Laments of the Wild
I stride through the harsh foliage, my gloved hands pushing aside the thicket of holly leaves above as I regard the far stretching realm of Hollin. I can see nought but rolling hills ascending to the shoulders of the mighty Hithaeglir, all now appearing as mere silhouettes. It is a strange thing that the night sky is brighter than the earth, for the stars appear as lanterns floating across a deepened sea. I do not belong here, this I know. Hollin is beyond my right watch. Yet I am drawn here and still feel the lingering remnants of the Firstborn, the lament of their passing woven into every holly leaf, every wildflower, and every tumbled and ruined stone of their masonry littered across the land. Few are gifted with the patience to hear the laments of the wild, and fewer yet have the skills to converse with it, weaving their own songs with nature’s. I can listen, and hear well the nuances all around me, yet I cannot communicate with the trees as the Elves do. A dumb man then, with sharp ears.
After the passing of the mariner’s hour, and the rising of the Daystar, my eyes are often latched upon the ground before me as I stride, always searching, always scrutinising every shape and pattern the rumour of the earth leaves behind. Yet, when the sun climbs down the horizon and the mariner’s hour approaches once more, my sights are always lifted to the darkened heavens, akin to a sunflower that has confused night from day. Such is the nature of my watch. The stars are moving this night. Streak after streak, like sparks upon the earth. Does the lament make the stars fall from the sky? I cannot fathom this high beauty, nor do I try for it is a sight that passes all too quickly. I count a score of them, blazing across the veil of night and I think of Her.
It is a quiet journey westwards back towards the boundaries of Cardolan the next morn, and ever does the woodland around me feel foreboding, doubtlessly harbouring foes that could easily best me. I have seen their marks upon the earth. Hulking beasts, greater than wolves, which move with such intent and purpose that I would deem their minds to be greater than that of a mere creature. I am thankful the Daystar wards them from my path as I range these hills. And then it happens.
A week of wandering, a week of traversing through the orchestra of Hollin woven now into the very fabric of my attire, my eyes alight with sadness and wonder. I cross the threshold from the realm of symphony into the world of Men, and though the lands around me appear little different to my mind, my heart says otherwise. The somberness has changed. No longer does it seem elegant or otherworldly, rather it feels tangibly decadent and more real than that of the Firstborn. A lament of the Men who once dwelt within these bounds. These Red-hills remember it well, and so too does my old friend, Halbar the weary. I wonder where now he roams? My mood gradually changes in turn with each passing league, grim-faced and my slouched shoulders setting firmly in place. I belong here, this I know. This I see, as the song of Hollin trickles away from the weave of my cloak, ready to ensnare another from a different voice, be it uplifting or grave. This I hear, as a dumb man with sharp ears.