Portfolio Piece: A New Lead

There was a moment of silence in the Gathering Hall of the Unfinished Tales. Althred and Releanna stood together, in love as always. Natulcien stood in front of the Breakfast table; Nan had just finished his tour around the Halls. Ciawyn only just entered, and was still recovering from her journey. She started to make small-talk with the others.

It had been a slow gathering. Thorstyn’s thoughts appeared to be elsewhere. He found himself staring at the pillars and had almost forgotten about the other people in the room. He started to fiddle with the tip of his beard, but stopped as soon as he noticed he was doing that. He looked around the Hall quickly, then made a decision. He sat down on the floor. He would tell them.

“I… uhm…”, he started. “I… may know where she is.”

The silence was almost tangible. Releanna was the first to speak: “What, Thor? How? Where?”

“I… uhm… encountered a Dwarf in Khazâd-D…” – he remembered he was not among Dwarves – “Moria. He told me he believes he may have seen a Dwarf fitting the correct description in… in…”, he cleared his throat,”Gondamon!”His kinsmen listened quietly.
“That’s right! While I was away in Moria, helping my people reclaim it, she was HERE all this time!”

Nan sat on the floor near the Accountant’s Corner, intrigued by the Dwarf’s tale, but not knowing exactly what it was about. He decided to have the others do the talking.

After a while, it was Althred who responded first:
“Then we shall go look for her! Have you been there yet? We should ask the Dwarves and Elves in Gondamon if they have seen your wife.” Releanna had alreay begun packing and gathering rations for the journey.

“No!” Thorstyn spoke, and he slowly placed his fist on the wooden boards of the floor. “Do you think I haven’t been there already? They know nothing! None of them recalls seeing someone that looked like my description. And besides, the Dwarf in Moria told me he saw her many moons ago. She could be everywhere by now.”

Releanna tried again: “We could go and search for tracks… Perhaps uncover in which direction she went?”Thorstyn waved with his hand. “I appreciate your compassion, but I took Felothad there already. He scouted the area, but came up with nothing. No trail, no track.”

Natulcien simply stood there. Thorstyn couldn’t guess if she was overwhelmed with the news, or simply didn’t listen. Ciawyn looked from one to another. Thorstyn thought she wanted to say something, but apparently something stopped her from doing so. Thorstyn didn’t mind. He wondered if he should have just kept silent about the whole matter.

Althred wasn’t about to let go of it though. “Then we shall search again! I don’t care if Felothad searched the area or not. I mean not to disrespect my fellow Hunter, but nothing can pass through an area and not leave some kind of trace. Two Hunters are better than one. And she might feel hesitant to show herself to an Elf. There has to be a track of some sorts. Afterall, Dwarves aren’t known to be the lightest of foot.”

Thorstyn started to get a bit frustrated, despite his efforts to prevent that. He knew his friends cared for him and would not just stand by idly, but he did not feel like going through these emotions all again. He had already gotten his hopes up… with no results.
“I don’t care if you bring a whole army of Hunters.” He did not shout the words. He spoke in a calm manner. “If a Dwarven wife wishes to go unseen, she will do so. And after all the unrest in Thorin’s Halls and all of the Blue Mountains, I doubt she would reveal herself to anyone right now. News of the Dourhand uprising has travelled far amongst my people, and even now there are still brigades of outlaws and bandits roaming the mountains and hills, sowing fear and reaping destruction. She would trust neither Dwarf or Elf, even though the Longbeards have had a good standing with the Elves ever since the Lonely Mountain was reclaimed.”

Thorstyn took a deep breath. His words were calm, but inside he trembled. He needed to calm himself down.

“If a wife of Dwarves wishes to go about unseen, she will not be noticed. And as I told you, any trail she would have left would be many moons old. I doubt even your tracking skills could find a trail after rain, snow, and other footprints have run over it.”

Althred seemed a bit bothered by that final remark. Releanna had walked up to Thorstyn and handed him a cup of Spring-blossom Ale. “There you go, Master Thorstyn. Have a drink.”

Thorstyn smiled gratefully as he accepted the cup. “Thank you, Lady Releanna.”
He closed his eyes as he took a sip and felt the warmth of the alcohol spread through his stunted body. He opened his eyes and looked straight into those of Althred.
“And even if we do find a trail. I’m not even sure if it is indeed my wife whom that Dwarf saw. But somehow… My heart believes it to be her.” Thorstyn blinked a few times.
“Or at least my heart wants to believe it.”

After a few heartbeats of silence and sighs, Thorstyn stood up again. He rubbed his eyes, and finally spoke in a clear voice: “My apologies. I did not mean to cast such a shadow over this evening. Let us focus on each others company again, and not the absence of others. Raise your cup, and drink to merry friends and merry times!”Nan rose and reached into his pockets. “I have here pipe-weed for those who have the desire to smoke. These weeds have been around ever since the Second Age and are quite rare! I thought this was a nice opportunity to share them with friends.”

And so the evening continued. Thorstyn tried not to think of it anymore and felt glad he got it off his chest. Still, he was afraid he had planted a seed in the hearts and minds of his kinsmen. Most of them were quicker to act than a Dwarf, and he may have set things in motion. Things beyond his knowledge or imagination…

This text is a write-up of an in-game roleplaying session amongst friends. The write-up provides additional information and ambience than the in-game event. The combination of in and out-game storytelling was used often to spawn roleplaying events that were still accessible enough for other who were not present at the initial session.

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