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I wonder what everyone else is carrying.

I carry objects both beloved and necessary: fresh clothes, a supply of food, and a few memorable trinkets. Some of my burdens are invisible: my motherís tears, my pride, anger, frustration...

In my dreams, I awake in my bed in Tirion, with Laurelinís light spilling through my window and plans to ride with my cousins in the afternoon... But then I feel jagged shards of ice beneath my aching body, my face parched by the brutal winds, and I know that this is now, this is reality.

Sometimes I feel like collapsing beneath the weight of my memories, my pack, my guilt (always, always the guilt)...

In whispers we talk of the cold, our pains, and wishes for warmth and a good feast. Occasionally, someone will start humming a wordless tune, which is silenced by the howling wind.

We never speak of the things that haunt our dreams: the blood on our hands and our blades, on the sand... If I meet someoneís gaze by chance, we both look down. We carry our burdens alone, in silence; we do not want to see our shames reflected.

I wonder what everyone else is carrying.


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