View Full Version : Rand's Apology to Hurin (Offscreen brought Onscreen)

11-27-2010, 10:01 AM
Hurin hated the smell of horses almost as bad as violence, but the violent smell had been increasing for no reason everywhere he went, and so he stayed tending the horse lines because one stench was preferable to another.

Teod’s voice surprised him from behind, “Hurin, there’s a man wants to see you up front, somebody important from the way people were scrambling around to find you for him.”

Hurin turned to see Teod’s face. The young man hadn’t had any arduous campaigns yet and there was a youthful exuberance about him. Hurin took a deep breath. The presence of an innocent person was almost like an exotic pepper. It was sharp in his nostrils, but he was able to breathe easier for some time afterwards. “Very well, someone must have committed a murder and my services are needed.”

Everyone in camp knew Hurin was a sniffer. It was not quite as comforting as it had been in the borderlands, there the violence done by people could not be tolerated due to eminent Trolloc raids and the ever present danger of being over run. As such his services were not in such a high demand.

The army had been camped for months though and people were growing restless. When Hurin wasn’t tending horses he was tracking someone who had stabbed a man in a drunken brawl, or a woman who had broken a soldiers crown in his sleep to run off with his possessions, even one time a brother who had killed his older sibling because the man had caught the eye of a woman he had been chasing.

Idle hands made trouble…it was said the Dark One’s playground was Idle hands. Hurin was thrice as busy now as he had been in the borderlands. As Hurin mused over the irony of men preparing to fight evil committing evil acts he caught an unusual scent.

When he first smelled it, his eyes watered immediately. It was so pure! The smell was cleaner than an Ogier Stedding! Hurin looked around hurriedly trying to find the source. It burned heavily in his nostrils, reminding him of the stinging ointments that one put on a wound to sterilize it. He felt the pain, but also a rapture that said the pain would only help, not hurt.

He spotted a woman suckling a babe and paused. Was that the smell of innocence that came from a child? He had never smelled a child that had this kind of scent. It was almost as if the violence of the world was being undone by the child’s actions. The mother spotted him staring at her child and gave him a horrified look before turning about quickly and hiding her baby from his view.

No…that was not the source. Just before the woman had turned he had smelled the child, and the child had reminded him of cleaner happier days, but had failed to have the purging effect on him mind and nose. He continued to move, if the person was in the camp, he would find them.

Hurin meandered around for several long minutes, occasionally catching a scent that made him scrounge his nose in disgust, rubbing to get the smell to leave. He was still searching when he smelled the familiar smell of Teod to his side again.

“Hurin, are you lost man? You were summoned over an hour ago! They actually sent me to come get you again as if I had not told you where to go!” Teod seemed frustrated and worried. He did not like anything that reflected poorly upon him. “Yes, yes, I am coming…I just smelled something so strange…” Hurin looked up to see the sun had moved about halfway between its peak and the horizon…and then he froze.

He could see the sun. The wonderful sun! It had seemed like eternity trapped in the haze that seemed as if one moment it would be a torrential downpour of rain and the next was just an overcast lazy sky. The sun had finally prevailed and shown through!

Hurin followed Teod as he mused over what the revelation of the sun could mean. He found himself staring at it as he walked, his eyes watering heavily. No…his eyes weren’t watering because of the sun…the scent!

Hurin gazed around him looking for the source for the purifying burning soul cleansing scent and that was when he first noticed where they were. He was near the Command Pavilion on the edge of the camp. He had thought it odd that the large tent had been set up near the outer edge instead of the center of the protective camp, but with the sheer lack of action that had been occurring around Far Madding he realized the wisdom of being able to separate from the camp quickly to get into town.

As he entered the tent his eyes had to adjust to the light, it was not dim inside but he had been staring at the sun like a madman. Before his eyes had adjusted, the scent of purity overwhelmed him to such an extent that he fell to his knees weeping with joy. It no longer burned in his nostrils; it made him feel alive! He felt as if he had never had to fight against shadowspawn, as if the world could not allow them to exist because it was too clean and peaceful of a place. He felt as if his life was completely as it should be.

As incredible of a revelation as he had just made, what he saw next was equally astounding. Looking up to see who this embodiment of the Light was who could purify the world, he realized he was alone in the tent with one man with his back to him. The man had dark red hair and a resolute bearing. Hurin could see that his left arm ended in a stump which he had clasped deep into the palm of his right hand. Hurin never thought he would see this man again.

A torrent of emotion tore through him as he gazed at the back of the man. Rand al’ Thor. The young man who had claimed to be a farmer, but had shown more nobility than many of the nobles that Hurin had been commissioned to work under. A man forced to do such incredible violence to save the world. Yet, the last time Hurin had met with Rand there had been a smell of inexorable death, like that of a diseased village wasting away; only worse because it also had the violence of a thousand Blights devouring a thousand armies with the aid of the Dark One himself.

The last time they had met each other, Hurin had known that the intense smell of death he had inhaled would be the destruction of every man woman and child on earth. He had been sick for two weeks after Rand had left his side. He hadn’t been able to leave his bed, wretched and weak, he had vomited for days until he had thought he was going to die. All of that darkness, the vileness of death that had overcome Hurin, had emanated from this man.

And yet, now the exact opposite scent. What did it mean? How was it possible? Hurin thought back to the hurtful words Rand had said to him. The terrible darkness that had surrounded him. Had something so incredible, so wonderful, so beautiful that it changed his friend’s very aura of life happened?

All these thoughts passed through Hurin’s mind in a few moments, and he realized in a profound moment of introspection, that as harsh as Rand al’ Thor had been towards him…he still considered the man his friend.

“Hurin, so good to see you, are you well?” Hurin looked up through his wet eyes and had to blink a few times at what he saw. Rand had turned around and though he was still the same man who had chastised him, the same man who had went through the portal stone with him, and the same man who had helped track the Horn of Valere with him, he was different.

Hurin could see it in Rand’s eyes. There was a peace in them that passed understanding, a depth that said that this man was permanent and would be here long after the squabbles of petty men had ceased. Rand’s eyes seemed so…eternal.

Rand had a look of concern on his face, almost sadness for a moment that confused Hurin. Then Hurin realized that he had been asked a question,”Oh yes Ran…My Lord, I was sick a few days back, but I am much better now.” Rand grimaced. Hurin quickly wiped the frown off of his own face. Had he upset him because he had almost said his name?

“Please Hurin, old friend, my father Tam gave me that name. It fits me much better than any title ever could. I hope you do not feel discomforted by my presence?” Rand spoke quietly, but the quiet seemed as if he were embracing you with the arms of a father determined to keep you safe. Light! So much had changed about him!

“Oh certainly not My Lor…er, Rand. I just was surprised to see you again, what with the many things you have to do; I did not think I would see you again.” Hurin thought a moment, why would Rand want to see me again? Maybe…”Unless…, well unless you may have work for me? Do you find yourself in need of a sniffer?”

Rand smiled and walked over to him. The man was incredibly tall, but rather than loom over Hurin as he drew near, his presence seemed to make Hurin feel more at ease, as though the sun was high overhead, but that only meant that it was warming you more effectively, not less.

“Hurin, I was a terrible man last time we met. I was tortured beyond my own endurance by the deeds that I had committed, and rather than face them and earn my exoneration; I denied them and was wrathful towards everyone... friend or foe. I was wrong to treat you the way I did, to have dealt with you in mistrust. I am sorry for that, and I hope you will forgive me and allow our friendship to grow once more.”

Hurin was scarcely able to breathe. Not only because of disbelief that this man of monolithic importance had come and humbled himself needlessly before Hurin, and not just because if he inhaled deeply again he might pass out in a wondrous ecstasy of peace and relaxation. It was because his tears were flowing heavily and causing him to sniffle and repeatedly clear his throat.

Hurin managed a meager smile and nod, and before he could speak Rand wrapped him up in his arms, like a long lost brother who had come home and was vowing never to leave his family again. Hurin thought he felt the wet drops of tears on his head, but that was not possible. Rand al’ Thor did not cry. Then again…he did not apologize either.