The Expected Party!!

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

Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:33 pm

Gwaeryn and Goldberry were left alone for a moment while the others were freshening up.

"The collar and stone becomes you, Gwaeryn." said Goldberry.

"Thank you, Lady Goldberry." said the Eagle. "It was Robin who picked it out for me from the treasure of the Barrow. He somehow thought it was fitting for me."

"Indeed, that is not the only thing that has changed about you. Last time, you were quite the mischievous sprite, talking about horses and adventures. There's almost something Elvish about you now."

"That, I cannot say. But I have changed, and it is the present company that has done it. My father Gwaihir said I would find my own path eventually, and it seems he was right."

"That is why Tom moved the party outside. He wanted to hear the story you bear and the song you are almost bursting to sing."

Gwaeryn looked towards the West, his eyes preternaturally bright. "I now know who I am, and what I am to do. The task that Manwë has set me to do, and I have been doing it lately. But my best songs are yet to come. An Eagle who is a Bard! Who could have thought of it!"

Goldberry laughed. Her laughter sounded like running water. The Eagle laughed with her.

Happy New Year!

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Gwaeryn and Robin, The Expected Party

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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:01 pm

Fionavar allowed the warm water of the bath to soothe her aching muscles and wash away the grime of journeying on the open road. The tub was a clever contraption that she had never seen the likes of before. The water seemed to drain and refill constantly, renewing the warmth and the soapy consistancy. She would love to have one of these at home and wondered if Tom would consent to placing one at the farm. She giggled at herself picturing the odd man playing plumber.

It was a phyisical pain to finally leave the tub to dry off. She noticed that the towels were rather small for the job and then ran her hand over a glowing bowl to the side of the tub. Her hand dried immediately. Smiling, she let her long hair fly from side to side while shaking her head over the bowl. In no time it was fluffy dry and sqeaky clean. Her travel clothing was somewhere being washed and she chose to wear the only dress she brought on this trip. It wasn't too fancy, but nice enough for the odd celebration or party she was likely to come across on the way to Gondor.

Her mother had made the dress specially for the trip, deep blue and satin trim adorned the hem and waist. The embroidery down the sleeves started at the shoulder and ended at the wrist. She felt pretty, and that was something that she rarely felt.

"Nothing like a grand bath and clean clothing to lift the spirits," Fionavar looked at herself in the full length mirror before heading outdoors. When she got there, it appeared that Gwaeryn, Goldberry and Tom were greeting each member of the party as they emerged.

"Fair lady Fionavar. Welcome to the table of Tom Bombadil." Goldberry came to her side and placed a welcoming hand on her lower back. The table was loaded with many varieties of honey and cakes, both savory and sweet, fresh fruits, nuts and vegetable lined up like soldiers from corner to corner. The mead and herbal liquids looked so inviting. "You are not last to come, but maybe you will be first to eat?" The light in the woman's eyes shown brightly and full of merriment.

"Thank you. I think I can and should wait for all to arrive." As she took her seat she noticed that Robin, Bril and Seldo were sitting opposite her. Bril looked as if he had come to the table still wet. She pointed her nose in his direction and took a big whiff. He smelled like she did. Clean and earthy. Smiling, she winked at him and he showed his canines back at her. Someday she would teach him the trick of controlling that mouth so that a grin did not resemble a threat.

"Tom's a waitin', no time for dally;
All come forth and ring in the rally.
Hearts a twitter, gold and glitter;
Food's a warmin', flit and flitter."

Tom Bombadil was singing again, his songs that seemed to make sense to only himself and the lovely Goldberry. It was entertaining, but left Fionavar straining her brain to understand the lyrics. The wafting scent of the food was really starting to affect her stomach. It growled loudly causing everyone to laugh in startled humor.

"How much longer?" Bril was almost drooling.

"Soon now, dear Dire Wolf, the rest of your companions will arrive. Why not try some of these while you wait?" Goldberry offered a plate of fresh flowers to the wolf. Bril sniffed at the plate and with a whimper took one Borage and popped it in his mouth, rolling it around, experimenting. Robin, Seldo and Fionavar waited for the verdict.

The delighted surprise that registered on Brils face said enough. The fact that he gathered up the rest off the plate and stuffed his mouth with them was a disappointment.

"Bril, where are your manners?" Fionavar chided easily, but wished she could have tasted the flowers too.

"Not to worry little lass," Tom piped up, "here in the house of Tom Bombadil, there are all the flowers you would want to sample." With that a neat pile of the baby blue colored flowers were in front of her. She nibbled one and then quickly ate a whole blossum. "Tastes like cucumber." Smiling, she nibbled politely while the others sampled different flowers and waited for the rest of the guests.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:48 pm

Robin was trying out some violets while he was waiting for the others. "So how long are you going to keep us in suspense, Gwaeryn?"

"I wanted to wait until all were here." He didn't really want any flowers, but he tried a few anyway. He changed his mind as they were rather tasty.

"Gwaeryn, you are making a pig of yourself!" said the hobbit.

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

Tom and Goldberry laughed. "The dearest of friends." said Tom. "Ring a dong dillo! Only those dare say such things to each other."

"The others need to be here soon, as our good Eagle is about to pop." said Goldberry.

Happy New Year!

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Gwaeryn and Robin, The Expected Party

Meneldor, Alatar and Pallando, Darkness Reigns: The Resistance

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Postby LordImrahil » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:46 pm

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Taran knew the house was beautiful, but he could not quite manage to focus on it. He paced back and forth in the room he had been given, eager to go downstairs and dreading to do so. Every few moments he reached up to smooth his hair down, wondering if a being like Tom Bombadil would even notice hair. Nervously, he ran over different ways of asking his question, trying to find the best way to phrase it. He needed so badly for Tom to say 'yes'.

Through the open window floated suddenly the lyrical voice of Goldberry, upraised in song. Taran closed his eyes, and as he listened to the strange words his tension seemed to melt away. Leave your cares for now she seemed to say, and be at peace with yourself. Taran sighed and realised that worrying would accomplish nothing. He needed to control his nervousness, and what better way than to join his new companions at the dinner table? With renewed energy he headed downstairs and out the door, and, in preparation for the petty conversation that he was sure to partake in, began pulling to the front of his mind all the polite little words and phrases that he knew.
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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:43 am

As Taran joined the group, a strange thing happened. Right in mid gulp, Tom Bombadil looked directly at Bril and in the sing-song voice of his, called him to the side of the banquet. Bril whimpered a bit and with a face full of concern looked at Fionavar. She urged him with a wink and a smile, but her curiosity was now fired.

What could Master Tom want with Bril?, she wondered. Certainly, it is nothing earth shattering.

The pair left the table and were out of sight around the side of the home of Tom and Goldberry. Fionavar suddenly lost her appitite and chewed instead on her lower lip. A soft calming presence was behind her, placing a beautifully sculpted hand on her shoulder, the voice of Goldberry floated into her mind as easily as a dandilion aloft on a warm summer day. "Do not worry for your friend, Old Tom knows the river and the sky, the root and the sap. He would not bring harm to your Bril. On this you may have complete confidence."

Fionavar breathed deeply, knowing that certainly the hosts would not do anything that would cause harm to Bril. It was silly to even think such a thought.

When Tom returned without Bril, Fionavar's eyes rounded along with her mouth. He came to her singing a silly tune and that didn't help to change her whirling thought processes.

"Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My darling!
Light goes the weather-wind and the feathered starling.
Down along under Hill, shining in the sunlight,
Waiting on the doorstep for the cold starlight,
There my pretty lady is, River-woman's daughter,
Slender as the willow-wand, clearer than the water.
Old Tom Bombadil water-lilies bringing
Comes hopping home again. Can you hear him singing?
Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! and merry-o,
Goldberry, Goldberry, merry yellow berry-o!"

He ended up dancing while singing and the young lady couldn't help but smile at the antics. When Old Tom had settled, Fionavar plucked up the courage to ask the burning question, unfortunately it came out as more of an accusation than querry. "Where is Bril, what have you done to him?"

"Little lady," Tom began "Your friend is indeed hale and well. I have sent him on a special mission for Old Tom, not one that would be too frightening, but one only he could do. He is very sad to be apart from you but you have my word that he will join you as soon as he can." The man in yellow boots smiled broadly.

"But WHERE is he? He couldn't even say goodbye?" Fionavar felt tears coming to her eyes. She had become so used to having Bril beside her on this journey, now she was alone. Well, not alone exactly, but no one that knew her like Bril did. She lowered her head so that her tears were masked.

Goldberry approached her once again. "There now dear child, when Old Tom makes a promise, you may be certain that you have nothing to fear. Your friend will be looked after constantly." Her voice was reassuring, but Fionavar had her doubts.

"How can you say that? You are here and he is gone We are all here and he is gone. Who will look out for him?" Fionavar practically sputtered the words.

"Do you not know that Old Tom is friends with the tree? The root? The bird and the barrow?" Tom was laughing at her again. A golden goblet was now in front of her and her small hands felt the weight of it. "Drink now child, put your mind at rest."

Fionavar didn't want to drink, but felt compelled to do so. The liquid tasted of honey and yet something bitter in the aftertaste too. In moments all her cares were flowing out of her like the scent of the honeysuckle in the warmed air. She looked at Seldo, Robin and Taran, they wore encouraging expressions and she hiccuped.

"Master Tom, I know I am being silly. But please, he is very...erm, well a special friend to me." Her insides felt light and giddy, she hoped it didn't show in the outside.

The noise of someone bouncing down from the steps and towards the table caught everyone's attention.........
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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Fri May 01, 2009 12:35 pm

and...Geli with Dust close behind made their way to the banquet table. Geli's eyes went wide and round at the lovely assortment of edible flowers. She nibbled at one and in a summersault of glee, downed several more. Tinkling all the way.

Dust was more circumspect. He studied the flower, smelled the flower and then set it back down. When he realized all eyes had been on him, he sighed deeply and ate the blossom. A smile split his face.

It seemed the flowers were a hit with the visitors.

As Tom continued his singing to the amusement and sufferance of Goldberry, Fionavar wondered what would happen next.

It turned out that both Robin and Taran cleared their collective throats. Again all attention shifted to the pair.

While she waited for who was going to speak up, Fionavar placed Bril in her heart. Deep buried, so the hurt wouldn't be so bad. There would be a time for them again, she was sure of it and Tom had promised. Forcing a smile, she waited patiently.
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Postby LordImrahil » Sat May 02, 2009 7:52 pm

Taran froze as all eyes turned to him. Yes, he had cleared his throat to speak but he was not at all ready for all those staring, expectant eyes. Eyes of people he really did not know, including two with whom he had yet to make his acquaintance. He just wanted to talk to Tom Bombadil in private! Why did all these people expect to be a part of their conversation? Unable to think of any satisfactory way to handle the situation, he cleared his throat again, pretending to be dislodging some food that was stuck there.

"Sorry," he said in embarrassment and bent his head down as if to continue eating. One by one, ever so slowly, the others looked away and went back to their meal. The food was delicious, tasting fresh and sharp while leaving him with a full and satisfied feeling. The air was full with the free and unrestrained chatter of people who are having a good time. The melodic voices of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry were weaving in and out of the conversation. Taran could not help but relax as his spirits lifted. Throughout the dinner he joined his companions in conversation, learning and sharing pieces of each other's past.

Tom Bombadil's voice rose suddenly over the rest, "A merry time this night has been, but other matters face us. Now Taran, my boy, I believe there was a question you wished to ask of me?"

"Oh, um," Taran replied as he was for the second time that night the centre of all attention, "yes, well..." Just hurry up and blurt it out, this is your only chance! "Well, you know my parents? They've been really good people as long as I've known them. But lately, well it's not their fault, but they're having trouble with money and they're barely surviving. It's just... life's hard for them lately and I thought that if anyone could do something to help them, it would be you... maybe, sir?"

Tom's face seemed uncharacteristically grave as he replied, "Ah! Far away in Bree-land does your family live, far beyond Tom's borders! Tom has his forest to tend to, and tending to people is another's task."

The answer was 'no'. A polite 'no' certainly, but a 'no' all the same. Taran's eyes welled up with tears and he scrunched them shut furiously. He looked around to see the others all watching him with expressions of sympathy and pity; these people that he did not even know and who had never met his parents. It was just stupid, meaningless emotion for an impersonal story to them. He felt the tears coming again and blurted out a quick "Excuse me!" before half-running from the table into the darkness.
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Postby LordImrahil » Sun May 03, 2009 5:57 pm

Taran wandered alone in the darkness of the gardens. He knew he ought to go back to the table, but he was not ready to face the others yet. Unexpectedly he heard the sounds of footsteps ahead of him. A familiar voice called out his name, "Taran!" It can't be...

"Hello, mom," Taran said hesitantly as his mother came into view. She was wrapped in an old weathered cloak, wrinkled eyes peering out from under the hood. "What are you doing here? Did you walk this whole way?"

She laughed, "My boy, I've walked far longer distances in my time. You and your friends did not even try to hide your tracks, and anyways I'd never forget the path to Old Tom's."

Taran shook his head, "I'm sorry I went off without telling you. I... I was just trying to help."

His mother was still smiling as she replied, "Yes, it was very sweet of you, Taran, but as you can see I'm not so frail that I can't help myself just yet. Your father and I will be fine, and I think that you already know that. I think the real reason that you are here is because you long to see the world. It's in your blood, my son."

Taran could sense that there was a hidden meaning behind these words, and he waited patiently for his mother to explain. She sighed and continued, "Taran, it's time for you to hear my secret, which I've never shared with anyone - not even your father. I've spend decades trying to hide from my past, but I've come to see that I will never be truly at peace until I face it."

In silence Taran tried to understand what he was hearing; what secret could his mother have that would be so overwhelming? How had she been able to track him down here, and why?

She continued, "I am not a Bree-woman by birth. I am by long lineage a Dunadan of the North. Long ago I left my people out of bitterness for the many hardships we were forced to endure without reward, simply because we were born Dunedain. When I was young, I loved a fellow Ranger. We were together with the guard on Tharbad shortly before the War of the Ring, protecting the Shire on Aragorn's orders. When the Nazgul broke through, he was slain in the battle. He was slain protecting people who had never heard of him, and would never care about him. That was when I began to waver in my commitment to our cause. When Halbarad gathered the Rangers together to ride south with the sons of Elrond and help Aragorn in his war, I refused to come. I went voluntarily into exile, wandering Middle-Earth year after year while the king I had deserted grew stronger.

"Finally I met your father. Finally I found someone I could be happy with, somewhere I could feel at home and leave the past behind. When you came along, my life felt complete. But now... when you left on your first adventure, Taran, I saw the truth clearly. We are both Dunedain, you and I, and there is no denying it. We must acknowledge, and be at peace with, our heritage. I... I failed in my calling; I abandoned my king in his darkest hour, when he needed me the most. I need forgiveness, but I am too weak - too ashamed - to face him. I ask you to go in my place, Taran. Take my sword and lay it at King Elessar's feet in Minas Anor and beg his pardon for me. Please."

For the first time Taran saw that his mother was holding a sheathed longsword at her side, which she now raised and held out to him. "I..." he trailed off. He could see the tears in her eyes. It means so much to her. "I... yes. Of course, mom. Yes, I'll go." He was still struggling to understand and accept what he had been told, but it was obvious that this was harder on his mother than it was on him. He stepped forward and took hold of his mother's blade. She pulled him close and hugged him to her.

"I love you, Taran."

"I love you, too, mom."

Sword clenched tight in his hand, he turned away and headed back to the table.
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Postby Lithtaur16 » Mon May 04, 2009 9:40 pm

Seldo had been watching all quietly but the grin on his face spoke enough of how much he was enjoying himself as marvel after marvel passed his sight, his ears, his nose, and—of course – his lips.

He chewed on the petals of another flower and wondered if the wildflowers nearer to home tasted this good in the summer time. The bees that lodged in the old trunks around the neighbors’ made wonderful honey of them for sure. Certainly worth a few stings and a jump into the cool ponds.

The boy had moved on to one of the sweet pastries when Tome called Bril away. As shy as he was of the master of this house and his lady, Seldo wondered what it was about. His curiosity grew when Tom returned alone but there was nothing about the man that suggested trouble. Just grown men’s business probably…

Fiona’s display surprised him all the more because of this. He caught his mouth open and hanging and shut it hard and quick when he realized she was well and truly distraught about the disappearance. He didn’t understand. Oh, it was obvious that the two were one and all, the way they cared for and picked on each other. So of course she had the right and reason to worry after him. One would think Tom had sent him off to face a horde of Easterlings the way she carried on though. Seldo was sure Old Tom wouldn’t send him into a mess like that, not alone at least, grown man and dire wolf though Bril was.
He didn’t know if anything he said would help or just upset the woman worse, so he glanced at Robin for ideas and then mimicked the gentle smile the hobbit wore. It was true enough that he wanted her to be happy again and remember that she wasn’t alone on this journey.

Thankfully Geli and another arrived just then and the boy was spared from trying to make meaningful conversation as the jester and her friend sampled the wonderful plates of food set before them. The party continued until Tom spoke aloud again, this time to Taran, one of the most strange of the group to Seldo since they had not really spoken yet. The boy was surprised to learn that the man’s story shared a few themes with his own. He said they were struggling to survive… looking at the man the boy wondered for a moment whether Taran’s mother had ever suffered trying to shield him from hunger and cold. Before Seldo could offer his support though Taran fled the table and was lost in the night. The boy wanted most to follow him just then and call him back. Did the man’s tears mean that he wanted to be alone awhile though? And how would the boy’s dim night sight find Taran amid the trees and bushes? Torn, he sighed for the woes of adults and found himself missing Aramir and his wit – his apparent talent for adapting and being engaged in any situation. Seldo glanced at those around him again, wondering if anyone else would go after Taran…
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Gwaeryn's Tale: The Lay of Sorontel

Postby Cock-Robin » Fri May 08, 2009 10:30 am

Taran had returned to the table, this time bearing an ancient sword. Robin gasped as he saw it.

He finally spoke. "We had no intention of embarassing you, master Taran." he said. "And we would be delighted to aid you in your endeavor. Please come with us in our journey, and we will petition the King."

"That is indeed my desire." said Taran. He said no more, and the companions asked no more.

Tom said "Now, my merry Eagle! You are bursting to tell your tale, and the night is passing. Will you now tell your tale and your song that is in your heart?"

"Indeed I will, master." said Gwaeryn. It was incredible, that such an Eagle would call another Master, but Tom was so different, that only he would have such a title for him.

"Listen all to my tale, for it goes back to a time close to the very beginning of things, and concerns the labors that the Eagles have done in the world from the moment the Great Enemy entered into it."

He closed his eyes and began to sing:

A dark wing was over all the earth,
The light of the Trees had perished,
Even the Blessed Realm was in a pall of darkness,
Extinguished by the evil of Melkor and of Ungoliant,
Who drank the blood of the trees.

Manwë was silent upon his throne,
In the Ring of Doom where the Valar brooded;
Mahanaxar, the great mount where they sat in council,
Finally Manwë stirred and summoned great spirits,
Spirits in the form of eagles and raptors,
And they came to his call,
Soaring around his throne, awaiting his counsel,
Many were there names,
Sorontar their lord, great in strength,
Other lords came, among them Gwaihir,
And the last, Sorontel, attended to Manwë.

He opened his eyes and looked upon the companions.
We were summoned to council, and heard the words of the Elder King.
We were yet unclad, but that was soon to be changed, for we were to take the form of great Eagles, one of whom is before you.
Our task was to watch the Great Enemy and report his doings and to aid the Children of Illuvatar in their struggles against him.

Thorondor was the first, Sorontar as he was called in the West. Fëanor had already left, pursuing Morgoth to reclaim the Silmarils, and we were sent. Each was given a part of the Great Song pertaining to them. Their deeds are known to you.

Later, after Morgoth was thrown down, Throndor returned to Manwë, and others were sent. Three were at Numenor, at the mount of Meneltarma, to watch over that realm. Other lords were to aid those in Middle-Earth, in their fashion.

It was then, at the council that Sorontel, the last eagle was summoned before Manwë. He said to me, for it was I who was that one,
'Sorontel, you are called Last, but think not that you are least. Your task will be to bring to remembrance all the deeds of your brothers. You are to be Loremaster and Bard to the rest, so none will be forgotten. The parts of the Song will be known to you that pertain to your kin. When you are in the world, you will long forget who you are, until others bring the remembrance to you, and then you will take your rightful place as Loremaster of the Eagles. Sing now your song!' "

Gwaeryn looked to the rest. "I now remember who I am and what my task is to be. And now I remember the Song I sang when I was Sorontel, in the West that is forgotten."

He then closed his eyes and went into the song:

Hear now the lore of the Eagles of Manwë!
A tale of guardians, messengers and heralds,
Sent to bring hope and aid to Men and Elves.

Thorondor, our Lord, is the first to arrive,
To watch over Angband and its Dark Lord,
And to harry him and his servants.

In inaccesible eyries they watch from afar,
Seeing eyes that darkness cannot defeat,
And so they watch and give report.

Guardians of Gondolin, they keep its secrets,
Until the day when one of their own betray,
And the Hidden City is laid waste by vile treachery.

Others will come as Lords from Manwë.
To aid those who would oppose the Darkness,
Until the time when they are needed no more,

Then, they shall depart, save one who will bear witness,
And testify to the deeds of his clan.
Until he is summoned to Manwë's throne,

Not to be seen again, until the last day,
In the Dagor Dagorath, where evil is defeated,
We shall come as vanguard and heralds.

So is the tale of the Eagles told,
And we serve the Elder King with talon and beak,
And watchful eyes that little can escape.

So the tale and song of Gwaeryn was told.
Last edited by Cock-Robin on Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Happy New Year!

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Gwaeryn and Robin, The Expected Party

Meneldor, Alatar and Pallando, Darkness Reigns: The Resistance

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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Thu May 14, 2009 3:25 pm

Fionavar sat in bewildered awe as she listened to the songs of Gwaeryn. He is the last of his race and he is the Loremaster and Bard of his kind, she turned it over and over in her mind. As she gazed up at the powerful and awesome eagle, she didn't know whether to hug his massive leg or genuflect.

Coming out of her private renumerations, she noticed that Goldberry was looking at her with laughter written plainly in her eyes. She put her delicate hand under her chin and closed her mouth, then smiled broadly. It was only then that Fionavar realized that her mouth was agape and she quickly shut it with an audible snap, which brought all eyes in her direction.

Clearing her throat, she carefully stood from the table and formally made her way towards Gwaeryn. Several paces short of her intended goal, she could not contain her happiness any longer and rushed the last paces to throw herself full body and arms around the left leg of the bird. One great eye bent down towards her head.

"That simply will not do, Lady," Gwaeryn began, "I am ever the friend to you that I always have been. There is no need to stand on ceremony with me." If it was possible, the eagle appeared to be beaming a smile, though there was a depth of aged wisdom behind the eyes.

"I hardly know how to think of you now. Do I still call you Gwaeryn?" She had not released her hold on his leg yet, not willing to face the rest of her friends.

"You, friend Fionavar, may call me Gwaeryn, for Gwaeryn is me and I am he." An eaglish chuckle followed.

Slowly she backed away and craned her neck to look up to his regal face. "As you wish, but don't be thinking that I won't expect a glorious song together and soon." She put her knotted hands on her hips and jutted her jaw forward.

"Indeed little one, indeed."

Robin had a smile on his face that threatened to split him in half. Fionavar could not help but feel the pride coming from the very depths and soul of the Hobbit. In a rush, she bent and hugged Robin as well. Nothing lasting, but a brief squeeze.

"I shall have my friend sing for you anytime, if that be the reward," Robin joked with Fionavar.

"Deal." Finding herself not knowing what to do next, she glanced at Taran who sat with a stiff back as if the world was spinning on his shoulders. As she passed him on her way back to her seat, she chuffed him on the shoulder and whispered, "Don't look so down, you are among friends and whatever lay on your forward path, isn't it better to have friends with you?"

Taran looked up as if to say something, but the girl had moved on and reseated herself, happily eating more of the flowers.
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Postby Rodia » Fri May 15, 2009 3:15 pm

(OOC: With apologies for being such a flake.)

As they flew through the blue, Dust said nothing. The rush of the air would have torn his lungs apart, he imagined, and even if he had managed to utter a sound, no one would have heard. Up on the Eagle's back there was some chatter, some giggling. Dust was glad that Geli could not see the look on his face- he was certain it was not flattering. He had promised himself to take the experience in with dignity, perhaps even to compose a poem in mid-flight and recite it to Gwaeryn upon landing, but it was no use. All he could think of was how loud the wind roared in his ears, how uncomfortably the great bird's talons gripped him, and most of all, how far, far below the ground was. He looked, once, and thought his heart would stop from the shock. Worse- somewhere between the first flap of the Eagle's wings and the clouds, Dust had begun to shake like a leaf, and he could find no way to stop. He clutched tight the bag that held his crank lyre, the only precious thing he possessed, for he had no coins left in his purse and a brother to the little flute that tumbled around the bottom of the bag could be found at any marketplace. He held the instrument as tight as if he suspected the wind of trying to tear it from his grasp, of the abyss below reaching to steal it away. He could not save himself, he thought, so at least, if he fell, his body would curl around the musicmaker and preserve it for a luckier bard.

And then at once he was falling- no, it was only Gwaeryn sliding from the clouds to meet the ground. In one terrifying moment, Dust could not understand how the bird could land when he was still held fast in its talons. He would be crushed. He closed his eyes and bit back a whimper as the Eagle's grip loosened.

The drop was short: no more than a foot to the grassy ground. Dust stumbled, fell, and rose again, eyes wide open, willing his legs to stop quivering, and his face to compose itself into a nonchalance appropriate for meeting Geli's triumphant grin.

She didn't give him a chance to ignore her smirk. She had better things to do. They had landed on the very doorstep of a cottage, and that doorstep had the honour of bearing a couple Dust had only heard of in rumour and song. Though he was given time to rest and refresh himself before sitting down at the table, it was not enough time to believe that the man who looked over the company with such a merry glimmer in his eye was truly Tom Bombadil, and the bright lady beside him Goldberry. Worse, as the guests each began to tell their story, Dust realised he had gone from daydreaming about legends and adventurers to sitting among them. With each tale, his heart sank lower and lower, and when the Eagle sang his song, Dust wished he had never ever claimed to be a bard. He hunkered down his seat, hoping to all fortune that he would not be next- that Tom would speak to Geli, and forget about him.
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Postby ^Aramir^ » Mon May 18, 2009 5:35 pm

It had been about two hours since they left the inn, and so far Kitty hadn't caused any problems, neglected her post, or stolen anything. That, coupled with her willingness to let him ride drag--from here he could watch the carriage and Kitty!--had put Aramir in a better mood than he'd been in yesterday. No doubt the mood would go away the instant Kitty got tired of false-flirting with Gwinhir and decided to come annoy him instead, but until then he could enjoy the ride and pretend that Kitty and Gwinhir were just two other travellers on the road to somewhere unknown.

Where were they going, anyhow? It occurred to him as he untangled part of Narmo's mane that he had about as much idea as he had money: very, very little. A minuscule amount. About as much as Hobbits had height.

...okay, none.

He hadn't been going anywhere when Kitty had dragged him into this under duress, so it didn't really matter in the end, although it would be nice to know whether he should expect to run into any angry fathers/inn owners soon. Or any of Kitty's clients, for that matter.

He decided to try Gilmith. Running a hand through his hair, he nudged Narmo next to the carriage saying, "So, any idea where we're going?" His eyes met Gilmith's, then the driver's, and then he peered up the road to where Kitty and Gwinhir were still writing a one-sided love story.

"At present?" Gilmith answered, voice adorned with a fine veil of annoyance. Aramir peered at her out of the corner of his eyes and saw that she, too, was watching her brother and his companion. Her head was raised just slightly in the manner of an adult frowning down upon a child, or a man of high class scoffing at someone beneath his status. Either way, it was impressive that she was able to stare down upon them when they were so far away. Ahead, Kitty was waving her hands wildly--Aramir half expected her to swat some unsuspecting bird from the air mid-flight--and Gwinhir had tossed his head back and was laughing loudly. "We at least know where Gwinhir is going." The thin veil had become a heavy, suffocating blanket.

Laughter seemed the best response, the quiet, I-completely-sympathize kind. "That we do. But he'll get there in a good mood," Aramir offered, "which is more than the rest of us can say."

"That's for certain."

"So..." Had he already asked Gilmith about their trip to Minas Tirith? Brain-wracking was proving futile, and Narmo couldn't very well whisper the answers up to him, so... "Is anyone waiting for you in Minas Tirith? Or will you be staying at an inn until the royal heir falls madly in love with you and offers you a suite at the top of the citadel?" Nothing like flattery as a diversionary tactic.

She smirked, reaching up to smooth her hair as she answered. "Is is sad that when you said that, my first reaction was to consider his potential as bolster for my family's business?"

"Very sad." He swung his left leg over Narmo's neck, then his right over the horse's rump so that he was sitting backwards--an ungraceful moment just waiting to happen. "Let me know if he looks like he's going to try anything, all right?"

"I think it'll be too late by then," Gilmith responded through her laughter. "But no," she shook her head, "we'll be meeting up with my uncle; he's running a branch of the business in Minas Tirith. It'll be wonderful to see him and my aunt again; it's been so long. What about you? What's taking you to Minas Tirith?"

Should've seen that one coming. "Oh, uhh.. my.. uhh.. my sister."

"Oh, you have a sister?"

It was a simple question, and it seemed that she wasn't planning to dwell on his hastily made-up excuse for an answer; perhaps she hadn't noticed?

"Yes, Sicil. She's just a few years older than I am. You... well, you might like her." He grinned at the thought of the well brought-up Gilmith encountering Sicil. "Kitty would hate her, that's for sure. They're rather too similar, except that Sicil's actually got some morals." He jerked his thumb behind him, indicating Gwinhir. "At the very least, she wouldn't flirt with your brother."

"Well then, I probably would like her. What does she do in the city?"

Yep, should have seen that one coming, too. He was about to assign Sicil some random job--weaving, perhaps--when a noise from up ahead cut him short. Thank goodness for Kitty and Gwinhir, he thought. Oh dear, did I really just think that? It didn't matter, though, because something was definitely going on up ahead. Embarrassing gratitude forgotten, he swung himself back around to get a better look at what was causing the commotion.
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Postby Tygarya » Mon May 18, 2009 9:36 pm

The commotion was a group of soldiers that Kitty and Gwinhir had just run into.
Kitty it seemed was known to them, like they had been expecting her upon the trail.
'Great' thought Ar as he rolled his eyes and righted himself on his horse to meet up with the soldiers.

Indeed they were having a very indepth conversation with Kitty , having actually moved away to the side of the road; away from Gwinhir.

Kitty smiled at the soldiers, they were private soldiers of a certain Lord, whose manor house was about a day ride away in the new city of Tharbad. Kitty had been expecting them a little further down the trail but had covered her annoyance when they had rounded a bend and surprised her.

Kitty had hoped at night fall to at least have had the chance to warn Ar of this future meeting but now it had happened Ar was just going to have to deal with it in his own way. Kitty just hoped it was a silent way and he didn't tell the soldiers about her occupation.

As it was the soldiers knew full well Kitty's occupation, it was their boss who had commisioned her to steal the jewel, not that they said anything of the sort. As soon as it was determined by them that Kitty was who they were sent to intercept they formed up around the group with full intentions of escorting them all the way to Lord Larmes's manor house.

Kitty smiled at the sergeant in charge.
"So nice of you to give us an escort Sir...?" Kitty turned on the charm which the poor fool couldn't help but accept.
"Sergeant Barnes is fine my lady"
At this Ar couldn't help but snort.

Kitty turned towards him and winked, sending annoying thoughts through Ar's head again.

'Well, Sergeant Barnes, we had better hit the road then and find an Inn for the night, then I can introduce you to my travelling companions.'

'At once, my Lady' Sergeant Barnes said as he turned his horse to lead the group back up the trail. Ar snorted again. Gilmith frowned as if she was worried she had miss judged someone of potential importance. Gwinhir just smiled a doting grin.
Last edited by Tygarya on Sun May 31, 2009 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tygarya » Thu May 28, 2009 5:41 pm

Kitty was smug during the trip to the nearest Inn where Sergeant Barnes decided to put them all up for the night. Kitty was at her best charming the soldiers with her rapier wit and soon had them all enthralled by her baldy stories. Gwinhir seemed more than happy to be included in this by the occasional hand slapped on his shoulder by Kitty, although some of the stories she told made his cheeks flame, but he tried hard to cover it up as the soldiers obviously had not led the same sheltered life as himself and he didn’t want them thinking he was less of a man than they.

Ar had decided to stay at the rear and was keeping relatively out of sight, trying to figure out exactly what was going on. To the soldiers Kitty had seemed like a very important person, not a criminal and this had turned Ar’s head into a tail spin...Kitty was definitely not what she seemed to be.

Gilmith was making the most of sitting on the front bench of the wagon, looking her prettiest. Although she was very disappointed in the fact that the soldiers seemed far more interested in whatever Kitty was talking about ahead.

They finally reached an Inn towards dusk and dismounted. The Sergeant then housed his soldiers in the barn for the night, while the rest of the travelling party all received rooms for the night. Afterwards they met with the Sergeant in the foyer for the introductions that Kitty had promised.

‘Sergeant Barnes, may I introduce to you Gwinhir and Gilmith, brother and sister travelling to Gondor.’ Kitty said as Gwinhir shook hands with the Sergeant then the Sergeant took Gilmith’s hand and kissed it politely. Kitty then turned to the coach driver and introduced him as their chaperone, which both brother and sister frowned at, but Kitty grinned widely. Kitty then grabbed Ar by the shoulder and dragged him to the front. He had been keeping to the shadows as much as possible but Kitty would have none of it.

“..and this is Aramir, where he travels to is his own business, but it’s been good to have a swordsman around.” Kitty grinned as the Sergeant shook Ar’s hand and started to question him about his swordsmanship. Kitty turned and left Ar to deal with the questioning in his own way and winked at him as she walked away heading to the bar room which was through a door on the opposite side of the room.

Once Kitty entered the bar, she found the soldiers had all accumulated there, they shouted her over. Kitty grinned, she knew she wasn’t going to have to buy a single drink tonight.
After a few minutes Kitty noticed Ar enter the room grab a drink and sit in a far corner, the Sergeant also came in and approached the table of soldiers.
“I hope dear Lady that you are not going to have my men hung over and feeling sorry for themselves tomorrow morning?” He asked to Kitty, but sending the message to the soldiers not to get drunk.
“Absolutely not Sergeant” Kitty answered with a grin “I’m sure you really mean to say that the other way around though and tell your men not to get me drunk”
The sergeant laughed. “No I doubt somehow that that would be possible”
Kitty laughed back. “Is that a challenge Sergeant?”
“Ah, definitely not, I am going to get something to eat and retire for the night”
“Oh, surely you will stay for one drink?” Kitty held but the bottle of fine red wine she was drinking. “It’s good quality”
The sergeant paused and smiled. “Alright, one. Just to be polite to an attractive lady”
“Oh of course...just to be polite” Kitty laughed as she poured an extra glass and held it out to the Sergeant. He sat down at the table and took the glass with a nod of his head and took a sip.
Kitty glanced over to where Ar was sitting to see his eyes quickly shift away. Kitty smiled to herself...she knew she was going to have to deal with this tension between them soon.
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Postby earendil81 » Sun May 31, 2009 11:33 am

Eilathen had decided to ride close enough to the Bruinen, so that they could make sure the horses would not lack water when they rested. Also he loved the sound of the water, so ever since they had left Imladris he had remained within walking distance of the river. It was also good for the child because he could ask her to bring some water while he was attending to the fire and the cooking. Soon enough though, she was helping him with that too. She turned out to be very eager to know about the proper cooking of venison, or how to recognize what plants they could eat in the wild and what not to touch. She did not remember everything right away and he had to experience some almost raw rabbit meat, which was absolutely disgusting although he said nothing, but she was doing her best, he had to acknowledge. One night when she cooked two hares he had caught to perfection, she declared very seriously.
“My mum never taught me that but I have to know how to cook in every circumstances if I want to be a good wife.”
He smiled.

They rode slowly because the child was tiring easily although the journey would make her stronger in that particular matter. Already after a few days she was not as close to exhaustion when they stopped at night. She was tired but she did not show it as much and she was ready to help.
One night she even sat with him and asked him about the stars and their stories. Some she knew a bit about; her grand mother had taught her, but she had chosen the bits and pieces she remembered. Other she had never heard their name and she was listening intently to his telling of their stories. And always it came back to Elbereth, the Kindler. And he told her of the Valar before Morgoth destroyed the trees with Ungoliant’s help. When he arrived there she stopped listening to him and went to sleep. She had no desire at all to think of sadness in any story and he wondered why. He would never ask though; if she wanted to talk about it one day, she would.


They were not riding on any kind of road, it was more like a path that some people had taken regularly but not carts, or big convoys… it was surprising that there were such wild places under the wise reign of Elessar. Why had he not made sure that there were roads everywhere so that everybody could travel safely? Why weren’t there inns all over the road from anywhere to Gondor. All roads led to Minas Tirith, or shouldn’t they? Why not make some?

These had been some questions that Laesha wondered about for the first couple of days. But then she had taken the time to look around her. They were riding close to a river, which was making happy sounds, as if the water was laughing. In the distance on their left, there were the Misty Mountains, beautiful but yet a little scary; she knew them from the other side and it was less welcoming from this side. But they seemed to be looking down the valley as a protection anyway. And the stars shone brighter. But it was all just so big, so impressive and scary.

Still, she wanted to show Eilathen that she was not just a stupid girl afraid of the dark but that she could be a grown-up and that she could cook and help not being just some kind of luggage. Even if he never said or did anything that could make her believe that it was his feeling… Her first try at cooking on an open fire had been catastrophic but he hadn’t said anything, which had been nice from him. But she had got better… Yes, she could and would be an excellent wife, whatever her brother said. At least Eilathen could tell Eolith that she could be wedded to a good man. And her brother would feel bad that he had teased her about her cooking.

It was always bittersweet to think of her family; sometimes she felt like riding back to Rohan and be with them. At night she would clutch the pin her grand mother had given her and wish she was with her again, that she was not with a strange elf who seemed so old and so sad, and yet so kind and gentle. She tried not to cry but when Eilathen sent her to fetch water, she would always take more time and she would allow herself to cry in the river. She felt so ill fitted for such a journey. She wondered sometimes what her grand mother was thinking about when she sent her on this road. Why was she supposed to bring the pin to the King? Why had she not brought it herself? It was not really fair. As much as she wanted to appear proud and fearless to the elf, to impress him, she felt like a stupid little girl lost in the big world and who would rather be home even if it meant being teased all day by brothers who were already traveling Middle Earth or soon. When would Pwyll join the Riders? She would not even be there… Oh well, she had to do with it. And maybe she would become better, even if she could not yet see how. Her grand mother would not have trusted her with that pin if she did not believe she could make it to Minas Tirith through the wild.
But still, it was too big a world for her.
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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:05 pm

The meal had been excellent, listening to the tales of her companions and sharing the unique food stuffs offered by Tom and Goldberry, but sleep was calling her forward towards that inevitable blackness of comfort. She really didn't know when exactly she had fallen asleep, but the relaxing rushes that made her bed were relentless and it did not take long.

.......running, loping. The rush of wind on her face was exhilarating. The energy coursing through her body was thrilling and she felt as if she could run and run and never stop. Scent. Suddenly her nose was filled with an aroma coming from a patch of green off to the right and all other thoughts left. She pounced into the brush right on top of a rabbit. The powerful jaws crunched through the neck and in no time her muzzle was bloodied and rabbit fur flew.

"Not very neat, are you?"

"Whaaaaa...?" She turned her head and a black dire wolf sat close by on haunches, a laughter of sorts shone in his golden eyes. "Wh..who are you?"

"It is me, Bril. I didn't know that you could also morph into a wolf." He seemed unsurprised, but yet he made the statement and waited for a comment.

"I am a wolf?" She checked her body and legs with a swift turn about.
"I AM A WOLF!!!!"

Her eyes popped open as she jumped up from the bedding and examined herself. She was no wolf. She was just Fionavar, the same as she laid herself down to be. "What a dream. Nightmare." She thought about it again, remembering the dream freedom that she felt in the body of a wolf and decided that it was a dream, not a nightmare at all. The pang of Bril being in her dreams brought back the reality that he was gone and she didn't know where. Would she only see him again in her dreams?

Reclining yet again, she looked out the window and could swear she heard howls calling to her on the night wind. They lulled her into a deep sleep yet again.

"So you came back again." Bril was waiting for her.

"Came back? Where are we?"

"I don't pretend to understand, I am here and you are here, do we need to know anything else?"

"I suppose not, but now what do we do?"

"I suggest you try to keep up with me." Bril took off, following his nose and the pair trotted easily through thick grasses, to tops of hillocks, down into shallow valleys that had cool clear running water and up rocks to a cliff. From there, they sat next to each other, silent and viewed Middle Earth spreading out below them.

The early morning sun filtering in through her window and catching in her eyes brought Fionavar to full wakefullness. She tried to sleep again, to capture the dream sequence with her friend Bril, but was unsuccessful. Goldberry calling to the guests, announcing that breakfast was ready pulled her completely into the new day.

"How odd." Fionavar would remember always her night filled adventure with Bril and deep in her heart hoped that she would be blessed with the opportunity to do it again some dream filled night.

For now, the other friends were waiting as was the reason she left home in the first place. Gondor.
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Postby Tygarya » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:42 am

Lord Larmes’s Manor House was actually on the promenade of the main avenue of newly built manors leading up to the new city of Tharbad, once decimated by huge floods. The newly risen Lords of the area, made rich through extensive farming to avoid famine after the last war, had decided to rebuild it; with King Elessar’s permission of course, as a sort of commerce centre for their trading and bargaining. Now, in only a short time, it had become the place to be and be seen for any land owner wanting to expand their exports. Therefore many of them owned houses here to stay in while doing business.

As they approached the streets Kitty couldn’t help but stare, the large white houses stood side by side with generous lawns spreading out to the road. Although the houses weren’t opulent enough to be made of marble they made up for it by having large marble fountains and other decorations as eye catching centrepieces on their sweeping front lawns.

Kitty turned to Gwinhir. “I shall have a place as fine as any of these one day” Kitty said to him, more as a statement of fact than a dream.

Gwinhir looked at her sideways. “What makes you so confidant of that, Kitty?”

Kitty gave him a strange whimsical look but didn’t answer.

“You can’t possibly burgle that many houses to get that rich in your lifetime” Ar said from behind her causing Kitty to grimace slightly at the rebuke. Ignoring it however, she shook it off; nothing was going to ruin today.

As they approached Lord Larmes’s manor the private soldiers turned into the white gravelled pathway leading up to the front steps of the large house. As they approached the house, the soldiers then took a turn off and headed their horses towards the side of the manor and around the back towards where the stables were situated.
Sergeant Barnes led the small travelling group towards the front steps and then dismounted.
As the rest followed suit, grabbing their baggage, a couple of young men ran around the house to take care of the horses and lead them round the back, the carriage driver decided it most fitting to go with them.

Just then a rather tall man appeared at the top of the steps. An older gentlemen, with grey tingeing his hair, he posed a very distinguished figure; dressed simply in tunic and hose of the finest quality and a short sword at his side. The sight of him made Gilmith adjust her dress suddenly and smooth her hair.

Ar leaning over whispered to her. “You look absolutely ravishing dear, don’t worry” causing Gilmith to look up at him startled, he winked and moved away again leaving Gilmith confused as to whether he was teasing her or not.

As the man made his way down the stairs with strong strides his eyes were fixed upon Kitty with an intense stare. Kitty stood her ground and waited for him to reach her. He approached with hand extended in a warm welcome and a dashing smile broke out on his face.

“Miss Kitty I take it?” he asked as he took her hand and kissed if briefly. Kitty grinned.

“How did you guess my Lord?”

“Ah” Lord Larmes replied with decorum but with a glint in his eye. “You fit perfectly the description I was given of you”

Kitty picked up on the game play and grinned further. Ar groaned and looked off into the distance.

“And what description would that be my Lord?” Kitty asked her eyes twinkling with mirth.

“Only that you are the most beautiful and beguiling auburn haired woman I would ever have the misfortune to meet” Lord Larmes replied with a jesting tone.

Kitty laughed. This gentleman was nothing like what she expected a Lord to be like, it was quite refreshing. She could see that Gilmith was not at all happy about how the Lord was acting towards her and that made Kitty even more precocious.

“Well, my Lord, we shall have to go inside and see if I can live up to that misfortune you talk about” Kitty said with a voice think with feigned seduction as she held her hand out to the Lord.
Lord Larmes laughed in return and took her hand tucking it into the crook of his arm and turning back towards the house.

“Indeed Miss Kitty we must. Come, bring your friends, we have plenty of room for everyone to stay the night and enjoy a decent hot meal...” he turned to look at Kitty then with a very serious look which most other people missed, except Ar. “...while we conduct our business”

Kitty grinned at him and allowed herself to be led inside while the others followed along behind with Sergeant Barnes left to organise the baggage.
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Postby Frelga » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:41 pm

For once, Geli felt that the world around her did not lack in magnificence - singing eagles, disappearing wolves, young sulky men sprouting extra cutlery, all with the side of edible flowers. The jester sat back, nibbling a handful of sweet violets, and let others take the stage. Dust, it seemed, was of the same opinion. At least, he kept quiet, and judging from the way he hunched down on himself, wanted to stay so.

At length, the fire and the talk died down. Geli blinked, and again, and each time it was harder to unglue her eyelashes. To keep from flopping down into the saucer of cream, the jester pulled out her crystal globe and let it catch the glow of the hearth. That kept her awake for a while, but the warmth of the house and the full meal crept up on her until the little shiny ball slipped out of her fingers. A slender, white hand caught it before it crashed to the floor.

Geli jolted awake and scrambled to her feet. Lady Goldberry smiled as she held out the crystal. The fire glowed red, but the globe shone with a green light of summer day on a river. Golden gleams hopped from the table to the ceiling as if playing with the ripples and the glossy lilly leaves. Now the globe blazed with sunset gold and mellowed to moonlight silver, and soon only the homely hearth light flickered deep inside.

"A lovely plaything to catch and cast the light," Goldberry said, turning the crystal in her fingers. "The light changes by the minute, but the globe is always the same. A fragile thing, that nonetheless does not change." She returned the crystal to the awed jester who took it into both cupped hands. Bending her golden head low to Geli's black-lamb curls, the lady whispered, "Much like you, little jester."

"What?" But Goldberry was gone. The jester's sigh turned into yawn. She slipped the crystal globe inside her shirt and hugged her arms around it. She never knew if she made it to her bed before her eyes closed or whether some kindly soul tucked her in.
Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:48 pm

Robin awakened in Tom's house that bright morning and freshened up. The party had gone well, though there were a few who didn't enjoy it. He knew how bad Gwaeryn felt when Dust didn't enjoy either his flight or the party. He hadn't meant to show him up, he was just telling his story, that he was dying to tell.

"Ho, Cock-Robin, you are up at last! Like a hobbit, you stay abed long after the others are awake."

Robin laughed. Tom had him dead to rights. "Yes, and I got up just in time for breakfast."

He came out where breakfast was already in progress. A sound of wings and a gust of air from outside told that Gwaeryn had already had his breakfast.

"I am glad to see you both again, and it'll be a while before I'm back." said Robin.

Goldberry smiled. She had just come in from talking with the Eagle. "Your friend is anxious to go on your journey, and you have other parties to go to."

"That's just like him." said Robin. All laughed.

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Postby ^Aramir^ » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:30 pm

And now there were soldiers involved.

Whatever Kitty was planning, it was a much bigger operation than Aramir had originally thought. Never mind that this entire situation screamed of corruption on several levels, but now Aramir was going to have to be even more secretive than before about his identity. He doubted somehow that these men, even dressed as they were in well-tailored military uniforms and outfitted with nicely-forged weapons, would be familiar with his name, but erring on the side of caution seemed especially wise.

As luck would have it, Kitty had dragged him from the back of the group and introduced him to the head of the small cohort, a Sergeant Barnes, whose polite and professional manner was not what the young man had expected from an acquaintance of Kitty's. Then again, Kitty had already demonstrated just how easy it was to be two-faced: her charming smiles and friendly conversations were a far cry from the dagger she'd whipped at him the night before.

The inn had been brighter than most, built from an almost yellow wood and well-lit with lamps that looked as though they received frequent, careful dustings. On the walls hung cheerful weavings depicting scenes of day-to-day life, realistic, yet somehow idealised in their friendly colours. Perhaps it had been the atmosphere that made Aramir feel so at ease as he'd fed Sergeant Barnes the old story he'd fabricated for when people asked him about his past training, a story that made him come off as something of a joke, a young man whose estimation of himself was much heavier than his paltry swordfighting skills could actually support. It hadn't taken long for the officer to lose interest in Kitty's "swordsman"; he'd given Aramir a fatherly "keep on trying" pat on the shoulder and excused himself to the next room.

No one had given him much attention since then, and now that they were all standing in the foyer of one Lord Larmes' manor, he was rather glad of it. The man's description of Kitty had been dead on, as Aramir could testify from past experience. Misfortune indeed. But there was no misfortune here, only well-polished opulence. Two staircases spiraled haughtily upwards, one left and one right, leaving the imagination to construct and decorate the rooms that waited down the hallways, out of sight. It reminded him not at all of Minas Tirith, and yet that was where his mind strayed as Kitty flirted with Lord Larmes : the regal audience hall, the seats of the king and steward, the silken banners draping in lazy grandeur from the rafters... He remembered the view from just behind one of those imposing marble columns, and the sounds of people who were trying to approach quietly and reverently, but whose shoes would just not cooperate.


The word startled him out of Gondor and back to Tharbad. "Bring your friends," Lord Larmes was saying. "We have plenty of room for everyone to stay the night and enjoy a decent hot meal while we--” he glanced gravely at Kitty "--conduct our business."

Business. So that was what they were calling it these days. And what was that side remark about a decent hot meal? He peered at Gwinhir and Gilmith , then down at himself. Well, perhaps he looked as though he could use some nourishment, but the siblings were obviously well taken care of. Yet Larmes seemed under the impression that every aspect of his house should elicit gasps of awe from his rustic guests; he smiled like a father watching a curious child each time one of them so much as glanced at a painting or turned their gaze upon a table. Aramir did his best to look unimpressed; with Minas Tirith floating at the back of his mind and general scorn for this whole enterprise settled prominently at the front, it wasn't that difficult.

Their host led them into a comfortably-furnished room filled with the evening light and bid them all make themselves comfortable; he himself made a stand at the front of the room in front of a tall, unlit fireplace and beamed in their general direction, a picture of ease in his nicely-woven clothes.

"Now, I should like the honor of properly meeting each of you." He turned to Gwinhir, who stood and offered his hand.

"Gwinhir of Fornost, sir," the young man said, nodding respectfully. "And my sister, Gilmith." He gestured as she rose from her seat and extended her hand; Larmes took it and kissed it politely, not at all the man he had been ten minutes ago when greeting Kitty. "We are travelling to Minas Tirith and were fortunate enough to cross paths with Miss Kitty." The glance he cast at Kitty, coupled with his tone of voice, suggested a connection between the two far stronger than the reality Aramir had witnessed over the past few days. He grinned broadly, turning to the window so no one would notice, and wondered if this were perhaps the beginning of a rivalry, in flirting if nothing else. Gwinhir and Larmes for Kitty, and Gilmith and Kitty for Larmes? At any rate, he was glad to be safely out of the love triangle.. circle.. shape.

When he returned from his foray into humorous speculation, Larmes was waiting for him to introduce himself. Like Gwinhir, he offered his hand and nodded in deference; the firm handshake he received in response was a pleasant surprise. "Aramir." He tilted his head towards Gilmith, who was nearest. "I'm accompanying the lord and lady to Gondor." His smile was cool and pleasant as he made a show of fingering his broadsword. "I do hope our presence here will not impede your... business with Kitty?"

Larmes didn't bat an eyelash. "Oh no, not at all! I'm always pleased to have visitors, young man. Make yourselves at home, all of you. I'll go see about dinner."

He vanished from the room in a glint of sunlight, leaving the four companions in an uneasy silence decorated with gold embroidery and jewel-bedecked ornamental daggers. Unflapped, Aramir crossed the room, aware that his not-so-clean boots were probably not doing the floor any favors, and began fingering a finely plaited blanket draped across the back of a couch.

"Aramir, don't touch it!" Gilmith's hushed scolding interrupted his search for a discernible pattern.

"Why not?" Aramir pulled out his innocent face and applied it carefully. "He told us to make ourselves at home, didn't he?"

"Well yes, but--"

"--besides, it's a fake."

"--I don't think he mea--what?"

"It's fake." Without looking, Aramir pointed at a random spot. "Look, you can clearly see the.. umm.. threads are..uhh...warped. Real...uhh.. high quality thread would never do something like that."

Gilmith gave him a withering glance. "You have no idea what you're talking about, do you?"

"Not a clue." He jumped up from the couch and dashed across the room. "This dagger, on the other hand!"

"Auugh." Half-smiling, Gilmith buried her face in her hands and shook her head while Aramir grinned triumphantly. At this rate, it was set to be an eventful evening.
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Postby earendil81 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:14 pm

Finally a city, and a real one. Almost as big as Edoras. Not that she came from a big city herself, she even was from a small village on the skirts of the West Mark, where her family lived, but she was tired with paths and forests and the wild.
Of course it was not so different as where she came from but at least every night back home she could go back to a real house and a real bed. She was getting used to it though, it was easier to fall asleep, less tiring to ride all day without much of a rest. But she had lost weight; in the days since Rivendell, her dress has seemed to be getting bigger. She would have to get some needles and thread to work on her clothes once they were in the inn, because for sure Eilathen would not have her continue past Tharbad - that's the name he said the city was called - without letting her sleep in a real bed.

Still as she looked down on the city she asked
"We're staying here tonight, right?"
"Yes, we are child. We will meet those who will travel with us here."

"what? what others" the child thought. Nobody had talked of others before. Why would she want to travel with anyone else? A caravan maybe, that could be nice. But how could he know that others would travel with them and that they would meet here?


Tharbad had grown. Much and not necessarily in the best of ways. But then, this age was that of men and soon all of his kind would be gone. Who would remember the elves then? Or maybe they would dwindle, to creatures hidden in the night, hardly ever seen, growing smaller as men would take over the world entirely. But so it had been designed in the music at the beginning of the world.

As they stopped on the hill looking down to the Royal Road - was it even called that still? - and the city, a group of riders crossed into Tharbad. From where he was he could see the two people riding ahead, a woman dark as her hair was bright and one man who seemed to be military. Why would the king allow people to have their own private guards? It could prove disastrous in the case of rebellion. Not that it would happen, people respected the King, who had reigned for almost a century and though he was young in the counting of the elves, a sapling next to an Ent, he was beyond old and wise to his people.

Well, it was not his to decide, but he could tell that the woman would bring trouble, whatever she was. Too beautiful and yet riding like a man among armed soldiers... Had to be trouble. But maybe, he would not have to worry about it. Maybe this group would not be the one joining with him and the child to Minas Tirith. If it was written...

He was called out of his thoughts by Laesha's question
"We're staying here tonight, right?"
"Yes, we are child. We will meet those who will travel with us here."
She would wonder about his comment but then maybe not. The woman she called grandma had had the sight of her kin and might have passed the knowledge of it to her children. Still Laesha was a mystery to him, more than any other mortal he had met, although none had ever been a child of the Twilight.

Sighing he led them into the city, one that had neither the grace of Rivendell nor the beauty of Caras Galadhon but that would be good enough to stop by and meet a group journeying to Minas Tirith when time was ripe.
Never forgetting those who have passed into the West :rose:

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Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
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I have been changed for good.

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Postby rowanberry » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:08 am

Gwinhir enjoyed riding with Kitty instead of sitting in the coach with his sister, who was more or less sulking again. The horse that Kitty had acquired for him wasn't quite like the ones he rode at home, but good enough for the occasion.

At times, he glanced back at the travellers behind. The elf Aramir seemed to have taken up keeping company to Gilmith, which he thought was good; she probably wouldn't be so awfully grumpy with someone to talk to. Still, he sensed something strange in Aramir. Nothing that really bothered him, nothing to get alarmed about - just something that was there, but could not be explained.

After they had been on the road for a few hours, he saw a group of soldiers approaching from the opposite direction. They were men of some local lord's private army, which always made him a bit wary; some of the private armies in these parts weren't much better than highwaymen. Automatically, he placed his hand on the hilt of the short sword he was carrying. But, Kitty put his mind at rest. "No worries. I was expecting them."

For the next couple of days, they travelled in the company of those soldiers. They escorted the company all the way to Tharbad, and there, into the stately manor of one Lord Larmes. The lord of the house, an elderly gentleman, received them very politely; both Gwinhir and his sister were used to socializing with customers belonging in the nobility of their home town, and knew to bear themselves equally businesslike and politely. But, Gwinhir could tell that they were welcome only as long as whatever business Larmes apparently had with Kitty was going all right.

After Kitty disappeared with Lord Larmes to talk in private, which probably would take some time, Gwinhir settled into the room appointed to him, and then, went to the stables to have a word with Rog, their coach driver. Gilmith stayed behind for a while with Aramir, who once again did his best at teasing her. Finally, she decided though that she’d have to refresh herself a bit and change a clean dress for the dinner.

There was still some time to pass, so she decided to go for a walk in the garden behind the manor. There was nobody else around, except a gardener trimming the hedge that separated the vegetable garden from the recreation area. The garden was big, lovely, and well kept; flowers, bushes, and trees set in spectacular arrangements, and a pond with a fountain and water lilies from which a small brook led toward the river which wasn’t very far away. From a distance, she could hear men’s voices talking, singing, and laughing; the sounds probably came from the barracks farther away where Larmes’s guards were accommodated.

Finally, she turned back toward the house. In a place where the path curved round some tall lilac bushes, she almost bumped into someone. From the man’s attire, she could tell that he was one of Larmes’s guards, but she didn’t recognize him as any of the ones who had escorted them here. And, the man had clearly had a pint or two too many.

She tried to pass him, but the man grabbed her arm. “Hey, pretty girl, what’s the hurry? Come, give me a kiss.”

Gilmith tore herself away. “Oh, get lost.”

But, the man didn’t let her go so easily. He tried to grab her by the waist and said: “Now, come on, what’s wrong with just a little kiss?”

A second later, he stepped back, holding his bloodied nose, and then, doubled up yelping with pain, grabbing his crotch. Gilmith had butted his nose hard with her head, and then, directed a feisty kick into the man’s most sensitive spot.

She snorted angrily. “Now, is there still some part of ‘no’ that is not clear to you?” She turned, and holding her head up, marched toward the manor.

She didn’t see him, but Aramir was standing silently in the shadows a bit away from the path. In amazement, he watched the girl handle the situation. Maybe she wasn’t quite as helpless and naïve as she might appear…
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Postby Tygarya » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:46 am

Kitty accompanied by Lord Lamis entered the Lord’s den. As she stepped through the doorway she cast a wary eye around the room. Her eyes fell upon a dark figure standing in the shadows. Kitty instinctively placed a hand upon a dagger and stalked to the opposite side of the room staring at the figure as Lord Lamis stepped into the room and closed the door.

The figure stepped forward towards the light showing his face. Kitty relaxed slightly as she saw the wizened old man with long grey hair and grey beard, dressed as he was the first time Kitty had met him – days ago in Bree – in a long brown robe. This was the man Kitty had been commissioned by to steal the jewel.

“Miss Kitty, you have done well I believe?” the old man asked.

“Yes, it was fairly easy....a little too easy if you ask me...seems like anyone could have gone in there and taken it, you didn’t need me” Kitty answered quite humbly.

“Oh, no it certainly was not as simple as it may have appeared to you my dear” the old man replied with a slight chuckle.

Kitty shrugged and reached into her bodice removing the jewel and holding it out to the old man on an outstretched palm. The old man shook his head and refused to take the jewel from her, instead he fumbled within his robes and taking out a small iron box he held it out for her to place the jewel into it, however, Kitty hesitated.

“You seem afraid to touch it?” Kitty asked moving the jewel close to the side of the old man’s hand, causing him to flinch away slightly. “Why is that, yet your happy for me to touch it?” Kitty sounded quite concerned as she stared at the jewel upon her hand.

Lord Lamis walked to the fire and stoked it sending sparks shooting up the chimney. As he placed a log upon the fire he muttered to the old man.
“I think it could do no harm to tell her the truth”

The old man looked from Lamis to Kitty, who was staring at the two of them with barely veiled mistrust. As she balled her hand into a fist around the jewel and withdrew it, folding her arms she demanded.

“What the hell is going on here?”
The old man looked worried to find the jewel taken away and looked back at Lamis almost looking for help. Lamis smiled and tried to reassure Kitty.

“All is well Kitty I assure you, please you must excuse our friend here for he is more used to dealing with the animals than with Man, may I first introduce him to you.....this is Radagast the Brown, a member of the new White Council.”

“A wizard?” Kitty said shocked taking an involuntary step backwards, making Radagast manage to look rather uncomfortable having been forced into the predicament in the first place by King Elessar and the Council.

“Yes” Lord Lamis said, “You see you have done the world a great favour retrieving that jewel....and for thanks – as agreed – you are now a very wealthy woman.”

Lord Lamis had walked over to his desk while he spoke and picked up a piece of paper from it, he now held it out to Kitty.
Kitty looked at it, looked up at Radagast, then to Lamis and then slowly took the paper from Lamis’s hand. She looked at it briefly, not being the best at reading, but did see one thing on it that surprised her – her real name.

“What is this?” Kitty asked “...And how do you know my name?” Kitty was starting to have serious second thoughts about all this and took another step backwards.

Lamis held out a hand. “It’s okay Kitty, it’s a simple thing really. We needed your real name to put on that deed to make it legal and binding”

“Deed?” Kitty asked looking again at the paper and seeing a very large number written upon it.

“You can’t surely expect to be handed that sort of money in gold coins do you?” Lamis laughed. “You wouldn’t even be able to lift it. This deed you take down to the Merchants United Forum, where you can open an account. That way you can go to any branch, anywhere they are, and withdraw amounts of the money as you wish small safe amounts.”

Kitty looked at the paper once again, then opened her other hand and looked at the jewel. She then glanced up at Lamis.

“That doesn’t answer the question, how do you know my real name?” Kitty held the jewel up once again. “I want answers if you want this”

Radagast sighed and muttered. “Why are people so complicated?” He looked at Kitty and indicated a seat behind her. “You had better sit down I think” Although, it seemed more of an excuse for himself to sink into a large chair by the fire.
Lamis walked over to a table holding a decanter of wine and poured three glasses. As Kitty sat down slowly, Lamis handed her a glass, taking the deed back and placing it on a side table next to her.

“Here” he said, “You may need this”

“May?” Kitty said incredulously and took a big swig of the wine. Her mind was in turmoil about what was going on, she disliked being confused and right now she felt like she had been duped in some way. To think the White Council and King Elessar were involved made her extremely nervous, she could feel a noose tightening around her neck.

“You know I have a warrant out for my arrest, don’t you?” Kitty said nervously more as a statement than a question. She fully expecting soldiers to burst in and drag her away to Gondor.

“Yes, however King Elessar decided to do some investigating of his own on the....ah...matter and he found out about the.....ah....shall we say ‘true nature’ of his second cousin and is more than ready to give you a full pardon for his cousins murder....upon receipt of the jewel.” Radagast explained feeling uncomfortable with the subject and not wanting to go into details.

Kitty started to get suspicious. “Really? And why would he care about a petty thief, cutthroat like me?”

“Ah, because you are the only one, apart from the owner of that Manor you broke into, that can touch that jewel” Radagast said with great pomp.

Kitty’s suspicions were starting to settle nastily in her stomach.
“Why is it that I can touch this jewel but you – a wizard – cannot?”

“Because my dear, the jewel is surrounded by powerful spells preventing anyone but the Master and his man to touch it” Radagast explained, he leaned forward in his chair towards Kitty very secretively. “You don’t know the name of the man who owns that manor house do you?”

Kitty started to get a sinking feeling, her mother had always said to her she had given her her father’s name...a Lord she said...she died waiting for him to come back to her, he never did. A one night stand between a drunk Lord and a bar maid, that’s all Kitty ever saw herself as.

She looked at Radagast her eyes large and luminous in the fire light. Lord Lamis looked at her, almost feeling sorry for her, this was going to be a lot for her to take.

Kitty was shaking her head in denial. “Please just tell me that I can touch this...” Kitty again held out the jewel “...cause I am just a bad person and no good person, like yourselves can touch it.”

Radagast slowly picked up the small iron container and held it out again, this time – almost trance like – Kitty dropped the jewel into the container. Radagast quickly closed the little box and it disappeared into his robes. He looked at Kitty with sympathy.

“You are not bad, Kitty, you are merely a person of situation. You did what you had to do to survive.” It was Lord Lamis that spoke. “Now you have been given the chance to change your life, to live a new life. You are a hero, although no one will ever know it. That jewel could have created another war; it has powerful magic in it. People have searched since the last war for that jewel. They knew it was with Sauron in Mordor, but it vanished. Of course, no one expected to find it right under our noses in a small Manor house outside of Bree.”

Radagast was still looking at Kitty silently, and then all of a sudden he spoke again, like he hadn’t even stopped from before.
“The Lord’s name is Blackhart”

Kitty stared at him, the glass of wine slipping from her fingers to fall upon the carpet, wine splashing everywhere. The glass bounced slightly and rolled under the chair.

Radagast continued.
“We tried several times to retrieve that jewel before we realised the spell upon it meant that only Blackhart and his Master could touch it without being killed. Although when the spell was made Blackhart was believed to have no blood relatives, so the spell was left slightly incomplete....”

Radagast was interrupted by Kitty whispering the rest as she stared at the fire.

“But you lot found me, Kathryn Blackhart, his illegitimate daughter, who could touch the jewel cause the spell would recognise my blood as his”

“This girl is quick” Radagast said with a smile but no humour.

Kitty stood up then looking like a cornered animal.
“I have to get out of here” Kitty said as she pushed past Lamis and headed for the door.

“Kitty wait!” Lamis called trying to stop her but she was gone.

Kitty bolted out the door, almost knocking down Ar - she never stopped to even wonder why he was there or why he called out to her to slow down - she ran down the hallway and out of the house. She was half way up the street before she stopped running.

She walked for an hour until it was dark. She stopped finally at a tavern and went inside to get drunk.
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Postby ~Fionavar~ » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:44 am

Putting fingers to lips and curling as she was taught, Fionavar sent out a shrill whistle that echo'd down the sole winding road leading to and from the house of Tom Bombadil. As if she had just been waiting for the call, Caloo trotted up beside the young lady.

Giving the pony the once over from withers to ear tips, "I see you have been treated well by our fair hosts. In fact I think you are getting fat."

The horse had the good sense to wiffle and grunt away from the sarcastic stare. "No worries, you will be working that off in no time." If a pony could speak, Fionavar was certain she would be getting a rich earful right about now. As it was, she settled on the satisfaction of getting back on the road again. While it had been fun to visit the legend Tom Bombadil, there was another town, another leg of the journey to get started on.

The day was a brilliant one, deep blue skies with puffy clouds dancing here and there. The flowers were all in bloom, the trees full of leaves, bursting will fruit of all kind. The breeze was scented with a fragrance that she could not identify but that she would always associate with this strange and alluring place for the rest of her life.

Tossing a casual wave to Seldo and Taran, who were looking alert and ready for the journey to begin, Fionavar winked at Seldo and he skipped up to her. "Would you do me a huge favor?"

"Sure, anything for you Fiona." Seldo beamed a bright smile her way.

"Please make sure that Caloo is packed with a fair amount of this fresh fruit, I doubt we will see the like again and she could use the weight."

Seldo looked at Caloo, putting a finger up along side his nose. "Leave it to me, Fiona." The lad set off picking small amounts of the various berries, apples and peaches that lined the road. He also found some nuts and packed them as well. Seldo knew that Fionavar would not want Caloo overburdened, so he carefully divided the food stuffs into the packs and then stowed some away in his own.

Robin was holding back and speaking to the hosts. "Maybe he is getting directions, because it is sure as shade that I don't know where Tharbad is."

"Are you talking to yourself, Fiona?" The silvery tinkle told the girl that Geli was close by.

"If I was, you can be certain it wasn't a very enlightened conversation." Fionavar turned and smiled at the jester, and noticed the young man standing right behind her. "How did you sleep?" Fionavar raised her hand in greeting, as she was properly taught.

"On my backside as usual," Geli laughed and her black curls bobbed up and down, almost hypnotic in their nature.

"Always with the quip. Hello, I am called Dust." The young man was looking at Fionavar. "I know you are Fionavar, I guess our road lies in the same direction." Dust tried to be friendly, but felt awkward.

"There is only this road to travel, so I suppose it lies in the same direction," Geli offered and dimples were evident in her clear face. Why hadn't she noticed dimples before?

Before the two could spar, Fionavar jumped in. "Indeed, it does. It appears you two are ready to go. That leaves us with Robin and Gwaeryn and a lovely morning to get us down the common road to our destination." As if on cue, Robin bowed low and headed towards them, Gwaeryn spread his mighty wings and lifted into the sky.

Fionavar took one last look around, knowing she would never see a place like this again and then turned her back and headed down the road. Robin caught up with her soon enough. "Are we leaving already? I had thought we would have a bit of a bite before we left. Goldberry has kindly loaded me up with preserves, breads, cheeses, cream and tea." The Hobbit's words held a timber of hunger in them.

"I will make you a deal, how about munching on some fruit for now and as soon as we put a league between us and this place I promise to stop for a more satisfying meal. Deal?"

Robin looked back longingly at the house of Tom Bombadil, no host was waving back to him, with a resigned sign, he agreed.

On the start of the journey, Fionavar could be certain she heard the strains of Gwaeryn singing a farewell to Old Tom and Goldberry. It was lovely and fitting. She hoped to sing with the huge bird herself soon.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:54 am

Gwaeryn flew from Tom's country with regret on leaving there. And Robin had decided to go on foot for a while, but later they would ride together.

The Eagle circled above Tom's house, singing:

Farewell, Tom Bombadil,
And the River-Daughter.
May our paths meet again
By land or air or water.

It is always sad to part,
But the Road leads on ahead,
To adventures new we travel on
Afore we go to bed.

Till our eyries receive us
At the journey's end;
The memory of the party stays
and so our song we lend.

Not a very good song, but Gwaeryn was sad to leave. Tom came out, waving his hat and Goldberry also waved farewell. They had other things to do.

"I hope we don't go too far without a second breakfast." said Robin, munching on an apple. His eyes twinkled as he said that.

Happy New Year!

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Gwaeryn and Robin, The Expected Party

Meneldor, Alatar and Pallando, Darkness Reigns: The Resistance

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Postby ^Aramir^ » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:06 am

Aramir hated reassessing people; it was so much easier to just figure them out the first time and move forward (or backwards, if necessary) from there. Or for that matter, skip the assessment process altogether, an ancient, hallowed, and especially handy technique employed when he wasn't planning on staying around long enough for any sort of relationship to develop. Which was pretty much all the time.

Tonight, however, seemed to be turning into the night of second impressions and required reassessment. This, thought Aramir as he stood in a darkened hall of Larmes' manor, was precisely why he shied away from having companions.

Actually, no, this wasn't the reason, but it was one of them. He had enough problems for six people; why invite even more trouble in through the back door when the front door was already congested enough?

Gilmith, at least, had been a pleasant surprise. In fact, Aramir had nearly doubled over with laughter when he saw her lash out at the persistent soldier in Larmes' garden, and as the man had crumpled to the ground, one hand caressing his crotch and the other his nose, Aramir had crept away to a secluded part of the estate so that he could giggle himself silly without fear of being noticed or overheard, except of course by Geli, who would be able to see him making a fool of himself no matter how distant she was from the manor. He'd told himself, after he'd regained control of his amusement and the cramps in his stomach had faded, that he shouldn't have been so surprised at Gilmith's ability to ward off unfriendly advances in such an...effective manner, but after watching her ride in that elegant carriage for several days, always dressed in flatteringly feminine clothes and open to his teasing advances, it was difficult to think of her as anything but a high-born lady in need of a protective shadow.

It was about the time that he was making a mental note to himself to be especially careful when flirting with Gilmith in the future that he noticed where he was. Or rather, where he was not, and where he was not was somewhere he recognized. The corridor he'd chosen to serenade with shocked laughter seemed to be in some far corner of the estate on the first floor, if he remembered correctly, or perhaps even a lower level? Had he gone down any stairs? He couldn't recall. This hall was decorated as tastefully as all the others, showcasing a midnight blue tapestry, dark polished wooden trim, and crown moulding that had probably taken about Aramir's current lifespan to complete to the lord's satisfaction. All of which were absolutely no help at all in the identification of a more specific location.

The hall was also designed to dull any voices down to a mere whisper, but Aramir heard them anyway. Three of them, and one of them was Kitty's. Another was the distinct lilting tone of Lord Larmes. And the third...?

"....this is Radagast the Brown, a member of the new White Council."

....well then. Aramir reminded himself to get lost more often and then inched down the corridor towards the room at the end, one hand trailing along the wall, eyes trained on the ground lest he step on an unsuspecting cat's tail, or something. The door was closed, but firelight leaked through the crack at the bottom of the door, carrying with it smoky snippets of Kitty's "business transaction."







...the Master...

Kathryn Blackhart.

Blackhart, Blackhart. Why did he know that--

--the door flew open and collided with Aramir's frozen figure with a loud *thwack*, then swung back the way that it had come, vibrating violently after its encounter with Aramir. From inside the room flew Kitty, nothing more than a shaking black shadow desperate to forget whatever she'd just learned. She tore down the hall, the sound of her footsteps swallowed up by the suddenly-threatening tapestries, her dark hair trailing behind her.

For a moment he was rooted to the spot, almost as startled as Kitty herself, and then he heard himself shout, "Kitty!", hardly caring that Larmes and Radagast were in the room just behind him, or that his head and shoulder would be developing door-shaped bruises after the throbbing subsided. He set off after her, no idea where he was going, aware of the candlelight that guided him, but little else. The polished halls all looked the same, through this one, down that one, up a flight of stairs--so he had been in a basement of sorts--and into the foyer.

She'd been crying. That was the thought that drove him out the front door and onto the lawn, shouting, "Slow down!" as he went. Whether or not it was true, it pushed him down the manicured pathway to the edge of the road before he finally halted. She kept running, never glancing back, until he could only just make out her form, far ahead, on the road to somewhere less harshly real.

He dashed back into the house and somehow managed to find the sitting room in which he'd last seen Gilmith and Gwinhir. The latter was there, sitting comfortably on the couch, flipping through a book he'd taken from one of the generously-stocked bookshelves lining the walls.

"She's gone."

"Gilmith?" He rose immediately, casting the book aside without concern for its potential value.

"No, Kitty. She..." He paused, considering how to tell Gwinhir that he'd eavesdropped on the entire undertaking, and then decided it didn't really matter right now. "She's left. As I understand it, she received some rather... unsettling news." The floor suddenly seemed in need of attention; he scuffed at it with the toe of his boot and tried to draw a design in the nap. "And she didn't take it very well." His forehead could attest to that.

"Where did she go?"

"Where did who go?" Gilmith appeared in the door frame, her hair drawn back from her face in elaborate twists and twirls, her crimson gown flattering enough that it distracted Aramir from the crisis at hand, if only for a moment.

"Kitty," the two replied.

"She left?" Gilmith's confusion instantly became an indignance she could not, and did not try to, mask. "She's the reason we came here in the first place! How could anyone be so rude?"

"Her business with Larmes seems to have ended on a sour note." Gwinhir's attempt to pacify his sister was met with a frown, but no comment. The young man bent over, seized the book from the couch, and gripped it tightly with both hands until the tips of his fingers became a snowy white against the leather binding. "I do hope she's all right. It's getting dark, as well, and she's all alone. There are thieves..."

Aramir couldn't prevent himself from snorting at the irony; he clapped his hand over his mouth and coughed loudly several times. At Gwinhir's questioning glance, he shook his head and brushed away any suspected ailments with a waving hand.

"She got along fine before she met up with us," Gilmith decreed. "I'm sure she'll be fine now."

"But..." Poor Gwinhir was more distraught with every moment that passed. He'd abandoned the book again and was now playing with the edge of his tunic; already wrinkles were beginning to form in the neatly-pressed fabric.

"Gilmith is right," Aramir said. He glanced from one sibling to the other, stuffed his hands in his pockets, and shrugged defeat in Gwinhir's direction. "Nevertheless, I think we ought to follow her. At the very least," he continued, shooting a look at Gilmith, "it seems unfair to impose upon Lord Larmes now that Kitty has left his manor."

Gwinhir was already halfway out of the room. "I'll go pack our things!"

"But... I... Gwinhir, wait a moment!" Gilmith dashed out of the room after her brother, leaving Aramir to erase the group's traces. He scooped up the book discarded by Gwinhir and found its place on the shelf between two lonely-looking volumes of long-forgotten history, waiting for their lost century to be replaced between them.

"So you heard."

The poor book had one last journey to make--out of Aramir's hands as he whirled around, bumping into the bookshelf behind him hard enough to dislodge more history from its surrounding context.

Larmes eyed the fallen books, then Aramir, who had already forgotten them in a moment of deflated pride. How could some lord have snuck up on him like that? He fixed a frown upon Larmes and answered, "Yes, I did," with as much dignity as he could manage while plastered to a bookcase.


"And what? I'm to assume that you're the Ringbearer of this age, seeking out the enemy's last source of strength in a valiant attempt to quell evil forever?"

The lord's laugh was deep and friendly as he rose from tending the sitting room fire. "That," he chuckled, "would be giving me far too much credit. Flattering, though." There was sadness in his smile, but not malice. "I'm afraid that if anyone might be called Ringbearer this time around, it would have to be Kitty. As always, it is the innocent who are most deeply affected by such circumstances."

Incredulity would not remain unexpressed "Innocent? Kitty?"

The firelight in Larmes' eyes burned away Aramir's words mid-scoff, but before he could reply, Gwinhir appeared in the door frame, a flustered and very irritated-looking Gilmith behind him.

"We're all ready to-- oh, Lord Larmes!"

Larmes offered the siblings a warm smile. "Aramir has informed me that you intend to follow Kitty rather than stay here." He turned his gaze upon the young man in question, who did his best not to betray any of the surprise he felt. "I think it's very noble of you to offer support to a friend like this; I'm only sorry that it was I who put her in such a state. Please give her my apologies, if you would?"

"Yes, of course." Too distracted to notice anything unusual, Gwinhir nodded solemnly, then turned to go. "Come on, Aramir!"

The siblings vanished down the hall, leaving Aramir to cross the room in the awkward silence which remained. As he passed Larmes, who stood comfortably by the fire, the man spoke. "Innocent is a difficult word, not one to be tossed around lightly. Perhaps it was a poor choice on my part. Nevertheless, I stand by what I told her before: some people are simply the victims of circumstances, held in its clutches so long that they have no hope of escape. Radagast and I... well, I'm ashamed to say that we exploited those circumstances in Kitty's case. But she has that chance now, the chance to change her life for the better, and I sincerely hope she utilizes it fully."

The words seeped in slowly. "Shall I tell her you said so?"

"If you'd like." Larmes smiled. "Also..."

Aramir paused, framing himself between the double-leaf doors, and glanced over his shoulder. "Don't tell me: you've got some information on my past as well?"

"Not quite." He sighed, briefly adopting Aramir's habit of drawing designs in the carpeting. "I'm afraid my business with Kitty hasn't yet finished. There was more I had hoped to discuss with her before she departed for good."

Aramir picked up Larmes' sigh and added one of his own. "However noble your intentions, I'm not sure I'm the person you want convincing her to come back, sir," he said frankly.

Larmes didn't press the issue. "Be that as it may, it is important that I speak with her again, if only to clarify what has already been said. Would you try, please?"

What could he say? Larmes and Radagast were the reason she had run off, crying maybe, to seek solace in a bottle of wine and cheap tavern atmosphere. They'd dragged her into this quest without telling her why, and now she was hurt. Why he cared all of the sudden, he didn't know. After all, she'd stolen something and was reaping the rewards--wealth, but also inner turmoil. He should have been satisfied, knowing that she might have finally learned a lesson. And yet...

"Yes, I'll try. I have a feeling she needs to hear what you have to say if she's to start this new life of yours." He hoped his words sounded sincere; he could work out his final decision on the road back to Tharbad.

"Well, you'd better not keep your companions waiting any longer. Best of luck, then."

"Thank you." It sounded so hollow, but there it was nonetheless; Larmes could interpret it as he wished.

"So where did she go?" Gwinhir demanded before Aramir had fully materialized from the velvet shadows.

"Back to the city proper, I suspect."

"Well good, that only leaves us with the task of finding her in Tharbad."
Gwinhir frowned distastefully and hefted his lumpy bag from one hand to the other.

Aramir smiled grimly. "Shouldn't be too hard. We just find out where they sell the strongest ale."
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Postby rowanberry » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:12 am

After Gwinhir and Gilmith had left their luggage in the care of Rog the driver and Brind the lackey, the three headed off on the search for Kitty - which, despite Aramir's good advice, was going to be quite a task; there were tens of inns in Tharbad and its surroundings, and so much time had passed that Kitty could have walked quite far already.

Gilmith wasn't awfully happy about the turn things had taken, but followed Gwinhir and Aramir because she didn't have any interest to stay at the manor without them, either. Men! She had seen in several occasions that Kitty was more than able to take care of herself, but her stupid brother just had to rush after her because he had a stupid crush on the girl.

It took them some half an hour and looking into several inns to find the right place. There were some raised voices among the general noise coming out from a tavern on the southern bank of the river, somewhat away from the main road. Aramir stopped, listened for a second, and said: "I think she's in there."

And, indeed, there she was. She was sitting at a corner table, with an almost empty bottle of wine and a half full glass in front of her. Apparently, some idiot had after a few pints come up with the idea that the lonely girl in the corner was in need of company, and was now asking for blood from his nose by trying to intrude her table. As the three searchers entered, Kitty, who very apparently was in a very bad mood, stood up and told the man in no uncertain terms to get lost, but he was either too drunk or too stupid - or probably both - to take her words seriously.

Gwinhir strode to the intruder and grabbed his shoulder. "You heard what the lady said. Please leave her alone."

The drunk wriggled loose and snorted: "And, who do you think you are to tell me that? Want her yourself, do you? No way, I saw her first!"

Gwinhir looked stern. "She is one of our travelling companions. If she wishes to be alone, you should respect her request."

The man tried to punch Gwinhir, but in his condition, he was all too slow to take the young merchant by surprise. Gwinhir ducked the blow, and at the same time, his own fist hit his opponent's diaphragm. The drunk gasped and fell backward, and crashed on the table next to Kitty's. The pints of the two men sitting there tipped over and poured their content on their trousers.

The men got up and rushed at Gwinhir with a menacing look on their faces. But, before either of them got all too close, Aramir stepped in the way of one, and the other got a sharp kick in the shin from Gilmith, which caused him to stumble. After that, Gwinhir had no problems in repelling his attack.

The man who had tried to get in closer acquaintance with Kitty had been at the inn with a couple of friends, who now also headed for the fray. A few others got up to try and stop them. And, before anyone could tell exactly why, there was a full fledged bar brawl going on.
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Postby Tygarya » Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:41 pm

Kitty grimaced inwardly as she saw Gwinhir, Ar and Gilmith all standing in the tavern. She just wanted to be left alone and now here they all were and causing a fight that she could have dealt with herself probably a little more in some back alley with a dagger between the guy’s ribs. Kitty couldn’t feel mad at Gwinhir though...Ar perhaps, he should have known better than to let Gwinhir and especially Gilmith into a place like this.
While the bar fight was getting into full swing Kitty headed for the door, ducking and weaving to avoid stray bottles and chairs. As she finally made her way to the door she felt a hand upon her arm. Instinctively she swung round ready to hit the offender but noticed just in time that it was Gwinhir.
“Where are you going, we came looking for you?” Gwinhir said as Kitty stalked out of the tavern with him in behind her.
“Well you shouldn’t have, I want to be left alone” Kitty said a little more nasty than she intended making Gwinhir falter his pride hurt.
“What happened at the Manor?” Gwinhir pressed again making Kitty more angry.
“That is none of your business, look just leave me alone!” Kitty snapped back and turned away to start striding down the street.
Gwinhir took a couple of paces after her but was stopped by a firm hand on his arm, it was Ar with Gilmith in tow.
“Perhaps we should just leave her, she’ll probably come back in the morning” Ar said firmly.
“But, she doesn’t know we have left the manor, she’ll return there” Gwinhir said still watching where Kitty had disappeared around a corner.
“You go and get your sister into an Inn for the night, I’ll go keep watch at the manor for her return” Ar said with a tone that was not to be argued with.
Gilmith took the meaning and took hold of her brother’s arm. “Come on there is nothing more we can do tonight, she obviously doesn’t want our help”
Looking like an abandoned puppy Gwinhir allowed Gilmith to lead him away. Ar pulled up the hood of his cloak and walked off into the darkness.

The next dawning day found Kitty entering the stables at Lord Lamis’s manor with the intention of saddling her horse ready to leave before anyone else woke up. She looked dishevelled, her hair down and wild around her face. Her eyes bleary and red and her head was pounding from a headache caused from the night before - drinking trying to forget.
Kitty was in turmoil, she felt like she had been used in some sort of game. To find out she had been duped into betraying her father – although she had never known him and never cared to know him this piece of news shattered her to the bone. ‘How could anyone think they had the right to do that to someone else!?’ Kitty muttered to herself.

As Kitty entered the stables however she found her horse and the horses of the others gone.
“What the...?” Kitty said aloud as she looked at the empty stalls confused.

‘Trying to leave without saying goodbye?” a voice said from behind her making her jump out of her skin. She knew the voice and grimaced, she didn’t need him to deal with right now. She had hoped to slip away quietly before anyone was up. Typical that Ar would already be up and snooping around. Kitty wiped at her face, hidden from Ar by her wealth of hair, and without turning around she spoke to him.
“What do you care?” Kitty’s voice sounded harsh and cracked slightly. Ar sensed she was still upset and stood up from where he had been sitting in a corner of the stable upon a barrel, he had quietly sat watch all night waiting for her to turn up here. He had taken the gamble that she would return for her horse sooner or later and try to leave Tharbad – he had surmised right. When she had finally entered the stables she had not noticed him and so he had quietly watched her for a moment before saying anything. Now he stood up and came over to her. He grabbed her by an arm and turned her round to face him. Kitty fought him but he grabbed her chin with his other hand and lifted it so he could see her face.
“You’ve been crying?” Ar was a bit stunned but it confirmed his suspicions, to see this showing of emotion from Kitty he knew she was not handling things at all well.
Kitty finally managed to fight her way out of his grip and turned away, facing the empty stall again.
‘Just leave me alone Ar’ Kitty said almost pleading. “I just want to get out of this place”
“I don’t think it’s going to be quite that simple I’m afraid” Ar answered as he looked up from Kitty’s back to the stable entrance to see Lord Lamis striding into the stables a look of great concern on his face.
“Kitty! You came back, thank Eru” Lamis said as he approached.
Kitty placed her hands upon the stall door and buried her face into them; she didn’t want to deal with this right now. Her head felt like it was going to explode, and not just from the drink, she couldn’t take any more information about how she had been tricked.
Lamis took in the scene, noticing Kitty’s stature. His eyes flicked briefly to Ar who stood behind Kitty with his arms folded staring at Lamis. He looked almost like a protective figure standing the way he was, Lamis had not realised before that there was anything between Kitty and Ar but now he saw there was something going on. He hesitated slightly knowing he had interrupted something else, but then continued.
“You can’t leave yet Kitty, there is more you need to know” Lamis looked again at Ar not knowing if Kitty had told him anything or just how much he had heard. “Please come inside?”
“I don’t want to know anymore” Kitty said muffled from where her face was still hidden in her hands. “Just leave me alone, I’ve heard enough of your trickery”
Lamis went to talk again but Ar interrupted. “You heard the lady, leave.”
Kitty was stunned for a moment, and then became angry. She whirled round towards Ar.
“You too! Just leave me alone! Everyone!” Kitty walked away a few steps towards the door then faltered slightly as Lamis said to her retreating back.
“King Elessar wants to meet you” Lamis again flicked his eyes towards Ar, not wanting to give too much away but he saw Ar didn’t look too surprised, he was either good at not showing emotions on his face or he knew totally what had been said the night before.
Kitty had collapsed with her back against another stall, her head down looking at the floor. Both men saw her shoulders rise and fall with a sigh of resignation. She raised her hands to her face and rubbed it a moment then clawed her hands through her hair brushing it back from her face. She turned to look at Lamis.
“I suppose I am to present myself in Gondor so the palace can all have a good laugh” Kitty said contemptuously.
Lamis stepped towards her. “You know that’s not true, come inside and I’ll explain” Lamis gently took Kitty’s arm, but Kitty – true to form- flinched away wrenching her arm from him.
“Don’t touch me!” As Lamis nodded his head in acknowledgement trying to appease the volatile situation Ar realised the movement had been purely reflective from Kitty. He wondered what had possibly happened in her past to make her afraid of men that way. He was definitely learning more about this strange woman, but the more he learnt the more of a mystery she seemed to become.
Lamis was indicating for Kitty to take the lead into the house and she turned and took a couple of steps. Then she hesitated and turned back searching out Ar in the gloom.
“Will you come with me Ar?” Kitty asked of him sounding suddenly vulnerable, again surprising him by the complete about turn from a minute ago.
He shrugged his shoulders thinking about refusing, he had his own things to think about, until he saw the look of discomfort on Lamis’s face. That changed his mind and he started walking towards them. Kitty smiled and turned back and walked out of the stables with Lamis and Ar in tow.

No one said anything the whole way inside. Once inside Lamis took the lead and once again returned to his study. Kitty walked to the far end of the room and stood silent with her arms folded. Ar walked in and sat down in the large chair by the fire – now cold ashes with an occasional spark of embers still warm underneath – in which Radagast had sat only hours before. Radagast it seemed had vanished into the night – as wizards seem to do – with the jewel. Lord Lamis closed the door behind them and walked further into the room standing between Ar and Kitty. He turned to face Kitty.

“I am so sorry that you had to find out about all this in the way you did” Lamis sounded sincere but Kitty wasn’t convinced.
“Really, it was you that insisted to Radagast I be told the truth wasn’t it?” Kitty rebutted, the hard exterior starting to return to her demeanour.
“Well, yes.... but...” Lord Lamis tried to explain but Kitty interrupted.
“Just tell me what you will so I can leave”
Lamis looked disappointed and turned to look at Ar seeking support; however he didn’t find it in Ar’s facial expression. Ar knew all about betrayal. Seeing he was on his own Lamis turned back to Kitty.
“There isn’t much more to this story, but it’s a very important part of it”
“My story” Kitty muttered.
“Yes, quite right, your story” Lamis agreed. “Anyway, what I was saying about your being pardoned for the murder of the King’s cousin, well...King Elessar himself wants to present you with it. He is so sorry for what happened...” Lamis glanced back quickly to Ar uncomfortably, and then turned back to Kitty. “....that he wants to make amends personally and thank you for what you have done, returning the jewel back into safe hands.”
Kitty was staring at the wall over Lamis’s shoulder showing nothing on her blank face. She had found her composure again and had settled into the calm facade like a security blanket.
Her eyes slid across to Lamis’s face. “Is that all?” she enquired in a quiet almost menacing voice which made Ar sit up suddenly on edge.
“Will you go?” Lamis asked instead of answering her question.
Kitty shrugged and looked away again. “I’ll think about it”
“Kitty please I implore you to go to Gondor and visit with King Elessar” Lamis said almost begging. “It will help you to close that chapter of your life and start a new one” Lamis chuckled almost to himself. “You have so many years left of your life to live, don’t live them in bitterness.”
Kitty scoffed. “So many years, what ever!" Kitty rolled her eyes. "You know as well as I that people are lucky to live a long life like yourself. I have known so many people die before they even get the chance to grow grey and heck, the way I drink, let’s be honest with ourselves. The curse of Men, I suppose. It’s not like I have hundreds of years like Ar here –an elf- my life is counted in the tens of years I’m afraid.” Kitty said it bitterly and full of sarcasm. “So what does it matter if they are lived in bitterness or not”
Lamis fidgeted a bit uncomfortably at Kitty’s speech. Ar caught the body language and knew Lamis was hiding something more. Ar finally felt the need to speak.
“What is it Lamis, there is something you’re still not telling Kitty”
Kitty looked with surprise at Ar, as did Lamis. Then Kitty eyed Lamis with suspicion a moment seeing his discomfort, then looked back at Ar.
“What could he possibly still be hiding from me Ar? Haven’t I been through enough” Kitty said this last part to the ceiling as she raised her eyes and implored the air with her arms outstretched.
Lamis coughed slightly bringing back Kitty’s attention. “Kitty you must realise that hate is not good for the soul. You need to get past this hatred of men”
Kitty scoffed. “I have had no reason in my life to get past it...thank you” Kitty answered staring at Lamis fiercely. “Men have given me no reason to change my view of them.”
Lamis looked at Kitty full of pity. “Then you are destined to live a long life alone and die a lonely old woman”
Kitty grinned then. “Ah yes, but a rich one...what more could a woman need but to be able to look after herself and not have to rely on some man.” Kitty said with belligerence. “Besides, I have already told you I doubt very much I will live to be an old woman anyway...lonely or not...I think I might try and drink myself to an early grave. Now if you’ve quiet finished I have a horse I need to go and find.”
Kitty went to walk towards the door but stopped when she heard Ar’s voice.
“You keep referring to Kitty living a long time...just what are you getting at” Ar asked Lamis in a strange tone, he had picked up on something within what Lamis was dancing around...something was screaming at him but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
“What do you mean Ar?” Kitty asked as she turned back and stepped closer to Lamis. “What!” she demanded.
Lamis stepped back slightly, bringing his hands up in surrender.
“It’s about your father really, perhaps something you should know before you start planning your short life”
“I have no interest in anything to do with my father” Kitty said and turned back towards the door. Ar however had walked around Lamis and Kitty and now blocked the door. He had suddenly realised what it was that had been screaming at him – Blackhart.
“You need to hear this Kitty” Ar said then as his eyes flicked up to look at Lamis. “Just tell her already.”
Lamis coughed as Kitty looked from Ar to Lamis a couple of times that confused feeling she hated so much starting to creep back into her stomach.
“I don’t know what you know – if anything at all – about your father but there is one thing which clearly you have no idea of.” Lamis said softly.
Kitty was on the verge of losing her patience. “Just spit it out Lamis!”
“He was an elf” Lamis said as he looked from Kitty to Ar and back again.
“Rubbish!” Kitty exploded laughing. “That’s the worst kind of joke I have ever heard, my mother told me my father was a Lord, she would have mentioned it if he was an elf as well.”
“It’s true I’m afraid, it’s one of the reasons we didn’t suspect him of turning, no one could believe an elf would do such a thing. He wasn’t a full blooded elf so didn’t look too much like an elf, much like yourself, just the height and lithe frame.”
Kitty looked at Ar. “Tell him it’s a preposterous lie”
Ar however was caught in his own turmoil at the news and couldn’t reply - Kitty saw the truth written on his face.
“You knew?” Kitty accused Ar.
Ar found his voice finally. “No, not until just now, I pieced things together...I knew of this Blackhart a long time ago.”
Kitty backed away from the two men looking from one to the other. “I can’t deal with this right now” Kitty said simply as she put a hand to her sore head, it was pounding furiously now making her feel nauseas, she needed a drink.
“I can’t promise I will go to Gondor...I have to sort things in my own head first” Kitty said then quietly, then turned to Ar. “where is my horse?”
Seeing an opportunity to get out of this place and get Kitty away also Ar replied “Come, I will show you, it is not far at an inn, with the siblings.” Ar walked to the door and opened it.
Kitty nodded her head and as she went to leave the study Lamis called her back again. She turned in the doorway and he held out a piece of paper to her. The deed to her new found fortune which she had left behind in her rush the night before.
Kitty took it and with a quiet “Thank you” she left the room stuffing the paper down her bodice and followed Ar out of the house.
Last edited by Tygarya on Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:43 am

It was not long before Gwaeryn, who missed his friend, landed and for Robin to mount so they could go into the air together.

"Now we go south, friend hobbit." said Gwaeryn. "to more adventures."

"We shall not be in lack of them, as it is a long way to Minas Anor for the festival."

"Our road should be long and winding. I do want to see Fangorn Forest to see if old Treebeard is still around, and to find out the rumors that Radagast the Brown has set up shop there."

He suddenly circled around. "Do you see what I see, Robin?"

"Where? I have not eagle-eyes."

"It's hard to miss. I see elves down there. Elves! They are few and far between since the Age of Men began."

"Should we go down to meet them?"

Gwaeryn responded with a cry and began circling down.

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