Gwenallyn lay wrapped in her bedroll, staring up at the clouds above Brockridge. Even though she was deeply bruised and dead tired, she could not fall asleep for the images rushing through her mind. She had spent the day like every other day recently - travelling through the war-torn ridings of West Rohan, battling invading orcs, protecting displaced, terrified families, and delivering hard truths of war to local thanes.
She never intended to be a paladin. In her youth in Linden, she expected to be a scholar. With her master, Talagan Silvertongue, she studied the linguistic alignment between Westron and Hobbitish as trade developed between men and hobbits. Ah, there was a topic that could have taken a lifetime to develop! Why, just the early period when the Fallohides sent a delegation to King Argeleb to negotiate the treaty granting the Shire to the hobbits…
But that would never happen now. The dwarves had overrun Edelion, killing her tutor, her mother, and many others, and she fled into the woods.
Suddenly adrift, she became hunter to survive, and prospered as a sell-sword. She floated aimlessly through the lands of Middle Earth tending the needs of others, but never finding a place where she belonged until she met Annalys in Bree. Annalys was not an Elf, but rather an aging woman from Bree. Well, aging by human standards: Gwen herself had lived through far more summers than the woman would ever see. Anna was a pacifist; she hated the strife and dislocation that had come into her world. All she really wanted to do was tend her garden, play her music, and teach youngsters to use the gifts of both.
That was how Gwen met her. She had drifted into Bree to rest up, and saw Annalys under a tree near the south gate, showing a youngling how to prepare an athelas poultice. The two became friends over ale and meat pies. Anna, like Gwen, had no family and nothing to tie her to any place. Seeing the deep pain in Gwenallyn’s soul, Anna suggested that they continue to share the events of their lives by mail once Gwenallyn moved on. Anna had been a tonic for Gwen. Eventually, Gwen found two cousins, Eiddwynn and Blodeuwydd, and wrote eagerly to Anna about finally having a family. “But”, she wrote, “You’ve been my family for a long time.” And so it was that the four of them formed a clan.
Since then the orcs had gotten bigger and more numerous, and many of the humans were not much better. Their bickering and petty power plays made her wonder whether the region was worth saving. Maybe it was time to go west into the Grey Havens.
Gwen looked up at the moon as it rose over the hills. The next full moon would be in a week, and she and her sisters agreed to celebrate the summer solstice at their home in Bree. She was looking forward to seeing the others, especially Alva, the dwarf they had adopted the previous autumn. But mostly, she was just tired. She pulled her blanket around her shoulders. The Havens beckoned as she drifted into sleep. She would talk to her family.
Finding a Family
by Gwenllyan on Apr 08, 2016 at 01:49 PM}