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Old 12-02-2003, 05:07 AM   #185
Shade of Carn Dm
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Kalrienmar
Posts: 402
Elora has just left Hobbiton.

The inn's door opened on a conversation that had been going for some time now, revealing two individuals wrapped carefully in travel-worn cloaks.

"It is merely an inn, and fortuitously named also," said one with a note of exasperation in her voice. "What could go wrong," she threw back over her shoulder as she stepped through and into the common-room. The deep cowl of her cloak concealed the wry smile that some have described as impish in the past for good reason. The individual behind her knew many of such causes, which in turn lead him to sigh and shake his head as he followed her through.

"I would have thought the wisdom of the years past would incline you to not ask such questions." His reply was partial lament and partial resignation. The pair threw their hoods back to reveal their faces and a better view of the Seventh Star/

"Wisdom," the woman snorted with some amusement, "You speak of wisdom when all I want is some refreshment." She turned to hang her cloak on a vacant peg by the door, lips twitching in private laughter. Her companion merely took in the mischevious expression that flittered across her face and said nothing. With a shrug, he added his own cloak to the peg by hers. The problem with Elora is that what she considers refreshing many others consider baffling, peverse, improper or just plain bad behaviour in polite company.

At least, he conceded inwardly, she had made an effort with her clothing to blend in. Elora's hands smoothed her tunic over her hips and then moved to flick an intricately woven thick copper braid back over her shoulder. She surveyed the common-romm openly and was soon on the move to the bar. Ronnan caught her up, a little self-conscious of his elven appearance. There were few places that Elves could pass without comment, and Elora insisted mainly on avoiding them.

Ronnan adopted a more composed expression, the antithesis to Elora's lively one, and managed to arrive with her at the bar without the indignity of having to run to catch her up. Yule decorations warmed the common-room, an interesting Edain tradition that was just one of the things Elora found endearing about the Second Children.

"An ale, please, good Innkeeper," Elora requested with a generous smile. She reached into a pouch that dangled from a curiously wrought metal and leather belt at her hips, examined the coins and then placed them upon the bar countertop. Ronnan cast a surreptious glance at their currency, to be sure they were appropriate to use in an inn in the White City. Elora waved a hand at him and added, "A wine, no doubt, for him." There was a hint of laughter at that, which Ronnan ignored. Gondor may well be the heart of mortal kingdoms, but that did not mean he had to imbibe their ales when there was perfectly good wine available. He would soon discover whether the vintage met with his Eldarin high standards.

Ronnan looked about the common-room as wine and ale were found. The Seventh Star was nice enough. Elora had dragged him into worse places, some of them inns also. Still, he failed to understand why she had insisted on coming to Gondor, to the White City and also why had had to come along with her. That had been a point of contention for them both, rare in their long association with each other.

The innkeeper set down a glass filled with a clear liquid in front of Ronnan and a tankard of ale before Elora. Elora gave generous thanks and Ronnan nodded politely, wary of any wine that did not come from the famous Dorwinion Estates of his people.

"Let's find a table," Elora said with some enthusiasm, taking up her ale gratefully and turning about to face the room. If the innkeeper noticed any oddity about her, he hid it well. Not only had Elora's eye colour shifted from green to blue since entering inn, but her tunic did not completely hide her unusual garb beneath it. There was no shirt or skirt beneath it, but leather clad arms and legs.

That had been the source of dispute before arriving at the inn, Elora ending it by throwing the tunic over her leathers and asking Ronnan if he was happy, which he plainly was not. When Ronnan made no reply to her suggestion concerning a table, Elora breezed towards one. He trailed in her wake, sipping experimentally at the wine in his glass. She was seated and watching him in time to register the look of pleasant surprise upon his features. The wine was more than passable.

Ronnan took his seat and set his glass on the table.

"See, not so bad after all," Elora said companionably. Ronnan sighed and sucuumbed to the temptation he had resolved not to indulge in earlier in the day when Elora had hinted at her intentions for the evening.

"What are we doing here, Guardian?" Elora's eyes were a deep sapphire at the moment, a dangerous colour. She leant forward with a smile and replied, "I knew you'd get curious sooner or later, Ronnan."

"What are we doing here?"
"Refreshing ourselves, Ronnan," Elora replied with mock innocence. "What could be more pleasant than a cool drink after a long road in a nice inn at Yule time?"

With some, that may be a rhetorical question. Ronnan could name several things that leapt to mind, such as remaining comfortably ensconsed in his halls, enjoying the exquisite art of the bards for example. He also knew that Elora could name several things.

"I have a feeling I will find out," he said, sipping at his wine once again. Elora nodded, leant back, uncurled her tall frame and took up her tankard.

"That you will, my friend, that you will." From over the rim of her ale, she took to examining those also in the common-room, one by one. Some moments of silence passed between the two, until Ronnan sat upright hurriedly.

"Where did you get Gondorian coin from," he asked in a hushed whisper. His worst fears were confirmed when he watched a single delicate copper brow arch over her eyes. "Acquired it," she replied demurrely, masking her smile behind her tankard and resuming her study of the patrons.

Ronnan set his glass down and spread the fingers of each hand over the table for a moment. "You've been wagering again," he said with certainty. "I don't know where or how on the road over the past weeks, but you have." Elora said nothing, watching him now.

"It's the only way you could have changed Rhun for Gondorian coin."

"Does it matter, Ronnan," Elora mildly asked, lowering her tankard to the table.

"Yes," Ronnan replied hotly.
"Why," she asked with customary curiosity sparkling in her gaze.
"It matters because apart from the improprietry of the Guardian touring the White City on a gambling bent, I have spent five weeks in a saddle to accompany you to honour our oaths of service and duty. I will not play beard to your improper behaviour on this occassion!" The righteous outrage was clear in Ronnan's face and voice.

Elora remained silent for a moment, leant forward and without a trace of a smile said, "Elves don't make good beards, Ronnan. They can't grow them." Only then did she smile, resume her langourous posture and take up her tankard. Ronnan's mouth opened and then closed on a hot retort.

"You can leave if you wish. I did not ask you to come with me, if you recall." Elora sipped at her ale as if it mattered not one whit to her. Ronnan knew better though.

"If you think to slip away to wager like a common street rat in the inns and bars of Minas Tirith, you can think again."

This time it was Elora's turn to sigh, which quickly became a fluid ripple of her shoulders in an eloquent shrug. Dear as Ronnan was, it was sometimes burdensome to carry their expectations of proper decorum about with her wherever she may go. Elora pushed Elven pre-conceptions of appropriate conduct for one such as she to one side and turned her mind to blessedly lighter diversions. Just once, she would like to not have to labour under weightier things and tonight she would have her wish.

She had not ridden five weeks, forced to sneak off and wager her currency to the proper Gondorian coin, to allow Ronnan to prevent her now. Tonight, if there was a willing partner, she would wager. Her gaze slid to Ronnan as she considered what she was willing to put into the pot. Perhaps one Elf could be bid... she'd need to get him more wine though. Elora's lips curved into a soft smile as she played with that thought and her eyes roamed once more.

There was another question as to what would be wagered over. She curious as to what those in the White City considered game for such wagering, and it had taken her hundreds of years to find the opportunity to discover this for herself.

"Ronnan, be a dear and go get some more ale and wine. Please?" Ronnan had drained his glass. He shot her a glance that let her know exactly what he thought, gathered up the glass and mug and went to do as bidden.
Characters: Rosmarin: Lady of Cardolan; Lochared: Vagabond of Dunland; Simra: Daughter of Khand; Naiore: Lady of the Sweet Swan; Menecin: Bard of the Singing Seas; Vanwe: Lost Maiden; Ronnan: Lord of Thieves; and, Uien of the Twilight
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