tag: rowy, chris.
It was something they never really told you outright, those old veterans. That no matter how prepared you were for war, you were never truly prepared for war. You could move along and attempt to make ready, but in the end, it was only a series of buffers to cushion the blow of the reality that would come. If anything, anything at all, could soften that blow. But in the end, the truth was that every plan in the world, every contingency, every ordered rank and file…all of it turned to chaos the moment the battlefield was engaged. The chess board was laid to ruin, for sentient beings were a fickle, unpredictable mess of wills, and the best a General could hope for was to keep to it an organised chaos, and hope that all could maintain the ability to adapt and overcome change. That it would not become a raging, erratic flood…only a swollen river. That the metal would stay rippled and malleable, and not shatter under the hammer. One could have the largest army known to man…and still be laid to ruin if the hammer fell too hard upon the anvil in which the army was created upon.
When a King can return from a war with all of his people intact, then you can make me believe that it was a glorious endeavour.
Fior had said that, once. The gentle, quiet man forced more by virtue of men needed and his own unwilling talent with a pole axe, whom she’d scorned for his tender spirit and then loved irrevocably for it. He’d been one of the wisest she’d ever known, in the end. One of so few in the world who had ever truly given her something close to real peace, someone who had, in ways even her closest family couldn’t, let her accept without force that she did not always need to fight the world. Acceptance, instead of defiance. Assertiveness without aggression. Fire without the burn.
And it was this thought, these series of reflections, that made Dis smile soft and sad despite the melancholy that was the reality. Smile for the sake of Fior and the spirits lost that were so dear to her, and smile in comfort at the sounds of industry about her despite the despair that would come. Ringing hammers and scraping leather, the sound of axes rasped and ponies whinnying as they were led to and fro to respective sites in preparation. The sounds of battle impending and prepared for despite the harsh reality of the future, and all of it underscored by the simple, pungent scent of mortality – of Men’s sweat and Dwarven oaths, and all of it tied together through the link that was the cry of children darting to and fro and the calls of exasperated mothers. It was the sound of a chain, the chain that reminded in full what was being fought for, whether the fight proved in vain or no.
It was why, perhaps, that Erebor’s Queen had left the sanctity of the Lonely Mountain, abandoned the possibility of a guard, for this town that stood in its’ shadow, and had done so as far back as her long memory could remember, and then further back again into the memories of her ancestral fathers. Dale had been part of this land for as long as the royal line of Durin had existed, and the sounds of this place at work brought an odd, almost kind of peace to Dis’s troubled mind and wounded heart. It didn’t quite remove the heavy cloak which lay upon her shoulders and in her gaze – nothing ever would, really, but sometimes, just a little, she found herself a place where for a little while, she almost felt like the feisty, playful girl she’d once been. Liked to think even under the guise of inspecting the work that went on that when she took these sojourns that she would not be recognised as the Queen Under the Mountain…just Dis. Dis in plain riding clothes and a smith’s thick, warm boots, with the almost too long plait which hung over her shoulder rather than wrapped itself up regally around the crown of her head. Dis who would get marvellously, wonderfully dusty before the midday meal had been so much as called, and who could be ignored despite the infuriating inability to rid herself of the manner in which she walked, or the great grey eyes distinguishable to the royal line. Just…Dis. Dis who might return an occasional wave or a hidden smile, but mostly…just Dis.
Of course, even just Dis had a bad habit of drawing attention in some degree; it was going to happen eventually regardless of miens or presence or disguise in plain sight. So when the shaggy pony came cavorting down the main street of Dale, sending quite a few scurrying and just a couple of wares and goods flying with his dangling lead rope, Dis just about dragged her finger nails down her face in exasperation. Didn’t know who the creature belonged to, and it didn’t matter either really – when he came to pass her by, all splay-footed and strutting and cocky in the defiance that immediately identified a youth (no matter the species or race), the woman grabbed for the trailing lead rope, catching it in both of her callused hands.
The pony spooked in surprise at this sudden encumbrance upon his freedom, but it was clear to all but the most inexperienced that ultimately, there was more high spirits to him than genuine malice. Young and cocky and revelling in his energy, most likely bored wherever he had been when he’d broken free and eager for movement. I’m going on an adventure! Farewell! The world is mine as I please.
“Mischievous little sod,” Dis murmured wryly, blowing breath gently into the flared nostrils once she had a hold of his halter. He wasn’t truly out to cause trouble; the manner in which he’d suffered her ambush after his initial fright was proof of that. The scent shared simply served to calm him a great deal more, and though that large, dark eye reflecting her remained bright and mischievous still, the pony ceased even his prancing until it was little more than a pawing of a hoof on the ground. The stocky neck, well-defined even under a shedding winter coat, arched in shameless curiousity, the whiskers of an equine muzzle tickling the Queen’s chest before soft lips moved to rasp against the soft down of her chin. Mischievous prankster or not, whoever he belonged to had done impressively well in acquainting the pony to crowds and strangers. Dis was just a little impressed by that, even if—
“Who do you belong to, you cunning charlatan?” Her hand slipped under the thick forelock, rubbing at the warm, rabbit-softness of his poll. “Shall we go looking and risk wandering the day away, or will they do us both a favour and come yelling after you?”