Anonymous Wilderness Interview - Part the Fifth

Part 5: Relationships With Others

53. In general, how do you treat others (politely, rudely, by keeping them at a distance, etc.)?

"That's one of those things that depends on how people treat me, but when I first meet someone, I try to be decently polite. I can't help being just suspicious enough to keep some sort of distance, too, though. Between how many people have tried to hurt me, the nature of being a scout, and of… mmm, other things that tend to be in my life, I'll say – sorry, more of those secrets what ain't mine – that's just always a part of it. I try not to be rude without really good reason.

"If someone makes an effort to get to know me despite it all? If they don't seem to be doing that for the wrong reasons, I ain't against new friends. And some folks manage to seem like I oughta be friends with them pretty early on. Still, I do start out just being reasonably polite. I ain't the 'social butterfly' type."

54. Who is the most important person in your life, and why?

A heavy sigh precedes the reply. "Until about a moon ago, it was Wendiwyn. But now? Right now, my life is pretty small, and it ain't easy to keep on going. I reckon I gotta say it's that Kymric lass, Cerrynt, since she's about all that's in my life right now. And as far as we've got in our travels here, she's kinda become almost a dependent, until I get her up to the Bree-lands and introduced to some folks who'll be better at helping her settle in than I could. And having that to focus on, well, that's helping me keep going.

"After that, and after I get some real unpleasant news delivered, though? I ain't sure I'm gonna have an answer. I reckon that means it'll be me, for lack of anyone else. But I'll need to get working again, or that won't last. Still, working don't – doesn't – mean having to latch onto someone else, either. So maybe having the answer come about to being 'me' ain't that bad."

55. Who is the person you respect the most, and why?

She sits back a bit again as she ponders, then chuckles softly. "In some ways, that depends on how you define 'person'. But picking some Vala or other seems like it's cheating. And for that matter, someone I ain't actually met might be cheating. For all of what I been told by those who do know her, my answer'd be the Lady Galadriel – except for not knowing her myself. So I reckon my answer gotta be Lord Elrond, and for much the same reason. A combination of a kind of leadership I can handle – I ain't real good with some kinds of authority, I reckon is how you'd say it – and wisdom, and… eh, what I was about to add is just another part of their kind of leadership. It's a selfless kind, what gives and is a kind of service itself."

She chuckles again. "Of course, it helps that he's why I'm still alive, and all that, like I've said before. But that… that's just part of what I said just now. What kind of giving leader he is, underneath all the legend and such."

56. Who are your friends? Do you have a best friend?

"Mmh. There be acquaintances, and friends, and the kinds of friends what oughta be family, or such. I ain't always sure who's really a friend, or just kinda is, considering how long I can be gone and maybe get forgot even if'n I remember." She shrugs.

"So, friends, there's a few. A fair number, I like to think, though as I say, I ain't sure they all think of me that way. So if'n this gets back to any of them, sorry if'n I left you off for thinking you'd forget about me. But I reckon Brynleigh still counts, for all I didn't get to talk with her much last I was in Edoras. And the way they took to me this last time, I reckon Tatswiþ and Mildþryþ count, and as adopted family, too. I think I might have annoyed a few too many folks in Harwick to say anyone there's a friend, though they'll remember me. Not hate me, I don't think, but I don't reckon on saying I got friends there. Of course, for now at least, Cerrynt is one. Who knows how she'll think of me after some time in the Bree-lands, but she is now. Otherwise, hrm. Some I can't name. Meaning I ain't allowed to. Secrets again."

She shakes her head with a dry chuckle. "Sorry. Trying to match up kinda by going across the landscape, like reading them off a map. Some folks I got what you might call business relationships with, too, but while that means they ain't just acquaintances, they ain't really friends. So… Cwynbur, maybe Qais, Leoffrith, Cesistya, Drel, Marney, my name-aunt, Audea – leastways, I hope she's still alive, for all nobody seems to have heard from her in a while – Fingwen, and Mirwen. That's who else I'll list. And of those, it's Drel what I'd have to pick out as 'best', though it's a tough call."

57. Do you have a spouse or significant other? If so, describe this person.

"You been paying attention, there?" She sighs. "I don't. I would have had, with Wendiwyn, if'n I hadn't been stupid about how she left Bree. And describing her just plain hurts too much right now."

58. Have you ever been in love? If so, describe what happened.

The tiny blonde nearly growls. "You really gonna keep picking at that after all I said?!? She come up dead after abuse in an Easterling camp! You happy now?"

59. What do you look for in a potential lover?

She sits back, drawing her knees partway up and resting her arms across them. "I ain't looking." She sighs. "All right, that ain't quite a fair answer, for all I ain't real happy right now. But I ain't looking, and ain't been meaning to look for some time now. I ain't above sharing some fun with a lass I'm close enough with, but I ain't been what I'd call romantic with them. Oh, I think in some sense I wanted to be. I'm sure I sounded like I did. But it was always more a thing of mutual comfort."

She shrugs, rubbing at her cheek with the back of her hand a moment. "Being the way I am, though, gotta be a lass. And a friend first, and the attraction of the right sort has to be there. But for actual romance, what I'd really call a lover, and not more like 'special friend', I'd need to be not still feeling like I'm bleeding inside. That ain't going to be soon."

60. How close are you to your family?

"Mm? Depending on weather and possible hostile wildlife or brigands, I reckon twelve to fifteen more days – oh, that ain't what you were asking. Sorry. I ain't sure if'n my uncle's even still alive. Marney ain't said. But her – Marney, my, uh, birth-mother – and my name-aunt Adri, we're at least decent friends. Marney's looking after what things I left behind in Bree and Hookworth for me. But we're a lot more 'friends' than 'family'. And if we got more family somewhere, I ain't heard about it."

61. Have you started your own family?

She starts to glare, then subsides with a sigh. "Hrmph. I suppose, with my comments about other things, that ain't so out of line as I was thinking. But no. Even if'n I wanted, after getting run through by that orc's sword, I can't bear children of my own. And I've only been close enough to consider it for someone else's with Wendy. I sort of take in strays from time to time, you might say, but that's just seeing to it that a lass ain't out on the streets by herself until she finds better arrangements. I ain't adopting them. I ain't around enough for that."

62. Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help?

"If'n I'm in 'desperate' need, I'm alone, more'n likely. Nature of my work. But if it ain't that kinda situation, mmh, it depends on what kind of help, then. Though like as not, the answer'd be Drel. An elf that old and experienced, well, her skills and knowledge can be the answer to a lot of problems. Any of my other good friends might well be an answer, too, though, depending on the difficulty, and where I am at the time."

63. Do you trust anyone to protect you? Who, and why?

A dry chuckle. "I reckon Cerrynt's got my back, just like I got hers. But in a greater sense? Like I was just saying, if'n I really need it, I'm probably alone and it doesn't matter who I trust. But any of the friends I named before, well, some might not be able, but I listed only those I trust enough."

64. If you died or went missing, who would miss you?

"My friends, and my bosses, so to speak. As long as I been gone, some already miss me, of course, even if'n they've had word I'm still alive. Counting in the ones I couldn't name, that's… rather more folks than I would have expected if you hadn't got me listing names before."

65. Who is the person you despise the most, and why?

She chortles. "I already begged off on considering the Ainur as 'persons', so I reckon I can't just name he-who-was-once-Mairon. Too bad. That'd be such an easy and obvious one – eh? Maybe you've heard the names Gorthaur or Sauron, then? Told you I know some elves with long memories."

She sighs and leans back some again. "But, 'despise', and a single person… that's a poser. Only one I can sort of think of… that one's finally dead. Was a brigand leader, responsible for the death of a dear friend. Plenty of nameless chieftains in enemy camps I ain't real fond of right now, of course, but that ain't a single most. And by 'nameless' I mean I don't know them to name them, not that they got none."

She shrugs with another soft sigh. "I try not to waste my energy on despising or hating where I can't do something about it. So I got nothing."

66. Do you tend to argue with people, or avoid conflict?

"Mmh. Some kinds of arguing, between friends, can be good. That's more like 'debate' than 'argue' most times, though. And if'n it ain't with friends? I tend to avoid it, when I can."

67. Do you tend to take on leadership roles in social situations?

She barks out a mirthless laugh. "Hah! That just ain't me. No, I reckon you gotta be a lot more outgoing than I am for that."

68. Do you like interacting with large groups of people? Why or why not?

"Nope. Keeping my eyes on that many people alone is pretty draining. Interacting, too? I get real cranky and get a headache way too soon. Just takes too much out of me."

69. Do you care what others think of you?

A shrug. "The ones I care about, I care what they think. The rest? Well, I suppose I hope that nobody competent is plotting to kill me… but no."