Things seldom turn out the way you expect them too.

It was dark as I knocked on the the massive gate door in Bree, rain dropping around me in buckets. The guard opened the viewscreen to check who I was, grumbled about the time and opened the door quickly. I gratefully plodded inside, wrapping my cloak around me. I had just barely managed to escape a well organized attack by brigands on the road. I was dirty and tired. One of the brigands had managed to wound me with a dagger, it was still bleeding slightly. It was all I could do to drag myself to The Prancing Pony. Mr. Butterbur quickly helped me to a room, where I promptly took a warm bath. After dressing in some more causal, comfortable clothes; I made my way down to the common room. I took a seat by the fire and ordered some food.

While I was eating I noticed a man sitting in the corner, watching everyone. I didn't find that too uncommon. However, I focused attention on the sword that was leaning against the wall next to him. I recognized it immediately. Setting my plate down, I walked over as calmly as I could, pulled a chair up, and sat down directly across from him. He stared at me quizzically. I spoke two words:

"Hello Ingdur."

The man had grabbed his sword and unsheathed it faster than I had ever seen anyone do so. Ingdur held it up to my neck, glaring at me. "How do you know my name?" I realized that with long hair I must look different to him. Frantically, I held up my right hand, showing him the ring he had given me as a gift on the day I was promoted in the army. His sword fell with a clatter. "Arabell?" he echoed. I nodded, and he swept me up in the biggest hug I'd ever gotten. Tears of joy were in both our eyes. "I thought you were dead." I said, and he just chuckled. "You can't get rid of me that easily."

We had a fair time of swapping stories of what had transpired since we got separated. Eventually, I was too tired and retired for the evening. When I awoke and went back into the common room, Ingdur was gone. Mr. Butterbur said that he left last night, soon after I went to bed.  Then he handed me a note, written in hasty scrawls.

I've found him Arabell. He's not going to get away this time.

It was certainly Ingdur's handwriting, I could barely read it. He'd never been one for studies. Mr. Butterbur also handed me several silver pieces, saying that Ingdur had left those for me as well. I took them and the note and walked over to the window. It was still raining, turning the ground to mud.

I know he's into something big. Perhaps too big for him to handle by himself. But I know he's alive, and that very thought gives my heart hope.

It is odd how you start doing one thing and something else just happens instead.

It was early morning in Esteldin when I rode up to the new craft hall and tied Belle to the post out front.  A slight chill was in the air from the storm the night before and the wind whipped around my neck and down my back.  I pulled my cloak tighter around me and walked into the Hall.  The place was filled with smoke and noise as folks from all over were busy working their crafts.  The din nearly stopped me; there was so much chatter and pounding and clanging.  But I made my way to the workbench and setup my tailoring table for work.  I had worn my work clothes so that I could be comfortable while I settled in for a long day of sewing and tanning.  I had a lot of orders to fill for my kinfolk, especially the whole new outfit for our burglar Master Garridoc.  With my apron tied about me snugly and my sleeves rolled up, I let the noise drift into the background and began to work.

Not long after I had finished tanning some hides, I saw one of the Rangers come in through the main door and settle over in one of the corners by the foundry.  Since I needed a break, I put my things aside and walked over to see how the day looked for my good friends here in the north.  I tossed a bag of pipeweed in the air and greeted Erenor with a nod and smile.  We both filled our pipes and settled in for some catching up and sharing of news.  It wasn't long before a couple of strangers joined us, and a real lively conversation filled our corner as views were exchanged and stories told.

One of the strangers had recently been over around Fornost, and his clothes were worn and needing repair.  While he told his stories of how the battles were going on those Fields, I offered to mend his cloak and shirt for him.  So he settled down and got comfortable while I sewed and he talked and Erenor listened.  He told a tale of a new fellow, strong and handsome, who was clearly of Gondoran stock.  Apparently, this stranger was quite the hearty warrior, sometimes reckless but quick and strong.  I wasn't paying a lot of attention and my mind was wandering back to Master Garridoc's new outfit still unmade.  Then he said a very interesting thing.

The fellow told how this stranger from Gondor was hunting someone and not for any good, it seemed.  He asked everywhere about this person he was tracking, gathering clues and bits of information as he could.  Seems he had tracked this person clear across Bree and into the North Downs to the Fields of Fornost.  My new friend said he thought there was a grudge of some kind between the stranger and this person, but he didn't pry or get too nosey.  All in all, my new friend said the stranger was very passionate about finding this fellow and setting something to rights again whatever that was about.  I asked a few more questions about this Gondoran stranger and only found out that he was headed now to Evendim where he thought his quarry had gone. 

My new friend said everyone thought the Gondoran stranger was a good fellow well met and a boon companion in any battle.  But the general thought was that he was a rover and would not stay for long with any group.  After that Erenor gave me some more hides that he had, and I gave him a new sash for his troubles.  The conversation drifted and the pipes were knocked out.  We all broke up and went back to our benches to the work at hand.  Erenor told me that he would ask after the Gondoran stranger since I seemed interested, and he would get back to me next time I was through Esteldin if there was any news.

I went back to work and got absorbed in Master Garridoc's new garments.  These were fine clothes and needed extra care since they were for a burglar and must be loose and silent.  I finished making his order, smelted some ore for the warehouse, and completed my list of various cloaks and gloves that folks wanted before heading back south to Bree.  As I rode along the Greenway, my thoughts returned about this Gondoran stranger and what strange mission he was engaged in, chasing another fellow clear across the lands like that.  I wondered if this might have anything to do with Arabell's brother but thought not and put it out of my mind.

This morning at breakfast in the Shire while Tarlwyn was out gardening, I read through the kinship news and saw Arabell's notes.  That's when I thought that I should tell her about this strange conversation I had in Esteldin the other day.  It just might be something to do with her brother.  Better to tell and be wrong that miss a chance for news.  I promised to write up a note for the kinship just in case this might help her.  Jeorl came back through the door with a loud song and some fresh meat he had found nearby.  So the day begins, and I must turn now to our homely chores.  I do hope this is useful but maybe not.



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