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Old 05-10-2004, 02:20 PM   #198
Stormdancer of Doom
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Sting Anorien, Ravoin's troop, Dec. 18: Mellonin.

Mellonin drew herselkf up to her fill five-foot-nine height, and cleared her throat with as much rumble as she could muster. Then she sipped her tea as regally as she could while perusing Aeron's face. Thankfully, the lad was staring at the ground for fear of smirking.

She could do this. She and her brother used to make a game of imitating the master of the house. She closed her eyes, and quickly ran a verse of a noble song through her head. Then she opened her eyes, and turned to Raefindan.

"You call for proof that this boy is the thief of the necklace, and I deem this a wise question."

Raefindan stood, eyes sparkling, but he managed not to smile, or to hide the smile with chattering teeth. "Yes, lord."

"You also ask about the choice of the boy's punishment; to boil his hand rather than break his arm?"

Raefindan's jaw dropped. "My lord, such methods would not be my choice."

"Ah. And what would you choose for him as punishment?"

"Rehabilitation, my lord!"

Mellonin could not bite back the laugh that escaped her, but she ended it as gutterally as she could. Raising one hand (and then lowering it lest her callouses draw more attention) she said, "In the Common Speech, please, my friend."

Raefindan smiled, and shivered harder to hide it. "Training and practice in good deeds, under the guidance of a strong hand."

"Ah. Then you would have the boy-- for boy he is-- taught to do right."

Raefindan nodded. "Yes, my lord."

The merchant shifted, displeased already.

Lord Fingon turned to the merchant. "Good merchant, is the necklace that the Ranger tossed to you indeed the necklace that was taken from you?"

"Of course it is!"

Mellonin took a deep breath. "And how will you prove that it was the boy who stole it?"

"Of course he did! He's just a theif! Anyone can see it in him! Just look at him!"

Mellonin hardly knew how to argue with what the merchant said; Aeron's shifty eyes, expensive yet ill-tailored clothes and his quickness to cringe did indeed cast a shadow on him.

"That was not the lord's question, " Raefindan retorted. "The lord wants proof."

The merchant stood. "It's my necklace!"

"How do you know this was the boy who took it?"

"He's a well- known thief!"

"He is not the only thief in Gondor, " replied Mellonin. She watched the merchant's face, and then regretted saying it.

The merchant's eyes went wide.with indignation and he turned on Ravion, and they were both on their feet.. "You! You had it in your pocket! You took it! You --- so you want mercy for the boy, do you? You miserable prowling trickster-- when did you take it? I ought to drown you right now! Draw, vermin!"

Their blades sang and crossed; their eyes glittered, and the footwork began as they tested each other. The henchman drew, and stepped forward, watching for foul play.

Mellonin drew a quick breath, and glanced at Raefindan, who was standing wide-eyed, and had shouted "Stop! "Stop this madness!"

Aeron stood. "He did not take it! I took it!"

Mellonin stepped as close as she dared and held up a shaking hand. "Stop. Stop, halt!" Her voice was shaking, and it broke into a girlish squeak.

The two men stepped back, with their blades still raised.

Aeron said it again. "He did not take it. I took it."

The merchant spoke through his teeth. "Then you'll drown!"

Raefindan waved his hands. "We were supposed to let the lord decide the boy's fate, remember?"

Still seething, the merchant faced Mellonin. "Well, Lord Fingon?"

She drew herself up to her height again, and still trembling, she replied with a quavering voice, "You show no mercy, sir. And I would not trust such a boy-- however guilty he may be-- to such a jailer. You may not drown the boy, nor break his arm, nor boil his hand."

The merchant sheathed his blade, a cold sneer of contempt etched on his features.

Mellonin tried to stop shaking, and could not; and her voice shook. "You, " she managed to say, "will take your necklace. And this ranger will take the boy, and train him to be good. I have decided."

Last edited by mark12_30; 05-10-2004 at 02:24 PM.
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