Eodred of the Mark – Part Four

by May 5, 2004Stories

Eädil found him in the little forest glade where they had met before. Eodred was sitting, his back against a tree, turning his helmet in his hand. Aful and the white horse could be seen, ghosts among the Trees. Avar was there as well, looking at Eodred with those dark eyes of his. Anarmene was nowhere to be seen.

Eodred looked up as Eädil approached and stepped into the light, her silver hair glimmering. He hadn’t heard her coming, but then, she was en Elf. She walked over and leaned on her arm against his tree.

“So,” she said. “What now? Will you go back to Edoras, tell the king, raise the alarm?”

“You know I can’t,” he said, turning his helmet back and forth. “Rather I won’t. The patrol will return before I could, and it’s too dangerous now to cross the plains alone.”

“What, then?” She stepped away, her back to him, casting her words over her shoulder. “Do you mean to attempt the deeds of the Great Chase, but with four instead of Three Hunters?”

Eodred looked up, glaring. “One. One hunter.”

Eädil laughed, shaking her head. Eodred, angry, stood up. “I see nothing amusing about this. Don’t you understand, Guthmer is dead. I’m not going to let them go.”

Eädil stopped. “No, I don’t understand. I can’t. Don’t you see? I don’t know. But I won’t sit here and let YOU become the reason I do, if you take my meaning. What I’m saying is, I’m coming.”

“You?” Eodred said, half laughing.

“That’s right. Me.” Then, faster than thought, she spun: somehow her bow was in her hand, and an arrow flying towards him. There was a loud thunk as it struck the tree and stuck there, vibrating. Eodred turned, eyeing the shaft. Then he grinned at her.

The smile vanished as he drew on his helm. He had work to do.

“Avar.” It was Eädil. “Anarmene tirlye?” Eodred listened, but Elvish was just as cryptic now as it had been before. What then had happened on the fields?

Avar pointed upwards, just as a rustle of leaves heralded Anarmene’s arrival. Now that Anarmene stood in the sun, Eodred could clearly see the golden eyes and hair that had named him ‘thousand-suns’. The Elf touched Eädil’s shoulder, and for one blinding instant Eodred caught the resemblance between the three elves. In some odd way he didn’t understand, though they looked different, they were one.

Anarmene whistled, turning to the woods. He looked over at Eodred. “Ladi nar gurth. Úranlye taurëo.”

Eodred looked to Eädil. “He says we should stay to the woods. We can cross the river here.”

“Sure.” Eodred swung up on Aful. Where was his spear? He spied it leaning against a tree, and spurred over to snatch it up. When he wheeled Aful around, he saw that two more horses had joined them, both black as night. The Elves rode without saddle to bridal.

Avar took the lead, and the others followed, fading into the darkness beneath the trees.

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