Darkness was coming down quickly. The walls of Bree had come into view as we’d crested a hill a few hours earlier, and I expected us to arrive just before nightfall, but there was an odd chill in the air, and the sky turned purple earlier than I expected, as if autumn had advanced more here than in other places.
I set off on Dagoras’ tasks the next morning. Thankfully, the rain from the day before continued to fall, and it would help mask the sound of my tramping through underbrush and throw predators off my scent. The wisdom of nature abounds, and I believe it aids those who serve it and others with noble purpose.
Deathwulf watched the shadowy figure as it made its way through the trees, heading towards the Great River, also called the Anduin. All during the long walk, the shadowy figure would stop and check on its injured wing, all the while muttering to itself. And all along the way, the warg watched and waited patiently, knowing his time would come as well. When it did, Deathwulf knew he could easily kill the shadowy figure, but he also knew that one small step of over-confidence could be his downfall, as well. Along the trek, he randomly checked to see if there was anything tracking him, but it always turned up empty. He didn’t know if the shadowy figure knew that Deathwulf was tracking it, but it didn’t seem to care. It continued in its general direction and occasionally checked its wing.
The South Downs gave way to the hills of Bree-land, and for the first time since we left Rohan, as we rode through the day, we saw homes and farms, all the signs of cheerful domesticity. Mindful of the possibility that others might have been told of a reward, we kept to ourselves as best we could, but time and again some farmer would call out a merry greeting as we rode past. The Greenway here was traveled occasionally and we stepped aside for a waggon twice during the day, one heading north to Bree laden with an early harvest to be sold, and another returning nearly empty.
Though we had found dry land, it was some days before we found the first of the flagstones that marked the Greenway. Without the sight of those stones, we had simply pressed on in a northerly direction, trusting that the narrowing of the hills would guide us, as wine through a funnel, closer to the old road. Soon the land rose before us, the rolling hills of the South Downs, and we veered to the left, eventually finding a paving stone sitting in the low grass. In our meanderings crossing the fens of the Gwathló near Tharbad, we had drifted a fair distance east, it seemed, and thus missed our chance to use the ruins of the bridges that still forded the river at the old city; but now, we’d made our way back to the path.