As the old soldier and his faithful horse Redemption left the great hall pondering the strangeness he just witnessed and feeling more troubled by the information Tathar had just shared with him of some shadow/demon that claimed the body of the poor young boy, he knew this night would be a long one. He knew no trouble would come to him this night as we wandered the town—for the main part of this people he deemed unworthy (as combatants) to even bring down a few simple “thieves.” Had they been thieves? Grynost could not seem to shake the unsettling feeling that he may have been mistaken, in starting that altercation. What if these “thieves” were running away from horror and fear? Grynost learned long ago as a Gondorian soldier to remove such questions from his soul. With his chosen, yet personal compulsory profession such thoughts would eliminate his abilities and cloud his judgment. “But, I love the combat, I love the blood” a voice within him said. “No, No I have a duty and my search for redemption (not the horse) is yet at end.”
Grin journeyed through the town—he wanted to find a quiet place and some fresh water. He walked past the closed homes and markets, occasionally seeing locals stumbling home after their own night of festivities. A few gave him sideway glances and frowns, but quickly returned to their business once Grin’s eyes caught theirs. “If only they saw what was underneath this helmet, never again would they glance at me that way.” Heading to the downstream area of the town and seeing the southern, very poorly constructed wall and its deterioration, Grin noticed a beautiful pond that must have been the major source of this village. Grynost and Redemption journeyed to the southern part of the pond nearest the outer wall as far away from any human structure as possible, so to have some peace and isolation. Isolation is what Grin disliked most in his life, but so much of his life it had been forced on him that that was the only sort of comfort he could claim.
As he and Redemption settled next to the pond and had a fire he unsaddled his loyal friend and began to brush off the recent journey. Grin was always weary of taking off his armor due to the consistent danger he found himsel in as part of the Gondorian Cavalry. But, combat and danger were always the least of his worries; it was being seen by another that he feared most. If they were to see him for what he truly is, a scared unholy looking individual that had seen a life of pain and ridicule… As Grin considered washing himself off he ultimately decided it best to leave his armor intact and helmet on and try to rest before his day ahead, meeting this awkward looking priest that had preformed something Grin could not explain in his own limited words.
Grin and Redemption lay under the starlit sky awaiting the dawn. As Redemption drifted asleep Grin could not help let his mind move from place to place in his memories. From his young days in Fornost moving through the alleyways searching for his next meal. To the days of his training from a Gondorian Sergeant who took it upon himself to mercilessly beat into Grynost combat from horseback and a soldier’s discipline. Then thedays he claims as his glory. Riding along side his Gondorian brethren seeking for the remnants of the Witch-King’s followers and others who decided to break the laws of the King. Grin did not always agree with the way his fellow cavalrymen treated the local people of the region; taking food, horses, supplies, shelter wherever they deemed fit and then to not even compensate these people for their losses. Few times Grin would leave what coin he had for some sense of relief. In the end he knew they had a bigger mission than some farmer or blacksmith, because these cavalrymen were the ones keeping these people safe. At least this is what Grin continuously convinced himself to believe to feel at ease.
The sadness sunk in when the memory of the day of his expulsion from is unit came to mind. The faces of his fellow soldiers when they saw Grin for what was really, under this sad and beaten helmet. The desire to scream out to them all the times he had saved many of them in their time together. He saved Lertrod from the raging stream as he was drowning from the weight of his armor; Treabor who would have taken an arrow right in the back from a wildling had Grin not stuck his right arm out to take the blow; and his beloved Captain Jorquin who had to be carried a night and a day and a night to the nearest town to see a healer after he had been stricken with a blade of an Orc party. All these deeds and action seemed to amount to nothing when they all saw Grin for the first true time. He had hoped that this would not sway their feelings and loyalty to him, but the fears and insecurities of Men failed him this day. They removed him from their presence stating clearly if they were to run into him again he would be the one hunted—the momentary opportunity to leave in peace was but a gift for his service spent in the Gongorian Cavalry.
Luckily Grin has not yet met any of his previous companions, as he knows in his heart his goal of redemption is all that matters and these men will not stop him from reaching it. If needs be Grynost will move to extreme measures for preservation.
With such sadness, frustration, and hope the dawn light peaks through the clouds of the East and he thanks the gods (though he knows not which gods they are) for another day of breath and another opportunity to seek what he wants above all else … Acceptance by others.