Arrows at Odds



They had covered a decent amount of ground in a day, Tancamir reflected drily. Luthelian was spirited, and their tempers often clashed, but they had still managed to make some progress on their scouting trip. There was no sign of the frost-giant Lord Dolthafaer had seen by the frozen pool a day before, but they had seen goblin-fires on the heights, and  found goblin-arrows  and signs of a scuffle on the path leading east. He sighed and passed a hand over his brow in frustration as he recalled Luthelian's peculiar way of investigating such evidence.

~~~~~

"So, little Arrow. Can you tell me from how far away this arrow was shot? And perhaps what size of bow from which it had been shot?" He had pointed to a crude arrow, embedded in the trunk of a tree.

Luthelian narrowed her eyes at Tancamir. "Why do you insist on treating me like a child?"

She laid her left hand on the arrow and pulled it out with some force. Tancamir resisted the urge to groan aloud. Even the most inexperienced scout knew not to destroy evidence before it could be examined. He brought his hand to his face in frustration.

"No, no, no!" He was at a loss for words. How could she be so stupid? Pulling the arrow out before examining the angle left one with only half the picture.

"Well, I can tell the goblin missed its target." She smirked at him, as if thinking herself very clever. Tancamir was tempted to just return to camp then and there, and give Lord Dolthafaer a few choice words about who exactly he had sent on this mission with him. But he heaved a deep sigh, and stepped closer to the gash in the tree where the arrow had been.

"If you had looked at the angle of the arrow, and the depth of the indentation, they would have told you much about the trajectory of the arrow, and from where it was fired."

"I did. You did not commit it to memory? I can stick it back if you like."

Tancamir rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Let  me have a look." How he wanted to wipe that smug expression off her pretty little face ... wait, what? He mentally kicked himself and frowned, directing his attention to studying the arrow-mark in the tree.

"Well, this goblin had poor aim." She shot him an infuriating smirk.

Tancamir sighed and passed his hands over the arrow mark again, examining it critically.

"Shot while running, from approximately thirty paces. Crude stick bow, very little tension in the string. Pah." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Luthelian raise an eyebrow, actually looking impressed.

"I cannot tell where exactly, for you removed the arrow. But I estimate .... from there." He pointed down the path to the west.

 "Maybe we should find out what it was chasing." She held out the arrow to him and he took it, wrapping it in a scrap of cloth, and sticking it into his pack.

"Be on the lookout for more." He turned away, and motioned for her to follow him up the path. An arrow was hardly enough evidence. Where one was loosed, there would certainly be more arrows to be found.

~~~~~

And now, they were encamped for the night in a cave-like passage formed by some Dwarven ruins on the side of the mountain. There had been a few lone goblin-scouts and wargs on the path, which they had dispatched quickly. Luthelian shot admirably well for a young recruit, he grudgingly admitted to himself. Especially for an elleth who had likely never faced such foes in the field, before. A lone torch sputtered above, stuck  in a rocky cleft above where they were sitting. It had been an unsettlingly awkward affair, trying to find twigs and moss to strike a light in the confounded dark.  But now, there was light, and that was enough. He glanced over at Luthelian, who was pulling out her pack, removing the small bundles she had taken from the supply cart. She turned to him.

"Hungry?"

"Confound it all ... we have ten minutes before I blow out the light. Use them wisely." He turned away with a scowl, hoping she had brought something edible. "Food?I hope you did not bring too much ..."

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed her starting to open one bundle, and then blinking at it in confusion. Biting her lip, she  started folding the bundle again and returned it to her pack. There was an awkward silence for a minute, as Tancamir wondered what she was doing. Perhaps he had been wrong to judge her too quickly. He muttered to himself, then and looked down at his hands .

"I... I am sorry for my harsh words earlier, when we left camp."

Luthelian began to open another parcel, and looked up, surprised.

"Well, you should be."

Tancamir bites his lip."It  was most unbecoming. The Arrow should work together, not quarrel."

Luthelian pursed her lips in defiance, but her eyes softened as she said, "Well, you are always being difficult."

Tancamir sighed. There was no reasoning with some people. He had given her a damn apology, what more did she expect? Rolling his eyes, he pulled out a steel flask, taking a sip. "I could say the same for yourself."

Luthelian tossed her hair behind her shoulder. "That is your opinion." He watched her for a long moment, his throat warming as he took another drink. He could try to be civil, perhaps. Surprise her, catch her off guard instead of responding with a barbed retort. He held out the flask awkwardly.

"Miruvor. From Imladris."

Luthelian blinked for a moment, caught off guard. "At least you know how to apologize." She accepted the flask with a grin, and then tipped back her head, letting her hair ripple down her back. Tancamir stared at it shimmering in the torchlight  for a moment, an unreadable expression passing over his face, then turned away, face shadowed. She took a generous sip and then passed the flask back to him, returning to opening the bundle in front of her lap. Her expression of distress mounting, she hurriedly repacked the bundle and shoves it into her pack. Luthelian opened her third and last small bundle in somewhat of a panic. Tancamir glanced at her with a deadpan look.

"Something wrong? Did you not pack food?"

She let out a small breath, but still looked disturbed, 'Well...' Luthelian bit her lip,  brows creasing together.

"Now, now, it cannot be all that bad."

"It really is your fault. You angered me..." she glared at Tancamir, pinning her self-disappointment onto him.

"And?" Tancamir darted a glance at the torch, nearly burned out and beginning to hang precariously from the wall. Luthelian pulled out the two bundles, tossing them towards Tancamir so that the wrapping falls open.

"We have tea-leaves and wooden forks."

Tancamir glanced at Luthelian, torn between laughter and something else. She shoved the third bundle toward Tancamir more gently. Well, this one at least had cheese slices in it. Tancamir bit his lip, muffling a laugh.

"Well, someone will be missing their forks and tea tonight."

"Do not dare laugh." She glowered at him, eyes flaming like embers in the torchlight.

Tancamir took a piece of cheese, biting into it gratefully. "At least the cheese is edible." He shook his head, eyes glimmering with suppressed laughter.

"No, no, I have done stupider things in my youth, actually. I am not laughing." Tancamir reached into his own pockets and pulled out a leaf-wrapped parcel. "Here. Smoked venison, will go nicely with the cheese."

Luthelian leaned forward, licking her lips slightly. "Perfect." He watched in amusement as Luthelian took a bite of the venison and cheese, her face glowing with happiness. She definitely liked her food, that he could tell. Perhaps the scouting had made her hungry. He felt a pang of remorse for having chided her for her slow pace, and driving her on to walk further. He glanced up at the torch.

"Two minutes, so eat quickly or eat in the dark."

Luthelian sat back on her heels with a contented sigh. "You are a life saver." She peeked open one eye at Tancamir with an almost lazy grin. "Just this once."

Tancamir looks over at Luthelian with a smirk. "Glad to be of some service." They fell into companionable silence, the torch sputtering above them.