Part Three: Poison

Reflection 1: Merry

If you took the good land out of his bones, he will be nothing but skin flapping hungrily in the wind, searching in the raindrops for dirt, something good and earthy and grass, oh green grass. If you dipped his clothes in gold and weave robes of silk to place on he squat shoulders, he will only think of his mother's fine cotton, fed with sage and thistle so his vest smelled like the green place he came from. If you marred his face and tore off his particularly shaped nose, rubbed in some oil, make him a finer version of his homely self, you will not get as far as the tip of his forehead. He is the son of the earth, they all were. He missed the land that was tame and gentle in his hands, the fields sown with seeds, promising good food when the summer wind cease to blow and autumn descend like a goddess from the sky.

When they rode through bare fields of brown grass, she breathed in deeply, a warrior of her world. He shuddered and drew the edges of his cloak closer to his body. Will he ever see the chimney smoke of his father's smokehouse, fireflies swirling in soft pale light as the moon sun out lullabies, and children played in the stream, frolicking like he used to with a garland of wild leaves atop his head?

No.

The answer came to him as swiftly as the sound of thunder striking the static night air. The great silence before the world exhales and changes everything with one mighty breath.

"Merry, that clearing, over there! We will set up camp for tonight!"

When she touched his shoulder in passing, he knew he was doomed. He will never belong anywhere, anymore, unless each night was like this. Huddled over a dying fire in the slick and chill of rain and her hand, blessed touch, upon his wrist.

He will never belong anywhere, anymore. She has already stole the earth that steeped into his bones and the rivers running through his veins, until all he could see was her, clad in iron and hiding a dress of white linen. Blonde hair, winter blue eyes. He could see nothing else.

Reflection 2: Eowyn

When Mother died, I told myself I will take up her call. I will be Father's little girl and comb my hair every day, a thousand times till it shone and I will bring flowers to the table. I will ease Brother's sore shoulders and learn to cook. When I looked in the mirror, eyes half wild like a crazed thing trapped in its own skin, I told myself I will take Mother's place. There was no other choice for me.

But when Father died, it broke. The mirror and the silver, ripped silk, lace soaking up spilled wine. I did not know how to breathe. Brother knew nothing else but horses and swords, arrows and warfare.

He brought me everywhere he went, during the first year of Father's death. He did not have the heart to leave me alone where sorrow can crept in and cut away the layer of resilience I pretended to have. A place where bitterness would tear apart my fragile, half beating, half dying heart.

When I picked up a sword, I felt Father's breath upon my skin and Mother's laugh circling my head like a halo. I felt alive. No longer alone.

Never alone.