The inn, a sturdily built building, resting on the thick planks that were characteristic of this entire town, was well-lit.
Sunlight filled the inn, and gave it a friendly and engaging air of welcome. As Parm strode in and up to a large counter that wrapped its
way around a far corner, the patrons looked up, nodded, and even smiled at Parm. A door opened in the middle behind the first counter
Parm saw, a strong-limbed woman passed through. She carried a long tray, with two loaves of bread, cheeses, assorted meats, and fruit
on the board. She set it down on the counter. Parm was surprised at what happened next. Part of the counter's lower panel opened out
and the top part of the counter was raised and lowered to lay flat on the oppositeside. A door had been created in the middle of the counter.
Parm had not seen its like.
"Whoever thought of that, was a skilled carpenter, indeed!" Parm exclaimed as he drew near.
"Praise from a stranger is rare gift," the woman responded. "It took me long enough to design it, but building it was a triumph."
She paused, sensing Parm's bewilderment. "No, I have no husband, never saw the need. But I have plenty of men-folk and young lads to help
me here. I also have quite a good staff here at The Open Hand."
"Your inn certainly lives up to its reputation. A stranger would be wise to come here first before venturing on into the rest of the town."
"True enough," this fascinating inn-keeper replied, "but most strangers find themselves sent here by the good folk of this town. I am the Head Elder...
no not the Master of Lake-town, but a strong voice in it... and I like to meet those who pass through or indeed to join us here as we expand...and refurbish.
I am Adele, Adele, daughter of Timon the Smith. My father, the blessings of Eru upon him, still swings his hammer and forges his implements, but not here upon the Great Stands, as I have come to call these places built on strong pilings and frames. No, you can find his smithy well anchored on the shore, not far from the entrance, bridge, and gateway that brought you here.
"I can also imagine that it was Alora that brought you here. She is my niece. My brother, Carver, (she smiled at the pun) a great carpenter, married a woman from a fine house in Dale, and they came to be close to the water that nourishes the trees that gives my brother his trade."
Once more she paused, and then laughed. "That was quite an introduction, wasn't it?"
"I am well-accustomed to all manner of speaking. My name is Parm, Bard of Imladris, and I have come...", and suddenly Parm's bonhommie dimmed,
"I have come to see The Great Warrior, Dirk the Daring of Esgaroth."
"You have come to see the sun set, then." Adele responded with similar graveness.
"I did not know him well, but, oh, tales of his exploits travelled very wide, and engendered awe in many, even in those not often found in battles or deeds
of the warrior's way. I am, as my title betrays, a weaver of stories. My craft is in lyric and song, and I read and write in many of the old tongues, even
those of Numenor."
Adele's face remained passive, but warm, as if she were used to Kings and Elf Lords sitting in her hall. "You are most welcome here, Parm of Imladris. We have lodgings through that far door that go well out onto the lake. You will find it a most restful venue. In the evening, you can join us here, as we always enjoy a fine feast."
Parm was fascinated by the inn. Despite being built on wood pilings, within the inn, there was a fireplace set upon a huge hearth made of earth and stone, raised up and surrounded by a clever enclosure of well-dressed stone and a system of flues that allowed warmth, but not smoke, to fill
"We are not a flimsy place of dainty huts on wobbly stilts, as some strangers have imagined us. Times have changed us, Parm, and we
are well secured out here on the lake, and enjoy good trade with Dale and other good folk who know of us here. It is a good life,
but we do not forget the dark days, and how through the help of a Hobbit, a Wizard, and Elves, we survived," Adele noted.
"One of my dearest companions, the Hobbit Willum of Michel Delving, accompanied me on several journeys, even to Lond Daer itself."
"That, in itself, is worthy of tale. Please refresh yourself, and join us this evening. You will find a list of our services and fareson the far wall."
Adele stretched, getting ready for a future task. "For now, though, be assured of this, no guest at The Open Hand has ever feared for safety
or company. The blessing of the Istari is upon this place."
Parm's eyes widened, and he smiled gently. "A great blessing indeed."
Adele returned his careful smile, then turned, whisked the tray she had set on the counter off through the doors she had pointed
out, and swept into the chambers beyond. Parm followed, eager to see what lay beyond.
Last edited by prmiller
on Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Spring...hmmm....I've seen that word before...