Late is better than never, yes? Erg...
What a superb job you do, revealing Dírmaen's tortured mind to us. And all the lovely details I so adore, like as Dírmaen arranged his cloak so the wet would stream away from their seat, to name only one of many - never too much, but crafting a complete picture in my mind and totally realistic.
And awwww... the connection between Mada and Dírmaen brought a smile to my own face.
...his grandmother had captained the defense of Gellnen against a band that ravaged the North Downs while the men battled the larger horde near Fornost. Heh! I'd like to see his and Saelon's grandmothers meet. *g*
Love Dírmaen's inner thoughts as he and Randir converse. And Randir's confession: yay! I confess I myself was rather hoping for that, incurable romantic that I am.
Randir gave him a long-suffering look. "So you must eschew open battle . . . yet what is new in that? You are a Ranger, are you not?" Brilliant, Randir - just the sort of counsel Dírmaen needs in order to get his head on straight!