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Old 03-24-2011, 08:55 AM   #11
Feanor of the Peredhil
La Belle Dame sans Merci
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Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
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Crossover Posts from The King's Players:


Still yawning, for he hadn't slept that well, Coldan trudged along through the streets, doing his best to keep up with Harrenon's brisk stride. The fresh morning air and the gleams of early sunlight on the upper stories of the buildings around them contrasted sharply with his muddled brain and the gloomy mood he had carried over from yesterday.

It could have been worse, he reminded himself. At least Brinn had shown sense enough to team Aldarion up with Rollan and keep him safely away from Asta for most of the day. (Remembering how the two of them had intimately whispered together last evening sent renewed pangs of jealousy through his heart.)

At first, he had relied on Harrenon to come up with an idea as to where to start their research, but it soon became apparent that the young Gondorian was about as much out of his depth as himself.

How about looking for armouries or smithies?" Harrenon finally suggested. "You know, places where you can get swords and the like. Soldiers go to such places even in times of peace, or so Im told. Who knows? Maybe we might even run into some of the Citadel Guards, if were lucky.

"Sounds good to me", Coldan replied, "if you know how to find such a place."

Harrenon didn't, so they agreed to just stroll on and enquire for directions on the way. Their first stop was Lamedon Square Market, which was already filling with a busy crowd eager to get hold of the best goods while they were fresh; two or three city guards were patrolling among the market-goers, but none of them looked old enough to remember much about the war.

"Lots of people to ask for the vay", Coldan observed. "Let's start zere!" He pointed to a bakery that sat right in the middle of the square, at the intersection of two crossing roads. Harrenon had been in such a hurry to set out that he had had to forego breakfast, and his stomach was complaining rather loudly. He bought some delicious-smelling golden rolls from the owner, a well-rounded woman with a friendly face, and asked politely: "Vould you know, good mistress, vere to buy a good blade in zis city?"



Therian woke with the rough edge of a cobble stone digging into his hip. His head was on Branor's shoulder in the most undignified of ways. The two of them were crammed into the space between two decorative archways. It was chilly; he could tell by his breath coming from him in bursts of white.

"Bran, Bran, get up."

Branor woke up with a moan. "What?"

They were in some corner of the city, and Therian could not remember how they had ended up there. He smelled fresh bread, which meant it was morning, and besides that, it was getting light.

"Get up, you fool, Brinn is going to kill us."

Some motion caught Therian's vision off to the side somewhere. A boy, perhaps?

"Where are we?" Bran grumbled.

"Olog... chased us... but then I don't remember..."

They hauled themselves to their feet and stumbled toward an intersection, following the smell of bread. A large sign pointed their way, emblazoned with the words, "Lamedon Square Market: This Way!"



The baker was just about to answer Coldan's question when a young boy came running at the top of his speed, stopped himself abruptly right in front of them, waving his arms for balance, and shouted: "Mistress Fea - Mistress Fea - there's two men over there - they've been fighting - and someone's going to kill them!"

The woman turned to him and took him gently by the shoulders. "Easy, boy, easy", she said in a voice that managed to sound sober and comforting at the same time. "One thing at a time. Where are they? Did you see them fight? Was somebody threatening them?"

"Over there, ma'am, near Saucepan Alley", the boy panted, pointing into the direction he had come from. "They were alone, but one of them has a black eye, and he said to the other one: 'Brinn is going to kill us'."

"Vat?" and "What?", Coldan and Harrenon cried out simultaneously, staring at each other in alarm. When Coldan's eyes followed the boy's pointing finger, he saw two all too familiar figures emerging from an alleyway into the market square, making for the bakery with a stiff gait that looked like they had spent the night lying on hard ground.

"Merciful Valar!" he groaned. "Can't zose two be trusted to stay out of trouble for a few hours at least?"



"Vere have you two been and vat exactly have you been doing?" Coldan asked when Branor and Therian walked into the bakery.

"Glad to see both of you as well" shot back Branor. He was stiff, tired, and thus in no mood to banter or feel like he had to answer to anyone.

"I make no offense," replied Coldan. "but you have made a fine mess of things vith your antics so far."

"Do not concern yourself with us," Branor muttered "we decided it was better to investigate at night than in the morning. Mornings everyone is busy with daily duties and is in no mood for friendly chat with strangers. Besides we found out a good deal about the hobbits yesterday, aint that right?" He looked to Therian for support, but it was clear Therian, like Branor, did not remember last night's events.

Coldan and Harrenon looked at Therian's bruised eye and wondered how much investigating the two really could have done, but did not protest further.

Branor's stomach was grumbling and when he saw the lady attending her goods, he tapped Therian's arm. The misses's face looked worn, like any person who runs a store typically does, but there was still a fair and vibrant beauty to her. Branor could tell she took great care to make her goods and give her customers the best. If Therian really wanted to know how to properly address a lady than Branor was going to show him.

"Hello Misses" he smiled and leaned forward onto the counter. His tone softened to a near whisper "I am in desperate need of nourishment and have heard high remarks about your wares and ability to satisfy what I need."

The Mistress firmly placed her hand on the counter, expressing just tell me what you want and go about your business.

"But I have not been in here before and do not know what you have. I am feeling something sweet and filling. Can I see your finest sweet buns, honey?" Branor cleared his throat. "Pardon me, that was supposed to come out as, can I see your finest honey buns...sweetie? Ahem. No. Do your buns have honey drizzled on top?"



Fea crossed her arms over her chest and shared a look with Captain Form. "Now, young man," she began, though Branor could easily have been her age for all she knew, "it looks from your bruises that you have been fighting. And that is not looked kindly upon in the King's City, or in my market."

Therian gulped and stuttered, "Your market?"

"Yes, boy, mine, as far as that sort of thing goes. You are not from around here, so I would not expect you to know it, but in these parts we have ways of behaving. I take it the two of you are the cause of my shop boy scooting his tush back into my kitchen faster than I've ever seen him move, all the while yelling of murders and ruffians?"

Therian looked at Branor. Murderers? But they were just actors! A puzzle piece of memory locked into place and Therian saw for a moment the flash of Olog's bear shaped body as he lumbered after them down the road. How, he wondered, had they escaped? They had not had that much to drink, had they? And for the sake of it all, why had they slept on the ground? "I... um... well, by 'kill' we meant our Boss... and not really kill so much as be very upset with us... in a way that might mean she will not be our boss any more?"

Fea humphed and found a sweet sticky roll for Branor and charged him double her normal price, to make up for Erchan's loss of productivity, and because the fool had to learn one way or another, and maybe an empty pocket would enforce the idea of a mouth that had no words coming out of it.

"And," Fea said, "In the mean time, you've had me neglecting another patron. If you will excuse me..."



Amdr made good time returning from Lord Hallas's estate, and was slowing climbing up into the city from the Great Gate before morning had truly passed. It helped that Lord Hallas's estate was close to the city, no more than a league or two. It also helped that days were long, and one could get a lot done when the sun rose early.

Normally, Amdr would have avoided going through Lamedon Square Market with a laden waggon, but even though it was coming busy as the morning wore on, he didn't fancy trying to take the waggon, which was more cumbersome than most carts he drove, down one of the back ways, and decided to continue slowly up Lampwright's Street, even if it meant braving the impatience of the crowds.

He was passing through the Market, irritating the occasional seller or buyer of goods and wares when he caught sight of Branor and Therian looking rather worse for the wear next to a well-kept baker's stall. A large man wearing the uniform of a Tower Guard loomed nearby.

"Branor! Therian!" called Amdr. "Hello, there!"

Instead of immediately catching the two actors' attention, Amdr's salutation was noticed by the Guard.

"Good morning, good yeoman!" returned Captain Formy jovially. "Are you responsible for these impertinent ragamuffins?"

Amdr's natural respect for those in authority caused him to overlook the jovial diminishment of the two actors.

"No, sir, though I know them. They are members of the King's Players, staying at Ingold's Inn."

"Good King Elessar has players? What do they play at? Are they a troop of gamblers that play at the games of dice said to be prevalent in the cold of winter in the King's northern homeland?"

"No sir, they are an acting troupe--from Dale. It is from King Bard II that they take their name. They are here to put on a performance as a part of the Cormar revels."

"Best see they take a break from their own revels, if they wish to entertain anyone else," suggested the captain with a mock-stern glance at the actors.



Thats it, Harrenon said after the problem with Therian and Branor seemed more or less solved with the arrival of Amdir. If I had any doubts until now, I dont anymore. First we find out we might have faulty information, then Brinn breaks her ankle and now this. Theres no doubt about it. Were cursed. This play is cursed. Were not meant to do it. We cant put up a performance about what happened in the War of the Ring. Its wrong. Werewere meddling with something thats tootoo grand for us and we cant do that. Were receiving all sorts of signs that we cant do it. This play is doomed. Im sure it is!

It was not often that Harrenon lost control like this in public, but when he did, his outbursts where usually memorable and quite embarrassing in hindsight. After he was finally done he was aware of a sudden silence around him and realised that many had stopped whatever they were doing to listen to him curiously. Coldan looked quite uncomfortable at the turn of events. Harrenon bit his lips, realising that the only thing he had done was to draw even more attention to the Players.

Im sorry, he said sheepishly to Coldan. I shouldnt have done that. Im really sorry. Now can we please find that blasted armoury before I say something else that might cause trouble?



(partial post)

"Zat will be for the best, I zink", Coldan agreed, dragging Harrenon away from the bakery before the huge captain of the guard who had shown up in the least convenient moment could think of inquiring what legitimate interest two civilians, whose friends had just caused rumours of fighting and murder, could have in finding an armoury. As for Branor and Therian, Amdr could probably be relied on to take the two goodfornothings back to the inn without much further mayhem, and once there, Brinn would have a word or two with them that would hopefully put some reason into their heads, if reason could bear to dwell there.



Branor, despite that disaster, was grinning when he walked back to Therian. "And that, my boy, is what women will do to you. They will take your money and leave you on the side standing helpless. And that misses, not all that interesting anyway, certainly not as pretty as Brinn. Oh my, uhm, you did not hear me say that." In truth, he was just trying to save face, even though he guessed Therian knew Branor had that blow up in his face.

He was not bothered by being charged extra, since it was probably the best sticky bun he could remember having. "Mmm, that was quite tasty. I would go back and ask for another, if I was assured she would not hike up the price on me again. Still, she woefully undercharges for her sticky buns."

"What do you expect from, you know, from a shop being owned by...a her." Therian said. He still seemed focused to figure out how every lady he's met in Minas Anor defies traditional logic.

The large guard-Captain was not enjoying their conversation as he always was shooting suspicious glances, as if he was looking for a reason to throw the two out.

"Branor! Therian!" called Amdr. "Hello, there!"

Amdir was engaged in conversation with Captain Formy, and was slowly looking more stern towards Branor and Therian. When the two approached Amdir and he saw their faces a look of exasperation, what had these two whippers been up to? And how did they get Captain Formy so riled?

"I suppose I need to take you both back to the Inn, after your adventures last night?" Amdir gave them a hard look.

Branor was lost, how did it seem like everyone knew what happened last night except for Branor and Therian? Not that he would apologize for any trouble making he caused, as it most likely was not his fault. It would still help to know why he needed to apologize? All he did was save Therian from getting squashed. Unless Olog finally caught up to them? He could have sworn, while Olog had the clear advantage in strength, they more than made up for by outwitting the lame half-wit.

"Thanks, Amdir, but that will not be necessary." said Branor. "I am going to continue following Brinn's orders by investigating the hobbits. You can tell her this if you see fit. Therian, you coming?"



Therian somehow found the generosity not to laugh at Branor. It helped that he was rather busy feeling concerned about his behavior over the night. This Captain Formy seemed to know much of everything, and he had mentioned nothing, nor tried to arrest them. This Mistress Fea looked as though she knew everything, and she had said the market was practically hers. Surely if they'd done anything too awful, she would have known, but instead she just repeated her shop boy's words. Really, anything they'd done could not have been that bad.

He thought about what they'd done, or what he couldn't remember them doing, and realized unfortunately what he knew they had not done: learned anything of value about the hobbits, except that Master Sam's wife used to serve beer for a living. He was not sure what value that was, except that probably Sam liked his brew, which Therian already knew from meeting him.

If they went back now, war would all but break out. Best to go back with definitive proof of something, anyway. And besides, they might find out what they'd done in the night.

Therian looked at this Mistress Fea, watching as she deftly sliced a loaf of bread for a patron, wrapped it, and tucked his coin into her apron band. She was a pear shaped woman. He wondered if she had children, or a husband. Ugh, he thought. Olog. How could that pretty young thing at the tavern be married to an oaf like Olog? The man lumbered. Any man whose locomotion so closely resembled that of a bear or a boar should not be married to such a delicate specimen of femininity. This Fea, however, crushed his thoughts without doing a single thing. She was no delicate flower, no elanor on a hillside. She was no single willow in a vale, wistfully blown about by the breeze. This Mistress Fea was a mighty oak, he thought, or perhaps more of a maple. He watched as she pulled a small bag of bite sized muffins from some hidden place and gave one each to a handful of small children. They bounced and ran away squealing. Sturdy, she was, but sweet. And like autumn leaves burnished gold and red, she had an undeniable beauty even if he thought of her as a tree.

Branor snapped his fingers in Therian's face.

"What?" Therian snapped.

"You coming or not?"

Therian looked back at Fea. Here was a woman completely at home in the body of a woman. She wore no men's garb like they said Eowyn wore into battle. She did not stand here selling things dressed as a fellow, clad in a fellow's trousers, her breasts bound flat, her hair hidden away. She did not flaunt herself, surely, yet she wore serviceable skirts and petticoats, and sturdy boots, and a blouse and a shawl and over it all, an apron. She dressed as Therian's own mother had dressed before she died: for practicality. But there was something to the flare of her skirt that admitted her womanhood, drawing the eye from her pinched waist around the curves of her hips and out. She was no Queen Evenstar, of course, but she dressed as a woman though she did the mannish work of selling things in a public place.

Nor did she disguise her voice, as they say Eowyn did. In fact, this Mistress Fea appeared to pretend to be nothing except what she was: a woman that baked and sold her baked goods. A woman that was used to being obeyed. A woman that was not unnecessarily crude or vicious to men. He had known some women like that: ones that behaved as though venom from their lips would somehow change the world. Well, as his mother always said, you catch more flies with honey. Or was that sugar? And what was it that you didn't catch them with, vinegar? Milk? Milk made no sense. He couldn't remember flies ever going to milk.

But the point was the same. There was something to this baker lady that caught his attention.

Branor hit him in the arm. "I'm leaving."


Amdr asked, "Are you drunk?"

"No," Therian said. "Not drunk. Leaving. Going. Branor, where are we going?"



"No," Therian said. "Not drunk. Leaving. Going. Branor, where are we going?"

"We are going to do what Brinn sent us off to do." Branor yelled back. He was already quite a few paces ahead of a trailing Therian.

"What was that again?"

Branor stopped and waited for Therian to catch up, just so he could hit him in the chest. Therian did not look happy, but Branor was more shocked when Therian did not attempt to strike back. Seriously, what was wrong with this boy today?

"Ever since waking up this morning, you have been acting weird. Particularly back there at Mistress Fea's. I thought we got away from Olog, but it appears he's knocked the wits out of you!"



Since it was clear that Branor and Therian had no intention of returning to the Inn, Amdr bid Captain Formy a good day, and continued on without them. He unhitched the horses from his cart once he reached the inn, and tethered them, before going inside to fetch help in hauling down the first setpieces. As he did so, he could not help but notice six handsome steeds already tethered. From their glossy coats and fine tack, it was clear to Amdr that someone of importance was present, and had a fearful premonition that it might be the new Master of Revels, the Lord Cirdacil.

A bit fearful, for he had not yet determined the measure of the lord, Amdr entered the Inn, hoping he was wrong, and wishing he was still carting his way across the Pelennor.
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