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 Rodia » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:27 pm

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

Should there have been crickets outside at this time of year? Garia woke up for the hundredth time that night to ask himself that question. Last time, it had been a gust of wind at the window, and the time before, a bad turn in a dream.

He scratched the few places where the tailor's pins had pricked him. The host's generosity stung more. Somehow, after all the bottles he had emptied at the Elf Lords' cost, and all the loaves he had swallowed claiming Scribe's credit would pay, it was the new garb that made him ashamed. Stars, as if he couldn't afford to keep a shirt on his back! As if he were a beggar.

And all that business with Elmissir's brother. He had tried to speak to the girl, but she was ever busy with errands, and wherever Garia went hoping to find her, a glowering Guilhendar was sure to appear instead. It was he that troubled Garia's dream, in fact, threatening him with a well-tied noose. Even dream-Radesh did not stand by Garia that time, but barked something in his rasping Lamedon tongue before turning away.

"Traitor," Garia muttered as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. With wakefulness came hunger, so he dressed quickly and strolled down to the kitchens. He found them roaring with preparations for the feast. Since no one appeared to have time for an Edain who woke before breakfast, the Edain decided to help himself. Soon, Garia was strolling back, a basket full of pickings from the least guarded dishes in his hand. He had pinched half a loaf of bread, too, which sent up such a delightful smell, he could barely resist tearing into it. But the busy kitchens had also offered a rumour, and that was of the lady Elmissir having just now retreated from her duties to rest a while in the first rays of sunshine that fell upon the ivy veranda…

She was not there yet when Garia arrived, but he was hopeful. He set the basket down and waited.

Elmissir hurried up the wide, cobbled path to the Ivy Gardens, humming a scrap of song and thinking about a nice, long soak and of course, the new frock that hung waiting under a white muslin shroud in her rooms. When she reached the wide front steps up to the veranda, she was happily contemplating the look on her brother’s face when she would sweep past him in it. As she looked up, her smile widened even further, for instead of the stern face of Guilhendar, there was the fair face of Garia.

“Gracious Yavanna, Garia, why ever are you up with the birds?” she asked.

"Why! I couldn't sleep for thinking of you. Breakfast?" He lifted the basket. She looked lovely in the morning light, maybe even lovelier for being tired from her long night's work. There was something…human about her. That smile! It could have stopped an army in its tracks. "But, wait," he pretended to change his mind. "The halflings, whom I hear are the utmost experts on food, say that the best time for breakfast is directly after you wake up. Since you haven't slept yet, we may have to call this supper."

She laughed, a light silvery sound that set the birds off on a fresh round of song. “Perhaps we should simply split the difference and call it Luncheon!” she answered. “Either way, I would be delighted to join you for a meal, I’m absolutely famished! Now . . “ she said, looking around, “are you thinking of here on the veranda, or did you have a pretty patch of grass all picked out? Or, we could go claim a bench under the trees by the waterfall.” She looked back at Garia with raised eyebrows.

"If it's a picnic, then it can't be had on a veranda. That's the rules, my lady," Garia declared, his heart soaring. Whatever grogginess still clung to him after the restless night was melting quickly in the sunshine- or in Elmissir's smile. He wasn't sure which. What he was sure of was that he couldn't give a rat's tail about the girl's brother and his threats.

He put his arm around her and led her back down the steps. "There is that one waterfall at the edge, the smallest one that barely trickles. Let's go there. I don't want the roaring water to drown out that lovely laughter of yours."

(Missy by Scribbles, of course)
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Postby SilverScribe » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:55 pm

“Flatterer,” Elmissir shot back, grinning as she took the arm that Garia held out. With the other, he scooped up the basket and they set off. They met and passed only the odd elf here and there, hurrying by on some errand or another. Elmissir let Garia lead her around the wide arc of the falls to the very far edge, where the curve of the rockface muted the roar of the water and indeed, the small narrow cascade that marked one end of the falls babbled quietly as it fell. Garia spread out his cloak on a low stone bench set back under the trailiing branches of a flowering plum and as the sky began to brighten, they quickly tucked into the various savouries that Garia produced from the basket. When most of the meal was crumbs and memories, Elmissir sighed with contentment and leaned over to brush Garia’s cheek with a light kiss. “Thank you Garia, for being so very thoughtful. That was the most wonderful breakfast-luncheon-supper I’ve ever had.”

"It's nothing at all to be thoughtful when my thoughts can't help but follow you," Garia replied, delighted with her kiss and despairing of the inevitable conversation. As soon as he would mention her wretched brother, this perfect morning would go sour. Could he wait, perhaps, let the matter resolve itself? But the banquet was that very night. Guilhendar's threat once again rang loud and clear in his mind.

Garia straightened up where he sat and swept the remains of the breakfast aside, so that he could come closer to Elmissir. She smiled so prettily; he looked deep into her eyes. It was the silliest thing, but he had to work up courage before he could speak. His heart was beating like a marching drum.

"Elmissir…my fair lady Elmissir. The day that I first saw you, I couldn't hope that you would grant me so much as a smile. And the day that you first smiled at me, I still couldn't dream of all that would follow. Now I am afraid to wake up, Elmissir. Stars, that I would be allowed to call you by name…to kiss you." A gentle, shy kiss on her hand, right there, and on with the speech. He could see it, she was melting like butter. "Elmissir, my heart trembles as I ask you. Will you allow me to be your humble escort and devoted servant at the banquet tonight?"

Her first impulse was to simply say ’Why yes of course Garia, I would be delighted,’ but something stopped her. She searched Garia’s face, he was so earnest, so hopeful. How could she answer? Better yet, how should she answer? She knew that if she accepted Garia as her escort, her brother would be furious. She could just hear him . . . ”You’re being escorted by that scruffy Edain?! Why?! When Lord Elladan has clearly . . ."; Ah, but there was the rub. Lord Elladan clearly had not . . . well, anything. He had said nothing abut the banquet when she had returned to check his wound and change his bandage. All he had done, except woo her with pretty poetry, was to to prattle on about getting some of the honey her hives had produced. And there had been no note or invitation since, nor had Amras said a thing while they had been setting up the banquet tables. Then there were the two “ladies” that she had met on their return from the barracks. Of course! Elladan would be escorting the Lady Alatriel to the banquet, and his brother the Lady Linwë . . . perhaps this was the reason for his silence. Well, one good thing about it was that it solved her dilemma for her.

She could think of no reason to refuse Garia’s request, other than it might scandalize a good portion of the residents of Imladris. Well, let them be scandalized. She drew a deep breath and smiled back at the patiently waiting mortal. “You realize it will create a stir, don’t you?” she asked with a mischevious lilt in her voice.

Garia had to struggle to keep his grin manageable. Did he realise, the sweet rascal asked! Of course he did, and wasn't that half the fun? "It's my lady's choice. But I know you wouldn't want to disappoint all the gossips in Imladris, would you. Elmissir," he grew serious for a moment. "I told you where I come from, I'm not some windswept vagabond. You can be sure that your escort will be as gallant and proper as any Elf-lord in this town," he declared proudly. "So. What does my lady say. Shall we cause a stir?"

“Oh yes, let’s,” Elmissir answered with a light laugh. She reached up to lightly touch Garia’s cheek, while a momentary shadow of sadness flitted through her mind. It was the great, and in her opinion unfair, mystery of the Valar - why the lives of the Edain were so short, yet burned so bright. Even if Garia were to spend the rest of his days with her, it would be but a brief interval in the long stretch of her life. But she was determined not to dampen or spoil a single moment of whatever time she might have to enjoy Garia’s company. She kept her smile bright, letting no hint of anything show in her face.

“And I know you shall amaze and astound even the most proper of elven society with your gracious manners,” she continued. “I shall meet you in the Solarium when the rest of the Scribe’s company assembles, and we shall go together from here. All right?”

There wasn't a happier man in Imladris that morning. "It will be my greatest pleasure," Garia replied, and meant it.



ooc: Garia adorableness provided by Rodia . . . ;)
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Postby Bardhwyn » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:23 am

The mists brightened and Elrohir felt pulled back to the realm of the waking, to the realm of night and day, of blood and bile and pain. His name was being called, it was far in the distance but distinctive, like the peal of a bell miles away.

He could refuse them, speak to whomever it was and inform them he requires more time but the voice was imperative… it couldn’t be father’s? His voice now came only from within the mists, not from without?

Again his name was called, and with the same urgency.

Elrohir’s awareness returned to his room, before him stood an un-shuttered window looking out into a bright, sun-lit day sprinkled with falling leaves.

“Time to wake up, brother,” Elladan said. He opened the shutters to the second window and lifted the sash slightly. A stream of cool, fresh air flowed in and onto the floor.

“It is far too early, damn you…” Elrohir mumbled into his pillow.

“Early? Ro, it’s nearly three o’clock in the afternoon. You’ve been with the mists for nearly eleven hours.” Elladan went to his brother’s bedside and inspected the bandaging on his arms, suddenly concerned. “Your leg? How is it?”

“It’s still attached to my body,” Elrohir replied, “thanks to you.”

Elladan grinned at both the wit and thanks - for it was true. More assailants beset upon Elrohir than he during the skirmish with the Clans. Had Elladan not reached out and blocked a descending battleaxe, Elrohir would have been maimed. His intercession had not come without a price; a second axe then caught him in his abdomen.

“And you?” Elrohir asked, half into his pillow – he hadn’t stirred. He still lay as he fell; face down, diagonally sprawled across the bed with a thin coverlet awkwardly pulled across him.

“Come on, up,” Elladan nudged him. “I’ll be fine.”

“I hear tell you’ll have a scar,” Elrohir said, rolling over. “The ladies will like that.”

Elladan ignored the comment and walked over to where the satchel sat on a nearby chair. “I’ve ordered you some food and Taradeath will be in to change your bandages.” He picked up the leather case by its shoulder strap. “And what’s this?”

“That,” Elrohir said, pulling himself up into a seated position, “is a present from Bard’s little traitor.”

“Really?” Elladan opened it and filed through some of the contents; some were written in Eastron, other pages filled entirely with Westron numbers… odd. “Codes? More clan machinations?”

“I think so, but with an Eastern take, which is worrying. She was hell bent to carry it off, somewhere…”

“You didn’t string her up then?”

Elrohir shook his head. “It was tempting, though. Quite the vile mouth on her.”

“You’ve accomplished what other’s have tried and failed, congratulations. Bard now has a difficult but inevitable decision to make,” Elladan said, dropping the satchel back on the chair. “What ever plans these papers reveal, it can wait for another day yet and the two Edain you asked about, they’re wholly unremarkable...”

There was a soft knock on the door, which opened at Elrohir’s say; an Elf entered carrying a fully laden tray. He placed it on a nearby table and exited.

“What, no breakfast in bed for me then?” Elrohir asked with a grumble.

“You need to get out of the bed, not stay in it,” Elladan retorted.

“You were saying, about the Edain,” Elrohir said, getting up for his food. As he stood inspecting his tray he felt a flutter of silk hit him in the back of his head.

“At least put a dressing gown on,” Elladan said standing at his brother’s open wardrobe. He noted his brother’s festival garments, “You’ve seen my present to you...”

Elrohir finished tying the sash to his robe and took a bite from a peach, freshly picked from the hot-house. “I detest purple, you know that,” he said with a full mouth.

“Consider our debt settled,” Elladan replied, taking a pear from his brother’s fruit bowl.

“What debt?” Elrohir asked. Elladan patted his wound and Elrohir gaffawed. “Fine then, I’ll suffer,” Elrohir said, lifting the lid to tea pot. “The Edain!” he repeated.

“A respectable family of Second-Born noblemen; I really don’t think they’re of any concern,” Elladan answered, settling himself in a stuffed chair that sat by the window. “We’ll question them when they arrive, which will be?”

“Most likely another two days,” Elrohir replied. “We’ll need to find a secure place for Bard’s toy.”

“I’ll alert Taronwe.”

“So, tell me how you’re coming along with the tavern-keep’s sister,” Elrohir asked, settling back onto his bed with a full plate of food. “How is she?”

“She’s looking quite well...”

“No, I mean how is she?”

Elladan looked out the window momentarily, then turned back to his brother. “I wouldn’t know. This is different, she’s different...”

Elrohir found it difficult not to choke on the grape he’d just eaten. “I’ll say she is..El,” he said, coughing, “you can’t be serious?”

“Yes, Ro, I am...” Elladan said.

Elrohir began to laugh, heartily. “You know, when I set up that picnic lunch for you both, I thought ‘Right, here’s a bit of good fun for the both of them’- for her, most of all. I mean, one can only imagine the dregs she’s used to interacting with.. but, El, you can’t be serious.. I mean, really serious!?”

Elladan’s eyes became cold, and the lift of the eyebrow looked all to familiar to Elrohir.

“No, El, you’re making a mistake,” Elrohir said, pushing down his amusement. “Enjoy yourself, as you know how - yes, and Guilhendar would most likely thank you for it - but no! No! She’s not, in the slightest...”

“She’s not in the slightest ‘what’?” Elladan asked.

“Worthy,” Elrohir answered, pointedly.

“How can you say that?” Elladan asked, sitting up in his seat. “How could you possible assert such a thing? You don’t even know her!”

“I know enough, El,” Elrohir replied, now feeling bored. He tore at a piece of cold toasted bread. “Please, I don’t want to argue over maidens, its tiresome. Do as you please, you’ll be over it soon enough.”

“I may surprise you,” Elladan said, getting to his feet. “I’ll send Taradeath in and I shall see you later on.”

Elrohir watched his brother leave, a cloud over his ahead - again. He tore at a second piece of toast and recollected how Taradeath had said the same thing: “I think he may surprise you.”

Elrohir wondered if the Mistress Elmissir would be as surprising, all things considered.



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Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:06 pm

The elf-tailor was a lot more careful with Boartooth. He had heard of this Beorning, and didn't want to get on his bad side. But it went well, and Boartooth's outfit for the banquet was a brown tunic and pants, with boots, covered with a green cloak clasped at the throat. The cloak wasn't as elegant as the ones made years ago by Galadriel, but it was striking. Even Boartooth was impressed.

"I like it." he said, looking at it. "It is really what fits me, a creature of the woods."

It was fitting for the bear-boy. He wondered what they would think of a dance as a bear. Maybe later.
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Postby SilverScribe » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:23 pm

So, Elladan's big feast day had finally arrived. After a rare night of deep, undisturbed sleep, Scribbles met Guilhendar on the practice grounds at mid-morning for their usual sparring session. The innkeeper was oddly distracted but when she inquired, he merely said he was tired. She figured he was likely fretting over his sister and the time she was spending with Garia, and so left well enough alone. She took a late afternoon lunch in the Archives, then indulged in a luxurious half-hour soak in the bathing room. Back in her own rooms, she dressed, chuckling to herself as she remembered Elmissir's parting words of the late evening before, something about "another date with Amras and enough damned cutlery to arm the hordes of Mordor". Undoubtably, she had stretched the patience of Amras to the snapping point, and the secretary was either in need of a sedative or a long vacation. Probably both.

She heard Elmissir moving about and singing softly next door, so she was unsurprised when a soft knock came on the adjoining door. Elmissir came in just as Scribbles was staring at the array of weaponry on her bed and trying to decide what she could get away with wearing openly and what she'd have to wear hidden.

"Elladan and Elrohir both will pitch a fit," the healer cautioned as Scribbles reached for Celebamarth.

"I know," Scribbles answered and reached up to put the big sheathed broadsword on a shelf above the bed. She turned and one eyebrow immediately climbed high. A low whistle followed. "Well, now I understand why you said Guil will faint when he sees the bill! Mother of Yavanna, Elmissir . . . you look . . . amazing."

Elmissir laughed softly and turned about slowly. She had chosen a white, sleeveless frock with an underdress of fine soft silk, covered with a fuller overdress of sheerer silk. The overdress was adorned with a scattering of delicate sheer flowers and leaves, most of which were set with sparkling crystals of lavender and garnet. A swathe of the same sheer silk formed a scarf-like arrangement above the low bodice, rendering the neckline modest without spoiling the fragile beauty of the whole. A matching jeweled mithril clasp in the shape of a bee gathered some of her long loose curls at the back of her head, leaving the rest free to cascade over her shoulders.

"Do you like it?" she asked shyly.

"What's to like, it's a dress," Scribbles answered flatly, then grinned when Elmissir pulled a face. "It's stunning, really, "she added. "I suspect Guil won't be the only one to feel faint tonight. I have a strong feeling that every male in Imladris is going to notice you."

"You don't know the half of it," Elmissir murmured, thinking of Garia. She would be noticed all right, but she suspected it would be more for whose arm she was on than how she was dressed. But no matter, the night promised to be exciting and she was determined to enjoy both it and Garia's company. She smiled at the thought.

The Scribe turned back to the bed and picked up the belt that held her elven longknife. "You're not!" Elmissir cried.

"I certainly am," Scribbles answered, scowling.

"Please Scribe, don't," Elmissir pressed, coming over and taking the belt out of the Scribe's hands. "It's a feast, not a battleground. Besides, it will spoil the lines of the tunic, you really do look quite nice . . ."

"But?" Scribbles prompted.

Elmissir sighed, then laughed. "No 'but' . . . I was going to say, 'even if you insist on wearing trousers' ."

Scribbles laughed. "Very well, no 'obvious' armament then." She turned back to the bed and picked up the tiny Rhudarian Stealth Knife, slipping the diminutive sheath into the top of her left boot. "Better?" she asked as she straightened and held out both hands.

Elmissir rolled her eyes but agreed. The Rhudarian knife was not visible, and if Elmissir knew the Scribe like she knew the Scribe, it was not alone. "Yes, better. You look nice Scribe, I think you'll pass muster, even with Elrohir."

It was true. The Scribe's hip-length blue tunic was generously adorned at the neck and the cuffs of the long sleeves with finely embroidered vines and flowers. The matching trousers hugged her long legs and tucked neatly into a pair of flat, calf-high boots of soft black suede. The deep blue brought out the Scribe's dark, blue-violet eyes and set off the unruly mass of pearly-blonde hair.

"I feel naked," Scribbles groused, looking longingly up at the shelf above the bed.

Elmissir laughed. "You'll get over it. Now come, let's go and see if the others have gathered in the Solarium yet."

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Last edited by SilverScribe on Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Frelga » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:28 am

The hillman reluctantly dragged himself out of the steaming bath. He padded over to the pail of stream-fresh water and poured it over his head. The cold left him gasping for breath and laughing, and feeling as alive as the stream. Rivendell had been good to him.

And now, this feast. It worried him just a little. He had made friends among the Elves, but they were not the haughty dwellers of great halls, and not likely to be invited. They were stable hands, cooks, and Radesh's favorite, the blacksmith. And in the last few days, the tailor.

The Elf had offered to make a Hill-style outfit for Radesh, as he had made a Southern costume for Harah. He had asked questions and made sketches and listened so intently that the hillman did not have the heart to discourage him. He suspected that the result would make him look ridiculous, an Elf's idea of a wildman, but he reckoned without the infallible taste and craftsmanship of the Elves.

He found the outfit in his room, as promised, hanging next to the mirror. The shirt was soft, fine wool, in the pale cream color that the tailor had spent hours picking out - to set off Radesh's bronze skin, he said. The trousers were straight and plain. The coat... was perfect. It was velvet, dark red with golden sheen, like sunset on autumn leaves. Wide sleeves were turned back to show silk lining. Belted, it crossed on the chest and fell almost to the knees. Just the thing to show off the broad shoulders, trim waist and long legs that the Hills prized.

He would take it with him, Radesh decided. And then, if he made it home, if the fate was kind, if Nureli waited - then he would be married in this coat.

He nodded at his reflection, and set out to meet with the rest of the company.
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Postby Rodia » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:21 am

If mirrors could be worn out from being looked into, the glass in Garia's room ought to have shattered. It nearly suffered that very fate when he found its corner too dark, and dragged it across to the window where the light could better show him the result of the tailor's work.

But first, at least a quarter of an hour was devoted to making doubly sure the bruises were completely gone, though what he might have done if he found them lingering, Garia wasn't sure. Fortunately, he did not have to worry. The dear healer was to thank for her care and her ointments.

Thinking of her, Garia inspected every thread of his new garment. Did it lie right? Perhaps, but the evening light could be deceitful. Could he find an elf servant to bring him a second looking glass? Garia peeked out onto the corridor, but found it empty. He dove back into the room.

The elf fashion suited him, he thought. It was clean cut; he would have bribed the tailor and taken him home if he could. Ah, but who could think of going home when Elmissir was here, to be held and courted? Hang Linden and all its homely girls, he would stay in Rivendell.

There, skies curse it, a crease. And no valet to tend to it. Garia looked angrily at the door, as if expecting it to open and reveal the wanted servant.

Stars! And his boots? Someone should have been polishing them all night. Someone should have stepped in this morning to trim his hair. Were Elves so careless, or did they need no grooming, like some legends would have it?

Hang it. It was getting late. Garia brushed another invisible speck of dust from his shoulder and turned towards the door.

He returned to the mirror twice more before finally marching down the corridor, back straight and chin up unusually high- even for him.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:29 pm

Harah sighed heavily and tried again… he took his new keffiyeh folded it, placed his right hand in the correct place, brought that to his forehead…he twisted, wrapped folded and tucked. He held his head rock-still but it was no use, the fabric slipped, unraveled and spilled off his head, draping itself off his shoulders with the tasseled end dropping all the way to the floor.

His new garments were sublime, and the finishing touches were to be his new red calfskin slippers and this, his new black keffiyeh but he could not, for the life of him, make the fabric stay securely wrapped upon his head.

“Are you ready yet, old friend?” Radesh asked. The hillman had put his head around the Southron’s door and Harah caught the deep goldish-red hue on his friend's sleeve. He quickly assessed his own sleeve, then Radesh’s once again; the fabric of Radesh’s coat seemed far superior.

“That Elf-tailor,” Harah grumbled, “he's cursed me! He's put a spell on my keffiyeh, I know it!”

“Why do you think that, Harah?” Radesh asked, slightly amused.

“Because I cannot secure it, no matter how many times I’ve tried, I cannot! It’s been cursed!” Harah exclaimed, almost jumping in his spot. “And can I appear before Elvish royalty with the deep, deep shame of a bared head!” He pointed animatedly at his graying head. “ I cannot go, I cannot, I could not bear the shame,” Harah said, folding up the keffiyeh into a tight ball.

“You’re overreacting, Harah, which is unusual for you,” Radesh said with a grin.

“What’s going on?” a second voice asked. Harah looked up to see Garia also standing in the door. “Well, for a sand rat you sure clean up well enough,” he said, appraising Harah’s outfit.

“He says he’s not coming,” Radesh said. Garia snorted.

“Fine, don’t. More food and drink for us then,” the strawhead said, leaving the doorway. Harah quickly scrutinized the man’s blue velvet coat as he turned to leave – the tailoring was superb, and the fine gold piping sewn into all the seams helped accentuate Garia’s athletic build. Harah grumbled once again, convinced the elf-tailor had shrifted him and he hoped that Garia, too, had been pricked with many pins.

“Harah, when was the last time you did that?” Radesh asked.

“What, put on a keffiyeh?” Harah asked. “Why, just yesterday, when that demon Elf-tailor was here, pricking me with his infernal pins.”

“And what were you talking about, when you were putting it on?” Radesh continued, settling himself into a nearby chair.

How well Harah remembered! The Elf-tailor had made a terrible suggestion, an awful thing!

“Ah, well, that tailor, he suggested, and very wrongly I may say, that I should wear a white keffiyeh,” Harah replied, turning himself back to his mirror. He adjusted his red cummerbund and smoothed his tunic front. “And I, I corrected him, Radesh!” Harah continued, pointing his finger into the air, “I informed him that only the Prince of Harad or his El Zikher…” Harah had already unfurled and refolded the long piece of black, tasseled fabric…. “only THEY could wear the white keffiyeh because the white displays - for all to see - their anointed status in the eye of the Gods!” … Harah held the fabric in the appropriate spot, placed it on his forehead and began to wrap and fold … “So, to wear white, Radesh, would be an affront to my Gods, and affront to the most High Prince and his esteemed Warrior, and the El Zikher is the most accomplished fighter, Radesh, amazing! If we were to have a man with us with only half of his skill, we could not fail…” Harah continued to wrap and tuck until the keffiyeh was firmly and expertly atop his head. He unconsciously adjusted the tasseled end and admired himself in the mirror.

Harah turned to Radesh and placed both hands onto his hips. “So I informed him, Radesh that I could only wear the black keffiyeh, as befitting my lowly status. But as I cannot properly fix it, it being so foully and cruelly cursed by that wretched Elf-tailor, there is nothing for it, I cannot go.”

Radesh pointed to the mirror. “Look, Harah.”

Harah turned and gasped. The keffiyeh was now on his head. “How! How did I?!”

“Now that you’re spared the shame of a bared head, are you ready to come along?” Radesh asked, pulling himself onto his feet.

Harah stammered something in Haradraic, made a final adjustment to the tassel and followed the Hillman from the room.


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I've borrowed both Garia and Radesh, with my thanks! :)
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Postby SilverScribe » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:05 pm

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Guilhendar was probably the least vain male in Elvendom, at least that was how both Elmissir and the Scribe often put it. What neither of them realized of course, was that keeping a low profile was a primary consideration for the elven innkeep, charged as he was with a trust that could not be compromised in any shape or form. So, his clothing and armament were always of good quality, but hardly attention getting and while his sister had assumed that suited him just fine, in reality it had chafed just a little. But Guilhendar was nothing if not supremely conscious of his duty at all times, however, with the end of the long road clearly in sight, he decided tonight a slight exception could be made.

He needed no tailor. The elf-maid Lilliwen had been more than sufficient to the task of preparing something suitable for the evening's festivities. She had clearly understood Guilhendar's description, he wanted something elegant but still relatively modest, as befitted the honourable yet minor nature of his father's yet unclaimed title. The result had pleased him immensely, and he had offered her a most generous payment, at which she had blushed and could be coaxed to accept only half.

After a quick but thorough bath in the practice arena's facilities, Guilhendar had swung by the tanner's to pick up a new pair of boots and visit with the shoemaker. After an hour's pleasantries, he returned to the Ivy Gardens for a relaxing cup of tea and to change. He was just running a comb though his loose curls when he heard the Scribe and his sister leaving their rooms across the hall. He took a last glance in the mirror . . . just to be sure nothing was out of place.

Lilliwen had done herself proud. The dark green breeches of buttery soft suede emphasized his long legs. The long, elven tunic of lighter grey-green sported a low standing collar and long, loose sleeves. The collar and a broad panel down the chest were heavily stitched with a dark metallic thread that matched both his breeches and his new boots. The stitching was set intermittently with pale green periodots and tiny white crystals. The overall effect pleased him; the breeches fit without binding, the tunic was properly split up the sides to the hips to accommodate sitting and was not uncomfortably tight across his wide shoulders. The stitching and small jewels enriched the tunic just enough without being gaudy or overdone. He looked every inch a proper elven lord, even if his was a minor House.

***

He entered the Solarium quietly and had to stifle a soft gasp when he caught sight of his sister. She was across the wide room, in profile to him, smiling at the Edain, Garia, who was gallantly enough bowing and presenting her with a single, perfect orchid. No doubt stolen from one of Elladan's hothouses, he thought blackly, then schooled his face and smiled as the Scribe turned to see him standing in the archway.

One eyebrow climbed high as she boldly looked him over from nose tip to boot toes. At her approving smile and slight nod, he realized he had been holding his breath, and let it out slowly as he came forward.

The hillman Radesh was there, as was the little southron Harah, both looking supremely turned out. The Corsair was resplendent as was the Easterling Htiet, even though the latter was still bandaged underneath his new finery as an occasional flash of white at his cuffs could attest. Guilhendar nodded a polite, silent greeting to them all as he moved to the Scribe's side.

And there was that loathsome toad, Garia, placing the orchid on his sister's wrist and fawning over her like a dog slavering over a bone. He gritted his teeth, determined not to upset or disappoint either Elmissir or the Scribe. This evening, his manners had to be perfect, impeccable even, and definitely beyond reproach.

So his smile was truly genuine when his sister finally turned to greet him, his heart suddenly turning over in his chest as she smiled back at him. 'Great Eru's beard!' he thought, 'she is every inch our mother dressed like that . . . when did this happen?' He realized with a sinking feeling that Elmissir was no longer his sheltered little sister, she was finally asserting her own will in matters and telling him in no uncertain terms that the choice to remain her brother or become her enemy was his and his alone.

For tonight at least, he wished very much to remain her brother. For her sake, and for the sake of the evening, he even smiled warmly at Garia when the edain approached.

Tomorrow however, could be another matter entirely.

.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Tue May 03, 2011 11:22 pm

“Why aren’t you dressed?” Elladan asked, hovering over his brother.

Elrohir mumbled something in reply, it sounded like ‘go with out me’, as he sat cross legged on his floor surrounded by the contents of the mysterious black satchel, laid out before him in an arc of neatly stacked paper.

“I said that could wait until tomorrow,” Elladan said, his exasperation clear. “Ro!”

“What!?” his brother snapped. He looked from the document he was reading, equally exasperated.

“Get dressed! We’re expected.”

“I said go with out me, I’ll go later,” Elrohir replied, returning to the document he held.

“You know that can’t happen.”

“Or what? Several dozen Elf maids will faint from nervous exhaustion? Let them,” Elrohir retorted.

Elladan couldn’t help but suppress a grin; it would most likely be close to three dozen, and they’d faint for lack of sustenance having starved themselves for the last two days just to fit into their gowns. Elladan sighed and gathering up his long, embroidered coat, he cautiously sat down next to his brother, who watched him carefully as he did so. Elmissir’s stitches held underneath the bandaging and Elladan was careful to hold himself upright as he sat.

“How’s your Eastron?” Elrohir asked, holding out the paper he was reading; the Rhunic lettering drifted across the page, from right to left, in an elegant if not hastily written hand.

“Rusty,” Elladan replied, taking it.

“As is mine. If sent for Taronwe but he’s yet to arrive.” Elrohir took up a map from one of his neat piles. “Look familiar?” He asked, also holding it out to his brother.

Elladan nodded, recognizing immediately the concentric rings and yellow coloured forest. ‘Caras Galadon,’ he replied.

“Who ever these people are, they’re ambitious as they are detailed,” Elrohir said, holding out another map. It was of Rivendell. Elladan took it in hand and inspected it. It was alarmingly accurate. He allowed his attention to be taken by remaining maps, all piled tidily on the floor; he pushed each aside as he perused them: several were of Dale, another displayed the many Edain villages along the East West Road and one was of the Gray Havens.

Elladan’s brow furrowed. Of all the holdings of the First Born in Middle Earth the Havens were now considered by many to be the most important; it was their doorway to the West, to be protected at all costs. Many Elves in fact did protect it, living as Rangers, in and around the port and many miles into the surrounding countryside, guarding the many cavalcades of First Born journeying to the white ships. The notion it was being targeted by some new and unknown threat from the East concerned Elladan deeply. Elrohir saw how his hand lingered on it.

“The Havens are many miles away,” Elrohir said quietly. “Cirdan is watchful.”

“Cirdan. Praise the Valar for him and his watchful vigilance,” Elladan replied.

“We may be looking at nothing more than the machinations of some Easterling bandits,” Elrohir added, hoping to assuage not only his brother’s concerns but also his own. “But we need to send all of this onto Dale, once we’ve copied them, of course.”

“Easterling bandits?” Elladan murmured. It was an unpleasant thought. He looked once more over the map of the Grey Havens, appreciating its detail. But why would Rhunadain raiders care about Elvish lands so far west? “What did Bard’s little traitor say? Anything about this at all?” he asked, dropping the maps down.

“Not on the road, no. I didn’t give her much chance to speak, though,” Elrohir replied, leaning over and reaching for a goblet of wine that sat outside the wide arc of paper. “She’ll be here soon enough. We can ask all the questions we need.”

“When?”

“Another day, perhaps. Day and a half?” Elrohir answered into his goblet.

“The Scribe will have departed by then. Let’s keep your little prize to ourselves, shall we?” Elladan asked.

Elrohir looked over the rim of his drink. “What? Not tell the Scribe? That I managed what she could not? Capture one of Dale’s most wanted? Her ‘friend’, the one who tried to kill her?” Elrohir snorted into his cup. “No, absolutely not - I plan to tell her. In fact, were there time, I’d commission a song about it and have it sung right next to where she sat.”

“She leaves on the morrow, I believe,” Elladan said smoothly, “maybe the day after and Guilhendar is most anxious to see them so go – they’ve lingered long enough. Too long, perhaps. This journey of hers must begin for all our sakes. I don’t want to give her any excuses to stay – and I believe she would. This Barding woman was once a friend, a rarity in the Scribe’s life. And let’s not forget her men – I daresay they’d be quite interested in seeing the woman arrive bound and gagged and have thoughts towards retribution. No, we keep that information to ourselves.”

Elladan watched the clouds forming on Elrohir’s brow. “Brother, I’m not asking,” Elladan added.

“I know, you’re ordering. Something you do rarely with me,” Elrohir replied, setting his goblet down. “And the sooner the Scribe leaves, the better. Very well, the Barding’s capture is not to be mentioned.”

“Thank you,” Elladan said with a smile. “Now, let’s get you dressed. We’re late.”

“We can be late, we’re Princes,” Elrohir retorted with a wicked grin. He rose to his feet with a groan, the wound in his leg protesting the effort. “Come, rise Your Royal Highness, “ Elrohir announced, holding his hand out to his brother, “We must away to the circus.”

Elladan grasped Elrohir's hand and allowed him to help. He bit back his own groans and once standing he found his hand had grasped his bandaged abdomen.

“Are you up for this, El?” Elrohir asked with genuine concern.

“I’m fine,” Elladan replied with a nod. “Dress, now. We’re late.”

As Elrohir finished Taronwe arrived and Elladan was forced to endure another delay, as Taronwe was entrusted with the translation and copying the documents piled on the floor. The Princes soon left for the Hall of Fire and their awaiting guests, Elladan in green, Elrohir in deep purple, each wearing a circlet of mithril on their brows adorned with a single diamond. They exited from the rear of the residential wing, approaching the hall from west, under the cover of darkness and cutting across a wide lawn. The evening was cool and dry and the lights from the hall cast long pools of light onto the ground, falling from the many open windows that lined the halls. Many voices drifted towards them, alive with talk and laughter.

“Ready?” Elrohir asked stopping before a small side door that entered into the hall’s entrance foyer.

“The things we do for Elvendom,” Elladan replied with a grin.

The Princes stepped through, to the sharp sounds of a dozen guards snapping to attention and the relieved cry of Amras.
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Postby Rodia » Wed May 04, 2011 12:41 am

Garia had every intention of strutting like a peacock that night, but he couldn't take his eyes off Elmissir long enough to check whether anyone had noticed his glory. But, they must have. She shone as bright as a star- brighter! And she held on to his arm, this beautiful, beautiful jewel, and she stayed so close that he could breathe her in.

"Stars, what a banquet! But how can I enjoy it when I am being robbed," he whispered. She looked up, alert and worried. "So many eyes steal glances at my lady," he smiled cheekily. "I fear I might have to take you away and hide you."

He looked around the room, as if challenging anyone to lay eyes on her. The horrific Scribe seemed indifferent; the Desert Fish looked jealous, and rightly so, and then Radesh- ha! The hillman raised his glass, just a thumb high, but it was enough. Garia beamed, and not even the cold glare that Elmissir's brother sent him could bring his spirit down.

(OOC: excuse cheesiness and brevity. Latter is my fault, former is all Garia.)
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Postby Cock-Robin » Thu May 05, 2011 8:09 am

The next to enter the banqueting hall was Boartooth. He was dressed in the outfit made for him, clasped at the neck with a silver bear with emerald eyes.

He looked around. The elves had outdone themselves to prepare this spread. It was quite tempting. And the strains of music had begun. Soon, the songs of Earendil and the elder days would be sung again and again.

He grinned. Would he entertain them with a dance? A furry dance? Only he knew for sure.
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Postby SilverScribe » Thu May 12, 2011 8:02 pm

"So many eyes steal glances at my lady," Garia whispered as he smiled cheekily. "I fear I might have to take you away and hide you."

Elmissir couldn't help but smile at Garia's brash gallantry. It helped her cover the nervousness she felt, for there had indeed been many glances thrown their way as they entered the Hall of Fire. There were hints of surprise, of curiosity and some outright scorn in the eyes of the elves, even while the faces remained neutral and impassive. She didn't care a twig however, and let her nerves fade into the background along with the faces they passed as they followed the Scribe to a table and sat down. To her immense relief, she and Guilhendar had been included in the Scribe's party and so they were all seated together at one large round table. She wondered if this had been the Scribe's doing or that of Amras, but the peredhel's face betrayed nothing and Amras was trying to be in six places at once, scurrying here and there about the Hall as more and more of the last residents of Imladris filed in.

A quiet murmur of conversation filled the Hall, the twins had obviously not yet made an appearance. Elmissir accepted a delicate glass of pale wine that Garia had poured for her and looked about the place as she sipped. Finally, the honour guard at the main doors came to attention with a clash of metal vambraces on their armored chests and the entire Hall fell silent. Elladan and Elrohir appeared, were announced and then strode in to take their places at the head table. As soon as they had taken their seats, elven stewards began serving.

The last empty seat at their table was suddenly filled with the huge Beorning, who beamed at them all as he sat down.

Scribbles laughed and held up a mug of foaming, nut-brown ale. "Mae govannen and well met Master Boartooth. I took the liberty of pouring some of this for you. I didn't figure you'd be late for the food."

Under the table, hidden by the long snowy tablecloth, Elmissir clasped Garia's hand. Soon, she knew, she would have to let go of this mortal, but it was not tonight.

.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Thu May 12, 2011 8:11 pm

Boartooth arose, bedecked in the splendor that the elven tailor had given him. Raising his tankard of ale, he said "To the Lords of Imladris, long may they reign, to the elves who have remained to grace Middle-Earth as long as they are able until the West calls them to their long home,

To my new friends, and to our fearless leader," winking at the Scribe. " And to the Great Eagles, may their feathers never fall. This is a splendid banquet you have all set for us."

His spirits were high and his honors were genuine. The silver bear clasped at his throat glinted in the light of the Hall of Fire.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Wed May 18, 2011 11:53 pm

With a discreet cough, the Elf at Elladan’s elbow announced himself. He presented the Prince with yet another note. Elladan took it with a nod, deftly flicked it open with one hand, keeping hold of his fork with the other. The Elf withdrew.

“Another for you,” he said quietly to Elrohir, passing it to him.

“The servants seem hard pressed to distinguish between us this evening,” Elrohir commented, slightly amused. He took the note, a delicate thing that smelled of roses. “Ah, the Lady Liesa hopes I will dance with her this evening…” he dropped the note onto the small pile of notes and trinkets that had built up between them; most being requests for a dance, or a moment of one of the Prince’s time – and all were from maidens.

“And she has something private she wishes to discuss with you,” Elladan added, jabbing at the discarded message with his fork, “which would be?”

“Most likely she wants me to kiss her passionately on some dark verandah.”

Elladan scoffed quietly while cutting his lamb. “Don’t let Linwë catch you.”

Elrohir held up his goblet for the nearest servant to fill, “Oh, I shan’t, trust me,” he replied to his brother. A servent silently glided to him, tipping a rich red wine into the silver cup. Elrohir recognized the Elf from the barrack’s mess and smiled. “Calaris!” Elrohir exclaimed, “Please tell me Amras has made provisions for you all to join us as some point?”

“He has, my Lord,” the Elf replied, “there are three shifts working this evening, each one able to participate for a time.”

“Which means the third shift shall be the most merry, having had two shifts to drink and eat,” Elrohir said with a laugh.

“Aye, I fear that will be the case, my lord,” Calaris replied, smiling.

“We’ll all be dancing by then, so… my thanks,” Elrohir said with a nod. The Elf withdrew and Elrohir sat for a moment, savoring the fresh wine and watching his brother eat while he struggled with his irritation. El sawed at his lamb as if it were offending limb that needed amputation and his usual polite requests to the servants were clipped and factual.

His brother hadn’t said a word as to the cause of his state - he needn’t. Elrohir saw quite clearly the source of his vexation; the pretty maid Elmissir and who she sat with, laughed with, talked with - one of the Scribe’s mongrels. It was truly quite extraordinary but not surprising; the Peredhel’s edain had been moping about for weeks and Elmissir had nursed them back to health. But to take take up with one, especially one so ‘unremarkable’. Elmissir had always struck him as being a bit ‘simple’.

Elrohir’s lips then curled into a small, wicked smile behind the lip of his goblet; his chances of winning his bet with Taradeath were improving. El would break his fascination with this maid before this night was through.

Elrohir’s eyes scanned the long, crowded hall where the majority of Rivendell’s current population sat, glittering and bedecked whilest they supped at beautifully laid tables, so carefully arranged to promote the most congenial of conversations. Except he and El, of course; they sat upon ‘the rise’, the dias directly opposite the great fireplace. Their overlong and overlarge table faced outwards towards their guests as if they were both on display - Elladan dressed in deep, rich green, and he in a enemble of purple, a color he detested. El wanted to swap raiments, so Elrohir obliged - a small price to pay for his brother saving his life while skirmishing with bandits. What is a suit of clothes compared to a leg? He’d worn so many clothes over the centuries but had only one leg and thanks to El, it was still attached to his body - therefore, he gladly donned the purple. Elrohir looked over at the finely worked embroidery on El’s sleeve, where he spied a caterpillar worked in gold thread sitting on a mithril ivy leaf; on his own were a pattern of small and large stars; Elrohir consoled himself with the thought that at least he wasn’t wearing insects on his garments.

To Elrohir’s left was an empty place, to Elladan’s right sat a rather droll looking Barding wearing a heavy chain of office about his neck on which hung what appeared to be a gilt ornament shaped like the carcass of a sheep. The Edain was clearly the highest ranking visitor in residence - Elrohir had already forgotten his name. The Barding became aware of Elrohir’s gaze and nodded solemnly while chewing a mouthful of lamb. Elrohir smiled and raised his goblet and allowed himself a moment of remorse for the Edain’s sake; his brother was a cold dinner companion this night.

Amras flitted passed them, wearing a list of tasks apon his face. No merriment for him during such occassions -

“Amras,” Elrohir called out. The secretary stopped and bowed.

“My lord?”

“Explain this empty place,” Elrohir said, motioning his goblet towards the seat next to him.

“Ah, my apologies, my lord,” Amras exclaimed. He snapped a finger and Calaris approached. With a quick whirl of his finger, Amras related the silent instruction to clear the plate and cutlery away. The secretary approached the table, speaking low: “I left it, thinking perhaps she would join you after all...”

“She?” Elrohir asked. Elladan’s hands froze over his plate.

Amras’ brows furrowed with a moment’s surprise. “Why, Mistress Elmissir, my lord,” Amras replied quietly, “I explained to her, most clearly, what the expectation was but she said she’s made other seating arrangements.”

Elrohir noted that Elladan resumed his attempts to hack at his lamb. He clearly had nothing to add to the conversation.

“Well, she can sit where she chooses,” Elrohir said with a half smile, “Tis no matter.”

“As the feast’s hostess, it does matter,” Elladan added quietly. “She should be sitting here.”

“As I attempted to explain to Mistress Elmissir,” Amras said, looking intently at Elrohir, “but she was quite adamant.” The Prince was curious to hear the earnest sound of regret in the secretary’s voice. Elrohir glanced at Elladan who sat cold-faced.

“Yes, tis true. The Hostess of the feast sits upon the rise, as our mother did, so long ago, and our sister after her,” Elrohir said thoughtfully. He’d not known that Elmissir had taken on this role; her absence was now all the more surprising. He gave a shrug. “Well, its to be expected really, is it not?” Elrohir added, curtly. “I blame Guilhendar - too long a time spent next to an Edain highway, cosseting the second born. Mistress Elmissir has chosen her seat, let her rest in it. Clearly the company suits her...”

“I am sure she’ll attend to your lordship soon, perhaps as desert is served,” Amras said worriedly.

“She can approach the table from the opposite side and pay her respects, if she so chooses, Amras but she shall not sit here, not at my elbow,” Elrohir said hotly.

Startled and white with surprise Amras bowed and withdrew.

“You didn’t tell me you asked her to be Hostess,” Elrohir said, leaning over Elladan.

“Between bandits and black bags, I didn’t have an opportunity,” El replied. He threw his cutlery down. “This lamb is tough.”

“Mine was perfect,” Elrohir quipped. “Ask for another cut of meat.”

“No...”

“Calaris! Another serving of lamb for my brother! And make sure it is choice!” Elrohir called out. He endured his brother’s glare as one plate was removed and another put down in its place. Elrohir took his own fork and stabbed at the lamb on Elladan’s new plate. “Ah, soft and tender,” he said, “it will soon yield to your efforts, unlike some things...”

“Now is not the time,” Elladan said with a low voice.

“No? When, then?” Elrohir leaned in. “Open your eyes, brother. See how entranced she is with the atan* and recall what I said earlier,” Elrohir replied.

“I shall speak with her, she’ll have an explanation...” Elladan began.

“She’ll give you a pretty flutter of her eyelids and a polite reply, one befitting Elvish royalty but you’ll never be met, brother,” Elrohir cut in. “She’s just not up to it.”

The look Elladan gave him was a frought mix of fear and anger, realization and rejection. It quickly cooled, however, into a pool of resolve. “You simply do not see what I see, brother,” Elladan replied. “She’s more than capable of meeting me, in fact - in ways she outstrips me...”

“Please!” Elrohir snorted into goblet. “She’s almost common.”

With a loud scrape of his chair, Elladan was on his feet. Down the length of hall the sound of numerous chairs followed as the highest ranking or eldest of each table stood in respect. Elrohir glanced over to where the Scribe sat, wondering if she’d try to trump Guilhendar but no, she sat almost demurely while Guilhendar rose to his feet. Elmissir, he noted, had to pull her Edain back into his chair, whispering, no doubt, the simplest of instructions for the man. Sit, lie down, roll over...

Elladan’s silk napkin fluttered down onto the table. “I need some air,” he said perfunctorily.

“I shall save some dessert for you,” Elrohir replied.

With a sharp glance, Elladan turned and strode down the length of the rise, stepping off through an archway into the subdued light of the long inner foyer. The harpist began to play, a soft soothing Doriath tune from the Second Age. Elrohir lost sight of his brother behind the many pillars and tapestries as the scraping chairs sounded the reseating of each table’s ‘master’. He reached over and retrieved El’s abandoned plate of food, picking up a small buttered new potato and eating it as he did so. “Shame to waste,” he said, nodding to the Barding. The droll man nodded in wordless reply and returned his attention to his own plate - Elrohir now considered him the most capital of dining companions.


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Postby SilverScribe » Tue May 24, 2011 9:11 pm

The food was, as she had expected, beyond compare. The wines and ales served with each course had been picked with obvious care and expertise. Scribbles was thoroughly enjoying herself . . . both Garia and the Beorning were taking turns regaling the table with tales and anecedotes and the general atmosphere was festive. It was almost by unspoken agreement that no one would dwell on or spare a single thought for what loomed on the very near horizon . . . departure from Imladris and an end to the golden, mostly tranquil days they had enjoyed.

There was a mild stir at the head table, and Elladan suddenly stood up. Guilhendar glanced at the Scribe, but she only returned his look with a bemused one of her own. Reluctantly, Guilhendar rose, the absolute last to gain his feet among the other ranking members of the Eldar. When the last of the shuffling sounds ceased, the resulting silence in the Hall was deafening, making the Twins' last exchange easily heard by all.

When Elladan had left and the guests reseated themselves, Elmissir cleared her throat. "Well, I wonder what has a bee under Lord Elrohir's bonnet this evening?" she asked her brother, somewhat tartly.

"Lord Elladan," Scribbles muttered into her wineglass. Guilhendar raised both eyebrows before turning back to his sister. "He has been under a lot of strain lately," the innkeeper offered. "All that business with the Clans and the skirmishes on the borders of Imladris."

"I would imagine they're both under a lot of pressure," Elmissir answered primly, "but that's no call for bad manners. At least Lord Elladan has remained to look after his guests."

"Lord Elrohir," Scribbles growled.

"What?" Elmissir asked.

"Lord Elrohir has remained to look after his brother's guests," Scribbles explained.

"What?" Guilhendar echoed his sister's query, glancing at the head table then back again. "Scribe, Elrohir wouldn't be seen dead at an Orc's burial dressed in purple. You know that's Elladan's colour."

Scribbles shrugged. "Regardless. That," she pointed at the head table with one of the numerous forks ranged around her plate, "is Lord Elrohir."

"You're mad," Elmissir laughed. "Lord Elrohir is utterly famous in his adamant hatred of all things purple, he would never be seen in it, much less in public!"

Guilhendar agreed. "Scribe, his distaste for the colour is legendary," the inkeeper chuckled.

Scribbles leaned forward. "Tell me then, who at this table can tell them apart regardless of dress?" Elmissir and her brother fell silent. The rest of the table tensed, sensing the Scribe's suddenly altered mood.

"Well," Guilhendar began.

"Not you," Scribbles bit off then turned to Elmissir. "And not you either, for all your healing arts and instincts." She stabbed a marinated mushroom and jabbed it in Guilhendar's direction. "Unlike you two and most of Elvendom to boot, I have always been able to tell them apart. Lord Elladan has gone to get some air, and Lord Elrohir remains to preside over the feast." She stuck the mushroom in her mouth, chewed it with obvious relish and then washed it down with a large gulp of wine.

"Scribe, are you serious? Or are you . . . joking with us?" Elmissir asked carefully.

Scribbles laughed. "Oh, I never joke about which Twin is which, trust me." She leaned forward again, but this time there was a conspiratorial twinkle in her eyes. "I suspect that someone else however, is playing a colossal joke on the entire room. It will be interesting to watch the developments, don't you agree?"

Guilhendar grinned, while Elmissir looked faintly horrified.

Scribbles leaned back and toasted her table companions with her wine. "To confusion and merriment, may we have both in equal measure tonight."

.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:54 am

"And to our fearless leader. May this be a night to remember." replied Boartooth. Confusion and merriment indeed. He thought of the times in Greenwood, in the halls of Tharanduil, when the music and merriment went to one's head, as well as the wine. And there was the one time when he was the life of the party. Troulbe was, he didn't remember it, but the elves there often told him of it.

The music began, a little slow at first. Still, the Beorning tapped his foot under the table. He wsa beginning to enjoy himself. What would happen next when the merriment got started, would be anybody's guess.
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Postby SilverScribe » Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:12 pm

As the musicians began playing, Scribbles relaxed. The dessert course was being served, and other than Elladan's unexpected exit, the banquet overall had gone quite well. Elmissir too, looked relieved; no one (at least within earshot) had complained of missing a fork. ;)

Amras moved among the tables, stopping here and there to speak to one guest or another. Scribbles watched with detachment as he threaded his way around the room but when he headed in their tables' direction with a purposeful air that was unmistakable, she squashed a momentary stab of anxiety. 'May it please the Valar, let nothing change our departure . . .' she thought to herself.

The secretary arrived at their table and gave them all a polite, courtly bow before moving to the Scribe's side. "Lord Elladan has asked me to pass on a request, Scribe," he said quietly. One of Scribbles' eyebrows rose. "Oh?" she asked. "And what would that be?"

Amras was not to be put off. "He has asked if you would be willing to grace tonight's Feast of Rhîw with your rendition of The Lay of Earendil." Amras turned to Guilhendar and sketched another bow. "The request includes you, Master Guilhendar. I know from my own experience that your duet with the Scribe is an unparalleled one."

Scribbles waved a hand. "Impossible," she said. Guilhendar frowned. "Scribe . . ." he began.

"No," she snapped. Into the sudden awkward silence she added, "There is no one to sing the counterpoint."

"But we have performed it without many times," Guilhendar objected. "A Master Bard such as yourself knows only too well that the counterpoint is not absolutely necessary, though it does add a certain bittersweet dimen . . ." He trailed off. The expression on the Scribe's normally unreadable face was all too clear. She was angry. Deeply angry. Furious, in fact.

"Do you see a Master Bard's pin on my tunic, Guilhendar?" she growled, her voice so low as to be almost inaudible. The innkeeper spread his hands. "No," he answered softly, "but since when do you need a pin to prove your worth as a Bard?"

The peredhel's expression hardened even further. "You don't understand," she bit off.

"Ah, but I do," he answered. And he did. It was not the pin in and of itself, but the manner of its recent loss that rankled the Scribe so deeply. After centuries of enforced solitude, being welcomed into the ranks of the Bards had been an unlooked for and surprising honour. The Master Bard's pin was more than just mere jewellery, it was a symbol of belonging to something. And the fact that it had been awarded to her from the Master Bard Erinhue's own hand made the loss cut even deeper. For someone who cared nothing for lands or wealth, the Bard's pins were the only material things, other than her sword, that the Scribe truly prized.

Elmissir put a hand on the Scribe's arm. "Scribe, we both understand, truly. And I can sing the counterpoint," she offered, then dropped her voice and leaned close. "Please, do not let the manner of the pin's absence poison your love for music. It is a love you should not lose, no matter what." She looked up and met the angry glare of the peredhel.

Scribbles locked gazes with the healer and for long moments, Elmissir held her breath. Finally, Scribbles nodded and looked to Amras. "Tell your master that we will be honoured to perform The Lay of Earendil. You need only tell us when."

Amras bowed, more relieved than he would let show. "Thank you Scribe. After the first set of dances would be appropriate," he answered. "I will inform the musicians."

As Amras hurried off, Scribbles drained the last of the dessert wine from her glass and signalled a steward. "Nut brown ale, just bring the pitcher," she asked. The steward bowed and hurried off.

"What?" she asked at Elmissir's disapproving look. "If I'm to sing, I need to wet my throat."

The music suddenly took a turn for the more lively. She turned to Garia. "I think the lady would love to dance," she hinted, pointedly glancing at Elmissir and back again.

.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:28 pm

The music indeed became livelier. Boatooth was finishing another round of ale as he listened, his foot tapping to the rhythm. There is something about music, espeically this kind, that soothes the savage beast, or sometimes brings out the beast in one.

With a Beorning, especially, it was true. He got up, drawn by the music, and began shuffling himself. Going out in the floor, led by the music, he went with the flow and did a lively dance himself, consisting of beating the floor, clapping of hands, leaping high. And there was an elegance to it, together with an animal grace.

The music went on and on and so did Boartooth's dance. And as he danced, something began to change, the music was affecting him so. He began to change, beginning with his feet, and working up. He couldn't halp it, with the ale, the music and many other factors, he was doing his change into a bear.

It is impossible to know where a skin-changer's clothes went when they changed. Maybe it transformed into their fur, nobody knows, except probably Oromë, who gave them the power. But he wasn't there.

But soon, he was a bear, a dancing bear. The only thing left of his outfit was the green cloak, clasped at the throat with the silver bear, and it grew with him.

He twirled and leaped and landed with the grace of a skilled dancer, unaware of the stares people were giving him. The dance went with a wildness that only a bear could do. Other dancers got out of his way and watched. The cloak twirled with him, a part of the dance. To dance was to live. To live was to dance.
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Postby Frelga » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:59 pm

Radesh threw a suspicious look at his half-empty glass. But no, Elven wine was surely not to blame for the wonderful sight. At least, if it was, then everyone else was drinking the same stuff, and seeing the same thing. The bear was magnificent, with deep and glossy fur. Radesh, who had come to like his newest comrade more than a little, did his best to stifle all thoughts of rugs, capes and all such objects. It was not hard. There was a human design in the beast's pirouettes and grace both animal and human.

"By all the stars, here is a dancing bear after all! I thought Mace was winding me up." The Hillman broke into a quiet, deep laugh. "I can't wait till I tell them at home that I saw a bear dance. No!" He slapped a palm on the table. "By Dala's grace, I will tell them I danced with bears myself."

This was, perhaps, something that the Elven wine had to answer for. With a toss of black curls, Radesh stood up from his place. He approached Boartooth - Beartooth, surely? - cautiously, respectful of the great claws, as well as the first dancer's right to hold the floor. Once he detected what looked like permission, he gave the Beorning a deep bow and stepped into the dance.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:48 am

Boartooth saw, and smelled the Hillman joining him in the dance. And such bravery, joining him in bear's form, had to be rewarded.

He lifted up Radesh with his massive paws in part of the dance and did a twirl, then set him back down and continued his merry step, increasing in intensity and complexity, as only a bear could. He did a leap and landed on one foot and continued his dance. He ignored the stares from the elves in the room.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:46 pm

“What is that?” She asked. She struggled to sit up, and barely managed to keep herself propped onto one elbow. Zar Calech watched her, noting the effort his charge made. The Westron woman showed tremendous strength of will, even when she was unconscious and ravaged by River Fever; she’d fight unseen foes deep into the night, at times he even had to restrain her. Now she fought for renewed health, every day being another small victory.

“This is a fruit, a dirgo-da ,” he replied. He placed the tray down and assisted her, piling cushions and gently easing her against them. “In your tongue it would be a ‘ball of water’, which, I think you’ll agree, is an apt translation!” The elderly Easterling settled himself opposite, having chosen a small three-legged stool and taking up a large serrated knife he sunk the blade into the think green rind of the large fruit.

“You’re getting stronger, that is good,” he said with a kindly smile. “Tomorrow we start lessons…” he handed her a slice of the fruit, triangular in shape. The flesh was a vibrant pink and glistened with moisture…”and don’t eat the seeds. Spit them out.”

“Lessons?” she echoed feebly, taking the fruit.

“Yes, language lessons, joshida .”

Bardhwyn smiled; joshida, he once explained, meant ‘flower petal’ – and she laughed for it was a thing so unlike her – fragile and beautiful whereas she felt like a bar of scarred, rusted iron.

“If we are going to be successful in our plans,” Zar Calech continued, “in which you play a key part, you must get well and you must learn Shioka…”

“Shioka?” Bardhwyn repeated.

“Eastron, you say, but it is Shioka, language of the Shioks. You call us Eastrons or the old ones, Rhunadain but we have always called ourselves Shiok – Dawn Warriors, for we walk out of the sun - Shiok. Now eat! I think you will like it.”

Bardhwyn sunk her teeth into the fruit and was overwhelmed with the sensation; it was cool and sweet, so full of moisture the fruit seemed to melt in her mouth with every bite. The juice seeped out and over hand, quickly drying in the heat leaving her skin slightly sticky.

“Good, eh?” Zar Calech asked, taking a piece for himself. “When we succeed in defeating this threat that overshadows both our peoples, I will grow these and send them west…”

Bardhwyn held out a small collection of seeds in her hand, in her other hand she held the hard rind of the dirgo-da now clean of the fresh, pink fruit. “Then you better find a way to grow them with out seeds, or you’ll quickly loose your market,” she said with a weak smile.

Zar Calech looked up from her hand with a fierce glare, which quickly faded. He then laughed, loudly.

“You are right, my dear,” he said scooping the seeds from her hand. “How to achieve that, though? It would take a bit of magic, I think. If only your tall, silver-haired friend were here, I’d ask her.”

“She’s not a magician, Zar Calech,” Bardhwyn added wanly, “just half-Elven.”

The Scribe had left sometime ago, with Menon and the Easterlings, leaving her here to recoup – she and Canamarth. Where was the Mistress Bowman, she wondered? Had she left as well? Was she now pursuing some secret mission alone? Every time she asked, Zar Calech would only say ‘the less you know, joshida, the safer we all shall be…’

The original Bowmen were now dispersed; Meaglin and Them, then Lys and Dirk, and now Canamarth. Bardhwyn now understood it was all to plan; Lys and Canamarth knew full well they could no more travel as a group and penetrate deep into the East, travelling undetected, anymore than an Oliphant could waltz down the King’s Mall in Dale - not after the disruption they caused to the Enemy’s plans in Dorwinion.

To what extend the Bowmen’s dispersal was the Easterling Jiyadan’s suggestion, she did not know, perhaps she’d never know. All she knew is that Zar Calech trusted him but barely and it was Jiyadan who encouraged Menon and SilverScribe were to infiltrate the slave trade; that much she remembered before falling ill and then left in the care of Zar Calech.

Bardhwyn tried to place the rind onto the tray but the silver shackle about her wrist halted her reach. The bright links of the chain rattled against the bed frame; with a quick burst of temper she pulled fiercely. She succeeded only in bruising her wrist for the chain remained securely locked to the cast iron ring that hung upon the wall.

“Ssshh, Joshida, please. I know, it is a burden but remember,” Zar Calech said in a low voice while placing a calming hand upon her arm, “the only way to keep a Westron woman here is as a slave, so you are a slave; my slave.” The Easterling gently brushed her cheek. “And this chain,” he took up the highly polished links in his hand, “will become a weapon! For with it you will help bring an end to the tyranny my people suffer, the tyranny that threatens your people, too. Our plans will work but you must be patient, Bardhwyn and you must get well. Now please, eat…”





“Eat…yes…”

She raised her head, expecting to see more dirgo-da but she was no longer in Yama, safe in Zar Calech’s plush surroundings. She was tied to a tree, somewhere between New Weathertop and the Trollfells and night was falling, blue and black all around her. About her waist thick coils of elvish rope bound her to the trunk of a plane tree and she sat, uncomfortably, on one twisted and knurled tree root. Her hands were tied at the wrists and her arms were tied and suspended above her head. The blood had long drained down from her hands and arms; the sensation was maddening – as if she had two lumps of lifeless bone and flesh attached to her shoulders over which she had no command or control. Her stomach was an empty, aching pit. The hospitality of the Elves was wanting in this damp, dark forest hole.

“Eat,” she croaked.

Her head dropped to her chest…




“Another?” Lys asked. Bardhwyn nodded her head with a smile.

“Which one?” he asked.

“That one,” she replied, pointing to a rather large grape that sat at the top of the bunch that he held over her head. “They’re wondrous things, grapes,” she said, watching him pull her chosen piece of fruit free.

“You’ve eaten grapes, before, surely?” he asked, surprised. He poised the grape over her mouth and she opened wide, allowing him to drop it in. She chewed as she smiled.

“Yes, of course I’ve eaten grapes before,” she answered, swatting his chest playfully. “My father had vineyards, white and red and pink grapes… they make jam and wine and jelly and a sweet juice and they’re just … wondrous to me.”

“Sometimes you say the silliest things, woman…”

She nestled closer to him, tucking the thin blanket around her as she moved, warding off the cool autumn night that slid in through their open window. The sounds of Gondor’s second tier drifted in; night sounds – the rattling wheels of a hand drawn carriage, a door slamming, and men laughing loudly in the distance. Lys dropped the bunch of grapes onto the nightstand and rested his bearded chin onto the top of her head as she tucked under his arm. She held him tightly, memorizing the feel of him, knowing, somehow, this moment was important.

“I keep forgetting,” he murmured.

“What?”

“That you were once landed gentry, a toff…”

She stifled a small laugh at the word ‘toff’. “That was a different life, belonging to someone else,” she said softly, “ a long time ago.” She felt a soft kiss on her hair.

Lys’ arm moved absently towards the grapes. “Another?” he asked.


“Yes, please…”

She looked over and he was gone.
Lys.
By the Gods, Lys… why?

“Why did you lie to me?”



“Do you need anything?” The Scribe asked.

“I need to get out of here,” she replied. Bardhwyn allowed her head to drop onto one of the cast iron bars that separated her from the Peredhel.

“I don’t think me breaking you out of King Bard’s prison would achieve the end you desire,” she replied drolly. “It was a full pardon, you asked for, was it not?”

Bardhwyn nodded silently, rubbing her forehead up and down the rough iron bars of her cell. She then heaved a sigh.

“This wasn’t the homecoming I imagined,” she said, lifting her head.

“You’re an exiled and branded traitor who chose to defy all laws and edicts and practically walked into the King’s receiving room - what did you expect? A parade?” SilverScribe asked.

“Ouch,” Bardhwyn said with a glare. A parade is exactly what the rest of the Bowmen were given, its route extending from shores of the Long Lake all the way to the Gates of Erebor with minstrels and drums and silks flying from every window along a people-packed route. The Royal Bowmen, victorious in their return from the East, were feted and feasted while she was sent to Bard’s dungeon.

“Forgive me, that was unfair,” SilverScribe said with a mischievous grin, “but seriously, I think you would have found the whole affair incredibly tedious. Lys’ head became so large, he could barely fit it through the palace gates en route to the reception.”

“There was a reception?!” Bardhwyn asked, her frustration clear. She then turned and threw herself onto the wooden slab that served as a bed.

“Your suit is a strong one,” the Scribe continued, “your actions in the East on behalf of the King cannot be overlooked. I think it safe to say you saved each of our lives at least once, if not more than…” The Peredhel fell quite as she watched both of Bardhwyn’s hands cover her face.

“Archer?” she asked, quietly.

Bardhwyn took a few deep breaths before rubbing her face and eyes vigorously. “I’m all right,” she announced sitting up with a hoarse voice. “You asked me if I needed anything,” she said, swinging her feet onto the ground. “Some decent food and wine would be appreciated and a few more candles. A book or two? Of tales, not history. You’ve read Barding histories?” She pulled a dire face.

SilverScribe nodded her head, knowledgeably. “I shall spare you more punishment. The tales of Dedhefyn, perhaps? He’s a good read and of course, food…”






“Yes, food, please…” she whispered.

'Food, then, here.” She felt the toe of a boot kick at her calf. Slowly she lifted her face. The Scribe was gone. Instead Calmacil, the Lebennese Tower Guardsmen who rode with the Elves, both he and his brother, as Elrohir’s ‘guests’, stood before her, his face barely discernable in the dusk.

“And I’m not the one who lies, Barding,” he added. He dropped a wineskin next to her then placed the bowl on the ground. The smell of the stew made her mouth water.

“Don’t get too excited, the wine’s been watered down,” he said quietly. “It may help you sleep.”

“And I’m supposed to eat this how?” she asked with a dry croak of a voice. She tried to shrug her shoulders but failed.

Wordlessly the man stepped behind the tree to which she was bound and Bardhwyn felt a vague sensation of ropes pulling against her wrists. Calmacil managed to free the Elvish knots that held her arms aloft and they dropped like dead weights into her lap. She hadn’t the will or strength to stifle the groan of pain that came next.

“It will hurt like hell as the blood moves back in,” Cal offered curtly. “I learned why we're here, as well. We’re waiting for at least one, maybe two advance tracking parties that are meant to assemble here with the main force. They’re late and word is they’ve picked up orc trail, maybe some of yours.”

“Orcs would never run this far west,” Bardhwyn said as she tried, futilely, to move her arms. She bit back another groan of pain. “They’d go east, to the mountains, hide in the caves…” she added through clenched teeth.

Calmacil walked off, not bothering to say anymore. He had, in fact said far more than he intended. Still silent he settled himself down near the tent door next to where his half-brother sat, noisily eating his portion of stew. The young Lebennese sniffed.

“I don’t understand you, Cal,” Cyrion said with tone of disgust. “After all you’ve learned, after all that woman has done, you still want to rescue her.”

“She may be a criminal, Cyr but she needs to eat. That’s something these Elves seemed to have forgotten,” Cal said softly.

“She ate yesterday,” Cyr said defensively, not even noticing Cal wasn’t eating.

He’d given his serving to Bardhwyn.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:10 am

Part II

She gritted her teeth and endured the aching pins and needles that pulsated up and down her arms, through her hands and fingers while a small, quiet fear lodged in her mind; what if she never regained the use of her arms and hands again?

She forced herself to breath and waited; slowly, gradually she could move her thumb, her index finger – painful as it was. She felt tears welling in her eyes; tears of relief and it being now dark, she silently let them fall – no one could see. Beside her the stew had long grown cold but it waited as well.


When her limbs were once again her own she took up the bowl and raised it to her mouth, letting only small amounts slip into her mouth as she ate. It was another queer Elvish stew; the herbs they mixed were never to her liking but she ate it, gratefully. She could not see the Lebennese brothers from where she was tied, only a small group of Elven warriors clustered around a tiny fire, speaking low, lamenting their inability to attend some banquet. Bardhwyn was surprised the Elves let him near her, let alone bring her food. Their aim was to keep her weak and pliant, clearly – and it was an effective tactic; she’d used it herself on occasion. She chuckled at the irony of it all and at the Gods with their perverse notions justice – that was no justice, she’d long decided. They were mad, the Gods.

She pushed the bowl aside and reached for the wine skin when a sound hit her ear; that hissing whine that made her flesh tingle and her heart leap – the sound of an arrow in flight; one slick snap, followed by another and another. Three arrows shivered next to her, each head sunk deep through the ropes and into the trunk of the tree. A fourth and final arrow arrived, it too sinking deep into the trunk of the tree, just to her left.

The rope that fixed her to the tree slithered away like some dead snake.

Cries went up from the camp – elvish voices screamed out orders. The small band of elvish soldiers sprang to their feet and many more streamed into view and out again; the horses whinnied and squealed. Then she heard them – orcs, their cries and shouts coming from all directions. Why orcs would choose to attack elves, here, days from Rivendell – was it some insane rescue attempt? And how did they know she was there?

She rolled off the tree root and onto her hands and knees; she was weak but pulled herself to her feet with the use of a stout stick. The cries rose and fell around her, punctuated occasionally by a clash of steel and a scream of pain. She felt a strong hand take a hold of her tunic and pull.

"Kagh!" * A voice barked. Her arm was taken with a vice-like grip and the orc made for the thick of the forest.

Somehow she found the strength - so she ran.



*Orcish: run
Last edited by Bardhwyn on Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:14 pm

Part III

“Skagark, stop…STOP!” Bardhwyn barked the order and dug her heels in; the orc almost pulled her arm from its socket.

“Run!” he hissed, turning to her. He kept a firm hold on her arm. “Elves!”

“Just for a moment, I can’t… I can’t,” she answered, breathless. Her legs could barely move for the cramping and she’d already turned an ankle while stumbling through the deepening gloom. “I’m weak. Untie me, I can better keep my balance.” She held her wrists out to the orc. Skagark hissed a second time.

“No time, keep running!” he wheezed. “Elves,” he repeated, shaking his bow in the direction of the elvish camp.

“Skagark, cut me loose, that’s an order,” Bardhwyn said coldly.

“An order,” the orc repeated with a gurgle in the back of his short, thick throat. He slung his bow across his back and pulled his short sword. He lifted the tip of the orc blade and pointed it to the soft underside of Bardhwyn’s chin.

“You don’t give Skagark orders any more, Number One, ” he said. She could see a cold glint in the orc’s eye.

“Skagark, listen to me…”

“No, YOU listen to Skagark,” he snapped. “Skagark is Chief now, Chief of Orcs! You take orders from me now. Where is it?” he asked, moving in; his breath smelled like putrid meat.

“Where is what?” Bardhwyn asked; she kept her eyes trained on the knife blade.

“The Silver She-Elf’s shiny,” the orc replied, “the mithril pin. She gave it to you, ransom for the strawhead.”

That broke her gaze. Her blue eyes found the cold black stare of Skagark.

“So that’s why you’re here,” she said with laugh. “You're not here to rescue me, you greedy little runt! You're here for treasure! Well, you wasted your time, you idiot fool. Harlond has it.”

“You lie!” Skagark cried, waving the knifepoint underneath her nose. “Skagark watches, Skagark knows! You never saw Harlond!”

“I sent it to him, Skagark…”

“HA! Another lie! Like you’d trust one of us with the She-Elf’s treasure…”

“You’re right, I wouldn’t trust any of you,” she cut in, “which is why I hid it in a package with a note only he could read and sent it off with Thar, he had no idea what he carried…”

“You LIE! You HAVE IT! Skagark KNOWS! Give it to me, NOW or I’ll cut you open like fish.”

The orc surged forward, the tip of his knife passing dangerously close to her eyes, forcing Bardhwyn backwards. She stumbled and fell onto her knees. She held her bound hands in front of her face.

“Skagark, listen to me, I don’t have it…”

“Give it to Skagark! GIVE ME THE SHE-ELF’S…..”

The orc’s final word stopped in his throat, soon followed by a stream of thick, black blood. Skagark, Chief of the Orcs, slid off Calmacil’s sword and onto the forest floor.

Bardhwyn fell onto her seat with a shudder.

“Get up,” Calmacil ordered, pointing his black-blooded blade at Bardhwyn. She nodded silently and tried. Her legs folded underneath her. Cal leaned over, taking up one of Bardhwyn’s arms. She hobbled to her feet.

“Well,” he asked, “do you?”

“Do I what,” Bardhwyn asked.

“Have it?” Calmacil asked. He pulled her back in the direction of the Elven camp.

“I would’ve have given it away and all three Silmarils if I thought it would save my life, Calmacil,” Bardhwyn replied shakily. “You did, instead.”

“Yes, I did, though I don’t know why.” Calmacil pulled her onwards. “Well the orc was right about one thing” Calmacil said with a scowl, “you lie.”

Her hands and feet were bound and tied together and a noose placed around her neck. The opposite end was tied to a stake driven deep into the ground in the midst of the Elven camp, so all could see and watch. A pile of orc bodies burned downwind. Bardhwyn lay curled onto her side, thankful for the bonds; the ropes compressed her twisted ankle and kept it immobile and she could sleep.

Above the strained ankle, in the thick inner leather lining of her boot, she felt the press of the Scribe’s mithril pin, carefully wrapped and securely hidden in a small, secret pocket and she grinned. There she lay, bound and in captivity yet she had a lifetime of wealth almost literally at her feet.

And though she did lie to Calmacil – she never admitted to having the pin – she did tell him the truth insomuch as she would’ve given the orc what he wanted, if she thought it would save her life.

Never trust an orc, though.


Ever.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:08 pm

Meanwhile in Rivendell


Elrohir waved for more wine; it was dry and heavy and just what he needed. His fingertips were merely tingling, however. He’d need to imbibe much more to make the evening worthwhile now that Elladan had abandoned him, leaving him stranded at the head table. Being forced to play the Royal Host wasn’t that difficult, however; smile every now and then, applaud and nod and smile a little more. Besides, Elladan deserved some respite. How he kept it up, day after day, Elrohir did not know. He nodded his thanks to Elf who served him and took a good, long drink ignoring the pain of his leg wound.

As the Beorning transformed on the dance floor there had been gasps and small cries of alarm but Elrohir just laughed. Boartooth was always one for surprises and he raised his glass to the Bear and his tall Edain partner. It was apparent the Beorning had gained employment with the Scribe; he sat at her table along with Guilhendar and his sister and the other second born. All of Elrohir’s past dealings had proven the Beorning’s martial capability and trustworthiness. Boartooth joining the Scribe was a good thing; a good omen.

“For she needs all the help she can get,” Elrohir murmured allowed.

“Your Highness?”

Elrohir looked over to the Barding seated to his right, who up until know had been silent.

“Nothing, Master… I’m sorry, your name again?”

“Lord Deleth,” the man replied with a touch of irritation. “High Minister of Trade to the Court of King Bard the Second of Dale and if anyone needs help, sir, it is that man out there dancing with that…that…”

“Beorning?” Elrohir said.

“Self appointed watch dogs, all of them! Their tolls on the East West Road are extortionate and drive up the cost of honest trade! They’re no better than the brigands that roam the hills and back roads. Why, I myself had to pay…”

“I’d have you know that Beorning is well favored by me, my Lord.” Elrohir replied flatly, cutting the man off. “I’d return to your desert, sir.” The Prince caught sight of his brother’s secretary. “Amras!”

The man stopped before Elrohir, standing opposite the high table.

“Your Highness,” Amras replied with a short bow.

“Well, what did she say?”

“Who, sir?”

“The Scribe. You posited my request for a song; how did she react?” Elrohir asked with a grin.

“She assented, sir, quite happily,” Amras replied

“She did?!” Elrohir replied, surprised.

“Yes, sir,” Amras said with brief furrow of his brow. “Why shouldn’t she?”

“Because it was I that asked her,” Elrohir answered. “You did say it was I who had asked her?”

Amras nodded but looked even more confused. The secretary turned to the dance floor, his attention grabbed by another round of gasps from the Elven audience. The Beorning was spinning his second born partner over his head, the man’s weight effortlessly supported by the Bear’s two large, furry and muscular arms.

Amras turned and walked up to the high table, his face now twisted with consternation. “Sir!” Amras said with a hushed urgency. “The Beorning! What would you have me do, sir?!”

“Have you do? Do what?” Elrohir asked.

“Shall I have him removed, sir?”

“Removed?!”

“He’s blatantly, flagrantly disobeying a direct order – he was not to transform into his other form…never publicly… you..”

“Bollocks,” Elrohir barked.

“But, Your Highness! You…” Amras faltered, seeing the angering brewing in the Prince’s eyes, “…they can be so alarming … and… and overlarge…” The secretary pointed in the direction of dance floor. “Our brethren, sir, they may find it distressing…”

“If any of ‘our brethren’ find the Eru-given gift of a Beorning’s transformation distressing then what must they think of the hawk that plucks the baby hare from the brush for its supper or the spider that traps a fly in its web?”

Amras stood speechless before his Prince and he looked thoroughly confused.

“You are to do nothing, Amras,” Elrohir added. He motioned the man away with a shake of his head. Elrohir noticed the Barding Lord; the man had been listening intently.

“So hard to find good help these days, don’t you think?” Elrohir asked with a grin. “Back to your desert, my lord, desert,” he added waving at the man’s plate. Lord Deleth silently obliged.

Elrohir took another long drink and cast a glance at the Scribe as he lowered his goblet. Her agreement to perform was too easily given; she was up to something, Elrohir was sure of it.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:39 pm

BAP ALERT!

She followed him down the long terrace, well past the hall and into the darkness, her footsteps falling lightly but quickly on the cool flagstones. The silk of her slippers whispered faintly with each step, sounding no louder than the rustle of a dry autumn’s leaf. His pace was steady, purposeful, as always, yet Elrohir stopped in the most unlikely of places; he paused at the mithril fountain and gazed long into the falling water. Linwë slipped behind a thick holly and watched him; the rich silver glow of the fountain illuminated the mithril trim of his garment and the velvet of his tunic rippled green and black as if he were a god of starlight dancing on the face of the night leaves. An almost imperceptible sigh of longing escaped her. Their time together before he left for the Ettenmoors was brief but passionate and he swore he’d call her to mind with the coming of every dawn. When news reached her of Elrohir’s wound she succumbed to a fit of trembling so severe she took to bed; she could not bear the thought of losing yet another love to the blade. Yet he returned alive, as he had promised.

He’d arrived in the early morning hours, injured and ill with the soldier’s malady. He had slept all day and upon waking, was thrust into the gaiety of his brother’s feast. Poor love! When she learned of this the pique she’d felt at his neglect was dismissed; how selfish she could be! Elrohir had no opportunity to seek her out with such duties being thrust upon him! As he had so little respite she was not surprised to see him leave the hall, no doubt after terse words with Elladan. He was so much like his father! How could two Elves be nigh indistinguishable in form yet be so different in temperament?

She watched as Elrohir leaned heavily onto the rail that circled the fountain, as if so very weary.

“My lord?” she whispered. He turned at the sound of her voice and she moved quickly, slipping easily into his arms. Her lips met his and she pressed the silent ache of her longing for him into her kiss.

The swiftness with which he pulled away from her was like a stab of a knife to her heart.

“My lady!” she heard him exclaim with shock.

Linwë stepped back, alarmed. “Is it your wound?” she asked. “Forgive me! I was told it was most grievous…” she took a step forward, wanting to grasp his hand.

“Nay!” he said, stepping back himself, his shock clear upon his face. “You followed me… and you…Lady Linwë, why?”

“To ease you’re discomfort, my lord. 'Tis clear you want nothing to do with the feast.”

“Ease my discomfort? You?” he asked with concern.

“Aye, who else?” Linwë said with a laugh. She reached out long and took hold of her Prince’s hand. “You had words with your brother, I warrant?”

“No, no,” he said with a shake of his head, “Though he can be so very sharp...” he added with a flare of temper. “Please, my lady,” he said, freeing his hand, “your attention is most unexpected.”

“Unexpected?!” Linwë repeated. She could feel her pique returning. “I’ll tell you what’s unexpected; you return here to Imladris and yet send no word! Then I have to seek you out. Were it not for your brother who took pains to encourage me of your affections, I would think you care not for me...…”

“He what?!”

“He counselled me with such kindness and assured me of your love. That you…”

Linwë could see a storm of anger rise in Elrohir’s eyes; a storm darker and deeper than the tempests she’d become familiar with. This storm was new to her and she took a step back in fear.

“I assure you, my lady,” his words were pronounced an icy coldness that made Linwë shiver, “if my brother did encourage you thus, he did so with malintent and has mislead you. I know not what shallow game he plays with you or why he should mislead you so but I do apologize for him and I assure you I will take him to task for his callousness.”

The elf maid’s chest heaved as if she fought for the air she breathed. She heard the words but they sounded as if they were spoken by a total stranger.

“You have no affections for me, then?” Linwë whispered, her deep brown eyes welling with tears.




Elladan could barely contain his rage as he stood before the Lady Linwë witnessing the cruel consequence of Elrohir’s heartless jest. How could he treat her so poorly? Toy with her affections only to what? Tire of her and then lie? Cause the maid to think that he, Elladan, loved her best and truly?

Elrohir’s admonishments of his interest in Elmissir now made all the more sense; he wanted to put Linwë in his bed and free himself from an unwanted lover – Elmissir was a complication he couldn’t afford. Elladan shook his head with disgust at this cold realization.

It was when Linwë let a small sob escape her that Elladan broke off his angered train of thought. With a tear-stained face the elf maid turned and fled into the darkness before he could stop her. It was not his place to assuage her, however. It was Elrohir’s and Elladan would make sure his brother would atone for his shallowness.

He retraced his steps, leaving the mithril fountain behind him and quickly arrived at the veranda that ran parallel to the hall. The heels of his boots clicked sharply on the same flagstones that, not long ago, threw off the whisper of silk slippers. Guards snapped sharply to attention as he passed by.

Elladan reached the first of the entrance arches that opened into the Hall of Fire and stopped, arrested by what transpired on the dance floor. There in the midst of his guests Elladan saw the Beorning, fully transformed as a bear, cavorted and twirling in time to the music. The creature’s clothes were puckering and pulled tightly across its torso where, clearly, the tailoring done for the man was insufficient for the bear. It was everything Elladan could do to refrain from shouting aloud when one of the Scribe’s Edain joined the creature in the dance.

If the Beorning thought the commands of a Prince of Elvendom were of no consequence, he would need to be re-educated.



The guard watched the expression of the Prince turn foul. He stood motionless with his spear presented before him and he quickly recollected what the brigade commander had told them all before they reported for duty:

“It’s been reported that – listen up! On this night of feasting and merriment, which none of you will partake, His Royal Highness Prince Elladan is wearing purple and His Royal Highness Prince Elrohir is in the green. Remember this so you know who’s speaking to you if you’re unlucky enough to get either of their attention. So don’t get their attention or else you’ll have too much of mine when this little party is done!”


He’d managed to get Prince Elrohir’s attention, it seemed; the Royal had walked over to him, his face the very picture of fury.

“Guardsman, you will go to the barracks and inform your commander a platoon of your strongest men are to report here, armoured and armed. Upon arrival they will report to me whereupon we will present ourselves to the Beorning, escort him from the Hall and inter him a holding cell – a strong one. See to it one is prepared. Is that clear?”

“Yes, Your Highness, sir” the guard replied. He sprinted off, into the dark.


Elladan looked down as he unclenched his fists; he’d not felt anger of this intensity in a very long time. He lifted his eyes and looked down at the high table where his brother sat, clearly entertained by the antics on the dance floor while a flustered looking Amras scuttled off.

How to proceed? Elladan asked himself as he walked slowly back to the high table. Perhaps if he knowingly played into his brother’s machinations he could learn more? And see what comes of it? Perhaps Missy’s interest in the Edain is Elrohir’s doing as well – it would make sense. Poison her ear as he sweetens Linwë’s.

Games of chess with Elrohir were always a close thing, Elladan winning as many as Elrohir – they were evenly matched, Elrond would say.

“But this is game has much more import, dear brother,” Elladan murmured as he approached the high table, “you gamble with hearts and that is a grave game, indeed.”
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Postby SilverScribe » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:08 pm

. . . meanwhile, back at the Scribe's table . . . ;)

Elmissir flushed pink. "I doubt Garia needs your prompting, Scribe," she said primly, then smiled at the brigand. "Do you?"

“From my experience,” Harah chimed in, “Garia rarely needs prompting. If anything he needs restraining! Why, I recall Garia telling a story once about a barmaid - this was when we were in the mi...” The solid sound a sharp kick came up from under the table and the Southron stopped with a yelp. Harah gave Radesh a scowl while the hillman settled back into his chair with a grin.

"Yes, thank you, Harah, for your kind words, but we know our language is hard on your gentle Southron tongue, so don't weary it with all those compliments," Garia leapt up, seeing tragedy gallop his way in the form of Harah's wayward mouth. He would thank Radesh for the intervention later. "Why don't you soothe it with a drink to our health. My lady Elmissir," he turned to his sweet neighbour with a disarming smile. An honest smile it was, through and through- she was the prettiest sight he'd ever laid eyes on. Stars above, thought Garia, if the girls at home had been one tenth like that, I might have stayed.

What a joy that he hadn't. He gave Elmissir a perfect bow; his voice, so often loud and guffawing, turned a grateful velvet. "You've given me more graces than I could dream of, let alone deserve. I would be happy to do nothing but gaze at you all evening, and I should not, cannot ask for more… but I will be bold and reckless, my lady, for one cannot be a coward before those starlit eyes. Dare I hope," he went on, hand on his heart," that you will also grant me a dance?" He felt his heart leap up as she took her moment to reply; like a hare it wanted to fly out of his chest, like the coward he claimed not to be. She would say no! She would refuse him, as she should have refused him days ago; this glittering ball and her kinsmen's wary glances would bring her to her senses. She would laugh at him, and point the way out the door and back to Linden, where nooses and nosy relatives awaited.

Her lips parted; Garia held his breath, never less certain of himself than in that tiniest moment.

“Why Master Garia,” Elmissir demurred as she rose gracefully to her feet, “I was beginning to fear that you save your dancing only for starlit meadows. How relieved I am to see that this is not so . . . and I would be more than delighted to take a turn or three with you on the floor.” She smiled at him and out of the corner of her eye, caught the slight clenching of her brother’s jaw. The Scribe’s face, as usual, gave away nothing. Then Garia held out his arm and she took it, tossing a few errant curls behind her shoulder as he led her away from the table with a slow, stately step. Oh how she was going to enjoy this evening . . .

There was not a happier man in Imladris, or for a hundred miles around that night, than the strawheaded mortal. 'Fight beasts of old for glories untold', the popular song went, and Garia hadn't seen a beast worse than the Scribe, but here was glory, and that was fine by him. The world was finally living up to its bardic promise.

Garia had to try hard to fashion a properly modest smile out of the delighted grin. Elmissir, of course, was perfectly demure- but her eyes did twinkle and tease him. She followed his step as if they had practiced all week long, and it was just as well that the Elves loved the same dances as mortals, as Garia could not pay heed to his own feet. He was utterly lost in Elmissir's eyes. He no longer remembered his plans to boast and brag, to send triumphant glances to Radesh and defiant ones to Elmissir's guardians. Many eyes were watching them, but they mattered nothing at all. The ballroom, the estate, the whole world itself faded; the music was only a murmur, the chatter of the feast a whisper on the wind.

And as Garia led, Elmissir followed, joy and sorrow filling her heart with equal measure. She revelled in Garia’s smiles and occasional soft words as they moved gracefully among the eldar and cared not a whit for the discreet glances and yes, outright stares of some of the other guests. The music carried her along, content for the moment in Garia’s embrace. Secretly, she hardened her resolve to enjoy and cherish every moment that the Valar would grant them before their ways were inevitably parted; either by the Scribe’s errand or the natural brevity of a mortal’s lifetime. No matter what the future held in store, this night would be theirs and she would add its memory to those of other stolen moments; to be stored up against the bitter days that surely would come.

Scribbles toyed absently with a fish knife, much to the obvious dismay (and no little disapproval) of some of the guests at a neighboring table. She watched Elmissir and Garia as they circled effortlessly among the eldar, two fair stars orbiting each other in a glowing sky that for her, with each passing day, was growing steadily darker. A glance at Guilhendar’s face told her nothing that she didn’t already know or suspect; the innkeeper did not approve of his sisters sudden bid for independence but he was wise enough to know that objecting too strongly would only drive Elmissir further and further away. She almost pitied him but felt sure that everything would work out, whether she remained alive to see it or not. Elmissir had promised Guilhendar that she would sail West with him eventually if he so wished, and she was not one to break her promises lightly.

But there were far more interesting things to see and contemplate on this evening than doom and gloom. For instance, the tightly controlled but obvious argument developing between one of the glittering ladies and her too-ardent suitor . . . not to mention the two young eldar lads three tables down, glaring across the pristine white tablecloth at each other . . . and last but not least, the so very obvious empty chair at the head table . . .


OOC: Harah provided by Bardy; Garia provided by Rodia . . .
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Postby Bardhwyn » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:45 pm

At the barracks...


“Prince Elrohir said what?”

Guardsman Lissësúl shifted uneasily on his feet and tucked his high-crested helmet securely under his arm. The battalion commander’s eyes bored into him like two Noldorian daggers.

“He requested a platoon, sir, comprised of your strongest warriors and they’re to report to the Hall of Fire and…”

“Yes, yes and take hold of the Beorning and throw him into a cell which makes absolutely NO SENSE!” the commander barked. "This is Boartooth we're talking about!"

“Sir, I can’t explain why the Prince commanded this, I’m only here to relate his orders,” Lissësúl said firmly.

The commander rose to his feet, grumbling. He stepped out from behind his desk and strode to the door of his small office, throwing it open vigorously. “Lindor!” he bellowed, “Get a runner up to the Hall and bring me back another guard from the mith platoon; I need to confirm these orders - and find Oronsàr! Ask him to come here immediately. He’s Elrohir’s second, maybe he can shed some light on this.”

The commander returned to his seat and looked up at the guardsman. “In the meantime you best get down to the second cellblock, the one next to the platoon’s stable, and have number nine prepared; the bars are five inch hardened steel. Get a big bed, damn you, and furs, lots of them. If we need to put Boartooth up for the night, let’s make him comfortable.”

Guardsman Lissësúl nodded and left, leaving the commander alone and confused.

“Makes no sense whatsoever,” the commander said into an empty room.
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Postby SilverScribe » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:56 pm

.

"Keep your voice down!" Almirn hissed. A quick glance around showed that no-one was looking in their direction, but it was certain that at least a few guests seated at neighboring tables had heard. However, no one was so impolite as to actually stare at them . . . he turned back to his companion.

"Why?" Loethil retorted, though he dropped his voice considerably. "Why should honesty be hidden in whispers?"

"Because you're being rude," Almirn answered, nervously taking a sip of wine.

His companion snorted, then leaned forward across the white, still unmarked table linen. "There is nothing rude about the truth," he growled. "Abomination I say and abomination it is. Your adoration and admiration for that . . . thing . . . does not alter what is, cousin."

Almirn's eyes went hard. "It is not adoration, but the admiration is deserved. Can you best her on the practice ground? No. Can any of us? No. Not even the Weapons Master and he has several centuries on her. At least give her the respect she is due . . ."

"Respect?" Loethil snapped, then smiled and nodded as several elves glanced briefly their way. Turning back to his table companion, his expression changed to something that looked as though he'd eaten sour fruit. "Respect is given for many reasons, and I for one have absolutely no reason to respect that un-natural creature. I have no doubt the Valar themselves cringe every time they look upon her."

"And well they should!" Almirn muttered. At his cousin's sneer, he continued. "I repeat, as well they should, since they did nothing to intercede, or spare her from Delkarnoth's sorcerous meddling."

"I heard it was she who stole the spell from the Dark Mage . . ."

"That's a lie!" Almirn interrupted hotly, then flushed with embarassment at the stern looks that turned his way. He was further mortified to see the Scribe looking directly at them . . . if there had been a convenient chasm handy, he would have willingly dove into it at that moment. But as quickly as attention was paid, it was gone. The other guests turned back to their own conversations, the Scribe included.

"At least we'll be rid of her soon," Loethil drawled with a self-satisfied smile. "I overheard the lovely Elmissir leaving the Herbarium just this morning, ordering up a multitude of healing herbs and odds and ends to be packaged up and delivered to the Scribe 'before her departure two days hence'. Good riddance I say and may that creature never darken the doorsteps of Imladris again, at least not before we sail for Valinor."

Almirn absorbed this news in silence. If the Scribe was leaving, then he was too.

And if no one was the wiser, even better.

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Postby Bardhwyn » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:36 am

double post!
Last edited by Bardhwyn on Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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