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Old 01-08-2004, 01:55 PM   #32
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 2,897
Mithadan has been trapped in the Barrow!


Airefalas gazed down into his wine cup as Mithadan nodded. "They are not yet that bored," said Mithadan, speaking of the crew they had left confined to the Lonely Star. "And they have had the chance to explore such of the city as they might wish. And they have filled their cabins with trade goods of their own. They will be happy when we return to Gondor."

Airefalas took a sip from his cup and turned his gaze out the window toward the city below. “None too soon,” he muttered. He had been against Mithadan’s and his move from the ship to the palace in the first place, but had held his tongue and not objected when Mithadan had told him of the plan. Airefalas was well aware that it was a matter of protocol. Mithadan could hardly reject the hospitality of Lord Falasmir without causing Umbar’s principal lord a considerable loss of face, which could lead to a breakdown in the trade negotiations. Nonetheless, Airefalas would have preferred to have remained on the ship. Moored in the shadow of the black-sailed corsair that had escorted the Lonely Star to her berth, the ship was highly vulnerable. On the other hand, he could hardly have allowed his captain to go ashore alone either. Airefalas disliked the options they had been faced with all the way around.

“We’re being manipulated,” he said quietly, putting the wine cup aside. “From the moment we arrived, they began their maneuvering and now they have us at a complete disadvantage. To what purpose, I cannot say, but I honestly feel we are being delayed intentionally. We are at their mercy.”

For a long moment, Mithadan said nothing, but a shadow of a frown passed over his features. “Perhaps you think of them too harshly, Airefalas,” he said at last. “It would be to Umbar’s considerable advantage to establish open trade with Gondor. What could they possibly gain by holding us?”

Airefalas shrugged. “That I don’t know, but I don’t trust them. We should have moored the Lonely Star outside the harbor and outside of their control.” He paused, turning his back to the window and folding his arms stubbornly across his chest. “If you will permit me to speak frankly, I just spent seven weeks as a prisoner on one of those galleys. I know how their captains think. While their hospitality is excellent, they are nonetheless a black-hearted bunch, who would sell their own mothers into slavery if they thought it would bring a grand enough profit.”

Mithadan nodded. “You know you may always speak frankly.” He pushed his chair away from the table and stood up. “While what you say may very well be true, what would you have us do? We are here on behalf of King Elessar to open up trade with Umbar. We must behave like diplomats, not churlish boat captains.”

Airefalas laughed. “My apologies, Mithadan.” He raised his hands in friendly surrender. “Of course, you’re right, but the churlish boat captain in me refuses to sit down and be quiet.”

“ I can tell that the waiting is beginning to wear on me,” Airefalas added after a moment. “Caravan or no caravan, I would feel much more secure if we waited on board the Lonely Star and outside the shadow of that black-sailed dromond.”

“I, too, would prefer the situation be something other than what it is,” answered Mithadan patiently. “But, hopefully, the caravan will arrive in two days as expected, and we will be able to conclude our transactions as planned and be on our way. In the meantime, we must enjoy Lord Falasmir’s hospitality and try to make as good a use of our time here as we can.”

Airefalas nodded. “Again, you are right. All I’m saying is that we need to keep our wits about us. They’ve gone to a good bit of trouble to put us at this disadvantage. It would be very unlike the Corsairs not to make use of the situation.”

“I will keep that in mind,” answered Mithadan.

Last edited by piosenniel; 04-05-2007 at 11:33 AM.
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