Redemption: The Reckoning

Pull out your pack and head on down to the Prancing Pony for some great Role Playing (try to stay in character)!

Postby SilverScribe » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:47 pm

"Try it gain," she said, and Radesh shook sweat-soaked strands of dark hair out of his eyes. His hand tightened on the hilt of his shashko as he moved to the attack once more.

They moved through the long sequence again, the peredhel parrying, her long silvery blade meeting and blocking every thrust, every stroke. This time however, Radesh turned the blade of his weapon as the half-elf had directed him, instead of blocking her upward stroke, he flipped the shashko edge on and drew the blade back toward him. The broadsword whistled past and he lunged in under the blade . . .

The Scribe grinned, the keen blade of the shashko trapped between her body and one arm. "Excellent," she said, stepping back and releasing Radesh's weapon. "But . . . " Radesh began and Scribbles held up a hand. "No but," she countered. "I was aware of the move and turned my body deliberately, a true opponent will be overbalanced, their weapon over the line of their shoulder. When you lunge, they will instinctively try to bring the arm and weapon down and to bear. However, your blade will already be sliding between their ribs."

Radesh nodded thoughtfully. "But if my true opponent is also aware of this move," he pressed stubbornly, "I am then also too far forward and in line for a killing stroke coming against me."

Scribbles winked. "Of course, and that is the next thing we'll work on."

Radesh held back a groan. They had been sparring for most of the morning, normally he would welcome a further workout. But his shoulder and chest muscles were in the last stages of healing and his body felt leaden. The Scribe on the other hand, had not even broken a sweat all morning.

She sensed his thoughts. "Tomorrow," she said. "Elmissir can work wonders true enough, but your body is not quite completely recovered." At the hillman's slight scowl, the peredhel laughed as she wiped her weapon down then slid it home in its scabbard with an audible snick. "Do not be so hard on yourself," she said as Radesh followed suit with his own blade. "You have been working out and pushing yourself hard nearly every day these past four weeks since being barely a week out of bed. Most men would still be sleeping at least half of their days away."

Radesh looked around the practice arena, several knots of the Firstborn had come in and stayed to watch them work. Unlike men, they had remained mostly silent, any exchanges had been in low tones too faint for him to make out. Sensing the sparring bout was over, one or two of the elves nodded to the tall figure of the Scribe as they drifted out, whilst the rest remained.


.

Radesh provided by our esteemed Frelga ;)
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Postby Cock-Robin » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:19 pm

There was one who watched with great interest. Boartooth grinned as he saw Radesh sparring with Scribbles. "Good, very good." he said to himself, patting the mace that lay beside him. He had sparred several times with the Peredhel, and it had sharpened him, he now knew moves he hadn't before, and it had improved them both. But he had never met the Hillman or his partner in person, just from afar.

He got up and came closer. Maybe it was time for the Hillman to meet the "dancing bear."

He sat down on a bench right against the sparring ground.
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Postby Frelga » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:32 pm

The hillman walked over to a fountain, where a marble elf-child spilled water from her open palms. He drank deeply, slowly, savoring the sweetness of the cold water. At the back of his mind, he half-expected the Scribe to come over and tell him to be careful not to catch a chill. Radesh quickly dipped his hands into the basin and splashed his face to mask a grin. Never one to hold back advice, was Scribe. He picked up a cloth to dry himself, fine linen scented with dried flowers. Two steps took him into the path of light breeze that blew a pleasant chill on his damp cheek. Later, he would go to the baths and let the steam work its healing on him. Soft life, this. A man could get used to being coddled this way.

Radesh thought idle thoughts, and glanced with a curious eye at the spectators, careful not to linger on any one too long so as not to give offense. Always, his gaze returned to the Scribe. She knew the ways of the place, she never needed to ask a question, and yet she seemed to stand apart from the Elves. It occurred to the hillman that the mixed ancestry separated Scribe from the Elves as much as from the Men. Reserved, arrogant, always aloof, she moved from one world to another, but didn't quite belong to either. Radesh looked away quickly. It wouldn't do for the Scribe to catch him watching her with compassion. Besides, he knew little of her and less of the Elves. He could be wrong.

Still, something nagged at him, a thread of thought that snatched on a memory, just when he wondered if such great age, strength and knowledge were a blessing or....

Ah. He remembered now, the words of the bandit woman as she taunted him. Hired men, hired for a reason. A mere thought of the Daler's voice sent a shiver colder than the breeze down his spine. She's cursed, you know. Did she tell you? No? What had the Scribe replied? She hadn't called the Daler a liar.

Years in the plains had taught Radesh about caution, but he was always a direct man at heart, who choose direct speech over guile. So was the Scribe, he thought. The hillman returned to the Scribe's side and spoke as softly as he could manage. "Scribe? Could we talk? There is something I would ask you if I may."

Scribbles looked up from the small, leather bound journal she had been leafing through. Something in the hillman's face told her that she may not be returning to it any time soon. Snapping it shut, she tucked it into an inside pocket in her vest. "Of course, Master Radesh. What do you wish to ask?"

The hillman's eyes followed the book as it disappeared, curious about the thing itself rather than its contents. He had never mastered the trick of writing in Westron, nor did he use the round, curling script of his own people - that was woman's work. It was still a novelty to see both tales and business notes confided to paper rather than stored away in memory. The distraction served as an excuse, to postpone the awkward business, but it wouldn't do.

Radesh lowered himself to the bench next to Scribe, so he could speak softly and avoid looming over her where she sat. "It's something the Daler said," he began. His cheeks grew hot as soon as he spoke, as if he was prying into Scribe's business rather than seeking answers that concerned him. "She said... something about a curse that hangs over those that would help you. Did she lie?"

Scribe by Scribbles. Or possibly vice versa. :P
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Postby SilverScribe » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:28 am

Scribbles felt the colour drain from her face, even as her jaw set hard and her expression automatically turned to stone. Why had the Archer spoken of this? Why had she gleefully chirped and sang of the Scribe's deepest shame so freely? Damn the Barding woman and her loose mortal tongue! Damn her to the deepest corner of Morgoth's hellpit!!

None of these thoughts however, showed on her face and Scribbles was tempted to brush it off or answer with evasive vagueness but she respected the hillman; he deserved honesty. She cleared her throat. "The Archer did not lie. Though I sorely wish that she had schooled her tongue." She paused, raking one hand through her hair. "It is a painful thing to speak of."

Radesh could understand that all too well. He curled his hand into a fist before it could sneak up to the scar that crossed his cheek. The hillman hesitated, unwilling to press past Scribe's reluctance. Yet, the thing did affect him. This must be why the Scribe was forced to find men in disreputable inns along the way. "Of all the dangers on this journey, a curse never crossed my mind," he said. For a moment, the hillman struggled with curiosity, but his natural courtesy won over it. That and pride - he did not wish to appear a frightened, superstitious fool. "You don't have to tell me, if you'd rather not," he said.

She drew a deep breath and held it a few moments before letting it out slowly. "I would rather not, but since you are on this road with me, and it has come up, you deserve the truth." She turned and gazed directly at his face, ordering her thoughts and words carefully before speaking again. Finally, she continued.

"I am indeed cursed, by my own father no less." She drew another deep breath and recited the long-remembered, long hated words . . .

"Long awaited, long desired,
born in the storm's last breath;
Cursed are you from that hour forth,
dross and emptiness is your worth,
shunned shall you be, from now 'til death.

Nothing are you, nothing were you born,
And nothing shall you ever be,
No land will keep you,
No man will have you,
No home or hearth shall you ever see.

'Til time itself, lays down to die,
no land shall you call home.
Whomsoever you dare call friend,
certain, their death you shall portend,
so forever, in all, shall you walk alone."


She passed a hand over her face. "He laid it upon me, you see, to ensure I would be ever set apart, ever alone. And if I should dare call anyone 'friend', the curse would ensure their lives were forfeit."


The Hillman by, well, you know . . . ;)
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Postby Frelga » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:36 pm

"Your own father!" the hillman exclaimed. That was what struck him first as the words blew over him like a winter wind. Radesh let out a long breath. "What an evil thing. Can it have any true power?"

"It has already claimed more lives than I care to remember, aye, it has terrible power," she replied grimly.  "My past is soaked in the blood of its victims."

Radesh searched the Scribe's face for a sign that she was laughing at him. The set of her jaw assured him that she meant every word. "What a thing," he repeated. He ought to have wondered what it meant for him, if he continued with the Scribe on her blood hunt. Instead, his heart squeezed with pity for the peredhel. The hillman had walked too many lonely roads, but at least he was free to make friends if he could, and he found them in unlikely places. If he were denied that comfort... Radesh shivered. "Hired men, hired for a reason," he repeated the Daler's words. "So that's why. Well..." Unexpectedly, he grinned. "Garia ought to be safe, then. I don't think he cares about very much."

She stood abruptly.  "None of you are in any danger from my father's curse," she assured him.  "The Archer was right, I hired men for good reason, because I have lost too many friends, and I will lose no more.  Your skill is your value, you are worth far more I know, but that is your value to me on this road."  She regretted having to say the words, but the circumstances allowed her no room, no leeway.  "Think what you will of me, but remember that the Blood Hunt alone is why you are here."

Radesh rose, too. "I will remember," he assured her. It was a harsh thing to tell a man - I hired you because I will never care about losing you or call you a friend. It made sense, but it felt wrong. Still - no man, no hearth, no home. Not even a friend. The curse was heavy indeed. He wouldn't add to Scribe's burden. The hillman carefully wiped all expression from his face - a lesson he mastered well, though it had been hard to learn. "I thank you for telling me of this. I won't repeat it," he promised with formal courtesy.

"Thank you," she replied simply.  There was nothing else she could say, nothing else she could do.  Except perhaps . . . "It is good to know that I hired the best, in all things," she added.  "Skill is one thing Radesh, but honour is something else again."  She picked up her cloak.  "We will resume tomorrow, same time?"

"And you will show me the defensive move you mentioned, yes," Radesh agreed, smiling, as if their conversation was already forgotten.

"Yes, " Scribbles echoed with a nod, then caught sight of a familiar large figure lounging on a bench a short distance away against the arena wall.  As she glanced his way, Boartooth rose and shouldering his great Mace, ambled over.

"Mae govannen, Master Boartooth," she greeted him.  She turned to Radesh.  "Master Radesh, unless you have already met, may I introduce Master Boartooth, the newest addition to our company that I spoke of some weeks ago."  Her original company, while all still housed at the Ivy Gardens, had spent most of the past weeks engaged in their own pursuits and preparations while healing and resting.  There had been little opportunity to do much more than mention to each of them, on various occasions, that there would be an addition to their number when they left Imladris.  

You know who writes Scribe. And I don't mean You Know Who
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Postby Bardhwyn » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:52 pm

BAP Alert!


Far from the activity of the Last Homely House, in a secluded clearing wrung with ash and oak - all of which still clung to their colored leaves despite the advance in weeks into the heart of winter – Harah of the Haradrim stood marveling at the length of rope he held in his weathered hands.

“It is hithlain, Master Harah, the rope made by my people in Caras Galadon. We spoke of it yesterday. As you see it is light, thin but possesses great strength.” The Elf pulled upon the rope and it gave a sharp twang in response.

Harah looked up at Nelyan, his new Elven friend, whose warm smile never seemed to fade from his face. The Haradrim’s improved health and recent-won freedom to roam about Imladris had resulted in many new friends and acquaintances. Harah seemed to posses a Valar-given gift to strike up a conversation with anyone at anytime about nearly anything. With Nelyan it was rope making, a craft Harah mastered at a young age on the coasts of Harad.

“But my friend,” Harah replied, holding up one slender end of the hithlain and waving it like a stalk of grass, “this is no fatter than a young girl’s pig-tail. Surely, what you say cannot be true.”

Nelyan laughed. “Young Haradrim girls have tails like pigs? How strange!”

“No, no, they bind their hair in long plaits…” Harah reached up and gave one of Nelyan’s plaits a flick.

“Ah, a ‘finnel’, we say. Well that’s a relief. For a moment I was feeling great remorse your young maids. Ah, here is Aranwion.”

From the north, descending a slight embankment, came a second Elf as tall as Nelyan but where he was fair and blonde the approaching Aranwion was dark, his hair blue-black and his skin almost olive in its tone. Across his back was a long quiver filled with arrows fletched in white and in his slender hand he carried a beautifully carven bow. The Elves exchanged greetings, a few words of which Harah understood but the majority of Elvish was still unintelligible, as much as Orcish was to him when with the Clan.

Nelyan took an end of the hithlain; spoke and both began to laugh brightly.

“My cousin does not tell a lie, Harah!” Aranwion said, taking the Haradrim’s hand. “He may exaggerate now and again but never about his rope making.”

“Pay him no heed,” Nelyan answered with a smirk, taking all of the rope from Harah.

“About what does he exaggerate?” Harah asked mischievously. “Do tell me! No! Not about his prowess with the fair sex. An Elf as tall and as handsome as Nelyan surely need not exaggerate about that!”

Aranwion laughed. “I am hard pressed now; do I acquiesce to an esteemed guest of Imladris and divulge all or do I stay true to my kin and help keep his reputation intact.”

“Ah, my dear Aranwion, stay true to your kin for your family is your strength as we say in Harad!” Harah answered with a flourish and a bow.

“Well said, Master Harah, well said,” Aranwion replied, bowing as well. “So, perhaps then we must adopt you before I can tell it isn’t about his wooing of our maids that Nelyan exaggerates but how well he can simply fish! No matter how big a fish he brings in, the one that got away was always half again bigger…”

“Enough, Aranwion!” Nelyan called out with a laugh. “Next you’ll have Master Harah believing I can’t tie a knot! Which I can, as you can see…”

Between two ashes that stood some thirty feet apart Nelyan had strung the hithlain rope at chest height, or what was head height for Harah.

“There you are, Master Harah, an Elven bridge,” Nelyan announced. “Now, the Haradrim use these as well, you were saying…”

“Oh, no, no, my friend, no!” Harah answered with a chuckle. “A Haradrim would call that a wash line before they’d call it a bridge! No, it is I who use them, or used to use them. A tight-rope, we called it.” Harah tentatively pulled on one end of the tied rope. “I was a street performer, you see, a juggler and acrobat.” Harah then mimicked juggling three balls and met only blank expressions. He spied fallen horse chestnuts on the grass nearby and quickly collected three. Harah began to juggle, tossing the chestnuts in the air, each sailing up in an artful diagonal, each one dropping in a perfect arc over the other. The Elves stood as if mesmerized.

“I have heard of such art,” Aranwion said, “In New Weathertop and Dale. It is wonderous…”

“Oh, it is not art, Aranwion, no,” Harah said with a blush, catching the conkers. “Just acrobatics, but it will be skills such as these that make me useful to the Scribe. I have to practice.”

“Watching you is delightful! You can weave a pattern with three simple chestnuts! If the craft or skill of Edain or Eldar brings pleasure, Master Harah, to the Eldar it is art,” Nelyan said. “But come, you wish to try your ‘tight-rope’ once again.” As lightly as ascending a stair Nelyan leapt up upon the rope, quickly followed by Aranwion. Both Elves stood upon the thin hithlain rope as casually as they stood upon the grass, both looked expectantly at Harah. Harah looked expectantly at the rope, waiting for it to snap.

“I assure you, Master Harah, this rope is strong enough to hold a score of us. Come!”

Harah dropped the conkers in a pocket, walked to the closest tree trunk and with some slight difficulty shimmied up to the height of the rope. Hugging the ash he stepped gingerly out onto the hithlain line, skeptical of its properties.
Nelyan and Aranwion, not wanting to embarrass the Southron, turned and began to walk the length of the rope. To Harah’s astonishment he could not feel the weight of their steps as they progressed; it was if each were light as air. He kept the tree firm in his embrace wondering if the hithlain were thought so strong because elves were actually very light!

“Courage, Master Harah!” Nelyan called out.

“This is silly, foolish!” Harah scolded himself. “I am Harah the Splendiferous! Performer to the Khalifate! I had a special audience with The Prince of Harad, himself! And was it not I, Harah the Spectacular, who had the El Zikher convinced I pulled a gold coin from his ear!? Yes!! It was! I am Harah the Impressive!”

Harah twisted his body and released his hold on the tree, ignoring the twinge in his shoulder as he did so, and positioned himself onto the hithlain rope. One step, two steps. The hithlain bowed under his weight. Harah took another step, careful to hold his arms aloft to balance himself, focusing his concentration on his feet, the rope, his body, the top of his head… another step, another.

“Well done, Master Harah!” Nelyan exclaimed. Harah refocused and found he was standing before the two Elven cousins.

“Yes, you were as accomplished as any Eldar,” Aranwion added. “Most impressive.”

Harah looked over his shoulder, careful to maintain his balance on the rope. He’d walked the entire distance, all thirty feet.

“I did it!” he exclaimed.

“Yes, you did. Now walk back,” Nelyan said with a grin and watched Harah’s excitement fell from his face. “You said you needed to practice, something about being of value to the Scribe.”

“And if what I hear say is true, Master Harah,” Aranwion placed his hand on the Southron’s shoulder, “Tasks taken up by the Scribe prove always to be arduous ones. Practice your skills diligently…”

“And perhaps we can teach you a few Elvish skills, as well,” Nelyan added.

“Yes, yes, thank you,” Harah replied, now feeling somewhat sobered. “I’d be very much in your debt if you did.” Harah glanced down at the bow Aranwion held. “And there is one skill I’d like to practice in particular which you’d be of great help, Aranwion.”

“I’d be honored,” the Elf replied, bowing slightly. All three bobbed slightly on the hithlain rope.

“How comfortable are you shooting arrows at people?” Harah asked.

“Say again?” Aranwion asked, surprised.

“Ah, I have a little story to tell you – well, rather a long story. It starts with a performance trick for which I was famed for but it ends with this bad shoulder of mine, I’m sorry to say,” Harah said with a sad smile. “But with your help, my friends, I think my story is going to have a much better ending than I could have hoped for. Come, walk with me and I’ll tell it.” Harah turned and began to walk across the rope back in the direction he came.

“Once upon a time, when I was a young lad in Umbar I had it in mind to become the most famous street performer of all time and to do that, I knew I needed a performance piece that would make people cry out, gasp – even faint. That trick, my friends, was to catch an arrow aimed directly at me, in mid flight, before I could be struck…”

As they walked, Harah talked and the Elves, enraptured, listened…
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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:07 am

"Well met." said Boartooth. "You may have not seen me until now, but I have seen you. I first saw you with the Eagle, and wondering if you would meet a dancing bear next. Believe me, I almost came out and granted your wish, if I had not already promised Elladan not to.

And yes, I am a Beorning. Boartooth the Mace will be glad to be your companion in this battle."

He laughed and set down his mace to shake his hand.
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Postby Frelga » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:56 am

Radesh returned the handshake with a warm smile. "Well met, Boartooth. I am Radesh of Fahn, up in what they call White Mountains in the plains, a long way South from here." He wanted to make clear that he was a man from a distant place, since some time soon he would have to ask what a Beorning was and what they had to do with dancing bears. (Dancing bear? Did he really say that?) Perhaps Beornings kept pet bears. Boartooth sure looked big enough.

"Scribe spoke of you," the hillman added, nodding to his employer. "She seemed very pleased that you will join the company, and I can see why." The giant club looked well used, and it did not seem to encumber the Beorning very much.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:30 pm

BAP Alert!


“Hallooo, Radesh! Mistress!” The Southron came to a breathless halt before the trio and found he had to look up at all three, for they were all quite tall. “My, today I feel quite short but it does not matter!” Harah gave Radesh’s arm a playful swat. “I’ve had a most successful day, yes, indeed I have! My strength returns and my skills!” He gave a few balletic skips of a Haradrim dance. “I feel renewed!” Harah, smiling, looked up to the broad faced man before him. “And who may you be, my … big man?”

“Master Harah, I am no one’s mistress,” the Scribe answered severely, then moderated her tone and expression as she indicated the Beorning. “Allow me to introduce ‘in person’, the newest addition to our company, Master Boartooth,” the Scribe said. Harah extended his hand and allowed the man to engulf it in a vigorous hand shake.

“Our new addition, Mistre...?Er...um...” Harah stopped himself, fearing another rebuke, and not knowing how to address his employer, opted to say nothing. He turned an excited smile to the newcomer. “Master Boartooth, is it? Yes! And one so tall and strong!”

“And you are, what did you say? A beor...?” Radesh asked.

“I’m a Beorning” said Boartooth, to which an immediately stunned Harah let out a yelp as if he’d been stepped on.

“A Be..Be.. Beorning!!?” Harah cried, trying to both back-peddle and pull his hand free from Boartooth’s grasp. “Radesh!! Run!! He’s a Beorning!!”

Harah pulled his hand free and turned on his heel, prepared to flee but was stopped short by a quick jerk of his shirt collar.

“Calm yourself, Master Harah,” he heard the Scribe’s voice say as she pulled him back. “Master Boartooth is indeed to be feared, but not by any of us here.” She set Harah back on his feet but kept hold of the trembling man’s collar, just in case. “You’ve not fainted yet, Master Harah. That bodes well,” she added.

“I..I..I’ve heard stories,” Harah said shakily, looking up at the Scribe. “Terrible stories from the Clansmen of these terrifying, man-eating creatures in the woods...”

"Who spend their winters in broom closets? When they are not nailing people to the trees?" Radesh interrupted with considerable annoyance, not at all pleased with being told to run from their new comrade. "Of all the... Your Clansmen are the most wicked creatures I've met in the plains, for all their foolish stories." Man-eating, really? Boartooth did look the part, but surely Scribe would know if such a thing was true.

“We were told to be ever watchful,” Harah replied. “That any strangers we met in the forest could be.. could be..,” he dropped down into a whisper. “One of them. And they’d turn into gruesome beasts and attack us.”Harah tried once again to back away, his eyes looking up fearfully at Boartooth. The Scribe restrained him with calm tolerance.

Boartooth laughed. “You’ve been misinformed,” he said. “Unless you’re a bandit, or an orc, you have nothing to fear. But for those,” and he picked up his great mace and twirled it, “This is the last thing they’d see.”

At hearing the word ‘bandit’ Harah recoiled and looked quickly from Radesh to the Scribe with abject terror in his eyes. The Scribe met his gaze calmly and assured him with an almost imperceptible shake of her head. Harah then felt Radesh’s arm upon his shoulder, firmly as if the Hillman were trying to root the Southron to the ground.

Boartooth looked to Radesh and the Scribe. “Skittish isn’t he?” he said, nodding to the Southron. “But first impressions aren’t sooth, I guess. The first time my grandfather met the hobbit Bilbo, he was the same way. He thought he’d be killed by wolves or wicked bears.” He laughed again.

Radesh nodded. "Fair enough, Master Boartooth, and I look forward to hearing your tale. As for the Clans, I have an inkling that, given time, they would have made a story or two about the hillmen, as well. They might yet. And for my friend Harah I will say this - I may laugh at his ghost stories but never at the man. Three in our company owe our lives to him, myself among them."

“You do?” Harah squeaked.

“The pass, remember?” Radesh asked.

Harah’s hand rubbed away the sweat forming on his forehead. “Ah, yes, the pass, of course!” He gave a nervous laugh. “It seems a lifetime ago, now.”

Boartooth nodded. “It seems that I will have to prove myself,” he said. “And I will. Radesh, I told my story to the Scribe when we first met. It appears that I must tell it again, as we are to be companions. But where is your other friend? I’d rather you were all together so I can tell it to you all at once. It is a tale of a gift, or a curse, depending on how one looks at it, and how one uses it. Then you will hear how us ‘dancing bears’ had our beginning. ”

“Ah, you mean Garia!” Harah exclaimed. “Yes! I’ll go find him!” Harah attempted to leave (or rather flee) but he was held in place by both the Scribe and Radesh.

Scribbles let go of Harah with a brief glance at the hillman, knowing that Radesh had the flighty Southron well in hand. She turned to Boartooth. “Master Garia is likely pursuing his own interests,” she answered, reasoning that if the highwayman’s past behaviour was any indication, he was either dogging Elmissir’s path or dodging Guilhendar’s. The thought almost made her smile . . .

“In any case,” she continued, “perhaps there will be an opportunity to exchange a few tall tales in the Grand Hall after any supper hour. Surely we will all be gathered there at least one evening before those in my employ leave Imladris and we resume our road.”


"Are you all having a laugh without me?" Garia demanded. He had caught a gossip on its way between elven ears that Scribe's adventurers were gathered in the training hall, and he had to wonder whether Elmissir, thoughtful healer as she was, could be found there as well. She had been elusive that day; on purpose, Garia thought, only to tease him.

He did not find her at the hall, but it was impossible to back out without being seen. The gossip had been half right- most of the men were there (and that included Scribe, Garia laughed to himself), save for the desert rats. Ah, no- there was Harah. He was waving, and at the same time seemed to be edging away from the circle. "Seen another ghost?" Garia mocked, then turned towards the only man in the group he had not yet properly been introduced to, and informed him of that very fact. "But here's my hand for a greeting, and how do you do? I shouldn't ask. It can't be well, if you're around this lot."

“Ah, I’d watch my purse-strings if I were you Master Boartooth,” Scribbles warned the Beorning with a faint smile, nodding in Garia’s direction. “I suspect that the only thing faster than this one’s mouth is his hands.”

Harah’s snorted at the Scribe’s remark but was quickly stifled by a glare from the strawhead.

Boartooth grinned and took Garia’s hand in a strong grip. “I’ve been known to be quick myself, and would recover it before he knew it, Scribe. And you make sense. I'll tell my story to all at the table where such tales are told. That is, if you can keep your hands off my purse-strings, Master Garia." He chuckled at his remark.

"I am not a pickpocket, swordsmistress!" Garia huffed, perhaps a mite too eagerly for a squeak crept into his voice, and his ears tinged red. "It's a whole other thing, it is. True-" he raised a hand to stop them asking for a clearer definition, "I may have ridden with a less than trustworthy crowd, but there's not a bushel of friends that doesn't have a few rotten apples in it. I daresay we had a good taste of one of yours on the way here. Still have a bruise, right here," he pointed to his eye, which had healed perfectly and could now send the Scribe offended glares. Not for long. Garia knew a laugh was better than a lie. He was already shaking Boartooth's hand- a bear-sized paw, and just as strong. "Don't listen to any of that, Master Boartooth. I've got no need for your purse strings, or the purse itself, or, indeed, what's inside it."

“My apologies, Master Garia.” said Boartooth. “I should have guessed they were joking.” He laughed again. This was a crew he would be proud to be among.

Radesh quietly let out a bated breath. Accusing a man of thievery could go wrong in so many spectacular ways. Especially when the man in question had proudly proclaimed his disdain for common thieves, even if it was only compared to highway robbers. And of course no one liked being introduced to a thief. Boartooth's easygoing courtesy won the Hillman over.

"Well, now that we are all here," he put in, "we could perhaps go see if there is a jug of ale among Elvish treasures. Training with Scribe makes a man thirsty. Maybe we can even pick up the Corsair on the way."




Scribe by Scribbles, Radesh by Frelga, Harah by Bardy, and Garia by Rodia.
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Meneldor, Warrior Bard, and Brondgast, Mithril Knights

Gwaeryn and Robin, The Expected Party

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Postby Rodia » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:36 am

If there was any man who knew how to get a drink in Imladris, it was Garia. He accepted Radesh's offer cheerfully and it only took a moment for the three to be excused from Scribe's company- whether she was pleased or not to remain with the babbling Harah was impossible to tell. Garia took the lead of the trio, taking them on a winding wander which, they would soon find, was a beeline for the quiet hall where the lesser servants of Elrond's house came to wet their lips and gab.

"The twin lords have a wonderful cellar, but I have been told its thresholds stand too tall for my boots. Odd thing, for a cellar, eh? But I don't complain. When you try to drink a lord's bottle, you risk meeting the lord. Here…" he spread out his hands to show the emptiness of the hall- in the far corner, one gloomy Elf raised his glass and mumbled something in Sindarin,"…we may talk in earnest."

He grinned at the master of the hall, who had seen enough of the mortal to know his duty. The ale was brought quickly, all three mugs of it, and Garia pushed the frothiest one towards Boartooth.

"So, tell me, friend, where do they grow chaps like you and how many roast oxen a day does it take to get you so big?


(OOC: Solo post oemgee! :shock: )
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Postby Bardhwyn » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:43 pm

Deep in the forest, northeast of Imladris



“My lord? My lord?”

Elladan’s attendant waited, carefully watching his lord’s face for any sign he was present. Instead he saw the open eyed stare of an Elf who walked in the warm light of Aman; of one who dwelled in the waking sleep of healing. The attendant glanced at the slight bloodstain on his lord’s tunic. The bandages required changing and the entire troop had come to a halt at Taradѐath’s insistence. The Elven-medic approached.

“He walks. I cannot reach him,” the attendant explained.

“Let me,” Taradѐath said, standing at Elladan’s stirrup and gently placing his hand on the Prince’s arm – a breach of protocol but it had to be done. He spoke in Quenyan, raising his voice so that it carried well up and down the line of horses. “My Lord Elladan, Prince of Imladris, return to us, we beseech thee!”

In a voice that seemed to come from another world, Elladan replied:

“Who bids me return? What is thy need?”

“Tis thy need we must address, My Lord. We beg of you, return!”


Elladan’s chest heaved, as if the act of breathing was the most arduous of all tasks. His chest rattled slightly as his straight, elegant posture gave way into a slump. He turned towards Taradѐath. The brilliant clarity in Elladan’s eyes faded; he had returned.

“My need? What is my need?” he asked, his voice now sounding immediate and strained.

“Your bandages, my lord, we must change them,” Taradѐath said with a slight bow.

“Ah,” Elladan replied, bringing his hand to the wound in his right side. He pulled his hand away and saw the moist trace of blood. Nodding with agreement and with some discomfort he raised his leg over the front of his saddle to dismount.

“Wait, my lord, we’ll bring a block,” his attendant urged.

“No, no blocks,” Elladan insisted, sliding off his mount. He grabbed Taradѐath’s shoulder for support as his feet met the ground. Within a few seconds he’d assessed the terrain, the position of the sun and knew exactly where they were and the hour of the day. “We’re a day’s ride from Imladris, are we not?”

“Yes, my lord. Please, this way, I have a windbreak set up where we can work,” Taradѐath pointed to a small, sunny patch off the side of the path where there were a few chairs and a small table on which medical provisions and a small amount of food had been laid. The troop was given permission to dismount though guards were assigned around their perimeter. Elladan disrobed and as Taradѐath worked the Prince called various members of his staff to hear their various reports.

One stray orc bandit was tracked the previous night. It refused to lay down its arms and was dispatched. No other sightings since.

A message arrived that the Edain prisoners had been successfully delivered to the Rangers at Amon Sul, or New Weathertop as they’re calling it. There were no incidents to report but many of the southern Edain prisoners complained to the point of severe annoyance.

It is advised that if our forces meet any more Bandits who capitulate they be taken to Imladris and their delivery to the Dunedain at a later date.

“Any stray bandits who are this close to Rivendell will probably be in custody by the time we arrive, my Lord,” an Elven commander commented.

“I would hope so, Commander,” Elladan replied. “What of the dispatch to Celeborn, is it ready?”

“Aye, my lord,” a clerical looking Elf replied, handing him a sturdy piece of parchment filled with a tight, neat hand. “We send a carrier bird with the initial reports as you ordered to both Celeborn and Dale.”

Elladan reached out for the report just as Taradѐath pressed firmly against the Prince’s wound. Elladan gasped slightly and dropped his arm.

“A thousand pardons, my lord,” Taradѐath said gently. “But it would be best if you did not move.” Elladan nodded wearily and took the report with his other hand.

He began to read the words he had transcribed some weeks days ago, immediately after the battle and before his wound required his withdrawal:

Mae Govannen, father of my mother.
I, Elladan, son of Elrond, greet you and bring you good tidings.

On the 3rd of Hrive a force of our brethren 150 strong engaged a mixed bandit force of men, orc and goblin at the tunnel of Malanaie and, praise the Valar, we were victorious. My brother Elrohir and I led our warriors; not since the battle at the Black Gate have I ridden in arms with my good brother, nor since the taking of Dol Guldur have so many Elven warriors stood in ranks to face an enemy. It is heartening to know that during these waning days the will of Elvendom can still exercised in these lands.

By all accounts we arrived at what was a ten-day long exchange of skirmishes between three different bandit clans vying for control of the tunnel; an important transport route for the Bandits, as we know. The principle combatants were the clans Harlond and Carnad, though we captured bandits who hailed from as far south as Anfalas and Belfalas – interestingly they claimed to be innocent bystanders which is extraordinary in light of the how heavily they were armed and how vigorously they fought.

What is of most concern to us was the presence of a small, elite group of Edain, which were not Bandits, but trained warriors who fought with extreme skill and much bravery. We counted twenty plus in number and they were, according to the Harlond survivors, in league with Clan Carnad. None of them were taken alive, despite our efforts to preserve them. Even when disarmed and restrained they took their own life by some hidden means - we can only conclude it was a poison imbedded in their teeth. They appeared to be, by their countenance, from either far Rhun or a remote part of Harad. Perhaps the King of Dale’s concerns of meddling from farther afield are not unfounded?

What is also of concern is that these warriors knew my brother and I. It is unclear how. As you know, we purposely choose armaments free from rank and adornment, our helmets mask our faces. Our warriors are trained to recognize us by our fighting styles and by the sound of our voices. When our forces attacked we both were singled out and each of us attacked by a group of these black clad fighters; at least seven or eight converged on each of us.

Each one proved to be an admirable fighter. Many of our brethren attempted to aid us but these men fought like a pack, some attacking, others defending. We did defeat them, ultimately, but not with out injury on both our parts. They are light, be not concerned.



“If I may interrupt, my lord,” Taradѐath asked. Elladan looked up from the report.
“This is not a light injury,” the medic said, pointing a bloodstained finger at the line on the parchment stating as such.
“It is for the purpose of this document, Taradѐath,” Elladan said with wry smile. “Such is the nature of political correspondence. He probably already knows and we’ll find some special herbal poultice waiting at Imladris. How near to finishing are you?”
“I’ve just re-sewn five stitches and I am ready to re-bandage you now, please lift both arms like so,” Taradѐath raised both of Elladan’s elbows, forcing the Prince to hold the report aloft. He continued reading…

I can report the leader of Clan Carnad is dead but the leadership of the Clan Harlond still lives, as far we know. The Chieftain, Harlond, wasn’t present at the battle –it is rumored the Carnad chief took Harlond’s life before these skirmishes began. We have yet been able to confirm this. Harlond’s first and second in command were present and both escaped capture. My brother is in pursuit of them, though, of the two, the Barding Traitor is Elrohir’s priority. We have reports she was seen traveling westward and Elrohir is accompanied by a troop of his warriors.

Many of the bandits have been killed or captured; we estimate nearly two-thirds. I fully expect them to attempt to regroup, however. They must not be allowed to do so; I have sent reports and dispatches to the Edain Kings.

And lastly the Tunnel of Malanaie: it was my recommendation the tunnel be destroyed some years ago and I warned of this very consequence – that the tunnel would be discovered and its use controlled and abused. If the King of Dale’s concerns are valid, the fate of this passage is even more pressing. We must, together, commit sufficient forces on either side of the mountains to keep this tunnel secret and secure, or compel the Kings of Men to do so, or we must destroy it. For now the passage is once again in control of Imladris but we must decide its fate before the dying of the leaves this coming year.

With gracious compliments,

Elladan motioned for a quill. One was presented and he signed the document before handing both quill and parchment back to the clerk.

“Prepare an abbreviated document for the King of Dale, please,” Elladan requested. “Remove all familial solicitations and the references to our injuries and any references to him, specifically. Also, amend the sentence about the Barding traitor; merely state she’s being pursued – no mention of Elrohir. Bard will only fret if learns Elrohir’s on the chase. I’ve had too many of his reminders about how he wants her alive. Such transparent sentimentality, it doesn’t befit a King…” Elladan saw Taradѐath had finished. He slowly stood, careful to inspect his new bandages. “Well done, Taradѐath.” Elladan motioned for his shirt and tunic. He turned back to his clerk. “The Dale dispatch - have it ready as soon as possible. Also send for two runners from Imladris to meet us. I want these reports on their way before the sun sets.”

Taradѐath dropped the Prince’s cloak upon his shoulders as they walked to the horse pickets. “Will your Highness walk in healing as we ride?”

“No, I think not. I’ll have time when we’re back in Imladris. I want to read the Dale papers before they leave.”

“Your Highness has forgotten,” Taradѐath replied. “The feast of Rhîw? I believe we shall arrive in Imladris in time enough for you to change, perhaps even bathe beforehand.”

Elladan came to an abrupt halt and pressed his eyes shut. He rubbed them open and resumed walking. “Of course, the banquet. Tell my clerk to have that dispatch done within the hour. I will try to walk again but I fear I have too much my mind now, the feast not withstanding.”

“Try, that is all I ask, my lord,” Taradѐath replied.

At the picket Elladan halted. Next to his horse stood a mounting block. “I said no blocks,” he looked at Taradѐath.

“I re-sewed five stitches. That makes eight out of seventeen you’ve pulled. Please, my lord,” Taradѐath motioned to the block and Elladan silently stepped up and mounted his horse.

As the Prince trotted to the head of the troop Taradѐath watched Elladan’s posture; he was in pain and doing his best to hide it. He could ease the pain with willow root but the Prince flatly refused. The medic rubbed at some of the dry royal Elven blood that adhered to his fingers. It looked like and felt like all the Elven blood he’d ever touched.

“Will he be alright?”

Taradѐath looked up, startled. It was one of Elladan’s commanders, Carnaeith. He’d managed to walk up to Taradѐath as silently as death. The medic bowed slightly.

“He bears the pain like a Prince of Elvendom, with fortitude,” Taradѐath replied.

“That’s not what I asked.”

“His injury is moderate to severe. He shouldn’t be riding but he is. Once in Imladris and with some undisturbed time, he should heal well enough though I fear he will have a very faint scar. Does that answer your question, commander?”

The Elven warrior didn’t reply. He watched Elladan ride ahead as Taradѐath had. He then shook his head.

“I’d never seen anything like it. Those black Edain, they swarmed on them both. Like bees. As soon as they stepped onto the battlefield it was as if someone sounded a bell in heads of those men. And they fought as if the very breath of Morgoth were in their lungs. It was breathtaking to watch, Taradѐath, to see the sons of Elrond fight as they did that day.” Carnaeith shook his head once more and chuckled, remembering their prowess.

“It is done, though,” Taradѐath asked. “The bandit clans have been broken?”

“I think so,” the commander replied. “And none too soon if Carnad had it in mind to use mercenaries the likes we encountered. We just have to round up Harlond’s two favorites, find Harlond’s corpse and yes, it’s done.”

Carnaeith walked away leaving Taradѐath with his bloodied hands and his thoughts. He rubbed at more of the dried blood on his fingers and prayed to the Valar there would be less and less shed in the days to come; of Eldar, Edain, of any creature. Even Dwarf.


(and another solo post!)
Last edited by Bardhwyn on Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:55 pm


Report from the High King’s Magistrate, Amon Sul

To the Law Magistrate to the Royal Court of Dale

My dear friend and colleague, greetings!

I have now been in Amon Sul now for a period of only two weeks and I have, I fear, a task before me that far outstrips my capacity. The people here are brutal, ignorant and vulgar. How can I, how will I, instill respect and awe for the King’s justice here in this vile place? I cannot bring myself to call it ‘New Weathertop’ – it is a name as vile as the place. Let us call it Amon Sul, a name of nobility and majesty of old.

Ah, you warned me, I know. But I relished the opportunity to establish a fully working court of law and justice in the name of King Elessar – that beacon of light and hope for all of Middle Earth. It will be by the word of law that our lands are brought together, not by the sword – this was our dream, do you remember? After those long, boring lectures on Numenorean law at University? How we’d converse late into the night about bringing the life and light back into the Rule of Law for the King’s of the West here in Middle Earth?

And here is my chance, but I am sorely vexed. Not two weeks have passed since my arrival and I have two incidents to report to you. Each relate to citizens of your fair city.

Firstly, a young man was hanged in the street just two days ago. He bore the Dale brand of traitor upon his cheek and is purported to have been a bandit fleeing from skirmishes east of here. They band together in Clans, so I’m told – I do not know to which he belonged. The youngster was hung before I could speak to him. The Elves have had enough of the Bandit menace, it seems and massed against them, finally. About time! (I’ve not met an industrious elf in my entire life!) The consequence of this has been a rise in petty theft as these bandit refuges flee through our little town, stealing food and clothes. This young man was not so lucky as to escape. He was caught stealing food from a rubbish bin and the hoards here in Amon Sul, at one look of his brand, showed no mercy. The lad had no papers but I have instructed his remains be treated accordingly and transported to Dale.

I know this heinous act transgresses every mandate, edict and directive that has been issued by your King of late; that all citizens of Dale accused of crimes be transported, unharmed and in decent health, to Dale for due process of law. I tried in vain to remind the citizens of Amon Sul of their duty to their allies and to the friends of their King, but I couldn’t stop the fury of the masses. A rope was found, a tree. It was over before I could mention the Treaty of Shared Magisterial Law.

I am sorry to report a second transgression - one even more grievous to me.

The wanted traitor, Bardhwyn, the former Baroness Bardhol of Dale, has also met with death here on the streets of Amon Sul. She, too, was fleeing the Elven battles and while here, hiding in Amon Sul, was discovered and recognized by a group of citizens; identified by her stature and her disfiguring scar down the right side of her face. I understand she was a figure of prominence in the bandit world, quite feared and respected. (I’ve heard stories and to me she sounds outright dreadful, an affront to womanhood!)

When confronted she attacked and tried to escape. She fought skillfully but fell. Her assailants were most disconcerted when I informed them that no reward was forthcoming; that the reward would be paid for her capture alive. Not her death. They spat and fumed and stormed out of my offices spewing such language. The people here are quite coarse.

No doubt this news will anger your liege lord and I humbly express my sorrow and, on behalf of the people in this unruly town, I beg his forgiveness. Still, in the case of the Traitoress of Dale, perhaps the people of Amon Sul have spared him much inconvenience and, dare I say, embarrassment? She can no longer distress His Majesty or shame his family with her continued existence. The error of his youth – for his childhood love for this woman is well known, even in Gondor - has now been scrubbed out by the inevitability of time.

As with the young lad she, too, will be transported to Dale, her remains to be dispensed with as your King sees fit.

I will, with renewed persistence and vigor, safeguard the legal rights of all Barding citizens henceforth, as duly required by treaty and law between out two great kingdoms. Please assure His Highness, Bard II, King of Dale of my intentions and most solemn pledge in this regard.

And I would be most pleased to come and visit you in the middle of the third month of this season. The roads should be passable by then. My wife will have joined me and we’ll bring some of our Gondorian wine, the white, which I recall is your particular favorite.

With sincerity and respect,
Dralethir, Magistrate




My dearest friend, please forgive this hasty addendum written in pencil! I must write this quickly as the courier is waiting and I have no quills to hand.

Important news! My report of the death of Bardhwyn, former Baroness Bardhol, traitor and enemy to the Kings of Dale and Gondor, was erroneous! The woman who was attacked and killed did have a scar upon her face but it was on the wrong side. Right, not left! Furthermore, when preparing the woman’s remains for transport (the town decided to pay for embalming) we saw she did not bear the traitor’s brand on her left inner forearm. This anonymous woman, this poor creature, was unfortunate enough to look enough like the Traitoress of Dale that it brought about her demise – it is so tragic! She could well be deemed yet another victim of this vile woman’s infamous treachery and malice! May she be captured and brought to justice as seen fit by your most august monarch.

I have the anonymous woman’s assailants in custody and they are being questioned. It appears to be a case of premeditation; they saw her resemblance to the Barding woman and thought they’d cash in on easy money. I’ll say it again; the people here are coarse and quite often fail to think! For example, another scarred woman was brought before me just today under the suspicion she was your infamous Traitoress. She was a simpleton, had completely lost her mind and memory – didn’t know her own name, the name of her parents or birthplace and her scar – quite an ugly one, shame, really - was the result of the injury that afflicted her mind. The poor dear; she was quite sweet and were she of right mind would have been a good wife and mother, I am sure. She was in the care of cousins from Lebennin, one being a member of the Tower Guard, Dale Contingent I’ll have you know. A fine young man who mentioned his Commanding Officer as one Lysandros – do you know of him? Knowing she was in his care was a relief to me for she could well have become another victim of mistaken identity. I sent them on their way with a personal letter of introduction. I shall not see another innocent citizen abused!

The courier is irate with me! I must finish! Until we meet – Dray.
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Postby SilverScribe » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:35 pm

OOC: . . . meanwhile, back at the Practice Arena . . . ;)


Scribbles politely declined when Radesh looked to her after suggesting going to find a cold ale. She murmured the appropriate apologies, and watched with some relief as the hillman departed with the Boerning and the troublesome Garia. She sketched a bow to Harah and tossing her cloak over her arm, left the practice arena, her long strides taking her quickly out and well down one of the green-bordered paths..

She caught the sound of light, hurried footsteps some distance behind her. Sighing, she took her cloak from her arm and used the motion of settling it over her shoulders to turn around and face back down the path. Sure enough, the little Southron Harah, hove into view a few long moments later. His pace faltered as he caught sight of her but he quickly collected himself, bowed slightly and approached with a shuffling step and folded hands.

“Hello there, Miss...ah!” Harah stopped himself short and looked sheepishly at the Scribe. “I was hoping we could... if it wasn’t too inconvenient...I wanted to ask you...and to apologize... oh dear,” Harah brought a nervous hand to his forehead as he struggled for a place to begin.

Though her face remained impassive, Scribbles smiled inwardly; the Southron was the picture of polite deference, not to mention a clear attack of nerves. She guessed his intent and raised one hand to stave off what was sure to be a long and complicated explanation, much like the monk Cornelius was wont to engage in. “Apology accepted, Master Harah,” she answered him calmly, “for whatever offense you feel you have committed.” She almost added ‘this time’ but caught herself, it would likely only make the diminutive man more nervous. Instead she dropped her hand and tilted her head slightly to one side. “What do you wish to ask me?”


Harah by Bardy . . . :)
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Postby Bardhwyn » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:39 pm

Harah wrung his hands and smiled nervously. “I am in your employ, am I not?”

“Yes, Master Harah, on that point I thought we were clear...”

“I am clear, yes and I am grateful,” the Southron replied with hands held skyward in thanks,”Truly grateful for the opportunity to be with my friends, or should I say friend for I doubt Garia and I could ever really ‘be’ friends - he can be so sharp and stubborn towards me - I really don’t know what I do or have done to make him dislike me so...” Harah watched as the Scribe’s right eyebrow arched with impatience.

“Master Harah,” Scribbles cut in, “you need not worry about Master Garia. He is most definitely not in my employ.” ’And not likely to be,’ she thought, but kept to herself.

“Oh,” Harah said with a look of surprise. “I just assumed where ever Radesh would go, so would... now I will worry more if he’s not being looked after. He’s just a big child, Garia, but that’s not what I want to speak of with you, no. He can sort himself out.” Harah swallowed hard. “You are my employer and I am working for you now...”

“We have established that already.”

“Yes, yes, we have!” Harah repeated, sealing the fact with a firm point of his index finger. “And when we are in the company of others you very kindly - maybe too kindly - refer to me as ‘Master Harah’ - ‘Master’ ! Imagine? Me? Called by so honorific a title,” Harah shook his head in wonderment.

“Master Harah, what exactly is your question?” the Scribe prompted, beginning to feel slightly impatient with the Southron’s ramblings.

“Well, you see, I work for you. You, therefore, are up here,” Harah held his hand up high over his head. “And I am down here,” he dropped his hand well below his waist. Harah could see the Scribe’s eyebrow remained stiffly arched. “Yet you call me ‘Master’, he raised his hand again, high but not so high as when he referred to the Scribe. “And when I call to you,” he raised his hand higher still and fluttered it away, like some crazed, frightened bird. “‘ Don’t call me ‘Mistress’’”, Harah growled, “ or ‘Don’t call me ‘Lady’!’ Gods forbid the ‘L’ word escape from my lips,” Harah rolled his eye up into his head as if to chase the fearful memory from his mind. “Please, I must ask you - how shall I address you?”

Scribbles instantly understood Harah’s dilemma. Her time in the East had not gone to waste and she realized that there were customs and principles that she had long filed away as mere facts but that to Harah, were immediate and necessary. A fleeting smile passed her lips as she regarded the flustered Southron.

“ ‘Scribe’, Master Harah,” she responded. “Just ‘Scribe’ will do, or ‘SilverScribe’ if you are so inclined. I have no titles beyond that.” Something suddenly occurred to her.

“And in return, would you be kind and tell me, if being called ‘Master’ is not fitting, in what manner should I address you that will not offend?”

“Offend? Oh, Miss.. er.. Scribe, you do not offend me! No! You only honor me, every day! The clansmen, now they offended me, calling me dung-rat, and weasel-face, Southron shi...oh, I can't say it. On a good day I was just Harah, plain Harah.” Unconciously Harah’s hand uncoiled his worry beads from around his wrist and he began to work them with a furrowed brow. “The Barding, Harlond’s Number One, for all her wickedness, she always called me by my name,” he said absently. He then smiled and looked up askance at the Scribe, with just a bit of mischief in his eye. “If you don’t mind, Scribe,” he pronounced the name very deliberately, as if forcing out the vowel from in between the consonants. “Could I keep ‘Master’?”

This time Scribbles actually smiled. “Of course, Master Harah.” She moved her hands palm outwards to her sides. “So, are we both properly informed and more at our ease?” she asked.

Harah smiled broadly and while bowing touched his chest, lips and forehead. “Scribe, I am most at my ease!” He stood up, his smile still fixed. “I think I shall return to the others and learn more about Master Boartooth. I must learn to be unafraid in his presence since he is now my brother. If you will excuse me?”

Scribbles placed one hand over her heart and sketched a shallow bow in the Elven manner. “Most assuredly, Master Harah. Please, go and enjoy yourself.” At the Southron’s parting smile, she turned and continued on her way. There were a few matters that with the departure from Imadris looming, she had to take up with Guilhendar.


SilverScribe by SilverScribe and MASTER Harah by yours truly
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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:34 pm

Boartooth leaned back and took a swig of ale as he listened to Garia and Radesh. "Ah, where they grow chaps like me is in the land of the Beornings, to the north between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood. A fair place. You'd like the great hall where I grew up.

Oxen, naw, never touched the stuff. Not my style. My beasts are like children to me. Maybe sometime I'll bake some of the fabled honey-cakes of my kind for your liking."

Taking another drink, he continued, "But I promised you a tale of us dancing bears. More truth to it than you know. It began far back in the Elder Days when the Three Houses of the Edain first awakened in Middle-Earth.

My great ancestor, Bar of he house of Bëor was the first of our kind. It is a tale of a gift, or a curse, depending on how one uses it.

Bar was a big man, a great one, but given to bouts of wrath that got away from him. It began when a bear got into his stores of food and wrecked the place. Bar went berserk and pursued the bear when it had done nothing wrong, but merely satisfied its hunger.

He pursued the bear to a large mountain. There, a battle commenced. He slew the bear, giving a cry of triumph. But that was the beginning of his troubles. It was in the days when Oromë still roamed the earth. He decided to teach Bar an important lesson.

He showed himeslf to Bar, together with the Great Eagle Thorondor. The Song of the Valar was all around him.

Bar, from now on, the life of the bear that you wantony slew in your rage shall be yours. It is a gift, or a curse, depending on how you use it. May you learn your lesson.

Then, Thorondor picked up Bar, ascending into the Song. And Bar was transformed into a bear.

As he was put back down, Oromë said Now at will, you and your descendants will take bear's form, the form of the bear you so wantonly slew. Use it for good, to hunt the minions of Melkor, and it shall be well for you. Use it for ill, and it shall not be so well.

And so they departed. I am a descendant of the first Beorning, who has the power to take a bear's form, handed down from generation to generation. Some are grim men and bad, but most stay true to their purpose. So my grandfather Beorn was known to the hobbit Bilbo and the wizard Gandalf, and took part in the Battle of Five Armies.

We have kept the land safe ever since the beginning, and no warg or orc is safe from us.

That in brief is the tale of the Beornings, of which I am the latest. A bear's strength is in me even in this body you see before you. And like Radagast, I am friend to the birds and beasts. When we set out, you shall see Thunder and Lightning, my horse and falcon, with me."
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Postby Bardhwyn » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:40 pm

Harah had slipped into the servant’s hall and dropped down quietly in a chair in between Garia and Radesh and opposite the Beorning.

" Then, Thorondor picked up Bar, ascending into the Song. And Bar was transformed into a bear,” he heard Boartooth say. A tankard of ale was set down before him by the Elven steward, which Harah acknowledged with a smile and nod. He continued to listen, aware he was tense but his unease vanished as he took in the fantastical words of his new comrade… of the pronouncements of the Westron god, of how Boartooth’s people passed this magical skill from generation to generation, how they knew wizards and Halflings and were friends to the creatures of the forest. There was no mention of eating men, or ravaging travelers on the road.

By the time Boartooth finished Harah’s mouth hung open. Such wonderous things occurred in the North! Harad seemed boring in comparison.

A bear's strength is in me even in this body you see before you,” Harah heard Boartooth say, and he had to admit that, from the looks of him, it had to be true. Perhaps that is why the Clansmen spoke so ill of his kind, they were dangerous and strong. Harah grabbed his tankard and drank from it wondering how he could possibly speak to this man, bear, bear-man, Beorning – without squeaking like a scared girl, like a scared Southron-rat…

Harah then remembered the Scribe and how she called him Master. He sat a taller in his seat and swallowed hard and we decided to wait until the time was right and then he’d dare himself to speak… when the time was right.
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Postby Rodia » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:04 pm

As the Beorning's tale unfolded, Garia never stopped smiling, but the blinking that had almost turned into a twitch betrayed his bewilderment. When Boartooth spoke of his fathers turning into bears, Garia looked to Radesh- the man had once claimed to see a wolf become a girl. A tall tale, which Garia hed never quite believed, since Radesh could not produce the werewolf. He wondered, then, if Boartooth could really spring a claw from his palm.

"I've heard that story before," he exclaimed brightly once the Beorning had stopped talking. "Never from a bear, mind. There aren't many in my parts, and I doubt they could speak so clearly. But it was one of the tales they would tell children, of lands far far away. How fine for you to have that legend as your family story, stars, I wish I had one half as excellent."

He raised his glass, and Radesh did too, nodding to show he was equally impressed. Garia wondered what the hillman thought of it all. He didn’t want to appear gullible by taking Boartooth’s talk of men turning into beasts for granted, but he couldn’t find the sense to doubt it, either. Best let Radesh ask a foolish question- he could be forgiven, being only a shepherd from the hills, or better yet the desert rat Harah, who snuck in while no one was looking. He had raised his tankard as well and was looking a little taller than usual.

Radesh had used up his store of surprise when he had met the werewolf. He knew that tale to be true, and so did not think to doubt Boartooth.
"Good tale, well told," he said. "Even better for being true. Master Boartooth, I hope your honeycakes are as good as your stories. What else can one wish for in a comrade?"

"I should say a set of bear claws and the maw to match would be a handy thing in combat," Garia chuckled, watching Boartooth's face for a hint. "If that's a sight your company can expect, I am almost sorry not to be going with you."

“Believe me, Garia, I would take you up on your challenge had I not promised Elladan not to take bear’s shape while in Imladris, except in my times of sleep in my room,” said Boartooth. “ And if you had told me of your encounter with a Great Eagle now, I would not have believed you had I not seen it with my own eyes. It was as a bear that I watched the two of you speaking with Landroval. I watched and heard from my own window, and heard you wonder if you would see a dancing bear next. I almost came out to grant your wish.”

He laughed and took another drink. “There are many wonders in Middle-Earth that few would believe. And one day, tales of Elves will be the stuff of legend that few believe. So I do not blame you for your skepticism. And I do wish you could come with us. “

"Ah, no, I didn't…" Garia blew out his cheeks in the mumbles of one who has been caught doubting an obvious truth- but as Boartooth himself excused him, he smiled again. "There are things that have to be seen to be believed. I'll count your employer as one of them." Knowing not to look to Radesh for a laugh, he glanced at Harah. The man only choked on his drink. "I won't toast that wish, if you pardon me, I have no desire to trade what I have found here in Rivendell for a death hunt with Mistress Longlegs."

Harah sputtered. His estimation of his employer had reached epic heights within the last hour and he was feeling particularly loyal. “Mistress Long..! Be mindful of what you say, Garia. You may accidentally engage that mouth of yours when she’s in earshot and …”

“And what?” Garia asked “She may hear me? Mweh!” The strawhead dismissed Harah with a swat of his hand.

“And you really think they’ll let you stay here, Garia?” Harah asked, leaning out of his seat. “You...you.. look at you! You’re...you’re... one of us and they’re... they’re all of them!” At this Boartooth laughed heartily, shocking Harah back into his chair.

“Simply put, Master...Master...” Boartooth waited for the small man’s name.

“Harah,” the Southron squeaked.

“Yes, Master Harah! You were so eager to run away earlier I couldn’t catch your name!”

Being the object of the Beorning’s attention made Harah want to run away once more, but he fought the urge. “So you’d like Garia to accompany us as well?” Harah asked Boartooth, his voice breaking awkwardly at the word ‘us’. The Southron took up his tankard and tried to drink his dry mouth away.

“I say he can be useful with us.” said Boartooth. “Imladris is not a place for mortals like us to linger, one of the last remaining places for the Elves to remember days that are fast fading. The Eagles are gone, save one, and the Elves are few and far between. Much that was fair in this world is now fading.” He paused. Something Garia said struck him.

He looked up at Garia. “What you have found? Just what have you found here, Master Garia? Some elf-maiden, perhaps?”

"Ah…" was all Garia said, letting the smug tomcat grin tell the rest. He raised the glass again, to himself and his luck that time, and smiled even as he drank.

Harah looked at the strawhead from over the rim of his tankard and then he looked at Radesh. Their eyes met and Harah could tell by the glint in the Hillman's eye that they both knew exactly what Garia was on about. Or rather 'who'.

The hillman stepped in with a laugh and a shrug before they got too much further on the dangerous subject of the Elf-maidens. "Much that was fair is still here in Imladris," he said, echoing Boartooth. "And much that is wonderful. Eagles and... did I really say something about dancing bears? Vai, what is a man to do? It seems I name a thing and it appears. From now on, I shall speak only about ale and honeycakes."

On cue, a kitchen-Elf appeared with a plate of cakes. They were seedcakes, not honey, but for a moment Radesh looked a bit shaken.

Harah’s quick hand darted for one but he quickly dropped it with a yelp. “They’re hot,” he said with a sheepish smile and tried again, this time tossing the cake gingerly between two hands.

“So, Master Boartooth, do you mind me asking you - how old are you?” Harah asked, blowing on a piece of the seedcake.

“I am about sixty-eight years old, I guess.” said Boartooth. “We’re a little longer lived than most mortals.” He reached for a seedcake.

"A well-seasoned man, then!" Garia gave a little dry whistle, thinking the bear looked well for his age. He recalled, then, that just as Boartooth said, outlandish folk counted their years differently. There was an unpleasant realisation in that thought, so Garia abandoned it and nodded at Boartooth again. "To twice that many, then, or more, if that's your people's luck. Come to think of it, I've heard stories of great-grandfathers and grandsons all hunt-" he caught himself. "Well, Harah here is about a hundred and one," he dug his elbow into the Southron's ribs.

“I’m not!” Harah replied, almost dropping his cake. “But I am younger than our Master Boartooth,” he added. “I didn’t mean to pry,” Harah said to Boartooth. “I just had an inkling that if you were of magical descent, you probably were older than you appeared. And I was right!” He took a bite of his cake. “And I am pleased to know I am no longer the oldest among us.”

"Yes, for most men, at least age comes with wisdom…" Garia leant over with a pained grimace and shrug that clearly said: what a shame Harah is not like most men.

“Naw, you weren’t prying. I’m not ashamed of my age,” said Boartooth. “Not ashamed of having bear in my blood, either. It all works out.” He toasted them. “To our lady’s man and to Harah. And to our hillman, the Eagle’s friend.”

Harah sniffed in Garia’s direction before lifting his tankard. The cake was gone and so too was most of his ale. “And to the Scribe!” he added.

Tankards were raised, though Garia’s dipped slightly at hearing the Scribe’s name, and a resounding chorus of ‘CHEERS!’ rang out into the sparse hall. The men drank, each draining their vessels dry.

“Let’s have another!” Harah exclaimed, jumping to his feet. “This round is on me!” He patted his waist band and his empty pockets. “Ah, Radesh, my friend, may I?” Harah held out his hand and the Hillman dug out a few coins from his pockets. “I will repay you, you can count on me.” The Southron scooped up the empty glasses, tankards and plates (but left Garia’s - the strawhead stubbornly refused to let his glass go - there was at least one mouthful left) and scuttled down to the bar.

Garia opened his mouth to say something, but thought better of it and only chortled to himself as the Southron walked away.

"What is so funny?" Radesh asked.

"There's the man you should watch your purses around. Hm?" Garia could see neither the Hillman or the Beorning followed him. He gave them a moment then burst out laughing. "I haven't paid for a single drink in this hall. We're guests! It all goes on the twin lords' credit. Although tonight we may well make it the Scribe's. To the Scribe," he raised his glass quite earnestly that time and drank it til the bottom showed.



(obviously I did not write this BAP alone. You know who you are.)
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Postby Bardhwyn » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:40 pm

Many toasts were made, made rounds ordered and many more stories were told in the hours that followed at that table in the lesser servants hall, deep in the lower levels of the great estate that was Imladris.

Much more was learned about the Hills of Lamedon and the deserts of Harad, of the granite cliffs that lined the shores of Anfalas and Belfalas and the magical creatures that still slithered and slunk about the dense forest of Mirkwood.

The four Second Born, each guests of the twin Elf Lords of Imladris, soon forgot where they were. They no longer recognized the ornate Elvish carvings that surrounded them, no longer noticed the strange, enquiring glances of the elves who drifted past them. They no longer cared to drop their voices lest they be overheard (in fact quite the opposite was the case; they were outright loud) – they were, pure and simply, enjoying each other’s straightforward Edain company. They were brash, happy and each slightly drunk.

They spoke of horses, of lost bets and lost loves. Of fights won, the rare fight lost, the rare wagers won and horses once again. Hard times were recalled, good times were boasted of and women remembered; Beorning women, Haradrim women, Southern women - but Radesh was ever discreet regarding Hillwomen and little was offered and nothing asked (and, as a consequence, the other three each came to their own conclusion that the women of the Hills had to be some of the most beautiful women in Middle Earth if the hillmen were so secretive about them). The talked of jobs held, of jobs lost and oh, yes, of women.

Just as a bell pealed loudly in the hall Harah was heard to say: “…And then she said, ‘For a little man, you certainly know how to surprise big!”

“CLOSING TIME!” the Elven steward called out loudly in Westron – more out of necessity than courtesy; the Second Born were, once again, in fits of loud, obnoxious laughter.


The steward and two kitchen staff herded the Edain out. Boartooth lumbered to his quarters, which were opposite in direction to the where Radesh and Harah headed (and who was holding up who, it was hard to say) and Garia lagged behind them both. The chill of the night air, which was brisk but not too cold, helped sober them all up – somewhat.

Far across the estate, on the eastern perimeter the signal went up; Prince Elladan and his men had returned. Runners were dispatched to the Great House and to the medic’s quarters with news and orders; the news quickly spread across Rivendell that Elladan was injured.

Many Elves laid down to rest wondering if, yet again, the great banquet would be postponed…
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Postby SilverScribe » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:27 pm

As she made her way to the Archives, Scribbles wondered if Harah would re-join the others for an evening of ale and tall tales. The idea wasn't a bad one, most of the past weeks for her company had been taken up with healing, recovery and the necessity of regaining the fighting skills that they had been hired for. And aside from Htiet, they were all nearly fit and, she guessed, restless and as ready for the road as she was.

As for Htiet, both Elmissir and Taradeath had marvelled at his remarkable progress, but the Easterling's wounds had been grievous and even after an initial period of rapid healing, he was still not fit to travel. Scribbles couldn't help but feel that the circumstance that had put Boartooth at Imladris couldn't have been more fortunate, though the thought of leaving Htiet behind did not sit well with her.

She found Guilhendar in the Archives where of late he was quite often to be found at this hour of the day. After spending a few hours going over her supply list and the preparations needed for her upcoming departure, they went over her possible choices for routes and travel logistics. She noted however, that the tall innkeeper seemed somewhat distracted.

"Guil, what is amiss? This is the third time you've pointed out the cache on the northeastern route to me. I know that road well and have not forgotten where it is."

Guilhendar sighed and sat back, raking one hand through his loose, sandy curls. "It's Elmissir," he answered, sounding uncharacteristically tired.

"Elmissir?" Scribbles echoed.

"Aye."

"Well, what about Elmissir?" Scribbles prompted.

"I am not entirely sure, but she has been acting strangely this week," he answered.

"What do you mean, strangely?"

Guilhendar rubbed his eyes, then fixed the Scribe with a hollow look. "You know she is very much a creature of habit. She spends most nights with those herb books of Elronds, copying remedies and making notes and such."

Scribbles nodded with a grin. "Indeed. I suspect you will be carting a fair copy of Lord Elrond's medicinal library back to the Swan's Anchor."

Guilhendar winced, then grinned, then sobered again. "Aye, well, at least twice this week she's simply not returned to her room at all after the evening meal in the Hall."

"I heard she's helping Amras with something or another," Scribbles offered.

"I checked with Amras, she has not been with him," Guildhendar replied. "Nor with Taradeath's staff, nor with Taronwe, nor here or in Elrond's library."

Scribbles shrugged. "Well enough, but I don't understand what the worry is. She's not gone missing from Imladris, I saw her just this morning and she looked fine. And," she added, "she wasn't acting 'strangely' at all. Perhaps you're overtired, Guil. You look like you could use some time in the mists." Scribbles rose to her feet, re-rolled the map they had been using and replaced in into its niche.

Guilhendar rose as well. "Perhaps," he sighed. "But I just have this feeling . . ." He trailed off.

"We'll work that 'feeling' off in the morning," Scribbles offered. "Go get some rest and tomorrow, let's do some halberd work again."

Guilhendar merely nodded vaguely and left. Scribbles shook her head, pulled out another map and sitting back down, unrolled it, pulled out her worn leather journal and set to work making some needed notes.


********

From the shelter of a large weeping birch, Elmissir watched the Scribe's company file out of the Hall. As the group dispersed, she slipped silently after the wandering Garia, knowing where his feet were leading him . . .


.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:41 am

Radesh and Harah meandered slowly toward their quarters in the dark, which, in Imladris, isn't very dark at all. They still supported one another as it seemed the only way to stay on their feet.

"Vai! Where is the strawhead?" Radesh asked, looking back into the gloom.

Harah shrugged under the Hillman's weight. "Back there, somewhere. He knows the way to the Ivy Gardens".

"Quarters."

"Quarter of what?"

"No, the place, its the Ivy Quarters. You never remember the name."

Harah just shrugged again under Radesh's weight.

"How big was it again?" Radesh asked.

Harah stepped back from his hillman friend, careful to set him upright (and himself as well - they each swayed a little, regardless). He held out his arms about three feet apart. "That big!"

"That's big," Radesh repeated with an impressed nod. "And what did you call it? This big box of sweets?"

"Chocolates, Radesh, we call them chocolates and they are the way to any woman's heart. I swear upon the Holy Sands."

"I will take a box back to Fahn when we're done with whatever it is we're going to do out there," Radesh announced, throwing his arm back over Harah's shoulders.

"And I will help you carry them, Radesh, my friend," Harah said with a chuckle.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:05 am

Meanwhile, Boartooth was going the other way to his room. He had begun to get to know his new companions on this quest to defeat some Middle-Earth demon.

The Scribe. Peredhel that she was, she was everything an elf should be, and more. She was one of the few who had defeated him in combat, and the sparring since had sharpened him.

There seemed to be more to this Harah than he first thought. He longed to see this one in battle. A nervous guy who at first shrank away from him in fear. But he was right. Boartooth WAS dangerous, as many of his enemies had found out. And this quest needed dangerous people.

The Hillman he knew the least, but how did he ever get to be the friend of a Great Eagle? He saw the feather the Eagle gave him. There also was something about him that didn't meet the eye at first.

He had tried to persuade Garia to join them, but he had his own way to walk. Mostly around elf-maidens. A fun person to be around, but that was about it, as far as he saw.

He finally staggered into his room tired from the events of the day. He went to the mat on the floor and got down, transforming as he did into a bear.

Huffing and puffing, he curled up and went to sleep. If the others saw him right now, they would have their wish. To see him as a bear. But he didn't care, he was so tired.
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Postby Rodia » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:00 am

Was it the drink that had put Garia in such a fine mood? Tired with the talk, he still stepped lightly behind the others, or else, if the world saw him lumbering, he himself felt that he floated. Harah was chattering ahead, but Garia no longer heard the words.

He stopped, suddenly, and breathed deep a sweet scent. The fresh breeze that brought it was easy to follow; left, left and right and through a meshed door into the garden. Garia stretched and walked down the path, smiling, for he was headed towards a few good memories.

At a green bush he stopped, and ran his hand across the leaves. Wasn’t it winter yet? Perhaps winter never truly came to Rivendell. No- Imladris. The Elvish name was better, and it was what Elmissir called the place. She had taught him one or two words, which he could not remember now.

Do you think they will let you stay? Pah, and who would mind what a stinker like Harah said? Sure that he was jealous, the poor rat, and Garia did not fault him for it. He stopped again to revel in the realisation that he was now a man to be envied. A bird chirped in the garden, as if to congratulate him.

A whisper of sound warned him just before someone covered his eyes from behind him and laughed softly in his ear. “So, have you come to steal the last of the summer blossoms from the garden?” Elmissir whispered. Twice before she had walked here with Garia, late at night, like tonight. Though some of the First Born might be abroad in Imladris at this hour they were scarce, and very soon the rest of the Scribe’s Edain would be slipping deep into their nightly slumber.

Garia chuckled and turned as she dropped her hands, reaching out to catch them and with a rakish smile, bring them to his lips.

"Not the last," he murmured. "Not the last, surely, this pretty garden has much blossoming to do yet. But you shouldn't sneak up on a man like that, my lady Elf, we come from lands of such peril…" Rubbish, that was; it had not taken Garia a day out of the wilderness to forget any danger which might stalk him. He didn't jump at noises, or look over his shoulder. Imladris was safe. Still, for show, he grumbled at Elmissir, smiling all the while. "If I didn't hope you would be waiting here, I could have harmed you in my surprise."

Elmissir’s merry smile faded and her eyes grew serious. “I know you could never . . . would never harm me Garia, not ever, not in any way.” She believed it too, though she knew many would not, her brother most of all. She had heard the whispers and many tales of ”those Edain”, as so many of the First Born dismissively called them. A few mortal lifetimes spent in her brother’s Inn had provided her with many opportunities to listen and learn from all sorts of travellers, from just about every race except those that served the Dark Lord. So she knew a little something of men and even a little about what might drive them to seek homes and hearths or, like Garia, a road filled with danger and adventure. It was part of what drew her to Garia, along with his roguish and disarming smile and easy, carefree manner. How different from the sober, serious First Born he was!

And dangerous, if Guilhendar found her out. Though she did not fear physical harm from her brother and had no wish to upset him, she knew he would be angry and unreasonable if she even tried to explain her actions, if she even could explain them in any way he would understand. Sighing, she pushed the thoughts of her brother away, this was her life and she was not going to waste a moment of it on regrets. The Scribe’s company was preparing to leave Imladris and she had no idea if Garia would follow his friend Radesh, or go his own road. She only knew that if he stayed behind in Imladris, the elves would be gracious but would watch him far too closely for comfort, for his comfort certainly, and he would find some reason or other and be gone. Their chances were narrowing down to a last few nights . . .

She regained her smile and lightly pressed the brigands hands, which still held her own. “Come on a night ride with me Garia,” she asked. “The air is fine and there are sights to be seen under the stars that you will not see in the day.”

Garia's grin couldn't be any wider. "Oh, such sights, I am sure. My skies, Elmissir, I don't know why you ask when you know I cannot say no. You would need only command and I will follow."

The healer’s smile brightened even further, making her eyes sparkle in the muted glow of the single nightlamp that lit the garden path. “I prefer to ask, rather than command mellonîn, but I am glad you have agreed, since I’ve had both our horses saddled.” She pulled him off to a side path where the brigand’s horse and the palfrey Elladan had loaned her stood quietly.

"Aren't you resourceful," Garia clucked as he saw the horses, all in order as if they had planned the ride together. For a moment- the briefest one- he feared that it was all a ploy, and that she would lead him to some misfortune. The Elves held their reputation in high regard, and he was still a wanted man, wasn't he? Not in this land, not in this province, but…

Elmissir's hand in his was a balm for such thoughts. Garia shook them off, and they vanished into the night. "Where are we going?"

Elmissir accepted Garia’s help to mount, then leaned down from her saddle. “To a small meadow I know of,” she answered softly. “Where my bees slumber and naught but the stars and night flowers will see us dance.” When Garia had vaulted to his own saddle, she led off, taking a narrow, little used track out of the garden that led onto yet another trail that began to climb gently and looked as though it too saw little traffic.

In far less than an hour’s time, the trail branched again and beyond what looked like an impassible wall of young willows growing from a bank of low hedges, stretched a relatively flat meadow, sprinkled with tiny white night blossoming wildflowers. Opposite, under the far eaves where the forest resumed, a set of pale hives huddled in shadow. Elmissir dismounted and after leaving the horses to graze in a stretch of puddle laced grass next to a slow running stream, she turned to the highwayman. “Is it not a most perfect spot?” she asked shyly. “Aside from giving us wet feet and, I fear, muddy cloaks,” she added with a laugh.

"Does my lady want me to carry her?" Garia offered gallantly. The Elf laughed, and so they both stood in the dewy grass and breathed the night air in. The moment of silence grew so long that Garia felt obliged to move closer, and put his arms around her. "A perfect spot. For what, dear Elmissir? It wasn't quite perfect until you set foot in it, you know."

“Flatterer,” she said, then reached up to twine her arms around Garia’s neck. “I shall take you up on that offer of a lift, aphadonîn*. With a chuckle, he easily swung her up and strolled over to a higher, drier stretch of grass, where he set her gently back on her feet. She left her arms where they were.

“It shall be our perfect spot for, well for whatever we decide,” she added, in answer to his other question. At Garia’s answering smile she brushed his cheek with a gentle kiss. “And whatever the Valar sees fit to grant us,” she murmured.

’Oh yes, praise the Valar,’ Garia thought as they sank down onto the grass.


* Sind. (loosely) ‘my follower’


OOC: Elmissir by the clearly shameless Scribbles.
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Postby SilverScribe » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:19 pm

OOC: um . . . BAP alert . . . . I think . . . :P

IC:

Guilhendar paused with his hand on his door latch and glanced over at his sister's closed door. Once again, there was no light showing from underneath, which, as he had just told the Scribe, was odd. And here it was, now the third night out of the past five that Guilhendar had noted the same thing. A sudden thought occurred to him, could Elmissir actually be unwell? Would she hide something like that from him?

He quietly passed to her door and knocked lightly. No response. Fearing to wake her if she were resting, he eased the door open and silently slipped inside her sitting room. He didn't need the muted moonlight to show him that everything was in order. Crossing the room, he peeked into the small attached bedchamber . . . her bed was neatly made and unoccupied. Sighing, he returned to his own rooms, relieved that his sister was not abed with some rare malady, but wondering once again why she had departed from her usual nightly routine of sitting up, reading and making notes from the stacks of healing volumes she had borrowed from Lord Elrond's considerable library.

An hour and a pot of tea later and Elmissir had still not returned to her rooms. Now thoroughly restless and not a little anxious, Guilhendar threw on his cloak and left the Ivy Gardens, thinking a walk in the cool yet still mild night air of Imladris might be just what he needed to relax. Of course, he wasn't blind enough to miss the fact that he was not just out for a late night stroll, he was really just giving himself an excuse to look around for his sister.

She was not in the Great Hall, nor the Archives. The Master Archivist admitted that he had not seen Elmissir since the previous week, though he was not concerned for the books she had in her possession. They were volumes that few in Imladris, outside of Taradeath of course, showed any interest in and wouldn't be missed. A circuit around the waterfalls yielded nothing either, nor did a stroll through the Herbarium or any number of Rivendell's many and varied flower gardens and their newly added ranks of beehives. Two hours of failure and he gave up. Enough was enough; in the morning he would simply ask her what was amiss. He turned back towards the Ivy Gardens and on a whim, decided to swing past the Ivy Garden stables.

The Scribe's tall warhorse greeted him with a knowing snuffle and a determined, demanding nudge. Guilhendar laughed and rubbed the stallion's forehead, then apologized in sincere Sindarin for the lack of an apple or sweets. As he left, a casual glance left and right showed him the rest of the Scribe's company's mounts . . . and a pale palfrey that he recognized, a pale palfrey that didn't belong in the Ivy Garden's stables . . . but in Lord Elladan's . . .

Curious, he approached and couldn't help but notice that the horse's back legs were wet and splashed with mud up past the fetlocks. "Ah sister, such poor care you have for the fine mount Elladan has let you use . . ." he mused as he moved to gather cloths, curry brushes and a bucket of water. Glad for the distraction, he hung his cloak on a peg and groomed the palfrey slowly and thoughtfully. While replacing the warming blanket, he looked across the stable to where another horse belonging to the Scribe's company shifted in its stall. Suddenly, Guilhendar's eyes narrowed. There, the same condition . . . mud splashed legs and wet feet . . . the horse belonged to that troublemaker, Garia. Suddenly, things clicked into place; with a curse, Guilhendar forgot the bucket of dirtied water and collecting his cloak, left the stables.

There was a light under Elmissir's door now, by the Valar! Guilhendar took a few moments to calm his racing blood and rather than pound on the door and wake the entire place, once again he knocked ever so softly.

****

Elmissir answered the door and stepped back as her brother entered the room. "I was just making some tea, would you like a cup?" she asked in Sindarin, turning to the small hearth while wiping her hands on a cloth. Guilhendar couldn't help but notice the slightly dirty dampness around the bottom of her dress and a glance to where her cloak hung on its peg confirmed definite traces of the self-same mud that still adorned at least one horse in the stable.

"Thank you no, I had some earlier," he answered, dropping heavily onto a chair by the table. A few moments later, Elmissir sat down opposite him with a steaming mug in her hands. One look at his face and she leaned forward, concerned. "Guil, what's wrong?" she asked almost immediately.

He decided to pull no punches. "Where were you tonight?" he asked bluntly.

She frowned. "Out. Why?"

"Out where?" he pressed.

She set her mug down and glared at him. "Really Guil, it's none of your business."

"I suppose you were out in the moonlight in some secluded and seldom visited glade, seeking after some rare, night-blooming flower with rare healing properties?" he asked sarcastically.

She didn't flinch, even though a whisper of warning fluttered through her head. "Not really," she answered calmly.

"Oh? Then where have you been, really, at least three nights this week?"

"Ah, so you are spying on me again?" she replied. "I was merely out and about, why are you being so bothersome over this?"

He rose to his feet and leaned over, both fists on the table. "Because I've just groomed the mud off that lovely palfrey of Lord Elladan's that you've seen fit to abuse," he snapped, "and because both your cloak and Garia's horse seem to have recently shared the same muddy patch. Not to mention the hem of your dress. So, tell me sister, will Garia's cloak and clothing also bear the same telltale mud?"

'Damn', Elmissir thought, 'I should have insisted that we let Aelin groom the horses tonight . . .' Though she felt a faint heat climbing into her face still she stayed calm, shrugging and taking a slow, nonchalant sip of tea before answering. "If you want to groom my borrowed horse at odd hours of the night, that's not my concern," she answered. "And furthermore, whom I ride out with and where we ride is my concern, not yours."

"It is my concern if your conduct reflects badly on my House!" he grated.

"Oh, so it's your house now is it, Lord Guilhendar?!" Elmissir shot back, making a concerted effort to keep her voice down. "Strange how suddenly and conveniently you've decided to claim father's title, though where is the Swan's ring, brother dear? Ah, still in Lord Elladan's cupboard I'd wager, so you can take all that 'reflecting badly' and 'my House' nonsense and stuff it in your . . ."

"Careful!" Guilhendar growled.

"Ear," she finished. "Oh do sit down Guil, I hate it when you glower at me over the table like that," she added, attempting to restore some calm.

He lifted his fists from the table, but remained standing. "You have not answered my question," he stated, his voice flat.

Elmissir looked up and her eyes, normally so soft and depthless, visibly hardened. "And I have no intention of answering it," she snapped. "I am not a child and I will not have you stand there as though you were Father, and huff and growl and demand answers to questions that are none of your damned business to begin with! Honestly, you're becoming even worse than that wretched, run-everyone-else's-life, Scribe!"

Guilhendar ignored the double insult and instead, crossed his arms over his chest, his expression grim. "Soooo," he said softly, "you would throw your good name and your future away on not only a mortal, but one of low birth and definitely questionable honour?" At the quick flush that stained Elmissir's cheeks, he pressed on, knowing he had scored a hit, or at least a very near one. "Do you think he gives a twitch about your good name, or your reputation, little sister? I can guarantee he does not. All he cares about is his own pleasure, not to mention the lascivious details and tall tales he will share with anyone who will listen, tales which will surely include many undoubtably exaggerated anecdotes about how he . . ."

"Stop!" Elmissir cut him off. She rose to her feet, her cheeks burning. "How dare you," she said, her voice dropping low. "You assume much, and do you think the accusations you make throw your own honour into a favourable light? No, not with me they don't. Not by a long, long way." She picked up her tea mug and moved to the hearth to pour herself a warm up, her back to her brother. "Get out," she said, switching to harsher-sounding Westron, the finality in her tone clear as a tolling bell.

"El . . ."

"I said get out," she repeated, without turning.

He was a veteran of enough battles to know when he should surrender the field. He got out.

***

"Wha . . . ?"

Confused and groggy from sleep, Garia blinked at the apparition that loomed over him, the selfsame apparition that was holding a fistful of his shirtfront in one hand and had effortlessly lifted him halfway clear of his blankets.

"If you have dishonoured her, I shall feed what's left of your corpse to the carrion crows on the heights," Guilhendar growled, then slammed Garia back to his pillows. "Best you leave Imladris while you still have life and breath to do so," he finished, then stalked to the door. Turning, he glared back at the mortal. "And if you ever speak of this, or ill of her, not even the crows will find a morsel large enough to be worth their trouble." With that, he silently slipped out, closing the door quietly behind him.

***

Elmissir didn't even finish her tea after her brother left. Knowing that the Scribe rarely used her rooms, she slipped next door quietly and after locking the Scribe's door behind her, she crossed the room to sink down onto the narrow bed with a soft sigh. Did her brother know anything as certain, or was he merely assuming the worst? She decided the latter, and then decided she didn't really care after all. Guilhendar would never breathe a word of his suspicions to anyone; that would risk casting them both in a poor light . . . her as willful, ill mannered and spoiled and him as lacking in proper care of and control over his family affairs. She nearly laughed out loud at the conundrum her brother was faced with. He would be an unwitting ally, whether he knew for sure that there was anything to hide or not, and whether he liked it or not.

Garia, on the other hand, might not be quite so circumspect. She chewed her lip, knowing that there was nothing she could do about it; either he would exercise discretion or he wouldn't. She could only hope that if he didn't, he would wait until he left Imladris. And if he did 'tell tales', as Guilhendar insisted he would . . . what would Radesh and the others think? That thought too, for some reason, didn't bother her either. Let them think what they like, they weren't stuck living with her brother in an out of the way Inn in the middle of nowhere. Smiling, she kicked off her slippers and pulled at the soft wool blanket folded at the bottom of the Scribe's bed. She was tired, a few hours of true rest before dawn came wouldn't hurt and no one was likely to disturb her here.

.
Last edited by SilverScribe on Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:35 pm

Amras walked briskly in the dawn light, aware the morning dew collected upon his new calfskin boots, staining the green leather in blotchy patches.

He then scolded himself roundly. How could he be concerned about a pair of boots at a time like this? Elladan lay wounded in his bed and his brother – also injured – rides like a demon after outlaws somewhere in the wild. The feast, after weeks of meticulous planning, may have to be postponed, perhaps even cancelled, and he is worrying about boots!

He brushed up against buddleia as he walked and testily brushed the damp off his sleeve. Amras was also acutely aware that by setting out so early he was defying Elladan’s orders.

By the time the injured Prince had arrived at the Main House it was the small hours of the morning. Runners had woken Amras announcing his master’s arrival at the eastern gate and the secretary quickly made the Prince’s rooms ready. The sight of Elladan shook him. He’d not expected the Prince to be so withdrawn and the medic Taradѐath, looking drained, never left his side.

Amras requested several times for permission to bring Elmissir but the Prince refused him, saying the lady was not to be troubled until the next morning. He meant a civilized time, of course, but Amras figured differently. As soon as the sun had risen he regarded it as morning and he set out for the Ivy Gardens determined to find the Elven healer and deliver her to Lord Elladan - in her night clothes, if necessary.

As he passed the entrance to the Archives, Amras rounded an ancient bank of holly and, to his surprise, found himself staring directly into SilverScribe’s chest.

“Good morning, Master Secretary,” she said coolly. “Forgive me if I startled you. I heard someone walking at a quick pace and I was intrigued. ”

“Startle me? You didn’t startle me, Scribe,” Amras blustered. “You merely arrested me. And yes, I have an urgent task. I’m to summon the Lady Elmissir. She is needed immediately.”

“Oh? Something amiss?”

“Amiss?! Amiss?!” The pitch of Amras’ voice lifted. “Let me guess, you’ve been in the Archives this last night, as you are each and every night? Yes, ‘something’s amiss’, Scribe. Lord Elladan has returned to us but with a wound of no slight proportion and Lady Elmissir’s expertise is required.” The secretary pulled a silk handkerchief from a hidden pocket and wiped his brow. “Taradѐath tends him well and hasn’t left his side but if ever there was an elf who looked near to exhaustion it is him…”

The Scribe placed a hand on Amras’ shoulder, keenly aware of the elf’s distress. “As do you, Amras. I’ll go inform Elmissir. You return to Elladan’s side.”

“You’d do that… yes, yes of course you would,” Amras said with a nod of his head. “Immediately, if she would, and she will, yes… she will, won’t she?” The secretary asked, answering his own question with another affirmative nod of his head.

“Yes, I am sure she will,” the Scribe replied. “And Amras, do not forget: the son’s of Elrond are strong and each stubborn in their own way. Elladan’s will matches that of his father.”

Amras once again nodded in agreement. “Yes, he does at that. Well said, Scribe. I’d always thought Elrohir to be more like his mother…” He turned to set off back the way he came when a second, spurious thought arose in the secretary’s mind – and for a brief moment he was his old, perfunctory self again. “Oh, and Scribe,” Amras called out. “Do ensure your men at arms are dressed in a fashion appropriate for the upcoming feast! I’ll suffer no scruffy second-born. Polished boots, clean clothes. Contact me if you need the service of a tailor!”

Amras didn’t wait for a response. He trotted around the holly and out of sight.


Gracias to the Scribe for allowing me to write her character.
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Postby Rodia » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:42 pm

Garia sat back among the pillows, his heart pounding almost as hard as his head. He tugged at his collar, where the Elf had stretched it, and gave a nervous laugh.

"What in the world…"

The empty chamber couldn't lend an ear. Garia rubbed the remnants of sleep out of his eyes and wandered out into the corridor. The Elvish assailant was gone, vanished like a bad dream…could it have been?

Chuckling to keep his spirits up, Garia prodded the door to Radesh's chamber. It gave way, and so he peeked inside. The curtains had not been drawn, but had it been dark, Garia could have still found the hillman by his snoring.

"Radesh! Are you asleep?" he asked for decency's sake, and after waiting half a moment, he walked in and poked the mound of blankets. "Hillman. Hey. Are you asleep?"

He had been, up until then. The snores stopped abruptly. Then the blankets flew up like leaves in a whirlwind, and the hillman was on his feet and lunging for Garia's throat.

"Whoaaaaa…" Garia backed up, cold sweat breaking on his neck as he realised the stupidity of startling a man as tightly wound as Radesh. He bumped into a table and heard something roll and shatter on the ground. By then, Radesh had recognised him; his arms dropped. His face, however, showed no relief.

"Easy, shepherd! It's me. Just me."

Radesh staggered back, still only half-awake. "It's goats..." For once, when Garia got the animals right, Radesh got them wrong. "Ah, strike your straw-stuffed head, all you do is confuse me." He sagged back on the bed, muttering in his own language a detailed and slanderous recital of Garia's pedigree.

"Bad dreams?" Garia joked as he strolled to the window to see if any murderous Elves lurked outside. "At least I know you're safe, if someone tackles you in the middle of the night. Yeah," he nodded, though no question had been asked. "That's what happened. Radesh? Don't fall asleep, I'm talking to you."

"I'm awake," Radesh replied without listening. He, too, broke into cold sweat, and silently thanked the stars that he did not sleep with his sword within his reach. "Stars, Garia, I thought I was over this." 'This' was an unpredictable way in which a sudden sound or touch would make him lash out before he could catch himself. Not even the peace of Imladris could quite erase what the War had done.

Garia, who had spent half the War dawdling in a coast town, and the other half riding reckless with the highwaymen, did not recognise the haunted tone. He dragged a chair across the floor and sat close enough to poke Radesh again if he should close his eyes. "You know my Missy's brother? Elmissir's brother. Tall. Pointed ears. Surly. Hm? Radesh, he's got it in for me. The blasted Elf finally woke up and noticed his sister and I were… well, now he's upset."

The hillman rubbed his pounding temples with all eight fingers. "What? What were you doing with the sister that you woke up the brother?"

Garia stared at Radesh for a moment, thinking perhaps the man needed some time to answer his own question. Seeing no progress, he gave in. "We were having a tea party. Stars, hillman, is it all goats up there? The man's sharpening his sword for me, and you know, I don't really blame him, if I had a sister…but that's no call to barge into my bedroom in the middle of the night and threaten me. I'm a guest here, am I not?"

"Not," Radesh replied promptly, because that was the only thing he was sure of. "You are - all of us are - here on sufferance." He rubbed his head again. "Still. A tea party? And what did you say about goats? It's sheep..." The last was simply the force of habit.

"It's all sheep with you…" Garia muttered, shocked. He shuddered, then took a deep breath. If Radesh needed to have it in simple terms…

"You know I've been…courting Elmissir, yes?" he spoke slowly, watching carefully to see if Radesh understood. "Well, last night, hm, my courting was successful. And he doesn't know," he raised a hand to stop Radesh from speaking- the penny had clearly dropped, "he doesn't know, because he told me he would rip me to shreds if…well, he will want to, if he finds out. Stars, what do I do now? I suppose I should fight him? Ah, Missy won't like that."

"Zagliss sicheli!" Now Radesh was awake. He stared at Garia, hoping that if he waited long enough, the strawhead's meaning would turn into something other than a hornet's nest. At last he gave up. "Stars. I hoped all your shouting was over something safe and innocent, like a knot of adders invading your bed."

"Ha, it couldn't have been worse," Garia shouted out, then felt compelled to explain. "Not with Missy, I mean, that was…hm. I mean, her brother. He pulled me out of bed. My bed. Not hers. Just now. It's a pity he didn't wake you by mistake, you could have given him a thrashing and I wouldn't have to worry about it. I can't fight him, he's her brother!"

"Well, where is she, then?" demanded the bewildered hillman.

"I…I don't know!" Garia huffed. "In bed, I should hope, it's a rough hour to be awake."

"In her bed?" Radesh repeated, just to be sure. "And you are in yours. Or were, before you shook me out of mine. So what is the brother complaining about?"

"That’s what I’m asking! Why is he complaining now? She's been fluttering about me ever since we arrived, is that my fault?"

"Probably," was the heartfelt reply.

"Well, can't blame her, can you?" Garia beamed. "She's got taste, she knew who was worth her attention, even with the lovely plum Harlond's old harlot gave me," he pointed yet again to his very neatly healed eye.

"If she has taste, he has nothing to worry about," the hillman grumbled.

"He said he'd murder me. He's looking for a fight. But I can't…you know how girls are. I can't fight with her brother. She'd never have it."

"Well, don't fight him, then." Problem solved, Radesh yawned and reached for the blankets.

"Hey! Hey now," Garia tugged the blankets away even as Radesh tried to wrap himself in them. "That's bright and easy for you to say, but I'm the one being threatened by an Elf in an Elvish town! If I don't fight him, that's as good as giving Elmissir up. If I do fight him, she'll despise me. Well, what would you do?"

"I," Radesh began, his voice rising, "would not be sneaking around Elf-ladies, especially those with angry brothers. What's the use of asking me, Garia? You have never in your life done a thing the way I would do it."

Garia groaned, sighed, rolled his eyes, but seeing that Radesh would offer neither advice nor sympathy, he threw the blanket back at him and made for the door. “And I wasn’t sneaking about,” he felt compelled to throw over his shoulder as he left the room.

Radesh gathered the blankets to himself but did not drop back to bed. The situation, as described by Garia, was becoming more clear to him by the second, in ever hideous detail and possibility. "If they lock us up again," he called after the retreating strawhead, "I'll break your head myself."
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Postby SilverScribe » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:35 pm

Scribbles frowned as her doorlatch remained stubbornly unmoving under her hand. She closed her eyes and whispered a command word in Quenyan, then pushed the door open and went in. She was surprised to see someone resting on her bed, a closer inspection revealed the back of Elmissir's head peeking out from the soft woollen blanket. Scribbles closed the door quietly, but the healer sat up, rubbing her eyes and blinking at the early pale light streaming in at the window.

"Wet your bed?" Scribbles asked with a chuckle.

Elmissir rolled her eyes and shook her head. "No . . ."

"Oh. Then perhaps you wanted to speak to me last night and couldn't stay awake?"

"No, not that either . . ."

"What then?" Scribbles asked as she tossed her cloak onto the chair and went to the small hearth that backed onto Elmissir's rooms on the other side. She stirred up the embers, then added wood until a small cheery blaze was going. Elmissir, in the meantime, stood up and folding the blanket, replaced it, then ran her fingers through her long, loose curls before bending to retrieve her slippers.

"I just wanted somewhere quiet to rest."

Scribbles turned back to the healer. "Since when are your own rooms not quiet?" she asked. "Not that I mind you being here, I hardly use the place, but do be a love and stop locking me out, hmmm?" Her eyes travelled from Elmissir's face to the muddied hem of her dress, and one eyebrow automatically went up.

Elmissir bit her lip as she met the Scribe's returning gaze. "What?" she asked.

Scribbles shook her head. "Nothing. But your brother is concerned, he spoke to me last evening."

"Oh? When last night?"

"Right after the evening meal . . . in the Archives. He says you've been . . ."

"Not in my rooms," Elmissir interrupted.

Scribbles shrugged. "So, you've been here instead. As I said I don't mind, but do set your brother's mind at ease. He does care about you . . ."

"Yes, I'll do that," Elmissir interrupted yet again, then moved towards the door that connected her rooms with the Scribe's. She was stopped by the Scribe's hand on her arm.

"Elmissir, Amras is looking for you and sent me on with a message. Lord Elladan returned early this morning and is sore wounded. Amras asks if you will assist Taradeath, who apparently is far too tired for his own good. Amras is concerned for them both, so please go now, hmmm?"

The healer's face paled at the news. "Elladan is . . . hurt? Did Amras say . . ."

"Only what I've told you. He asks that you come quickly," Scribbles finished, dropping her hand.

Elmissir nodded, already moving through the connecting door. "I'll gather a few things . . ."

"And change your dress . . . quickly now," Scribbles added, putting her head through the doorway to wink at the healer.

Elmissir stared at the Scribe for a few moments, unable to decide if she knew more than she was telling, or if it was merely her odd brand of humour. "Yes," she agreed, remembering the urgency of Amras' request. As the Scribe chuckled and withdrew, Elmissir quickly set about to wash and change, toss a few extra bits and bobs into her Healer's Bag, then bolted out the back entrance.

.
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Postby Rodia » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:02 am

"So you see the problem," Garia waited for a response, but only briefly. After all, Khiran did not speak Westron. He had been unwise enough to rise early and stop in Garia's path, and was now the unfortunate audience to the strawhead's complaints. "And I'm not a coward, mind you, I would fight any man for her. Any Elf, for that matter. But, her brother…I've done that once, you know. The man died, and that's why I'm sitting here instead of home with my feet up. But the girl was ugly…"

He made a face, Khiran responded with the same, and a shrug.

"Yes, she did look a bit like you, come to think of it. Same eyebrows. Na, she's fine, I'm sure of it, with a fortune like hers even a slug could marry. Do you want to know the truth?"

Khiran did not object.

"I'm not sorry I left. I mean, there's been rough bits, like down in the quarry with the hillman, and up here going hungry in the forests…but look at the end of the journey. Look at the prize. She's just about the prettiest creature I've ever seen. I'm not joking, don't you laugh! I'd fight any man for her."

He grew silent, contemplating how much pain Elmissir was worth. Khiran mumbled something and tried to rise, but found himself restrained- Garia had slapped a hand on his shoulder. "Have you ever been with an Elf, Fish?" he pontificated. "It's different. You don't forget it. It's like…" Words failed him, so he changed the subject. "He's going to have to challenge me properly, if he wants a fight. Otherwise it's plain murder. But Missy won't have it," he reassured himself. "Old Guilhendar will just have to learn to call me brother, whether he likes it or not! A few drinks will settle it."

"I'm not born in the dirt, myself, you know," he warned Khiran against making the error. The Ko-komat shook his head. "Even though I have only my sword skills and good manners to show for it, I'll have you know my father owns a tidy bit of land back in Linden." He looked around and gathered what he could find on the table; an empty dish, a spoon, a crust, a candle. "Say this is Borste, the big town. Big town, tall houses, a gallows that can hold six men, but it never saw the likes of me, eh? Borste is over here. This…" he pounded the crust into bits and spread the crumbs evenly, "is the forest. And here," he plucked a stem from a flower vase, which Khiran had to catch lest it toppled," is the river. So, from here, to here, all of this belongs to my family. Watermill, village, fields." The candle drew a flaky line on the tabletop. Satisfied with his work, Garia smiled. "Now, beyond this… ey!"

Grinning as well, Khiran had stolen the candle out of his grip and began to mark the table in his own fashion, chattering all the while. Garia leant over to see.

"What's all that? Ah, yes, I can read and write, too. Properly, not like that, what do you imagine you're doing?" he laughed. "I could learn how to speak Elvish, too, faster than you can learn Westron. Eh, but if he wants to fight, he wants to fight and I can't stop it. What?"

Khiran said something, and pointed to the table.

"No, you're wrong, "Garia disagreed. "I can't challenge him. He's got to do it. Elmissir is so gentle, Fish, such a flower, you've never even dreamt of a lady as fine as she. She's not a tavern maid with roast-grease on her apron, heckling two fellows to fight for her while she cavorts with a third! She's a healer, my man, an Elf, a wonder, she despises ruffians, and I will be all the more dear to her if I do not challenge her kin over some silly disagreement. No?"

Khiran looked dubious, and so Garia's reasoning fell to pieces. "You're no help at all," he sighed, and began his thinking anew.



(apologies to Jiy for commandeering her Fishie)
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:01 am

As Boartooth slept on his mat, all the ale he had drunk had its effect on him.

He went into a dream where many-colored bears were dancing around him, waving sheets of paper as they did. He joined in the dance with them, and not realizing he was dancing in his sleep.

He grunted and growled in his clumsy dance, but he got better at it. A few things fell and broke around him as he did. It would be a surprise if nobody heard the noise of the shuffling and breakage.

But Boartooth, the dancing bear, shuffled on in his nocturnal dance.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:45 pm

Eastward, in the mining town that is now Amon Sul, or 'New Weathertop'

Cyrion kept pace with his half-brother, matching his long legged jog through the grim back alleys of Amon Sul. The dawn didn’t seem to reach the places they walked that morning.

And Calmacil wasn’t listening to Cyr’s pleas to stop, either, to consider what he was doing – Calmacil, Cyrion reflected, never listened to him at all. Throughout his childhood in Lebennin, Calmacil didn’t listen and all during this interminable, sidetracked and frustrating ‘supposed trip’ eastward to Dale, Calmacil still didn’t listen.

Ten years his senior and born to the woman his father had cast away, Cal was more often a stranger to Cyrion than kin and this fevered pursuit of the strange, afflicted woman he called ‘Bethellyn’ was a case in point. They were chasing her through the early dawn streets of the hell-hole mining town known as ‘New Weathertop’ trying to stop her – but Cyrion wasn’t entirely clear why and from what.

Calmacil stopped at the rear entrance to a derelict building; its door hung delicately on one hinge and it bore the evidence of having been kicked in.

“Why in the name of Ulmo have you brought us back here!” Cyrion cried. “She’d not come back here, not after what happened.”

Calmacil gave Cyr a glowering look over his shoulder before pushing the door aside. “Yes, she would, if she had reason and I know she did.”

“Cal, don’t!” Cyr hissed as his brother disappeared into the darkened doorway. We looked about, frantically, expecting to see black-clad shapes emerge from every shadow. But none came. He pushed himself forward, through the broken door.

The room was as they had left it two days earlier, except the bodies were gone. Cyrion blinked in the gloom; the table was still overturned, the crockery and several windows were smashed and there was dried blood where the men’s bodies had dropped. Cal and Bethellyn had broken in, intent on learning more about the black-clad men that were pursuing Bethellyn when they had been discovered by a trio of the same. Cyr, who had been left to keep watch, bravely threw himself into the fray and stayed conscious long enough to see Calmacil, the Lieutenant of the Tower Guard, fighting like he’d never seen before – but more shocking was the sight of Bethellyn wielding a short and long blade as expertly as his Guardsman brother.

This was the woman who had lost all recollection of who she was, who was vulnerable and lost, the woman who shied away from brash men and loud noises, the woman who cradled babies and stopped to coddle every stray cat they came upon. As Cyr watched the spectacle of this woman in battle he was struck on the head.

When Cyr awoke his brother and this freakish woman were dragging him from the building, fleeing –he was told – from an approaching band of King’s Rangers responding to the cries and clash of metal. They escaped, blood covered, having killed one of the men who had discovered them and seriously wounding the other two. Whether they survived, Cyr didn’t know and there was no evidence to be seen there in gloom. Clearly the Rangers had taken the body and the two men away and left the debris.

Calmacil went to far end of the room and stepped into the hearth. He bent low and up into the chimney and while bracing himself with one arm he extended his other high into the chimney shaft. He grunted with frustration.

“She’s been and gone,” he said with grimace. “What is she going to do with it?” He asked himself, dusting the soot off his gloves.

“With WHAT, Cal?”

“Before we left here, dragging you, she filled a satchel full of papers, maps documents that we collected up from this room and one in the front. She hid it up the chimney to retrieve it later, lest we were caught.”

“Why?”

“Exactly, why? I was too full of the fight to ask at the time but I’m beginning to think it’s not just a matter of learning who these men were, why they were targeting her. Notes, documents, all that wouldn’t matter if it was some gambling debt left unpaid. No, that’s not all… it can’t be…” Cal murmured and Cyr could see he wasn’t talking to him anymore. Gradually a realization struck his half-brother and Cal grabbed Cyr’s arm.

“Come on! We’ve got to get to the stables!”

“Why?!” Cyr barked, resisting his brother’s pull towards the door.

“She’s leaving!”

“What do you mean ‘she’s leaving’? She doesn’t even know who she is, Cal! Where is she going to go? She’s afflicted,” Cyr pointed to his temple. “In the head.”

“She’s taking that information somewhere and she’s going off alone! We have to stop her.” Calmacil turned on his heel and strode from the room, forcing Cyr to jog after him. They’d turned and twisted down several small, dingy lanes before Cyr had drummed up enough courage to pull his brother to.

“Cal, stop! Stop!” Cyr ordered, pulling Cal to a halt. “I’ve had enough!”

“We’ll discuss it later…” Cal retorted, turning to go.

“No, now!”

With a grunt and a quick reconnaissance of their surroundings Calmacil pulled Cyr off the small roadway into a side alley filled with debris and feral cats.

“If we dawdle she could slip by us. We’ll discuss this all later. I promise, Cyr…”

“Let her go if she wants to go – she’s been nothing but trouble since you collected her up from that miserable inn! Lucky Fortune! Ha! Unlucky is more like it - there have been men chasing her – and therefore us – trying to kill all of us and for what? All for a gambling debt? Good riddance, I say…”

“No! No Cyr,” Calmacil retorted, his gloved finger pointing in Cyr’s face. “We find her and we help her.”

“Cal, she’s getting worse by the day, stranger…”

“We don’t have TIME for this…”

“Fine! We stop her but I say we help her by turning her over to the King’s Magistrate; he was sympathetic to her when we were hauled into his offices – remember? He’s better able to look after her than we can …”

“That is the one thing we can never do, Cyr! She can never go before that man again!” Calmacil yelled. He took hold of Cyr by the shoulders and held him fast. “Now listen, listen well. I don’t think her behavior is becoming stranger - I’m thinking she’s been cured. She knows exactly who she is. She’s…”

Cal fell silent and Cyrion watched his half-brother struggle with some internal obstacle; much like their father did when wrestling with a difficult problem.
Last edited by Bardhwyn on Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:46 pm

cont...


“Do you remember the public hanging, in the square?” Calmacil asked, finally. Cyr nodded and the gruesome memories sprung fresh in his mind: the young man with a Barding’s traitor’s scar upon his face being chased through the streets, captured by an angry mob and then the sudden materialization of the rope. It was done within ten minutes.

Cal’s voice became softer. “The young man they hung; he knew her, Cyr. He knew Bethellyn – do you remember? How he spoke out to her.”

“He was calling out for help, Cal…”

“No, Cyr. He was calling out for her to help him. Then they strung him up and that’s when it happened. That’s the moment she remembered everything; who she was, where she’d come from – everything.”

Cyrion’s brows furrowed underneath this brown fringe, “What are you saying Cal? Are you suggesting Bethellyn actually knew the man that was hung? How could she possibly know a branded traitor?”

“I can’t be sure,” Calmacil replied, looking away as if struggling once again with his difficulty. “But one thing I am sure is that there is something very, very wrong in all this.”

“Oh, now you think this?” Cyr asked sarcastically. “We find a dim witted woman chased by …” Cyr was stopped short by a violent shake. Calmacil bore into him with black-brown eyes that brimmed with fury.

“Cyrion! That woman isn’t dim witted,” Calmacil pressed his lips into a white, thin line and continued through gritted teeth: “And her name isn’t Bethellyn. She is the Bardhwyn everyone is looking for.”

Cyr tried to interject but Cal’s iron grip on his arms silenced him.

“I met her in Gondor,” Cal continued, “Years ago, when I first joined the Dale Contingent of Tower Guard, she was with my Captain – they were together, not hand-fasted but together. She was introduced to us as Bethellyn and I, and every member of our contingent, came to know her well, Cyr and she is not this cold-blooded, ruthless killer everyone claims. None of what I’ve heard makes sense to me.”

“She was called Bethellyn but she was really this ‘Bardhwyn’?” Cyr repeated.

“Yes, but we didn’t know this at first. It all came out much later when she was forced to leave Gondor.”

“She was forced to leave…?”

“It’s a long story. Cyr, understand - she was like sister to us in the company; she listened to us, helped us – she even trained us! I learned more about the bow from that woman than all the instructors I had in Lebennin. She’s not this demon people tell stories of! It’s a mistake and I’ve got to make sure she stays safe and get her back to Gondor, to Captain Lysandros - somehow. He’ll know what to do.”

At hearing this Cyrion gave a shout of frustration. “Take her to Gondor? HOW? First you have to get me to Dale! Or have you forgotten? You’re escorting ME to art school in Dale for the start of spring term, hale and whole! Father’s orders!”

Cyrion broke out of his Calmacil’s hold it a pique of anger and took a cautious step away from his half-brother. “Cal, you’re not making any sense at all – you’re talking about aiding and abetting a known criminal! You’re defying our father and being stupidly loyal to whom? This Barding Captain of the Tower Guard?! Who openly dislikes you? You said so yourself!”

“He openly dislikes everyone, Cyr – and more so since she left him.”

“Oh, she left him? I thought she was forced to leave? This just keeps getting better…”

“Like I said it’s a long story and my Captain is not without fault in it…”

Calmacil stopped short. From the west came the sound of thundering hooves: one horse riding hard in the early morning hour – atypical for this sleepy section of New Weathertop. Calmacil broke into a run, leaving the alley and dashing down the small roadway until he spilled onto a larger thoroughfare. He skidded to a halt and, looking east, saw the retreating form of Bethellyn, nay of Bardhwyn of Dale riding eastwards at full gallop; a black satchel was slung over her back. Cyr slid to a halt beside him.

“Come on, quickly!” Cal cried out, running westward down the thoroughfare. Cyr met his pace, panting as he spoke.

“Let her go, Cal! Please!”

Cal ran into the stable yard and directly to his horse’s box with Cyr on his heels.

“Can you ride bareback, Cyr?”

“What?!”

“Can you!”

“Why, yes but not willingly.”

“Follow me, Cyr, please.”

“No, Cal…”

“Cyr, please - I need your help. Help me help her. I’ve lost one sister – we’ve lost a sister. I can’t lose another one.”

Cyrion stood rooted to the ground registering the words his half-brother had spoken for what seemed an age. It was the very first time Cal had mentioned his sister, Cyrion’s half-sister, who they’d lost in Harad to marauders a year before. Her name, Cerys, was never spoken and their father had never recovered from his grief. Neither, it seemed, had they.

Cyrion ran to his horse’s box and vaulted onto the beast’s back.
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