16. On The Road Again
On The Road Again
Amarie studied the tall trees ahead on the road. They were entering an old forest and one of the Imladris warriors had told her that they would be travelling through it the rest of the way to Imladris itself. The forest stretched from here to just as far again on the other side of the refuge. The travelers had made good time over the past two weeks and should be there in a couple of days.
Suddenly the lowing of a cow in pain sounded. The wagons and riders came to a quick halt. Amarie turned her head to locate the direction it was coming from. From the road ahead one of the outriders rode quickly in and pulled to a stop by Angrod at the front of the column. There was a rapid exchange of information and both looked back at Amarie. Her hands gripped the wagon seat tightly and a sudden cold knot formed in her stomach. This was not good news. Angrod nodded and the outrider turned around and retraced the way he had come. Angrod sat there a moment then turned his horse and slowly road back to the wagon.
"Amarie, there seems to have been some trouble ahead. They have found the remains of a camp, some dead livestock and a burned out wagon. It looks like what ever happened did so about five or six days ago. Will you come with me and see if it was your people?"
She sat there frozen in place. "Oh no, no, no, not the families, not the young ones," she moaned to herself.
"Amarie?," he repeated.
She shook herself and nodded.
Angrod pulled his horse close to the wagon seat and helped her swing up astride behind him. She hugged his waist and he move into a rapid gallop toward the direction the outrider had appeared from. It took twenty minutes to reach the campsite. There three of the Imladris warriors waited for them and they turned as Angrod and Amarie rode up.
One moved up to help Amarie dismount and noting her white face sought to reassure her.
"My lady, there is good news. We have not found any sign of dead from among your people. It appears they were attacked by a band of yrch during the night after they had set up camp. We followed a number of tracks and found the burned remains of yrch. That is standard practice after a fight. We don't leave their remains to attract carrion eaters or wolves. The only damage we can identify appears to be the burned wagon and the dead livestock. The wagon was emptied of any thing salvageable. Other signs show that eleven wagons departed traveling fairly fast after the attack. Even the loose cattle and horses were moving quickly. It looks like Lord Glorfindel decided not to wait around in case there were additional yrch in the area."
"Do we need to worry about any further attacks?"
"We have not seen any fresh traces of yrch." the warrior stated, "I don't believe we should be concerned."
She turned to Angrod, " Can we take the time to find that cow? If it is hurt we may need to put it out of its misery. If not, we can take it with us. I don't want to leave it out here on its own."
He nodded and putting his hand down, grasped hers and pulled her back up behind him on the horse.
Settling against him and hugging his waist again, she looked down at the warriors, " Thank you, my friends, I appreciate your information and your skills that let you read the story of the attack."
At that Angrod spurred the horse forward and at a brisk trot to return to their group. Once there they shared the information on what had been found up ahead. After some discussion, the group dispersed to search the immediate area for the cow. A short time later two of the Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain group came out of the trees to the side slowly leading not one but two cows.
Amarie called to them. "How are they? Are they injured? Can they travel with us?"
One elf answered, "My Lady, they appear uninjured. It looks like their only problem is that they haven't been milked for a while. We can fully milk them which should ease their discomfort and it will take them a while to be back to normal, but in the long run they should be fine." He grinned, "I would guess these are the two that were giving them headaches. They must have escaped either before or during the attack. Other wise they would not have been left behind. They wouldn't have taken the time to search."
The group paused for only an hour to rest their horses and milk the cows. After making halters for the bovines they were tied them to the back of the wagons. The Imladris warriors continued to scout wide of the travellers looking for fresh yrch signs but found none. As a precaution they pressed well beyond the scene of the attack before finally making their camp that night. It had been a long and eventful day and most were tired. It was not long before they sought their bedrolls and sleep.
As she settled into her blankets Amarie looked up at the stars and said a short prayer that her people had made it safely to Imladris. She turned her head and watched as sentries moved out to take up their watches. They would be relieved in a few hours by the next group. Amarie felt her eyes grow heavy and finally she slept.
Imladris – Rivendell
Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain – House Of A Thousand Jewelled Threads
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