"Thenin, wake up. Thenin, your brother is dead", said Anakumo, as he
shook the unconscious Thenin. After a few moments, Thenin was roused.
"Thenin. The poison of the spider has killed your brother."
Thenin took a few moments to comprehend this. Presently he punched
Anakumo in the face and fell unconscious again. Anakumo hung Thenin
on his own horse and headed for the camp of the Black Eagles, which
was several days off.
Thenin was delirious with rage, grief, and pain during the journey
back. Anakumo didn't mind the lack of conversation; despite their
respect for each other, they had never gotten along.
The travel was eventless. It was much easier to avoid confrontation
in the disputed land without the entire group. After several days,
Anakumo came to the camp at nightfall. When they had noticed their
fallen leader, several of the men ran out and acted towards Anakumo
with overt suspicion.
"What the hell is this?", shouted the corporal as he approached.
"He is alive", said Anakumo. "The others are dead. Siladis by a
great wolverine and Irryli by a great magical spider. I saved your
leader and almost saved his brother."
Two of the men took Thenin from his horse and went into a tent.
Anakumo tried to follow, but they showed he was unwanted with
Outside, the corporal questioned him. Anakumo explained that the
attempt to gain the city was a disaster; they had killed the lord in
the heat of battle and the guards, unsurprisingly, did not turn
docile. After weeks of fleeing, imprisonment, near execution,
fleeing, and attacks by vicious beasts, only he and the barely-
conscious Thenin of the Black Eagles remained. Anakumo was allowed to
stay with the Eagles that night, until their leader was coherent
enough to verify his story.
In the morning, the man who Anakumo had initially encountered when he
met the Eagles, Feril, came to him. He was sent by the corporal.
"Anakumo, Thenin wants to see you. He doesn't seem angry, but he is
Anakumo stepped into the tent. Thenin was lying in his cot. "I'm
disbanding the Eagles. You can do what you want."
Anakumo said nothing. He nodded and parted the tent's flaps to leave,
but Thenin stopped him.
"As I said, I don't care what you do now. However, Feril has shown
interest in you."
Anakumo nodded and left. He immediately began packing what little he
had along with some food given to him by the Eagles. Feril eyed him; he
obviously wanted to say something. Anakumo ignored him and started
walking towards a low hill in the east. Apparently, Feril couldn't
hold back any longer, so he trotted up behind Anakumo.
"Where do you think you're going, on foot?"
"The next town is weeks away at your pace. And it's not even a town,
more like a few hovels."
"I can only hope that the people are gracious enough to offer bedding.
Besides, there is a bigger town beyond that."
"They would hope that they have it for themselves."
Anakumo shrugged, and continued walking.
Feril was getting frustrated. "You know, you pierced me with your
"And you haven't apologized, in these months."
Anakumo stopped. Anakumo turned to Feril. "Would you like an
Feril flustered. "I don't need one."
"Good", Anakumo said, and continued walking.
Feril grumbled something which sounded like it included the phrase
"foreign bastard", and continued walking after Anakumo.
After a few minutes, Anakumo said "And you, Eagle? Why do you walk to
the east with no horse?"
Feril scowled and said "I have family in that town."
"It seems we are at an impasse, then", said Anakumo, and said no more
for a long time.