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.
As much as I might have found Mushiebottom’s name hard to take seriously, and a reminder of Shadryn’s hurtful assessment of me, I would, in time, find myself quite grateful for its presence in our company.
One eye opened. It scanned the dark, snowy area before the other eye opened. With both eyes open, the shadowy figure picked itself off the ground, shook itself off and tested itself to make sure all of its joints were in place and functioning. When it was satisfied that everything seemed in place, it began to walk away. Then it suddenly stopped and cocked its head, as if it were trying to remember. It looked behind it, from where it had come, and saw a mound. The shadowy figure hissed in glee and skipped over to the mound. It poked at the mound briefly, but there was no movement. It watched the mound for a length of time, and saw the slow rise and fall of its slow breathing.
At last, I have come to Esteldin, the hidden gathering place for the rangers who have given so much hope and aid to the Free Peoples. Their ways are mysterious, as they must be, to keep themselves hidden from the forces of shadow, and they are not well understood by most folk. I certainly did not know what to make of them at first!