The journal of a wandering Horse-lord. Fourth entry.



Now Snorru was a silent, brooding type, as whoever had lost everything in a blink of an eye might surely be. But I reckon he was like that beforehand too and was never one to speak without a reason, nor did he seem to show much emotion save for that fleeting moment by the body of his dead wife in that cave in the Gravenwood. After that tragic incident we had formed a curious yet mistrustful bond, for because of the long enmity between our people neither of us could fully be at ease near each other. Yet by that bond we managed to collect ourselves and for a while rested by that small and silent cave and fed ourselves with the burned flesh of the hare I had fetched from the camp I had first made ere the commotion had me abandon it.

At dawn we still stayed our words, yet unspoken as we were we still worked together to fix Snorru's waggon, what had one of its wheel dislodged as the Orcs had fallen upon it after killing the mares pulling it. Though the waggon was full of goods of many kinds as Snorru seemed to be a merchant of sorts, we made space for the body of Igrid his wife beside soft sacks of grain and among crates of salted meats we piled choice cuts of meat from the loyal yet unlucky mares of his.

Fair Sigefaest bowed his head at the sight but I patted his neck and spoke to him comforting words. These horses would serve their people one last time in death as sustenance. Then we ventured inside the cave once more and laid the bodies of the three bandits of foul alliance together and set them on fire. Now I saw again emotion on my companion's face as it was grim with anger towards the fell trio, more so for his evil kinsman than the Orcs, I silently wagered.

As we left the confines of that small stone hall he opened his chest of words at long last. "Now then, strawhead..." Snorru began. "I know not why you would come to these lands as you must know how unwelcome you are here. On any other day I would curse at your presence but today I must be grateful for your aid. I would not have thought any one of your kind showing the sort of mercy you have shown towards me and this I will repay."

Before I had a chance to reply he sighed audibly and continued with his head bowed and his stature which just now had been that of pride now sunk to that of shame. "Still before I can do that I must ask for your help again, though it hurts my pride to do so. I am now without my horses to pull my waggon and yet I must somehow bring it to Galtrev. The waggon itself and the goods in it are not important, but Igrid I can't leave behind. Lend me your steed and let us both go there? You won't find your stay any more welcome there but for a short while you may stay at my humble house, before I'm sure you yourself be wanting to move onwards to wherever it is you're going. What say you?"

Snorru's face showed a fearful expression of hope and I knew he was expecting my denial of his request, for why should one of Rohan help a Dunlending with anything, more so haul their wares into the hornet's nest to boot. Indeed, had I been in the same situation some years back all what had come to pass this past day might have gone differently but now, I weened, the thirst for knowledge of the world that had so long gone unslaked would now guide me forward on this journey and if it meant lending my hand to this peculiar Wild Man, then so be it.

"I will do so though it might very well be at my peril as you know, good man." I answered, clearly surprising him. "Though I will not spend a night in a town of Galtrev's reputation for while I appreciate your gesture and offer of a roof over my head it would surely be folly for me to accept. I say it not out of disrespect but out of apprehension toward your people and its hatred toward mine. You alone can not stay the hand of an unwelcoming mob. So let us be on our way but at the gates of Galtrev we shall say our farewells." And so once again we fell into silence and after an understanding nod from Snorru we harnessed dear Sigefaest for the pull for he was strong and would with little difficulty take the role of the two mares, though unaccustomed to it he was, and would travel slower yet with sure steps.

Northward we started, until north we could go no longer and we turned west toward Pren Gwydh where due east would lie Tâl Methedras according to my crude map. Now the forest path ended and a road more suitable for a wagon gave for a more comfortable and swift passage, though it would be a while longer until we would reach the eastern gate of Galtrev. I grew ever more uneasy as we went and as my mind was set in reaching Eriador I wished my stay in Dunland would not last much longer.