Inn of Tales II

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

Postby Freahelm » Tue Jun 03, 2003 10:20 pm

<i>It looked like any other inn when view from the street, its wood old and weather-beaten, its paint cracking and peeling. The building creaked in the storms, but did not leak, and the windows rattled in the wind, but did not let in the cold. It was built as a large square, the common room facing the street, the rooms enclosing a small courtyard. Within the courtyard a fountain bubbled the year round, and when the weather permitted, served as a replacement for the common room.<BR><BR>The name of the inn was the Inn of Tales. None knew for certain who ran the inn, but it was always well stocked and had servants to do the guest's bidding though they refused to say anything concerning their employer. Whoever entered the inn was guaranteed sanctuary, for no weapon could be drawn, nor blow struck, within the inn. <BR><BR>At one end of the common room, opposite the bar, a fire burned day and night. Around this fire, and also around the fountain, the travellers would gather and exchange their tales. Such was its purpose - a haven for travelers to rest, and listen to stories spun by all manner of other weary travelers. Tales were told of sorrow, tragedy, happiness, true love, adventure, laughter, wars - in short, all manner of things.</i><BR><BR>The atmosphere of the inn was unusually lively this evening, which fit the warm and balmy spring weather outside. Most of the men’s tales were boastful, and made with one eye toward the ladies that were staying in the inn. It was that time of year, after all, and it would have seemed out of place for the young men to be doing otherwise.<BR><BR>One was a tall but very broadly built man from Rohan. His hair was of a lesser golden sheen than many of his countrymen, betraying, perhaps, a mixed linage that fit well with the other evidence of his agricultural upbringing. His hands were thick with calluses, and his skin was thoroughly bronzed by the sun. Why he was traveling, he had not said, and people in the inn usually did not inquire about such things. If he could tell a good story, what did it matter? And in any case, if it was something important or interesting, most people would volunteer the information. <BR><BR>The man from Rohan, Halfast by name, had ordered a large flagon of ale, and he took a great draught of the stuff just as a man from a fishing village in Belfalas finished up a tale. <BR><BR><i>“And I swear by my own mother’s sewing needles, that monster was fully twice the size of my skiff, if that small! When my brothers and I cut it up and sold it, we fed the entire village for a week!”</i><BR><BR>There was scattered laughter in the room, and a few small rumbles of skepticism. Halfast glanced around the room over the rim of his flagon, and wondered who would tell the next story. The ale here was excellent, he had decided, and was more than content to listen as he drank. Unless one of those young braggarts started spinning tales a little too widely to be believed. Then he might have to tell them a real tale to put a little hair on their young chests. He shared a brief nod with a dwarf sitting at the same table that was nursing a beer that seemed almost half his height. They both wondered the same thing - who would tell the next story?
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Postby Tempest » Wed Jun 04, 2003 1:28 pm

Tempest sat at a small table in the corner, away from the merriment shared by most of the guests. She was impossibly weary, perhaps more than she had ever been in her life, but she loathed the quiet of her room. She hated being alone with her thoughts. Here, at least, there were other faces and voices to amuse her, to distract her from the vice around her heart that seemed to squeeze the breath from her.<BR><BR>Yes, that was it. It was almost painful to breathe. She ordered another ale and peered forlornly into its foamy depths before pushing it away. Her hand, which rested on the table, curled into a fist, her nails biting into the skin of her palm.<BR><BR>Gone. <BR><BR>All gone.<BR><BR>Was it even worth trying anymore? <BR><BR>The question had followed her, gnawing at her mind, giving her no rest. It followed her along whatever lonely paths she chose and followed her into her dark dreams. Yes, it had even followed her into this strange inn and at this moment sat across from her, whispering terrible things. She sat, rigid and unmoving, trying to focus on anyone or anything to draw her attention away from it. <BR><BR>If any had noticed her in the shadows, it could not be said that she was not beautiful, for in truth, she held the sort of rare beauty possessed by the fairest of the Rohirrim. Yet, for all that, there was a hardness in her face and a tilt to her full lips that suggested a certain aptitude for cruelty, which made the onlooker feel immediately uncomfortable. It was a face like one carved out of marble, and the observer had to wonder whether her heart was made of similar stone.<BR><BR>Tempest herself was aware of every figure in the room, even if she did not lend her full thought to them. Her dark eyes rested on them as if she were permanently registering each face within her memory. There was uproarious laughter as the last man finished his tale and she feigned a smile in politeness. She hoped the next storyteller would be a little more believable. She was in need of being amused.
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Postby Haena » Fri Jun 06, 2003 3:27 am

Haena layed curled up in the corner clutching her presious stone. She made the odd atempt to look at others around her but nobody seemed to notice her sharp eyes peering out. Her glistning stone was smooth and presious to her it told a story, a story yet to be told. Why was she here? How did she get here? Why? Everbody seemed to waunder in ando tu of the bar leaving her to snivvle away and drown her tears in a botomless bottle of some kind of drink. She continued to sit by herself and await that certain person shes been waitign for. Haena was a storyteller she held great legends and myths within her.
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Postby Maradir » Fri Jun 06, 2003 5:08 am

Everyone seemed to be waiting for a new tale. In any other inn they might have waited long for a volunteer. But not in this one. <BR><BR>A man got up. He had long blond hair but his features betrayed he was no Rohirrim. They were more finely cut, like those of the Dunadan and no beard rimmed his chin. His clothing was dark and travel-stained. On the wall next to him leaned his longbow and a quiver full of white-fledged arrows. He did not have to speak up to get the patrons' attention. It grew quiet before he began to speak.<BR><BR>"I am Maradir and I hail from Minas Tirith. I am a ranger and have travelled the wilds and picked up a story or two on my errands. I hope my tale will while away a bit of your time. I heard it in the far North.<BR><BR><i>Once upon a stormy night<BR>Morgoth whispered through the clouds:<BR>Bring me Geir’s ring <BR>And you shall be rewarded.<BR><BR>Dagnir woke with a start. The night had been stormy around Birka. Two or three of the older longhouses and huts had been damaged; one had simply collapsed underneath the weight of the snow that had fallen. The Frost Giants have held a battle amongst themselves, was what Dagnir’s father would have said had he not perished at sea in a similar storm last winter.<BR>The young man got up, quickly braided his flaxen beard, donned his cloak, and stirred the fire. It was time to go outside and see if his hut had been damaged and to clear a pathway towards the village square.<BR>Most of the inhabitants of Birka were up and about already. Dagnir saw Old Olof struggling to get out of his door which was blocked with snow. He waded over to the old man and helped him. “You’re a blessing, Dagnir. Your forefathers sailing the ships of the heavens must be very proud of you.” Dagnir nodded and turned to his own chores. <BR>He wondered. Were his ancestors proud of him? He had always tried to be forthcoming and helpful, just as his father had taught him. He would offer his labour to help poorer families till their fields in the summer, do repairs for people who were not as skilled as himself, or would clear away the snow in the square even though it was not his turn. They would thank him, of course, but he had not really received anything in return. He had not found a wife yet, though he was the most handsome and promising youth in all of Birka. He had not received a place of honour at the last Ting, though he was now old enough to take his father’s seat. People tended to simply overlook him and recently it had started to gnaw at him.<BR>The bell rang announcing that there would be a village meeting when the sun reached its zenith. Dagnir presumed they would be arranging repairs to the damaged houses. When the time had come, people thronged towards the Great Longhouse. There was hardly enough room for everyone and Dagnir found himself at the very back where he had to listen really attentively to catch the Headman Eirik’s words.<BR>As expected, arrangements were made for the rebuilding of the collapsed hut. Volunteers were looked for. A few reluctant men were finally convinced, then Eirik added Dagnir to the troupe without even bothering to ask him. The men were to come forward and stay to discuss the details after the assembly had dispersed.<BR>People started to talk amongst themselves now; the first turned to go when Eirik called them back. “There’s something else I want to tell you. Some happy news for a change.” That quickly recaptured the people’s attention. “As you all know,” Eirik continued, “my daughter Skidr came of age recently. And I am happy to announce that she has chosen a husband whom I am most willing to give her hand to.” A muttering and murmuring started to spread through the hall. Dagnir’s heart made a leap. Could it be? He had talked to Skidr quite often in the past. And he remembered a conversation about marriage not too long ago. She had wondered if the time was right for that yet and he had counselled her to listen to her heart. And hope had welled up inside him. <BR>Skidr now stepped forward, her long red hair neatly tied back in a bun, a dark blue skirt playing around her waist. Her deep green eyes were wandering through the crowd as if looking for her beloved. Her eyes came to rest upon Dagnir for a moment, then focused on someone behind him. A smile appeared on her lips and she held out her hand. “Geir.”<BR>The addressed stepped forward, brushing past Dagnir who stood as if stricken by Grond. He watched Eirik putting Skidr’s hand into Geir’s, noticing, as if for the first time, Geir’s golden ring. <BR>There had been rumours amongst the elders that this ring, handed down from generation to generation in Geir’s family was one of the fabled Orthnit rings, giving power over other people’s minds and bodies to its wielder. The younger people in the village gave little heed to these sorts of tales but Dagnir had heard it from his father as well. “Geir will make his fortune,” he had said only a few nights prior to the departure of his fated ship. “Let us hope he does not dim someone else’s for it.”<BR>Dagnir hurriedly left the Great Longhouse. He had to do some thinking.<BR><BR>It was a cold, stormy night. Lightning seared the sky, snow was falling heavily. A knife descended. A woman cried out in terror but was not heard above the din of the storm. <BR>The door to Geir and Skidr’s house flew open and a blood-bespattered Dagnir rushed out, running off into the night. He only stopped when he reached the edge of the cliff bordering the village. The wind tore at his cloak as he held up the golden ring he had cut from Geir’s hand. In the mirror of Dagnir’s eyes a warm light seemed to emanate from it. A wild smile appeared on his face. “Mine at last.”<BR>He thought he heard laughter in the howling of the storm just before a violent gust of wind pushed him over the edge. He lost his grip on the ring and the last thing he thought he saw before the sea swallowed him was a hand reaching through the clouds and catching the ring.</i>"
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Postby Ráca » Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:49 am

<i>Now, a new entrance to the Inn. An Elfess, dressed in black with eyes and hair of an ever darker hue, hood pulled up around her face. She neither looked around nor wandered - but made a bee-line for the bar. <BR><BR>As her pale, slender hands rested upon the smooth grain of the wooden bar-top, she sighed thankfully. A cluster of young men to her left looked around, their eyes roving upon the bodies of any female within a three-mile radius. Well aware of this, Ráca Arthelion was only too pleased to pull down her hood. <BR><BR><b>Infidels.</b><BR><BR>As they looked over again at the nudge of a friends, they found a pair of eyes cooly surveying them in return. When one winked suggestively, all she did was raise an eyebrow in return that spoke volumes.<BR><BR><b>Cubs. What makes you think you're old enough to play with the Wolves?</b><BR><BR>A bartender moved over her way just then, catching her eye and asking what it was she wanted. After requesting an Ale, Ráca dusted down her short-sleeved tunic, frowning as her attention was caught by a tear along its right side, a glimpse of bandage showing underneath as she removed her cloak.<BR><BR>Her face possessed the kind of solemn watchfulness that all Elves had, and that slight touch of unapproachable beauty that set them apart from others. Not only that, but in her eyes lay a spark of something... not malice, not cruelty... coldness.<BR><BR>Yes, she was cold. Even when she asked for an Ale she wasn't friendly, almost as if she was holding the speaker or listener at arms length.<BR><BR>Not usually one for stories, Ráca had arrived by chance to the Inn of Tales, and had found somewhere that suited her down to the ground.<BR><BR>Somewhere she was safe.
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Postby Canamarth » Fri Jun 06, 2003 2:07 pm

A moment of silence followed Maradir's gloomy tale. It was broken by some bustle at the bar where some newcomer requested an ale. The disturbance served to start the usual chatter and murmer following every story.<BR><BR>"A good tale and well told!"<BR><BR>"A bit too bloody for my taste. I was hopin' for something more cheerful."<BR><BR>"Then why don't you tell a funnier story?"<BR><BR>"Oh, shut up, will ya?" <BR><BR>Maradir got a slap on the shoulder and an ale was put in front of him by the barkeep - the usual fee for a story. When he sat back down he found his table had been joined by a short woman with long raven hair playing around her exotic - somewhat easterly - features. She also wore black travelling garments and was armed with a short bow and a scimitar. The most striking feature about her, though, were the tattoos on her cheeks. <BR><BR>"Mind if I join you?"<BR><BR>"Not at all."
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Postby *Vana*Ever-young* » Fri Jun 06, 2003 3:11 pm

And Vana longed to join them, too. She watched them, playfully slapping eachother and calling childishly to one another, as though they had been friends for ages. A small smile crossed the woman's lips as she took a sip of her water -- no alcaholic beverages for her -- and sat back in her chair. The long, cloak on her back gave away nothing. No facial expression, no body language, no sign of hope. Vana rested her head on her hand, and sighed. Maybe she too would join the group, but not yet. <BR>When she was done her drink, she stood, and pulled her cloak, black which seemed to be the trend in this inn, about her again. She did not want anyone to see her skin -- if they saw her, any part of the real her, they might draw back in fear, or worse, try to kill her. As she went to her room to rest and hear the stories from beneath the creaky floor boards, she wondered if there was anyone in that room like her.
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Postby Freahelm » Fri Jun 06, 2003 3:55 pm

Halfast mumbled something into his flagon before taking another sizeable pull. Poor fellow. He didn’t know much about famous rings or such things, but he knew they were trouble. Best to leave those things to the elves that made ‘em. <BR><BR>Halfast glanced around the room again as conversation began to chatter across the room, and nodded congenially to an old man that joined him and the dwarf. The dwarf uttered his own greeting and burped slightly. Others had come in during the last tale, as well, and the white clad servants of the Inn noiselessly delivered drinks to the newcomers. The old man at Halfast’s table accepted a glass of wine and began his own survey of the people assembled in the Inn. <BR><BR>Three of four of the younger men had been making eyes at the ladies all evening. The latest one to catch their attention was an elf. Despite some discouraging looks from the object of their attention, one of the bolder ones began to tell his friends about his latest hunting success. To Halfast’s annoyance, his own table was only a short distance away. The young man had barely gotten the part to where the bear had him up in a tree, and he was devising a clever way out of it with nothing but a small knife and a piece of string. Halfast didn’t feel like hearing the rest.<BR><BR>He thumped his near empty flagon on the table in front of him, startling the dwarf and older man. Several pairs of eyes turned toward him, and he spoke gruffly.<BR><BR><i>“Have you ever heard of the wild kine of Araw?”</i><BR><BR>Unsure of whom he addressed, one of the other patrons a few tables away piped up.<BR><BR><i>“Never! What are they like?”<BR><BR>“The most deadly kine ever to run wild under the sun,”</i> Halfast said evenly.<BR><BR><i>“They are called the kine of Araw because it is said in the old tales that they were his prey. Of that, I can tell you no more.”</i><BR><BR>A nearby elf spoke in confirmation of this. <i>“Indeed, they were once the prey of Orome himself! Have you seem them, or hunted them?”<BR><BR>“No,”</i> replied Halfast in a grim voice. <i>“But I can tell you of a man who has.”</i><BR><BR>The room grew quiet, but for a couple of dwarves who were loudly slurping their soup, oblivious to glares from nearby patrons. At last, one noticed the silence, and elbowed his companion, who spurted a small mouthful back into his bowl in surprise and glared at his friend. Halfast began his tale regardless, speaking in a grim but even voice. <BR><BR><i>“To hunt them on foot is almost suicide - they roam in small herds, and though you might kill one, the rest stampede upon you, crushing the life out of you with sharp, heavy hooves, or ripping open your belly with a single toss of their head. To hunt by horse is safer, but they still often gore the horse first, and then trample and slay the mountless man.<BR><BR>They run wild in the hills near the Sea of Rhun, and it was here that men hunted them. The man I tell of was angular, and long legged. His leathery skin was a sun died brown. On his hip, in a leather scabbard rode a sword of good steel and great length. It was unmarked with any runes, or great symbols. People called them both by the same name: the Long Sword.”</i><BR><BR><b>To be continued...</b>
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Postby *Vana*Ever-young* » Fri Jun 06, 2003 4:03 pm

Vana's eyes snapped open as she lay in her bed, the moon illuminating her, the stars twinkling brightly like many candles. She had heard many tales that night, all seemingly the same. But not this one. This one was different. And she almsot wished to hear it. She stood, threw her long cloak over her to make sure no one would see her skin, and started down the stairs. She hung back on the stairs, waiting for the stranger to continue. She did not dare to sit at the table, fearing they might ask questions. But this story was getting interesting.
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Postby Freahelm » Sat Jun 07, 2003 10:19 pm

<i>“He sat upon a plain brown steed. Plain in color, that is, but to an eye trained in horseflesh, of a good rugged quality, much like its master. The steed stood upon the side of a hill, overlooking a broad road, upon which a great company rode: at least a score of armed men, and many hangers on, all of them mounted in some form or another. <BR> <BR>The Long Sword himself had only one companion. His friend was a Ranger like himself, and roughly his equal in height. In stature and breadth of body, however, the Long Sword was by far the lesser. His companion was also weathered and brown, but it became his broad face well. The name of this companion was Damrod. <BR> <BR>They both angled their horses down the slope to join up with the company. A pair of men came out to greet them. One was of an average height and stature, and a plain brown face, with plain brown hair and plain brown eyes. He introduced himself as Arthwine, and his companion, he said, was called the Dwarf. <BR> <BR>The epithet fit the short little man, but he had no beard and so obviously was not a real dwarf: only an astonishingly short man. They explained that they were a part of a group of hunters from the southern shore of Rhun and were on their way to hunt the wild kine I spoke of.”</i> <BR> <BR>Halfast had set his scene, and his audience seemed receptive. Some had an idea of what to expect, having heard tales of the Long Sword before. Others were agog with curiousity and leaned in unconsciously, the better to hear Halfast’s measured words. Halfast took a glance into his empty flagon, and looked up to continue his tale. <BR> <BR><i>“Of course, Damrod and the Long Sword accepted the offer to join their company. They had joined the hunters just as they reached the beginning foothills in which the kine ran wild. They camped that night between two hills, where a small stream rushed past. Arthwine and the Dwarf explained their method of hunting. They would draw the kine out into the plain southwest of the hills, where they could use their horses to full advantage. Once on the plain, they would harry the herd with lance and arrow until the kine began to drop from loss of blood. <BR> <BR>Most any other way was folly, Arthwine explained. It was near impossible to drive a lance through their thick ribs, and certainly impossible if not mounted. Their neck was vulnerable, but that was difficult to get at except through the defense of horn and hoof. Damrod and the Long Sword agreed that theirs was the best plan, and resolved to join the hunt for the next day or two, as they were in no hurry. <BR> <BR>As they talked longer around the fire that night, they also learned who the other hunters were. By far the most prominent was the Duke, who ruled the area the hunters came from. It was, in fact, his own expedition. The Duke was actually a very young man, who had a keen appetite for hunting, and as yet no heir to the throne. These combined to make his main advisors very nervous. Arthwine was the king’s main hunting expert, and the Dwarf was a guide picked up along the way. It was their combined expertise that had generated the plan the Duke would follow for the hunt.”</i> <BR> <BR><b>To be continued…</b>
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Postby Canamarth » Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:48 am

"My name is Canamarth and I liked your tale," the woman said to Maradir. They exchanged a few pleasantries when a Rohirrim sitting close to them started a new tale. <BR> <BR>When he paused, Canamarth turned to her new companion. "I have heard that tale. The Duke he is speaking of - that is the ancestor of the Duke of Khorl." <BR> <BR>"I thought you would," Maradir said. "You look as if you hailed from Dorwinion, though the tattoos look more southerly." <BR> <BR>"You're right." Canamarth could not hide a certain astonishment at the Ranger's knowledge. "You seem to have travelled far, indeed. Did you ever come to the shores of the Sea of Rhûn?" <BR> <BR>"I did. Once." <BR> <BR>"And?" <BR> <BR>"I liked it." A smile seemed to play around the Ranger's lips. Canamarth knew she would not get anything more about the matter out of him. And she was spared from attempting to, as the Rohirrim continued with his tale. <BR> <BR>
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Postby RavenTinuviel » Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:27 am

The Summer night sky was filled with stars, for the moon had yet to rise. A whisp of fluttering silken robe and gown meshed with the darkness among the trees until it crossed with a slight shadow to the door of the inn. pushing the door open with a slight creak, Raven slipped inside to find stories in the air. As if frozen in time, they remain unfinished. Words yet to come from mouths telling them have yet to come. Raven sat un-noticed by the door, letting the sound of the night winds sing their songs around the windows and doors, thinking of a tale to tell...
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Postby Freahelm » Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:17 pm

Halfast nodded, and roused himself, as if from a long sleep. He looked about at the others in the inn, and thought carefully for a moment. Then he continued.

"Neither Damrod nor the Long Sword expected what happened next. That evening, as everyone slept, the earth began to tremble. At first only a few pebbles shook, but within a few minutes the entire camp had begun to quake, so that sleep was impossible. The horses, sensing something, began wildly neigh and fight against their hobbles. Damrod and the Long Sword both rushed to their horses, losing the hobbles and swinging quickly onto their bare backs.

No sooner had they done so, than the herd of kine began to thunder through the camp, trampling everything in their path. The kine were massive, some two or three hands taller than a strong warhorse, with horns of iron and hooves of steel. There were scores of the beasts, and no man who stood in their path survived.

Within a few minutes, the stampede was over. Besides the Long Sword and Damrod, only four men survived. Arthwine had been out of the camp, scouting over the hill to the north. The Dwarf, quick-witted and intelligent by the standard of any race, had managed to save the Duke and one other man, named Tarran. The Dwarf had woken them, and they had plunged into a small pool in the stream. It was only a few feet deep, but surrounded by boulders, around which the kine had broken, so that the pool was, in a way, protected.

The six surviving members gathered in the remains of the camp. Equipment, food, and horses all were destroyed. Only Arthwine, Damrod, and the Long Sword retained their mounts. They were at least three days ride from the nearest town, and on foot it would take far longer - a week, at least. Arthwine and the Dwarf advised an immediate return, keeping to hills as much as possible to avoid the kine, but the Duke refused.

"I have come to hunt these kine, and I do not intend to turn back now."

Arthwine pleaded with the Duke, but it was like pleading to stone. "But your Grace has no mount," Arthwine said, and the Duke merely shook his head.

"I shall catch one of the kine, and it shall be my mount."

Arthwine and the Dwarf both looked aghast. "Your Grace, that is impossible. The man who tries it shall surely die. Think of your people! You have a duty to them, at least!"

The Duke leveled a keen gaze upon Arthwine, and said simply, "I have said what I shall do. You are a hunter, not an advisor. Lead me to them, is all I ask."

Damrod and the Long Sword listened only, and spoke not, but they marvelled at the audacity of the Duke. He was clearly a man of great pride, and skill, but the task he spoke of was clearly foolish. "Shall we be party to this madness?" Damrod spoke to his companion, in a quiet tone.

"I think it would be madness to leave the Duke, now. Whatever happens, I think we should stay with him. I believe that he means what he says." The Long Sword spoke evenly, but there was respect in his voice. Damrod looked at him in disbelief, but nodded.

"At the very least, we should accompany them back to the town, where they can acquire new mounts."


Halfast paused, and held up his empty flagon. Refilled, he took a long drink, and plunged back into his tale...

To be continued...

(ooc - Thank you, Raven! This story long sat unfinished. I shall try to finish it quickly, and then perhaps, you or someone else will have a tale to tell...)
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Postby RavenTinuviel » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:28 pm

Raven took a drink of the fresh flagon set before her. Her eyes lit up for this was noordinary brew... a barley wine more like. She listened intently to the man telling the tale, and when he paused to drink, she did as well. She had become intrigued as to what becomes of Damrod, Long Sword and the Duke and if they go back into town...

(OOC: Yes, I could tell a tale when you finish. I also hope others will come and listen and tell tales as well. But apparently it is frowned upon to try and RP in an 'Inn' so it may even be even more against the rules to tell tales in one since this is the Tolkien RP forum. My tales will be told in the Scriptorium. Sorry Freahelm. I am happy I "resurrected" this thread though as it did get you to post more of your story, and for that I am happy.)
Last edited by RavenTinuviel on Thu Sep 07, 2006 7:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Daefaroth » Thu Sep 07, 2006 7:36 am

OOC:

There are now no less than three "Inns" active in this forum.

While they do have a place in role playing, three is quite sufficient.

Do not 'resurrect' any more Inns.



Edited to reduce confusion:

Posting to this Inn is not "frowned upon". The staff simply means to suggest that three active Inns are enough for the moment.

end OOC
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Postby RavenTinuviel » Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:52 am

(OOC: Freahelm, maybe you could copy your story and put it in the Scriptorium or Reading Room? when it is complete?)
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Postby Freahelm » Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:20 pm

"The Duke agreed to their company, but resolutely refused to return to get a mount," Halfast continued.

The Duke pointed to the hill north of them, and a string of hills that lay beyond it. "There I shall find the kine, and there I shall subdue them. Arthwine, I order you to find me a place from which we can ambush them."

Arthwine gaped, and the dwarf's mouth opened as if he was about to speak. Arthwine placed a hand on the dwarf's shoulder, and the dwarf fell silent. "As Your Grace pleases," Arthwine said coolly. "We shall go east, and then north. But allow me to scout to the north and west, first, in order to be certain of which way the kine have gone. It would not do to come on them unprepared."

The Duke nodded curtly, and Arthwine climbed onto his mount and rode north again over the hill. The Dwarf, Tarran, Damrod, and the Long Sword exchanged a look, and with one mind they began to bury the dead. Much of the camp was in disarray, but a surprising amount of equipment was still intact, including three spades. The four began to work side by side, digging out shallow graves in the pebbly soil. The Duke had begun to prepare each man for burial, washing their bloody faces, and placing their arms into a peace cross upon their chests. The Duke muttered a silent benediction over each fallen comrade as he did so.

Among the gravediggers, Tarran stood without a spade as the other three worked. Tears misted his eyes as he watched the Duke's actions. "You hardly know him, and you may think him foolish, but that man is dear to me."

"I have no doubt that he is," responded the Long Sword, tossing up a spadeful of earth. "But cannot you dissuade him from his course? It is noble, proud, and very foolish."

The Dwarf responded. "That ain't the problem, boys. The Duke's one of them noble fools, but that ain't what I'm worried about."

He paused and looked at the three men. "How much do you know about the Kine of Araw?"

"Only what you hear in legends," replied Damrod, shrugging. "Which just about matches what we saw this morning. I wish upon the tombs of my ancestors that I had never seen those cursed beasts."

The Dwarf snorted. "They're powerful, sure, but they're creatures just like you or I. No, I know people who have hunted them before - not recently, mind, but my grandfather killed three of these beasts once. Let me be frank - the Kine of Araw do not stampede like mere cattle. They run for fear, just like cattle, but so far as I know they only fear two things - mounted hunters and drakes. I don't know what made them run, but I say this - whatever they ran from is more worth fearing than the kine themselves."

The men exchanged glances. The enterprise was looking steadily worse. Finally the Long Sword spoke up. "I'm certain it wasn't a drake. Even cold drakes cannot hide their presence in the most desolate of wastelands. We surely would have known were one present."

Damrod butted in. "Hunters, then? But that can't be all bad. They might be able to sell us a couple of horses and make this whole thing easier."

Tarran, however, had blanched in fear. "Not here. Not now. The Duke is...well, this could be called disputed territory. There were no other hunters from the Duke's lands in this region, or we should have known about them. That can only mean they are from..."

Tarran had fallen silent. The Dwarf continued. "From Blugris. A rival kingdom that officially begins two days journey further north, but one that has always disputed the Duke's claim to this territory. He would love nothing better than to find the Duke undefended, and slay him."

"Not undefended," said the Long Sword. "Not undefended." With these words, they heard Arthwine's cry come down from the hill.

"The Kine are gone, Your Grace. Shall we be going?"


Halfast stopped, and eyed the room carefully. A man and a dwarf were conversing quietly in a back corner, but the rest of the room was attentive to his tale. He wet his throat again, letting the pause lengthen, deliberately moving slowly to draw out the tension.


To be continued...

(ooc: Honestly Raven, that never even crossed my mind! I've always intended this thread, and its original incarnation, to simply be an Inn where stories could be told; stories that fit Middle-Earth, obviously, but just random stories, of the sort that you might hear in an inn. One or two more posts, and this one should be wrapped up. Sorry I'm taking so long. :) )
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Postby RavenTinuviel » Mon Oct 09, 2006 4:00 pm

Raven sat forward in her seat, intently listening to the tale. What of the Duke and the Long Sword?
Will they be caught at unawares by hunters of the rival kingdom? Ravens eyes were wide with anticipation.


(OOC: Its such a good tale it is worthy of being copy/pasted in the Scriptorium in my opinion)
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Postby Freahelm » Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:21 am

Halfast paused, his blue eyes sweeping the room, confident in his tale. He swirled the liquid in his cup absent-mindedly as he continued.

"The Duke had finished with the funerals, and he acknowledged Arthwine with a shout of affirmation and a wave of the hand.

"Let us be off!" he said. "I have steel here that thirsts for the blood of these kine."

It took nearly an hour, however, before the men were ready. Damrod had offered to load his horse with the supplies, allowing the men to walk more freely. The powerful warhorse submitted quietly to the indignity of packing supplies, his large frame looking strangely bulky under the load. Arthwine, meanwhile, had cornered the Duke.

"My Lord, will you ride?" Arthwine held out the reins of his steed.

The Duke nodded, and reached for the reins, but stopped when he noted Arthwine's grimacing face. "What is it, man? Out with it!"

"Of course, my Lord is welcome to use my steed but...how will I scout?"

The Duke paused, unsure. The Long Sword, who had been watching, stepped forward.

"Your grace," he said, "if you would do me the honor," and he held forth the reins of his own horse.

The Duke bowed deeply, gracefully, thanking the Long Sword. "You are a man of honor. This shall not be forgotten."

Soon, all six men were underway, bearing north and a few degrees east, according to Arthwine's directions. While they rode, the Long Sword strode next to Tarran, and inquired after the Duke's history.

"Only the best of everything," Tarran said. "Nurses, teachers, experts in every field. I have never met a man more accomplished at anything he set his hand to. You might think this makes him arrogant, but no. While he has a fierce pride in his station, yet he treats us well."

"Indeed," Tarran mused, almost to himself, "he saved my life when I was but a youth."

The Long Sword nodded, silent for a moment, and then spoke. "What can you tell me of Arthwine, the hunter?"

Tarran furrowed his brow. "I cannot say I know him well - mostly by reputation. He excells at his craft to be sure, but he is also renowned for his solitary way of life. Honestly, we were all astonished when he accepted this position from the Duke."

"So he travels far in his hunting?" inquired the Long Sword.

"Oh, yes. He is known to be gone for months at a time, and come back with the skins of fantastic creatures from far away lands. Rumor has it, that he has hunted strange and fell beasts far away to the south - beasts of a size that dwarfs these kine, with feet that can crush a man, and backs on which an entire house would fit. He brought back only the horns of one of these, and each one stood taller than yourself."

"A remarkable feat," said the Long Sword, simply, and glanced toward where Arthwine, still mounted, rode ahead of the company, his brown eyes sweeping the countryside.

Little happened over that next, long day. If the dim shades to the north grew into mountains with valley, peaks, and ridges, it was only gradually and barely perceptible. The travellers had dipped into a shallow dale, where a stream flowed noisely amongst a thicket of brush and trees. Toward the southern end of the dale, the trees gave way to a more meandering course, as the stream curved lazily among rustling grasses and blooming lilies. Arthwine, who had departed for another of his scouting forays, met the small group in the dale.

"We had best camp here, tonight," said Arthwine. "It is the best water between here and the northern hills."

The Duke bristled. "There is at least two hours of daylight, man. We're on a hunt, not a berry picking party! Let us continue."

Arthwine looked taken aback, but only for a moment. "Of course, your grace," he murmured. "Only..."

Arthwine stopped, not completing his statement. "As you wish."

The Duke, however, would have none of his scout's reticence. "Out with it, man. Do not hold back on me."

Arthwine dipped in acknowledgement of the Duke. "It is only that, to my knowledge, there is no water within two hours of here, my lord. Do not think me less than eager, but it is only of the horses that I think. There is good pasture here, and naught like it for many miles."

The Duke frowned, clearly annoyed at the delay, but at last nodded curtly. "Here we shall stop. But we rise before the sun on the morrow, to make up the time."

"Of course, your grace," agreed Arthwine readily.

The Long Sword had watched the exchange silently, and then turned to Damrod. "This Arthwine breeds an ill feeling in me. Do you feel it also?"

Damrod nodded. "Yes, but I expect it is because he is a vulgar man - interested only in his reward, which he gets not if the Duke should perish. I do not think Arthwine truly cares for any man or beast, other than himself."


Halfast paused as someone entered the room, shielded carefully in a cloak. Halfast tipped his cup in the stranger's direction, to acknowledge his presence, and continued to speak.
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Postby Naveen » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:14 am

~

Damrod nodded. “Yes, but I expect it is because he is a vulgar man - interested only in his reward, which he gets not if the Duke should perish. I do not think Arthwine truly cares for any man or beast, other than himself.”

The man from Rohan paused and Naveen glanced up from where she sat at the sudden break in the story. She watched as Halfast tipped his flagon and her gaze followed the direction of its movement. A stranger had entered. An eyebrow arched slightly as she studied the figure. Then she felt a sharp pain on her shin and turned sharply to look at her companion.

“Shall we leave now?” Najhim asked as he put his empty flagon down.

“No. He hasn’t finished.”

“But it is only a tale of a hunt. I didn’t know your interests lay in that direction.”

“It is not the hunt that interests me… it is the men he speaks of.”

“The men?” Najhim hailed one of the serving wenches, signaling for her to bring two more flagons of ale. “Do you know this Long Sword he speaks of?”

“No, but he interests me. I would hear more of him. Besides, I’m curious to hear if the Duke captures or kills one of the kine.”


~
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Postby Tempest » Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:08 pm

Tempest had been only half-listening to the tale woven by the skilled Halfast. Stories of great hunts and adventures were diverting, but shallow entertainment for her in recent days. Besides, she always found the brash bravado of the main characters to be rather tiring. However, staring at the partially eaten meat pie in front of her had ceased to be of interest, and she had listened intently to the last scene. This Duke character sounded like a man in good need of a lesson or two in reality. It seemed foolish to her to risk so much in pursuit of a group of giant cattle, no matter how fierce they might be. If there was a reckless, glorious deed to be done, there never seemed to be a lack of willing men to try it. She shook her head.

But even as she thought this, a strange gloom came over her. There was some element in the story that saddened her. She played with her fork, pushing a few soggy carrots around her plate before finally setting it down again with a sigh. "I suppose every story needs a traitor," she said softly, even as she eyed the cloaked newcomer who took a side table in a shadowed corner.



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