OOC PatriotBlade I fully intend to be a thorn in everyone's side - you can't get rid of Estlemere so easily
The slight chill of morning had warmed to the sunshine of a summer day. Estelmere continued to whistle as he walked along the narrow, paved lane leading to his shop. Even in the relatively short time that had passed since his arrival in Fornost, the place had come more and more to look like a real city, and not just a wild outpost on the edge of an even wilder frontier. His carpentry shop was not far removed from the gates of the city, and all the lanes, alleys, and the one main road in this part of town were paved with great flag stones or cobbled with smaller rocks. On the further outskirts of the town, where new construction was taking place at a fast pace still, the roadways tended to be dirt, or mud, depending on the season and the weather. Estelmere was no stranger to those parts of the city, as his business took him frequently to those new constructions. But today, the task he had set himself could be completed in the snug shop he leased, which also doubled as his living quarters.
He reached the familiar door, painted a cheerful deep green, and noted it was off the latch. That was good. Finli had said he would be by early. In the midst of the strange goings on at the Shrouds
, Estelmere had momentarily forgotten Finli’s promised visit. He was glad now that he had given the dwarf a second key to his shop. The carpenter’s trust might be given out warily, but he had no doubt that his trust in his closest friend would never be regretted. Pushing the door open, Estelmere stepped inside, pausing to allow his eyes to adjust from the brightness of outdoors.
“There you are! I thought maybe you had forgotten that I was dropping by today.” Finli did not sound aggrieved, only curious. Estelmere was a man of regular habits, and the dwarf was sure his friend would have some explanation for not being at the shop so early in the day.
Estelmere grinned. “I’m afraid to say I did forget, but with good reason.” He stepped into the shop and pulled up a stool, sitting beside his friend at a long workbench. “Here, let’s look at that design of yours, and I’ll tell you a tale that’s odd even for Fornost.” Unrolling the piece of parchment which the dwarf had brought with him, Estlemere regaled Finli with the details, or what little he knew of them, of what had occurred at the Shrouds
. Finli, for his part, listened politely, but with a growing look of concern on his weather worn face. When his friend was finished with his story, the dwarf shook his head darkly.
“I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. Such goings on – and right inside the city gate!” Finli drummed his fingers on the table pensively. “And to kill the poor girl, right there under everyone’s noses, what audacity. It makes one wonder . . . “ But Finli did not finish, opting instead for a deep “harrumph” into his rusty beard.
“And the girl who was being held against her will.” Estelmere mused. “I’m still not convinced she hasn’t jumped out of the pan into the fire. I wonder what’s really motivating those two. I never knew a bard I’d trust any further than I could spit.”
Finli looked thoughtful. “What did you say his name was again? The bard?”
“Erinhue. Or at least that’s what he claimed it was.” Estelmere replied skeptically. “Warrior bard of Belfalas, or some such nonsense.”
Finli frowned, scratched at his beard, then shook his head. “No. It’s not coming to me. But there’s something . . . tickling at the back of my mind . . . “
Estelmere smiled. “Well, it may be days in coming then, if it’s that far back.” He traced his finger along one aspect of the design outlined in ink on the parchment. “In the meanwhile, why don’t we see what we can accomplish with this. It’s beyond me why you don’t just build it yourself.”
Finli rolled his eyes. “You know Mirli. Only the best for our first born. And the best means you, my friend.” The dwarf clapped his hand on Estelmere’s shoulder.
“Yes, even if it’s only a cradle.” Estelmere chuckled.
“Oh, believe me. When it comes to a baby, especially a first baby, there’s no such thing as “just a” anything. You should hear how she and her mother go on about choosing the cloth for the nappies, for heaven’s sake!” Finli tried to sound exasperated, but yet, Estelmere could hear the pride in the dwarf’s voice.
“I suppose there’s nothing quite like a parent’s love for a child.” Estlemere agreed. “I wonder if that girl’s folks are missing her.” He added. “Wherever they are, they must be out of their minds with worry.”
Finli nodded. “Aye. You’re right there. Perhaps that bears looking into, you know?” He cocked his head to look at his friend. “Just to be sure. That’s she safe, with her new – friends.”