Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! I'm planning to post tomorrow as well, just for fun. Plus, I'm actually getting a bit ahead on my story, so I wanted to bring the blog a little bit closer to where I really am in the writing. By "little bit", I mean that I'm currently writing chapter 12 scene 3, but as you can see, I just started posting scenes from chapter eight. So I will probably maintain an accelerated rate of posting for a while, until the blog is within a chapter of where I'm actually writing.
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A few days later, when they reached the King’s Highway once again, Balfrith looked back south toward his family estate. “I suppose lord Felaranthir was right - I should have stayed away. Now, who can say what will happen? Will my brothers continue to hate me? And will my father forgive me?”
Eldamir said, “I think, Balfrith, that they will one day forgive. It is hard to carry such anger for many years. And though to you it may seem like five years has been long enough, I have seen such wrath last for much longer before burning itself out. Of course I speak in Elefdar terms, but I know that with Men, your passions burn even more brightly, and for a shorter time. In this I think you have an advantage over my people - and I think that should you return again in five years, or ten, your reception may be better.”
His words made Balfrith feel somewhat better, but just then he also remembered a passing comment from his brother. “Wilfrid mentioned that you had visited my home after I ran away. Was that before we arrived at Fanyamar?”
“Aye, it was. My father sent me the morning after you and I met, to track back along your footsteps and find your home. He wanted me to speak with your father, to find out the truth of your story.”
“And what did you learn?” asked Balfrith, afraid to hear the answer.
Eldamir sighed - he hadn’t wanted to have this conversation, but knew it would have to be done sooner or later. “Duke Osric confirmed that you were gone, and he told me that you had stolen his family heirloom, the sword Branulf. And he said that we could take you in and train you, if we wished.”
Balfrith looked closely at his friend, and said, “That’s not all he said, was it? Wilfrid said he washed his hands of me. And he mentioned the curse. So you knew of all of that, all this time?”
Eldamir looked down, and said, “Aye, I knew.”
“And you told lord Felaranthir?”
“… Aye, I told my father.”
Balfrith was silent for some time, and they stood in the road, not moving. Finally he said, “And lord Felaranthir allowed me to pass into Fanyamar anyway. And he played the part as if he knew nothing, waiting to see what I would do.”
Eldamir took a breath, paused, and said, “My father saw something in you, Balfrith, something worth preserving. No one is perfect, be it Man or Elefdar - and who are we to judge the worth of anyone? All we can do is judge by words and actions - and by your words, you showed at least that you were humble, and aware of your misdeeds, and willing to mend them. Of course, my father said you would be held to your vows - and so you shall be, if you don’t hold yourself to them as a Man of honor. But I think that if you continue along this path, you shall in the end profit from it, your vows fulfilled and your honor restored.”
Though he didn’t expect words to help, Balfrith discovered that his friend’s encouragement buoyed his spirit. He smiled, clapped Eldamir on the back, and said, “Indeed, my friend, I hope you are right. Now, let us get moving. Hightower is eight days’ walk ahead of us, and I for one would rather arrive sooner than later.”