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

Postby Spirit_of_the_Willow » Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:25 pm

When Tasar arrived back at the house, Mari was in the barn, milking the cow. She had a little basket in which little Duilin was burbling happily. Mari looked up as Tasar entered, and greeted her with a smile.

“Good morning,” she said over her shoulder as she continued milking, “I hope that the fact that you’re already up and about doesn’t mean you slept awfully.”

“Oh, not at all,” Tasar reassured her cheerfully, “I slept quite well. You have the most amazingly soft straw.” She was deliberately effusive, and Mari chuckled in response, “It was, at any rate, much better than sleeping on the ground, which is what I would have done since I’d never have made it into town before dark last night.”

The farmer’s wife frowned a little at that, and began to say something, but the baby began to cry. “Oh dear,” Mari said, “I don’t suppose you know how to milk a cow?” she said, turning her eyes back to Tasar, who was already moving towards the babe.

“No, I’m afraid not,” she laughed, bending to scoop the infant into her arms, “But I do know how to hold a baby. And, I must confess, I’ve been dying to since last night.”

The concerned mother watched carefully as the near stranger lifted her baby in her arms, making certain that the young woman did actually know how to hold the baby properly, before relaxing, and going back to milking the cow again, satisfied that Tasar knew what she was about. And every mother likes to know that her child is admired.

And Tasar knew just how to cheer the baby, rocking him, and cooing to him, kissing his smooth fuzz covered head. “He’s such a darling,” she said, looking up and smiling at the proud mother.

“Well, of course he is,” Ven said, entering the barn. “He’s my son isn’t he?” The dark-haired farmer came and removed his leather gloves, reaching to tickle the baby under the chin. Duilin’s laughter gurgled in response. “I checked in on your horse,” he continued, “That leg is still badly swollen. I don’t think it’d be healthy for her to walk on it for several more days, and she probably shouldn’t pull that cart for a couple weeks at the least.”

Tasar bit her lip in worried concern. She could not impose on these good people for two entire weeks. But nor could she endanger her horse. She depended on Breccia to get her from one town to the next.

“You won’t want to leave to day at any rate,” Mari said, as she finished her milking, and stood, lifting the bucket of thick milk. Ven immediately took the heavy pail from her hands, she smiled at him fondly, then continued, gesturing out the barn door, “the rain is already starting.” The sky had darkened from the golden light of morning, to the dim grey of a rainstorm, though as yet the rain was only faint.

“Maybe the storm will pass quickly,” Tasar protested weakly, her blue eyes shadowed as she looked out into the darkly clouded sky. How quickly the storm had come.

The farmer and his wife exchanged glances, then Mari agreed, “Yes it might. But until it does, know that you are quite welcome to stay here until your horse is fit.”

“You are too kind,” Tasar murmured, still reluctant to agree to take such advantage, “We shall see what the day brings.” The babe in her arms began fussing again, and Tasar chuckled, “Oops, I think that this time he wants his mother.”

When Mari had taken the crying infant into the house, Ven turned to Tasar, “You mentioned that you are a carpenter did you not?” When Tasar agreed he continued, “I have a few things you might help me with, if you will? I think we have a little bit yet before the rain begins in earnest . . . and I’ve been meaning to see if I can do anything about the gate out in the pasture.”

He took Tasar out to the pasture gate. As they walked, Tasar’s gaze immediately went to the shadowy figure of Zephyr. He maintained his distance, standing and watching them intently.

Ven noticed the direction of her gaze, “Aye, that’s Zephyr, the beast I told you about last night.”

“We met earlier this morning,” Tasar said, smiling, “I think he liked the tune I was humming,” she added when Ven looked at her questioningly, “He actually came right up to me.”

“Is that so?” the farmer rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “I’d never thought of that before, though I’ve heard that gypsies sometimes use music to sooth their horses.” Ven turned his thoughtful gaze from the dark bay horse to the carpenter. If she could handle that horse, then perhaps he had a way to solve both his problem (the horse) and hers. Well, one of her problems anyway. He had a feeling she was in for a lot of trouble if she insisted on going into New Weathertop alone. “I tell you what, Tasar,” he said, “You’re wanting to get on into town aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am. I cannot in good conscience impose on you for too long. But if Breccia is unable to leave, I am afraid that I may not have any choice in the matter,” her voice was apologetic.

“I won’t say as how we’re in the habit of putting up strangers for long periods of time, but I will say that we’re happy to have you stay as long as you need. Mari and I discussed it last night, and if you’re willing to lend a hand about, we’ve got the supplies to put you up for a time.” Tasar would have said something, but Ven held up his callused hand to interrupt, “Just think on it for a bit. But I brought it up again, because it seems to me that you might be able to handle this beast,” he nodded towards Zephyr, “Better than I can. He’s not really all that suited to farm work in any case. What say you, if you are really intent on heading on soon, to making a trade, Zephyr for your cart horse?”

Tasar blinked in shock, unable at first to frame a suitable reply. It was unbelievably generous of him. “I couldn’t sir!” she finally managed, “Zephyr is a much more valuable beast than my Breccia. She is no longer very young. If you are intent on getting a new horse, you could sell him and get another sturdy horse much younger and stronger. And her age aside, there’s her injured leg. She won’t be up to farm work for some time, and even when she is, it won’t be for long.” However, even as she spoke, her eyes were drawn to the beautiful bay stallion. “Such a trade would be terribly unfair to you,” she concluded, though she could not help being a bit disappointed that her values prevented her from taking advantage of his offer.

Ven could tell she was determined, and he could not deny the truth of her words, so he let the matter drop. “Very well. I must say that it says a lot for your sense of honesty that you rejected my offer. Though, I don’t say that it is wise. If I am so foolish as to make such an unequal offer, I may deserve to be taken advantage of.”

“Do not say so,” Tasar said urgently, “it is only that you are so kind.”

“Kindness, foolishness, to some that is one and the same thing,” Ven said wryly.

“Oh surely not! Anyone can recognize true kindness,” Tasar’s voice was earnest, her blue eyes wide, and Ven could only shake his head at her innocence. How the lass made it this far from her home was beyond him.
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Postby Spirit_of_the_Willow » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:09 pm

Tasar and Ven finished the gate just before the storm started in earnest. They were turning to head back to the house when a bolt of lightning flashed. Zephyr’s whinny coincided with the rumble of distant thunder which followed.

“Oh!” Tasar said, looking back at the horse, then glancing at Ven, “Surely we should not leave him out in this storm!” she said, then bit her lip uncertainly.

“We’d have to put out one of the other horses to put him in the stable,” the farmer replied, shaking his head, “he’ll take little harm from it.”

“But I should hate to be out in this myself, it’s hardly fair for me and my horse to put him out,” she had an idea, and turned to appeal to Ven, “If I can keep him calm, we can keep him tethered in the barn can’t we?”

Ven looked dubious, “Do you really want to have a half wild horse in the barn with you?” he asked with a raised brow.

“I don’t think he’ll be any trouble,” she said, looking out toward the bay, “and I know how to calm him.”

“But you don’t know how long it’ll last. And you can’t very well spend the entire night humming,” Ven pointed out.

“But the storm may not last that long. And if it does . . . if he doesn’t stay calm, we can put him back out again. . . .I’ll put him back out again.”

“Very well,” Ven agreed gruffly, hiding his amusement at her concern for a horse she had refused to trade for. Maybe Mari would be able to think of a way to get Tasar to agree to trade the horse.

Immediately Ven agreed, Tasar turned and ran back to the field, not heeding Ven’s alarmed call for her to wait. When she reached the gate, she opened it slightly, and stepped inside. Then slowly she began walking towards the horse, keeping her gaze on him as she approached.

Zephyr swiveled his ears toward her, his head raised as he watched her moving closer. She heard him blow softly, and immediately began humming softly. The big bay shook his mane, and took a step forward. Tasar changed her humming to soft singing, a wordless melody Gwaddyn had taught her when she had made her first whistle. Her voice was clear and her tone pure, though she had had no formal training. But that did not matter, what mattered was the music, and the effect it had on the beast in front of her, a beast capable of trampling her into the ground.

Several feet away from the large beast, Tasar stopped, but continued her soft singing. Zephyr snorted, and stared at her intensely. The young woman forced herself not to tense, not to show fear. Zephyr would not hurt her, she had faith in him.

At last her patience was rewarded when, nickering softly, the big bay horse moved closer to her, closer and closer, until he was close enough for her to reach out and touch him. Tasar raised her hand slowly, and waited, a warm glow filling her when he pushed his nose into her hand, and she touched him for the first time. Keeping her voice low and melodic, she said, “You’re a sweety at heart, aren’t you?” She moved her hand to rub on his forehead, then slid her hand around his face, to pat his neck comfortingly, glad that he had not started when she spoke. “I’m sorry that I still don’t have anything for you. But I think I can get some if you’ll come with me back to the barn.” She felt his side shiver a little, and noticed that she was getting quite soaked with the rain that was now falling steadily. “Come on, let’s get in where it’s warm.”

She began walking away, hoping that the big horse would follow her, and to her delight he did. Looking ahead, Tasar bit back a grin as she saw Ven looking dumbstruck, halter in hand. She took the halter from his limp grasp, and gently laid the lead rope over Zephyr’s shoulder, then eased the halter over his head.

“I don’t believe it,” Ven muttered at last, “I really don’t believe it. Tell you what,” he said, “it’s obvious he belongs with you. If you won’t trade just your horse for him, maybe we can think of something else to trade as well.”

Tasar looked at him, a little embarrassed, “I really shouldn’t agree, but I don’t think I can say no,” she confessed, “If we can find something else as well . . . then Breccia’s yours.” Though she was fast coming to love the big beast at her side, Tasar felt a twinge of sorrow at the thought of leaving Breccia behind. The loyal horse had been a constant companion for so long.

They got Zephyr into the barn, and toweled off the cold rain which soaked his coat. Tasar insisted on helping with this, though she herself was soaked to the skin. As she fetched her dry clothes from her cart, she had an inspiration as to what she could add to the trade for Zephyr.

When she entered the house, Mari immediately bustled her into the bedroom to change into the dry clothes, and when she emerged, sat her in front of the fire with a bowl of warm soup. Tasar could not help laughing at her motherly behavior.

“Ven,” she said, after the soup had warmed her, “I have a thought about what I might add to the trade for Zephyr.”

“Oh, and what’s that lass?”

“My cart is nearly completely empty,” she began, “Everything I have at the moment could easily fit in saddlebags . . . I just have my tools and a few small pieces of wood,” She intended to carve one of those pieces into a toy for Duilin before she left, “I’m sure that even if you haven’t a use for the cart, you could find a good price for it. It’s a sturdy cart . . .” she trailed off as Ven rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

“You’re sure you’d want to trade your cart?” Mari asked.

“Yes, I’m planning on staying in New Weathertop for a while anyway, I won’t need a cart . . . and making a new one can be one of the projects I undertake before leaving there. It’s really not too much of a sacrifice, but I think it might be a help to you.”

“That it would,” Ven agreed, “Well, if you’re sure. It’s a deal.”
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Postby Bryttar » Tue Dec 26, 2006 10:20 am

Bryttar watched Bardhwyn for a moment as she huddled under his cloak and then looked out through the loft opening and watched as the low clouds moved in.

"There are many trees in this direction, my view is obstructed." The Dale woman said quietly. Bryttar could hear the weariness in her voice.

“I can take the first watch if you’d like…some rest would be good for you.” Yet the woman remained silent as she pulled his cloak tighter and looked out towards the west.

“Hungry?” He asked reaching for his pack.

She shook her head wiping water from her face as it dripped from her hair. “How about a hot bath?” She asked wryly. “Have one of those in you pack?”

The Rohirrim smiled as he looked over and watched as she inspected the wet cloak wrapped around her. “No, that I don’t have, too hard to carry on this trip. But here…” He said rising to his feet and unfastened the clasp under his neck. “Let’s exchange cloaks. This one is warmer.”

“No!” she quickly blurted. “I wouldn’t dare wear that. I’d be afraid of ruining it. It’s so lovely.”

He watched as her eyes glanced over it again then quickly turned to look out into the rain. “Where did you get it?”

“Does the name Mithril Knights sound familiar?”

Her eyebrows furrowed for a moment. “No.” She answered softly. “But I can read the runes on it. Noble words…” Her gaze turned to the outside world as she lost herself in thought once again.

“Yes…yes they are.” He agreed as he walked over to the opening, rested his hand against the rough wooden wall, and joined her in gazing out over the gray landscape. “We were a group of knights…noble knights.” He finally added.

“Were?” She asked, curious. “You are no longer?”

A minute passed before he answered. “In heart we still are, but no not as a group.” Another minute passed before the turned back to her. “Bardhwyn, if you are cold this will keep you warmer. I’m not worried you’ll hurt it.”

As he removed his cloak her eyes grew wide. “No.” she whispered holding out her hand in protest.

“Please…take it.”

“No…no I can’t.”

“Yes…you can.” He said holding it out. “Please?”

Finally she reached out. The touch of the soft fabric softened her. He could see it in her eyes. A moment later she blushed, nodded, and exchanged the wet cloak for his. “I don’t think I’ve worn anything so beautiful before in my life, not that I would remember.” She added with a little laugh, but the change didn’t last long. Her face became drawn as she started to chew on her lip. “So tell me, where you a Mithril Knight when we last met? How long ago was it?”

Taking the damp cloak he draped it around his shoulders and then looked out towards the darkening sky. “No, I wasn’t.” He replied as his eyes remained fixed, searching. Finally he took a deep breath. “We met in Rohan…close to 4 years ago.”

Bardhwyn remained silent as she fingered the rich embroidery but then looked up. “Tell me, did I have this scar…this one here,” she asked drawing her finger down her left check. “Did I have this scar then? Can you recall?”

“Yes,” he whispered keeping his gaze fixed.

She followed his gaze to the cloudbank that had pushed its way out from the mass of clouds around it; it was darker than the others, more threatening. “Then it isn’t new.” She replied. “It pains me as if new. I wish I could remember…understand...” Her words were interrupted by the sound of coughing.

Bryttar turned his attention to the back of the barn.

“The boy he could be hungry.” Bardhwyn said quietly.

“He has his own pack.” He answered looking back at the Dale woman. Her face was suddenly illuminated by a quick flash. Bryttar looked out again and counted the seconds until the rumble of thunder filled the air. “That’s about 3 miles away.”

“Tell me about the lad,” Bardhwyn asked after another long pause. “How is it he’s with you? He’s from the White City, you from Rohan. You make an unlikely pair.”

Bryttar chuckled in agreement as to her observation, but his expression then turned somber. Lowering his voice, he began.

“Eriador is from Gondor the oldest of five children. Unfortunately his father had a greater passion for the bottle than his own family.” He turned looking into Bardhwyn’s eyes. “He still won’t talk about it…all I know is one night he tried to stop what was going on…”

"Brave lad. That is often the case I hear, the eldest boy is forced to be a man before his years. He survived, that much is clear.”

Bryttar nodded.

“What of his mother? Siblings?”

“There all safe now, with good people.” He answered. “My brother heard about what happened from a family friend and offered to help. I think Eriador’s mother was a bit desperate at the time. Anyway, she agreed to let the boy come live on my brother’s ranch. That was close to a year ago, and I still believe it was the right decision.”

The woman remained quiet as the rain came down harder. . "Mothers, brothers, families..." she finally mumbled looking out towards the trees.

“I too offered to help, but I never expected this,” Bryttar added with a smile.

"This?" She asked, "You mean stuck in the lad in a derelict hayloft with a wanted woman, hunted by cloaked strangers." She smiled warily and repositioned herself, sitting cross-legged. "You should stop taking in 'strays', your life would be calmer."

He turned to look at her.

"I wasn't implying Eriador was a stray..."

“I didn’t think that you did.” He smiled reassuringly. “What surprises me about this is not that I’ve learned from him, I’m always learning from people. It’s what I’ve learned from him.” Bryttar stopped and reached for some water. Taking a long drink he placed the water bag back on the ground. “The human spirit is resilient even in youth.”

“That's what he's taught you, is it? It's not true for all, sadly." She added.

Bryttar nodded in agreement. “So Bardhwyn,” he stated with a slight sparkle of friendship in his eye. “Do you have any other questions that I can answer for you?”

A look of dejection suddenly crossed her face. "Any more ques..? What, am I being a bother?"

“No…” he replied. “No…” and then gently placed his hand upon her upper arm. “You said earlier there was so much you couldn’t remember…you said you wanted to understand. That’s all I meant. If asking questions is helping then please ask.”

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Postby Bardhwyn » Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:14 am

Gentle Readers -

It is my duty, sadly, to inform you all that this story must now come to a close.

Due to life's demands two of the principle writers now cannot continue.
Such is the nature of things, and life - our energies needs must go elsewhere as warranted.

Like a Pheonix risisng from the ashes, this story will arise anew - refashioned, refurbished and in the Scriptorium (title yet to be determined).

Bardhwyn of Dale, still suffering from her amnesia, will then follow the path the Muses have set out for her. Tasar, too, may set upon her path. Many paths and errands may meet, several new and different characters may emerge, as may several new stories.

So now we draw this curtain close and beg your indulgence. This brief time spent here can be likened to the time spent by a crafter of music, excercising their fingers or voice, prior to the time when they finally step out onto the the stage...
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