Entry #3: Hope and Doubt

Dearest Diary,

How much I do love thee. So much. So very, very much. Well, not really, but I figure if I'm going to continue calling you “Dear,” I should at least occasionally add a little sweet-talk. Or not.

In truth, I don't have much to say today. Merely a few hopes, concerns, doubts, and fears. Normally I could keep them to myself, but it can't hurt to write them down, document them. Can it?

I visited Hookworth the other day. The village had been mentioned to me several times recently, but I actually have intended to look into it for some time now, ever since my encounter with Miss Inayat back before I even left for Rohan. She and I investigated some local ruins rumored to be a hideout for brigands, and we ended up eliminating one of them. The body we left hidden in the bushes, surrounded by boar tracks, with the intention of making it look like they caused his demise. We didn't want to spook the thieves in case they would simply move elsewhere, making them harder to find should we return.

That was the day she took me to Hookworth for the first time, showing me the building used by the group she belonged to, the Knights Of Eriador. Apparently, they were a band of fighters dedicated to protecting the people of Eriador from the threats facing them. I never got to return before my trip south, but it gave me peace of mind knowing that such an organization existed, taking up the slack as I traveled afar.

So, back to the present, the time had come to finally see if this group was all Inayat said it was. When I arrived at the entrance to Hookworth, guards were posted at the gate. That's a good sign. They directed me to the Sizzling Turtle, a local tavern where residents were most likely to gather at that hour. I wasn't sure what to expect. Perhaps a seedy bar, where good-natured fights between hardened warriors often broke out. Or maybe a sterile cafeteria, in which strict military protocol was enforced. Instead, upon entering the door, I found the Turtle to be homey, cozy,...sleepy even.

Across the room stood a table near the hearth, with five people seated and one empty chair. Miss Brynleigh I already knew, and it was nice we got to tease each other back and forth a bit. Inayat was there as well, though it took her a moment to recognize me. Seated at her side was a man who I assume to be her husband. I'm not sure what to think about him. He either didn't like to talk, refused to talk, or simply couldn't talk. Instead he made some written notes to Inayat or various gestures or somesuch. Never even got his name.

The other man was... Hamarit? Hemaphryt? Hamdurat? Can't quite remember, but he at least seemed to have the build of a possible fighter, though I didn't learn much about him. A young woman named Syalen was there too. I got the impression that she arrived there not much before I did, and she had a rather studious nature about her.

We all talked...and chatted...and it was all very nice. I seemed to say more about myself than anyone, but I suppose that is to be expected, with them all knowing each other already. Social graces and all that. But still...I didn't learn nearly as much as I had hoped.

After everyone left for their homes for the evening, I took Scorch for a tour around town, giving me some time to think, and wonder. And worry. Who really were these people? Were these self-proclaimed “Knights of Eriador” simply retired adventurers, living in peace off of their old fortunes, never to venture out of their safe, little community to affect the world around them? Did they just sit around, drinking tea all day, talking about the weather and other trifles, or did they actually do anything?

Bree-land needs people who look out for more than just their own interests, who put themselves out to serve the good of others. So many are suffering. So many have lost their homes, their families, their lives. I can't just sit back and let that continue, not if I can do something about it. Brigands need a show of force to keep their numbers at bay. The many vile creatures that pour into these lands need to be culled, lest their number remain unchecked and all of the good people are overrun. Selfless individuals need to take up the sword and bow to do these things.

Are the Knights those individuals? Frankly, I don't know. They seem to care for each other, which is important if they are to fight side-by-side. I must learn more about them, to see if they live up to their name.

If not... well, I hope I won't have to continue fighting alone.