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Old 06-23-2012, 02:04 PM   #1321
littlemanpoet
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Garreth

"Now what could be keeping that brother of mine?"

Garreth had been working on a trowel for quite a while with no-one to talk at, and he had begun to feel the lack. Only then had he realized that it had been quite some while since Harreld had been away.

He chucked his tools into their pail and let the trowel cool. The fire would remain hot for some time, no worries there. He peeked out the door. What did he behold? His own brother, running like a child around the yard, wielding a boy in both hands, as if he were a bird.

And there the pack of food lay on the ground, easy spoils for any four legged critter's curiosity. Garreth was ready to vent his spleen at his twin but stopped to look at this unheard of event. Here was his brother, no, not acting like a child but a proud poppa. Garreth chuckled, then got a sly grin on his face.

Harreld

"Harreld! Where's my food!"

Harreld stopped in his tracks. The boy's legs swung outward a moment then hung limp. Harreld went red as a beet.

"Um, right there."

"Now just what do you think you're doing? And who's lad is that?"

"Um, uh, I don't know."

Garreth grinned. "So that's all the answer I get?" He couldn't help it any longer and burst out in laughter at his brother's discomfiture.

Too embarrassed for words, Harreld put the boy down and went to get the pack.

"Now stop right there, Harreld you dimwit. I can get the pack of food, it's closer to me anyhow. Where'd that boy come from?"

"Uh, he followed me out of the kitchens, I think." Harreld regarded the lad with a perplexed expression. "And he hasn't said much at all. Well, one word. 'Big.'"

"No doubt he was looking at you!" Garreth chuckled. "I'll get the food. You take that boy back into the kitchens. No doubt he belongs to somebody in there."

"Oh. Right. Of course."

Harreld turned to look at the boy. He'd caught him once, he could do it again. No playing this time.

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Old 06-23-2012, 05:03 PM   #1322
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Athanar

"No, it is weariness of grief that sends us to the uttermost West." Laerdil ended his answer.

Lord Athanar listened to the elf and shook his head with a faint sorrow in his eyes. He stared at his cup for a while before raising his gaze to look at Laerdil into the eye. "You speak of another world my good elf, another world closed from men. And even if it is easy to see what you say, it is nigh impossible to really feel it, to go under those thoughts of your kin, that world you inhabit..."

He was silent for a moment and saw lady Saeryn feeling uncomfortable - for clearly different reasons he himself felt distressed about. Suddenly she excused herself and took her trencher with her. Athanar nodded and collected himself. "I do hope you feel welcomed at Scarburg and stay for a while Laerdil, it would be interesting to have a deeper discussion on matters we have scarcely touched by now. But I do have a pressing matter I need to attend to right now." He nodded to the elf who courteously nodded him back.

Athanar saw Saeryn collecting trencehers form other tables while clearly heading for the kitchens. He felt sorry for her; no, he hated it when she made that kind of show-off out of her predicament; no, he felt a strong passion for all she was forced to bear; no, he thought the martyr-game she played was for teenagers, not for adults... or to be parents... He had such contradictory feelings for lady Saeryn: he wished her all the good there was and was still so annoyed of the way she acted her part in this Valar-forsaken hot-bed of strong emotions he had been thrown into... whatever... he would have to forbid her doing a maid's work, sooner rather than later. That was just plain ridiculous... but it felt awkward to just go and deny her her freedom of doing what she willed... however she just demonstrated things by what she did.

Forcing himself out from these ramblings he turned suddenly and called aloud for Hilderinc. Then he turned to Eodwine. "I'd like to see you and Thornden with Coen here before supper. I'll send for the two but I do hope you'll be present as well." He made a pause. "And if you think lady Saeryn would wish to join us, please ask her to do so. I'd like to hear from her too..."

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Old 06-24-2012, 04:49 PM   #1323
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Saeryn's soapy hands paused as she waited for more. That surely could not have been the end of it. Horses kicked on occasion, yes, but they did not usually kill someone, unless he was ignorant of horses. That was unkind and unjust to assume of Ledwyn’s husband. She put it from her mind.

“What happened?” she asked. “Did your neighbors find your husband on the road between the two villages?”
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:36 PM   #1324
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Ledwyn

“What happened?” Lady Saeryn pressed on. “Did your neighbors find your husband on the road between the two villages?”

"Aye," Ledwyn replied, "they did, my Lady. They went searching for him, and sure enough his body was found just off to the side of the road, as if he was thrown there. One side of his head was crushed. That is what the men who found him told me; I did not come with the search. They said that either the horse kicked him hard, or else that his head was flung against a rock in his fall. There were plenty sharp rocks scattered there."

Ledwyn fiddled with the trencher she held before setting it down onto the clean pile.

"That is what the men told me," she repeated absent-mindedly, thinking back to that day of painful waiting a year ago.

Theolain

Why did the man stop? Theolain wondered. Then he heard another man's voice call out. The man answered. More speaking.

The man turned to him again. Theolain looked up at him, his eyes shining. He decided that he liked this man. No, he liked him a lot.

But then he noticed something different in the way the man approached him. Theolain scampered back. The mad took a few more steps. Theolain retreated a few more scampers. The man stood, and Theolain waited, a sly look on his face.

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Old 06-24-2012, 10:09 PM   #1325
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Saeryn pressed her mouth shut. She should not have asked. Her heart went out to Ledwyn, but she had no words to express her feelings and no desire to pursue the topic now that it had continued so long.

“I am glad you’ve come here,” she said after a long pause. “As I told you earlier, we are short on help. Your son will be a welcome addition, too.” She looked around as she spoke.

“Where is he?” she asked after a pause in which she did not see the boy. “He was in here, wasn’t he?”
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:00 PM   #1326
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Ledwyn snapped to attention, returning to the more recent memories of the Elven herb floating in the bucket of water, at the mention of Theolain. The dread, lulled by the work, conversation, and recollection, came back with full force.

"His hand was not badly burned, and it is healing fine," she asserted, nervously and quickly - almost too quickly - as if she wanted most of all to convince Lady Saeryn (or herself) that it was true, before the meaning of the question sunk in. "Wait," Ledwyn started again, understanding creeping up to her, "you say Theolain is not here?"

Glancing around, she verified what she feared. The lad was nowhere in sight.

"He must have left the kitchen while we were busy," Ledwyn said, beginning to despair. Was there not work enough to do already, without having to go searching for Theolain and constantly keeping an eye on him? And it was not even past noon! Ledwyn needed to face so much more this day, and each new step made her wearier. "He could have gone anywhere," she moaned, passing a hand over her brow.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:20 PM   #1327
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Saeryn dried her hands on her apron and then touched Ledwyn’s shoulder. “I know everything is new and different, but it isn’t unsafe here. He cannot have gone far without someone seeing him, and he’ll be taken care of! I can send someone to go find him, if you wish. You should sit, though. I see you are very tired. I should have thought of that and let you rest.

“Kara,” she said, looking up. “Will you go and find the lad? Bring him back when you find him, will you?” Kara nodded and left by the door leading into the hall.

Saeryn turned back to Ledwyn. She gently led her to a chair and sat her down. Ginna placed a steaming cup of tea before her. Saeryn sat down opposite her and folded her hands on the table top.

“Listen,” she said. “We have not got many young children here, so there has been no sort of plan made for them, but in my parent’s household, the older children looked after the younger ones. You are going to have enough work to do without constantly worrying about your son. Léođern, Garmund, and Cnebba will look after him. You will see that once he has gotten used to his new home, he will be in and out all the time and you will not have to worry about him.”
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:43 PM   #1328
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Harreld

Seeing that Garreld had the pack of food safely under his arm, heading back to the smithy, Harreld gave his full attention to the boy. He took a step toward the smiling lad, who took as many steps back from him, his expression changing. He looked like he was ready to make a game of it.

Harreld took two more steps toward the boy, the boy stayed out of his grasp and stopped. And he waited.

"Ah, I see, I know your game." Harreld said it half sarcastically, but the word 'game' did something to him. He chuckled. With a grin on his face he snarled and cuffed one foot at the ground like a bull. The boy started to giggle. Harreld made a feint at him and the boy jumped back, giggling more. Harreld couldn't help laughing himself. He snarled some more. Then he leapt after the boy who ran from him squealing in delight.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:52 PM   #1329
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Athanar

Hilderinc came as called and took the orders from Lord Athanar to get Thornden and Coen to attend Athanar's table an half an hour before the meal. With a nod Athanar added that Hilderinc would be welcome as well unless he had other duties. Before dismissing him he waved him to come closer and whispered something to his ear.

Hilderinc looked confused for a moment but then nodded and went to his errand.

Turning to lord Eodwine lord Athanar bent slightly forwards and addressed him, not clearly willing to keep what he had to say a secret as such but addressing him in person anyway.

"With all the people we have here, who would be your choice for a representative of a common man or woman here, the representative of the household? We two will be present and so will Coen and Thornden, naturally. I have requested lady Saeryn and my lady Wynflaed will be accompanying us as well. On top of that, I'd like to..." Here he turned his head towards the elf and addressed him straightforwards: "I'd like to see you in our little table of advisors regarding a recent occurence, so if you in any way could attend, just to give it a thought an half an hour before the meal at this table, I would appreciate it."

The elf nodded.

Lord Athanar turned again to lord Eodwine. "Hilderinc is probably my best lower officer; a trustworthy man with a good heart. So I'd like to hear whom you'd call as one from this household to be "his pair" in here... I'm not building up a jury, but I do wish to have an equilibrum of viewpoints as comes to this very intricate matter before I make a verdict on Scyrr... and by the way, I have asked Scyrr himself to join us."

He made a pause and studied lord Eodwine's expression learning little or nothing.

"And if you thought why Hilderinc looked surprised, well, it was that I asked him to bring Scyrr with him..."

With that lord Athanar leaned back to his chair and took his goblet. He looked stern but resolved. Rising the cup slightly he looked at lord Eodwine leaning back towards the chair. "To justice, and prosperity of the Mead Hall", he said and raised the cup, looking at lord Eodwine, and then to the others around the table.

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Old 07-03-2012, 04:11 PM   #1330
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Ledwyn

Lady Saeryn left no room for protest. Ledwyn felt uncomfortable and embarrassed, despite Lady Saeryn's best efforts to achieve the opposite. She wished she would have been treated like a servant, not a guest. She would be much more at ease if Lady Saeryn would not stoop below the line her rank set for her, out of generosity or humility or whatever reason it may be. If only everything in this Mead Hall would be as she had imagined it! Yet she could not gainsay Lady Saeryn. Leastways, Lady Saeryn was right about the children.

"Perhaps it is so, my Lady," Ledwyn said. "I might be worrying unnecessarily. It has been at my home as you have said - the older children took care of the younger, but the young ones never strayed far. You said it true that my son will soon run around everywhere and this would go unheeded, and that my son has not been gone too long. I suppose I think too much about it. I should concentrate on the work at hand more."

Ledwyn drank her tea quickly, thanked lady Saeryn and Ginna, and stood. She looked around for more work to be done.


Theolain

A game! And a good one too. Theolain definitely liked this man. He felt like this grown-up knew exactly what he thought.

In the breakes between the rushes, when both laughed and caught their breath, Theolain looked with admiration at the man. He knew that he would not be upset if this man caught him in the game. Yet, sometimes, he had a different sense of purpose when he ran at Theolain, apart from the game. Though Theolain could be caught in the game, he did not want to be caught in that other way, to fulfill that sense of purpose behind the carefree play.

Of course, he did not think in those terms. He perceived that if he does not want to be caught for real, he has to run for real. However, he trusted the man. That trust meant that no harm would come to him from that man, but games could.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:14 PM   #1331
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Before the meal, at Athanar's table

Sitting at the end of the table lord Athanar looked around.

Lord Eodwine was sitting next to his right with lady Saeryn by his side. On the left there was first his lady Wynflaed and Coen right beside her. After Saeryn on the right side sat Thornden and the grim-looking carpenter called Stigend. On the left there was Degas sitting beside Coen but the last chair was vacant.

Lord Athanar eyed at everyone and took his time while mead was poured to all.

"My friends. I think we all know what is it that we're sitting around this table for. Let us have a toast for wisdom and good judgement."

They all raised their cups and took sips of the excellent mead produced by a neighbouring farmer they had learned to appreciate in matters of mead. "To Wilfer, the master of mead", Coen added as he laid his cup on the table.

Lord athanar glanced at his second in command but then concentrated back on his duty. "Hilderinc! Bring in the accused!"

He had wished to make it low-scale but the word had spread. Not many dared to come inside the hall to actually eavesdrop what was going on, but Athanar could see faces glued into the windows of the hall willing to get a peak at what was going on. Don't they have duties to attend to... Athanar cursed to himself but was not too bothered with it. He had nothing to hide here. It was only that he was not willing to repeat those two open trials he had given and which had turned into catastrophies. The eorl would be just but it would not be something any sorts of fools could find sparks to their already burning fires this time: close hearing, no agitation to any side, a quick judgement. That was the way he was used to and which he was happy to come back with.

Hilderinc brought Scyrr to the other end of the table and with lord Athanar's mark took the last available seat for himself.

Scyrr stood at the other end of the great table in front of his lord and all the others with an expressionless stare which wasn't broken even when his lord addressed him. But he did respond to his name being called.

"Now Scyrr, you have been serving me well - as your father served my father and it breaks my heart to see you standing here after all these years. But today I think you face some serious challenges as to your behaviour and it may be I have to punish you for the first time in our time together." Athanar fell silent for a moment looking at his man in the eye.

"It's not that you've been a dove before this day - and I haven't hired you to be one anyway". Hearing this Scyrr grinned, but only slightly.

"But if what I have heard you've done is true, you've clearly gone over your rank and limits this time. So let us hear your account of what happened between you and lady Saeryn, and lord Eodwine here. Now speak. At ease!"

Scyrr had been standing in attention but with the command he took a more relaxed position letting his arms hang loose. "Be brief and be true, Scyrr." Athanar said and then fell back in his seat to hear what his man had to say.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:24 AM   #1332
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Thornden sat at the table watching the members of this scene closely. Mostly his eyes rested on Saeryn as the proceedings began. As Hilderinc went out to bring Scyrr in, Thornden reflected that no matter what happened here, it could not help Saeryn. True, Scyrr may withdraw his insult from Eodwine and make his amends, but it would embarrass Saeryn further than she had been to have it all rehashed and discussed.

However, it had been her own actions that had brought this about. It was her own fault this had not been avoided. Thornden sighed silently and looked down at his hands folded on the table before him, and then looked up as Scyrr entered.

Athanar spoke, beginning the small trial with a few, choice words.

"But if what I have heard you've done is true, you've clearly gone over your rank and limits this time. So let us hear your account of what happened between you and lady Saeryn, and lord Eodwine here. Now speak. At ease!"

Thornden felt for this man. Athanar spoke well of him – a trusted, faithful soldier who had long been with him – and he had borne the brunt of the ill-ease of the old Scarburgians, nearly being killed that second day. Clearly, this change had not been easy for him.

“My lord,” Scyrr began, “I cannot remember clearly everything that was said. I was deep in my cups last night. It began with a quarrel between me and the stable-master. Afterwards, I went out, intending to go in for the night– Captain Coenred advised me to, I think. He hoped to help me avoid a fight. But a fight sought me out, even outside.” His eyes shifted from Athanar to lady Saeryn as he said this.

Thornden tensed instinctively as he felt the threat toward Saeryn. There was a heavy pause, and then Scyrr continued.

“Lady Saeryn followed me outside and spoke with me. Her manner, my lord, was aggressive and domineering.”

Thornden shot a glance towards Saeryn. It was clear that she was not pleased at Scyrr’s description of her.

“Her words were less than ladylike, and more fitting a man of authority, and I knew that it was not her place to come and speak to me in the way that she did. She meant to tell me to leave the stable-master in peace from that night forward, but I told her that this matter did not concern her, but rather her husband, and if he wished to speak of it with me, he could find me. Was I wrong to show her how rough, how unwomanlike her manner was? She was acting on behalf of her husband, and that was wrong. This I sought to make clear to her.”

Saeryn started to her feet and with one hand she pointed at Scyrr as she accused him loudly: “You called my husband a liar and a coward in one breath, you rogue! Answer the lord Athanar as he has commanded you, briefly and in truth!”
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:58 PM   #1333
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Scyrr

Scyrr knew not whether this woman of the old eorl's was a spoiled too rich wench by birth or her lashing tongue were because she carried a brat. It did not matter.
He scowled at her. One thing was sure, she knew not her place.

"Lord, you see what it is I faced last night. This woman knows not her place. Here is her lord and she can't or won't shut up and let him be the man."
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:55 PM   #1334
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Lord Athanar

Athanar glanced at Saeryn hiding his discomfort with her fiery tongue. She was clearly not making this easier... But he looked back at Scyrr with a stern look when he made his complaint which seemed to Athanar being his only way he was going to defend himself. Athanar shook his head with sadness in his eyes hearing his words: "Lord, you see what it is I faced last night. This woman knows not her place. Here is her lord and she can't or won't shut up and let him be the man."

Athanar drew breath and when he opened his mouth his voice was stone cold: "And since when has it been added into a sergeant's duties to show ladies their place? Or to make public judgements on their behaviour, or about their relationships with their lords?"

He didn't take his gaze from Scyrr's eyes but let his will to be understood by Scyrr in no uncertain terms. "Unsoldierlike behaviour and overstepping your rank, proved, in the presence of wittnesses. And let me remind you, you're not far away from a verdict of insulting a lady". Here Athanar had to bit his tongue to not state frankly what she thought of Saeryn's behaviour, but he felt forced to give in for a slight rounding up of his message: "Although I think lady Saeryn hasn't been exactly innocent on this issue as rows take two to be put up. But for now it suffices that it is you Scyrr who have violated a strict rule about taking and accepting your place and insulting your superiors. And I think that has now been proved beyond reasonable doubt."

With that lord Athanar finally leaned forwards and reached for his cup fast glancing at lord Eodwine before addressing Scyrr again. "So what was that brawl you had with lord Eodwine then?"
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:17 PM   #1335
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Scyrr

Brawl? As far as Scyrr knew there had been no brawl or this Eodwine would have some bruises on his face.

"Lord, I figured Eodwine sent the woman to accuse me in his place. Was I to know that she'd come on her own spleen? So I told him to fight his own battles."

Athanar was looking none to pleased and Scyrr figured he'd spoken out of line again.

"Lord, I admit I was deep in my cup and I said what I should not."
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:33 PM   #1336
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"You know you're a sergeant whether you are sober or not Scyrr. And you're a member of my household whether you are sober or not. You know that well, Scyrr." Athanar let his words fall in to Scyrr's mind and then followed quite bluntly, like to hammer it in: "That may explain some things, but it is no excuse. A man drinks on his own decision..."

With that he turned towards Eodwine: "Is that what you'd say happened between you two? That he basically told you to fight your own battles?" Glancing at Scyrr he added: "Which actually isn't your concern either Scyrr... or since when do you think sergeants should advice lords in their domestic matters?"

With that Athanar turned back to Eodwine waiting for Eodwine's account of things.

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Old 07-17-2012, 06:32 PM   #1337
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Stigend

After advising a handful of soldiers how to joint the planks and to measure the levels for an outhouse for the soldiers Stigend had been searching for suitable wood from the great pile of logs and planks Athanar's residue had brought in as a gift from king Eomer to replace the crude steps and railings from the Hall to the second floor when Thornden had called him to join a court of sorts. Stigend had no clear idea what it was about or why he had been called for. But he clarly had no choice. A lord's call was a lord's call.

Couldn't Garstan go? he asked himself walking towards the hall as he had been busy trying to get a picture from the pile as to which planks and logs could could be used and where. But he immediately realised that Garstan was finishing the firewall at the kitchen - and that sure was more important at the moment. But still, why him?

He rubbed his hands dry and somewhat clean into the back of his trousers and wiped the sweat from his forehead and cheeks with the sleeve of his working-skirt before entering the hall.

Just at the doorway he caught this new sergeant, Hilderinc - a man he kind of liked at the outset - with Scyrr. Unlike many of the newcomers, he thought he knew Scyrr better the man deserved. He didn't like him at all. He reminded him of the men of his home-village who were tough and hard, and despised, even ridiculed everything strange, like Modtryth, especially if they were drunk which was not seldom.

Thornden rushed in after him and waved his hand for him to take a seat beside him. Stigend nodded and took his seat still wondering what he was doing here.

But he had guessed it right. It was about Scyrr - and he had actually heard soldiers talking about him earlier the day. Some had said he had insulted both lady Saeryn and lord Eodwine gravely while others had claimed he had being framed by lord Eodwine and Saeryn and that there was a conspiracy of sorts involved. He had phfft the conspiracy theory, but seeing he was chosen into what seemed like a jury of sorts actually made him raise an eyebrow. Glancing quickly around he found five Mead Hallers and only four of the newcomers...

As soon as Scyrr opened his mouth his doubts were washed away though. He couldn't stand the man, and how he spoke of lady Saeryn. He would have risen up and beat him right there were there not all the noble folk around who seemed to be able to listen to him and his manners just like that. Had he been able to beat him... that was another question, but it didn't cross his mind right there and then.

But slowly he realised lord Athanar wasn't going to defend Scyrr either but was actually quite rough on him. That disturbed Stigend who had thought everything ran along the party-lines between the ones with power... He sure had met some lazy and self-important soldiers both in the ranks of lord Eodwine and lord Athanar - and some of the men on both retinues were good men as well. Like contrast Aforglaed with Hilderinc - or Raedwald with Scyrr... or Javan with Raban - that thought made him smile, he liked Javan actually but was just a bit concerned of his influence on his own children - and he had been so pleased when the old Raban had been called to educate him. If he'd just get Cnebba interested in armoury as well... that would be good...

Suddenly lord Athanar's cold voice rang in his ears: "Which actually isn't your concern either Scyrr... or since when do you think sergeants should advice lords in their domestic matters?"

Stigend felt ashamed. He had totally lost anything that had been said the last minute or so while thinking to himself. Now lord Athanar turned towards Eodwine like he was waiting for him to say something. Like all the others, Stigend froze to hear what he had to say.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:10 PM   #1338
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Eodwine

Eodwine hated these kinds of things. It was very much on his mind that Saeryn's jealousy for his own rank and right in Scarburg was the first mover of all that had brought things to where they stood now. He wondered where any of this kind of thinking had been when he had been courting her. She had seemed so whimsical and fresh back then. What had changed her?

Marriage.

He sighed. "Truth be told, Athanar, it seems as if Scyrr has the right of it, more or less. My wife spoke on her own, I did not send her, and would not. I ask leave to speak with her about this further, just us two. I will of course make sure you know how things stand after that."
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:22 PM   #1339
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Lord Athanar

Lord Athanar was not the only one to raise his eyebrows around the table.

He searched lord Eodwine's eyes for a moment to be clear he was not jesting. Then he glanced at Saeryn and saw her almost trembling. That didn't speak well and he suddenly wished to be done with the situation as soon as possible. He couldn't afford anything unexpected to pile up on all the other worries he had, least those of a pregnant, jealous and hot-headed woman - even if he kind of cared for lady Saeryn, she was clearly part of the problem as well.

After a nod to lord Eodwine he turned towards Scyrr and spoke to him: "You should have followed captain Coenred's advice Scyrr and go to sleep last night. But as you didn't, all what you did after that - and what you have said here and now - are on your own responsibility. Having a cup or two too many is your own choice and you need to accept the consequences."

He sighed loudly and leaned back in his chair.

"Of all the people I hate making this judgement on you Scyrr as I do appreciate your service, and you know I rely on you on any situation where a sword or eye are needed. But you have to either drop drinking or learn to behave with it. Next time you have something in your mind and wish to complain, sleep on it first and then tell Coen about it in private - or if it is very urgent, come and tell me."

Athanar turned to Eodwine. "Your leave is granted". He glanced quickly at Saeryn from the corner of his eye slightly relieved that she had not bursted out yet. "We'll continue this session if needed."

With that he turned forwards and rose up from his chair. After a moment's hesitation as to what it meant all the others followed suite.

"Scyrr, son of Sconfyrr, I thus declare you to receive a punishment of the wolf's hour night-watch for a week... that should keep you away from the cup." Letting his eyes ran around the table Athanar finally breathed in to make his last statement.

"That judgement is based solely on your behaviour at this table, at this hour. If lord Eodwine or lady Saeryn see there is cause for further action you'll learn it. Meanwhile, behave as your rank demands. Now, you are dismissed."

With that Athanar nodded first to Eodwine and Saeryn in particular and then wawed his hand to others in general to indicate the session was over.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:09 PM   #1340
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Saeryn resumed her seat at the earliest possible moment after jumping up. She was conscious that she had somehow misspoke: the men’s embarrassed reactions told her that, however subtle they were. She felt instinctively Eodwine’s rigidness though they never touched. She hardened herself against the idea that she had displeased him – again. It was for his own good that she was so adamant about this.

She felt a distinct sinking in her stomach when Eodwine finally spoke.

"Truth be told, Athanar, it seems as if Scyrr has the right of it, more or less. My wife spoke on her own, I did not send her, and would not. I ask leave to speak with her about this further, just us two. I will of course make sure you know how things stand after that."

She glanced briefly at him. He was looking at Athanar and she averted her eyes again before he noticed her looking at him. What did he mean? The Scyrr was actually right? She clenched her jaw shut tightly and held her tongue.

Athanar quickly wrapped up session. When he rose, the others stood as well and the men moved off. Saeryn felt half inclined to walk away and return to her work in the kitchen, but she would not so disrespect her husband, however angry she felt. She stood, therefore, and waited for him to guide her however he would – whether they would stay and talk there, or go somewhere more private.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:25 PM   #1341
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Saeryn & Eodwine

The other men left, much like men seeking shelter from a storm. Saeryn stood a couple paces away from Eodwine and waited. He hesitated. Saeryn had noticed his reluctance to act since his return. She attributed it to his sickness. Part of her went out to him – pitying him that he had to face adversity within his own home – and she regretted the trouble she was causing, even if she thought it was for the best. Her other part held firm. He was a respectable man, and he was a strong man, and no one should be allowed to treat him as anything less than lord Eodwine, even if he had not that title now. She would defend his honor, even if he would not.

“Eodwine,” she said. “Will we stay, or go somewhere else?”

"Let us go to our rooms where we can speak out of the hearing of others." He held out his hand to her.

Saeryn came forward, turning her eyes down as she stepped to his side and took his hand. He led her out of the hall and up to their room. She entered before him and he shut the door behind them.

She continued walking to the opposite side of the room. At the window, she turned and looked at him, waiting.

Eodwine sat on the bed and gestured for her to do the same. "Here, please, be easy. Sit down by me." She hesitated. "I want you to tell me how things were from your view, before I say anything at all. I want to know your mind."

Saeryn came and sat beside him. She laid her hand on his a moment as she sought for the right words to say. Her head was turned towards him, but her eyes were lowered, focused on their hands together.

"I thought I was doing right, Eodwine," she said without looking up at him. "I thought. . .I thought I saw something that needed to be addressed, and as you did not know of it, I went out to deal with it. You have been gone since Athanar came, so you haven't see how that man has treated Leof. I had just. . .had enough.

"And then when he insulted you - I don't know what came over me. I was so angry! It was after you had turned down the eorlship, and he called you a coward, and I couldn't take it from that scoundrel!"

He smiled. Yes, she was a bit hot-headed, and he had only been back a little while; she had gotten used to having to defend herself on her own. It would take some getting used to, to have her husband there to defend the honor of both of them. He squeezed her hand and kissed her.

"I married the right woman. You have a good mind and good sense, and have been left on your own for months now. Well, my dear, I'm back. From now on, let us face Scarburg and Middle Earth together, in minds alike. Maybe it will take time for us to get used to each other again. Would you like that?"

Saeryn looked up at him quizically. He was not angry with her, then?

"Yes, Eodwine," she said. "But we must come to like minds, and I do not know yours. Well," she hesitated, "yes, I do. But I am confused. This man openly declared you a liar and coward, and yet you do nothing. Just now, you said you were of like mind with Scyrr. Do you believe me in the wrong? Am I to blame for all this? What will you do to regain your honor?"

Eodwine could not keep all of her questions in his mind at once, much less in the order asked. But he remembered the one most urgent to be answered, and the rest came to him as he spoke. "You have already owned all the blame you have coming. You bear no more blame than that. Scyrr has much to answer for, and I deem Athanar is not done with him. But were I to answer the man on his terms, I lower myself to his foolishness. I will not do that. If I seem to him coward and liar because of that, I do not lose much. If I seem that to the men of Scarburg until the truth is out, it is a small price to pay. Foremost in my mind is to be true to what is right and best, and I care not what men think as long as that is so. As for what I will do to regain my honor, to my mind I have not lost it. What I will do to gain the respect of the men, that is a more difficult matter, and will need thought."

Saeryn sat silently for a moment, considering his words. She had learned that men must answer for themselves if openly spoken against. She wondered how Eodwine could regain the men's respect by not answering this man.

On the other hand, she knew everyone else knew that Scyrr was drunk and was wrong. Perhaps, after all, Eodwine spoke wisely and correctly. He usually did.

"I see," she finally said. "Then what is our next step?"

"Tell Athanar that you and I are of one mind, if and once that is so, and then speak with each other first something like this happens again." But she seemed doubtful. "Is there something I need to know yet?"

Saeryn shook her head. "No. It is just that usually when a man is insulted in public, he gives an answer. But. . .no, you have already said it would be folly to answer him in kind." She sighed. "I - I feel if nothing is done to address him. . . " she stopped. She couldn't bring herself to say that her own pride was hurt and she wanted to see Scyrr punished - that it would satisfy her anger if he were. How childish. How cruel. "Nothing," she said. "Tell me your mind on this matter, and I will do my best to follow your lead. What do you think should be done?"

He saw that much was on her mind that she did not say, but it seemed to him by her words that her thought was to choose the wiser way. He smiled. "My lead is for us to walk into the Hall hand in hand, smiling, showing all that we two are of one mind and heart, that we stand above the petty fights of those who would try to drag us down. Is it well?"

Saeryn nodded. "Yes. I will do that and I will follow your lead. I am sorry I have caused this. I will do what I can to amend what has happened."

She sounded - what was the Gondorian word? - subdued. Not herself. He rubbed her back and stroked her hair, and other small husbandings until she relaxed. Then he stood and offered her his hand.

"Let us do together whatever is needed to amend what has happened."

She nodded once and they walked out of the room, hand in hand.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:04 AM   #1342
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Harreld was chasing the boy, making sure to never quite catch him.

After a while he noticed someone standing nearby with her hands on her hips, a small smile on her face. It was Kara.

"Oh! Good morning. Are you here about the boy?"

"Aye. His mother is busy in the kitchen and I'm to take Theolain to Garmund and Cnebba."

"Ah. Well." Harreld stood by as Kara approached the child with great confidence. The boy seemed to recognize this and let himself be picked up and carried away. "Well then. Good bye."

Kara waved with her free hand and the boy waved too. Harreld went back to the smithy to be ribbed and kidded by his twin brother.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:48 PM   #1343
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Rowenna

The women in the kitchen were well aware of events in the hall. Scyrr had been punished, lightly, and both Athanar and Eodwine seemed satisfied. Rowenna wondered if the same could be said for Saeryn.

It was the time between breakfast and mid-day meal, so Rowenna took a pail full of hot water, and soap, and rags, to wash the tables and floor in the hall. It was mostly empty now. The Elf had left the hall, too.

While she was about her task, she saw a shadow of someone standing by the door. She got up and went to see who it was, and if something was needed.

She jumped, startled, when she discovered it to be Nydfara. He did not seem startled himself, but regarded her with studied indifference.

"Is there something you need, Nydfara? Food? Drink?"
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:23 PM   #1344
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Scyld had lingered outside the hall during the trial, as had a great many of the hall’s other denizens. Upon its completion, word quickly spread about Scyrr’s punishment, and Scyld heard no one say that they thought it too harsh. In Scyld’s mind, that meant that perhaps it was too soft – but he found that the thought meant little to him.

Scyrr emerged from the hall with a sneer and soon wandered off with some of his cronies. It was not long before the yard was wholly emptied out - it was, after all, rather cold, and everyone had their chores to attend to. Scyld rarely had an assigned duty but usually kept himself busy at whichever task for the day seemed most interesting or whose workmates would have the most interesting gossip. For once though, he found that he did not care for the intrigue. Perhaps he would go for a walk – he highly doubted anyone would miss him for a while.

First, though, he supposed he ought to fetch a warm cloak. He tried to tell himself that he had no other ulterior motive for returning to hall, and that the idea of seeing Rowenna again would be dangerous for him. It was not so cold.

He pushed open the door to the hall anyway. It was empty of everyone but the one person he most hoped and feared to see. He stopped in the doorway without thinking to watch her. Seeming to sense his presence, she stood up from her washing and turned around.

"Is there something you need, Nydfara? Food? Drink?" she asked. She looked startled, and Scyld wondered whether it she was startled because someone was there, or because he was there.

“No, no,” he said, leaning against the doorway. “Nothing like that.”
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Old 08-04-2012, 12:02 PM   #1345
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Then why are you standing in the doorway, letting in the cold? Rowenna kept this query to herself.

"Is there something else?"

She tried to maintain the same indifference she saw in him, despite the sudden racing of her heart. Why did this have to happen? Because you find him no end of interesting, silly.

He did not answer immediately, as if turning the thought over in his mind. "Come in out of the cold, at least."
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:42 PM   #1346
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“Of course.” He stepped all the way inside and closed the door behind him. Foolish to stand there letting all of the warm air out anyway, but he hadn’t noticed until Rowenna had pointed it out. He suddenly felt less comfortable with the door closed, as if he had lost his way out.

He took another step into the room and felt even more exposed without the wall to his back. The hall seemed so large when it was empty. Rowenna was still watching him. All the surprise was gone from her face and had been replaced by polite detachment. Scyld wondered if he was bothering her.

“I just came in for my cloak,” he said, feeling as though he needed some excuse for being there and that the honest one would do. “I would not want to keep you from your washing up,” he added, in a tone that slightly implied just the opposite.
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:40 PM   #1347
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For a moment she was tempted to tell him, "You know where they are," and turn away. But she did not want to tease of rile him. She was too curious.

"Come with me, I'll find you a good one."

With that she started off and heard his footsteps dutifully following.

"Remember our deal?" she threw over her shoulder. Not waiting for him to respond, because she was sure he had not forgotten after one mere night of sleep, she continued. "I was not the only woman the brigands captured. I was just the only one to survive."

She let that float in the air between them as she came to the cloak wardrobes, and opened them. She furrowed through a half dozen and picked out one.

"Here! Nice and long and warm. Dark, too. It suits you. Here." She handed it to him, at last catching his eye to see what might be seen.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:23 PM   #1348
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“Dark, too. It suits you.” Scyld did not think she was just speaking of his appearance. She caught his eye and he held her gaze. Do you know what you are asking? he wondered. His heart was pounding. He spoke without thinking.

“I was just going to go for a walk,” he said. “Would you care to join me? There is something I would like to show you.”
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:25 PM   #1349
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Ledwyn swept the broom across the floor, sending dust flying out from the corner. The broom sat clumsily in her hands. It was too long and too wide. her own broom, back home, was of a different shape, one that she was accustomed to. She would get used to this one as well in time.

She did not quite know where she was and what room she was sweeping. She was instructed to clean the hallways, closets, and just everything except for the bedrooms. So she did that as best as she could. She would always be able to find her way back to the kitchen, and there would always be someone not too far from her to ask the way.

Suddenly, she heard footsteps from outside the door. They were walking past her. She heard a woman's voice say, "Remember our deal? I was not the only woman the brigands captured. I was just the only one to survive." Putting down her broom, Ledwyn strode to the doorway and peered out. She saw the receding shapes of a woman and a man. She recognized the woman as one of the kitchen wenches, but could not recall her name. The beautiful one. Was it Kara? No, Kara is a different one... The name would have to wait.

...Brigands? The implication of the casually dropped sentence sunk in like cold wind seeps into cracks under the door, leaving everyone inside vaguely ill at ease. Did brigands raid this place and steal women? Just to think what they did to the poor things! It must have been like the War all over again for the people of Scarburg. Ledwyn's village was not too harmed by the War, but she heard stories of less fortunate folk. The girls could have been beaten, raped, or... or... I was just the only one to survive.

Picking up the broom again, Ledwyn told herself again and again that she should not be eavesdropping, that she still has a lot to learn, and that she should not meddle in the affairs of the locals. They are not her concern - not yet. Not until she is one of them, at least. Yet she still decided that she should find out about the outlaws. She had to know.

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Old 08-11-2012, 01:59 PM   #1350
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“Would you care to join me? There is something I would like to show you.”

Now this was unexpected. It was a shame that it was the morning after a big party. But then, there was all day to clean it up, and there was more help since Ledwyn had arrived.

"One of these cloaks should fit me. Here's one. Give me a moment to tell the kitchen I will be out for a walk. Meet you at the door?"

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Old 08-19-2012, 07:35 PM   #1351
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“Of course.” Scyld smiled one of his cryptic smiles, turned, and walked away. Inside, however, his stomach was churning. Why had he said that? Why would he offer himself up for so much time alone with her?

He would have to use it somehow. She had just shown that she was willing to talk. Maybe she was trying to get him to open up by dangling tidbits of her past in front of his face, but it wouldn’t work. He would tell her just what he wanted to tell her; he wouldn’t let her crack him this easily. He wouldn’t.

The time he spent waiting at the door felt like an eon; he half-suspected her of taking her time just to make him uneasy, but maybe it was just the waiting that made the time stretch on so long. When she finally emerged from the kitchen he swung the cloak around his shoulders where it settled comfortably. He waited until she had fastened her own cloak before opening the door for her. “After you.”

He directed their path towards the back of the hall; he had in mind to set out over the fields up into the Scar, as they were calling it now. “Have you been up into the Scar?” he asked her.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:35 AM   #1352
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“Have you been up into the Scar?” he asked her.

"I have walked there," she replied as he held the door for her.

The cold was refreshing. The dampness of it bit her cheeks which were no doubt reddening, they always did. She fell in step with him as they made their way across the yards of Scarburg. He was taking his time, having set a sauntering pace for them. The sun was pale and a few streamers of high, cold cloud crossed the pale blue sky. She folded her arms into the cloak for warmth, her fingers already numbing.

Nydfarra was quiet as they walked, and she preferred not to prattle. It was not in her to fill the silence with words just to fell the silence. She liked the quiet, and wondered if Nydfarra did, or was his bent toward silence caused by something else?

"Do you like the quiet?" she asked as they approached the Scar.
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:14 AM   #1353
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As they walked, Scyld had begun to remember the day of Linduial’s escape much more vividly than he had in some time. He had come this way before, each time accompanied by a beautiful woman: that one innocent and vivacious, and this one worldly-wise and mysterious. The panic of that warm April day contrasted sharply with the serene chill of this one.

It was the cold as much as anything else that anchored him in the present, until Rowenna spoke and shook him out of his reverie: “Do you like the quiet?”

“Sometimes,” he replied. Silence left you alone with yourself – and lately Scyld didn’t always like what he saw there. I could leave, he thought suddenly. Go somewhere where these uncomfortable realizations don’t always have to be dancing around my periphery. The thought lacked conviction, though, and one powerful reason for him to stay was now walking right beside him. He glanced over at her; if anything, her reddened cheeks made her even prettier. I can think of one good reason why those brigands kept her alive… “And sometimes,” he continued, raising an eyebrow at her, “I wonder what secrets the quiet is hiding.”
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:54 AM   #1354
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“I wonder what secrets the quiet is hiding.”

She liked that thought, and his eyebrow raised in just that whimsical, charming way he had, and a smile came to her face altogether unforced.

"I suppose that asking it what its secrets are would be too frank, and it would break the silence." She grinned. He did not smile but raised both brows as he regarded her, which was all she expected. "Still, best to let it tell us its mysteries when it is ready and no sooner."

He led them along the path upward as they ascended the first rise of the Scar. It seemed to Rowenna that this rough, hard 'scar' of hills held ghosts, or wights, or some unseen presence, filling the silence. She liked places like this, forbidding to folk who liked best the comfort of hearth and board. She liked the secrets of it, the mystery. She looked at Nydfara's back. This was his kind of place, mysterious man.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:46 PM   #1355
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Rowenna had chosen not to rise to his prompting and Scyld let the matter drop, though questions still niggled at his mind. He wasn’t even sure why it mattered so much to him to know her secrets, aside from the fact that he was interested in everyone’s secrets. It made for good leverage, though leverage against what, he wasn’t terribly sure anymore. This was different though.

It wasn’t as if he couldn’t make a fair guess at what her life might have been like. Abuse of the weak by the strong: that was how the world worked, unless you happened to be one of the lucky few born into a life of privilege. He scrambled up over a particularly steep and rocky section, then turned to make sure Rowenna was alright following him. For a moment he imagined Linduial there, looking up at him with her large and trusting eyes. Just as he once had for Linduial in this very spot, he extended his hand to Rowenna, an offer of stability over the rough terrain.

"We're getting close," he said.

Last edited by Firefoot; 08-22-2012 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:54 AM   #1356
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Rowenna grabbed his proffered hand and felt something like needles inside her skin. Surprised, she looked up at him.

"We're getting close," he said.

She dropped her eyes to the ground to watch her feet as he helped her up the steepness.

"Thank you," she said more breathlessly than she felt. "Close to what, I wonder? A secret the quiet is hiding, I suppose?" She allowed a half smile.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:43 PM   #1357
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“You shall have to judge for yourself what secrets you may find,” answered Scyld. “For my part, I only pray that I have not set your hopes too high.”

They had reached level ground, and Scyld released Rowenna’s hand. It had been startlingly cold, despite the warm cloaks and the rigor of their climb, and he found himself dwelling on the fact for the next several minutes until he broke out of the woods and onto a high rocky shelf overlooking the outlying lands: the hall and outbuildings of Scarburg, immediately at their feet; past that, the surrounding homesteads and the holdings of the local landlords; and farther away south the pale, gleaming ribbon that was the Snowbourne and the distant crags of the Ered Nimrais, marching east towards Gondor.

“So what do you think?” he asked.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:16 AM   #1358
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Rowenna looked at the view. It had been a while since she'd been in the mountains and seen the view. She had forgotten how much she loved the long view from the mountains. And here she looked at them from afar. She suddenly had a famished hunger to go to them.

"Beautiful. I miss the mountains."

Of course, that hunger could not be satisfied. She had a home here at Scarburg, and home meant more to her than the adventure she had managed to survive for two years. There had been so much ugliness that she had not had a mind for the beauty.

"I like best to see them from a distance. There is much hardship and terror to be in the midst of them. Do you not think so?"
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:14 PM   #1359
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Scyld glanced at Rowenna. Something in her tone had caught his attention – a certain wistfulness, but tinged with something else. Perhaps there really were secrets waiting here for them.

“I could not say, for I have hardly spent any time there myself.” Indeed, he had spent nearly all his life within a couple miles of the spot where they now stood. “However, I had not heard that anything dwelt there more frightening than wild boars or Woses,” he said, giving her a quizzical look.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:17 AM   #1360
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"Maybe there are no more brigands. Worse than that I did not find. The ones who held me captive are no more."

She stood straighter, remembering who she had been among them.

"Truth to tell, near the end I led them though they would not admit it, and my plans made them more dangerous than ever. So it was that we became too greedy and tested the margins of Edoras. So it was we faced a foe greater than any we had till then. I speak, of course, of Eodwine and his folk, and I saw a greater likely ally than the one I had and so worked what wiles I had to do in the brigands and place myself as well as I might with Eodwine."

She looked at Nydfara, suddenly realizing that she had said far more than she had intended. Her face hardened.

"It is your turn to pay the debt of so much news of me. Tell me about you and Sorn."
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