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Old 12-29-2003, 11:55 AM   #25
piosenniel
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Pio's post - Piosenniel

‘And now that things are settling down a bit . . .’ Pio frowned at this phrase, thrown in among the old man’s other words. From what she had gathered in conversation with those recently returned from the South, ‘things’ were not yet settled enough that a pair of birding enthusiasts would feel comfortable wandering about the countryside in search of rare species. She glanced at Aiwendil’s companion – no bodyguard, if she had the right of it. He looked the sort to be soft and hesitant. And the old fellow . . . were he cut from the same mold as her old friend she would not worry about him. But he looked less sure of himself, if that were possible, than her last chance meetings with him.

Aiwendil had come to the end of his speaking, and stood looking at her expectantly. What she wanted to tell him was to wait . . . that when Mithadan returned they would take them south. The old man had seen Pio’s friend safely to her destination, and Pio, in turn, would return the favor. Problem was, she chided herself, Mithadan would not return for four weeks, and the two companions, she sensed, were eager to be off.

‘Ah, Aiwendil. Were the Lonely Star at Harlond, I would welcome your booking passage on her. Unfortunately, she is gone for three more weeks at the very least, and more likely four. Can you wait that long?’

Rôg had drawn near his companion and now spoke quietly with him. The old man nodded his head in agreement. Turning back to Pio he said that they really could not. One of the birds they were studying would have migrated by then, and they would miss their opportunity. Could she suggest another ship and captain? The Scuppered Gull, she told them was one that might meet their needs – its captain was one Faragaer. They would find him a fair man to deal with, she said. ‘Just let them know that I have sent you.’

A few more pleasantries passed between them, then Aiwendil thanked her, saying they would seek out the captain after the morning meal. As he turned to find the table Rôg had gotten for them, Pio put her hand on his arm to detain him. ‘A favor, if you would,’ she began. ‘Bird is traveling in the south. She has been seeking news of her kin.’ Pio pulled the letter from her waistband, to share parts of it with the old man. ‘This is the most recent letter I have had from her. Unfortunately it is two years old. But, in it she mentions a growing unrest in the area around Umbar. Not all favored the rise of the new King and the dominance of Gondor. There were faint rumblings of changes in the making then, and unfavorable, I think, in Bird's opinion. I fear that over these last two years the disquiet may have grown. And for some reason she has not been able to send messages.’ She grasped the old man’s sleeve more tightly. ‘Be careful; be circumspect when you are down there. Pay attention to the little details you pick up. And . . . should you see Bird, send word to me. And if she can, have her send word also.’ Rôg, by this time, stood fidgeting near the two, obviously eager to be on their way. Aiwendil nodded to Pio, saying he would do his best, and thanked her once again for her help in finding passage south.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

At a smile and a motion of her hand, her children gathered about her. ‘Oh, ammë, can we stay just a little longer?’ Isilmir’s plaintive question was followed by Gilwen’s explanation that they had a new friend, one Odrin, the Dwarf sitting at the wagoneer’s table. ‘He’s only just finished one story,’ continued the boy, ‘and I should like to hear another.’ He raised his brows, giving another argument. ‘He was just about to begin one. And we shouldn’t be rude and leave before it’s done. Father would want us to be polite.’ A smile crinkled the corners of Pio’s eyes. So, he had brought out the heavy artillery! Gilwen picked up on this leverage, saying she thought this story would have something to do with a trip south they had made. ‘We’ve never been there! Can’t we stay to hear what it’s like where Father is?’

Little Cami watched the negotiations between her brother and sister and her mother with interest. She wanted to stay a little longer also. The old fellow she had met was sitting at a nearby table with his companion, and she had heard him tell her mother they were going south. Perhaps she could get a message to her father – that he shouldn’t forget the small present he had promised her. Some little carved figures for her toy ship . . . animals from the desert lands. As she slipped away toward their table, she saw her brother and sister with smiles on their faces as they waved to Odrin and headed back in his direction.

Pio shook her head and laughed. ‘Like herding cats!’ she murmured. From across the room, a friend caught her eye and waved her over. She was just on her way to the table when a man’s voice called her back.

‘Avarlond,’ he said, seeing the questioning look on her face. ‘ Airefalas is my brother, Mistress Piosenniel . . .’

Last edited by piosenniel; 04-07-2004 at 11:48 AM.
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