View Single Post
Old 04-26-2011, 04:59 PM   #236
Wight of the Old Forest
Pitchwife's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Unattended on the railway station, in the litter at the dancehall
Posts: 2,904
Pitchwife is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Pitchwife is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Pitchwife is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Pitchwife is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
"That's the edge of Lord Hallas' lands. We're no more than half an hour from the loading up. I should thank you again for coming. It's difficult handling some of the pieces alone, and I don't have the same strength in my left arm as most men, thanks to the Easterlings."

That last remark made Coldan raised an eyebrow. He had noticed occasionally that the carpenter moved somewhat stiffly at times, but to the extent that he had given thought to the matter at all, he had assumed it might be due to an accident at work. Stupid, he scolded himself. Of course Amdr would have been in the War, like any able-bodied man his age.

"So you were vounded in ze Var? And by Easterlings? And yet you spoke of ze fact that I hev zeir blood in my veins like it doesn't matter to you?"

Amdr shrugged. "Why should it? You're not the man who gave me that wound. And even if you have a tiny drop of the blood of his people in you, why should I blame you for what is beyond your power to change? A man should be judged by who he is and what he does, not by who his fathers were; or so I hold."

These words provided ample food for Coldan's mind to chew on for a while. "You're right, Amdr", he said at last. "I guess I might as vell stop being so touchy about it." Too bad he hadn't come to this insight about a day earlier, or he might just have laughed Asta's insult off, and everything that had happened afterwards might have gone a lot differently.

"But", he continued, eager to change the subject, "now you mention it, I vonder vy none of us seems to hev zought of asking you about your memories of ze Var! Vere you on ze Pelennor?"

"So I was", Amdr nodded, "and a gruesome thing to remember that is. I do not speak of it often, but if you feel my memories could help you people with the play, we can talk about it at more leisure over lunch, when our work is done."

They had now reached a junction where a smaller road forked off from the highway leading down to the Harlond and turned sharp west. Following it, they climbed up a spacious valley that nestled between two spreading roots of the Mindolluin massif, its floor a patchwork of green meadows, orchards with their trees laden with fruit, and corn-fields where farmhands were busy bringing in the last crops while they passed them by; on the upper slopes cattle were grazing. Near the head of the valley, where its rocky walls closed in, stood a stately manor built of the same white stone that Coldan had seen everywhere in the City, surrounded by a small village of stables, sheds and barns, as well as several houses of more modest size, less splendid but still neat and well-built; these, he surmised, would be the dwellings of the numerous servants and workers in Lord Hallas' employ.

In the middle of the wide courtyard in front of the white mansion Amdr reined in the mules, climbed off the driver's seat and greeted the servants who welcomed them, calling each by his name, with a familiarity that spoke of long acquaintance.

"Please see to it that the beasts are fed and watered, will you? I've brought a friend along today to help me with loading our sets, Coldan of Dorwinion, prompter and occasional actor with the King's Players; I had to bribe him with the promise of a fine lunch when we're done, so I depend on you to help me keep my word."

"Do not worry, Amdr", one of the men replied with a laugh. "Your friend shall have no reason to rue his coming hither. Everything will be ready when you are."

Amdr led the way to a barn that stood hidden behind the backside of the manor and opened the big creaking door. Coldan stepped in and stood, blinking to see in the twilight that filled the barn, between the familiar set pieces he had so often performed among and even more often hidden behind, always alert to provide the needed cue when one of his fellow-players faltered in their texts. The showpiece, the big mountain backdrop which could serve as Erebor as well as Amon Rdh, Mindolluin, part of the Misty Mountains or Mount Doom - then lit from behind so it seemed to glow inside, and with smoke rising from the summit - was missing, for Amdr had already brought it to the inn the day before; but there was the street corner which nobody really knew what it had originally been supposed to represent but which would do nicely for any scene set within Minas Anor, and there the Mirkwood backdrop which could easily double as Lothlrien with a little change of lighting, and there the Tower of Isengard, shown in dramatic perspective to appear higher than it was and painted on both sides so it could change into Barad-dr with a simple turnaround.

"All right", he said, rolling up his sleeves. "It's ze vork zat's never begun as takes longest to finish. Let's get started."
Pitchwife is offline