Title: The Assassin
Rating: K +
Disclaimer: I own nothing that has to do with The Lord of the Rings. I make no money with this story.
Summary: On his way back to The Angle from Bree, Aragorn and Halbarad run into more trouble on the way than they can manage. Who will escape the wheels of fate and who will pay the ultimate price?
A/N: Written for the O.A.A. group, upon their adamant request. This is just for you ringers. ;)
°°°°°°°°°°Chapter 1: Bad Luck
The sleet drumming against the grimy window did nothing to ease Aragorn's sour mood. With a frown upon his face and his arms crossed over his chest, he stood unmoving in front of the window, gazing out into the rain, brooding.
They had reached Bree three days ago, but the weather had not turned for the better, and thus they had been forced to take a room at the Prancing Pony to wait out the worst of the early winter storm. And judging by the almost black colour of the low hanging clouds, the weather would hold for at least another day.
Another day that Aragorn and his rangers would waste away at the Prancing Pony, staying in their rooms, staring at the ceiling, doing nothing. Or rather, Aragorn would pass the day in this manner. The three young rangers that he and Halbarad had taken with them to Bree seemed not at all bothered by the bad weather that delayed their mission.
Heaglon, Torion and his younger brother Forian seemed to enjoy their time at the inn. They would sit in the common room most of the day, listening to the stories of the inhabitants of Bree, taking in the atmosphere, the normal life and the variety of persons that lived and worked in the town. For them, it was more fun than work, despite Aragorn's warnings to be careful.
Oh, careful they were. Never would they actively participate in any of the brawls that broke out in the inn from time to time, nor would they join the singers or drunken dancers. They would silently sit in a corner and watch; and somewhere deep down, buried under his bad mood, Aragorn was proud of them for behaving like they should as rangers, as not as the youthful boys that they still were. None of them was older than 23 and this mission to Bree was their first real foray into the world outside of the Dunedain villages.
With an inaudible snort, Aragorn thought back on his first trip to Bree with the rangers. He had not been that well behaved, that much was sure. No, if he remembered correctly, he had managed to not only infuriate the barmaid by telling her that the ale was too warm, but he had also –he still did not know how- joined a tavern brawl and woken up in his bed after being knocked unconscious. Needless to say that the other rangers had not been pleased with him, after making sure that he was not seriously hurt, of course.
Aragorn almost smiled as he remembered the lecture he had received from the oldest ranger in the party, but in just that moment a gust of wind caused the window to rattle and a cold wind sneaked into the room through the wooden window frame.
His eyes darkening, Aragorn drew his cloak tighter around his shoulders. Despite the fire that burned in the hearth, the room was bitter cold, and standing near the window did not help matters either. But Aragorn could not tear his eyes away from the muddy street under the window or the sleet. And truly, there was nothing else he could do.
They had come to Bree to sell five of their horses on the market and to purchase goods and provisions that the villages would need for the coming winter. They did this every year and never had anything out of the ordinary happened. That was why Aragorn had decided to bring the three young rangers; it was an opportunity for them to see Bree and get to know the surrounding area.
But now, the horses stood in the smelly town stable, guarded by Halbarad, so that no one would steel them. The breed in the Dunedain villages had been good in the last years, and the horses should make a high price, but with this weather, there was no market, no customers, no sale. It was simply depressing.
Sighing, Aragorn gazed at the sky, but with the thick clouds he could not make out the time of day exactly. Still, it had to be early afternoon, and that meant that Heaglon would relieve Halbarad of his watch soon. That gave Aragorn another hour or so to stand near the window and brood.
For, without a doubt, as soon as Halbarad was back, he would try to cheer him up and persuade him to join him in the common room for a hot meal or an ale. And truth be told, Aragorn had no intention to do either of that. But he knew that he would follow Halbarad, that he would drink his ale, nod and try to smile at Halbarad's words, and pretend to not be frustrated by the weather.
And then Halbarad would frown at him, lower his spoon or ale, lean across the table and try to inquire what was wrong with him. And things would go downhill from there, Aragorn was sure.
Oh, this afternoon was no going to be pleasant, he thought sarcastically.
Aragorn could not even explain why his mood was so gloomy. There was nothing that awaited his immediate attention back in the village, and neither had he any other appointment that warranted his feeling of urgency to leave Bree. For, that was it what he felt; he wanted to sell the horses as soon as possible and leave Bree.
Sighing, Aragorn tucked a strand of dark hair behind his ear. Perhaps it was simply the fact that he had lived in the Wild for the last four years and had only returned to civilization two month ago. He was not used to so many people, and the feeling of being imprisoned in this room and in the inn was getting stronger with each day.
A smile tugged at his lips as he thought of the news that had awaited him upon his return to the village he used to stay in when he was not in the Wild. He still remembered his speechlessness when he had entered Halbarad's house, only to see a small, dark haired girl stare at him with wide eyes, a stuffed woollen rabbit clutched in her arms. The girl, Halbarad's first born child to be precise, had gaped at him for a moment longer, only to then walk over to him, hug his knee, for she could not reach higher, and smile at him sweetly. In that moment, Aragorn had been too surprised to do anything else than pat her head; Very much like one would do with a dog.
But with the days he spend with Halbarad and his family, he had come to like the girl. She was very sweet and curious, outspoken for a four-year old and well behaved. And what was more, the girl adored him and had taken to call him "uncle Aragorn".
The wind drove another gust of sleet against the window, and Aragorn sighed deeply. Halbarad's little daughter was a gift of the Valar, but the thought of her only reminded Aragorn of the life that he could not lead. He could not deny it; he wanted to have a family, a place to call home. But as it was, this was still only a dream and would more likely than not never come true.
This dark musings did nothing to lighten his mood, and Aragorn sighed once more, frustrated this time. At least, he thought wistfully, it is my turn to keep guard over the horses tonight. He would never admit it, but he felt more at ease in the open build stable with the horses, than in this dry and relative safe room.
For another half hour he stood motionless near the window, letting his thoughts wander while watching the muddy street below through the sleet. And when Halbarad returned to the Prancing Pony and the room that they shared, wet and cold, he agreed to come down to the common room to drink an ale with him. As he had predicted, the afternoon passed not very pleasantly.
Aragorn sat down on the damp straw, stretching his long legs out before him and tightening his cloak around his shoulders. Compared to the chill outside, the stable was reasonable warm, due to the many horses that stood in the boxes.
The night was cold and dark; the rain had not lessened and the clouds hung deep in the sky, veiling the stars and the moon. There burned no torches in the stable and only one flickering oil lamp hung at the entrance door, making it even darker inside the stable, for the light deepened the shadows.
Alone with his thoughts, Aragorn's watch passed slowly but uneventfully. One of the young rangers would take over the watch at first light, but that was still many hours away. Midnight came and went, and Aragorn felt a comfortable tiredness settle in his body. The stable was warm, it was silent and the horses' snorts and swishing tails combined with the constant drumming of the rain onto the roof slowly lulled him into a slight slumber.
An hour passed, and suddenly Aragorn woke from his slumber. Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and gripping the hilt of his sword that lay across his knees, he blinked and stared around in the near complete darkness. Frowning, he listened for any sound, but beside the breathing of the horses, he heard naught. What had woken him, then?
Being a ranger, Aragorn was a light sleeper, able to rouse himself at the merest indication that there was danger. It was an ability necessary to survive in the Wild, and Aragorn trusted his senses more than anything else. But, why had his senses then alarmed and woken him?
Concentrating, Aragorn noticed the signals his body send him; he felt the blood rush through his body, the adrenalin surge through every muscle and the rapid beating of his heart told him that something was amiss.
Without giving any indication that he was awake by moving, he glanced around the stable. The horses were sleeping peacefully in their boxes, there was no sound and no light as a sign that someone else had entered the stable.
No light…Narrowing his eyes, Aragorn let his eyes travel to the entrance door and the oil lamp that hung there. The lamp swung slightly in the wind, but the flame had been extinguished.
Had that awoken him? It was possible, but not very likely. For many more minutes Aragorn sat in silence, unmoving, listening. But nothing happened and no sound reached his ears other than those made by the animals and the rain. Still, his body continued to give him signals that aught was amiss, although he could not tell what.
Shaking his head slightly, Aragorn loosened his grip on his sword marginally, but did not remove his hand. Perhaps my senses are irritated by the number of humans that live here, he thought wryly, before he rested his head back against the wall once more. But for the remainder of the night he neither closed his eyes nor let his guard drop for only a moment.
'Curse the keen senses of a ranger! Curse them' The tall man cautiously crept along the wall of the stable, taking care to stay in the shadows. His attempt to sneak upon the ranger while the man was unawares had not worked out the way he had wanted it to.
His hair plastered to his face by the rain and his cloak being whipped around his body by the wind, he made his way down the muddy lane and to his room in an run down inn. For weeks he was now staying in Bree, and finally his opportunity to act had come. Again, he silently cursed the ranger's instincts. Damn, not even the horses had sensed his presence!
A few long minutes later, the man opened the backdoor to the inn he stayed in and then hushed up the wooden steps to his small chamber. Placing the only chair under the handle and bolting the door, the man shrugged out of his cloak and quickly wrapped himself in some old blankets to warm his body.
Frowning, he stepped up to the small window. If not today, then sometime else. He had no doubt that he would accomplish the task that had been assigned to him. Sooner or later, the ranger named Strider would meet his untimely end by his sword. Or bow. It did not matter truly how the man died…
A small grin tugged at the man's lips. To kill the ranger in Bree would have many advantages: many people, routes of escape, dark alleys and corners, anonymity…But he knew he would have no difficulty killing the ranger in the Wild, either. He had done this so many times before, why should this time be any different?
It would not be different. The ranger would die, he would get his money and his next assignment. Life was too fragile to be true.
Finally, the weather changed and with the weak rays of the winter sun, the market life in Bree resumed its normal pace. Merchants bustled around, chickens ran hither and yonder, sheep and cattle were sold alongside flour, corn and dried meat. The smith, the tanner and the baker praised their goods and the citizens of Bree and travelling folk haggled over quality and price.
To Aragorn's relief, they sold all the horses for a good price to one and the same merchant, who planned to travel to Tharbad in the near future and needed the horses for his companions. The animals were in good hands and would be cared for, something that was important to Aragorn, even though he knew he would never see the horses again in his life.
The rangers bought the goods and merchandise they needed; blankets, pottery, tools, weapons, metal and glass works, some food and clothing, and other things that they were not able to produce at the villages. The evening found them seated in the common room of the Prancing Pony, sipping their ale after a warm evening meal. They would head home the following morning, and although Aragorn wanted the young rangers to turn in early this night, he nevertheless wanted to give them a last opportunity to enjoy the normal life in Bree.
After some hours, long after darkness had fallen, the Pony was still full packed with people. They sung and danced, gambled and shouted. The room was warm and the air stale; with most of the men smoking and even some women puffing on pipes, the room was filled with a grey haze that burned in the eyes and made even the ale taste smoky.
Sipping at his ale, Aragorn let his eyes travel across the room, taking in the assembled crowd. He knew some of the faces by name, others from sight, and there were some he had never seen before.
The rangers were aware that they attracted the one or other curious glance, but they were used it and for their part ignored the stares. Around midnight, Aragorn sent a pointy look across the table towards the two young rangers, the third having guard duty over their horses and the good they had brought, and with small bows and muttered goodnights, the young man stood up and made their way through the room towards the stairs that would lead them to the room they shared.
Once they were out of earshot, Halbarad snorted in amusement. Frowning, Aragorn took another sip from his ale before he questioned, "Pray tell me, what is so amusing?"
With merrily twinkling eyes, Halbarad answered, "You should have seen you face, my friend. I swear, you looked exactly like …"
But Aragorn never learned how he had looked, because in that moment both his and Halbarad's instincts told them that something was amiss. Turning around in his seat, Aragorn had barely enough time to shift his body to the right, before an obviously drunken man crashed into their table, knocking over their tankards and spilling ale everywhere.
Halbarad cursed as the ale dripped onto his tunic and trousers, but his eyes never left the man and the room behind him. Only a moment later, the man pushed away from the table, staggering and swaying as he did so, but as soon as he stood he lunged at another man, who stood not far away.
And then…bedlam ensued. The two drunken man fought as if their life depended on it, knocking over tables, running into people and smashing pottery and tankards. People screamed, others cheered them on, but all too soon a true tavern brawl broke out.
The serving maidens hid behind the bar, the few Hobbits crawled under tables and some men and women fled the inn altogether, deciding that it was time to go home.
Aragorn glanced briefly at Halbarad, and as if on a silent command, both got to their feet and tried to stop the fights. A few stern words, some intercepted blows or a restrained fist was enough to stop most of the fighters, Halbarad knew. These people were good and peaceful people, but an ale or two too much and things could become nasty.
Halbarad had just stopped a fight between to old and already grey haired men, when a surprised yell reached his ears. A yell of pain.
Snapping his head around so quickly that he heard his neck crack, he scanned the room for the one who had uttered the yell. Aragorn…Some men blocked his vision, but without further ado Halbarad fought his way through the throng of men and when he finally spotted Aragorn, a small gasp escaped him.
Standing next to a table, on hand braced against it to keep his balance, Aragorn pressed his other hand against his left side, blood covering his fingers and staining the tunic around…the hilt of what looked like a dagger.
Eyes widening, Halbarad ruthlessly pushed two men out of his way and in a few long strides was at Aragorn's side, clasping his shoulder and gripping the hilt of his sword with the other. Pain flickered through Aragorn eyes and he looked pale, but before Halbarad could say anything, he straightened up from his unbalanced position and his face settled into the controlled mask Halbarad knew only to well.
"He is already gone, Halbarad, as is his opponent." Aragorn said softly, only for Halbarad to hear.
This news did nothing to slow Halbarad's frantic beating heart, and he did not remove his hand from the hilt of his sword. He was just to question Aragorn what had happened, when he suddenly noticed the stillness of the room. Looking around, he saw that the fighting had stopped, and all eyes rested on him and Aragorn; no one spoke aloud and only hushed whispers filled the corners of the room.
Taking a deep breath, Halbarad wondered whether these people were shocked to see a ranger wounded, or whether they already bet who of them would kill the one who had attacked Aragorn. Probably the latter, he thought darkly.
The small tremor that raced through Aragorn's body, and that Halbarad felt even through the tunic Aragorn wore, made him refocus on the situation at hand. He had to get Aragorn to their room and remove the dagger, ere he lost too much blood.
Tightening his hold on Aragorn's shoulder, he glanced briefly at his friend, and when Aragorn nodded, the two of them made their way through the silent crow towards the stairs. Just when they reached the bottom step, Barliman Butterbur spoke up from where he stood behind the bar,
"Oh, ah, Master Rangers, Sirs…"
Without turning, Halbarad said in a tone that brokered no argument, "See that someone brings us hot water and some more towels, an extra blanket and some more candles."
"Yes, of course."
And then, they were up the stair and out of sight of the crowd. As soon as their tall frames rounded the corner at the head of the stairs, the buzz of many voices erupted behind them. Unheeding of the voices coming from the common room, Halbarad steered Aragorn towards the room they shared, a firm grip on his upper arm, and the other still at the hilt of his sword.
Suddenly, the door next to theirs was opened, and the youngest of the rangers, Forian, peeked his head out. Upon seeing Halbarad and Aragorn, he said a bit sleepy, "We heard some noises from downstairs, is everything…"
Halbarad, meanwhile having reached the door to their own room, gave him a stern look and said gruffly, "Get up and down, Master Butterbur will bring up some water, candles and cloths."
Upon Forain's confused look, Halbarad barked, "Now, boy!"
Startled, Forian disappeared into his room only to reappears a few second later, fully clothed and armed to do Halbarad's bidding. His brother, Torion, came out as well upon hearing the command, and when he saw Halbarad open the door and the pale face of Aragorn, he quickly took his weapons, closed the door to his own room and followed the two older men into their room.
While Halbarad led Aragorn to his bed, Torion lit the candles, closed the curtains and stoked the fire. He had seen the blood on his Chieftain's clothing, and although he had no idea what had happened, he knew that he would be told when it was necessary.
So it was, "Torion." Halbarad said.
"There was a fight downstairs and I want you to guard the door to this room and the hallway. Make sure that no one tries to get in here."
"Aye," and the young man vanished into the darkness of the hallway, closing the door softly behind him.
That taken care of, Halbarad turned back to Aragorn, who was already trying to ease out of his tunic and shirt.
"Here, let me help you." Together, the two men removed the tunic, shirt and under tunic to have a good view at the injury.
The dagger was deeply embedded into the flesh, just under the ribs, and blood was oozing from the wound, having already soaked through the waistband of Aragorn's trousers.
Halbarad probed the injury with skilled fingers, and Aragorn had to suppress a moan of pain when his friend touched the hilt of the dagger to determine whether the weapon had hit a rib after all.
"That does not look good, Aragorn. I do not know how long the blade of this dagger is; it could have hit a rib or an organ."
"It has not," Aragorn said calmly, but Halbarad knew his friend well enough to tell that he was in a lot of pain.
"What makes you think so?"
"I would have lost more blood already if it had hit an organ. And I did not feel it scrape over bone."
Halbarad raised an eyebrow at that, "You are in a tavern brawl, someone runs you through with a dagger, and you can tell whether it scraped over bone?"
"Aye, you can't?" Aragorn asked surprised, but both knew it was a jest. They had been in enough similar situations to know how to handle each other when injured.
Shrugging and kneeling before the seated Aragorn to see the wound better, Halbarad was just to ask how this had happened in the first place, when he heard soft footsteps in the hallway. His hand flew to the hilt of his sword, and when the door opened he got to his feet.
But it was only Forian who brought the requested water, candles and cloths.
"Lit the candles and place them on the tables. And bring one to me," Halbarad instructed, already inspecting the wound once more. Forian did as he was told, but he looked even paler than Aragorn.
Seeing the young ranger's obvious uneasiness, Aragorn smiled at the man as good he could with Halbarad poking his injury. When the candles burned and the water and cloth had been placed next to Halbarad, Aragorn said as calmly as he could, "Forian, go to the stables and help Heaglon guarding the horses and the cart."
"Aye, Aragorn." And the boy was gone faster than an elf could nock an arrow.
Gazing after him, Halbarad shook his head, "We should not have taken him with us. He is too young."
"He has seen his share of injuries, Halbarad. I think he was simply surprised to see 'me' injured."
"Maybe." But Aragorn could tell that his friend would not take Forian with him when he next went on patrol, as he had planned to do.
Halbarad cleaned his hands and then he kneeled once more, looking up at his friend. "Shall I remove it now, or wait till the bleeding slows?"
Taking a deep breath and embracing his fate, Aragorn grasped the edge of the bed, "Remove it."
Nodding, Halbarad grabbed the hilt of the dagger, ignoring his friend's tense body, and with a strong pull he removed the offending weapon in one move.
Aragorn groaned in pain, but other than that he made no sound. Quickly, Halbarad placed a piece of cloth against the wound, worried at the amount of blood that poured forth, now that the dagger was removed.
Another pad of cloth followed, and another, and another. Frowning, Halbarad locked eyes with Aragorn. "The bleeding does not stop, Aragorn."
Swallowing, Aragorn placed his hand over Halbarad's and peeled away the mountain of cloths to look at the wound. As soon as the pads were removed, new blood pooled in the wound and ran down Aragorn's side.
"It is deep, Halbarad. Give it some more time."
And that they did, but when they ran out of cloths and the injury had still not stopped bleeding, Halbarad began to truly worry. "Aragorn?"
"Mhh?" Aragorn had his eyes closed and was now leaning against the headboard of the bed, which was not a very encouraging sight for Halbarad.
"Aragorn? Are you alert?"
"Yes, I am." But Aragorn's voice was soft, so as if Halbarad had indeed just woken him.
"Aragorn, it does not stop to bleed. We need to do something else ere you lose more blood."
Blinking, Aragorn looked at the many bloody cloths that pressed against the wound. His brow furrowed in thought, before he said, "Hal, give me my pack, please. And ask Torion to bring us more cloths."
Reaching out and placing Aragorn's own hand over the injury so that he could hold up the pressure on the wound, Halbarad did as Aragorn had asked.
"What do you want me to look for?" He said as he lifted Aragorn's worn pack onto the bed and began to open it.
"There should be a leather pouch in it, with green embroidery."
After a few moments of searching in the flickering candlelight, Halbarad said, "Got it."
"Good, open it. There should be a smaller satchel in it…..Aye, that one. Pour the powder in a cup and add a few drops of water. Not more, only two or three drops."
Halbarad sniffed at the brown powder, but he did as Aragorn had asked and then returned to the bed with the mixture. Aragorn's hand that was pressing against the wound was already covered in bright red blood, and Halbarad felt another pang of fear surge through him. The wound looked harmless on the surface, but it was very deep; he only hoped that his friend had not lost too much blood already to harm him permanently.
Shaking himself mentally, Halbarad pressed the cub into Aragorn's waiting hand, who then looked at the mixture for a moment before he nodded.
"Do you have a spoon or a small knife, Halbarad? Mine are already with the horses and the cart. This mixture must no be touched with the fingers."
"No, but there is the spoon from the meal we had for lunch." And without further ado Halbarad took the wooden spoon, cleaned it as best he could, and handed it to Aragorn.
Their eyes met, and Aragorn smiled thinly, "This is going to hurt, Hal."
That was all prompt Halbarad needed, and in the next moment he sat behind Aragorn, pressing his friend against his own chest to make sure that he did not move again, or indeed was able to move more than his arms.
"When you are ready, Aragorn."
"A ranger is always ready," he commented wryly, and then he quickly removed the pads from the wound. Without hesitation he dipped the spoon into the mixture and then spread it on the wound.
The moment the brown paste connected with the injury, his whole body stiffened in agony and he groaned in pain, but Halbarad held him firmly, so that he could not twist away. Clenching his teeth, he put the rest of the paste onto the injury, spreading it a bit so that it would cover the whole wound, before the took a cloth and pressed strongly onto the injury, throwing the spoon into the fire.
Aragorn began to tremble, sweat stood on his brow and Halbarad could feel his friend's muscles tense as if they would burst any moment. But other than the groan that Aragorn had uttered when he had first spread the paste on the wound, he made no more sound.
A few moments later, Aragorn removed the cloth, which was now red with blood, and inspected the wound. Nodding with satisfaction, he put a new, clean cloth on it.
"The blood flow slowed."
"That is good. Let me take care of that." And Halbarad wriggled out from behind Aragorn, mindful not to jostle him too much, and then inspected the wound himself.
He lifted an eyebrow in astonishment, "What was that stuff? It has almost stopped bleeding altogether."
"A mixture of Lord Elrond's. Fireberries mixed with some herbs and salt."
"Salt!" Halbarad gazed at Aragorn in disbelief. "But, that must hurt horribly."
Aragorn smiled weakly, "It does."
"Oh, yes." And then Halbarad began to clean the wound and bandage it, following Aragorn's instructions.
Soon, the wound was bandaged and had stopped bleeding. Pressing a cup of ale into Aragorn's hand that Aragorn had not even noticed Butterbur bring them, Halbarad spread a blanket across his friend and then sat down on the chair next to the bed.
"Drink up, it will help you. I wish we had some wine, but Butterbur says he ran out of it."
"This will do. Hal, thank you."
"Ah, your welcome." He waved his hand in a gesture of dismissal, but his eyes never left Aragorn's face.
"Drink up, now."
Aragorn took a few sips of the ale, but truth be told, today it tasted like dishwater. Butterbur made the finest ale in all of Breeland, but this night, Aragorn wished for something with more strength in it, like miruvor.
"So, now tell me, Aragorn. How did this happen?"
Shrugging, Aragorn began to explain how he had tried to separate two of the men. They had looked harmless enough, farmers. But then suddenly one of them had drawn his dagger, forcing Aragorn to step in between them. He had taken the dagger away, but the next moment the other man had drawn his dagger as well, attacking.
The rest, Halbarad knew already.
Snorting and moving a hand through his hair, Halbarad shook his head, "Sometimes, Aragorn, I ask myself why we do all this."
"It is our duty."
"Yes, but can't fate smile on us? Only once? Is that too much asked for?"
"I am still alive, Halbarad." Aragorn smiled, but then he tried to hide a yawn.
Seeing it, Halbarad said, "Time to get some sleep, Aragorn. The sun will be up in a few hours and you should get all the rest you can."
"Aye, you are right."
"I know, that's why I am telling you to rest." Halbarad began to blow out most of the candles and Aragorn chuckled, while he let his body sink down into the straw filled mattress.
"Before you fall asleep yourself, do me the favour and tell Torion that he can return to his own room. He does not need to hold guard all night because of some drunken man."
"Oh holy….of course." Halbarad cursed, and then the left the room to inform the younger ranger that his guard was no longer needed. Indeed, the young man would have stood guard all night and he needed his rest for the days to come.
Aragorn let his head fall back against the cushion and closed his eyes tiredly. The next few days would be exhausting as well, as they wanted to reach the village as soon as possible, before the first winder snows set in. A few moments later, Halbarad re-entered the room and closed and bolted the door silently, tiptoeing to his own bed. But he need not have worried, for Aragorn was already deeply asleep, his body trying to get the healing sleep it needed.
To be continued…
So, what do you think? Do you like it?