In Gwingris



Tancamir sat crouched with his back to the wall of the ruin, fire crackling in the distance. Before him lay a worn but clean piece of parchment, as well as a battered leather-bound journal covered in scrawling notes. He sighed. They were almost home, spending the night in the camp of Gwingris before starting on the morrow for Imladris. But so much had happened - how was he going to make a coherent report to bring back to the Arrow Lord? He shifted in his seat, wincing as a sore muscle in his shoulders complained. The crossing of the mountains had been taxing, for it was late in the year, and winter had been all but at their heels as they left the Dimrill Dale and headed west over the Hithaeglir. Yet it was not that journey, but the one before it that weighed his lithe shoulders down.

 

He looked over his shoulder at the murmuring sound of conversation. Eleanias rested upon a pile of blankets and furs, carefully arranged to cushion her. By her side, the other three healers, Elvealin, Norliriel, and Eliriael, kept a constant and careful vigil. He turned back to his writing, face darkening with pain and a hint of shame. She had been wounded, that last day they had spent on the eastern shore of the Anduin. In mind as well as body, he deemed. And it was only thanks to Caethel, who had had the presence of mind  and the fortitude of body to seek her, that they had all been safely brought over the Anduin to Lόrien once more. He sought for a familiar form in the growing dark, and saw her, standing watch a ways from the camp, with her bow slung over her shoulder. Lastly, his gaze turned to a rock, several paces away from the fire, where Fingolrin had last been seen. Lilleduil, Fingolrin’s beloved, had met them at Gwingris, and the sight of their reunion had cheered Tancamir’s spirits a little. Not enough, though.

 

Sighing softly, he returned his attention to the journal. It read like a day log - a few short scribblings of the start, travelling, and destination on each day of their journey from Imladris to the Drownholt, and back again. He pursed his lips. There would be some revising necessary, and perhaps - he squinted at a line of illegible writing - some re-writing before he could compile these all into a report for Lord Dolthafaer. Laying the journal on his lap, he unfolded the piece of parchment, and took out a pen and ink set which had been carefully stashed in a pack. Resting the inkwell in a cleft of the rock, he dipped the pen into the ink and began writing, face creased with care.

 

They had all returned, though not all unharmed. The healers had found some of the herbs they sought, though not all, so he supposed the expedition was at least a partial success. Yet though he had been thrust into a position of leading the expedition, he could not help but doubt himself. Had he made all the right decisions on this journey? If only he had been more careful, perhaps Eleanias, and Caethel as well, would not have been led into peril which nearly cost them their lives? Perhaps he would not have had to face Norliriel’s grief at being left behind while Eleanias was lost. And he would not have endangered anyone, if he had gone himself to seek Eleanias …


Was that not what a leader did? Protect his own, with his life? And still  … He looked up, eyes steely with resolve. The past could not be erased, or changed. He would answer for all the decisions he made on the journey, difficult and perhaps dubious though they were. In the moment of crisis, he had made these decisions and there was no going back. He would try and present his actions as they were, laying them out in an objective and concise way in his report. It was only his duty as an Arrow, and he would carry it out to the best of his ability. The night closed in, and the sounds of conversation died down in the camp. The fire had already subdued to a low flicker, and he could hear creatures of the night begin to stir in the forest to the south. He touched his pen to the ink once more, and then began to write. Only time would tell the result of his actions - for now, he was relieved that Imladris was ahead, and that they would be home.