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Old 04-09-2011, 03:50 PM   #171
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: The 1590s
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In response to a steady nod from Rollan, Aldarion smiled his agreement, and together he and Sador left, heading back to the inn's main room. But soon the nobleman was in for a couple of surprises that complicated his friendly offer.

"Master Ingold, by your leave," he remarked suddenly, "did Mistress Celebrindal's husband not arrange a lower charge than what you have just demanded for this ale?"

But the innkeeper, surely remembering with little fondness the food and drink that had been requisitioned on credit that morning, stuck stubbornly to the bare terms of his agreement with Rollan - which was that the cheaper prices were for the King's Players themselves only, and not anyone, noble or not, who merely chose to mingle with them.

"Of course," Aldarion interjected, "if I bought you a drink, we could resolve this nonsense for the time being."

Sador's expression seemed complicated, as if he automatically wanted to protest, to claim his right as the true patron here even to buy Aldarion's drink, let alone be in the player's debt. But he was also of the blood of Burlach, and his financial good sense emerged strongest; he assented to the playwright's proposal without a precise word of protest. Soon they were well seated, with a generous pint each.

"Please don't apologise," Aldarion cut in before Sador could try to, in a tone of warning. "I owed you that politeness anyway, because I'm going to have to disappoint you again, Lord Sador...there is no way I can show the precise pages of the script to anyone outside of our troupe, at this stage. Brinn - Mistress Celebrindal, I mean - would certainly not approve."

This greater setback, coming from a man he was already regarding as a relatively helpful ally, stung Sador more sharply, but again he responded with a reasonable nod; though he could not resist a silky rejoinder,

"You are a man of nice manners, Master Aldarion, as to when you do, and when you do not, await Brinn's approval..."

But he spoke laughingly, as if to insist there was no substantial rift between them at all. Soon they were speaking on much more friendly terms again. While Aldarion had made it clear he would not show his material directly, he was willing to talk about much of what it involved; and Sador for his part spoke openly, expansively and with interest about the received accounts he had learnt over many years of reading about the War of the Ring. Most of the official matter, it seemed, was composed of either chronicles of military action, or highly stylised lays of grand deeds, loves, laments. Humble though it might in some ways be, Sador emphasised, the play of this Cormare would be the first attempt in Minas Anor to combine both of these traditions.

All the same, as they talked, both men were conscious of leaving more delicate subjects for another time, when they would not be so easily overheard. At last, though, - perhaps aided by Aldarion's drink, for it was proverbial that nobles were but ill-used to ale, on the whole - Sador began to tread the line from the professional to the more personal.

"What do you think of them as a rule, then, Aldarion," he asked, "the troupe, I mean? Any particular friends, wits, folk of quality? What about that rather striking girl with her machinery...has she bewitched your fancy now and then...?"
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