomin remembered from the reading Sergee said. The tail itself opened up just at the point of Weathertop. That was it. Weathertop was the point where the door was. It had to be.
Theomin rose up with enviggered excitement. He had to tell the others. He started back but he was stopped by a voice. From just below the hill, he heard a very faint and tired but familiar voice speak up to him, “Theomin?”