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Old 01-08-2004, 03:33 PM   #35
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 2,897
Mithadan has been trapped in the Barrow!

Mithadan and Airefalas stood outside their chambers at the palace, speaking with the captain of their "escort" detail. Both of the Gondorians had white cloths bound about their heads with red rope. The cloths trailed down their necks covering their skin.

"You wish to go now?" whined the captain. "It is mid-day! The sun is at its strongest as is the heat! Why not wait until the evening when it is cooler?"

"Your Lord Falasmir requires our presence this evening," replied Airefalas evenly. "We will not have time then. We will go now."

"Wait a moment then," answered the captain with a scowl. He moved to a door down the hall and opened it. The sound of hurried, then angry discussion followed. Several minutes later, three heavily armed and annoyed looking men emerged and shuffled over to the Gondorians.

"Raal, Mahat and Seft will accompany you to make certain you find your way safely," announced the captain. "Take care and avoid the direct sun when you can."

"Thank you," responded Mithadan with a smile. The one named Seft, a broad shouldered, olive skinned man wearing mail made of bronze led the way through the corridors of the palace. The place was built of heavy stone with many windows, narrow on the first two floors and broader above. There was an open courtyard in the center of the building in which a fountain bubbled with clear water. The walls were hung with brightly colored silks and cloths, many portraying scenes of the oceans or of the men of Umbar in battle. Mithadan suspected that the opponents in many of these scenes, warriors wearing black armor, were people of his own country.

Servants pushed open the great doors as they exited. The hot air broke around them like the surf on a beach, but unlike the surf it did not recede, but rather enveloped them. Mithadan began sweating almost instantly as they stode down the steps of the palace towards the broad road leading down towards the seaport. A few beggars, sprawled in the shadows gestured hopefully, but Raal put a hand on the hilts of his sword and growled at any who made as if to stand and approach them. But by and large, the streets were empty; most of the citydwellers stayed indoors at this time of day.

It was nearly a league to the docks and when they at last approached the water even their guards were sweating and grumbling. The Lonely Star was berthed in a commercial quay near a row of squat warehouses. When they had arrived, other trading vessels had occupied the docks nearby. But when they approached the Star, to their surprise, on either side of their ship was docked a black corsair. Mithadan frowned and looked with distaste at the rows of windows just above the waterline of either vessel. From these slaves could extend oars to speed the warships on their way. "I have black memories of ships like those," muttered Airefalas as they walked past.

"You don't like The Black Eagle?" asked Maal with a laugh. "She is the largest ship in our fleet. And the Seahawk there is the fastest. Are they not grand?"

"Wonderful," answered Mithadan wryly. "But why are they docked here? These are commercial quays. Your warships were berthed to the south when we arrived."

"The truth be told," answered Seft with a slight smile. "It has come to our ears that some are not happy that a ship of Gondor is here. We feared for the safety of your crew and moved these vessels protect your ship."

"We feel much safer now," retorted Airefalas through clenched teeth. "And I see that more guards have been posted. Also to protect us, I assume." Two tents had been raised across from where the Star was berthed and several guards lounged in their shade.

"Yes," laughed Maal. "To protect you."

Mithadan and Airefalas climbed the gangway to the Lonely Star in silence. Their... guides remained on the dock and chatted with the guards who had walked over when they arrived. On deck, Saelon, the second mate greeted them. Mithadan took a quick look about before responding. Everything, the decks, the railings, the helm were clean, indeed spotless. A sure sign of a bored crew with little to do.

"Captain!" cried Saelon. "Any word on when we leave?"

"Soon," replied Mithadan. "Soon. We meet tonight with traders. I hope to cast off in a matter of days if we can." He looked over to the Black Eagle. A few members of its crew were leaning upon its railings looking down at Mithadan and his companions. He noted that the corsair's men wore swords and leather jerkins notwithstanding the heat. "When did they arrive?" he asked turning his back on the black ship.

"Yesterday," answered Saelon. "Both ships, one right after the other. A trader was moved to make room. Some of us don't like this Captain."

Mithadan nodded. "How is the crew?"

"Bored," responded the mate. "Eager to take to sea. Angil got drunk last night and got into a fight with one of his guards. I locked him in his cabin."

"Let him out," said Mithadan. "But no more leave for him. And no leave longer than two hours for anyone else. Tell everyone that we will leave in a matter of days. I want the ship ready to go." He looked back up at the corsair and thought for a moment. "How are we provisioned with oil?" he asked.

"Cooking oil?" asked Saelon. "We have plenty."

"No," answered the Captain. "Lamp oil. Purchase two barrels of it. No. Three."

Airefalas and Mithadan went among the crew, shaking hands and smiling. They assured all that they would depart soon and bade them be ready. Then they made their way back to the gangplank again.

"'In a matter of days'?" asked Airefalas.

Mithadan scowled, then put on a fairer face as their guards approached. "Yes," he answered quietly. "With or without cargo."

Last edited by piosenniel; 04-05-2007 at 11:35 AM.
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