Where: in a little camp outside of Trestlebridge.
When: about the same time as the previous log.
Avarian hasn't noticed Laerion yet, she just wiped sweat off her upper lip and went back to stitching.
It's a pretty long gash, it goes down the top of most of her forearm.
'Do you need help, with that?'
She looks up at him, needle in hand. 'I had stitched it before, but it came undone. How long have you been standing there?' she blinks.
'A few minutes,' He replies, smiling at her. He comes over, inspecting her arm.
She goes back to stitching it, though she holds it up a bit for him to get a better look. 'There were too many at once. I forget that I am not always as skilled as I once was.'
'Overconfidence is oft one's greatest foe,' He agrees, watching her curiously.
She grunts, and nods, finishing up her stitching. 'A lesson I have had to learn, from time to time.'
He nods, catching her eyes with his, 'Now you spark my curiosity.'
She looks into his eyes for a moment, then glances off to one side. 'In what way? Surely the exploits of my life are not that curious..' she cuts the thread with her teeth and picks up a jar of salve, unscrewing it and slathering it over the new stitches.
'They are. You've seen far more than I ever could. Your eyes are old, wise, and yet shadowed with unknown hurts.'
'And yours hold storms within them that are never written on your face.' she replies softly, rolling bandaging around her arm. 'It goes in cycles, I think. The confidence does. You train hard, and are at a good, sensible peak, then over time the training is less fresh in your mind. Even though you train hard every day, you start to pay less attention, because swinging a sword is something you have done since time immemorial - what is so different now? And that is when you forget a grip, or a bit of training about foot balance, and drop your weapon, or take on more than you should.'
She winces, tying the bandage up, 'And then you take a wound, and have to re-learn everything. Especially the most important lesson, which is that you are immortal, not invincible.' she catches her eyes with his, 'I would rather your eyes never became old, and shadowed with battle hurts and experiences. It is not a good life.'
'If it is the price to pay to ensure my people, my family, and my land are protected, then that is the price I shall pay,' He replies, eyes intense on her face.
'You have grown into a fine man,' she says, after a while of staring at him, 'Your father should be proud.'
'I've never bothered to ask him' Laerion says, sitting down on a rock and drawing his sword to stare into the reflection. 'It is difficult to speak with the weary. A soldier's life, a guard's life is oft hard, and strips years from him. But it is a good life, a good duty, and was one accepted willingly, by father, and son.' Yet he was here, and not there, and that was for the good of his family.
'Yet you find it easy to speak to me, and I am beyond weary.' she replies, softly.
'I never said it was easy,' He returns.
She tilts her head to one side, 'Your family has long been in that role, gaurdians, protectors, soldiers. It is almost as if your ancestors all these long years have been one person, instead of many.' She sounds slightly amused, and then nods her head, 'Well, perhaps not easy, then. But still, you are here - what are you doing here, in any case? I thought your sister was back in Bree?'
'I am much like my father, and he like his,' Laerion agrees. 'Mother always used to say Laeriel was much like her mother-in-law. And I came here, searching for you.'
'And your father's father's father.... and HIS grandsire, and the great-grandsire before him...' she chuckles, again. Then arches a brow. 'And why are you searching for me?'
'Because you wandered off, and perhaps I was a bit concerned.' He is still looking into his reflection, though he smiles a bit, sheepishly.
'You seemed in good enough hands, so I went to find something to do with myself. I suppose your concern was not without warrant, however.' she nods, putting her medical supplies away and digging in her pack. 'Are you hungry?'
'Nothing I cannot deal with,' He says.
She snorts, 'You have come all this way, it would be rude of me not to cook enough food for two. Or do you fear my cooking?' She pulls out a jar of oil, some uncooked meat wrapped in paper, and a few other ingredients. 'The meat is fresh, I killed it earlier.'
He laughs, 'I simply do not want to impose.'
'You are not an imposition, Laerion.' she says, softly, and gets to work cooking.
He nods, accepting it gracefully, and watches her cook for a time, 'You are quite skilled, Lady. In both sword, and more common tasks.'
She smiles, 'It is mostly for my own survival, though... I am not sure, sometimes, that there is a point even to that.' she frowns, 'Forgive me, I am not always the best of company. You perhaps already learned that.' She slides fried meat and carrots onto a metal plate for him. 'Here..'
'I actually find that sometimes, there's a bit of a simple joy to be found in cooking, though. Simple ingredients, combined together to create a masterpiece. There is destruction, of course. The killing of the animal for the meat, or the plant to eat it, but there is also creation. It is refreshing.'
'Sometimes destruction is necessary to build.'
'It seems a pattern of existance, yes.' she nods, thinking of all the things she's seen and poking at her food.
'My sister would be better prepared to discuss such things.' He chuckles, taking a bite of his food and nodding.
Ava shrugs, 'Beleriand had to sink in order for Lindon to be built, and Numenor had to sink before Gondor and Arnor got proper attention. Even Imladris came to be because Eregion fell, and not simply on its own.' She's watching him eat, to see if he likes it, more than really paying attention to her own food.
He seems to like it, and remains silent for a few moments.
She falls silent, too, and goes back to picking at her own food. I suspect she mainly cooked for his benefit instead of her own.
'Lady, you say you've known my family - why?'
'I have been watching over your family line for quite some time, yes.' she nods, 'Since near the beginning of the third age.'
'Forgive me if I've asked this before, but why? What drove you to such lengths?' He looks up from his food, looking at her curiously.
She sighs, 'Because I knew you were coming.'
He raises both of his eyebrows, 'Knew I was coming?'
'Yes. I have long known. I have seen glimpses of you, in fire.' She nods, figureing she might as well tell the truth.
'Tell me more,' He replies. His eyes are masked, darker than usual as he hides his feelings.
She glances over at him, her own eyes dark as coals. 'Have you ever heard of Glaurung?'
'Only from my sister. A great dragon of old, yes?'
She nods, 'I saw many things in his fire, and a glimpse of your face, a bit of your future, were some of them.'
'My face?' He looks surprised, sitting up straighter and looking even more closely at her. Into her.
She shivers a bit, with the intensity of his gaze, 'Your face, yes... though it was a bit older even than this.'
'Then perhaps you have met me too soon,' He jests, standing and walking over to her. He knelt, and looked up into her face, 'I told you, I saw you dance, did I not?'
She looks down at him, her eyes searching his, 'Yes, you said that..'
'What else, did I say?' He smiles up at her. It's a light smile, one with few cares or worries, but those cares and worries are deep and shadowed, and they already threaten to line his face.
'That I should have danced for Kings, that your sister was not likely to give me a moment's peace...' she can't help herself, she touches a hand to his face, as if to ward off those lines, and worries.
'For kings, or greater,' He replies. He does not tell her, that he once read the tale of Beren and Luthien. That the parallels are known to him. That the tragedies spawned from that are known to him. That the joys are known to him.
'You have so many cares, for one so young,' she whispers, amazed. She's reading his face, and his eyes, instead of what he's saying.
'The shadow weighs down upon all of us in Gondor,' He says, leaning a little into her fingers.
She nods her head softly, 'It will be darkest there, before the dawn. But there is still hope, I think.'
'In the strength of my people, there rests yet hope, and I am stuck here.' He sounds disgusted.
'Be at peace, Laerion.' she says, gently, 'If Sauron was moving that quickly, I would already be standing at Mordor's gates. He is gathering strength, it cannot be denied, but there is more at work, even here, that must be tended to before the war comes to us all.'
'This is still not my home, and I am only away because I have no choice, and no place to go.'
'What is home?' Avarian shrugs. 'You would consider home a place worth protecting, would you not? Is Bree not worth protecting? The remnants of Arnor? Could you not make home anyplace you went, simply by dwelling in it and calling it so?' Her tone is inquisitive and even slightly demanding, but her eyes seem to have a note of understanding in them.
'Home is Gondor,' He replies, with a hint of pride. ' The city that rises over the land in protection, the people that till the fields and care for their lands and remember a time when they were great, and yearn for a time when they can be great, again.'
'They never stopped being great, in my eyes,' she whispers, 'And that time is coming faster than they think.' She finally withdraws her hand from his face, 'But your home is at least on this shore, and not that far a journey away to consider returning. Surely whatever circumstances which drove you away are not that terrible..'
'There were rumours of ill-deeds between my sister and I, so I took leave from the Guard and left to spare her and my family.'
She frowns, 'Perhaps I should have kept a better watch on you while you were growing..'
'I could have stopped whoever spread the rumors.' she adds, to clarify why she said that.
He smiles, reassuringly, 'Nay, nay, it is fine, merely a product of a spiteful woman.'
'You have a chance, though, that some do not. The chance to return, and face the rumours, and stand strong against them. You have the choice to go back.' she smiles sadly.
'Perhaps, but I know not. I would like to, but something drew me here, to this place.'
'You have one. The rumors are not true. You have done nothing wrong, no crimes stain your hands. All that remains in question is your will, and your strength, to put things to rights.' She eyes him, 'And I think you have both.'
'And perhaps what I am looking for has been found,' He replies, smiling softly.
She blinks, and wrinkles her brow.
Standing, Laerion brushes a hand alongside her cheek, 'I should go check on my sister.'
She looks up at him, trying to ignore the fact that the thought of him leaving is saddening. 'Wait until the sun rises.. at least wait until then.'
He quirks an eyebrow, 'It is barely evening, but if you insist.'
She wrinkles her brow and rises, 'Then go, and I will go with you. Not because you need protection, but as I was heading back to Bree anyway..'
He nods his head, preferring that, 'Let us take our time.'
She nods, and begins packing up the remainder of her things. It doesn't take very long, she's very efficient.
He watches her, focusing entirely on her as she packs up, then nods his head when she is ready, 'Shall we go?'
She nods. 'I am ready.'
And he leads them off!
And she lets him lead! And watches him for most of the way back.