∴ A Waiting Fate∴
With your back to a gnarled blackthorn, you wait. You’ve got good at it over the years. Waiting for a rabbit to trip a well-laid trap. Waiting for darker quarry as well. Waiting for news. For her. For history to be made.
While you wait, you slide a weather-worn hand into your pack and retrieve a sliver of lembas bread and a roughspun rag. Setting the former aside, you turn your attention to your sword, tutting at its tarnish, running the rag over stern, swooping lines. Waiting you may be, but idle you are not.
The sword had a name once, you muse. In fact, it had many – the names of great deeds and glories. Out here, alone, you prefer to think of it simply as your sword. A trusted tool. Just as you would shrug off your own weighty appellations.
Your thoughts are interrupted by the unmistakable sound of footsteps beyond the birdsong and bracken-rush. Five pairs of feet and the clamour of conversation.
“Please remember,” an urgent voice breaks through the rest,” that the name Baggins must not be mentioned.”
Another traveller trying to outrun a name. You grin and gather your pack. Continue reading
∴ A Matter of Honour∴
Through the gathering mists, you glimpse yet another crumbling causeway, a shadow of its former glory. You sigh. Day ninety-eight.
Were your feet less sore and the outlook less grim, you would laugh. You left your father’s halls to cheers and sounding trumpets, pennants flying in the breeze as hooves clattered across white stone. What would your father think to see you now, clothes soiled by many weeks’ journeying, horse lost to the churning waters of the Greyflood?
By degrees, your pace slows to a dead stop. You stare into the mist a few desolate moments longer before shaking yourself and slowly drawing your sword. Fierce yet finessed, it is unmistakably the weapon of a well-born warrior. The carved quillons form a graceful arc against the unforgiving lines of the blade. A questing sword. A captain’s sword. Your sword.
Returning to yourself, you sheath the blade and glare down the road to Rivendell with renewed purpose.
∴ An Ensorcelled Sword ∴
Flickering shadows set the hairs on your bare arms on end. The torch in your hand sputters despite the still and stagnant air. For the briefest moment you consider turning back, but caution falls silent beside the thrill of the unknown.
You note what looks like a worn sarcophagus in the middle of the chamber. Carved from the same stone as the cavern itself, the casket is unremarkable – but for what lies on top of it. The sword seems hyper-real against its decrepit surroundings. Harshly downturned quillons gleam darkly against the broad steel blade.
Stepping toward the sarcophagus, you choke down a nervous laugh. You’ve heard enough folk tales to know how this ends: a shambling corpse emerging from the casket, hell-bent on restoring its treasure. Forcing back superstition, you grasp the green leather grip.
A moment’s suffocating silence. The sarcophagus remains undisturbed. Chiding yourself for your childishness, you exhale deeply and turn the blade in the torchlight. It’s so striking that for a moment you fail to notice the bleached bones of your own transfigured hand against the hilt. Continue reading