Reflections: The Search

Laerhen draped herself snugly in her cloak, comforted by the familiar heat of a hearth beating on her bare face and the irregular snoring. She produced a strip of paper, mindfully laying down four small lead weights to keep the surface flat. The floor was uneven, it would only do that much. But there were no options for better writing conditions.

"I am relieved to assure myself that my brother is safe despite our fears. I received well-wishes and condolences for my loss but I refused to abandon hope. I have been reprimanded for this same thing before, certain there is still a way when there is none. They say that it isn't hope, it is refusal to accept inevitable things. They are right. Hope isn't what placed me on my path. It is that I cannot accept defeat from the enemy, us healers' foe. But this time it were different." 

She succumbed to the weight of weary eye-lids but then sat up again. A splotch of ink dripped on the page. Long, midnight hair spun in defiant, wild tangles around her shoulders as she shook the sleep away. It hadn't been knotted and tied up after her bath. 

"Hope carried me to him. The last leg of the journey I made alone and I followed the trail marks on my own wits. It is the first time that I've ever travelled alone through unfriendly lands. My hope was stronger than my fear, I did not need to lift the ugly weight of the sword on my belt. As the message had promised Gelldûr was safe but I vented my anger that he had not returned before I expressed my joy to find that he were safe. Easiest to do the easy things first. I have to face another impossible battle now, my brother's hope. He has his own search and he will not be swayed from it. He has always caved to me before but how could I defeat him this time, after doing what the same he was out to do myself? Whether he cares for it or not I will remain near him. He needs me."

Her nostrils softly stirred as she absorbed the scent of oak in the fireplace. Not the fragrance of pine, like she knew from home. The snores came from strangers. Still she wouldn't sleep on the hard ground tonight or alone. 

"I have been told about Gelldûr's company before but I hadn't expected to find this man with him. He shares a camp with the man we know as Rhaug, what can be said to a man like him, after such a long time? I were hostile, suspicious, I asked questions. Easiest to do the easy things first. I was frustrated to find he had armoured himself against this. Perhaps my brother had treated him the same. I do not know if he deserved it. I met him first and he brought me to their camp, my brother had gone out to hunt. We had no choice but to speak to each other. It took time but my words crept under his armour, it challenged him. It bothered him. It was satisfying. Sharing a goal for now, we may have to speak again."

Laerhen's figure sagged within the embrace of her cloak, giving in to fatigue. She reflected enough for one night. It was time to enjoy a night of sleep on a hard floor and a blanket