In its deep glow of red and orange a rising sun began to bring light to the green hills about Turchon as he trekked onward. He had made good progress in the past hour or so of open country but would be slowed as he entered the farmlands of the Bree-folk. As Turchon crested the top of one of the steeper rises a field Sparrow flew overhead chirping merrily in song as it made a few circles over the Ranger’s form. Turchon smiled faintly as the winged minstrel departed south on a fair gust of northern wind. He too let loose a short song in low tones as he wrapped his cloak around him to ward the early morning chill “Aew sing, Aew sing, Aew Sing… Sing a song for me… Sing of bright blue skies and perches way up high… Sing of Fileg and others you have known and places you have flown way, way up high … Aew sing, Aew sing, Aew sing…” smiling as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes Turchon shook his head in an effort to wake himself “I must be still asleep to be singing… The Aew song no less” he muttered to himself as he considered the origins of the ballad and his childhood in Evendim.
Pressing on he began to notice the faint brown haze of wheat fields in the distance and their recognizable smell on the air. Quickly he turned and began diverting his paces in a more southwesterly direction away from the source of said senses it being the border crops of one of the larger farms surrounding Bree-town. He yawned once more and at that began to wonder when it last was he had slept. Mentally he added the nights spent closing the gap between he and the Angmarim and of course there had been last night as well. Sighing he surmised that he could not of had more than ten or twelve hours sleep in the past three days. He considered whether he should make camp and sleep a few hours before heading into town for Bree was not the sort of place a man such as he could afford to lose his edge. Quickly though Turchon’s drowsy demeanor was changed to an attentive eastward gaze for as he came to the top of the nearest hill across the small valley atop another hill sat a mounted figure against the revealing light of the now risen sun.
Turchon eyed the figure caustically as he halted his steps and began to feel for his spear, gripping it firmly in his right hand. Across the way was the lone rider atop a tall steed with what appeared to be a pack mule in tow for the second beast stood lower and wider than any horse should. The figure himself had also stopped obviously seeing Turchon’s form as he razed a hand in an effort to shield his gaze from the sun. Turchon quickly dismissed the man being a local for Bree-folk rarely were horseman and rarer still had the coin for more than one mount. The rider had come from the east and did not come by road which worried Turchon deeply for himself and his kin excluded few decent men had much reason to travel cross country in this region. Turchon’s very reason for going to Bree-town had in fact been rumors of strange North-men travelling along the Old East road and it was at that realization that the Ranger gripped his spear a little tighter and yelled across the void between he and his potential foe “State your Business stranger!” In response the stranger let loose a loud “Eyyahhh!” and he and his hooved companions came galloping down the hill and up towards Turchon’s position.
Turchon quickly planted his feet and brought his spear up before him in a defensive position near the top most point of the hill watching as the rider quickened his pace up further towards Turchon. “Turchon!” the man yelled in laughter. “I would know that yell anywhere, commanding as it ever was!” coming into full view now Turchon could see the rider to be the Ranger Tarchies and at this he hastily stowed away his spear and began to close to gap between them “Mae govannen!” he called cheerfully. Tarchies leapt off the side of his horse as young men sometimes do and landed a few feet from Turchon. They embraced and Turchon took the much younger man by the arms “Look at you lad, last we met you were not but a boy playing at manhood! A moustache, really boy… ha! I didn’t think I would ever see the day you stood as tall as me.” Turchon beamed a smile from ear to ear as he gave Tarchies a playful shove backward. The boy returned one with a little more force laughing with Turchon “Just as tall, half as loud. I rather like the moustache don’t you, very Golodir like wouldn’t you say?” Turchon gave the boy another playful shove replying “Golodir? In your dreams boy, that man has a lip hat that could bridge the Misty Mountains.” Tarchies laughed heartily and even let slip a few boyish giggles at the joke.
Turchon’s own laughter faded as he questioned Tarchies “But tell me why are you here, brother? Last I received word you had been looking after your mother, Melinum in Tinnudir.” To which Tarchies replied with a sudden serious response “Mother she… she’s close to passing Turchon. The healers say she’s likely not to make it until spring. You see, she took an arrow from a bandit summer past and there have been complications.” The boy sighed deeply as his mood suddenly turned gloomy. Turchon rested a comforting hand on Tarchies’ shoulder as he replied “I am sorry my son… Melinum is one of the finest sisters I have ever known. Do not go too deeply into sorrow for I know she is satisfied knowing you, her only son has grown into a fine Dunadan whatever her end…” he stands in silence for a few moments as Tarchies nods “But… Tarchies, why are you not there with her? Why have you come south?” The boy looked back up from his downward gaze to reply “For you Brother, she bid me head out to find you and bring you back to Tinnudir. She said to make you promise to return no matter what objections you had…”
Turchon smiled faintly as he thought of Melinum and her request. In her usual fashion she had been smart enough to choose her words with care so that he would not be able to say no to this newfound responsibility. Looking at Tarchies he nodded “I will go, you and she both have my word.” Tarchies nodded and pulled Turchon into an unexpected hug. Turchon returned the embrace as he had done so many years ago when he had first found the young boy in the rear of a cave huddled in fear with his mother. So much had changed since then he thought as he and his new travelling companion began making their way away from Bree-town and towards the lands of Evendim in the north. Looking over at Tarchies he said, “I don’t do this often boy but I’m going to have to insist we stop after we’ve covered a fair amount of ground. I need to sleep some before we get too far north.” Tarchies grinned mischievously as he replied “Sure enough old man, whom am I to question the sleeping patterns of the elderly.” Turchon’s smile was broken as another yawn escaped him. Pressing northward Turchon let Tarchies take the lead. The boy looked back after a few moments “Some luck me finding you, I met with Mincham along the Greenway and he told me last he heard you were still after… them… Kallabân Tud, I mean.” He quickly shakes his head and frowned “Forgive me, we need not speak of that… I… well; it’s just that I’ve heard things from the others in Tinnudir.” Turchon nodded at the stumbling before replying, his words and demeanor turned a little grim“I carry on with the oath I made to them, to the fallen. I know the rumors that float about the camps of our kin and I know it has been too long since I wintered among my own brethren.” He sighed deeply before continuing, “Too much was lost for those responsible to live on Tarchies, someone has to make them pay for what they have done.”
Tarchies remained silent for a while as he pondered on the words for a time “I know.” He finally uttered, “I just wish things could go back to the way they were before it happened. There is talk you know, hope still lives in the northern camps that we can come together and drive the evil from Eriador.” Turchon could see as the man glanced out across the hills at a collection of old crumbled stones, the ruins of an old anorien watchtower. “I believe in you Turchon, as do many others… There are warriors left in Tinnudir who would call you captain and hunt alongside you.”
Turchon too saw the small collection of stones ahead as he replied to Tarchies “No, I have made it clear to the elders and they know my position. My time as a captain is done and gone along with my last charge.” He sighed once more “Radestel was my hope Tarchies and when it met its end so too was a part of me left in that cursed valley but you are young and my tale is not to be your own. One day when the long war has ended our people will rebuild the North and return the former glory of Arnor and Arthedain back to Eriador. You will live to see the day when the Dunedain can live free of fear.” Tarchies nodded silently at Turchon’s words failing to provide much reaction to them. Though Turchon did note that he pulled his hood over his features and seemed to quicken his pace in an apparent effort some distance between them.
The two continued on in silence until they came to a sizeable cluster of oak and cedar trees away from the open ground of the Bree-land hills. The cobbled road leading to Buckland and the Shire was visible from the grove but it was wooded enough that their presence there was likely to go unnoticed even in the light of day. Turchon agreed with Tarchies in a silent exchange of nods that this is where they would rest for a time before pressing onward. Turchon set his pack against the ground and laid his head against its worn leather form. Turchon then watched for a time as Tarchies fed his companions and checked over his gear. The boy had grown only three winters since last Turchon had seen him but in that time Tarchies had become a man. He was bigger and a shade taller than Turchon now and he carried himself with a confidence Turchon had never noticed before. Auburn hair draped down past the younger man’s shoulders and across his upper lip was a moustache of considerable proportions. He must be taking after his father Turchon reasoned because Melinum was one of the shortest Dunadan women Turchon had ever remembered meeting comparable even to some of the shorter Bree women Turchon had come across.
Tarchies broke Turchon’s musings as he slumped against his own pack and broke the silence between them “How long do you need?” he asked to which Turchon replied “If you’ll give me until evening and we set ourselves to travel by night and day we could likely reach Evendim by nightfall tomorrow. I know a place along the Brandywine we could make camp and that morning it’ll be roughly half a days journey to Tinnudir.” Tarchies quickly agreed, “Sounds fair to me. I couldn’t sleep just now but you go on ahead. I’ve these to occupy my time.” Tarchies then pulled a carving knife from his bag and a small collection of figurines one of which he tossed to Turchon. It was am extremely well-crafted piece that Turchon immediately recognized as the likeness of their chieftain, lord Aragorn dressed in the garb of a king. Turchon smiled “Very impressive Tarchies, you captured his features well. I didn’t know you possessed such a talent.” Tarchies grinned as he began to cut into a newer much rougher piece of oak with the carving knife “I started not long after returning to Tinnudir. It keeps the children up there at me night and day for more toys to play with but I don’t mind. It’s nice, you know? Keeps them playing instead of worrying about things.” Turchon smiled deeply as he closed his eyes and settled more comfortably against his pack. “You know Tarchies, I never met the him but I know your father would’ve been proud of you for the man you’ve become.” As the sun rose higher in the sky Tarchies whittled on in relative silence a smile plastered across his features and Turchon began not long after to fall into one of the first peaceful sleeps he had known in many moons.
OOC: ***I edited this piece and combined it with sections of another draft I had to provide a more lengthy chapter*** I have drafts of future chapters written out so the gap between this publish (if you will) and the next won't be so long. Feel free to send me a PM here with any input or just a wassup :-)