This is the last scene in Chapter Seven, and while it is a sort of mini-cliffhanger, it also seemed to me like a logical cutoff point.
* * *
Sixteen days after departing Fanyamar, they turned from the dirt cart-track that served as a road, and followed a similar track westward across the fields.
Balfrith said, “These are the eastern fields of my family manor. We should see the village in an hour or so, and we’ll pass through it before turning back north toward the manor-keep.”
To the south, they could see a thick line of trees as far as they could see, and Balfrith mentioned that this was one small part of the Goldwood, so-called because of the golden sycamore trees that populated the region so heavily.
“I have heard of the Goldwood,” said Eldamir, “though I’ve never visited it. Perhaps if we have opportunity, we might walk those woods for a short while.”
Balfrith heard the longing in his friend’s voice, but he said nothing. He didn’t want to make promises that he might not be able to keep, and he did not know if they would receive a friendly welcome upon their arrival at his family home.
As expected, they crested a small hill about an hour later, and down in the valley they could see the nearest village, perhaps a quarter hour’s walk from where they stood. And north of the village, the manor-keep stood at the top of a long hill, with a commanding view overlooking the lands all around.
“Home,” Balfrith whispered under his breath. One way or another, I shall see how my family has fared, and they me. Aingeall will be old enough to marry, now - I’d never thought of that before. Once again, Balfrith hesitated in his steps, fear gripping him, and once again, he conquered it and continued forward. I have vowed to return that which I have stolen, and mend that which I have broken. I will not forget, nor forsake, that vow.
“And here we go,” he said, closing off that line of thought with his voice.
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