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“I-I don’t know… I… Are-are they gone?... Those men and… And-and those things...”

Awkid responded with a raspy tone, “Sure… For now.” He balled his dwarven fist around Balamor’s brown robes and shoved them into the Hobbit’s chest.

“... I couldn’t...” Balamor said while lifting himself up from the ground.

“I couldn’t leave you behind, not like that...”

“Oh no, of all places, the cozy den of Parins is surely best fit for my last days.” Awkid said sarcastically as his now lifeless arm scraped against the stone floor.

Balamor looked towards Awkid, the darkness only allowed the low glints of his eyes and the slight contour of his stocky silhouette. He ignored the dwarf’s arrogance and fished through his bag for a torch. He felt for the metal haft and quickly removed one. He struck his firesteel and blue flames leap from the ground where it was placed.

“Strange I know... I found them in here, on the corpse.” Balamor said as he looked between Awkid and the skeleton awkwardly.

Balamor searched around him but there was nothing. He turned to his bag and retrieved two plump tomatoes and passed one to Awkid. They both ate silently. Occasionally Balamor would study his companion, unsure what he was thinking. Awkid stared at the remains of his arm for awhile. The two of them went through all six tomatoes before Awkid finally spoke.

“What happened in that swamp… I have never been that close to death. That creature, that place… that is what we don’t speak of to any man. There’s a reason why no one should know of those things.”

Balamor was quick to disagree, “You’re wrong Mr. Anvorbeard. What happened back there with that monster, that is fear that must be addressed. Stories are stories, but the ignorance of a festering evil like that? That is just the ignorance of a guilty conscience.”

“... Well said Hobbit, if only you were that good with that knife.” Awkid said with a hushed laugh that quickly faded. His skeleton arm rattled along the stone as he took it into his left hand.

The End

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