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Broken Horses

Chapter 2: Chapter 2

by raniel42

Chapter 2

Miri woke the next morning to a commotion in the main room of the cottage. Opening her door she peered out and then squealed with delight. She ran into the arms of one of her three cousins that must have shown up just that morning. All three of them being dark haired and grey eyed, like most of the rest of the Dunedain.

“Why are you here?” She asked Galbraith excitedly.

“We don’t want to spend any time with our favorite cousin during the Yule?” The tallest, Torchirion, asked. “We need a reason to visit you now?” Miri giggled as he kissed her cheek.

“We brought you a surprise.” Orthonn said.

“What?”

“Look outside.” Galbraith smiled. After being set down she ran to the window and pulled the heavy curtain aside. Large, white, fluffy flakes were falling. There was quite a bit on the ground already.

Miri whirled around at them wide-eyed. “You made it snow?”

“We are Dunedain.” Galbraith said. “We are almost as powerful as elves, princess.”

“We are?”

“Of course we are.” He grinned. “You are more powerful, for you are both.”

“How many times have we told you youngsters not to put such ideas in her head?” Steg sighed at the trio.

“Apologies, Steg.” Galbraith looked serious, but he winked at Miri.

“Nana may I go play in the snow?”

“You can after we get you dressed, your chores get done and you eat something.” her naneth answered.

“Yay!”

“Come with me, bug.” Hithel offered. “I’ll help you get ready.”

Miri eagerly followed her aunt. Once Miri was properly attired, her naneth made her eat something. Miri was very anxious to get outside. Her cousins helped her with her chores. They mucked out the stalls in the barn, while Miri made sure all the horses had food and water.

They helped her gather eggs from the chickens. They all laughed at Galbraith when Umaew chased him out of the coop with her wings flapping and her beak pecking at his heels.

Her cousins, uncle, ada and even her aunt came outside to play with her. They built snowmen. Made snow figures on the ground. Then her cousins started a snowball fight. Miri hid behind her uncle, because he was so large, as she threw her own snowballs. They laughed. Miri was enjoying herself tremendously until some new visitors arrived. For a moment Miri was happy to see Taenor, then another horse appeared behind him, Pendan. Miri wanted to cry. Pendan was horrible. He was mean to her and ruined everything all the time. She almost always got in trouble when he was around because he wasn't nice to her and she retaliated.

Her uncle stopped throwing snowballs and picked Miri up hoping to distract her from her nemesis. He was talking to her quietly. Asking her questions. Miri didn't take her eyes off of Pendan. Giving up, Steg decided to take Miri inside with him. The others went to Taenor and Pendan to greet them and make room in the barn for the new additions.

“Who's horse is this?” Pendan asked indicating an unfamiliar roan, spotted mare.

“It's Miri's,” Strider answered.

“She's only seven! How come she gets a horse?” Pendan demanded.

“Miri is getting too big to share our saddle with us any longer.” Strider answered.

Taenor began sternly. “When she travels it is often too far for a pony. It is the same reason you have a horse of your own.”

“But...”

“No 'buts' ion nin.” Taenor said. “You and I are not in charge of Miri's upbringing.”

Pendan sighed. “Yes ada.”

Steg was already back inside with Miri when the others entered. Miri was trying to help her aunt and nana with the cooking. They set her fairly mundane tasks, enough to keep her busy. The men sat and talked as the women put the finishing touches on supper. Galbraith helped Miri set the table for their meal. Steg had the fire burning in the hearth. Orthonn opened the wine Strider had brought and filled the glasses. Pendan and Miri had their wine watered down. Once everything was on the table they all sat for the meal. Miri sat between Strider and Galbraith, rather happily.

Strider stood gracefully and raised his glass in a toast. “To our friends near and far. To family. To the love that binds us together. May it not falter as the new year begins.” He raised his glass before taking a drink. The other followed suit as Strider sat. Food was being passed now and plates were being filled.

“So, why didn't Ivorwest join you for this trip, Taenor?” Torchirion asked.

“Several of the villagers are sick with a high fever.” Taenor replied. “Can't keep a healer from her work.”

“They are lucky to have her.” Torchirion said.

“We all are.” Strider agreed.

“Ion-nin, eat your food.” Taenor said quietly. “Hithel and Rossel worked very hard.”

“Yes, ada.” Pendan replied dejectedly. Pendan sighed and began eating.

“How long did it take for Erestor's hair to lose its stripe?” Orthonn asked.

Miri glanced sheepishly up at Strider before answering. “Only a few days. Haru was upset, but he said he wasn't mad at me just my uncles.”

“Haru?” Orthonn questioned. “Is that what you call Lord Elrond now, pigenur?”

“He-he told me to call him that.” Miri stammered.

“Really?” Orthonn smiled. “Showing some soft-heartedness in his old age?”

“You know him better than that, Orthonn.” Strider said.

“I do, but I just can't believe he allows Miri to call him grandfather.” He shrugging.

“Yet you show no surprise that the Gwenyn allow her to call them her uncles.” Galbraith smirked.

Orthonn chuckled. “Those two, I think I have reached the point they can no longer surprise me.”

Steg's deep laugh rumbled through the room. “I wouldn't offer them that challenge. If I were you.” The others rang with laughter at Steg's comment. Everyone except Pendan, who continued to glower at Miri.

Miri had finished what was on her plate. Her nana and Aunt Hithel were very good cooks. Now Miri had to wait until they could open presents. Uncle Steg told her just yesterday that Rangers had to be patient. She helped her cousins clear the table and start the dishes. Then she sat down next to Strider again. Miri sat very still and waited. And waited. And waited. The sun had set early given the time of year. Torchirion got up to stoke the fire until it blazed again. Miri began fidgeting. She couldn't help herself. It was hard to sit still forever.

“You're fidgeting, princess.” Strider said in a soft voice.

“I was trying not to.”

“We finished our meal quite some time ago.” He commented. Miri shrugged. Strider chuckled. “Princess your face is priceless. Are you thinking it's about time we opened some presents?”

“Yes please, ada.” She said in a rush. Smiling he got up and with Torchrion's help brought the entire pile back to the table. It was not a tremendously large pile, but everyone had at least one present. Miri had a couple more thanks to Lord Elrond, Elladan, and Elrohir.

Miri asked Strider to give Rossel a present first. “Give her that one, ada.” She pointed to a lump wrapped in brown cloth. Strider obeyed and handed Rossel the ill wrapped gift.

“It's from me, nana.”

“Did you wrap it yourself, sweets?”

“Aunt Hithel had to help me a little.” She admitted. Rossel untied the twine holding the fabric around the present. Rossel pulled out a scarf of dark green. It was quite misshapen. There were leaves, perhaps, embroidered in yellow thread at both ends.

“I made it myself.” Miri said. “Do you like it?”

Hithel winked at Rossel. “Oh sweets, it is lovely.” Rossel said. “I will wear it when I go outside in the cold.” Miri beamed.

“Here princess.” Strider said handing her a package. Miri took it eagerly. When she untied the gold ribbon from the dark red fabric there were several quills, bottles of ink and a stack of parchment. There was a note on top.

Iell-vuin,

Your ada tells me your lessons are coming along very well. I cannot help you study every day as I would like to. Instead you may write me letters to practice. You may write to your uncles as well. I'm sure they would be delighted if you did.

Your ada will bring your first letter with him. I will always write back to you, no matter how busy I am. Do not neglect your sword and bow lessons, but reading and writing are just as important for a Ranger. I hope you like your gifts. We all miss you very much. I think even Erestor misses you.

Gen Melon,
Haru

“Haru wants me to write letters to him?” She asked.

“He does.” Strider answered. “It would be very good practice for you.”

“Can I start now?” .

“Why don't you wait until morning.” Strider suggested ruffling her hair.

Others opened their gifts. Rossel opened two new dresses from Steg and Hithel. Strider, Taenor, Steg, Orthonn, Torchirion and Galbraith all received new packs and blankets. Pendan opened a new pack as well. It was his own, not his ada's hand-me-down.

Miri sat quietly until she opened her present from Elladan. A new, larger bow and a beautiful handmade quiver full of arrows. Miri gasped and then squealed with delight.

“I told them how fast you were growing.” Strider said smiling. “You could write your Uncle Elladan a thank you note with the parchment haru sent.”

“Oh I will!” Miri gushed. “I will!”

“Don't forget Elrohir's gift.” Galbraith smiled.

“This isn't from both of them?” Miri asked indicating the bow and quiver.

Grinning Galbraith set another present in front of Miri. She eagerly removed the cloth covering it. She gasped again. A new wooden practice sword and handmade scabbard with belt were inside.

Pendan looked as if had swallowed something terribly bitter. His face was pinched. He glared at the little girl across from him hard.

The gifts opened, more wine had been poured, and the adults began to talk and relax.

“Wait.” Miri said suddenly. “I still have to give you my present ada.” Miri jumped up and raced to her room.

Pendan had followed her. When Miri came back out Pendan snatched it from her.

“What is it?” He asked holding the gift so Miri could not reach it.

“Give it back!” Miri yelled. “It's not for you! It's for ada!”

“Pendan!” Taenor snapped.

“Fine.” Pendan said and tossed it over his shoulder.

Miri watched in horror as it headed for the ground. She tried to catch it, but missed. The blue cloth tied with a white ribbon hit the ground with a crack. Whatever was inside had broken. Miri stared open mouthed at it for several moments.

Then she launched herself at Pendan, punching and kicking him managing to knocking him over. “I HATE you!” She screamed. “I hate you more than anyone else! You ruin everything! I hope you die!”

Strider pulled Miri off of Pendan. Taenor hauled Pendan to his feet by his collar. Miri had tears streaming down her face. She was still shaking with anger.

“What is wrong with you?” Taenor demanded of Pendan.

“He’s mean!” Miri yelled. “He's the meanest person in the whole world!”

Miri wrenched herself from Strider's grasp and ran outside before anyone could stop her. She was crying. Both Torchirion and Galbraith went to follow her, but Strider stopped them. Steg had rescued the present from the floor. Strider opened the small bundle. It was a wood carving, very definitely broken. Although he wasn't entirely sure what it was supposed to be. An animal of some kind, perhaps a horse.

“It's your horse.” Steg offered. “She carved it herself, I helped her. It took her weeks. I think this was her third or fourth try.”

“Rossel, where is Miri?” Strider asked.

“Most likely in the barn with Nendal.”

“Nendal?” Taenor echoed.

“Her horse.”

Strider fixed a stern gaze on Pendan. “You will go to her.” Strider said firmly. “You will apologize and you will convince her to come back inside. You will not force her. Do you understand?”

“Why do I have to do it?” Pendan protested.

Strider replied in a low tone. “It is your fault she is out there. Are you arguing with your chieftain over an order?”

“No sir.” Pendan said meekly. The adults all watched as Pendan take his cloak and put it on as he went outside.

Translations:
Ada: papa/daddy
Nana: mama/mommy
Pigenur: little fire
Umaew: evil bird
Oltho vae: sweet dreams
Gen Melon: I love you
Tengwar: written form of Sindarin
Ion nin: my son
Haru: Quenya word for grandfather
Gwenyn: twins
Naneth: mother
Ion: son
Nendal: Waterfoot

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Chapter name
Chapter 2
Created
25 Nov 2013
Last Edited
25 Nov 2013
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312
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2139