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Old 12-28-2009, 11:21 AM   #686
Groin Redbeard
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Facing the world's troubles with Christ's hope!
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Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Erbrand

Where the marsh ends, a stream in flood had rolled a scattering of stones and trees uprooted. Here, where the rough wintery cold water course had made Erbrand leave the path of sturdy earth and come onto lofty ground above the stream (whose cold waterway he wanted to avoid), he saw a herd of deer perceive his presence and give flight. In that crisis, he had but one recourse—to sting them with hasty shots. Two arrows he let fly in rapid succession, one hitting his mark but not sinking deep enough and the other falling short. Erbrand frowned and hissed with frustration. The snares had been empty and his only hope of finding fresh pelts for work was in the hunt. With eager steps, he strode swiftly along the trail of blood issuing from the strong animal’s chest. With any luck, he would find the poor beast exhausted after its energy giving terror had abated.

The herd had instinctively moved out of the marsh for Erbrand had traveled across the marsh to find quarry. As he reached the rising ground that led out of the marsh he looked back at the Great Hall of Scarburg. Smoke was rising from the chimney in billowing stacks, poor Frodides had several more mouths to feed than she was used to.

The trail was becoming clearer now as Erbrand continued to pursue. He sensed the kill. Quickly, with nimble fingers, he fastened another arrow to his string. The ground was uneven and filled with boulders and annoying rocks to trip over. There it was! His long sought after prize, the noble stag lay dead on the ground. Erbrand let out a great shout of triumph and slowed his pace, but all was not well. His shout startled two figures whose grayish black coats matched that of the rocky terrain. Erbrand halted, his heart skipping a beat with anticipation. Wolves! The cries of the wounded stag doubtlessly drew them near. Erbrand had forgotten the wintery months drew the wolf packs down from the mountains and into the plains, these two were looking for an early start.

The cunning creatures hunched their backs and paced with black noses nearly to the ground. Erbrand first thought turned towards safety, but there were no trees and the marsh was too far behind him. Frozen in fear his next instinct was to run, but experience contested that instinct immediately. With reason again taking hold, Erbrand grasped his bowstring and taking deadly aim drew the bow back full circle. His hands aligned, the left hand felt the point, the right hand holding the string touched his cheek. The arrow whistled to the closest wolf and plunged deep within its chest. The beast yelped and fell dead with the impact. Courage at once led Erbrand with grinning complexion to hasten the other’s death just as quickly. Bird’s eye shot.

Skinned on the spot Erbrand retrieved the two wolf pelts, but left the stag that had already been bitten by the wolves’ cruel fangs. The pelts were of little use to him, being too rich in warmth to be plucked of their fur for his use, so he decided to sell them to some of the guards heading back to Edoras. Furs were a good way to bring some extra money when his leather work was not selling. Already in his stay in Edoras he had not been sell any of his products with trade not yet established between any of the neighboring Halls. It would be a poor life in Scarburg if trade was not established soon, already he was being overworked as a supplier of food, as a workman for the hall, and for his own trade, which required no small amount of his time.

When he arrived back at camp everyone was up and about. Erbrand brought the wolf pelts to his shed for safekeeping. When he returned Kara had brought out what food the kitchen could spare for the folk gathered round. Garstan, Stigend, Crabannan, Harreld Leof, and he were all a part of this lifestyle. Some of them, such as him, would be better off in bigger settlements where their craft would sell, but all of them were satisfied with their temporary lot in life with the hope that all would be better tomorrow.

Erbrand dipped his bowl into the kettle, scolding his fingers in the hot broth and contented himself with at least having something hot to eat. The dog that the fat man fed amused him slightly. What an amazingly loyal creature with no thought other than to serve his master. All that it asks is to be fed and treated with love, sometimes not even getting that and still it serves. He fished around in his bowl, drew out a chunk of meat and held it out. The dog turned and snatched the treat up in an instant only to find his head within both this strange man’s hands and being rubbed vigorously. The dog took a liking to this treatment of being fed and rubbed at the same time and placed himself at Erbrand’s feet. A man, bubbling with energy, jumped over Erbrand’s seat and landed next to the dog.

“Keeping up your appetite, heh dog, but you mustn’t bother strangers. What’s that you say? Oh! he’s a friend then is he.”

"Erbrand." He said grimly. Although the dog was amusing, Erbrand found this man to behave like a fool.

"Erbrand, my name is Hamrod. You talked to my friend last night I believe, Girth."

"You came with him from Edoras?"

"Not that I have a choice," Hamrod said and sat down looking quite glum. "All my duty is to do what I am told. If lord Athanar would listen to me more we would not be in this miserable little hole that you call a home." Hamrod picked up a handful of mud and rubbed it in his palms.

"Aye, not that Athanar would be any the wiser to listen to you." Girth said with a mouthful of bread.

Erbrand soon found out that both men were extremely simple folk, far simpler than he had imagined Athanar's peasants to be. Both looked as if they could do some mischief if given the chance and cracking a good joke at someone's character was not below their status.

"We'll be off for now, friend." Girth asked Erbrand. "My herd has not the proper sty to wallow around in and I think that this kitchen is the proper place to build one."

"Uhh!" Erbrand exclaimed. "Don't you think that you better ask your lord before starting."

"Pigsty is always kept next to kitchen." Hamrod said.

"Besides, we don't bother lord with that stuff we go straight to Coenrad--he's the man to see. But the sty must be built and you can't do that with your mouth. Come Hamrod, come Dog."

With that the two men ambled off. Erbrand let out a long sigh. Getting along with these newcomers is going to be harder than anticipated if all of them are soldiers and dimwitted peasants. Drinking what was left of his broth, Erbrand made for his shed and started working on his leather. It was well into the morning and he would soon be called to work on the hall.

Last edited by Groin Redbeard; 12-31-2009 at 11:05 AM.
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