Part 97 – The Company’s Fate
“Alright, that’s enough!” Magla yelled a loud deep yell though it did not calm Eleswith down but she was able to be subdued by Magla, Estonethiel and Theomin. Eotheron had to quickly help Teryndir up off of Sergee who had been in pain after Teryndir fell on top of him. “You knew what you were doing, Teryndir,” Eleswith yelled. “You knew we would not all make it out of that valley! You left us to die with that dragon! You left us to die!” Tears welled up in her emotional eyes as she tried again to kick at Teryndir but was held back successfully.
“I am very sorry,” Teryndir said as he moved around Sergee away from Eleswith’s flailing feet. “I was not thinking right…”
“You were not thinking right?” Eleswith questioned. “You were thinking just as you always thought. About yourself, nothing else!”
“If I could have changed anything I would have,” Teryndir tried but was cut off by Eleswith.
“You knew what would have happened if you left us up there with the dragon! You knew that you were sentencing us to death! We needed you to keep that dragon matron down and you failed. You failed! You left us up there and never returned. You never helped us out of that valley. Never aided our return to Esteldin. Why? Why did you leave us there to be sentenced to death?”
“It was because you treated me like a criminal!” Teryndir finally yelled back at her as the others stopped with sudden surprise. “I know I have much blood on my hands. I know had not always been trustworthy. But I at least deserved the truth. I mean the real truth why we came out here. I deserved to know why we needed to talk to that dragon, why we needed to search for those tunnels. I know I deserve whatever reprimand after abandoning you, but the fact is that you lied to me about why were were out here in the first place. It does not removed guilt from me, but I could not get around you lying to me about the secret sword or weapon or what ever it is we are searching for.”
Estonethiel looked at Theomin and Theomin back at Estonethiel. He remembered the talk she gave him about that very thing back in Trestlebridge. Guilt poured into his heart as he had to address what had happened, “Teryndir,” he said to his brother, “I was the one who kept it from you. You blame all of them for lying to you but it was me who gave the call not to tell you. I feared what you would do because of your erratic behavior back in Annuminus and feared you would do the same. I knew it would upset you had you ever learned the truth. I did not want it to slip out like it did. I meant to tell you everything personally but that was not how it happened. Estonethiel warned me about not telling you but I did not listen.” He looked at the group, especially at Eleswith, “I am sorry for not listening to Estonethiel. Had I followed her council, perhaps we would not be here. Perhaps Eleswith would have never been lost, Sergee would be okay, and Estonethiel would have never lost her sight.”
“You cannot take the blame for Teryndir’s actions,” Eleswith said. “They were all his actions.”
“But I kept the true reason for our venture from him. He over reacted in the valley, yes, but is he to blame for being blindsided by the truth?” Theomin asked. The group was silent. “I am sorry for what happened. I am sorry for lying to you, Teryndir.”
Teryndir stood up and looked at Theomin. “There is no need to apologize,” Teryndir said, which came to a shock to the rest of the group. “Eleswith is right. The only one responsible for my actions is me, not you, Theomin. I chose to leave. I might have been angry with the lie you told, but in the end, I chose to leave.” He looked to the rest of the group. “I only hope that I can prove myself to you all. Helesdir, Eleswith, Magla, I don’t want you to leave. I would rather we stay as a full company. With luck on our side, none of us died in that valley or in any other venture we have been in since. Helesdir left the valley thanks to Eotheron. I am alive thanks to Theomin.” He looked at Eleswith, “By your own sheer will you stayed alive when anyone else, man or woman, would have parished in that valley. You are far stronger than any other person in this group.”
“Sweet talking us will get you nowhere, Teryndir,” Eleswith said.
“But I am not sweet talking you. Tis what I have believe. All of you are strong and loyal,” he looked at Sergee, “maybe even to a fault. But I am proud, very proud to be part of the company of the Warriors of Eriador and I will be honored if all of you will continue to be remain.” He smiled as he was finished with his speech. “I will leave you to deliberation amongst yourselves. I will not allow my words or my presence impede your thoughts. Please, keep in mind what I said, though.” He then turned and left with the others just as stunned.
“That was not Teryndir,” Eleswith blurted out. Helesdir nodded in agreement.
“Yes it was,” Sergee said. “I knew Teryndir far longer than anyone here. Before Athegdir died; before we retook Annuminus he has been quick to anger, but he has also been a noble man with virtue. This is how Teryndir is, not that man you saw back in Annuminus. I believed in him because I knew who he was, not who he turned out to be. Athegdir’s death hit him hardest because to Teryndir, that was his true father. I was raised by elves. Theomin was raised in Rohan. By all accounts, our fathers, though far away, are still living. His true father passed and he has since had a very difficult time living with that. All of his actions, all of his behavior, all of his acting out and terrible actions are because of that. Please, do not punish him for what he has done. Believe what he is capable of being.”
“You told him you were not on his side,” Helesdir said.
“I did indeed,” Sergee agreed, “But I need him to think of his actions. I’m still on his side but I am disappointed in him. He needs to know he has allys. Theomin and I and hopefully our new friend here from Rohan are with him. I know he would not win you over, Eleswith and Helesdir, but at least let him try. Estonentiel, I hope you are not one to hold a grudge. He has done some horrible things, but I see now who he really is, or really was rather. And Magla, I am unsure what side you’re on.”
“Neither am I,” Magla said. “I do not trust Teryndir, but if it is true what you said about him and what Theomin said he did, I may just be on his side.”
“I do not agree with Magla,” Eleswith said. “And I feel that Helesdir doesn’t either.”
“Then what do you feel about our quest to Weathertop?” Theomin asked.
“I know not,” Eleswith answered. “I would like to stay with the group but Teryndir has been a sickness to the group. I really hope he has changed but I will believe it when I see it.” She looked at Helesdir for a few moments. “Give us until the morning. We will then decide.”
“Until the morning,” Theomin repeated. “You will decide then. We will be off to Weathertop tomorrow. We have spent enough time in this place. As nice as it is and as gracious as the rangers are for hosting us, I believe it is time to move on. Pack your things. We will leave upon morning.”
Eleswith looked at the sunset from the western camp of Esteldin. Helesdir was next to her, holding her as the too watched the sunset. They had not been there since before the Valley of the Worms. It felt like a long time coming, but Helesdir was beside himself with happiness that Eleswith was there with him.
“I remember sitting here before the valley,” Helesdir said. “That was the day we were in that library searching for a clue to the serpent under the ground. Who knew it was the tunnels beneath the ground they were talking about.”
“If we stay with the group,” Eleswith asked, “what will happen in the Lone Lands. Since we are going there, will you remain with the group or will you stay in your lands?”
“Quite a good question that was,” Helesdir said. “I had not thought of that. Why do you ask? Are you looking to stay there?”
“I…” Eleswith paused for a moment and thought back to the dream she had in the valley. “I’m not sure. While in the valley I had a dream. A strange dream where I was back in Dale. Then I was in the Lone Lands, then I was back here with you. A haunting dream it was but it made me feel something I had not felt in a long time.”
“What is that?” Helesdir asked.
“I felt longing for home. I had not felt that way since just after I left Dale. Since arriving in Eriador, I had not longed for Dale since because I had been so busy with so many other things. I am not sure right now, but I’m feeling a pull. A pull to return home to Dale.”
“That…” Helesdir too paused. He was not sure how to respond to that. “That is pretty far,” was all he could say.
“Will you return with me?” she asked.
Helesdir’s heart sank. He had not a clue how to respond to her request. His home was in Eriador; his family was in Eriador; his life was in Eriador. In order to not upset Eleswith, he answered, “Of course I would,” but his heart yelled at him to scream ‘NO.’
“You would not miss the Lone Lands or Eriador?” she asked.
“Of course I would,” he said as he hoped to not sound too unsure of her request. “Would you…or we stay there long?”
“I don’t know,” she answered. “I only thought of this while I was leaving the valley. I had not givin it much thought. I know not even when I want to leave or even if I want to go Weathertop.” She gave a smile with a slight chuckle behind it.
“What are you laughing about?” Helesdir asked.
“I’m not really laughing,” she said. “It’s more of a chuckle of irony. As much as I do not like or want to be around Teryndir, I kind of want to see where this whole thing is headed.” She looked at Helesdir with a smirk. “Do you believe me crazy?”
Helesdir, in turn, smiled back. “I’ve always thought so,” he laughed at her expence. She gave him a slight playful hit on the shoulder. “But,” he continued, “it is one thing that I adore about you. I think you crazy in a fun way, not in a way that you need to be locked someplace away from people.”
“I appreciate that,” she said, “I think.” They paused but she had to continue talking about the next day, “So what about tomorrow? Do we go with them or do we leave for the Lone Lands?”
“I feel the need to stay away from that Teryndir, especially how horrible it has been. But I also feel that we will not need them as much as they will need us. I am not saying we are better than any one warrior of the company, but extra help never hurts,” Helesdir said.
“My feelings of the company is one of betrayal. They decided to stay with a person who is more than capable of turning his allegiances when ever it suits him. Theomin and Sergee betrayed us.”
“They are family, you know. As I can remember, Theomin has suffered the most at the hands of Teryndir’s wrath. Of course, you have too and so has Sergee, but back in Evendim, wasn’t he the one who received the brunt of most of the attacks from Teryndir? Of all the people of the company, he should be the one most upset of all of us. But he somehow reconciled that. Whether he turned a blind eye to all Teryndir did or whether he still has no trust in his brother, only Theomin knows that. But I know you and I will still be alright.”
“How do you know that?” asked Eleswith.
“We have been through worse and we survived. You were lost in the valley. You survived. I looked for you but I myself was lost. We have strong powerful friends all of whom are capable of amazing feats. We are all strong, not only in might but in will. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I vote to go.”
Eleswith gave a smile. She looked on Helesdir with glad eyes as she said, “Then I don’t have to convince you.” Helesdir’s mouth dropped open as she continued, “I had realized that I really wanted to go. I am commited to The Warriors of Eriador and I would feel shameful for leaving it. After our task is done, when we have found that weapon, or what ever it is, and done all we can to aid Theomin, I can then return home content with knowing my journey is complete because I have done all I can.”
Helesdir gave a smile. “I will then follow. I am at my most happiest when I am with you.” He looked at the sunset and finally said, “Shh, let us watch the sun as it falls below the hills.” And so they did. They watched the sun as it finally made its last rays shown until it finally set in the west. As they did, Helesdir held Eleswith tighter as they kissed tenderly.
Theomin prepared his riding bag. It was the next morning and he had had a very restful night. He patted Bragga and gave her an apple he was already eating for breakfast. “That is a good girl,” he said to her. Aches rubbed his body up to Theomin and sat, licking his paw and rubbing it on his head. “And what are you doing, little one?” he said joking to Aches. “I am exceedingly glad to have you back. He softly ran his hand over Aches’s coat, “It has been quite the adventure since seeing you. I missed you more than you know. I hope you missed me just as much.”
“I am sure he has,” Eleswith came to Theomin. Like when they met, she wore the same warn coat and outfit she wore back in the Lone Lands. The color seemed faded a bit, but still it was perfect for her. “I forgot you even had that mischivious little lynx. Where did you find him?”
“Up here in the North Downs, if you can believe it. He was near a den of lynxes. Actually, I was not the one who found him. My good friend Eotheron found Aches. Rather, he was bit by Aches while defending Magla. Quite the surprise I had when both of my good friends came back to me.” He looked at Eleswith and grinned, “And what of you, Eleswith my friend. Have you come to join or to ride with us?”
Eleswith, in turn, grinned. She had a knowing smile that gave Theomin the idea that she was going with them. “No, I am not coming.” Theomin’s mouth dropped in sadness when Eleswith then said, “Of course I am coming. I’m not much of a fan of Teyrndir. He is a cold and calculating man, but if you said he has changed, I have to believe he has.”
“I am not sure what to say,” Theomin started but Eleswith interrupted.
“Say nothing,” she held a hand up and closed her eyes as if not to listen or hear what he had to say. “I am interested in what you will find. We went on this whole venture together. We are continuing together. Afterward,” she looked down with a glad yet troubled face, “Afterward I am leaving. I will be going back to Dale. I feel my tasts here are complete and am glad to head back to my home.”
“Home,” Theomin said longingly, “I miss it. As a child I often wondered what the whole world was like outside of the Wold. I suppose I have my answer. I know not what will happen with this new weapon we find, but if there was any way it can be left in the hands of a person we can trust, like Sergee, then I feel I can then return home.” He shook his head, “It feels so far away and yet, I almost feel closer than I have ever felt.”
“As do I,” Eleswith said. “I suppose deciding to leave has given me the blessing of an ending to this whole understaking. When I left it was because I was scared. Scared for my family. Scared for my home. I wanted Dale to create a guard and an army. I feel now that I don’t have to wait for it to be done. I can build one myself and help defend my home. What are your plans when you are home?”
“Nothing ambitious like yours,” Theomin said with a smile. “I am not sure what I will do. Maybe go back to being a farmer.”
Eleswith smiled, “Amazing.”
“What is it?”
“After all you have been through and all you have done; you want to become a farmer again. You have such skills you have; I would think you to become a soldier or some kind of leader.”
“No,” Theomin happily said, “I am quite content to be a farmer. That is what I grew up as and that is what I know.”
“Oh, I believe you know much more than you let on. But for now, we need to continue packing.”
“Are we ready?” Magla asked Helesdir.
“I am packed and ready to leave,” Helesdir replied. “I’m not sure I will miss this place. We have spent quite a bit more time here that I woud have liked. But then again, this is where Eleswith and I became close, mingled with the trouble times of course.”
“It is about time you two became close. You were always oogling your eyes at her,” Magla said.
“I was not oogling. Quite enamoured by her I was but not ooging,” said Helesdir.
“No, you were oogling,” Sergee acknowledged. Much like Eleswith, Sergee too wore the same outfit Theomin first saw him in. It was the rich colorful outfit he saw before. “It was quiet disturbing sometimes. Magla and I had to divert our eyes, did we not?” Magla nodded.
“What ever you two think, I was a complete professional when it came to the job of slaying orcs,” Helesdir said proudly.
The three started to the forcourt when Theomin came up and Estonethiel approached from the crafter’s court. She was prepared with her bow and sword by her side. “Are preperations complete for us to depart?”
“Are you sure you can come?” Helesdir asked.
“Why do you ask?” Estonethiel asked, almost stunned he would ask.
“Well,” Helesdir said with a little embarrassment as he pointed to his own eyes, “the blind…the blind thing.”
She gave a disappointed look at Helesdir and then quickly, before anyone could blink or know what was happening, she pulled her bow, drew an arrow, and shot it directly at Helesdir’s hat. It flew off his head and slammed into one of the task boards. “Does that answer your question?”
Everyone’s mouth dropped with amazement. Theomin could not believe what he just saw, “That was incredible.”
“Incredible?” Helesdir asked, “She just shot a hole in my hat,” he said while pulling out the arrow from the board and guiding it through his hat to remove it.
“You asked,” Magla quipped.
“I’m sorry I did,” Helesdir replied as he examined the hole left by the arrow by sticking his finger through it.
“I believe we are all ready,” Theomin said. “Where is Teryndir?”
“He’s in the forecourt speaking with Ferrif,” Eleswith answered as she walked up to the group. “He and Ferrif have redied our horses. Interesting that he wants to get on the way so quickly,” she said with suspicion.
“I am sure it will be fine,” Theomin tried to assure her with still a tinge of doubt behind it.
“Perhaps I too should see to the preparations,” Helesdir volunteered. “I’ll meet with Ferrif to see how things are going.
Eotheron came from the crafter’s court of the compound as he looked at his blade and feeling it with his hand. “Where have you been?” asked Theomin.
“Sharpening my sword. It has had quite a lot of use you know. A little sharpening never hurts,” Eotheron said. “Speaking of weapons,” he looked at Magla, “Magla, you crafted quite the weapon yesterday. Show them what you crafted.”
Magla had a smirk upon his face, a smile the others had not seen before. As his spirits lifted as he removed his new weapon crafted all in strong shining steel. “I call it Siladam. A few days ago, when Helesdir wanted to end Teryndir’s life with that hammer, as we all did,” he said under his breath as the others gave a chuckle at Teryndir’s expence, “I looked on the hammer with delight. It was a thing of beauty and thought it would make quite the weapon. So I took it and added a spike on the other end of the hammer.” Indeed, it was only a utility hammer turned weapon. Made all in steel, the handle was made longer and he added a leather wraping around steel of the handle and the face of the hammer made extra wide was altered with sharp rivits that made it deadlier. The peen of the hammer was remoulded and shaped into a sharp point. All together, the hammer had become Magla’s deadly weapon and he was most proud of it.
“That’s quite the weapon,” Eleswith said, impressed.
“It’s quite handy,” Magla said confidently. “It’ll get the job done.”
“Speaking of jobs,” Theomin said, “Are we ready to go?” The others nodded with enthusiasm oozing from their beings. “Fine, let us go.”
The Warriors of Eriador walked down to the forecourt of Esteldin. Each was proud as a crowd started to assemble in the forecourt around the venders and kiosks. Eleswith, Magla, Theomin and Eotheron waved with enthusiasm as they felt like they were famous. Never before had Eotheron received such a reception and as such was enamoured with the whole feeling of being famous. Eleswith gave Helesdir a tap on the shoulder, proud with a large visible smile as each approached their horse and mounted it.
“Are we ready, warriors?” Theomin asked.
“We are,” they all said glee.
“We ride south. Let us head out!” They rode and about them were applauds of the men and women of Esteldin, with Theomin leading with Estonethiel, Eleswith and Helesdir, Magla and Eotheron, and lastly Teryndir and Sergee.