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Folwren 02-19-2016 10:29 PM

Saeryn turned and watched Rowenna go, wondering at the change in her. She turned away again, shaking her head slowly. She was sorrowed to see Rowenna react so, but she thought that soon things would settle into their old way. They were both tired. A meal and a night’s rest would work wonders, she had little doubt.

In a moment, she joined Eodwine at the head table. She quietly slid into the chair beside him and drew a deep sigh. For the first time in hours, she felt herself relax. She shut her eyes a moment, too tired to take up her spoon and begin eating. With a shake, she roused herself and sat up and reached for the bowl that someone, she was not sure who, had placed there in expectation of her arrival.



“No,” Cerwyn said in reply to Javan’s question. “He’ll be quite mad when he finds I’ve gone, if he hasn’t heard already. So maybe you’ve not got the corner of roguishness at this table.”

Javan laughed a little in politeness, but his curiosity was piqued again, and after an appropriate pause, he asked, “What do you mean, if he hasn’t heard already? Don’t you see him every day? I mean, if any of us up and disappeared one day, someone would be sure to notice right away.”

Just as he finished, and before Cerwyn could begin answering, Léof sauntered up. Javan glanced up at him, and then down at Cerwyn. Quickly, he looked away and slid down the bench, making room for Léof between himself and Cerwyn.

“Come to join us, Léof?” he asked, slapping the space on the bench.

Firefoot 02-20-2016 01:07 PM

"Yes, it's a bit tense over there," said Léof, taking the cleared seat. "How are you settling in, Cerwyn?"

"Oh, fine," she said, her smile just a little too sweet. "Javan and I were just getting to know each other." She looked past her brother to answer Javan's question.

"My father let me go to Edoras with the widow he's set to remarry and her son. I ran off from there."

"You really ought to have left a message or something," Léof said.

"Then they might have tracked me down before I got here," she retorted. Léof shrugged, conceding the point, not wishing to fight in front of Javan. "As you said," Cerwyn continued, "we'll send them word, and then they'll stop worrying. It's not as though I'm trying to stay hidden or keep secrets forever."

Léof frowned, sensing a barb but unsure where it was aimed.

Satisfied at having made her point, Cerwyn turned to Javan again. "Do you have brothers or sisters?" she asked him.

Folwren 02-20-2016 02:00 PM

Javan understood the jab, and he and Garmund shared a covert grimace. He blinked and wiped the amusement off his face when Cerwyn addressed him again.

"Yes," he said. "I've got four sisters and a brother. Thornden's the oldest - he's around here somewhere." He turned around and looked toward the head table. "There he is, by Eodwine. He's the steward here." He paused before turning back to his table, looking at Eodwine and Thornden, sitting side by side, but not conversing. They both looked tired.

Javan turned back around. "Thornden got here first, and my father thought to send me to him." He stopped before explaining why. "Actually, at the time, Eodwine's court was held in Edoras. It was an old inn, I think, where he first was. We moved the entire household here when the previous landlord here turned out to be a villain." He briefly told the story of Sorn and how Eodwine and his men got caught up in dealing with his crimes. He could not go into much detail, for honestly, he did not remember much, he having been but a boy, and an irresponsible, disinterested one at that.

When he finished, there was a brief pause. It came to Javan that perhaps Cerwyn hadn't really been interested in the story. She was, after all, just newly arrived and probably did not care much for their history. He wasn't even sure how long she was going to stay.

"Are you planning on staying?" he asked.

littlemanpoet 02-21-2016 07:00 PM

Eodwine watched Saeryn come to the table. She looked tired. He had told her to come when she could. Maybe he should have said ‘come the first moment you can.’ Maybe that would have made a difference. She sat next to him, breathed a huge sigh, and with it let all manner of tightness release from her body. He was glad for her that such a move was all she needed. For his part, he felt the tightness in his head, in his chest, and in his gut as well. She picked up a spoon and tried her soup.

“How is the soup?”

“Oh,” Saeryn said, at first. She had not taken any notice. She looked down at it. “Alright, I guess,” she said. “Come spring, there will be fresh herbs to put in. I hope you enjoyed yours, though,” she said, looking up and giving a small smile “At least it is something hot.”

Maybe there would be fresh herbs this spring, if the rains would stop. If? It seemed that it had rained for weeks without let up, and it was beginning to seem uncanny.

“You have been very busy since I asked you to come sit with me.” Eodwine leaned on the table, staring at nothing across the hall, and said no more. He did not know quite how to say what was in his thought.

“Yes,” Saeryn said, resuming her meal. “There were many folk to be fed.” She chose not to speak of her quarrel. It seemed useless to pull him into this trouble.

Eodwine, he said to himself, out with it. “You need to stay above the challenges and quarrels.”

So he had noticed it anyway. She did not look up from her bowl and took another bite before responding. “How am I supposed to run the household if I stay above the challenges, then?” she asked finally.

“You run the household by staying above the challenges. Never make the challenges battles of will. You have all the advantage of your place. You’ll be fine. These kinds of things are needed to refine the gold. It’s not why I asked you to come to me, though. Of course not, since I asked you before that happened.” He let out an involuntary huff of an ironic chuckle.
“Here I am advising you. I wanted to tell you how I feel very much ill suited to Eorldom.”

Saeryn looked up sharply. “Why?” she asked. “Others, including the king, have found you suited for it. Why do you feel otherwise?”

He shrugged. “Who can put why to feelings? It’s a mood. It will pass.” He knew that he was reassuring her but he did not think that it was worth pursuing; he did not think to ask himself why not.

Saeryn forced herself to give pause and wait before answering. She looked at him in silence, thinking that if it was a mood, and if he knew it would pass, why let it trouble him? As a woman, she had learned to ignore passing feelings and carry on. Clearly, her first response would be of no aid to him. She tried to think of something more useful.

“It is certain things have been hard here of late, Eodwine, but it is not due to your lack of leadership. Nothing that has happened is your fault.”

He smiled half heartedly. “I have not been doing my best. So it goes. I think I am being hard on myself after a difficult day.” He stretched. “I think that I do not need so much talk as time with my wife. I am tired. If you have more to do, of course go do it, but I think I am ready to turn in. Please do not linger about your tasks too long.” He placed a hand on her shoulder and gently rubbed a knotted muscle he found there.

The temptation came suddenly to Saeryn to abandon all of her duties and go with her husband this moment. Rowenna would take the slack without a word, she thought. She smiled and then dismissed the thought. She dipped her head and let it rest just a moment on Eodwine’s shoulder.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” she promised.

Firefoot 02-21-2016 09:15 PM

Being already familiar with Javan's story, Léof paid little attention to it. Instead, he was wondering what she and Javan had been discussing before, and whether she was actually being short with him and if so why. He couldn't think of anything.

Cerwyn was intrigued by Javan's story, even more so than after hearing Scyld's testimony earlier that afternoon. Javan's version was still lacking in details, but maybe Balan might make a good story of it - if she saw him later she'd mention it. After all, there was action, betrayal, romance... or so she imagined. Why else would the henchman turn on the evil lord to rescue the beautiful noblewoman? (Again, her imagining - no one had told her what the woman looked like.) Maybe she would ask him. She felt tingles down her back, fascinated and nervous at the idea of meeting a true-life villain-turned-hero.

She was pulled from this thrilling line of thought by Javan's question, and forced once again to consider her own predicament. "I've not decided yet," she said. "Everyone I've met has been so kind and welcoming. I think I just need some time..." to figure out where I'm wanted, needed, loved... "To figure out where I fit, if that makes sense."

"Well, there'll be plenty of time for that," said Léof. "With the weather as it is, no one is going anywhere for a few days at least. It's been a long day; maybe things will seem clearer in the morning. I'm heading to bed." He stood. "It's good to have you here, Cerwyn. We'll talk more in the morning."

"Good night, Léof," she said, the edge of her anger blunted. He left, and she turned to Javan. "He's right; it is getting late, and I probably ought to help clear the dishes. It's the least I can do, since all I did was watch the stew while the rest of you did the dirty work today."

littlemanpoet 02-23-2016 08:43 PM

Rowenna could not sleep. She tossed and turned on her straw mattress. She was surprised that all her movements didn't waken any of the others. She turned over one last time and closed her eyes, trying to focus on the swirling specks; it usually lulled her to sleep. They were all going straight down, just like the insufferable rains.

It was not use. She sat up. She heard water moving. Of course, she heard water running. The rain was beating on the roof. But this was a different sound, like a stream. Maybe there was a stream of water forming outside where it dripped off the roof more than elsewhere.

She got up and walked across the damp thresh that covered the floor. She lit a candle then opened the door to the hall. The sound of flowing water was louder now. She stepped into the hall. Her foot came down in cold water, an inch deep. Had someone spilled something? Was there a leak in the kitchen?

She went into the kitchen, but the water became more shallow that way. She turned around and went to the outside door. The water deepened. She got to the door. A stream of water was coming in through the door. It occurred to her in half a thought that it might not be a good idea to open the door, but her hand went to it anyway and opened it. A stream of water washed over her feet, more than ankle high, into the hall. She was about to call out the alarm, but thought first to look outside.

The whole Scarburg's lands were gone. In their place was a lake, and it was rising.

She grabbed for the door and had to fight with all her might to close it against the flood. She turned and ran to the men's quarters first.

She knocked and knocked, crying, "Wake! Wake! We are flooded! Wake!"

Firefoot 02-24-2016 02:08 PM

In his dreams, Léof was still drenched with rain water. He roused slowly from a deep sleep, at first unsure of why he had woken. Then he realized: the wetness was not a dream. His hand had slipped off of his pallet and the end of his sleeve was soaked through.

But why is the floor wet? he wondered muzzily.

The stables were flooded! The realization brought him to full wakefulness. He leapt up and stuffed his now-wet feet into his boots. He dashed out into the main aisle of stable to find the floor covered by at least an inch of water. He splashed out to the courtyard and up to the Hall only to find that it too was flooding and its folk were already rousing.

He did not see Eodwine yet, but Thornden was standing near the fireplace. Léof approached him and said, "The stables are flooding too. Worse, maybe, than in here."

littlemanpoet 02-25-2016 05:26 PM

Eodwine was wakened by the ruckus. He leaned up on his elbows. Saeryn was stirring. What was he hearing? He focused. Wake! Wake! We are flooded! Wake! Maybe he was just dreaming. He shook the cobwebs loose in his mind. No, it was no dream. He could hear the furious knocking. Was it the middle of the night? It must be. He groaned and got out of bed.

Oh no.

The floor was covered in water. He pulled a face. Disgusting. It was probably very dirty water. How could this be! They had just gotten done digging a very good trench! He pulled on his briefs, threw on a tunic, and hurried to the hall.

Thornden was up and dressed already.

"How bad is the flooding?"

The whole of Scarburg is a lake," Thornden replied. "What shall we do?"

Eodwine sighed and his shoulders slumped. He hated this. It would have to be his decision, and the lives of all of these people depended on him. This was what he could not tell Saeryn: he was terrified of making decisions that would go wrong or be not enough in the end, for lack of foresight or what have you. He searched through his harried mind for anything that might help. Everything was wet. What was not? The roof of the hall was wet, but it would not be enveloped in the flood. Move everyone to the roof? It seemed ridiculous. The scar was above it all, too.

"Thornden, what do we have to use to keep people dry if we can get them to a place that will not be flooded?"

Folwren 03-01-2016 07:11 AM

As Thornden threw on his clothes, his mind worked with the questions of where the water was coming and how quickly it was rising. He also thought of the food, so recently brought here, and so easily ruined if reached by water. He paid no mind to the men’s talk as he finished dressing and waded his way to the great hall. Someone asked him what he should do, but Thornden didn’t know yet. He told him to follow.

Out in the great hall, Léof met him almost at once.

“The stables are flooding, too, worse maybe than here.”

“I have not even looked outside,” Thornden answered. “What is it like?”

Léof described the scene. Rowenna approached as they spoke, and she reiterated what Léof had said – the entire place was flooded, and the water was rising.

“Don’t let the horses go yet,” he said. “Put the halters on them, so that those who can may be able to ride. Let the foals and any you have that cannot be ridden loose at once. Maybe they can find higher ground.”

As Léof departed, Eodwine approached Thornden from the other side. “How bad is the flooding?”

“Léof tells me the whole of Scarburg is a lake,” Thornden said, turning at once. “What shall we do?”

He saw Eodwine’s shoulder’s slump, and for a second, Thornden remembered that Eodwine was older than he, and these constant setbacks were becoming more and more difficult for him to surmount. He regretted asking the question and reproved himself for not having come up with something before Eodwine arrived.

“Thornden, what do we have to use to keep people dry if we can get them to a place that will not be flooded?”

Thornden reflected quickly. His earlier thoughts of food availed him, and he said almost without hesitation, “The caravan came with tarps over the wagons. Those are well oiled and tarred and will keep some people dry. If the water is not too high, we should try to use the wagons, fill them with the youngsters and with some food, and try to pull them out.”

Firefoot 03-01-2016 08:09 PM

Léof hesitated only a moment before leaving to do as Thornden bid. Thornden was right, and Léof had to face it: he could not protect the horses, and the young ones would stand as good a chance on their own as with the human denizens of the Hall.

He made his way down the stable aisle, opening stall doors and releasing the uneasy yearlings, two-year-olds, and pregnant mares. None were yet due to foal, and he hoped they might be a calming, steadier influence on the flightier young animals. “Look after them, alright?” he said to Cinderfoot as he led her out of the stables. “And don’t even think about having that foal till the water’s gone and you’re safe back here.”

Lastly he came to Æthel’s yearling filly Ællwyn, the one for whom he had such high hopes. “Be wise and brave and safe,” he murmured to her. “Come back to me when it’s dry.” The flick of her ears told him she was listening to his voice, but her anxiety at the rising water was clear. She hesitated only a moment before plunging out into the rain, trotting to catch up with the small herd that was already headed towards higher ground and shelter on the Scar. Their instincts are good, he told himself. They will be safe.

But his worry continued unabated, and he could not help but wonder if it was the last time he would see any of them. If there was something more he could have done. Memory flashed sudden and bright in his mind of another day long ago: stables burning, horses screaming…

But no. There was nothing more he could have done then, any more than he could do now. He had other charges to care for, and he put his worries aside as he began the familiar work of haltering the remaining horses and preparing them to ride out.

littlemanpoet 03-03-2016 11:59 AM

Eodwine sighed with relief. He put his hand on his shoulder. "Thornden, you are a rock. I thought that we would have to have everybody climb onto the roof. I give you the power to do as you see fit about the wagons. Give orders to who you deem fit."

He wanted Thornden to give him orders so that he would not have to think of what to do next, but that was not the way this was to go. He looked about him to see if there was anything that stood out to him that needed doing.

"Thornden, I am going to stay here and work as the point to which all questions must come. Spread the word that any new woes and troubles are to be brought to me."

Thornden nodded and moved.

Firefoot 03-04-2016 07:29 PM

Yawning, Cerwyn joined the crush of people gathering in the great hall. "What's going on?" she asked of no one in particular, having missed the original alarm cry and only been awakened by the general clamor that followed.

The man next to her turned, and her eyes widened in recognition - it was him, the kidnapper. Scyld smirked - he'd not yet met Léof's tibet sister but it seemed that his reputation had preceded him. At least there was none of the scorn and mistrust in her face that had seemed to mark most of the old Scarburgians' reactions to him - only curiosity, and maybe just a little fear. He could have some fun with that - later, when the Hall wasn't under water. For now, he only said, "It seems that that we are being flooded."

She nodded and scurried off. She caught a glimpse of her brother as he was rushing outside - of course he'd go back to the horses before checking on her. She sighed. Spotting Javan not far away, she approached him instead. "Looks like you were right," she said.

littlemanpoet 03-05-2016 08:43 PM

"Such an astute comment," Scyld heard from behind him. It was Rowenna. "Yes, we're being flooded."

He looked at her sidewise with that sardonic expression of his.

"So are you going to stand there and smirk at everybody, or are you going to be useful?"

Folwren 03-05-2016 09:00 PM

"Right about what?" Javan asked, hopping up and down on one foot as he tried to tug on his wet boots - it was never easy putting on wet boots.

"You said earlier it might flood," Cerwyn said.

"I said Osmund said that!" Javan snapped. "I wish he was wrong!" He jerked the second boot on. "I'm going out to help Léof." He ran toward the door. "Come on, if you know anything about horses!" he called over his shoulder.

"Javan!" he heard from his left. Thornden came striding toward him. Javan swerved from his original course to meet him. "We're going to load the wagons and try to take the people and some food out with them. Go out and tell Léof and begin. I'll send men to help you."

Javan nodded and hastened outside. The cold, deep water brought him up short. He paused on the top of the steps leading down from the hall to the courtyard. He drew a shuddering breath and then plunged in. It swirled about his knees, and he shook his head. He doubted they could get the wagons out of this.

"Léof!" he shouted when he reached the stables.

"Here!" came the answer. Javan sloshed to him.

"We're to harness horses to the wagons. Best get the biggest ones, I don't know if we'll be able to get them out."



She stumbled out of bed. Her body ached with weariness. Why had this come now? She shook her children awake and bid them dress themselves. Eoghan began to cry.

"Mama, my stomach hurts!" he whimpered. Saeryn touched his forehead and ran it quickly over his cheek and behind his head to his neck. He felt cold and clammy. What more?

"Get dressed, son," she said quietly, her own stomach giving a terrible twist of fear. "You're going to be alright."

She dressed herself with haste, listening all the while as Eoghan's whimpering continued. Just before she left the room, she heard him begin to vomit. She turned back to him. He sat shivering violently on his mattress, leaning over, thankfully, so he had no soiled himself. She hastily wiped his face with her skirt and wrapped him in a blanket. "Are you feeling alright, Ruari?" she asked, looking over at her. Ruari stared at her, her eyes huge and dark, and nodded. "Come on, then."

She led the way out into the bustling hall. Eodwine stood near the fire, which thankfully was still alive, thought water was beginning to churn among the dry ashes beneath the grate.

"Eoghan is ill," she said. "Eodwine, if we are leaving, we must have food and shelter."

Firefoot 03-05-2016 09:50 PM

Cerwyn hesitated a moment, put off for a moment by Javan’s snappishness. Well – better to be useful somewhere. She’d only pulled a shawl around her shoulders over her shift when she’d been woken, so she hurried back to the women’s quarters to put on some more useful clothing. She pulled a dress over her head, and after brief consideration decided to pull on Léof’s old trousers that she’d arrived in as well.

All told, dressing only cost her a few minutes’ delay, though in that time several others had been recruited to the stables and she followed them out. Léof spotted her almost immediately. “Do you need something?” he asked.

“No, I’m here to help,” she said. Seeing his look, she added, “Javan said to come.”

If anything, his frown deepened, but he had better things to do than argue. “He’s in the tack room,” Léof said, gesturing. “You can help him bring the harnesses for the carts out. I was about to bring out the first horses…” his voice trailed off as he remembered she’d come out with several others who also needed instruction. He addressed the small group. “The horses in these first four stalls need to be harnessed.” He considered for a moment. The carts had been left alongside the stables; there had used to be an awning there but it had been used for firewood like so many other structures that winter. “A few of you go out and see how stuck the carts are and whether they can be brought around, or if we’ll need to hitch the horses directly out there to pull them out.” The men dispersed, and when Léof turned back to Cerwyn he found that she had disappeared as well, hopefully to find Javan as he'd said.

He’d barely gotten one of the horses out of its stall and clipped him into the aisle to be harnessed when one of the men who’d gone outside to check on the wagons returned. “The ground’s so wet the wheels have sunk straight into the mud,” he reported.

Léof sighed. “I guess we’ll see what happens when we get the horses hitched then,” he said.

Firefoot 03-07-2016 01:35 PM

"And if you are done listening in on my conversations, perhaps you could tell me how best I can help," Scyld answered in the same tone.

He glanced around: people were either milling around in confusion or dashing about chaotically, and he wasn't sure any of them really knew what was going on. He didn't.

Galadriel55 03-07-2016 10:41 PM

It was not courteous to order a guest to do housework. The people of Scarburg were too courteous for these rough times, Balan decided. And he was a guest who intended to earn his living with more than words, if need be.

Noticing some people leaving the Hall, Balan quietly went back to the room to get his canvas. He slept in the room with all the other men, and it took him a while to find his bed among all the mattresses. By the time he returned to the Hall, people who stayed inside swirled around the Hall like dust on a light wind, picking up here, landing there, clumping together and then falling apart again. He slipped around them, draped the canvas over himself - he usually used it as a tent, and it hung awkwardly on him, but it would keep off the worst of the water - and stepped outside the doors.

At first he could not see anything. There was a wall made of water and darkness in front of his eyes. For a moment, he was lost; he did not know where to head. Then he chuckled at himself. For someone who can invent such clever characters, you are a mighty fool, Balan. He cocked his ear this way and that, straining to hear voices. Almost nothing could be heard over the rain, but Balan thought he heard a snippet of conversation. He followed it, making sure that the water did not come up too high; he did not want to end up in the trench he helped dig just a few hours ago.

He knew he found the right place when he nearly collided with another man.

"Watch your way! Don't walk here like a wraith in the dark!"

"Wraiths in the dark we must be now if we are not to be wraiths in the light when morning comes," Balan retorted cheerily. He could not see the man's face to tell if he was angered or amused. "Tell me," he said, possibly interrupting the man's thoughts, "what task is to be done?"

"Nothing you and I can do until the horses come. The wagons are stuck too deep!" the man shouted back. Another man's voice sounded, asking what was happening. Balan carefully guided himself to a wagon, where a lantern sat shielded from the rain. Its flame barely lit the edges of the wagon, but it was clear that the wheels were buried deep.

"Do you have a strong, flat piece of wood?" he shouted to the man. He did not hear, so Balan repeated again.

"Unless you make a raft of it, how will wood help you drag the wagons out of the mud?" the man asked.

"As long as the wheels are on the ground, they will keep sinking, and the horses would be exhausted pulling them even a single arm length. But if we place the wood beneath the wheels, we will make a road for the wagons to drive on. Not a very good one, but better than this mud!"

Folwren 03-12-2016 03:13 PM

It was hard working in the dark and streaming rain. Javan didn’t have an extra hand to push away the streaming locks of hair out of his eyes as he and several others scrambled in the rising water to get long, stout pieces of wood underneath the wheels of the wagons. Before they were done, other men were leading the horses out with the traces and collars already on them. The water surged around the horses’ knees as they plowed through.

“This your idea?” Javan asked as he and the new minstrel fellow worked side by side at the last wheel.

“Aye,” Balan replied.

“Hope it works,” Javan muttered. He sloshed through the mud and water toward the tongue of the wagon. The horses were backed into places, looking about them nervously, but holding their alarm in check admirably. Javan and the others worked quickly in fastening the traces to the wagon tongue.

“All ready?” Javan asked as he buckled the last clasp.

“All ready,” came the reply. Javan gathered the reins and stood by the near horse’s flank while the other men hurried around to the back of the wagon and to the wheels. They set their hands and backs against it. Javan slapped the reins along the horse’s back, and shouted to the horses. The horses leaned into the collars and heaved. The men gasped as they put all of their effort into the pushing. For one long, horrible moment, nothing happened. The horses strained, their hooves sinking deep into the wet, oozing ground. Then, with a sucking sound and a surge of water, the wagon moved. It rose out of its watery bed, rolled over the wood Javan and the others had put in place. There was a halfhearted cheer as it sloshed out to the main courtyard in front of the hall.

littlemanpoet 03-12-2016 07:36 PM

So Scyld was in a bad temper; at least toward her. Fair enough, she thought. They all deserved to be in a bad temper, considering the nuisance of the flood and rains.

"Let's go have a word with Eodwine, see how he thinks we can both be useful."

She turned toward the eorl who stood in the midst of the Hall. She was not sure Scyld would follow, but that was really his choice.

This rain and flooding was too much. It was uncanny. There was no Dark Lord anymore, but it this much rain and flood must have wizardry behind it; or at least, something altogether out of their reckoning.

piosenniel 05-11-2020 01:18 PM

This Game thread will be moved to Elvenhome.

It can be retrieved for play at the request of the owner and players

~*~ Pio

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