Rein stood silent by the grave of Maina. He could feel the cold air blowing on him but he ignored it. Over and over he read the writing carved on the new stone by Kaina’s and his fathers. He had carved it himself, with his mother dictating.
Here lies Maina,
Oldest child of the deceased Sineam.
Long she toiled, caring for,
A sick mother, child and baby,
Yet she worked herself too hard,
Here she lies,
With our love.
He was startled by a voice behind him.
“She would not have had it any other way. She brought life to others, forsaking life herself. You could not have stopped her. This you know. Do not mourn for her so much.”
Rein turned round and found he was facing his friend Amalond.
“She told me never to give up. Why? Why would she tell me that when she gave up so easily herself? I do not understand it.” Rein’s voice sounded bitter even to his own ears.
“How do you know that? How do you know she gave up so easily?”
Rein found he had no answer for that so he turned back to the grave.
“I just wish she was still here.” He said slowly, desperately trying not to cry. “If I had helped her then maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe she would still be…..” He broke off, afraid that if he spoke anymore he would start crying. He did not want to cry in front of his friend, no matter how sad he was.
Yet tears still welled in his eyes. He seemed powerless to stop them. They came out in a steady drip which he wiped away immediately.
Amalond put his arm arkwardly round Rein’s shoulders.
“We could torture ourselves for the rest of our lives about all the `maybes’ we have ever faced. That’s not going to change anything Rein. She is dead and you cannot bring her back. You still have your mother and Taina. Finish the work Maina started.” He whispered.
Though it was just a whisper those few words were just what Rein needed. He nodded and dried his eyes before starting back to the camp.
“Rein, is that your mother?” Amalond asked suddenly.
Rein squinted up at the figure waiting at the paths end.
“Yes.” He murmered, “But why……?”
He ran along the path as fast as he could go. He was stiff from the cold so it was quite painful.
“Mother?” He asked hesitantly, expecting the worst.
Rein was in no state to see this, but his mother’s face was radiating joy. He followed her back to the camp but had barely got to their `area’ when he heard a young voice calling his name. He looked over at the pile of rugs and a head appeared. Taina’s head.
“Taina? You are alright? You are alright!”
Rein felt overjoyed, as he had never felt before. Maybe Maina and Amalond were right. He should carry on looking after his broken family, no matter how hard it is. In the end it would be worth it. Maina would agree if she was there but she was not. In the end he would realise that nothing could change that. Not yet though. Not yet.
Taina, always eager for stories, made him tell her countless times about Maina and everything that she had done. Every time he retold the story to her, Taina’s eyes were filled with pride of her older sister. Rein was glad of that. Maina deserved to be thought of with pride. Another of Taina’s favourite stories was the story of Helm and Hama. She was filled with a child like wonder at all the events that had happened while she was ill. Maina had a similar wonder, and she also loved stories. Now Rein thought about it Taina was very similar to Maina.
Although Rein was still upset about Maina he was sure that Taina would keep the spirit of Maina alive. That was not all Taina was doing. She was unconsciously filling everyone with a hope that could not be dampened, for, no matter how hard things seemed she was always smiling, and she simply would not believe the rumours that the snow was never going to end.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.