Of late, I have been thinking of taking up the habit of keeping a journal, and I suppose now is as good a time as any to start.
Today, I awoke well before dawn, though that is not so rare. The dreams--nightmares--still plague my mind. Once more, it was as if I relived that night near Bree. I could all but feel it, the shadows coiling around me, the tree against my back, her invading my mind, seeking I know not what... And once more, I was frozen, unable even to reach my sword's hilt or cry for the aid of Elbereth Gilthoniel. Then that scene melted away, and I found myself within Mirkwood with my dear Merilwen once more. She took my hand in hers as we made our way through the wood, and her green eyes shone... Then I saw it all happen again before my very eyes, as I have so many times before. The Orcs appeared as if from nowhere. And though some part of me knew that it was merely a dream, I dreaded what I knew would happen. I awoke with a jolt--much relieved to find myself within my home once more--and could not return to sleep after such dreams. These fell dreams are surely the work of the scar upon my mind, taunting me with my fears and weaknesses... And yet, now more than ever, I must not lose hope. I must not--cannot--give in to fear or to despair. This foe must be faced, and I do not intend to let it best me.
Thankfully, I do not face this trial alone. Speaking of such matters may not be easy, to say the least, but I am glad beyond words to have such kinsmen and friends supporting me in this time of need. Truly, I am blessed to know them, and I trust them with my life. Already, I have been given wise counsel and words of encouragement... Skalithor, Tarvhos, and Hawkinz especially have offered support and wise words (though I must not forget the words of Assyle or Wavern). I have found myself thinking upon their words of late... Poor Hawkinz seemed to blame himself for what has befallen me when last we spoke, for meeting him that day in Duillond led to becoming a kinsman, and much has happened since I joined the kinship. Unfortunately, not all of it has been pleasant... But as I said to him, I do not blame him for what has happened--it was not his doing, and I daresay he could not have foreseen what would happen. And Skalithor has given me wise advice, indeed--he told me that I must cherish the good memories of that short time spent with my darling, which I intend to do. And he reminded me that our parting will not last forever. Someday, I will sail into the West, and I pray that she is there to greet me upon the white sands of the Undying Lands. But not yet, for there is still much to be done. I am a Guardian, and I know my duty well. Until that day, my shield and sword will be at the ready to serve my kinship and the Free Peoples.
Of late, my mind has also turned to something Tarvhos said during one of our most recent conversations. I cannot remember his exact words, but he questioned why I had not often spoken of personal matters. I trust my kinsmen with my life, in all truth. But it is...difficult to speak of such things. I have always been a quiet person, giving more to listening and learning, and often I have been reluctant to share my burdens with others for fear of causing them grief or worry. I know such a thing is foolish... And Merilwen told me that there is nothing wrong with unburdening your heart to others. But I have been carrying much within me for some time, and at the start, I was not certain how to go about unloading it. And yet, I have been getting better of late, I feel. Even if certain things are painful to speak of, it is also a relief, as though there have been heavy loads lifted from my shoulders.
Today has been a quiet day, and has given me much time to think of such things... A good part of the morning was spent in Michel Delving at the forge--Huck needed new horseshoes, and I crafted nails and the like. It did my heart good to do so, I think. I do not mind crafting tools of war when the need arises--I must admit, there is a sense of pride in forging a shield or a piece of armor or what have you--but I would forge more simple things if I had the choice. It is calming, in a way. The sound of the hammer striking blends with the beating of my own heart, and I am focused upon the work before me. Such work brought back memories of time in the forge with Father--for after I had grown enough to swing the heavy hammer, he first taught me how to forge by crafting simple things such as nails, and that manner of work was what he first allowed me to do when I grew enough in skill to wield the smith's hammer by myself. I could ask for no better teacher--he would explain all that he did and why, and oftentimes he would let me assist in the forging itself so I might learn by doing. And even when I made mistakes (for while my folk may be graceful, we too can make foolish errors) he was patient with me. Aye, there were more times than I care to recall where I burned myself or hammered my own hand by accident, I must admit, and there were certainly trips to Merilwen and her teacher so that they might apply soothing ointments or bandages. Though I daresay a smile from her was enough to ease any pain (or wounded pride)...
After I returned from Michel Delving in the afternoon, I tended to Huck and took a short ride around the neighborhood--partly to give him some exercise and partly to see if all was well. Thankfully, I have seen or heard nothing amiss lately. Well, besides that Hobbit fellow I saw running atop the fence last night... He seems a little odd, perhaps--calling himself the Night Runner or somesuch--but he appears to be quite harmless. I went to the kinship house after my ride and made certain that all was well, as is my duty. I am glad to report that there has been no trouble today. In fact, it was rather quiet, though that is certainly no bad thing. I have not seen Dorus today, though that is not uncommon. He seems to prefer to keep to himself, and I've no wish to disturb him. If he does wish to speak to me, I suppose he will.
The sun is setting now, painting the whole neighborhood. It looks like it will be a fine night... Perhaps I will go visit some friends after supper, or perhaps I will go fishing tonight. It is quiet and peaceful by the pier, and I could catch tomorrow's supper into the bargain. Or perhaps I will go and listen to the trees, as Assyle showed me once. They must have many tales to tell... At any rate, I have nearly reached the end of this sheet of parchment--while there is more I wish to write about, it will have to wait until another time.