Deep in the Falwoods… The company of soldiers trudged along the worn trails between the oaks and pines with forlorn weariness, their chests heaving slow, steady breaths. Those on foot were particularly worn, as one could tell by their slouching appearances and low cast gazes. Their chain mail armor bore heavy burdens on their bodies which only furthered the weakness felt in their calves. One such body, a banner bearer who was leaning on the flag pole like a walking stick, slowly tottered towards the front of the ranks as the group stopped and awaited orders from the head, coming forward to try and listen in on that which was going on between the family. “Dorinthellar, honestly, to be mucking about chasing wisp’o’willows! What’d your father say were he here now?!” “Saavallah, he isn’t here now, and the very reason he isn’t here now is the reason why we’re out here in the first place, or did you forget?” he said sternly. The flag bearer watched as the two at the head of the battalion bickered between each other before a brother in arms clasped him on the shoulder. “Best not pry on the affairs of your betters, young one. Stick to your post… We’ll be moving shortly,” said an obviously older elf, the flag bearer nodding and trudging back to his position. The group of three hundred or so stood amidst the forest, regrouping after fanning out shoulder to shoulder to search for signs of what they were looking for, without any luck. Dorinthellar, his proud gaze fanning the view between the towering trees, frowned as no word of any signs were passed. Fruitless, again. It was the third week they’ve been out here. Saavallah, the woman perched atop the white steed next to his own, shook her head as her jet black hair curtained her face a moment, to hide her annoyance. ‘It is not my place,’ she thought to herself, yet she wanted to scream at her Elder for the waste of resources. Dorinthellar did not fancy foolishness, yet here they were, searching for tendrils of smoke beneath the clouds. Dorinthellar could feel her thoughts pulsating through the strands, and gave her a soft smile. “My Saavallah, I shouldn’t have brought this upon the rest of the family… I sometimes forget about how I bare the chains of the past in fervent passion…” He looked about the company to see the fruitlessness blossoming in their minds, many a elf stricken with exhaustion. Saavallah raised her head, her chiseled features following her leader’s, before the man drove his horse towards those at the front of the procession. “Listen here, all of you!” He bellowed to the soldiers, heads perking up with interest. “I am forever thankful of the help you’ve given me in such a task as this… I know it seems folly, and few truly understand why I search for a hermit’s hut! I have asked all of you to help in this search for I felt too daunted to go of it alone, but now I see whether alone or with a thousand brave souls my outcome will be the same! I call off this search, for the lot of you, and bid you farewell in departure of Fal’Addas! Your deeds will not be forgotten, brethren, May the Sun Shine Through the Trees and Light Your Path!” “And of you, good sir, what will the tale be of you, when we return without our Lord?” piped up an older elf, near the front of the procession. Dorinthellar waved a hand as if batting away a fly. “The Council understands my predicament better than the common folk would like to, believe me! They will know it is of no ill will of which I do not return. I will follow your trail through the wild after I find my elusive prey, rest assured. You all have done more than enough, and I only wish that the branch of our journey bore fruit so we may all share in the feelings of a job well done! Alas, tis not the case, however to know my spirit is regarded enough for those of you to continue on for me without complaint,” Dorinthellar curtsied from atop his horse, “I am most thankful. Saavallah, lead our people home,” said Dorinthellar, before turning away. The black haired elf tried to grip onto her Elder’s shoulder, yet not well enough as he spurred his horse into gallop, disappearing from view… … Dorinthellar rode for two days, his mind haunted by visions of the past as he contemplated from atop the horse’s back. When he stopped for the night he lit no fire, and did not sleep, his mind bent on the images which floated through memory. His long blond hair, tied in a knot at the top when in company of nobility, flowed freely as he wandered through the deep wilds of his ancestral home. Wrinkles were wrought where thought had subdued them into his skin’s memory, Head of the House Anda’Fallar being a harrowing task not for the feint of heart. At least, not for those who couldn’t stomach the processions of elven court. The middle-aged elf rode for another day until, by chance, he happened upon a lone building of kinder structure, an inn built in the side of a rolling hill which boasted its presence by the large red circular door which screamed of its existence, as well as a few porthole windows here and there. Dorinthellar knew well of the kinder kind, those little halflings trading often with his people, a light-hearted, kind bunch whose presence the Lord thoroughly enjoyed. Therefore, he decided to stop here, and rest for a bit. He unpacked the saddlebags from his steed and set them at the doorway as the handle was turned, and the cheeky face of a plump little woman popped into view. “G’day m’lord! Fancy seein’ an elf here! Not that many don’t find our doorstep, mind you, just been fewer as of late, to which I’d no idea why! Always love the company of elves I do, less stinky than the humans and orcs who stomp about, I think!” the blushing face said in a high pitched tone. “Well I am an elf, yes, but you may find I might do a bit of stomping myself, little master!” he responded lightheartedly, to which she laughed. “Aye, at least your humor’s good! Are you lookin’ for a room tonight, perchance?” she asked. “Yes, little master, that would be most hospitable of you,” said Dorinthellar, already warming to her cheery nature. His green eyes smiled with his lips, and she returned the gesture with her own. “We’ve got just the room ready and waiting, I’ll have my boys move your bags for you sirs, no trouble at all!” she snapped her fingers and two smaller (if that were possible) hobbits of less than a foot and a half tall began to drag the saddle bags up the steps, in obvious struggle. Dorinthellar couldn’t help but laugh at the sight, mirth flowing from his lips which warmed the innkeeper like the hearth of her fire. “I must apologize for the lack of troughs and rest area for your horse, m’lord, most adventurers tend to travel on foot and my husband and I’ve no love for not resting our feet on the earth, so we never got around to building one up, to be honest with ya,” she said, her voice trailing off as if it were of grave mistake, yet Dorinthellar just waved the notion away. “No no, little master, my horse knows its way to me, as its necessary. I normally let her roam free if I’m not in present need of her assistance.” As he said this, unstrapping the saddle, the beast cantered off into the distance, at which the innkeeper asked, “And you’re not afraid she’d be eaten, m’lord?” Dorinthellar shrugged his shoulders. “Such is the way of life, if it were to happen then it would have been for the ways of the world. As of yet, she has not, and I will boast she is faster than most beasts who walk the earth.” The innkeeper nodded as if she believed him, even though she’d thought otherwise. Elves tended to boast, she thought, yet this one kept it simple, at least. She beckoned for him to follow her inside just as the last of the saddlebags disappeared from the doorstep, Dorinthellar having to stoop to follow her through. Once inside, shutting the door behind him, he found that he could stand normally once in the halls of the inn, his head just inches from the ceiling, however. He wouldn’t be jumping, so this didn’t seem a concern. “Please, please, sit and relax, make yourself comfortable! We have many a beverages to choose from behind the bar, and dinner’s to be served in an hour and half past, you eat meat, yes m’lord? I’ve found some elves tend not to,” said the kinder woman as he looked upon a bar area, the average looks of a tavern. Tables and chairs littered about the room in front of him, a bar with many assortments of taps and glass bottles of vintage wines behind it to the left, at the end of the hall behind all the chairs a hearth with a cackling fire, hanging above a large cauldron, bubbling stew boiling in its chamber. “Yes little master, I eat meat, and I can smell the delectable aroma from here. You’re quite the cook, I am looking forward to our meal,” Dorinthellar said as he peered about for the doorway to the rooms. One was next to the bar, yet he assumed that to be the kitchen. “Where is that I may rest my head this evening?” he asked inquisitively, the little innkeeper moving towards the fire and knocking on a door next to it. “Down the stairs, m’lord! I know some elves don’t like to be underground, but we make do with what we got around here, and the earth’s a plenty! There's a small attic room but it's not as spacious as the ones below, I think you'd find those underneath more to your liking,” she said, as if it were not to his taking, however Dorinthellar merely gave her an eyebrow waggle. “I am a guest in your home, little master, and I thank you for your generousness. Whatever you may spare is enough for me,” he said to her, before the two little hobbits came out the door and squeaked, “Bags are in the room mum! Now can we go out and play before it gets dark?” The woman nodded towards them and they squealed, running back outside, yelling and frolicking. Dorinthellar asked the woman for some of the wine they held and sat down in one of the old, oaken chairs, kicking his dusty boots off and resting his feet in another chair next to him. She came back and set a rather shiny goblet in front of him filled almost to the brim, which he sipped on slowly, before thanking her once more. Dorinthellar leaned back on the two hind legs of the chair and crossed his hands behind his head, elbows poking out, waiting for dinner to be served. He closed his eyes, content and relaxed.