I had Dandi circle about at the crossroads so that we both could gaze westward one last time. She stood silently for a moment, then shook her head with a whinny, pawing at the cobblestones of the road with her hooves almost as if to rebuke them.
I leaned forward in the saddle and hugged her about her neck, whispering in her ear.
"I know, girl. I miss it, too. Best we get out of the rain now."
We turned and made our way through the Western gate and toward the Pony square. As we went, I watched the small rivulets formed by the rain striking the cobbles flow past us, back toward the gate. The sky drew darker with the end of the day, and the welling of thunder, both from earth and sky, sounded all around. We made our way up the rise.
The square was quiet and still, save for the storm and the unrest such storms bring. We circled the fountain once with what was left of the twilight and then made for the covered stables. I closed my eyes to the winds and rain washing over us while letting Dandi choose her place amongst the free stalls remaining.
It pleased me greatly to finally free her of the burden of carrying me through yet another journey, and a stormy one at that. A burden was being lifted from her shoulders in a very real way.
"But you never complain, do you, girl?" I asked, as I brushed her dry as best I could.
I wondered how long the storm would last. I wondered how long we would remain in town.
...Bree is a town of crossroads, built upon the meeting place of three kingdoms of old, and the Pony a crossroads within that crossroads. But storms both within and without can shroud even the widest path in darkness, leaving only the first few steps in sight. And it is difficult to know the right path, even in the best of times...