Purpose with honor

More than twice the moon had come and gone while Cerrynt lived a simple routine, trying and failing to be content with the retinue of survival. Fish, gather firewood, sleep; sometimes sell extra fish, sometimes spend the coin at the public house for stew for some variety from eating fish, and to see friend-Elf Cesistya, or to, at her advice, try to introduce herself to other people (which went poorly as often as not; many of the empty-lands people seemed disinclined to her company, but strangely, the few other Kymru she met seemed even more so). Savor the growing warmth as the turn of the seasons finally made its way this far north; she was almost ready to stop wearing the scarf she'd been given by that kind Dwarf.

But always her thoughts brought her back to her sense that there should be more. She did not even dare imagine her clan still stood together. Trindân must by now have made such enemies of Caru-lûth that the Dwrgi-lûth could not stand against the more hostile clans. Perhaps they had been simply captured, scattered, forced to live amongst the other clans. Maybe her father and some of her sisters yet lived. But the spirits had not seen fit to show her a way to save them; instead only to mockery and those who would trick her into becoming an oathbreaker just to sate their own hatred for the forgoil. She'd met a few forgoil in Bree, too; some were as hostile to her as some of the Bree-folk, though none as hostile to her as those of her own kind she'd met in the north. What to make of that she couldn't guess.

Then one night Cesistya told her of a person in need that she might be able to help -- a promise of purpose. She spoke of a young man called Clay, who had been hurt, and needed protection, and she arranged an opportunity to meet Kristophor, the man who was seeing to this boy's safety. Cerrynt's thoughts went back time and again to how, in the service of the oath she'd made at Ysbrydnos, she'd been tricked into stealing a horse, then deprived of the chance to fulfill her oath by returning it, incurring stains on her honor of both theft and oathbreaking, neither of which she could ever cleanse. Never again to be so tricked, but how could she know if this might be more of the same? Perhaps the boy she was asked to protect was pursued by the just, for his own dishonor. The man, Kristophor, was phlegmatic and terse, little willing to explain much, nor to offer reassurance. He spoke of bad men, but not their reasons, not enough for Cerrynt to be sure 'bad' meant anything more than 'opposed' to him, much as the Eryr-lûth saw all the forgoil as bad. The only reassurance she had was that Cesistya believed in the righteousness of this need, and she believed in the Elf. In the end, that was enough, but only barely; even the friend-Elf might be deceived.

She didn't dare hope the spirits had guided her here, after Ysbrydnos, and later Tros Hynt. The spirits had abandoned her, that much was sure. If there was to be a path, she would have to find or make it herself. Her thoughts turned, but at last she decided: she would take this path, but always would she be watching to see if it was a false one, because if it were, and she found out, correcting that deception would be as true a path as the one it replaced.

She returned her horse to the town stable, collected her oilcloth bag with its meager stock of possessions, and made a small camp near the fire inside the farmhouse. Of this she was sure: the boy would come to no harm from her inaction; she took the charge and would see it done. Just as determined was she that, if she could uncover the truth, and if the truth proved contrary to what was claimed, if these people were trying to trick her as had been done before, she would not, this time, walk away with no wrongs redressed. She would do all she could to make them regret misusing her.