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.
The shadowy figure saw something fall out of the corner of its eye. It hovered above the cave floor momentarily and looked at the warg… the warg was still passed out. After a moment’s indecision, it landed, setting the warg off to the side. It went to the object on the ground and picked it up. A chicken bone? It gave itself a once-over to ensure nothing was sticking to it. It paused in its looking and sniffed the air.. it sniffed again and then sniffed the bone. Warg scent! It eyed the warg slyly. So… pretending to be sleeping… can fix that! It let out a low cackle as it went swiftly towards the cave entrance.
It seemed that, in realizing we needed to be warned off this dangerous ground, Mushiebottom had come to understand our limitations in traveling through the mire. Once we were prepared and on our way again, the bog-lurker kept darting ahead, and when we thought to follow, even when the land seemed yielding or uneven of footing, it proved true. Within but a few days, the looming ruins were now behind us more often than not, and a few days after that, the ground started to become firm. At last, we were reaching the far side of these plains of bog and mire. Even as we crossed from mud to grass and bushes and even trees, Mushiebottom showed no signs of any intent to return to the fens, instead staying near to Shadryn like a faithful hound.
Deathwulf was flown through the air in a rush. Granted, the shadowy figure made an effort to make sure nothing hit the warg while in the air, but the way Deathwulf was tied up was anything but comfortable. It would take a while to stand, as the blood had left his paws a long time ago and the circulation wasn’t there. Deathwulf was determined, however, to find out where or who he was being taken to… whatever it took. While he hoped everyone else was spared during the battle on the pass, he didn’t have the luxury of worrying about them. He kept his eyes closed knowing that the shadowy figure knew where he was going, or that he was eventually going to die… that was a risk with any mission, and didn’t fear him in the least. He felt a pang of guilt for those he would leave behind, but that was quickly banished from his mind with the task at hand.