Twilight in Rohan

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

Postby Tempest » Wed Jun 13, 2001 11:22 pm

Between the hours of darkness and light, when the sun had just begun to climb above the earth and reveal its brightness, two dark figures stood together, speaking dark words that would mean death if there were anyone to hear them. <BR><BR><i>"For you, and you alone I will do this. Yet, tell me again why you desire his death,"</i> the words were whispered in the shadows of the halls of the King, in the very heart of Rohan. The voice revealed the speaker as female, but her face was unrecognizable in the darkness.<BR><BR><i>"Because he deserves to die, and you are the only one close enough to him who can do it,"</i> a man's voice replied.<BR><BR>The woman was silent and turned her face away. His words hurt her, not because of what he asked of her, but because she knew he lied. His true intent was hidden from her. However, as she turned her eyes back to his, she knew she would perform this task for him. Because she loved him.<BR><BR><i>"What will happen after it is done?"</i> Athelas asked him.<BR><BR><i>"The throne will pass to his son."</i><BR><BR><i>"He is a good king. He does not deserve this."</i> <BR><BR><i>"All good things must pass in time,"</i> the man answered.<BR><BR><i>"I will die for committing this act,"</i> she said softly.<BR><BR><i>"No, they will not know it was you."</i><BR><BR>She looked up at him in the light of the single candle she held flaming in her hand. He was so certain, so strong. She owed him a greater loyalty than all of Rohan, a debt of love she had borne for him since childhood.<BR><BR>Yet, still she hesitated. She was no fool. She had given her life in service to this King, and though she was still young, she had considered it a great honor to be a warrior under him, a protector in his palace. Her blue eyes looked almost black as she said slowly, <i>"When shall I do it?"</i><BR><BR><i>"Tomorrow. I will take care of the guards. When you have finished, go back to your quarters and wait. The deed will not be discovered till the morn."</i><BR><BR><i>"Yes,"</i> she answered, and he knew not the battle lost and won within her. He reached out his hand and placed a single, curved dagger in her hand. Then he leaned forward and kissed her, brushing her hair out of her eyes briefly before he melted into the shadows and was gone.<BR><BR>She waited several moments alone until the warmth of his lips had faded from her own. She placed the dagger in a small leather sheath against her leg and stood watching the approaching dawn. Then, with a swift movement she extinguished the candle.<BR><BR><i>"Forgive me,"</i> she whispered, and before the candle's light faded, a single tear coursed down her face and the room was engulfed in darkness once again.
User avatar
Tempest
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4907
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2000 8:12 am
Location: Wandering in the wilds
Top

Postby Iman » Thu Jun 14, 2001 12:25 am

(OOC--AAAHHHH!!!! Tempest!!!!! How're you???<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> I wish i could join this thread, but i've got examz coming in one week's time--and i don't want what happened to Elbren's challenge to happen here as well<BR><img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0><img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0><img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0>)
User avatar
Iman
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 3909
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2000 7:04 am
Top

Postby asaris » Thu Jun 14, 2001 8:53 am

Just as the sun was coming up, a man arrived at Edoras, and dismounted from his horse. He sat in the dewy grass, and looked up at the sunrise, glinting off of the golden hall. He had ridden all night, not because he was in a hurry, but because he wanted to see this sunrise. <i>What a great way to start a vacation,</i> Benoit thought. He had decided a few weeks ago to head south for the winter, rather than staying in Bree as he usually did. After the sun had arisen, he remounted his horse, and made his way into the city to look for an inn.
User avatar
asaris
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2075
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 11:07 am
Top

Postby Freahelm » Thu Jun 14, 2001 3:10 pm

Dunhere halted before the two guards that stood upon either side of the entrance to the King's chamber. They jerked to attention but he made a slight motion and they set themselves at ease. He spoke to them in quiet tones.<BR><BR><i>"A silent watch, as usual, I take it?"</i><BR><BR><i>"Aye, sir. Nary e'en the mice have been about. All silent but for..."</i><BR><BR>The soldier's face grew red and fell silent. Dunhere nodded. The King was a good king, but his snoring was a source of great exasperation to his guards. It rose even then, steadily and even, beginning to work its fraying effect upon the new shift's nerves. Dunhere turned and motioned to the two new guards to take their places, and the other two fell in behind him as he marched toward their quarters. <BR><BR>The sun began to glimmer across the rolling plains of Rohan, and the clouds that hung above them flamed with red. <BR><BR><i>"A red dawn, a dark storm; a red dusk, a clear morn,"</i> quoted one of the guards, reciting the old adage in Rohan. Dunhere replied in agreement.<BR><BR><i>"A storm shall soon be here - tomorrow or the day after."</i><BR><BR>All three fell silent and watched the dawn break. At last, the golden orb reared above the green horizon and its beam alighted atop the Golden Hall. The roof gleamed like burnished gold and shone like a beacon to those few eyes that beheld it at that early hour. Dunhere let the breath he had been holding slip slowly out in contentment. He never tired of that vision, and he doubted he ever would. Then he spoke a short command to the two guards, and all three marched off at a brisk pace to the barracks. Dunhere saw that they were situated, and then set off to walk lesiurely through the city in the crisp morning air.
User avatar
Freahelm
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 3:28 pm
Location: A farm in southern Rohan.
Top

Postby Tempest » Fri Jun 15, 2001 2:16 am

Athelas saw Dunhere emerge from the palace and begin his usual morning stroll around the city. She matched his stride and he smiled, nodding in greeting. <BR><BR><i>"You look tired this morning,"</i> he said.<BR><BR><i>"I could not sleep last night,"</i> she answered truthfully. <i>"But I assure you that I am fit as any to fill my post."</i><BR><BR><i>"Of course."</i><BR><BR>They walked in silence for awhile and he noted that she looked a little paler than normal, but no sooner had the thought crossed his mind than she turned and smiled at him and departed.<BR><BR>_____________________________________________________________________<BR><BR>Jacen, meanwhile, had found his way back to the small ally in the poorest section of the city where he had last left the remnant of his conspirators. On his approach, a man leapt down into his path, but then recognized him and let him pass.<BR><BR>He entered a dark, stuffy room with a small fire crackling in the hearth, though it gave no heat to the dampness in the air. Three men sat around a crude table, watching him with glittering eyes. <i>"Well?"</i> one of them said gruffly.<BR><BR><i>"Tomorrow. She has agreed."</i> <BR><BR><i>"And what will you do with her after it is done?"</i><BR><BR>The question angered Jacen, for he got up and paced the room. <i>"They will not know it was her! She will not be suspected."</i><BR><BR>The men looked at each other. <i>"Do you want one of us to silence her for you? We know how close you two used to be..."</i><BR><BR>Jacen glowered down at them. <i>"There is no need for that,"</i> he insisted. He caught the glance and said quickly, <i>"But if she becomes a threat, I will do it myself."</i><BR><BR><i>"IF she becomes a threat? She already is one!"</i> the man spat back. <i>"Let her hang for this crime. She will go in silence to the grave in love for you and it will be done."</i><BR><BR><i>"I cannot. I promised her.."</i> Jacen started to say, but the man cut him off.<BR><BR><i>"Since when do you keep any of your promises!"</i><BR>
User avatar
Tempest
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4907
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2000 8:12 am
Location: Wandering in the wilds
Top

Postby asaris » Fri Jun 15, 2001 9:57 am

After a little searching, Benoit found a place that was reasonably near the market and the golden hall, but reasonably cheap as well; at least, for a place with such a good location. It was called "The Twin Ravens," and from the looks of the common room, it was not the most beautiful inn Benoit had ever stayed at. He went up to the innkeeper and asked, "Do you have a spare room? A private room, preferably." The innkeeper looked at him, slightly suspicious.<BR><BR>"You're from the north, aren't you? Where does a northener get the gold for a private room?"<BR><BR>"That's my affair, now isn't it?" Benoit tired quickly of the suspicion these southerners always showed him. So not all of his money came from entirely honest sources -- what was that to an innkeeper who more likely than not watered his wine? But it wasn't good to antagonize the innkeeper, in any case. "Well, if you must know, I'm a bard, and not a bad one."<BR><BR>"Ah, a bard are ya? Well, perhaps we can arrange a deal then. Yer not a master, I can tell...here's the deal. Free room and meals if you play every night, but you pay for your own ale."<BR><BR>"Fair's fair. But could you show me my room? I've got a few things I need to take care of in town today, and the day isn't getting longer."<BR><BR>"Sure. Follow me."<BR><BR>The room was not particularly grand; in fact, to call it spartan might be to overestimate its luxury. But it was a room, and it had a bed and a lock, and that's really all Benoit ever wanted. After changing out of his traveling clothes, he went down to the common room. Once there, he ordered an ale, something to fortify himself with before he went out. The bartender was really getting a good deal out of this. While Benoit wasn't near the bard that, say, Erinhue was, he was one of the better bards roaming the land, and would certainly bring in far more money than the bartender was losing by giving him room and board. But money never did really matter to Benoit.<BR><BR>After he finished the ale, he left the inn and went to the marketplace. He wanted to pay a visit to an old friend while he was here, but needed some nicer clothes. One didn't go to court, even Rohan's court, wearing anything less than the best.
User avatar
asaris
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2075
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 11:07 am
Top

Postby Freahelm » Fri Jun 15, 2001 4:02 pm

Dunhere kept walking, keeping the same, steady pace. The streets were slowly beginning to fill, and he nodded or said short words of greeting to those he passed, depending on how well he knew them. His mind drifted slowly, resting on different things, flitting from one to the next like a butterfly. It was a peaceful time, no wars abroad and Dunland was behaving. The only thing he really had to do was supervise a training session of some of the younger knights that afternoon. <BR><BR>Athelas, unfit to fill her post. The thought came unbidden to his mind. He snorted. The very idea! She was the only woman among the King's guards, and more than once she had proved herself more than capable of the tasks appointed her. He had never known her yet to fail in anything. <BR><BR>His long, even strides carried him through the clean, quiet, residential streets around the palace down toward the business district. The market would be opening soon, and he had a mind to pay a visit to the apple vendor. There was nothing like a fresh apple on a fresh morning.
User avatar
Freahelm
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 3:28 pm
Location: A farm in southern Rohan.
Top

Postby River_Daughter » Fri Jun 15, 2001 9:10 pm

Briony was enjoying herself immensely this morning. The sun was shining and it promised to be very warm today. She made her way through the outskirts of the city, trying her best to avoid the filth that had gathered. <BR>She pulled a loaf of bread out of the basket she carried at her side. Her mother had baked it for her brother, but Briony didn't see the harm in taking one little bite. It smelled too good to pass up.<BR>"He won't notice it anyway, the boy eats so fast," she thought to herself. She was about to take a piece out of it when she tripped and started to fall. Reaching out, she grabbed the nearest person to her, bringing them down with her. <BR>She stood up and held out her hand to the one who she had pulled down to the ground. As she looked, she saw the unfortunate stranger had on the uniform of the king's personal body guards. But, strangely, this one was a woman.<BR>"I am so sorry! I didn't mean to, I, I am just so clumsy and I didn't see you," she stammered. <i>Well, you've you really done it now, Briony, you clutz! The king's body guard, how could you be so stupid!</i> <BR>"No, it's alright, don't trouble yourself," said the woman, "Just be a bit more careful next time."<BR>"Oh, I will. Thank you for your kindness, miss," said the grateful girl and curtsied just as her mother taught her to do in the presence of someone higher than herself. Then, as an afterthought, Briony added, "Excuse me for being imprudent, but are you Athelas? The, the, famous warrior? Oh, my brother talks of you constantly!! He's a guard in the palace, that's where I'm headed right now. His name is Ropin and he is always telling me stories of you. That is why I want to be a warrior, just like you! He said he'd give me some training. Are, are you sure you're alright, miss? You look pale. Do you want to sit for a moment?" For, indeed, Athelas looked almost ready to faint.<BR>"No, no I-I'm fine. Really. Just too much sun I guess. I must go, I have, duties, to attend to. It was nice meeting you, er, what did you say your name was?"<BR>"Oh, forgive me, I am Briony."<BR>"Briony, I bid you good day." And with that, she disappeared into the crowd.<BR><i>Well, I wonder what she was doing in this part of town. Ah well, it's none of my business anyway</i> she thought to herself and continued down the street. Then she remembered the loaf. She had dropped it in the collision. She turned around and headed back, saying to herself <i>Briony, you would forget your head if it wasn't screwed on.</i>
User avatar
River_Daughter
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2338
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2001 6:33 pm
Top

Postby asaris » Sat Jun 16, 2001 9:39 am

Benoit arrived at the market just as it was opening for the day. He looked around at the many booths, their owners hawking their wares with loud cries. Even so early, the marketplace was filled with people on various errands. He looked around for a tailor, and found one next to an apple cart. The seamstress smiled shyly at him, and asked him if she could help him with anything.<BR><BR>"I need some fashionable clothes for court -- could you help me? I'm a bit behind the times, coming from the north, and I'm sure a beautiful girl like you knows what's good."<BR><BR>The seamstress blushed, and began to describe several different outfits that were 'in the mode' as they say. Benoit ordered a couple of the less ridiculous looking ones, and asked if they could be finished by the next day.<BR><BR>"Certainly, sir, but I'd have ta charge a little extra."<BR><BR>"That's not a problem, and call me Benoit."<BR><BR>The girl smiled, less shyly this time and said, "I'm Rowena. I'll make sure they're ready by the morning."<BR><BR>Benoit smiled, and turned to head to the apple cart. An apple, for some reason, sounded really good this morning.
User avatar
asaris
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2075
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 11:07 am
Top

Postby Aerin » Sat Jun 16, 2001 8:23 pm

<i>Aerin entered the Twin Ravens inn and sought the innkeeper. When she asked for a private room, he gave her an odd look.</i> "You're not the first person to ask for a private room today, ma'am. Just an hour ago a bard came in and wanted one."<BR><BR><i>Aerin was intrigued.</i> "A bard, you say. Did he give a name?" <i>Unfortunately, he had not. Aerin shrugged, and haggled with the price of her room.<BR><BR>Entering her room, she saw it was hardly worth the price she had paid. But it had what she needed, and at least it was clean. Aerin unfastened her cloak and shrugged out of her pack; she kept her sword and knife buckled on. She brushed out and rebraided her hair, then left the room and headed for the common room again.</i>
User avatar
Aerin
Mariner


 
Posts: 8461
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 2:10 pm
Top

Postby Tempest » Sat Jun 16, 2001 10:49 pm

Athelas felt sick to her stomach, a sickness that had begun to grow in her from the moment she had agreed to this awful plan. Her whole body seemed to be rejecting her from her betrayal and she found it harder and harder to maintain her calm demeanor. The girl in the marketplace had nearly been the end of her. She had never been good at hiding guilt, and her face reddened just thinking about the secret she held. <BR><BR><i>"What am I doing?"</i> she asked herself, but remembered Jacen's eyes and kiss and refused to think about it any more. She had given her word to him; she would not break it.<BR><BR>Well, she might as well try to enjoy this day, for she was sure that it would be her last. She wondered if Dunhere had noticed anything unusual about her, but dismissed that thought too. She was just nervous; she had never conspired against the King in all her life, nor even considered it. But Jacen had asked......How could she refuse him?<BR><BR>But then again, he had lied to her. She had not heard from him in months and then suddenly he showed up at her watch and started speaking words of treason. It had taken him quite a while to convince her of his earnestness. She did not know what had triggered his sudden change of heart, but she knew that he knew how tightly he held her in the palm of his hand. <BR><BR>She shivered, though it was not cold. She felt alone, as she always had. Alone in her village, alone in a palace run by men, alone in loving the one man who could hurt her most. <BR><BR>Rohan was so beautiful today. The bright blueness of the sky cut through the clouds and seemed to fill the very air with freshness. Still, to her delicate senses, Athelas could feel the hint of a storm coming. <BR><BR>She closed her eyes and leaned against the stone wall in an abandoned alley way. Tonight. Tonight......how she hoped that night would never fall.
User avatar
Tempest
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4907
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2000 8:12 am
Location: Wandering in the wilds
Top

Postby Freahelm » Sat Jun 16, 2001 10:59 pm

Dunhere reached the apple cart and nodded to the vendor with a smile.<BR><BR><i>"Two of your best today, Folca."</i><BR><BR>Folca grinned back. <i>"I've just the apples for you, captain! From the latest shipment, freshly picked. They don't come better than these."</i><BR><BR>Folca held out an apple in each hand, both looking even better than he described them. Dunhere replaced them with a small coin and hefted the apples with an admiring eye. <i>"You outdo yourself, Folca. Keep the change - these are worth every penny."</i><BR><BR>Dunhere bit into one of the apples with satisfying crunch, savouring its sweetness. He eyed the growing crowds of housewives and others prowling the market for wares at a reasonable price. His eye lit on one man in particular. Dunhere surveyed him for a moment, drawing what conclusions he could from the man's dress and speech as he talked to Rowena the seamstress. From the north, obviously, and just as obviously a traveller. The type that would have news.<BR><BR><i>"That's not a problem, and call me Benoit."</i><BR><BR>He had money, too it seemed. As the northerner turned toward the apple cart Dunhere flicked him the other apple. Displaying good reflexes, the man caught it easily. <BR><BR><i>"Hail and well met, friend from the north! Tell me, how much news does an apple buy in Bree?"</i><BR><BR>Benoit grinned. <i>"Half the news a drink can buy, but twice the truth a coin will buy."</i><BR><BR>Dunhere chuckled in return. <i>"I believe that is a reasonable price, and it runs about the same in Rohan, I think. I will hear your news, and if I like it I may see what I can get for a mug of some of the Mark's finest ale. But here is not the place. If it is convienent for you, just ere the time of the midday meal, ask Heru the Doorwarden of the Golden Hall for an audience with Captain Dunhere, of the King's Guards."</i><BR><BR>Bidding him good day, Dunhere proceeded on through the marketplace. It had been some time since he had received fresh news from the north, and hearing it over a good midday meal would suit him well. Besides, the if the northerner's wit matched his reflexes, and Dunhere had a feeling it did, he would prove good conversation. Too few travelers came through Rohan these days, although there were more than there used to be.<BR><BR>Dunhere greeted those he knew, and soon turned his steps back to the palace. He had a feeling the guards in the third barracks were soon going to experience an impromptu drill.
User avatar
Freahelm
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 3:28 pm
Location: A farm in southern Rohan.
Top

Postby Tempest » Sat Jun 16, 2001 11:26 pm

A strange looking young man stopped Dunhere in his tracks as he proceeded toward the palace. The man did not speak, but with nervous eyes and sweating hands he pressed a single piece of parchment into the Captain's hand. Before Duhere could say anything, the lad was gone.<BR><BR>Slowly he opened the crumbled paper, his forehead furrowing at the two words written in large red letters, scrawled in a nearly unintelligable hand:<BR><BR>RED WATCHER
User avatar
Tempest
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4907
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2000 8:12 am
Location: Wandering in the wilds
Top

Postby Aerin » Sun Jun 17, 2001 7:35 pm

<i>Aerin quietly slipped out of the inn and headed for the marketplace. She wasn't totally sure what she was looking for, but felt she would know when she found it.<BR><BR>She bought an apple from a vendor and walked on, munching the delicious fruit.</i>
User avatar
Aerin
Mariner


 
Posts: 8461
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 2:10 pm
Top

Postby asaris » Mon Jun 18, 2001 11:51 am

Benoit wandered around the marketplace for a little while, looking at the merchants' wares. He bought a lovely hooked dagger from a man who looked as if he was from the Harad -- certainly, the style of dagger was such. It was rather difficult to find good daggers in the north, but the Haradrim used many different types of knives, and sometimes merchants further south would carry them. In any case, it quickly became noon, and Benoit went over to the Golden Hall. There, after talking to Heru, he was admitted into Captain Dunhere's office.<BR><BR>"Ah! You came. Here, let's go out...I know a good inn nearby with the best ale in town."<BR><BR>The two men made small talk until they reached the inn Dunhere had mentioned. It was called the Midgard Tavern, and the sign was decorated with a large snake. The common room was not terribly busy; Dunhere said it picked up around dinner, usually. The two men ordered some food and drink, and Dunhere asked, "So, what news from the north?"<BR><BR>"Not much new. The reconstruction of Annuminas is coming along very well; it should be a real city within a couple years. Elves keep leaving for the Blessed country, but that's nothing new."<BR><BR>It was the truth...not much had been going on. Otherwise, Benoit wouldn't have been able to take a vacation. But he told Dunhere a little bit more of the gossip before asking him in turn, "What's new down here in Rohan?"
User avatar
asaris
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2075
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 11:07 am
Top

Postby Freahelm » Wed Jun 20, 2001 12:47 am

Dunhere read the words again, then flipped the parchment over and examined the other side - blank. There could be no doubt about it. The Red Watcher had contacted him again.<BR><BR>The drill he had been planning for barracks 3 was forgotten, his offer to Benoit pushed to the back of his mind. He carefully ripped the parchment into tiny pieces, and stuffed the pieces into an inner pocket to burn later. He had learned the value of leaving no trace of contact the last time the Red Watcher had contacted him.<BR><BR>Not that he had ever met the Red Watcher. Anonymity, he assumed, was a matter of life or death with whoever it was. Now he could only wait until he was contacted again, hopefully with information that would allow him to act. <BR><BR>Dunhere continued to walk along the same course he had originally persued, but no longer was it the leisurely stroll of his morning walk, but the determined stride of a man who had a firm destination fixed in his mind. He swept through the streets, no longer acknowledging the presence of those he met, and entered the Golden Hall, giving but the merest of nods to Heru at his post.<BR><BR>He proceeded immediately to his chambers, where he paced back and forth, his mind racing. He lost track of all time, until a firm hand rapped on the wooden door. He spun quickly, his hand automatically going to the hilt of his sword. After a moment, he recalled where he was and attempted to restore his presence of mind.<BR><BR><i>"Enter."</i><BR><BR>One of the younger guards, Ropin, entered, and Benoit with him. Dunhere suddenly remembered the appointment he had made, and attempted to put away the concerns that swarmed about his mind. He put on a warm smile and extended his hand in greeting.<BR><BR><i>"Ah! You came. Here, let's go out...I know a good inn nearby with the best ale in town."</i><BR><BR>Benoit agreed, and Dunhere said briefly to Ropin before he went out, <i>"Tell the boys I might be a bit late for the training session this afternoon. Have them start without me, and I'll be there soon enough."</i><BR><BR>Ropin nodded, and Benoit and Dunhere proceeded to the inn. Dunhere attempted to listen to the news of the northerner, but found it difficult. He was relieved to find there was little to tell. Then the thought struck him - what was a northern man doing in Edoras, at precisely the time he received a warning from the Red Watcher?<BR><BR>Dunhere took another pull at his ale and eyed Benoit with suspicion, when he asked, <i>"What's new down here in Rohan?"</i><BR><BR>Dunhere's suspicions were heightened. He answered slowly, carefully.<BR><BR><i>"Little enough to tell of, the same as the north. The King came down with a cold the night before last, and that's been the talk of Rohan. That should give you an idea of how much news there is in Rohan."</i><BR><BR>They chatted a bit longer as Dunhere gave the usual news about the leading families, intended marriages, births, and so forth, and then conversation seemed to lag. Dunhere decided to take the path of direct inquiry and asked Benoit, <i>"Now, I am curious. What brings a man from the north so far south? And where are you staying?"</i>
User avatar
Freahelm
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 3:28 pm
Location: A farm in southern Rohan.
Top

Postby Canamarth » Wed Jun 20, 2001 7:55 am

Canamarth's black weatherstained cloak trailed behind her in the muddy streets of the poorest section of the city. She rounded a corner and entered a small alley. 'This must be it,' she thought to herself and drew her sword just in time to confront a tall man with a long dagger who had jumped into her way. <BR>"Where do you think you're going, midget?" he rasped.<BR>"First house on the righthandside," Canamarth replied. "And tell your friend on the balcony, he better lower the crossbow or our mutual acquaintance Nekhîl will skin him personally."<BR>The tall man in front of her flinched at the mentioning of that name. He looked at the tattoos on Canamarth's cheeks and tried to remember what they signified. But he was sure he was talking to someone important. <BR>From the corner of her eyes, Canamarth saw that the man on the balcony had indeed lowered his bow.<BR>"Now, can I talk to Jacen?"<BR>"Sure. Would you care to follow me?" The man beckoned her into a dark stuffy room with a small fire in the hearth. Four men sat around a crude table, watching her in astonishment.<BR>One of them jumped to his feet.
User avatar
Canamarth
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 13057
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 5:45 am
Location: Willing Suspension of Disbelief
Top

Postby Aerin » Wed Jun 20, 2001 6:41 pm

<i>Aerin stopped at a metalworker's place, looked at his weapons and pins with interest.</i> "Pardon me, but do you think you would be able to make a pin from this design?" <i>She handed him a piece of paper from a pocket, with a strange whorled design. He studied it a moment, then said that he could if given a day or two. She nodded thoughtfully.</i> <BR> <BR>"And could you engrave the same design onto my knife hilt?" <i>The man instantly said he could. Aerin thanked him and said that she would be back in a couple days.</i>
User avatar
Aerin
Mariner


 
Posts: 8461
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 2:10 pm
Top

Postby Tempest » Thu Jun 21, 2001 9:30 pm

On Canamarth's entrance, one of the men at the table leaped to his feet in surprise. Every eye was turned to her, fixed on this figure of whom they had heard. <i>"He's not here. Jacen, I mean. He's gone to meet the assassin, but he'll return here straight after. He was expecting you much earlier. What took you so long?"</i> the man asked.<BR>______________________________________________________________________<BR><BR>In the royal orchards Athelas strolled in the heat of the afternoon sun. The fruit hung heavily from the trees, bending the branches under their weight. The pleasant smell of warm sweetness filled the air and it was there that Jacen found her.<BR><BR>He watched her for several moments before stepping out into her path. She was very like the girl he had known in childhood, but her face had acquired a strength that he had not previously known, now and then even a hardness that was unfamiliar. <BR><BR>She nodded when he emerged from the trees and they both walked in silence for several moments. <i>"Tonight,"</i> she finally said softly, and he tried to read the expression in her eyes, but found he could not. <BR><BR><i>"You are resolved to the task?"</i> he asked in hesitation. <BR><BR><i>"Are you resolved to having me do this?"</i> she asked in reply.<BR><BR><i>"Yes."</i><BR><BR><i>"Then so am I. How will you take care of the guards?"</i><BR><BR>Jacen smiled. <i>"You are not the only friend I have in the palace."</i><BR><BR><i>"Friend? Come now, Jacen. I think I earn more than the mere title of 'friend'"</i><BR><BR>He was silent, surprised at the sudden bitterness in her voice. <i>"You know that is not what I meant."</i><BR><BR><i>"No, I do not know that. I have not seen you in months, and then you come and ask me to murder the one person who I have sworn my life to protect,"</i> she snapped back.<BR><BR><i>"Hush! Someone will hear you."</i> He took her hands in his and was surprised to feel that she was trembling. <i>"I promise you that all will turn out for the best. I would not ask such a thing of you if I thought it would cost you your life. You know me better than that."</i>
User avatar
Tempest
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4907
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2000 8:12 am
Location: Wandering in the wilds
Top

Postby Canamarth » Fri Jun 22, 2001 6:29 am

"The roads of Rohan are not what they used to be," Canamarth replied. "So, he's meeting with the assassin." She couldn't help but grin. "I heard she was one of the palace guard who has taken a fancy to Jacen, not an assassin." She put her sword back into its sheath and watched the still flabbergasted men in front of her.<BR>"Yes, I am a woman. And yes, I am short. And you should be on your guard. Half of the horrid tales you have heard about me and our friend Nekhîl are lies. Believe me, it's worse than what you've heard. But I won't harm anyone who's working with me - as long as they work efficiently. Now, when is Jacen expected to be back?"<BR>"I don't know," the man who had jumped to his feet earlier answered. "But it shouldn't be too long."<BR>"Fine," Canamarth said and sat down at the crude table. "Do you have any wine?"
User avatar
Canamarth
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 13057
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 5:45 am
Location: Willing Suspension of Disbelief
Top

Postby asaris » Fri Jun 22, 2001 10:19 am

Benoit grinned. "Northern winters are cold...I wanted to spend the winter down here for once. It's been a while since I've had the chance to spend time in Rohan. Perhaps I'll head to Dol Amroth, or Minas Tirith later. But I feel more at home in Rohan than anywhere else in the south."<BR><BR>Dunhere nodded. "And where were you staying?"<BR><BR>"At the Twin Ravens. It's near the marketplace."<BR><BR>Dunhere was still a bit distracted by the news of the morning, but he made a mental note, so that he could find this man again, should he want to. There was something odd about him. There were few northeners that could afford either time or money to winter in the south, and most did so in Gondor, along the coast. And there was something in Benoit's eyes, an edge to them, perhaps, that indicated he was not one of the idle rich. But he needed to return to the barracks, to oversee the drill, and so he took his leave of Benoit. Benoit smiled, and said, "If you ever want to look me up, I'll be in the Twin Ravens as long as I'm here in town." Dunhere nodded, and left the tavern.<BR><BR>Benoit ordered another ale, while he considered how he should spend the afternoon. He did not want to go to court until he had the clothes for it, so instead he went back to the Ravens, to relax in the Common Room. Perhaps there would be other travelers there by now, with news of other regions of Middle-Earth.
User avatar
asaris
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2075
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 11:07 am
Top

Postby Failivrin » Fri Jun 22, 2001 2:16 pm

Laurel took another gulp of her ale and let the cool liquid seep idly down her old throat. She stared at the half empty glass as the brown ale swished around inside and the pale driplets meandered down the side of the glass before finally ending their journey at the wooden sea that was the her table. The old nurse had a bad feeling about today: something just didn't seem right. Normally her intuitions were correct, but she decided it was probably best not to mention anything at the moment. Not after the big scare she had given everyone a while ago in which she had told everyone that the King would fall terribly ill, which had only turned out to be a mild cold.<BR>She took another swig of her drink, remembering her terrible embarresement, and how she had nerely lost her job as the Kings nursemaid. No, she would stay quiet, even though the bad feeling niggled her inside. She looked around the tavern and was surprised to see the captain of the guard, sitting at a table with someone else, whom she couldn't make out. She hurridly downed the last of her drink, wrapped her dark shall around her, and slipped off before Dunhere saw her. She shouldn't really be in here as she had only popped out to get some supplies from the herbal shop. She stopped when she got out the door and looked up at the sky. She shook her head.<BR><i>A storms brewing, mark my words</i>, she muttered to herself as she hurried off down the street.
User avatar
Failivrin
Citizen of Imladris

 
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2001 12:13 pm
Top

Postby River_Daughter » Fri Jun 22, 2001 3:02 pm

It was already noon when Briony arrived at the front gates of the palace. The guards knew the clumsy girl, and so payed no heed as she walked through the arch. She marveled at the high ceiling and the red carpet. It was like a dream. She walked down the hall and out into the courtyard where the soldiers were training. Her brother looked very strapping in his uniform and Briony felt a great swell of pride surge in her. <BR><BR>After the captain had dismissed them, she ran up to her brother. They embraced and she handed him the basket.<BR><BR>"It's a bit dirty, Ropin," she said. "I fell on the way over."<BR><BR>"Why does that not surprise me?" he responded, taking out the bread and smiling. He handed her a slice and bit a big chunk out of the loaf.<BR><BR>She blushed. She was always tripping over her own two feet, and he knew this and was always teasing her about it.<BR><BR>Trying to change the subject, she blurted out, "You'll never guess who I ran into on the way over here."<BR><BR>"I'll bet I can. Athelas, the king'g body guard."<BR><BR>"How did you know?"<BR><BR>"Because, you could only be that excited if you had met your role model. Now, did you run into her, or trip over her?<BR><BR>"I didn't trip," she insisted, sitting down on the bench. "I... stumbled... and she caught me."<BR><BR>There was a long silence. The silence that always preceeded the one topic they hated to bring up. After a while, Ropin asked, "Well, how is Mother?"<BR><BR>"She's still very sick, but she's getting better. The doctor says it's gone into the lungs, but he's still optimistic. He says that, with the right amount of care, she will be better soon. Aunt Froney came yesterday and is taking care of her. That bread was all mother had the strength to make, but it was a start. Ropin, she's worried about you. After father died in the service of the king, she is afraid you'll be next."<BR><BR>"Don't worry about me, Briony. My division isn't exactly ready to go into battle. The only duty the captain has us on, is the guarding of the king's bedchambers. The only thing I have to worry about there, is the king's snoring. Which reminds me, I won't be able to come to dinner tonight, like I promised. I have been assigned the late watch."<BR><BR>"But you promised Mother you would come!"<BR><BR>Now, don't don't give me a lecture, Briony!" he said, "You know I can't just abandon my duties. Mother will understand"<BR><BR>"Very well. Will you come to dinner tommorow?"<BR><BR>"Tommorow it is then," he replied, and gulped down the rest of the loaf. They both rose and hugged, and then Briony left. As she was leaving through the gate, she looked up at the sky and noticed clouds that were gatheing in the distance.<BR><BR>"Oh, and it was such a perfect day before," she said and hurried on the down the lane. For some reason, the grey clouds had brought with them a feeling of forboding which she didn't like at all.
User avatar
River_Daughter
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2338
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2001 6:33 pm
Top

Postby Freahelm » Fri Jun 22, 2001 4:24 pm

<i>"Good work, men,"</i> Dunhere told them. <i>"You've definitely improved since last week. Sometime today I want you all to go to the wine cellar and tell Bysen to give you a full flagon of Belfalas wine."</i><BR><BR>The men gave a cheer and departed. Dunhere watched them go with a slight smile on his face, which faded once they were out of sight. He removed the training sword he was wearing and put it away, then buckled on his own sword. His thoughts returned to the note, and he began to walk. He always thought better when he was moving. <BR><BR>Soon his line of thought drifted to the northerner, Benoit. His reasons seemed plausible enough, he supposed, but certain things didn't seem to fit. He certainly had more money than most, and among travellers that usually meant they either relieved people of their money, were mercenaries, or had a huge estate somewhere that supported them. It seemed to much of a coincedence for Dunhere, and the seed of suspicion sprouted into a full grown weed of conviction. <BR><BR>Benoit was an assassin or one of that sort, staying in Edoras to take part in a secret plot. He had been paid a small percentage up front - only enough to stay in one of the lesser quality inns, which would explain his inhabitation of the Twin Ravens. He would receive the rest upon completion of the job and would head south...<BR><BR>No, Dunhere corrected himself, north. Or east. The south was just a ruse to turn him in the wrong direction, unless he was planning on going all the way to Harad. Well, Dunhere would show them that accepting his post in the palace hadn't dulled his wits. <BR><BR>The first step to take would be to keep an eye on him, and any companions he might have. Dunhere glanced about him, and found his pacings had taken him into the royal orchard. He plucked a ripe peach from a bough that hung near the path and began to walk again, not eating the fruit but caressing its soft surface with his fingers as he pondered whom he could assign to watch Benoit. The northern man would probably expect such a move, but there were still many in Rohan with no small skill.<BR><BR>As he walked, he spied Athelas ahead of him, and had he been more aware he might have surmised she had but recently had a companion. He picked up his pace to meet up with her, but she turned and began to walk away, though he was not sure if she had seen him or not. He called her by name and she stopped, waiting until he caught up. <BR><BR>She began to walk again as he drew near, and he fell into step beside her. <BR><BR><i>"Athelas, I have reason to believe there is a secret plot in progress right here in Edoras."</i><BR><BR>Athelas froze, but did not look at Dunhere. Misinterpreting her actions, he continued. <BR><BR><i>"Yes, I was surprised as well. They have hired an assassin from the north, and he is staying in the Twin Ravens under the name of Benoit. I'll be double the palace guard tonight as a precaution. But, I would like you to watch him. If you wear civilian clothes I do not think he will suspect you. I will also assign another man to watch him, and report if anyone contacts him."</i><BR><BR>Athelas said nothing, her face turned away from him, looking instead down the slope and over the wall to where the grass gleamed brightly in the afternoon sun. The air weighed down hot and muggy. Dunhere, at last looked up from the peach that had held his attention and looked with concern at Athelas. Seeing that she still did not respond, he spoke her name gently. <BR><BR><i>"Athelas?"</i>
User avatar
Freahelm
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 3:28 pm
Location: A farm in southern Rohan.
Top

Postby Aerin » Fri Jun 22, 2001 6:43 pm

<i>Aerin studied the dark clouds gathering overhead and decided to head back to the Twin Ravens before the storm broke. She turned around and headed back, keeping an eye out on the weather.<BR><BR>* * *<BR><BR>Aerin entered the common room seconds after it began pouring, took off her cloak, and shook it out. She went up to her room to put it away, then came back down to the common room. She asked for some green tea, received it, and looked around. There was one other man in the room, someone who looked vaguely familiar. She eyed him, then, checking her sword and knife, decided to join him. At the very least, he might be good for some news. She walked over.</i><BR><BR>"Hello there. Mind if I join you for a few minutes?"
User avatar
Aerin
Mariner


 
Posts: 8461
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 2:10 pm
Top

Postby Tempest » Fri Jun 22, 2001 7:27 pm

Dunhere's words had struck Athelas with such a sense of panic that it took several moments for her to recover her wits. Through her mind ran a single phrase, <i>He knows. He knows.</i> But then, when she finally turned her eyes to meet his, she did not see condemnation in them, only concern. <BR><BR>She tried to remember what he had been saying and answered softly, <i>"A northerner, you say? I shall do as you ask, but as for the guards, I doubt any would be as foolish as to conspire against the king."</i> <BR><BR><i>"That may be so, but it is better to be safe,"</i> he replied. There was an awkward silence for a moment and Dunhere noticed that she was distracted once again. He was about to comment on her paleness when she suddenly spoke up.<BR><BR><i>"I have a story to tell you, that happened to a girl in my village. I would like to hear your advice, for the girl has asked me for help but I know not how to answer her."</i><BR><BR><i>"Of course,"</i> Dunhere said immedietly, for Athelas rarely revealed anything about her past, let alone her village. He realized suddenly that he did not even know where in Rohan she had come from.<BR><BR>She took a deep breath. <i>"This girl, she fell in love with a poor boy whose family lived on the outskirts of the village. One day the two were walking on the higher plains alone, looking down at the small valley in which his home lay. Out of the east came a fierce storm and they barely made it back to his house before the rain began. Never had such a storm hit this village, and the small stream that ran through it became a mighty flood water that destroyed the boy's house and all those within were swept into the current. The boy was able to make it to dry land. Here he had a choice: to throw a line to his parents who were nearly drowned in the flood, or to save his beloved."</i> She stopped for a moment and turned to Dunhere. <i>"Which do you think he chose?"</i><BR><BR>Dunhere considered a moment and said, <i>"To save the life of two is better than that of one. Yet, since you asked for my advice for this girl, then I know she must have survived. So, the boy sacrificed his father and mother for her."</i><BR><BR><i>"Yes,"</i> Athelas answered, <i>"So she owes him a life-debt."</i><BR><BR><i>"Yes, but she loves him, so the debt becomes irrelevant,"</i> he answered.<BR><BR><i>"But, what if suddenly, for some reason, she ceased to love him? Perhaps the boy changed, what then should she do?"</i> <BR><BR>Before Dunhere could answer, a guard came from the palace with a message for Athelas. He interrupted their conversation and she excused herself, leaving Dunhere in the orchard to ponder the strange tale alone.
User avatar
Tempest
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4907
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2000 8:12 am
Location: Wandering in the wilds
Top

Postby Canamarth » Sat Jun 23, 2001 6:07 am

Canamarth had meanwhile made friends with the guys around her. Her welcome speech had not put them off entirely. They were drinking merrily. Canamarth made sure she did not drink too much, but poured out loads for the others. <BR>"So, what's your boss like then?" she asked.<BR>"Jacen, well..." one answered slurringly. "He's all right I'd say. Not too cruel to us, if you get my meaning. But I think he has taken a shine to that guard in the palace. Whass her name again?"<BR>"Athelas."<BR>"Right, Asselass. Funny name that. Anyway, I'm beginnig to get concerned. I think he dossent want to do away with her after the job - if you get my meaning." He winked at Canamarth.<BR>"You think he's become a bit too soft-hearted?" she asked.<BR>"Maybe." He bent over to whisper something into her ear. "I could tell you..." But he never finished that sentence because the door was opened and in strode...
User avatar
Canamarth
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 13057
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 5:45 am
Location: Willing Suspension of Disbelief
Top

Postby Failivrin » Sat Jun 23, 2001 8:36 am

The smell of crushed herbs began to drift up to Laurels nostrils as she prepared the Kings fruit tea. She hummed forlornly to herself as she busied herself around all the jars of spices and dried herbs in the medicine room. A knock at the door startled her, but when a soldiers head popped round the door way, she let out a sigh of relief.<BR><BR>"<i>The King is nearly ready for his mid-day tea Lorel</i>"called the young man. She smiled to herself as she remembered that young man in nappies. She had known all of the guards, and indeed the King since they were toddlers, all that is except that girl. <BR><BR>"<i>Here it is</i>"she hummed, pouring in the hot water into the kings usual cup, and disappeared down the hall way to take it to him.<BR><BR>Returning, she started on the Kings night medice to help him sleep. <i>What a shame His Majesty is having trouble sleeping</i>, she thought to herself. Seeing there were no more peaches left, she hurried off to the orchard to get some more.
User avatar
Failivrin
Citizen of Imladris

 
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2001 12:13 pm
Top

Postby Freahelm » Sat Jun 23, 2001 6:45 pm

Dunhere watched her go. A life-debt. Had the former lover now asked her friend to fulfill that life-debt, he wondered? What if he was using it to compel her to act against her will, even though she no longer loved him?<BR><BR>He shuddered at the thought. The men of Rohan were honorable as a general rule, but he knew there were those who sold themselves to baser things. And any man who would compel a woman to act against her will in such a fashion because of a life-debt...the blood of every true blooded Rider would boil at the thought. <BR><BR>He walked on, still deep in this new train of thought, also pondering who he might send to help Athelas watch the foreigner. He plodded steadily on, until suddenly a voice pulled him up short.<BR><BR><i>"Ahoy there, captain! Is the path that treacherous, that you must keep an eye on't so fixedly?"</i><BR><BR>Dunhere looked for the source of the voice, and saw Laurel, the King's nurse. She held a basket half full of peaches in the crook of her arm and was retrieving another from an overhanging branch. Dunhere chuckled briefly and responded warmly.<BR><BR><i>"Nay, Laurel, my mind was merely occupied with certain matters of duty. Does the King fare well?"</i>
User avatar
Freahelm
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 3:28 pm
Location: A farm in southern Rohan.
Top

Postby Tempest » Sun Jun 24, 2001 2:55 pm

Jacen was in a dark mood as he hurried back to his meeting place. So distracted was he that he did not at first notice Canamarth when he entered the gloomy room again. All eyes were fixed on his countenance, and those who knew him well knew that his encounter with Athelas had not gone as planned.<BR><BR><i>"Has she changed her mind?"</i> one of the men asked bluntly and Canamarth tried to stifle a laugh.<BR><BR>Jacen jerked his head up at the sound and glared at her. <i>"You were supposed to be here hours ago! I thought I would have to cancel it for another day!"</i><BR><BR><i>"Well, it looks like you might have to do that anyway, especially since you seem to have lost your assassin,"</i> she replied darkly.<BR><BR><i>"I have not lost my assassin. She will complete the task well enough."<BR><BR>"And if she doesn't?"</i> one of the men snapped.<BR><BR><i>"She will!"</i><BR><BR><i>"Perhaps you should go, just in case. We've spent too much time on this plan for it to go ill now."</i><BR><BR><i>"The whole point of having Athelas carry out the murder was because none of us can get that close to the King,"</i> Jacen said savagely, <i>"How do you suggest I follow her?"</i><BR><BR><i>"Come, come,"</i> Canamarth spoke up, <i>"We both know that Athelas is not the only 'friend' we have in the palace."</i><BR><BR><i>"Yes, but she is the only one with access to the King."</i><BR><BR><i>"Well, then she can make a way for you to accompany her. Failure is not an option, Jacen. Need I remind you what unfortunate circumstances may befall you if you do not complete this task?"</i><BR><BR>Jacen's face paled considerably, but his eyes held a stubborness that her words had not shaken. <i>"Athelas will not fail. She cannot. She owes me more than her life and she will do whatever I ask, though it cost her everything."</i><BR><BR><i>"I hope you're right, for your sake."</i> <BR>
User avatar
Tempest
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4907
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2000 8:12 am
Location: Wandering in the wilds
Top

Next

Return to Role Playing: The Prancing Pony (Middle-earth Only)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron