Characters: Aragorn, Halbarad
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Tolkien.
What’s Left in the End
Halbarad cradles his aching head and meets Aragorn's bloodshot half-lidded gaze.
“You look terrible.”
“And you look worse.”
They share the last of the bread, pack up camp leaving as few traces as possible and walk into the silent, metal-grey morning.
The rangers have an arrangement with the woman who owns the sooty hovel at the edge of the village. She is used to filthy, rancid-smelling men, and serves them watery soup with unsmiling cordiality.
Later, when they smoke the last of the pipe-weed Aragorn pulls Halbarad close. They sit quiet and still, watching the small fire sink into embers.