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Feb 03, 2023 8:30 AM
the children of hurin, but gayer
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Not at all.

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Good!

The rest of their journey, however, is... Not so good. It's long, for one, and the weather quickly turns against them, and Danallin has never walked this far in her life - her feet give out before her legs, numerous blisters arising and then popping and then turning into a trickle of blood that scabs and sticks relentlessly to her socks, even when she tries bandages... And her supplies run out even with Sador's extras, even with his food supplementing, and forage and hunting are both thin on the ground.

It's dangerous, too, dangerous and lonely - Sador makes her hide whenever he senses people, or take the long way around (which is very inconvenient with how often the roads encounter minor settlements). So far, they haven't gotten in a fight. He seems to think that's only because they're avoiding chances.

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This... kinda really really sucks, actually.

But she won't give up.

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She's also never been away from people this long, and Sador doesn't really lose his vigilance or determination even as a biting cold they're totally unequipped for settles in a few months into their journey, with a threat of heavy snow in the grey low-lying clouds and the moaning wind. 

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...Maybe they could stop for a while at a settlement? With people? And real houses?

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- It's not safe. 

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It's not really safe to stay outside in the elements and freeze either.

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He is so clearly torn about this (he's struggled more with the weather than she has).

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Maybe they should go ahead and do it, then. She still has her knife.

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...Perhaps a smaller settlement...

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Yessss warm fire time!

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The small settlement is effectively a single large homestead, a man and his wife and their extended family and a few miscellaneous unrelated people. The wife meets them at the door, and looks at them with unsure eyes in a gaunt face. "We have little food to spare," she warns them, "But a place by the fire we can provide, and a place to sleep out of the wind."

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"That'll be enough for us," Danallin says.

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"We have little to repay you," Sador says, "Though I am skilled with woodworking, and my companion is young and healthy." (Danallin does, in fact, still look significantly better fed than anyone here.)

The woman hesitates, then: "For some work, and for some trinkets we could sell at market - we could spare some food for that."

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Nod nod. That sounds like a fair deal.

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They're let inside, and given a place by the hearth, with introductions occurring as people trickle through the main hall. (Danallin has been advised to use a false name, and Sador helped her pick one out.) The matron of the house provides Sador with something to carve and instructions on what she wants, and quizzes Danallin on her skills - cooking, cleaning, spinning, weaving, yarn-work, planting, gathering, trapping, skinning, others...?

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Her hearthside skills are stronger than her outdoor skills. She can cook and spin and sew.

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She's given sewing to do while she warms up and while the light's still good, and spinning after the wan light outside fades.

They're allowed to stay at the homestead until the cold snap breaks, and as the chill fades from the world and the ancient grandmother judges that they'll have at least a few days of tolerable winter, the matron comes to Danallin and Sador and offers them a place on the homestead. "Your work is good," she says as explanation (she'd quickly started channeling Danallin towards embroidery, clearly with an eye to sell, and Danallin's overheard conversations about perhaps buying a better plow come spring, or a young dairy cow of good breeding, or a wealth of seeds). "And you're pleasant company besides."

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"You've been really generous, and we're thankful. But we have to move on."

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"I understand," she says. "May your road be safe."

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And then they're off again.

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Their journey is less kind, after that, though Sador relaxes on the avoiding people thing some - still, the winter continues with rolling cold snaps, and very few people offer to share food, though they can at least usually trade for a bed. In the barn, if nowhere else. And the few times they approach somewhere large enough to have even a small market, they can trade their crafts for food or supplies. Traveling near people worsens their chances of traveling near unpleasant people, too.

Danallin needs to use her knife before the winter snows melt. 

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She doesn't break down until after, at least.

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Sador is... Not very good at this emotional comfort thing. 

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Yeah.

She'll figure it out. No worries.

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