Shrouds of Varda Inn ~ Fornost in the 4th Age *Burned Down*

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 » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:21 am

Out of the corner of his eye, Robin saw Ondine turn to the window. Fixing his full attention on the attacker, he said "Don't even think of it." as he saw him tensing, seeing a small distraction in his guards. "But I hope you do try after all the torment you have heaped on this maiden. Make my day."

The man slumped and sighed. "That's better. They say confession is good for the soul, and it seems you've got a lot to confess. So out with it."

Agarak appeared in Erinhue's hands and a few strings sounded their notes. The man's eyes were now fixed on the dragonharp.
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Postby erinhue » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:32 am

The dragonharp appeared because it was needed. The notes it sang out were intended for its bard but Agarak noted that the hobbit had heard them too. The music was an attempt both to sooth Erinhue’s temper, which the bard made no effort to harness, and to quiet the screeching demands for blood coming from the sword, Clarion. There were few things in Middle Earth more dangerous than Erinhue enraged. Agarak intervened before the Bard totally succumbed and unintentionally summoned the Berserker.

“Not ta worry, Robin.” Erinhue hissed through gritted teeth. “Our bully boy here is going to confess, have no doubt of that. It is only a question of how much effort our friend is going to require us to make before he does what he will inevitably do.”

“I am not gonna tell anybody anything.” Kierul snarled as he looked from face to face.

“Oh good” Erinhue wore an artic version of his sucker smile. “He wants to put us to the test.”

“Forget it” Kierul shouted back. “I’m not afraid of you.”

“Your not?” Erinhue let out a humorless bark of a laugh. “Well you should be.” In the space of an eyeblink, the bard had crossed the distance between them to stand intimidatingly close to the ruffian.

“You should be afraid, my friend, there are those here that would relish the chance to force you to tell what you know. You see that woman standing on the bed?” Here Erinhue jerked his head towards the hovering Tempest. His voice dropped two levels.
“She has learned things from the very pits of darkness that would have you pleading to do whatever she asks. Or you might take your chances with my harp. Agarak would have your secrets and leave you much worse for the wear.”

For emphasis the dragonharp hissed at Kierul, its glowing red eyes rolled to focus on its potential victim. A single note sounded from its strings and Kierul’s face went white. Erinhue leaned in even closer, his voice lowered to a lethal growl. Kierul stared into his sea grey eyes and saw the barely contained storm seething behind them.

Erinhue smiled a cold pitiless smile that surprised and impressed Tempest. The look blanched Kierul’s face even more than whatever vision the dragonharp had sent to his mind.

"Or," Erinhue used the talent of his voice to convey the utmost threat “they could just give you to me.”
"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzi

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Postby shaggydog » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:53 pm

Estelmere had scooped up Brenae as directed, shooting the warrior woman a look that said plainly that he did not appreciate her continued suspicions about his concern about the girl. It never occurred to him that she might be feeling exactly the same sentiment about him. Now was not the time or place to hash it all out though, obviously. With Brenae weeping in his arms and clinging to his tunic like a terrified child, Estelmere began to question himself what business it was of his what happened to this girl. Whether she was of the house of Torros or not, why should he concern himself with her? He swept out of the room, carrying Brenae into the one adjacent. Finding it empty, he laid her gently on the bed, sitting next to her. Her hands released his tunic front, only to wind themselves in the bed cover, which she pulled up to her face, as if to block out the memory of what had just almost happened to her as she would the sunlight coming through the window.

Estelmere was at a complete loss when it came to crying women. He had always felt tears were an extremely unfair weapon in the female arsenal. Brenae’s thin shoulders shook with her sobbing, which was oddly almost silent. Stroking her hair awkwardly, Estelmere made some vague comforting sounds. He noticed that Finli had not accompanied them into the room, and imagined that his friend was still next door, taking in all that was transpiring there, as well as listening with ears wide open. For the carpenter could hear voices, raised and lowered, but was unable to make out any of what was being said. No doubt the dwarf would fill him in later, if in fact he even wanted to know.

Brenae stirred under his hand. Taking in a great shuddering breath, she gasped, “I . . . I thought he was going to k-kill me. I’m s-sorry. I didn’t mean to, mean to bring him back here. He, he followed me, from your shop, and I . . . and I . . .” She broke down into sobs once more.

Estelmere cursed loudly. “So it was my doing – my asking you to play spy that got you into this . . . this . . . “ He cursed again. What in the world had he been playing at?
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Postby Tempest » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:59 pm

Tempest was pleasantly surprised by Ondine's enthusiastic interrogation of her former captive, though she did not understand everything that passed between them, especially as it came to the man called "Sir Fevrre." She knew little of the politics of Gondor, nor did she usually find much interest in them. Still, the name upset the girl even further, so Tempest made a mental note to discover what it meant later on.

She was also contented that Estelmere had followed her directions without hesitation, though he had directed a scalding look towards her as he carried the half-fainting servant girl out of the room. Perhaps she had been wrong about him, though she still did not understand his meddling, and she shot her own withering look toward his companion, a dwarf, who had remained behind, most likely eager to fill his ears with any information. She was about to order him out when her attention was again focused on the disorder before her.

For the moment, Kierul still stood with his back against the wall, and though he vacillated between being compliant and sullenly obstinate, she was more concerned with Erinhue's rising temper. Her practiced eye had not failed to notice the glimmer that had appeared in his face, and she knew all too well the danger that posed to them all.

She was not often thankful for the dragon harp, but it had its uses, especially when it came to calming down its owner. Tempest had not lowered her weapon since she entered the room, and she still stood upon the bed so that she was a few feet higher than anyone else in the room, especially Robin and the dwarf.

In a deadly quiet voice, she heard Erinhue refer to her saying, “She has learned things from the very pits of darkness that would have you pleading to do whatever she asks. Or you might take your chances with my harp. Agarak would have your secrets and leave you much worse for the wear.”

For emphasis the dragonharp hissed at Kierul, its glowing red eyes rolled to focus on its potential victim. A single note sounded from its strings and Kierul’s face went white. Erinhue leaned in even closer, his voice lowered to a lethal growl. Kierul stared into his sea grey eyes and saw the barely contained storm seething behind them.

Erinhue smiled a cold pitiless smile that surprised and impressed Tempest. The look blanched Kierul’s face even more than whatever vision the dragonharp had sent to his mind.

"Or," Erinhue used the talent of his voice to convey the utmost threat “they could just give you to me.”

"Erinhue!" Tempest's voice warned from behind him. The severity of his words, though understandable, surprised her, for she was not used to seeing him thus. "We will gain nothing from him if he is dead."

She positioned herself better and stepped off the bed, now standing beside the bard, keeping her eye ever on Kierul, though also putting a hand of restraint on her friend. "Leave him to me. You need to walk this one off," she said severely, when he did not move at all.

"I am perfectly fine," he replied in an even, dangerous tone.

"He's provoking you on purpose, though he's a fool to do so," she said aloud.

Then she leaned in and whispered low enough for only the bard to hear, "This is not YOUR way, speaking of torture and brutality. Such things will work on such a one, but not as well as pure bribery. He has sold his soul for gold, and so, the best way to make him speak, is to offer the same snare. You know this. Unless," here her whisper became more of a hiss, "Unless you really just feel the need to punch his face in. In that case, count me out. You know I have enough blood on my hands already."

The bard did not flinch at her words, but she saw that they had the desired effect. His body posture became a little less rigid, and he moved slightly to let her take the main position in front of Kierule. "As the lady wishes," he seemed to say.

Kierule, though terrified, really was a fool, for when he perceived that Erinhue and his harp had reliqueshed control to Tempest, he became bold again and spat at her, the bloodly slaver hitting her square in the chest and running down her shirt. Almost before the spit had even exited his mouth, Tempest brought the hilt of her sword up against the man's stomach, doubling him over, and with her free hand, she grabbed him by the back of the head and threw him on the bed, where she proceeded to bind him so quickly that the rest of the group didn't even have time to wonder where the rope had come from, until they realized she had used the ties from the shabby curtains over the bed. Once the man was completely immobilized, she slipped one of her dagger's out of its sheath and grabbed Kierule's hand.

"How many fingers is your silence worth to you?" she menaced. "Or shall I take the whole hand?"

The man fairly howled.

Hearing a cough behind her, she glanced at Erinhue's bemused face. "Maybe a little more blood on my hands won't make much of a difference," she observed hotly.

Kierule's memory suddenly seemed to drastically improve.
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Postby shaggydog » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:48 pm

The sudden appearance of the dragon harp had given the final jolt necessary for that stubbornly blocked memory to come surging into the dwarf’s mind. It had been in Gondor, in the White City, that Finli had heard of Erinhue, warrior bard of Belfalas, though he had never laid eyes on the man. His reputation for honor was as marked as his reputation for his love of good beer. The two generally were not to both be found all in one bard. But if this Erinhue, and his “living’ harp, had taken the girl under their protection, then Finli was satisfied that she was in the best of hands.

It was the villain’s mention of the name LeFevrre, though, that made the dwarf’s eyes open wide. In the year or so that Finli had spent in Minas Tirith, the same year when he had first made Estelmere’s acquaintance, he had soon learned of this lesser member of the nobility, and his machinations to increase his wealth, his power and his position. And it had been Finli’s patron, heir to the house of Torros, who had frequently been at loggerheads with this LeFevrre. Sir Fallon had been a kind and patient man, by repute. Finli, although a skilled stone carver, had never had occasion to hold polite conversation with the man who had commissioned the work to be done on the family residence in the great city. If LeFevrre had anything to do with this girl’s kidnapping . . . Finli mused. And she had said what? That her grandmother had wanted her dead? Finli’s mind worked furiously. Was this girl then . . . could she really be . . . ?

Looking in dumbfounded amazement at the girl by the window, Finli saw the near hysteria that seemed to be ready to break like a wave over her tormented features. He slipped quietly along the wall until he stood within a pace of the still furious girl, extending his hand slowly and placing it on hers. She clasped the jagged shard of pottery so tightly it was a wonder she hadn’t sliced her own fingers off..

“Lady,” the dwarf said in a low voice. “Pardon, this isn’t the time for introductions. But please, for the sake of one who knew your family, put this weapon down, There’s no doubt those three have that foul ruffian well under control. Come, let go before you do a harm to yourself.” He opened his hand and Ondine, trembling violently, placed the shard in his palm.
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Postby PatriotBlade » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:57 am

"Th-thank you," she whispered.

As the shard left her numb hand, Ondine felt a wave of relief. She could be wild and strong, but right now she barely had the strength for it. Her anger had been the only thing sustaining her.

She sank to her knees and leaned aginst the windowsill, not to cry, for her tears had all been cried for a while, but rather trying to make herself focus on what her former captive was saying. She knew it was important, but she was so tired...

Something he said finally penitrated the fog and she turned abruptly to stare, open mouthed in shock.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:29 am

Seeing Tempest had Kierule well in hand, Robin sheathed his sword and hopped off of the bed. He looked to Erinhue. "It is said it is good luck to buy a bard a beer, and I'd like to do that with you. And maybe share a song or two with you. Being with a singing Eagle, you learn a lot. He's a bard of his kind."

He saw Ondine and touched her shoulder. "Please come along with us. It looks like you need some good company."

Kierule shivered. With Robin and Erinhue leaving, he felt like a protection had been removed from him.
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Postby shaggydog » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:40 pm

Finli took the opportunity to slip out of Ondin'e room and quickly found Estelmere and Brenae in the one adjacent. The serving girl was still weeping but less violently now. If Estelmere guessed aright, what with the goings on of the night before, her lack of sleep then, the events of this day and this final brutal assault on her sense of personal safety, the serving girl would soon fall into an exhausted slumber. He lay an admonitory finger to his lips at Finli's entry. Finli, in turn, placed his hand on his friend's shoulder, silently motioning him outside. In the hallway, Finli pulled the door too, saying, "Hold on to your hat, my friend. Do you know who I think that girl is?" He motioned towards Ondine's room. Estelmere opened his mouth, on the verge of telling the dwarf that he had decided that he didn't give a damn who the girl was, when Finli said, "If I've figured right, it's the old lady's granddaughter."

The dwarf was rewarded with a look of incredulous shock breaking over the carpenter's face. Instead of disavowing any further interest in the identity or welfare of Ondine, Estelmere said, "No! Maurissa? This girl is Madame Maurissa's grandchild?" he practically shook his head in disbelief.

"If I have the right of it." Finli replied, nodding. "She's just gone downstairs, with the bard, and the halfling. That woman has the kidnapper trussed up like a hog at butchering time." Finli sounded grimly satisfied. "Let's go back down and get to the bottom of this once and for all. If that girl is truly Maurissa Torros' grandaughter . . . "

"Then I for one want to know how she came to be kidnapped, and brought this far north." Estelmere finished Finli's thought. "Yes, it's time we spoke to her directly."

They returned to the tap room and made their way to where Erinhue, Robin and Ondine were just sipping at the drinks newly arrived at their table in the far corner.

Estelmere did not hesitate. Making a small bow, he asked, "Mistress, you are of the house of Torros? Are you the grandaughter of Madame Maurissa?"
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Postby PatriotBlade » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:37 pm

Once Robin had convinced Erinhue to go down to the taproom, he noticed the dwarf trying to convince Ondine to go down as well, but the wouldn't or couldn't budge. She was rooted to the spot from exaustion and shock.

Feeling compasion for the girl and realising that she too needed a breather, he went back and took one limp hand. "Come along, with us, now." he coaxed. "We'll get you a glass of wine to settle your nerves."

"But... I have to know. It was my live they were trying to move around like a chess piece. The - " She broke into a long string of Rohirim that didn't sound complimentery. "I have to know."

She was weakly trying to push him away as she spoke, but he gently caught both her hands and looked her in the eye. "You will know. Tempest here will tell you everything he says, but you don't need to see this right now. You need to get out of this room and let your mind air out a bit."

With a little more proding, he got her to stand up and walk, albeit with a mechanical step and a dazed expression, down the stairs after Erinhue.

The two men got her settled at a table with a glass of wine. after a few sips, she began to come back to herself. She tried to appologize, but the hobbit and the warrior bard wouldn't have it.

"You've been through an ordeal and a half, as hear it told." Robin stated.

"Yes, she has, and we don't know but the tip of the mountain," the bard agreed, carefully patting her hand. "You did well, standing up to him like that, Darlin'. It's understandable that you'd be drained and dazed afterward."

She nodded, not quite agreeing with them, then took another sip of wine.

As she was setting the glass back on the table, the dwarf and Estelmere walked up to the table.

The tall man made a small bow to her as he addressed her. "Mistress, you are of the house of Torros? Are you the grandaughter of Madame Maurissa?"

Biting at her lower lip, Ondine nodded. "Yes, I am."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If Keirulehad felt vulderable with the leaving of the halfling and the bardman, he felt doubly so now that the halfling had convinced his former captive to join them, and the strange dwarf had slipped out at some point. He was now completely alone with the warrior woman and he shuddered.

He'd been surprised to find Ondine so far recovered in less than one day's time. And standing up to him... She had only been that bold one, early in her captivity. He'd beaten her more than nessisary for kicking him and trying to run away, but she had landed her blow in his most sensitive spot.

Even so, he'd never seen that look in her large doe-eyes before.

This woman, now...

She gave a brutal tug on the cords to make sure he wasn't going anywhere.

"Maybe a little more blood on my hands won't make much of a difference," she had said earlier. Now she wanted to know everything. And he told her.

He refrenced her to the letter, which she found crumpled near Ondine's spot by the window, then explained the full implications of the plot.

Tempest snorted. "Some family the kid's got. They want her dead and she just wants to go home."

"Just her grandmother. Her aunt and uncle have been trying to find her, they really do love her and would look after her, but the old woman, now, she's doing eveything she can to keep the hue and cry silenced, or at least confined to a controlable area."
Last edited by PatriotBlade on Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby PatriotBlade » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:43 pm

Sorry! :oops:

Stupid dial-up internet crashes! :angry:
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Postby shaggydog » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:02 am

Estelmere’s jaw clenched in reaction to Ondine’s answer, but he said nothing for a moment. Truly, what was there to say to this girl who might have been ten or so when the carpenter had crossed swords with her grandmother, so to speak. The girl would have had no knowledge of what had transpired, of course. Why would she? It was a mere trifling matter having to do with a servant, of no concern whatsoever to the family’s daily life. Still, it seemed incredible to him that here before his eyes, and in such a vulnerable situation, was the granddaughter of that serpent of a woman who was more or less the reasons Estelmere had traveled north to settle in Fornost in the first place.

Finli made a small bow himself, saying, “I’ve had the great pleasure to serve your family, mistress, in a very small way. Whilst living in Minas Tirith for a spell, I was contracted by your uncle to do some stonework in your family’s residence there in the white city. It’s a pleasure to meet you, though I would wish it otherwise, the circumstances being as they are. It’s a terrible ordeal you’ve been through, but I think now you have found several good and loyal friends to stand by you and see that you get home.” He turned to Erinhue and made him a respectful nod. “I’ve heard of you Master Erinhue, and of your harp, of course. I see what I’ve heard is all true. This young one is quite fortunate that you have taken up her cause.”

Estelmere cleared his throat. “I too did some small service for your family, mistress. I know your uncle and aunt by sight, and your grandmother . . . “ He paused. “I’ve actually spoken to your grandmother, once.” He swallowed and went on, “I’m only a carpenter by trade. But if I can serve you, or help in any way to return you to your family, then I will mistress.”
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Postby PatriotBlade » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:53 am

Ondine noticed the carpenter's cooled demeaner after she confirmed her identity and sighed. "If my grandmother wronged you, Sir, I am truely sorry. You would not have been either the first or the last person she would have offended. She apears to live for the sole purpous of offending people."

Then her countenance softened and she smiled a little, somewhat shyly.

"And I thank you both for your concern and offer of help. I am unsure..." She glanced over her shoulder at Erinhue, then turned back to them. "What the plan will be, but if the Bard and Tempest will it, I do not see why you could not accompany us to get me home."
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Postby Claymore » Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:48 pm

When she had seen the crowd gathering in the poor girl's room, Areej decided that her help was perhaps not needed here. Instead she had gone downstairs again and had taken the poor bartender to the back to reassure him. The man seemed to be of the more solid kind, but he had obviously had some hard times and he was definitely frazzled.
-My Inn is a respectable one, milady, you have to know that. We've even had to King as our guest once, you only have to ask the neighbours. So why is all this happening in my inn, I ask you? This is no place for ruffians, kidnappers or murderers. What are they doing here? What is going on?
-Sir, I think you should sit down for a while and try to breathe. Everything is under control.
-I will not sit down until I know what is going on.
Areej sighed. She could understand the bartender's stubbornness but right now he was not making her job any easier.
-The man accompanying the young lady last night seems to have come back to reclaim his prize. The young lady did not agree however and broke one of your pots on his head. That was the crash and the scream. Erinhue and his companions arrived in time however to prevent anything worse. The kidnapper is being interrogated right now, I believe, and I'm sure they will turn the ruffian in to thecity-guard as soon as they are finished.
-I-interrogated? In my Inn?
Oh darn. Forgot that they usually are bit more civilized with their criminals here.
-I assure you, good master, it will be done in an entirely civilized manner.
In reality she severely doubted that. She had glimpsed some of the faces in the room and some of the occupants had looked downright murderous. Not that she could blame them. She did not have the whole story yet but she definitely felt like kicking a certain kidnapper in a certain very sensitive place. But the bartender did not need to know that and she trusted the Guild-Master to be discreet.
-Now if you would be so kind to sit down, I will get you something to drink.
The bartender finally complied and she went back to the common room after serving the poor man a mug of his own ale.
She spotted Erinhue and the girl sitting at one of the tables almost as the same time as the Warrior-bard spotted her. Though he did not say it she could easily he wondered what she had been doing in the inn's kitchen. She joined them sat down across Ondine.
-Since you were all so busy upstairs, I decided to reassure the bartender instead of having him complicate things further. He's not pleased with having a kidnapper interrogated in one of his rooms, but he's okay with it for now. I told him we were going to deliver the ruffian to thecity-guard after you were finished. I hope I wasn't indiscreet.
Suddenly she spotted the blood on Ondine's hand.
-Oh that doesn't look pretty. DO you mind if I have a look at that?
Probably still overwhelmed by what had just happened the poor girl nodded wordlessly. Areej quickly retrieved her first aid kit from her baggage and set to clean out the cuts with quiet efficiency. She was no healer, but she knew things and it wasn't the first time by far she had to deal with cuts. Soon a small and neat bandage adorned Undine's hand and Areej was putting the kit back into her baggage.
-Better?
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Postby PatriotBlade » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:59 pm

Ondine looked at the strange girl and smiled shyly. She hadn't even noticed the cut on her palm from where she had clutched the shard so tightly. "Thank you."
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Postby Tempest » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:16 pm

For a moment, seeing that familiar fear in Keirule's eyes, Tempest felt the same rush of memories come upon her, as they always did, lurking just beneath the surface of her mind. How many other eyes had looked upon her with that fear before? She had lost count.

Well, no. That wasn't exactly true. She could remember them all. Every single one. And they came back to her even now as they haunted her dreams, and for a moment, she hated herself. She even hated Erinhue for leaving her alone to do what she did best.

She pulled the ropes that bound Keirule hard again to make sure they were secure, but more to mask the wash of regret that welled up again in her heart and threatened to reveal itself in her cold, calculating face. She shivered slightly and tapped her dagger against her fingers again as she stared down at her captive.

It was remarkable how quickly, and fully, he confessed his crimes. And they were many. But his loyalty to his employer was easily compromised by the surety of bodily harm, and he motioned towards the letter which Tempest found and quickly read aloud in his presence.

Tempest snorted. "Some family the kid's got. They want her dead and she just wants to go home."

Keirule corrected her gingerly. "Just her grandmother. Her aunt and uncle have been trying to find her, they really do love her and would look after her, but the old woman, now, she's doing everything she can to keep the hue and cry silenced, or at least confined to a controllable area."

"Well, she can't have done a good job about that, seeing as your master Sir Fevrre figured it out pretty well, and planned on double crossing her." Tempest scowled, leaning back in a chair that rested by the bed. She observed the ruffian before her with a practiced eye. She knew his type well, and she despised him, but she also knew such a man could be valuable should further proof be needed down the road.

"Tell me: Just how much power does this grandmother have?" she asked him.

"Enough."

"And Fevrre?"

"He is not to be trifled with either."

"Ah, so, two tigers in a cage together then," she mused. "What mischief could be done in Gondor! The mischief has already been done!" She turned her cold gaze on him again. "You're going to come with us, sir. And when the time comes, you may even have a shot at redeeming a piece of this for yourself after all."

The man's face turned red, and then blotched into white. "What....what do you mean? Come with you?"

"Well, I can't very well leave you here with the village magistrates, and I can't very well kill you either. I AM trying to turn over a new leaf and all," she said, tapping her dagger's point against her finger tips again. "Besides, I like my enemies within a sword's throw of me---keeps everyone feeling safer. Don't you think?"
_______________________________________________________________________

After securing her prisoner even more tightly, Tempest exited her room and almost ran smack into the city guard, which had been dispatched by a very nervous innkeeper to check on the ruckus going on upstairs. The guard eyed her suspiciously, but she drew them aside and explained in no uncertain terms that she was a member of the Mithril Knights, and that everything was under control.

They were not convinced and almost drew swords upon her immediately.

In the end, Tempest had the unpleasant task of going back downstairs with them accompanying her to find Erinhue. As she came up to the table where the group had settled, she saw they had added yet another member---this time an Easterner, by the look of her---and Tempest inwardly thought to herself, How does he attract these people? Honestly, Erinhue.Honestly!

The city guard spoke to the point. "Is this lady with you, sir?" one of them directed the question towards the bard.

"She is indeed, sirs," he replied jovially.

"Erinhue, a word." Tempest gestured for him to join them away from the little crowd.

"This lady says she's a Mithril Knight, but she has no proof, and the innkeeper says that there's been some sort of trouble here," the man repeated to him when they had found a secluded spot away.

"Erinhue. They want to arrest Keirule and take him into their custody. I think we need to take him with US on our journey," Tempest cut in. "I tried to explain this to them, but they don't believe me."

"You want to bring the scoundrel with us? I thought you'd have finished him off before now," the bard said with a star-bright smile.

"Very funny. You know why we need him."

The two guards did not seem to be enjoying the conversation. "Maybe it's best that we take ALL of you in for questioning until we get to the bottom of this," one of them said, putting his hand on the hilt of his sword menacingly.

"Wonderful. Just wonderful. Please, Erinhue. Do SOMETHING." Tempest pleaded, her own hand straying toward her sword. "Something productive, that is. Something other than making friends with everyone who walks into this inn. Honestly, I can't leave you alone for a minute without....."

The guards were not amused.
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Postby erinhue » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:02 am

“Not ta worry, Tempest, m’love. If it is proof they want, then proof they shall have.” Erinhue turned his star bright grin on the guardsmen. “The lady’s claim is true, she is a Mithril Knight, their best Battle Captain as a matter of fact.”

“That’s just more words” observed one of the guards. “Why should we take you word any more than we take hers?”

“The name’s Erinhue and if you know it then you have the answer to your question, but I can see you fine gentlemen are wise enough to know that a name can be tossed about by anyone. I myself am a Mithril Knight and herald to the Guild as well. More words, I know, here is the proof you seek.”

Erinhue motioned the men in closer as he unlaced the top of his shirt. He pulled the neckline down to reveal the blue vest and silver emblem of Middle Earth’s Warrior’s Guild, the Mithril Knights. The bard’s voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper.

“I most humbly apologize for the disturbance here, but we have been looking for this fellow for some time now. I am sure you will understand why I do not go into deeper detail but I can tell you this. The man has interfered in the business of the King. Any assistance you can give us in this matter would be considered a direct service to the court. Now if you gentle men would kindly give me your names so that I can record your service in my report to the King. I am sure he will be very appreciative.”

The bard produced pen and paper and diligently took the down the names and ranks of the now grinning guardsmen. As he tucked the paper and pen into a pocket in his cloak, Erinhue shook hands with each of them.

“My good fellows we have a few details to discuss before we take to the road. We need to get our prisoner to the Mirkwood Guild House as quickly as possible. I can count on you to make certain that he does not escape while we make preparations for the road?”

The guardsmen snapped to proud attention. “Sir, Madam, you can count on us to make sure that traitorous thug is made to account for his crimes. He shall be waiting for you, you can count on us for that.”

The men went upstairs to babysit the trussed up Kierul. Erinhue winked at Tempest and strolled back to the table. Tempest looked after him for a moment and shook her head wondering aloud, “How does he do that?”
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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:16 am

Robin was all smiles as he watched Erinhue do his thing to placate the guards. He was in the presence of a master. If only Gwaeryn could have seen it!

So these people were Mithril Knights? That would be good. They would be good companions to replace the one who left.

"Now about that beer." he said.

"Anytime, my dear hobbit." replied Erinhue. Robin waved for the innkeeper for another round.
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Postby erinhue » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:30 am

When Tempest came to the table she pulled up a chair and sat down opposite the bard so that she could seee Erinhue’s face.

“You are a very cool liar, Bard.”

“Liar? Me? Why would you say that, m’love?”

Tempest ignored both his attempt to goad her and his feigned innocence. “You know why, that load of bull you laid on those guardsmen. Service to the court indeed.”

“That was no lie. The kidnapping of one of Gondor’s high born ladies would indeed be the business of the King ,were he aware of it. Any service they can offer will be appreciated, by me and should the topic come up I will indeed mention their names to the King. If he were to hear about them helping rescue said high born lady, I am sure that Elessar would indeed be appreciative. So you see, my dear I did not lie about anything.”

The bard paused and frowned.

“I take that back, I did lie about one thing, we are not headed towards Mirkwood. I have a plan.”

Everyone perked up at the word and began to listen intently. Erinhue leaned forward placing one elbow on the table.

“There’s no way we can slip out of town quietly now but should anyone come asking they will be pointed towards Mirkwood. We are going to be making our way to Gondor.”

Before anyone could say anything, Erinhue turned to Estelmere.

“Did you mean it when you offered your service to Ondine’s cause?” Estelmere nodded and Erinhue said “Good, we will need them Master Carpenter.” Speaking now to the group, he continued. “ We can’t just walk into court and announce that Ondine has been returned. We know people from both camps will be searching for her. Since we cannot be certain of just who is who in this situation I think it best that neither camp find her, we will take her home ourselves.

I suggest a disguise so that we can use to travel without attracting attention. We already have a few bards among us; you did once join the Guild you might remember, Tempest. I propose we disguise ourselves as a troup of performer traveling to Gondor to entertain the King.”
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Postby shaggydog » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:12 pm

Estelmere snorted. “Can’t say I could pass for a bard. Just ask Finli, here. I can’t sing worth a damn – sounds more like a donkey with its tail caught in the barn door. And I don’t have a musical bone in my body. But I suppose you can always stick the yellow and green cap on my head and I can play the fool. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time.”

He said the last in jest, yet all the happenings of the day brought back in force a memory of when he had indeed played the fool. It was not for entertainment’s sake, though, and it had been Ondine’s grandmother who had orchestrated the whole thing. Perhaps fate was working its way around to giving him the opportunity to return the favor.

As the conversation moved on, the carpenter gave careful consideration to what he might be getting himself into. Work was going well, his reputation had grown over the last few years. People in Fornost had been welcoming and happy to have yet another skilled craftsman to help rebuild the city. He hadn’t really considered returning to Minas Tirith. Yet this opportunity seemed to have been dropped at his feet by Eru himself.

Finli, sitting quietly by, said in a low voice. “Have you really thought this through? It’s a mighty long way to travel on an impulse. The girl seems to have more than enough friends now to guard her and see her home. I know you want . . . “

“Yes” Estelmere cut in. “I want to know. I should have searched longer, looked deeper. I’ve gone over and over it in my mind, and in my heart, a thousand times since we left and came here. To not know, to never be sure . . . no, I’m resolved my friend. I know you can not accompany me. You must be here for Mirli. But I will go. And I will find out, once and for all.”
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Postby PatriotBlade » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:08 pm

Ondine, sitting still and listening to the plan to get her home unfold, bit her lower lip. She nodded at appropriate times, her large, doe-eyes taking in the faces of her new companions intently.

She was glad to hear talk of moving. She wanted to get home and try to put the past nine month behind her.
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Postby Cock-Robin » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:44 pm

Robin sighed. "Just when I could use the help of an Eagle, Gwaeryn is gone. But I couldnt' hold him back another minute. But I think this will work. In my own journey to Gondor, I was in the company of a jester, and the Eagle was a bard and loremaster in his own right. I think I can contribute to this, having learned some of the tricks of the trade."

Erinhue looked to the hobbit. "You're in good company, Robin."

"Yep, and I don't have any rings to give me away in the wrong time like Frodo did." He laughed. "From what I heard, it wasn't funny back then, but now we can laugh at it."
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Postby Claymore » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:20 am

Areej listened intently at what was being said, but she didn't contribute. Instead she closely observed Ondine. The girl was on the short side side she noted and hadn't grown much into her curves yet.
I have clothes that can hide whatever she already has. Hide hair, darken darken the skin.... Yes I think we can make it work
-I have another proposition to make.
All eyes focused on her.
-When whoever follows us realizes us we have fooled them they will be looking for a company consisting out of three men, one hobbit, one dwarf and three women. But what if our company consists out of three men, one hobbit, one dwarf, two women and one of the women's little brother?
'Do elaborate, 'Erinhue said.
-I hope you don't mind saying me this, Ondine, but you aren't of the tallest and you certainly don't look like a full grown woman yet. I still have clothes from my own attempts at cross-dressing and I'm pretty sure we can hide your gender with those. If we cover your hair and darken your skin a bit you can easily pass for my little brother. The only problem will be your voice, but if necessary we'll just say you just came from the East and don't speak Westron yet.
Areej looked around.
-What do you think?
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Postby erinhue » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:16 am

"I think that great minds think alike. I knew there was a good reason for our meeting."

Erinhue smacked his hand down on the table top in enthusiastic aggreement with Areej's suggestion.

"Whoever might be searching surely has a picture or some idea of Ondine's appearance, if they don't know already know what she looks like. They will not be looking for a young Eastron boy. "

Here Erinhue's rich laugh filled the taproom.

"I like the idea so very well that I shall wear disguise as well. While my name is known here in the North, my face is not, but that changes the further West we go. Once we cross the Anduine, however it really will be necessary."

He cast a sly wink in Robin's direction when he added "In the spirit of things perhaps we can even convince Tempest to wear a dress instead of her usual regalia."
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Postby Claymore » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:19 pm

Areej stifled a chuckle when she tried to picture Tempest in a dress. The knight certainly didn't seem the kind to wear one. She did however put more serious thought on Erinhue's other idea.
-Well, I guess, we could pass you of as an uncle. An uncle and his niece and nephew would be more believable than just a young woman and her little brother. You'll have to be careful not to look people in the eye however.
She saw the other bard's puzzled expression.
-Light eyes are rare among easterlings except for some green-eyed clans in the southeast. The first time I saw somebody with blue eyes I thought he had an eye-disease.
She laughed a bit at that.
-When are we planning to leave? I'll have to make some clothes for you.
She gestured at the difference in height.
-My old boy's clothes will fit Ondine but certainly not you.
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Postby erinhue » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:28 pm

"That's a right fine offer Areej darlin' but there really is no need to go to so much effort. My disguise shall be both thorough and indetectable. All I have to do is picture what it is that I want to look like, hold that image in my mind, and Agarak will do the rest. I do like your suggestion. Make a note of that, old worm."

Looking directly at Areej, Erinhue said " Nic aldo nabareth Eastron sic ah tabor balen."

Areej wore a look of surprised admiration while Erinhue translated for the others.

I just told her that I could talk all I wanted since I do speak Eastron "

"And your accent is nearly perfect." Areej added.

"Nearly?" Erinhue paused a moment before saying " Make a note of that, Agarak."
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Postby Tempest » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:41 pm

Tempest frowned at the "plan" that was developing, though she saw some of the merit of it to avoid detection by their enemies. But she highly doubted that such a group would fail to draw attention to themselves, especially as she glanced around at the hodge-podge of characters that had gathered for the trek to Gondor. Their enemies would have to be great fools indeed not to be suspicious. She almost shuddered at Robin's mention of rings, as it brought to mind other dark things that would produce no laughter, even from the denizens of Mordor.

She caught the sly wink that Erinhue shot toward the hobbit as he added, "In the spirit of things perhaps we can even convince Tempest to wear a dress instead of her usual regalia."

"Nothing would give away our charade faster than attempting to put me in a dress," she replied with disdain. "Besides, where would I put my sword?"

Hearing a stifled laugh from the direction of Estelmere and Areej, Tempest's eyes narrowed even further. "And another thing," she remembered with sudden horror, "Are you telling me that all the lovely clothes that I just bought for our princess here was all for naught?"

"Afraid so," Erinhue replied. "But it can't be helped now."

She didn't look happy at all. "Give me a good, straight-out battle any day, instead of all this sneaking around. I don't think I'll make a very convincing bard at all, and as you know, the King of Gondor never found me very entertaining. Dangerous perhaps, but not entertaining. I, unlike some of you, she continued, glancing at the carpenter, "have no burning desire to return to Gondor," she sighed, looking actually miserable. "But I say we leave as soon as possible, because it won't be long before our "friend" Keirule is missed by his employer, and we will lose our advantage."
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Postby erinhue » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:03 pm

Erinhue's smile swiftly flipped into a frown at mention of Kierul.

"I had forgotten about him. We can't leave him here and we can't just let him go free. I don't like the idea of taking him with us, but I do not see an alternative. The problem is how to go about it. I doubt he will be cooperative and I don't suppose we can cart him around trust up like a feast day bird. I'll admit when I'm stumped. What are we to do with the fellow?"
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Postby PatriotBlade » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:55 am

Ondine was no so keen on the thought of disgusing herself as a boy, but if it got her home, she was willing to do almost anything.

Then another thought struck her. "If I'm to be an entertainer, All I can really do is sing. I play no instrument." no one seemed to hear her, so she went on listening.

She shuddered at the thought of having HIM around for the entire trip. "Could we not leave him with the guards you were talking about?" she asked nerviously.
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Postby shaggydog » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:19 am

Estelmere spoke up, although he certainly wasn’t an expert in matters such as this.

“It seems to me, Master Bard, that this villain’s testimony would go a long way in laying out the evidence before those who can take official action for this treacherous act. Letters can be forged. And witnesses can be bribed, but still, if he were to sing to the lords of Gondor in person, perhaps Ondine will be better able to ask for justice. If there is any way to bring him with us, I say we should make the attempt.”

Finli chimed in with, “Is it true, Master Erinhue, that your harp can do . . . magic? Is there not some spell it could cast, a binding spell or one which puts the subject into a deep sleep? Something to keep this ruffian tractable, at any road?”

“Or perhaps we could strike a deal with him?” Estelmere mused. “It doesn’t sit well with anyone here, I’m sure. But if we are to have his cooperation and his testimony, short of torture, I think we’ll have to offer him something in return.”

“I could offer him something.” Tempest said in a growl, hand on the hilt of her sword.

“If only there was someway to keep him quiet on the journey to Gondor.” Ondine said in a trembling voice. “I don’t think I can bear to hear his brutish voice anymore . . . . and what if he were to give us away at an inopportune moment?”
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Postby erinhue » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:27 pm

“Not hear his voice again” Erinhue repeated part of Ondine’s comments and scratched at his bearded chin in thought. In a moment his face brightened and he stood up.

“I have the perfect solution.” Erinhue smiled at those gathered around the table. “With a little help from a friend I think I can convince our thuggish friend to co-operate.” The bard left the table headed towards the stairs. As he started up the steps he called out “Agarak, to me.”

The dragonharp appeared floating up the stairs behind its bard.

From the table Tempest called after him.

"Erinhue, what are you going to do?"

"I'm gonna make a deal with him, a deal he won't want to refuse."
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