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B2MeM 2011: Haradhrim Nights  by Mirach

Day 22: Erebor

Challenge: Refugee issues are our issues; their plight is our plight. Write a story or poem or create artwork that illustrates the situation of some displaced group in Middle-earth.

A/N: The last chapter for a few days (written in hurry, maybe I'll edit it later)

Dangerous Names

The town was already in sight. So were his pursuers. The last miles flew under the hooves of the black horse. Thorongil did not remember how he got at the main street of the town. He did not pay much attention to the stalls lining the street, to the people regarding him strangely.

There was a well. During his flight, he did not acknowledge the needs of his body. There was just the town ahead and the men behind. Now there was also thirst, and pain and weariness. But the men behind were there still. He did not stop at the well.

There was a tavern, and a trough for horses at the entrance. A rider was too noticeable in the city. He dismounted there, and patted the horse regretfully. It was a good animal, and probably saved his life… for now, he thought wryly. Hastily he took a mouthful of water from the trough, and hurried into the side streets. Maybe there he can lose the pursuers. He hoped somebody would take care of the horse – maybe even its original owner. So many maybes, and an unfamiliar city around him… He could already hear the hoses and men in the main street. The men were shouting something. He didn't stay to find out what, and retreated deeper into the alley.

The night fell.

Thorongil was hiding in a small alcove under the stairs of a house. It wasn't a comfortable place, and stank of rotting garbage, but he didn't dare to leave it yet – too often he heard quick and heavy steps passing nearby, as if looking for something or someone. Once he even heard voices just around the corner, asking about a pale stranger.

When he found this place, he drank the last drops of water from his water skin. Now he was entertaining himself with trying to figure out how to get to the well. But it was in the main street, and Kadar certainly left some men there to wait for him if he makes that mistake. Thinking about it made the thirst even worse… Soon he will have to try his luck in some house, hoping that residents will not send word to Kadar. Not yet, though. The steps were too frequent – as if half of the city was looking for him.

Steps again, two pairs of boots. The stopped not far from him. He held his breath.

"Does he know who paid him?" one of the men asked.

"I don't think so. Nazim let us know he is here. If the Captain knew Thorongil will come here, he would not hire an assassin."

"How convenient…" the first man smirked.

"Indeed. We have been planning the revenge since we had to flee Umbar, and now he comes right into our city."

In his hiding place, Thorongil bit his lip. Umbar Corsairs! Maybe it was not wise to use the name Thorongil here…

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